This Week! : HOW CON 2020 Coming February 25-27!

We’re BACK and once again The HOW Conference is open to Any Genre and General Writing Topics, not just Horror!

Authors, Editors, Agents, Publishers, Readers, and Writers are invited to be part of The HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference February 25-27, 2020. Learn HOW to hone your literary craft thanks to interactive online forums, live chats, writing exercises, and more FREE opportunities to sharpen your skills wherever you are and whatever you write.

Workshop Submissions for HOW are Currently OPEN!

What kind of workshops are we looking for at HOW you ask?

~Interactive forum based workshops, worksheets, writing exercises or prompts in any genre or writing skill level
~Articles and essays with writing tips, experiences, or references, again in all genres or on technical tips, formatting, grammar, etc
~Editor, Agent, and Publisher essays, experiences, or feedback
~Articles and tips on marketing, networking, promotion, and social media for authors
~Genre-specific essays, tips, trends on world building, characters, genre perimeters, etc.

If you are an author, editor, agent, or publisher and would like to do a Q&A, chat, or live audio/visual event, let us know! Shoutbox Chats and Live Events are currently being scheduled for Tuesday, February 25 and Wednesday, February 26. Have an idea? Don’t hesitate to ask! If it is technologically possible, we want to do it at HOW!

Register now on our Free Forum at horroraddictswriters.freeforums.net for more information. Don’t worry, it’s free and Easy! Workshop submissions can be done directly through the forum system or by emailing your workshop proposal no later than February 7 to horroraddicts@gmail.com. Please use the subject heading ‘Horror Addicts Online Conference Query’ so we recognize your message.


To participate in HOW, you must register at our Online Writers Conference Forum. During the week of the conference, the Workshop boards will be open. Each board will contain the workshop threads, conveniently sorted by genre so our experts can present their tips, worksheets, brainstorming, and more. All you have to do interact – host your workshop, browse the forum, participate in one, two events or as many aspects as possible and get inspired with HOW!

Thank you for your participation and we look forward to seeing you at the Horror Addicts.net Online Writers Conference!

 

Revisit the Writing HOW-tos from Last Year’s Conference:

HOW Video Workshops

HOW Guest Authors

HOW Chat Transcripts

 

Reminder : HOW CON 2020 Coming February 25-27!

We’re BACK and once again The HOW Conference is open to Any Genre and General Writing Topics, not just Horror!

Authors, Editors, Agents, Publishers, Readers, and Writers are invited to be part of The HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference February 25-27, 2020. Learn HOW to hone your literary craft thanks to interactive online forums, live chats, writing exercises, and more FREE opportunities to sharpen your skills wherever you are and whatever you write.

Workshop Submissions for HOW are Currently OPEN!

What kind of workshops are we looking for at HOW you ask?

~Interactive forum based workshops, worksheets, writing exercises or prompts in any genre or writing skill level
~Articles and essays with writing tips, experiences, or references, again in all genres or on technical tips, formatting, grammar, etc
~Editor, Agent, and Publisher essays, experiences, or feedback
~Articles and tips on marketing, networking, promotion, and social media for authors
~Genre-specific essays, tips, trends on world building, characters, genre perimeters, etc.

If you are an author, editor, agent, or publisher and would like to do a Q&A, chat, or live audio/visual event, let us know! Shoutbox Chats and Live Events are currently being scheduled for Tuesday, February 25 and Wednesday, February 26. Have an idea? Don’t hesitate to ask! If it is technologically possible, we want to do it at HOW!

Register now on our Free Forum at horroraddictswriters.freeforums.net for more information. Don’t worry, it’s free and Easy! Workshop submissions can be done directly through the forum system or by emailing your workshop proposal no later than February 7 to horroraddicts@gmail.com. Please use the subject heading ‘Horror Addicts Online Conference Query’ so we recognize your message.


To participate in HOW, you must register at our Online Writers Conference Forum. During the week of the conference, the Workshop boards will be open. Each board will contain the workshop threads, conveniently sorted by genre so our experts can present their tips, worksheets, brainstorming, and more. All you have to do interact – host your workshop, browse the forum, participate in one, two events or as many aspects as possible and get inspired with HOW!

Thank you for your participation and we look forward to seeing you at the Horror Addicts.net Online Writers Conference!

 

Revisit the Writing HOW-tos from Last Year’s Conference:

HOW Video Workshops

HOW Guest Authors

HOW Chat Transcripts

 

Reminder : HOW CON 2020 Coming February 25-27!

We’re BACK and once again The HOW Conference is open to Any Genre and General Writing Topics, not just Horror!

Authors, Editors, Agents, Publishers, Readers, and Writers are invited to be part of The HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference February 25-27, 2020. Learn HOW to hone your literary craft thanks to interactive online forums, live chats, writing exercises, and more FREE opportunities to sharpen your skills wherever you are and whatever you write.

Workshop Submissions for HOW are Currently OPEN!

What kind of workshops are we looking for at HOW you ask?

~Interactive forum based workshops, worksheets, writing exercises or prompts in any genre or writing skill level
~Articles and essays with writing tips, experiences, or references, again in all genres or on technical tips, formatting, grammar, etc
~Editor, Agent, and Publisher essays, experiences, or feedback
~Articles and tips on marketing, networking, promotion, and social media for authors
~Genre-specific essays, tips, trends on world building, characters, genre perimeters, etc.

If you are an author, editor, agent, or publisher and would like to do a Q&A, chat, or live audio/visual event, let us know! Shoutbox Chats and Live Events are currently being scheduled for Tuesday, February 25 and Wednesday, February 26. Have an idea? Don’t hesitate to ask! If it is technologically possible, we want to do it at HOW!

Register now on our Free Forum at horroraddictswriters.freeforums.net for more information. Don’t worry, it’s free and Easy! Workshop submissions can be done directly through the forum system or by emailing your workshop proposal no later than February 7 to horroraddicts@gmail.com. Please use the subject heading ‘Horror Addicts Online Conference Query’ so we recognize your message.


To participate in HOW, you must register at our Online Writers Conference Forum. During the week of the conference, the Workshop boards will be open. Each board will contain the workshop threads, conveniently sorted by genre so our experts can present their tips, worksheets, brainstorming, and more. All you have to do interact – host your workshop, browse the forum, participate in one, two events or as many aspects as possible and get inspired with HOW!

Thank you for your participation and we look forward to seeing you at the Horror Addicts.net Online Writers Conference!

 

Revisit the Writing HOW-tos from Last Year’s Conference:

HOW Video Workshops

HOW Guest Authors

HOW Chat Transcripts

 

HOW CON 2020 Coming February 25-27!

We’re BACK and once again The HOW Conference is open to Any Genre and General Writing Topics, not just Horror!

Authors, Editors, Agents, Publishers, Readers, and Writers are invited to be part of The HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference February 25-27, 2020. Learn HOW to hone your literary craft thanks to interactive online forums, live chats, writing exercises, and more FREE opportunities to sharpen your skills wherever you are and whatever you write.

Workshop Submissions for HOW are Currently OPEN!

What kind of workshops are we looking for at HOW you ask?

~Interactive forum based workshops, worksheets, writing exercises or prompts in any genre or writing skill level
~Articles and essays with writing tips, experiences, or references, again in all genres or on technical tips, formatting, grammar, etc
~Editor, Agent, and Publisher essays, experiences, or feedback
~Articles and tips on marketing, networking, promotion, and social media for authors
~Genre-specific essays, tips, trends on world building, characters, genre perimeters, etc.

If you are an author, editor, agent, or publisher and would like to do a Q&A, chat, or live audio/visual event, let us know! Shoutbox Chats and Live Events are currently being scheduled for Tuesday, February 25 and Wednesday, February 26. Have an idea? Don’t hesitate to ask! If it is technologically possible, we want to do it at HOW!

Register now on our Free Forum at horroraddictswriters.freeforums.net for more information. Don’t worry, it’s free and Easy! Workshop submissions can be done directly through the forum system or by emailing your workshop proposal no later than February 7 to horroraddicts@gmail.com. Please use the subject heading ‘Horror Addicts Online Conference Query’ so we recognize your message.


To participate in HOW, you must register at our Online Writers Conference Forum. During the week of the conference, the Workshop boards will be open. Each board will contain the workshop threads, conveniently sorted by genre so our experts can present their tips, worksheets, brainstorming, and more. All you have to do interact – host your workshop, browse the forum, participate in one, two events or as many aspects as possible and get inspired with HOW!

Thank you for your participation and we look forward to seeing you at the Horror Addicts.net Online Writers Conference!

 

Revisit the Writing HOW-tos from Last Year’s Conference:

HOW Video Workshops

HOW Guest Authors

HOW Chat Transcripts

 

By The Fire: Episode 149: Challenge 13: This is the End

As I start to write this post the song that is playing in my head is The End by The Doors. Because that’s what this is, the end of the contest and what a trip it has been. The last challenge in The Next Great Horror Writer for episode 149 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast is the hardest one yet. This one was only open to the semi-finalists and they had to submit The first 3 chapters of their horror fiction novel including a cover letter, synopsis, and query. Wow!!! I have the highest respect for everyone in this contest because they had to work hard to be a part of it and everyone in it has shown how dedicated they are to their craft. The winner of this challenge and the grand prize for the contest is a book contract from Crystal Lake Publishing.

To sit and think on what everyone in this contest had to do to stay in it just boggles my mind. I can’t imagine doing it myself but this little group of writers really showed us what they were made of. The contest began with almost 120 entries and we eventually saw the field get narrowed down to just few. Along the way our writers had to produce an audio drama, a commercial, short stories, non fiction blog posts, create a monster, an intro to an original character and finally the beginning of a novel.

Through the course of this contest we’ve seen all of these writers grow and improve their skills and get tested like never before. I’ve really enjoyed the journey of these writers throughout this season of the podcast and it makes me sad to see just one winner. I think everyone in the contest should consider themselves a winner and be proud of what they have accomplished. Even if you get rid of all the other parts of the contest and just look at the fact that these writers have gotten to the point where they have submitted the first three chapters of their book is a big deal.

A lot of work goes into writing a novel, the planning, the outlining, the rewrites and finally the finished product. Some people spend years working on a novel and in my opinion its the most personal art form there is. Writers have to put their heart and soul into their novels and sending it to a publisher takes a lot of guts. It’s not easy becoming a published author, there is a lot of work involved in the process and when you do get published a whole new set of challenges await you. A writer’s work is never done and the ones that keep doing it are the ones that consider it their passion.

So Addicts, what did you think of the contest as a whole? Who did you think did the best job on this challenge? what do you thing the hardest part of doing a query and a cover letter are? Have you done one? What are the experiences you’ve had? Let us know in the comments.

 

By The Fire: Episode 146: Challenge 11: Write a 5-6 minute Horror Audio Drama

Hello, Addicts, how time flies, we are getting towards the end of The Next Great Horror Writer contest and we have another tough challenge to talk about. In episode 146 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 5-6 minute horror audio drama. This is another one of those challenges that doesn’t sound too hard but really is. At first glance, 5-6 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot but when you write it out, that’s 6 pages of script. Contestants will be judged on creativity, entertainment value, and concept. Contestants have to come up with their own characters and own idea, they can’t use anyone else’s characters or established story. Winner will get their audio drama produced for the show.

One great thing about this contest is that the participants are really getting tested in every aspect of writing. They have had interviews, short stories, commercials, nonfiction blog posts and other challenges. An audio drama is another form of writing that is very different from any other form of writing. When I think of audio dramas I think of the old radio plays from the thirties and forties. Radio plays are kind of a lost art form but if you look for them you can still find podcasts dedicated to this art. The horroraddicts.net podcast has had a few good audio dramas throughout the years.

Audio dramas are very different from reading a short story or novel, the story is always important but in this case, you have to tell a lot of your story in dialogue form. You also probably need a narrator to set up the story and you have to consider what kind of sound effects you would need. Finding voice actors may be something that has to be considered also.

So Addicts, do you enjoy listening to audio dramas? If so what are some of your favorites and what makes an audio drama good? I think the right voice actors play a big part in it but you also have to come up with good characters, a good setting and a great story idea. So what do you think the contestants will come up with and who do you think will do the best job? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

By The Fire: Episode 145: Challenge 10: Write a 1200-1500 word, non-fiction interview of yourself

In episode 145 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 1200-1500 word, non-fiction interview of yourself. The idea is to come up with questions and ask them how a reporter might ask them and then answer them as a professional writer may answer them. The contestants will be judged on interest of questions, interest of answers, and style. Does this sound like an easy challenge? Not really.

Though they are not being judged for it, the hardest part of this challenge may be selling yourself and your writing. In an interview, the author is the star of the show and the point is to get the readers of the interview to want to buy the author’s work. A writer has to wear several different hats, they may be good at writing fiction but can they sell the reader on their work by describing themselves and their stories in an interview?

Being able to come up with good answers in an interview is important because the person reading it is trying to make a decision on if they like the writer or not and if they are willing to purchase their work. It doesn’t matter how great of a writer you are, if you can’t sell yourself in an interview, you may have trouble getting a reader interested in your work. Personally, for me I love reading interviews, it’s a great way to get to know an author and decide if you like them or not. I’ve often made the decision on whether to buy or not to buy someone’s work based on the answers to interview questions. So in other words, learning how to act in an interview is an important skill.

So how about you, Addicts? Have you bought someone’s book based on an interview they had? I know I have. Can you come up with any examples of a good interview or a bad one? What do you think our contestants will focus on in their interview? What is the most important thing for a writer to talk about in an interview? Let us know in the comments.

By The Fire: Episode 144: Challenge 8: 900-1000 Word Introduction of an Original Horror Character

In episode 144 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 900-1000 word introduction of an original horror character. The point of this challenge was to test the writer’s ability to create a believable and descriptive character. The prize for this part of the contest is for an anime sketch of the writer’s creation. So if they can’t describe their main character well, the artist can’t draw it and the person reading their work can’t form a mental image of who is being written about.

Describing a character in a book may not seem important but if an author leaves too much to the reader’s imagination, the reader’s image will be different from what the author is thinking about. The writer can’t control how the reader imagines his or her creation will be but they can at least give the reader an idea of what they were thinking. Writing a character description probably isn’t as easy as it sounds because how do you know when you over described them? You have to leave something to the reader’s imagination, but if you leave everything up to the reader it could ruin your whole story.

I have a great example of the importance of character description. Keep in mind that I’m coming from the reader’s point of view and not the writer’s. I just finished reading a horror novel where the monster in it is a Sasquatch. In this book, there is no real description given of the Sasquatch beyond the fact that it was big and hairy. The author left what the monster looked like to my imagination and instead of coming up with the image of a horrifying monster in my head I found myself thinking of the Sasquatch from the Jack Link beef jerky Messing with Sasquatch commercials. Every time the monster did something horrible in the book I wasn’t feeling scared for the protagonists instead I was laughing at how funny those commercials were. The writer’s attempt at making me scared of his monster failed because he didn’t give me enough information on what he was thinking.

So if you can’t give enough description of a character it could ruin your whole story. Character description in a horror novel is probably more important than in any other genre of fiction. Horror is all about emotion and as a reader if I don’t know enough about someone in a book I can’t feel any emotion for him. To fear a monster I need to know how evil it is and to be scared for a victim, I have to feel some compassion for him. It doesn’t even have to be a visual description if you describe how the monster in question has killed others that could get me to fear him. Same thing for the protagonist, just give me something I can relate to like how hard he works to support his family. That way I’ll be hoping he gets away from the monster because his family needs him. So horror addicts how would you describe your favorite monster? And what did you think of the contestants’ description? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

 

By The Fire, Episode 139: Challenge 3: 500 words non-fiction blog post

Hey Horror addicts, we just had our third challenge in the horroraddicts.net Next Great Writer Challenge. This episode’s challenge is to write a 500-word non-fiction blog post on something horror related. The contestants are judged on if it’s a good blog topic, topic interest and the quality of the writing.  This seems like an easy enough task but the question is what is a good enough subject to write about.

You could compare vampire novels, you could say who is scarier Frankenstein or The Wolfman, or you could just write about your favorite horror novel or movie. These topics almost seem too easy though. A better nonfiction horror topic would be how horror movies have changed over the decades. Or why does something that people thought of as scary in the 1930’s, not scare anyone today? You could also write a fun topic such as why are bad horror movies just as much fun to watch as good horror movies.

One topic that really interests me is how horror films can be metaphors on what scares us in society. In the 1930’s vampires were popular and I’ve heard some scholars say that vampires represented The Great Depression sucking the life out of people. I’ve also heard that zombies represent the idea of people losing their individuality and just mindlessly buying whatever product comes our way.

Another great topic would be how the female role has changed in horror films and books. In eighties slasher films and even going back further, women didn’t have very good roles in horror films. One may come out as a hero in the end but most of them did nothing but scream throughout the movie. In the horror films of today, women are just as tough as men and sometimes rescue the man rather than the other way around. When did this role change in horror movies? I wonder if it changed because filmmakers noticed that just as many women love horror movies as men.

This brings me to another good topic: what scares people and why? This is a broad topic and you could have 500 people write a blog post on it and each one would have a different answer. Horror seems simple but it is really a complex genre. What would your favorite nonfiction horror topic be to write about and why? Let us know in the comments, I’m dying to hear what you have to say on this one.

#NGHW News 138

 

Hello, Addicts!

Well, how good were this week’s stories! I can’t tell you how happy I am that our judges did not agree. This way, we were blessed with seven stories instead of the promised three. And oh my Odin, what stories they were!

So this week’s challenge was to write 250 words about a monster. Seven monsters we were given, three survived to the next round and then one was picked and deemed worthy of the mini prize – Professional audio production of the winning short story.

Our stories, this week were:
1 LARVAE #teamsumiko
2 THE PET #teamdaphne
3 LINGUA #teamJC
4 BLOODWORM #teamjonathan
5 THE ODDMENTS MONSTER #teamadele
6 THE LAUGHING MAN #teamnaching
7 ALWAYS HUNGRY #teamcat
You can read and/or listen to all these brilliant stories here.

In the discussion after the stories were read, we learned some juicy deets about our beautiful, spooky host, Emz. Our leader into the night is scared of insects and monkeys! And even though the contestants have been warned, it will be interesting to see if any of them draw on this info for their next projects. Knowing what spooks the judges could give them a leg up or tear them down. Only time will tell if any of them dare to scare our dearest Emz.

But this discussion leads me to think … What do our fearsome fifteen fear? What makes our makers of fear jump in the night? I simply had to ask. (And if you’re wondering what scares me, it’s koalas.)

We had some super interesting answers. AE Kirk – our archaeologist – was freaked out by skeletons as a child. Sumiko – the author of LARVAE – has an irrational fear of maggots, which may explain her monster. Naching – our winner for this week’s challenge (oh, had I not mentioned that yet!) – is claustrophobic. Ten points to who can guess what JC is scared of …

One story, which I really wanted to share with you, was from our sweet Daphne. I will let her tell you the story…

“I am TERRIFIED of ladybugs. Yes, the little red and black beetles that populate gardens and children’s story books. I wasn’t always afraid of them–I wore a ladybug dress to my first day of kindergarten–but that all changed when I was ten.
My parents, after twenty-plus years of marriage, finally built their dream home in the Missouri countryside: a magazine-worthy log cabin situated on five acres of wooded land. All was well. The house was completed and we moved in. But at some point during the construction process, ladybugs had laid eggs in one of the interior rooms–specifically, what would become my room.
After a few weeks, the eggs hatched. Thousands of them. While the room had been open to the environment when they were deposited, it was now sealed, locking the beetles inside the house along with me. They were everywhere: in my bed, my clothes, my hair. Their tiny armored bodies blocked out the light that streamed through my windows as they swarmed toward what they thought was freedom. My father would vacuum my room every day (taking the wriggling, writhing mass of insects outside for disposal), only for more ladybugs to appear in their kin’s place. This continued for months before a significant majority of the monsters had been rehomed outside (where I assume they went on to reproduce more of their abhorrent kind). Yet, to this day, when visiting my childhood home, I, without fail, find one of them creeping over a couch cushion or across my arm.”

So, back to the contest. The top three stories this week were BLOODWORM by Jonathan Fortin, THE PET by Daphne Straset and THE LAUGHING MAN by Naching T Kassa. But I totally already spoiled it by telling you that Naching won. Her story, set in a war zone and crossed with creepy bedtime tale, won her this week’s mini prize which you can also hear on the podcast.

Next week on the #NGHW contest is challenge number 3! Write a 450-500 word, non-fiction, blog post about anything horror. This is to test our fearsome fifteen’s ability to blog which is a super important asset for any writer’s career. This is a very different challenge that may see some different contestants take the limelight. It will be really interesting to see how the contestants handle non-fiction. They will be judged on:
• Blog ability. What will appeal to the readers.
• Topic interest. Is it something horror addicts are interested in today.
• Writing quality.
The winner will have their subject discussed on a prominent horror podcast.
So, who will you follow? Perhaps you will be on #teamjonathan – the gothic, demon lover with a taste for the unique and bizarre – or #teamfeind – Cthulu’s best friend and our favourite metal head – or #teamquentin – our filmmaking fan of Frankenstein’s monster – or #teamriley – the beautiful cosplaying gal who loves herself a little bit of Freddy. Let us know in the comments or on the social media.

Stay spooky!

Hugs xxx

Adelise M Cullens

KIDNAPPED BLOG: Released by Selah Janel

halogokidnappednotdateby Selah Janel

For me, a horror story begins as a what if. I like to suspend belief when I plunge my characters into a situation, and this also tends to keep me from uber-focusing on only one style or subgenre in horror and dark fiction. I’m just as open to writing evil invisible friends that can end the world as I am vampires, zombies, fairy tale eldergods, or naïve serial killers looking for love.

As you can imagine, my family is very proud.

However, sometime’s it’s hard to jump start an idea, or even find the right way to portray it to get it started on paper.

Flash fiction has always been a challenge for me, but I love writing prompts because they tend to immediately activate the what if portion of my brain. If I have a couple words or a phrase, I’m much more likely to start jotting down something than I am if you tell me “write something scary!”

You do that, you’ll probably get something sarcastic about bunnies, just sayin’.

At any rate, once I have a direction, the rest tends to just…pour out.

This is a classic example. I was taking part in a blogging campaign right when I first started my blog, and there were flash fiction contests every so often. I think the prompt for this was “wall” and I had like five hundred words or so to tell a tale. I love little moments like this, and I still really like this piece. It’s amazing what can come out of a person’s brain in five hundred words one you’re given a direction.

Released

Shadows crept along the wall as velvet grey fingers seared right through the mortar between crumbling bricks. The longer Morgana stared, the more her suspicions were reinforced. The crawling, skittering veins and puddles of effervescent nightmares were not attacking the wall, but were coming from it.

“I stared too long,” she murmured, as if to convince her terrified logic that she was still alive. “I looked too closely and saw into The Wall. Somehow it saw me.” Past scrawled orange graffiti, under the brick, Morgana had seen it. And it had been trapped safely away, because it was evil.

She’d been warned to ignore the Cobbington Village Wall. No one remembered when or why it had been built across Shepherd’s Field, but the entire village population was content to let the whole place fall to neglect if it meant they could ignore The Wall.

“I just had to go for a walk,” Morgana whimpered, unable to move or even blink away from the skulking, oozing touches of the vile nothing that leaked out. “I just had to listen to the talk shows and change things up a bit. I couldn’t just be content watching a movie, eating dinner on my own, and falling asleep on the couch.” What had seemed a horrible prison sentence even thirty minutes ago was suddenly heaven; why had she been so stupid as to long for more than her humdrum, cashier, sweat-suit life?

The black entity that The Wall had held captive for so long oozed and splatted onto the grass. It sucked the life and color away as it claimed the good and simple of everyday life into its clutches. Morgana watched numbly as the ground, the air, the ants at her feet screamed and shriveled into grey nothing. “All I wanted was something different!” she stammered as the tendrils crept towards her toes. “Why did I have to go outside today?”

The rippling darkness chuckled and slowly flowed over her feet like spilled porridge, devouring her beat-up sneakers in its cold, blank grasp. She choked back a cry when the slimy ice feeling gripped her ankles.

“This is better,” the living tar streaming over her feet burbled into her mind. “They tried to hold me back for so long…now I’ll use you to return to Cobbington. We’ll both break free from the village, you and I.” Morgana tried to scream, but the horrible realization that at least her life would finally be interesting actually made her smile as her thoughts stopped becoming her own. For its part, the darkness growled its thanks before everything Morgana knew faded.

***

Selah Janel writes in many genres and wrecks them all. When she’s not writing, she’s making trolls and other costumes. Check her out at the following places:

Blog: http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorSJ

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SelahJanel

Jeremiah Donalson on Horror Writing

Counting Words

by Jeremiah Donaldson

It’s nearly time to attempt writing 50k words during the month of November. That’s 12500 words per week. 1785.7 words per day. 74.4 words per hour. 1.24 words per minute. And who can’t do 1.24 words per minute, right? Ah, but if it were only that simple…

I’ve figured these numbers up several times now just to double check them. Why? Well, this is my first attempt at Nano. I’ve known about it for years, but this will be the first time I’ve had a project of the right length to work on during the correct time frame. Even so, I’ve been biting at my bit for the couple months since I decided upon the project. 99% of me says ‘Go, go, go, mfer! The hell you screwing around until November for!’ and the other 1% says ‘Just wait, asshole. You already have too much stuff to work on.’ It’s not my fault both are right.

logomontageSo, I compromised. I did research and character outlines for this so deceptively simple undertaking while working on other stuff. For me, the challenge of Nano month isn’t writing 50k words. For me, the challenge is writing that many words on a single project.

I took a bit more than a year off from ‘real’ work that ended the first of September this year when I was forced to become a part-time corporate slave again. That time off was enabled by a car wreck I was in the end of 2012. I returned to writing in full force, catching up on the several bad years I had due to family issues. I firmly believe a person should rise early for best use of the day, and I fell into a 530 am to 10 am schedule. I spent 8-12 hours a day in front of the computer working on something, depending on other requirements of the day. Graphics. Research. Writing. Editing. Essays. Generally making myself visible and vocal online. For months. And months. The only days I took ‘off’ were the days that words dancing before my eyes, making it impossible to read or write anything. I’ve kept the same hideous pace doing ‘real’ work before also, working 80+ hours a week for months.

But there’s a secret to being able to do that. The 80+ hours a week got divided between three different jobs. I never looked at the same place long enough to get burned out. Same thing with massive hours working on writing and associated projects. But instead of going to a different job before I get burnt out, I just switch to something different when I bog down, because that’s the queue for change. The time taken to bog down could be hours, days, or weeks. It depends on the project and where I’m at. I’d estimate I’ve written nearly 50k words per month for almost the last year. My current project to be released before Nano starts will put me at approx 40k published words for the year spread between four projects. My Nano story will be project number five and will put me close to 100k words in a year by the time I finish editing in January.

However, to ‘win’ Nano month and close in on the 100k mark, I must put this work into a single project for a month without burnout. That’s that real challenge for me.

What is this post-apocalyptic, SF/horror shout out to epic heroes everywhere? Well, that would be telling. But look for the associated project from me around February if you want to check it out. Until then, keep reading and writing.

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memarch2012Jeremiah Donaldson writes from London, Kentucky where he lives with his daughter. He is hard at work as a part-time corporate slave and starving artist.

www.ephiroll.com

John F.D. Taft on Horror Writing

Some Unasked Writing Advice,
Or How I Buckled Down on My Writing and
Shot to Authorship and How You Can, Too!

By John F.D. Taff

Sounds like an internet self-help program, doesn’t it? But, it’s true. Every. Single. Word.
I’ve been writing for about 25 years now, professionally at least. And by “professionally” I mean writing stuff that someone gives me money for. Not love. Not contributor’s copies. Just coin.

Writing is one of those things that seemingly everyone thinks they can do, or at least thinks they’d like to do. Tell anyone you’re a writer, and you usually get that “Ahh, yes. I have a great idea for a book.” To which I generally respond “Well, then, you should definitely write it.”

They won’t. I know it and they know it. Why? Because writing is hard. It’s not working on a road crew hard, or being a resident in a hospital grueling or chipping away in a coal mine strenuous. But it’s hard nonetheless. It does require sweat (of a sort). It does require a particular (and peculiar) foundation of skills. And, yes, it does require mining, at least the mining of experiences and emotions.

That’s why most people can’t ever seem to sit down and write something. It’s difficult.
And, let’s face it, the other reason most people don’t sit down and write something is because it’s boring. It’s lonely. It’s tedious. And there are so many, many things out there to distract you—the Internet, TV, life!

So, if you’ve actually put something down onto paper—a poem, a short story, even (gasp!) the beginnings of a novel—congratulations! You’re way ahead of the curve and well on your way to becoming an author.

“An Author?” you’re gasping (and I can hear you gasping!). “What’s the difference?”
An author is to a writer as a chef is to a home cook. The word “author” signifies that you’ve written something, written it so well that someone actually wants to pay you for it. Even if it’s just a few cents per word or twenty bucks, this simple act of payment sets you apart from even the small percentage of people who actually become writers.

So, how do you turn yourself from a writer into an author, you might ask? Ahh, therein lies the tale…

I’ll recount how my latest book—a collection of five novellas entitled The End in All Beginnings—went from a few written pieces to an actual, published book that’s receiving rave reviews at Amazon and from authors like Jonathan Maberry and Jack Ketchum.

Write. Write A Lot. Then Write Some More. This is the kind of advice that many aspiring authors get that makes them roll their eyes. “Work? Is that it? That’s the secret?” Yes, because, alas, there is no secret. It’s all work. All Writing. Worried that you’re not writing enough? You’re not. Write more. Write every day. Write good stuff, mediocre stuff, bad stuff. Write something all the time. Keep a journal and a pencil on your bedroom nightstand and jot down dreams and late-night ideas. The simple act of writing all the time will have two benefits, I guarantee it. First, it will make you a better writer. And ultimately, it will lead to your becoming an author. I’d been writing for more than half my life when The End in All Beginnings came out. Some of the stuff was new, but some of the stuff was two decades old. It needed editing and polishing, sure, but it came from a huge surplus of things I’d written in the past.

Get Readers and Get Feedback. And how do you do this? Submit. Submit a Lot. Then submit some more. Writing away in your tiny garret, then saving the pages to your encrypted hard drive where they will never be seen? OK, well, fine for a writer, but not an author. Your writing must be seen. It must be submitted. Find places to send your stuff. Go through the stress that is sending your writing into the world, where it will be ignored by editors…or, worse, beaten to a pulp, spit at and derided by editors. This is all part of the process. Before The End in All Beginnings was even a glimmer, I’d amassed a gigantic folder of rejections for my stories. It’s all part of the journey from writer to author. Writing requires readers and feedback, and the only way to get this process started is to submit your work.

Listen to Editors. And Don’t Listen to Editors. So you’re submitting your stuff? Excellent. Most of the time, you’ll just get form letters rejecting your material. Sometimes, though, you’ll get actual letters from actual editors offering criticism of the story; what didn’t work for them and why they’re not buying it. Here’s the thing. It’s often best to put your ego aside and listen to these criticisms. It’s easy to get discouraged or think the editor’s a brainless creep, or they just don’t “get you.” But these people read a lot and can easily and quickly tell you what’s wrong with a story. Sometimes there’s nothing “wrong” with your story at all, it simply didn’t fit into what the editor was looking for. Here’s the flipside though: when it comes to an opinion, an editor is only one person. So don’t put too much into what they say. The razor’s edge here is to always remain open minded enough to take legitimate criticism but also confident enough of your own work to keep what makes it yours. “Object Permanence,” a novella in The End in All Beginnings, was an older story of mine that had been rejected dozens of times over two decades. I made changes to it many times, but some people still just didn’t get it…or like it. But I finally got to the place where I knew that this was the story I was seeking to tell; no more changes necessary. To be honest, some people still don’t like it, but meh. Some people have said it’s their favorite in the collection, so there.

Get Out and Meet People. Sending your work out into the world is one thing, but you also need to get out and mingle. Writers work on their own. Authors get out and press the flesh with readers and other authors. Join a writer’s group. Have a signing for a book. Go to conventions. I will tell you that my career didn’t really take off until I finally attended a professional writer’s convention in New Orleans two years ago. I met a lot of people, one of whom was the editor I eventually worked with to package the novellas that became The End in All Beginnings. While writing is, indeed, a lonely profession, and it might not take a village to raise your book, it does take some professional relationships. And the only way to make these is to leave your house occasionally. P.S. Also remember to bathe…just sayin’.

Have a Plan. In other words, make your own project. Don’t wait for someone to tell you that they’d like a novel on X-Y-Z subject. Don’t wait for someone to tell you that they’re looking for a collection of short stories. Put together your own project. I worked with that editor I met at that convention to develop The End in All Beginnings. We didn’t wait for a publisher to tell us they wanted something like it, we just did it. Then convinced a publisher that they should buy it. If you wait for people to tell you what they want, you’ll be waiting for a very, very long time. And you won’t be writing what you want to write.

Edit. Cut. Edit. Cut. Repeat. As with writing every day, editing and cutting and revising are the critical skills, I believe, that set writers apart from authors. Editing is a crucial skill that many writers just don’t have. And that’s OK, as long as you find someone who does have this skill and isn’t afraid of pissing you off now and then. There’s no substitute. As I said, a few of the stories in The End in All Beginnings went through two decades of editing., and they’re all the better for it.

Know When to Stop. As important as editing is, you gotta know when to stop. And whereas relying on an editor to tell you when things need to change, stopping has got to come from you alone. Only you, the author of the story, know when the piece is finished. When is that? For me, I know it’s done when I’m down to fiddling with words over and over, changing minutiae that don’t really make it better or worse, just different. (Incidentally, it’s the same way I know whether to take an editing comment or not.) Over editing can often be as much a problem as under editing.

Surround Yourself with Trustworthy People. Finding an editor you trust, who has the skills to do the job, is important. Finding readers who can read your work and offer honest opinions is vital, too. Probably not your mom or the nice lady down the street or your spouse. Find someone who likes to read the kind of stuff you write and isn’t afraid of telling you the truth. Then, find a publisher who is on the straight and narrow. Don’t become so elated that someone wants to publish your novel that you depart from your senses and sign a contract that gives away the work, your firstborn and even your eternal soul. Being an author rather than a writer means embracing the business side of writing. And that means making informed decisions about who’s going to bring your work to readers. If you don’t already know, let me be the first to warn you that there are bad people out there, and some of them are in book publishing. Be aware. I was lucky enough to find the good people at Grey Matter Press, who published The End in All Beginnings. They have a professional website. They publish what they say they’re going to publish. They pay, fairly and on time. People speak well of them. All of this is important when selecting a publisher.

Become Discouraged. And then Don’t. So you do all this, and submit, submit, submit. Your work is rejected, rejected and rejected. You get discouraged. This is normal. A writer’s life—and this doesn’t change as far as I can see when you’re an author—is one of incredible amounts self-doubt. Obviously, submitting your work and being rejected doesn’t help this. But I can offer no other advice than to simply get over it. If you can’t handle this aspect, then you are not cut out to be an author. Believe me when I tell you that there are people out there who’ve never published a single word, but who are better writers than King, Grisham, Rowling or Wolfe. Why aren’t they published, then? Because they couldn’t take the rejection and folded. Period. Being an author is equal parts skill, luck and intestinal fortitude.

Know What You Want. And Press for It. Are you looking to be paid? Or just be read? Are you wanting to build a career? Or do you just want to get Aunt Hilda’s recipes out to a wider audience? What’s going to satisfy you? For me, writing as long as I have been, my wishes for The End in All Beginnings were to build on the name I’d already established, and the works that had started to build my awareness a few years ago. Yes, money was part of this, but another building block in my reputation as a pretty good horror author was at least as important, if not more so. Decide what you want in advance, and set your expectations accordingly.

23213104Bonus: Promote Yourself. A Lot. Think your publisher is going to spend the dollars or time to market your book? Hah…it is to laugh. I mean, I got lucky with The End in All Beginnings. Grey Matter Press is headed by marketing gurus who actually do a lot of this. But most publishers, and I mean even the big guys in NYC, don’t spend much either time or money marketing your work. That, my little cottage-industry, is up to you. You’d better become fluent, if you aren’t already, in blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and every other applicable form of social media if you want to succeed. You don’t have to do them all. I maintain a fairly active blog (johnfdtaff.com) and a healthy Twitter presence (@johnfdtaff), but I don’t get into Facebook at all, much to the consternation of my publishers. Just can’t abide it. You need to select the types of marketing you do enjoy and can keep up with, and engage in them. Engage in them consistently and frequently. Because they will form your lifeline to the reader. Without that, you’re just a writer. And if you just want to be a writer, well, OK. But if you want to be an author, it’s easy. Go back to No. 1 in this list and start all over again!

ABOUT JOHN F.D. TAFF

IMG_85307869436552John F.D. Taff has published more than 70 short stories in markets that include Cemetery Dance, Deathrealm, Big Pulp, Postscripts to Darkness, Hot Blood: Fear the Fever, Hot Blood: Seeds of Fear and Shock Rock II.

Over the years, six of his short stories have been named honorable mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. His first collection, Little Deaths, was published in 2012 and has been well-reviewed by critics and readers alike. The collection appeared on the Bram Stoker Reading List, has been the No. 1 Bestseller at Amazon in the Horror/Short Stories category and was named the No. 1 Horror Collection of 2012 by HorrorTalk.

Taff’s The Bell Witch is a historical novel inspired by the events of a real-life haunting and was released in August 2013. His thriller Kill/Off was published in December 2013.

Taff’s short story “Show Me” is featured in the Bram Stoker Award-nominated anthology from Grey Matter Press, Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror – Volume One. His tale that breathes new life into the zombie apocalypse, “Angie,” appears in the Grey Matter Press volume Ominous Realities: The Anthology of Dark Speculative Horrors. His “Some Other Day” will be published in Death’s Realm, coming soon from Grey Matter Press.

More information about John F.D. Taff is available at johnfdtaff.com.

 

Loren Rhoads on Horror Writing

Character Generation

by Loren Rhoads

The novel As Above, So Below (co-written with Brian Thomas) is the story of Lorelei, a succubus who sets her sights the angel Azaziel. She can see he’s been cast out of Heaven, but is not yet Fallen, and she vows to do whatever it takes to bring him down.

Aza has plans for Lorelei, too. Together on the streets of LA, they encounter Ashleigh Johnson, one of Azaziel’s mortal charges, who is dying of hepatitis in the street. The angel rescues Ashleigh’s soul from two harpies poised to devour it — then uses it to possess Lorelei.

Taking Ashleigh along for the ride, Lorelei flees. They encounter demons, tempters, fallen angels, and damned mortal boys, while Lorelei keeps trying to swing the angel into her corner. Up All Night Horror Fiction Review said, “As Above, So Below has a creative plot, vivid descriptive imagery, relentless temptation, graphic horror, and fiery, fun sex.”

So where did the character of Lorelei come from? She was inspired by a woman I met at university. Kimmy lived across the hall from me in East Quad. She was beautiful: large very dark eyes made bigger by mascara, long mahogany hair flipped back from her face just so, heart-shaped face. She wasn’t very tall, but she was seriously stacked. I wasn’t surprised to find she’d done catalog modeling in high school.

AS Above coverMostly what I remember about her was her presence. Kimmy was a light. She had a huge laugh. Just by arriving, she made everything more fun. When she came into a room, every head turned toward her, but she wasn’t obnoxious about it. She didn’t seem to crave attention; she just accepted it as normal.

Kimmy had a way of singling out people and drawing them into her circle. During my second day in the dorm, she cornered me as I was about to skulk into my room. She and her roommate were going to play quarters with some other people on the hall so we could all get to know each other. Why didn’t I come?

Which is how I met my husband Mason, who’s been with me pretty much ever since. Kim drew him in, too.

Kimmy was always ready for anything. When Playboy came to town, looking to photograph Girls of the Big 10, she considered it. When she met another girl who had been contacted by a Greek millionaire who was looking for pretty girls to come lounge around on his yacht in their bikinis, she considered it. I think her curiosity about that lifestyle was matched by a small-town naivety that didn’t really guess what that kind of deal would demand in return. In consequence, I felt protective of Kimmy. I didn’t want her trusting nature to lead her into a situation she couldn’t charm her way out of.

Lorelei came directly out of that feeling. I wanted to explore the possibilities laid out in front of Kimmy, but know that Lorelei would survive them. I wanted to give Kimmy a happy ending and a boyfriend she wanted just as much as he wanted her. And I wanted to guarantee she’d never lose her fearlessness or sense of fun.

What inspires your characters? Do they derive from people you know or do you make them up completely out of your imagination?

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CIMG0977-headshotLoren Rhoads is the author of The Dangerous Type trilogy, coming from Nightshade Books in 2015. She is the editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two and Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual. Her stories about the succubus Lorelei have appeared in the books Sins of the Sirens and Demon Lovers. You can find out more about As Above, So Below at http://lorenrhoads.com/writing/as-above-so-below/.

Chantal Noordeloos on Horror Writing

Angel Manor, Lucifer Falls book 1

by Chantal Noordeloos

A beautiful house – with a dark and deadly secret. Those who enter will be lucky to escape with their lives. ANGEL MANOR – November 14th

Let’s talk cheeseburger for a moment: “I haz excitement”

In about three weeks time my first full length novel will hit the market, and I can’t wait. It’s not the first novel I wrote (not by a long shot) but it will be the first that goes to print. It’s been a personal challenge writing this one.

First of all, I decided to work with a lot of different characters, which was new to me. Normally I focus my novels very much around one or two main characters and have a few side characters that get a tiny bit of the spotlight. In this case I had several different ‘voices’ and ‘points of view’, sometimes it felt like a juggling act.

When I first presented it to my publisher, it was a monster of a manuscript at 135.000 words. I think I may have heard him cry a little when he saw the size of it. Lucky for him, the manuscript was still in a very rough state, so it needed a bit of trimming. At the same time, lucky for me, the publisher did really like the story, and suddenly I had myself a book deal.

Some trimming was done, and some adding (the publisher slowly weeping again) and as I’m writing this blog, my manuscript is with the editors, so it will (hopefully) be ready in time for its November 14th release date.

So… why Angel Manor? I wrote this novel because I love haunted house stories, and I had some ideas for my own. I like working with classic horror topics and images, so when I started the first thing that came to mind was: this is going to need some creepy nuns. In hindsight, looking at the beautiful cover Stephen Bryant made for me, I’m very glad I went with the nuns.

As I was writing it, I decided that the story was too big for just one book, it needed more. Angel Manor was just the beginning *cue scary music* I’m going to work on at least two more novels following this one. Each will be linked to the fictional area called ‘Lucifer Falls’, which will be the storyline that runs through all three books.

For each of the novels I want to use a classic horror element. The sequel will focus on ‘dolls’, and I think the last one will probably focus on creepy children. Of course all books will have a healthy doses of ghosts and perhaps even other monsters.

This series will be interlinked with another series I’m writing –Celestials—and will exist in the same universe. I’m hoping to have some of the plotline bleed into each other, but in such a way that you can read the series as separate entities. It should just be a pleasant surprise for those who like to read both.

The cover for Angel Manor has done well so far, I’ve noticed that it gets a lot of interest. The artist really did a great job matching it to the story inside. I hope you will all enjoy Angel Manor when it comes out. I know I enjoyed writing it. It’s a little more gory than most of my work is at places, but it felt nice to go full out. I’m sure this novel is not for everyone, and part of me is dreading the reviews of the people who don’t like blood and violence. Only time will tell, I guess.

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0-finished-front-coverAngel Manor, the first full-length novel from Chantal Noordeloos, will be released by Horrific Tales Publishing on November 14th.

Evil nuns, satanic practices, and the most deadly haunted house in all of Scotland come together in this dark gothic tale.

“With ANGEL MANOR, Chantal Noordeloos brings a novel that grips you with corpse fingers and drags you into a world of deadly dangers, unresolved sins, haunted basements, and malevolent nightmares. This is not a book for the faint of heart. Noordeloos delivers on her promise to terrify you.” – JG Faherty, Bram Stoker and ITW Thriller Award finalist and author of CARNIVAL OF FEAR and LEGACY.

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2014-05-28 17.56.04Chantal Noordeloos  lives in the Netherlands, where she spends her time with her wacky, supportive husband, and outrageously cunning daughter, who is growing up to be a supervillain. When she is not busy exploring interesting new realities, or arguing with characters (aka writing), she likes to dabble in drawing.

In 1999 she graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design, where she focused mostly on creative writing.

There are many genres that Chantal likes to explore in her writing, but her ‘go to’ genre will always be horror. “It helps being scared of everything; that gives me plenty of inspiration,” she says.

Chantal likes to write for all ages, and storytelling is the element of writing that she enjoys most. “Writing should be an escape from everyday life, and I like to provide people with new places to escape to, and new people to meet.”

URL to blog: http://chantalnoordeloos.blogspot.nl/2014/10/angel-manor.html