Meet Author Sumiko Saulson, #109

Sumiko SaulsonThis week we have author Sumiko Saulson. Sumiko’s one talented chick! She has a new book, Happiness and Other Diseases, coming out this month, she is a brilliant journalist, artist, and also plays in a band. Talk about an urban Renaissance woman!

For #109, she brings us “I, Stammer (in Disbelief)”, a first person story about a misogynistic bus driver named Harold Stammer who just can’t believe how superstitious his family and friends are about the Craigslist Killer.

Let’s find out some more about Sumiko’s horror tastes.

HA: What was the spookiest night of your life?

I hate to admit it but, having post traumatic sleep disorder and bipolar disorder I’ve had a lot of spooky nights. It’s hard to pick out just one. But some of the scariest ones were around the time my grandmother died in 1980. We had just moved to Hawaii and there were a lot of creepy noises I wasn’t used to, some of which were natural, animal sounds such as the ones that the cows on a nearby farm made. Being from Los Angeles, I wasn’t used to them. I was also having nightmares because I’d recently, ill advisedly, read Dune at the age of 12. I was starting to have hallucinations, so I am not sure if the experiences I had were real, but cabinets in our house were banging open and closed all night. Later, my neighbors said there were ghosts in the town we lived in, Pahoa. They alleged it used to be a leper colony, but I don’t believe that is true.

HA: What is your favorite horror flick?

Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors. I had a hard time explaining to my 28 year old fiancé why, but it was the first horror flick I saw as a teenager that I thought was about my generation. That terrified and amused me.

HA: If you were to battle a hoard of zombies, who would be your dream team fighting next to you?

Michonne from The Walking Dead. She’s awesome! But not beside, in front. I’d be behind hiding in a metal locker or something hyperventilating.

HA: What is the most horrifying costume experience you’ve ever had?

I had this perfect Lucy wedding dress costume I’d made myself, Lucy from the Bram Stoker’s Dracula movie, a couple years after it came out. One time I was at Halloween on the Castro in San Francisco and some a*hole purposely burned my train with a cigarette. Now THAT was horrifying.

HA: What is your most recent work for sale and what is it about?10687036_10152720329052246_3965942528566808353_n

Happiness and Other Diseases is a dark fantasy about Flynn Keahi, a conflicted young man whose nightmares are starting to have real-life consequences.

Flynn Keahi has had a rough year. His nightmares are starting to manifest in reality, but no one believes him. Terrifying creatures are trying to cross out of dreams into the physical realm. Only Flynn can stop them – but doing so might cost him his life. Complicating matters further, one of these creatures cannot help wanting him — in every forbidden way. Will she be able to save him from his fate? Can she even protect him from herself?

Find this book on Amazon at:

HA: How do you create stories? What is in your writers tool kit?

I use a computer to write, I use a notebook to write character sketches and take notes about plot direction. I also draw in a drawing pad sometimes. I posted some of the cartoons I drew related to Happiness and Other Diseases on the website

HA: What era do you feel most at home in?

Definitely this one. Why would a woman of color want to live in the past? I have more freedom now, I believe, than I would have had in another era. Besides, I love video games. If I couldn’t stay here, I would have to choose some destination in the future.

HA: Who is one person you’d like to meet, living or dead, and why?

Edgar Allen Poe. He was my first writing rock star. I still love him.

 HA: Where can readers find you on the web?

Flash Fiction Friday: Sumiko Saulson


By Sumiko Saulson

The hotel was seedy, but at least it was poorly lit. That didn’t sound like much of a perk, but helped obscure the water stains on the walls and the roaches in the corners.  Best of all, it had free wifi. Sure, it was slower than molasses. It was provided courtesy of one five IP address wireless router rented from the cable company. The management knocked on your door and complained if you stayed on it more than an hour.  But it was wifi.

Dennis used it to go troll the dating sites looking for a hook-up. That’s how he met Courtney, single white female, twenty two years old, brown hair, brown eyes. She was a cute girl, kind of chubby, but interested in casual. Casual was good. Very good.

She was in a white hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans when she came to the door. Dennis was in a green terrycloth bathrobe and tattered BVDs. He invited her in.

“Nice place you have,” she said, precariously perching her butt on the edge of the king sized mattress furthest away from him. She looked quite a bit older in person than she did on the photo.  She claimed to be twenty-two, but looked thirty-five. It figured. These girls were always lying about their age and their weight, but never mind all that.  Why should he care? He was thirty-five, but claiming he was twenty-seven.

“Can I get you a beer, sweetie?”  he asked, grabbing a cold one out of the cooler by his feet.

“Sure,” she said, grabbing the bottle and prying the cap off like a master barfly. She sucked it down in two minutes flat and asked for another.  Dennis was bending down to pick it up when he felt something bite him on the back of the neck.

“What the?” he hollered, slapping his neck. The hand came back covered in blood. Stuck in the middle of the stain was the tiny black corpse of a fallen insect. He wasn’t sure if it was a mosquito or what, but something bit him.

Courtney inhaled the second beer as fast as the first. She was starting to get a little tipsy, it appeared.

“I love your robe,” she giggled. “Especially the belt you have it tied around your waist with. You should let me tie you up with it.”

“What?” Dennis asked. He wasn’t usually into the kinky stuff, but he was horny, it had been a while. Besides, this Courtney was really chesty. He wanted to check her out. He was just about to suggest she take off her hoodie and get comfortable when something bit him, again. This time it was on the ass. He felt stupid smacking himself on the behind.

“Well?”  Courtney said.  “In or out?”

“In,” Dennis said reluctantly. The girl tied him to the bed, and but damn she had a strong grip.

“Whoa woman, that’s a little tight,” he complained. She ignored him, continued her work. When she was done, she stepped back and began to unzip her jacket.

“Nice,” he said, watching the zipper slide down and reveal her ample cleavage.

His salacious glee was short lived. As the blouse came down, he began to notice that what he at first thought was a black tank top was moving. Tiny black dots swarmed all over the surface of her chest.  His eyes widened as they began to traverse the short distance between where she stood, and where he was tied to the bed.

“What the hell?” he asked. She did not answer at first.

They covered his legs, nipping and biting into the exposed flesh. His legs started to itch terribly.  Unable to use his bound hands, he began to rub the big toe from one foot against the calf of the other to scratch his leg.

“I am sorry,” she said finally, “but I must feed.”

She extended her arms, and more and more of the tiny black creatures leapt on the bed and crawled over his body, piercing and pinching his skin. Raised red dots began to appear on the surface of his flesh. Then, the wounds began to bleed.

That was when he started to scream.

Courtney pulled a filthy sports sock off his foot and shoved it down his throat to silence him.

As the tiny insects drew blood from his flesh, they turned around and returned to her, full and bloated. A sea of minuscule, blood-filled life crawled up to her face. When she opened her mouth, it poured in between her lips and down her throat. Her well-trained little minions sacrificed their infinitesimal lives just so they could deliver his blood. One by one, they drained him, and returned to her, engorged with blood and ready to be devoured.

When they were finished, his body was drained. White, and covered in a rash of red dots more vibrant and painful than acne, Dennis moaned on the bed. Courtney pulled a needle out of her pocket. She released him from his mortal coil with a hot shot of heroin. She shoved the incriminating rig into his failing hand.

Courtney licked the corner of her mouth as the last bed bug died on her lips. Then she turned to go.

Her minions had been many over the years. Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and any number of other tiny vampires bought meals of fresh blood to her lips. She didn’t need any fangs or knives to feed. All she needed was her servants.

She turned around and left. Leaving her pale victim dying on the filthy mattress, she closed the door. There would be many more where he came from.

She thanked all that was wicked that there was bed bug epidemic in San Francisco.


Sumiko Saulson’s blog “Things That Go Bump In My Head” focuses on horror fiction writing and features author interviews, writing advice, short stories and editorial pieces. She is the author of two novels in the science fiction and horror genres, “Solitude,” and “Warmth”, and a Young Adult dark fantasy series, “The Moon Cried Blood”, which was originally a novel.  Her fourth novel “Happiness and Other Diseases” will be released October 18, 2014.  She is also the author of a short story anthology “Things That Go Bump In My Head”.  She writes for the Oakland Art Scene for the A published poet and writer of short stories and editorials, she was once profiled in a San Francisco Chronicle article about up-and-coming poets in the beatnik tradition. The child of African American and Russian-Jewish American parents, she is a native Californian, and was born and spent her early childhood in Los Angeles, moving to Hawaii, where she spent her teen years, at the age of 12. She has spent most of her adult life living in the San Francisco Bay Area.