Wicked Lit x 8 Production, October 19th, Altadena, CA

Wicked Lit x 8
October 19, 2019
6:00pm – 11:00pm

William Joseph Hill & Brian David Pope (l-r) ~ Wicked Lit 2010: The Cask of Amontillado
Photo by Daniel Kitayama

This fundraiser will feature a silent auction, cash bar and bites, Wicked Lit book sales and signings by playwrights, and intimate performances of excerpts from classic Wicked Lit plays throughout the mausoleum!

The emphasis of the night will be on the plays, the actors, and the space and less on tech and effects. All purchases go to support our 501c3 nonprofit, our artists, and our Pasadena-based education program.

Production A and Production B will each run 50 minutes.
Each has four start times over the course of the night:
6:30, 7:30, 9:00 and 10:00pm.

The overall fundraiser event (silent auction, book signings, etc.)
runs 6:00 – 11:00pm.

Brian David Pope, Richard Large, Eric Keitel & Tory N. Thompson (l-r) ~ Wicked Lit 2013: The Lurking Fear
Photo by Daniel Kitayama
Production A will include scenes from:
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Lurking Fear
Las Lloronas
The Ebony Frame
Get Tickets ~ Production A
Production B will include scenes from:
The Damned Thing
The Monkey’s Paw
The Cask of Amontillado
The Body Snatcher
Get Tickets ~ Production B
Note: Admission to Production A and Production B must be purchased separately at different entrance times.

Mountain View Mausoleum
2300 N. Marengo Dr.
Altadena CA 91001

Enter from the north side of the property on Alameda St.
Park on Alameda St. or Marengo Ave.

P.S. – Don’t forget to pre-order your Wicked Lit books when you get your tickets! They’ll be waiting for you at check-in, and you can get them signed by the playwrights at the event.

PR: Wicked Lit: The Chimes and the Corpse

Wicked Lit: The Chimes & The Corpse
Tickets on Sale now!

Eric Keitel, Ian Heath & John T. Cogan (l-r) ~ Wicked Lit 2017: The Damned Thing
Photo by Daniel Kitayama

October 4 – November 10

Mountain View Mausoleum
2300 N. Marengo Ave.
Altadena CA 91001

Teig O’Kane and the Corpse – World Premiere
by Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm
Directed by Paul Millet
Adapted from the short story by Ernest Rhys, translated by Dr. Douglas HydeTeig is a brazen young Irishman who refuses to commit to adulthood. Now that he’s found himself magically bound to an animated corpse… it’s time to grow up quick.The Chimes: A Goblin Story – New Production
by Jonathan Josephson
Directed by Darin Anthony
Adapted from the novella of the same name by Charles Dickens

“There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.”
– Charles Dickens.
The Chimes tells the story of a conflicted father and the goblins
that bring him to the brink of death and back again.

There are several exciting new changes for this year’s show, including:
– Two curtain times: 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
– 75 minute total run time
– Lower ticket prices
– Smaller group sizes
– Entire performance and lobby will be indoors
– No pre-show performances, but there will be an interactive “museum” exhibit featuring past Wicked Lit costumes, puppets, and photo opportunities

PR: Wicked Lit

Experience the next generation of immersive horror:
FIRST STAB II: WICKED LIT – July 14-15, Pasadena Central Library

Staged readings of five new stage plays, adapted from classic literature for the Halloween season

Unbound Productions (Jonathan Josephson, Executive Director and Paul Millet, Artistic Director) are thrilled to announce the lineup for the company’s second annual new play development reading series, First Stab.  The series features two afternoons of free script-in-hand play readings at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium inside the Pasadena Central Library: 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91101. Reservations are encouraged, past readings have sold out.

We’re very excited to announce the lineup for First Stab Festival II: Wicked Lit (Free Admission)!

RESERVE TICKETS: https://goo.gl/VbUJfM
Admission is free but RSVPs are highly encouraged.

Wicked Lit photos: http://unboundproductions.org/photos/

FIRST STAB II: WICKED LIT

Saturday, July 14 at 3:00 p.m.

Daphne du Maurier’s “Kiss Me Again, Stranger”
adapted by Jena Hunt
directed by Alison Bibicoff

Gaston Leroux’s “Le Fantôm de l’opéra”
adapted by Joe Camareno
directed by James Castle Stevens

Sunday, July 15 at 3:00 p.m.

“This Hungry Churchyard”
inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
by Jonathan Josephson
directed by Sebastian Munoz

“The Unholy Sisters”
inspired by “The Malleus Maleficarum” by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger
by Susannah Myvold
directed by Darin Anthony

Edith Nesbit’s “The Power of Darkness”
adapted by Diana Woody
directed by Richard Large

All plays were initially submitted or commissioned by Unbound Productions Each afternoon of readings will run roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes.

NOTE: plays may contain adult content. Recommended for ages 13+. Email jonathan@wickedlit.org for details.

Ample free parking on site, please read all posted signs.

These plays were selected form a pool of wonderfully talented playwrights and directors through a comprehensive internal process. Participating playwrights include Brenda Varda, Tosca Minotto, Joe Camareno, David Charles, Diana Woody, Benjamin Scuglia, Jena Hunt, Susannah Myrvold, and Jonathan Josephson. Participating directors include Aurora Culver, Julie Ouelette, Liz Lanier, James Castle Stevens, Paul Millet, Sebastian Munoz Richard Large, Debbie McMahon, Darin Anthony, and Allison Bibicoff.

For more information visit unboundproductions.org

EVENT SUMMARY:


FIRST STAB II: WICKED LIT

Saturday, July 14 at 3:00 p.m.

Daphne du Maurier’s “Kiss Me Again, Stranger”

Gaston Leroux’s “Le Fantôm de l’opéra”

Sunday, July 15 at 3:00 p.m.

“This Hungry Churchyard, ” inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
“The Unholy Sisters,”inspired by “The Malleus Maleficarum” by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger
Edith Nesbit’s “The Power of Darkness”
RESERVE TICKETS: https://goo.gl/VbUJfM
Admission is free but RSVPs are highly encouraged.


Donald R. Wright Auditorium

Pasadena Central Library
285 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91104
For more information visit unboundproductions.org

WWW Challenge Story #5: Merry Go When

Merry Go When by Tonia Brown
Beast: Horse… (Any equine incarnation)
Location: Kentucky
Blessing: Time Displacement Device
Curse: Chrononaut’s Ague

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

Merry Go When

By Tonia Brown

 

Father had the carousel brought in special, all the way from Germany. The purchase was the result of a successful auction, in which he claimed to have outbid at least one hundred other buyers from all over the world. Why he wanted the thing was quite beyond me. My father wasn’t normally given to such childish proclivity, which made the purchase seem all the more out of place. Thankfully, he hid the thing in the garden behind our Kentucky home, where one had to travel down the field and past a small copse of trees in order to find it.

A few days after he had it in place, I inquired about the carousel’s state of being, to which my father sharply assured me it was none of my concern and commanded me not to revisit the matter. He surprised me with his gruff tone and unexpected anger. I hadn’t heard him use such a voice since mother left him for a much younger man.

Father never quite recovered from her abandonment.

The night after his outburst, I awoke to sudden movements just outside our quiet home. I stepped to the window, pulling aside the curtain and peering into the moonlit yard beyond, where a strange sight greeted me. The shadowy form of my father making his way to the garden in the middle of the night.

At first I thought he had taken to somnambulism, and I decided to go after him. I caught up with him just before he reached the carousel and I called out his name. My father turned to me with his mouth agape, as if shocked by my intrusion. This softened into a look of uneasy embarrassment. I demanded to know what was going on. With an unusual candor, he took my hand in his own and explained that the carousel was special. It was said to possess certain rejuvenating powers. That according to legend, the machine acted as a kind of time displacement device, removing years off of one’s life, and restoring the rider to an unbelievable degree of youth. He called it a blessing. A gift from God.

I couldn’t believe what my father was driving at. He was so desperate to be young again, he had fallen for a childish fairy tale. Some outlandish occult legend. To make matters worse, I knew it was all in an attempt to win back my mother’s heart. I begged my father to leave off this odd behavior and return with me to the house at once. He grew angry at me, pushed me aside and stormed off toward the carousel, hell bent on proving his words.

Even by moonlight, the machine was a breathtaking work of art. A large affair, at least thirty feet across, the carousel consisted of an intricately woven pattern of wrought iron, wood and brass. To the left of the entry ramp there extended an arm from the base of the thing, reaching away from the platform then doubling back once more toward the carousel proper; a delivery system equipped with brass rings, ready for the grasping. There were thirteen horses in all, each as large as a real stallion, and each bound by a post that ran the length from the roof to the floor, spearing each animal through their back.

I spied my father inside of the inner ring, manning the console. At his attention, the carousel sprang to life and light. The horses set into an up and down motion as the platform began a slow and steady rotation. This movement was accompanied by a cheery calliope played by an organ hidden somewhere about the mechanism.

My father stepped onto the moving stage, mounted one of the rising and falling steeds, and settled into place. Though he did so with the same aloof severity he reserved for business matters and other affairs of import. He didn’t smile, didn’t speak, didn’t seem to enjoy himself at all. He just held onto the steed and remained silent, as if concentrating on something other than the experience of the ride.

As the carousel turned, the platform spun faster and faster, and I began to grow concerned about my father’s safety. The music rose in pitch, to match the quicker rotations, driving into a wild orgy of wheezes and strained notes. And the horses … I know how this sounds, but the horses came alive! Their nostrils flared and steamed, heavy with breath. They kicked out, bucking against their poles, chomping at their bits and tossing their feral heads. Without warning, my father reached out and in a blur of motion, snatched one of the brass rings from the holder near the ramp.

At this the music lifted into a single, high pitched note, screaming into the wild night. The horses changed with this shriek, melting into nightmarish black steeds, each with matching crimson eyes, gnashing fangs and whipping forked tongues. They roared out, as one, in a single identical note as loud and chilling as the screaming music. I was filled with an utter dread for my father’s life, one that said should those beasts break free from this carousel, the town below our home would suffer in the most horrid of ways.

As the unnatural horses howled and bucked, the carousel’s lights grew to a blinding degree, and I had to shield my eyes.

When I was able to look again, the light dimmed and faded, and the carousel slowed to an eventual halt. The horses were normal once more, both stationary and plain. There was no sign of my father. I called out his name and searched about, worried that he had been flung from his demonic mount in the frenzy of the ride. Instead of my father’s voice, I heard the low croaking growl of something inhuman. I froze in place, worried some wild animal had been attracted by father’s carousel, and was now poised to attack.

In the thin moonlight, a creature emerged from behind the very horse my father had chosen as his mount. It crouched, at almost half my height, and was covered in a dark, leathery skin. Its mouth was stuffed with twisted, yellowing fangs, and nearly bisected its face with an abnormal width. The unholy thing clambered up to squat on the horse, looking out over the garden with wide glassy eyes that rested upon the top of its head. It grabbed at the air with wretched webbed paws and let out another soft, weird croak.

I screamed. I couldn’t help it.

Of course once I did, the thing whipped about to face me, that large, fang filled mouth snapping closed with a resounding click. It then lunged for me, leaping down from the carousel horse and almost atop me. It reached out for me, clawing the emptiness between us. I backed up a few nervous steps then took off in a run, heading for the safety of the house. Thankfully, the beast was slow, hopping in stunted bursts as if it had forgotten how to move its own webbed feet. Once I reached the house, I locked and barred the door, and headed immediately for father’s study, seeking father’s elephant gun—the single weapon he held onto from his younger, more adventurous days.

The beast was not far behind me, and began to scratch and beat on the front door. I loaded father’s gun, returned to the foyer, took aim for the front door, and fired. The door splintered into fragments as the shot tore the wood apart. With the blast of the weapon, the clawing and banging ceased. I switched on the electric porch light and stepped up, peering beyond the ruined wood to find my prey in a slump at bottom step. I reloaded the gun and, holding it before me, I stepped through the ruined door and made my way down the stairs, intending to finish the beast once and for all.

As I approached the creature, it gave a pained croak and flopped onto its back. With the added illumination of the porch light burning behind us, I was able to see the creature’s eyes more clearly. I gazed into those oversized orbs when a strange sensation befell me. I clearly recognized the beast’s eyes as my own kin. But how? Answer my silent question, the beast relaxed a webbed hand, and from it rolled a brass ring, spinning across the pavement between us until it came to rest at my feet.

It was then I understood what had happened.

Father was wrong. The carousel wasn’t a blessing. The machine, this time displacement device, did exactly as the legends proposed it would. It had displaced time from my father, only, it took too much. An unbelievable degree of youth, indeed! He thought he would step off the carousel a young man, but instead, in some kind of weird time traveling side effect, a type of crononaut’s ague, he came back a de-evolved monster.

A monster I had just slain.

With tear filled eyes, I lowered myself to his side, cradled my dying father’s head in my lap, and held him to me as he shuddered and exhaled his last breath.

************************
To vote for this story in the 2014 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: July 28th, 2014

WWW Challenge Story #4: What Happens In Vegas

What Happens In Vegas by Lindsey Goddard
Beast: Rabbit
Location: Magic Act in Vegas
Blessing: Mirrors
Curse: Jealous Magician gone MAD!!!

 

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

What Happens In Vegas

Lindsey Beth Goddard

Vivica tapped her six inch stilettos on the floor and waited for her cue to enter stage left. Her chest heaved in her sequin push-up top, and she fanned herself with both hands. Calm down, she thought, before your eyeliner runs and you turn into the world’s sexiest raccoon.

 

Stage fright was something Vivica had never experienced. She always said her nerves were stronger than steel; they were titanium. But you shouldn’t have done it. It’s a dirty trick, and it’s going to blow up in your face.

 

She watched Harvey on stage as a Burmese python slithered up the sleeve of his tux. It reappeared, center stage, in a cloud of confetti and smoke, and the crowd cheered. Vivica frowned as Harvey’s words from last night replayed in her mind. She remembered the way he had scowled at her, had moved so close to her face that she could feel his drunken body heat. “If I catch you flirting with another man again,” he had hissed through fetid whiskey breath, “I’ll feed that goddamn rabbit of yours to the snake.”

 

He smiled on stage. He turned to the crowd with a dramatic sweep of his arms. “For the next bit of madness, I’ll need some assistance,” he bellowed. “She’s hypnotic. She’s erotic. She’s not afraid of the blade! Please welcome… Ms. Vivica.”

 

Vivica entered the spotlight with a seductive swagger. She stepped over to a large wooden structure. It was circular, painted red and white like a huge target. She pressed her back against the wood. Harvey tightened her restraints.

 

He stepped back, took aim, and within seconds knives whizzed through the air, stabbing an outline of her body in the wood. Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk. A blade struck the board mere inches from her face. She gritted her teeth. I’m getting too old for this.

 

The show dragged on and on, until finally the moment arrived. The hat trick. Harvey loved his tired old hat trick. “An homage to the ancestors of magic”, he called it.

 

There was a secret compartment in the table below his hat. That’s where Abra Cadabra was supposed to be waiting. Sweet, fluffy little Abra Cadabra, the bunny Harvey had threatened to kill just one night before. Vivica smirked.

 

He plunged his hand into the hat and felt around for the rabbit. He froze. A look somewhere between pain and horror crossed his features. His eyes grew wide, and he let out a scream so loud that it made Vivica cringe. He writhed and tried to pull away, but something yanked his arm deeper.

 

Vivica knew the rabbit would bite. That was the whole point of the prank—to startle Harvey, to deliver a blow to his pride in front of a huge audience. But this? Something wasn’t right. Harvey was in too much pain.

 

He freed his hand from the hole, and the fat, hideous rabbit dangled there, its yellow teeth buried deep between his knuckles. Blood and foamy saliva moistened its face. The hat was stuck between Harvey’s elbow and the frothing little beast. It made it difficult for him to get a good view of his predator.

 

But Vivica could see it. She gulped. What exactly was she seeing?

 

Triple the size of Abra, this rabbit’s beady red eyes were slanted, its hackles raised. Its sharp claws sliced the air. Harvey gripped its plump body with his free hand and attempted to squeeze the life out of the critter as it mangled his knuckles, whipping its mangy head back and forth.

 

It opened its bloody maw and chomped down, severing fingers. Blood squirted from the amputated digits. The theater filled with screams. It spat the fingers out and lunged forward, ripping into Harvey’s arm. Tears of pain welled in his eyes. Blood coated his shirt.

 

He reared back and flung the rabbit to the floor. It growled, exposing a mouth full of fangs. It hopped over to him and used its claws to scurry up the fabric of his pants. He tried desperately to kick it off, doing a one-legged dance with his mutilated hand tucked under his armpit. It scrambled across his chest. Its face hovered just over the pulse at his jugular.

 

Vivica ran to him. A scream of agony echoed through the sound system from a nearby microphone as the creature tore into his neck. He fell to his knees, ripping the little monster from his throat with both hands as crimson gore soaked its fur. Harvey’s fingers went limp and he dropped it.

 

Vivica’s shadow fell over the rabbit. It glared at her, yellow teeth bared. She lifted a slender leg and stomped down with all her might, driving the thin metal of her stiletto heel through the top of the rabbit’s skull with a wet crunch. The rabbit’s paws twitched as she removed the metallic heel from its brain. With one last feeble kick, it stopped moving.

 

She dropped to the floor beside Harvey. Blood spilled from his neck. It soaked her knees and pooled around them as memories of last night washed over her. The strange man’s words… “I have the perfect rabbit for you,” he had said. His eyes shined like obsidian in the dim track lighting of the hotel bar. “An extremely rare breed. One that will teach old Harvey a lesson.”

 

“I’m sorry. I’m not following. W-what do you mean?”

 

His teeth seemed too large when he smiled. “He deserves a little payback, don’t you think?”

 

“For… for what?”

 

“For what? Why, for threatening to feed your pet rabbit to his snake. And in public. I imagine he’s even worse when you two are alone.”

 

She had nodded. He’d certainly hit the nail on the head there. She felt odd opening up to a stranger this way, but she nodded all the same.

 

Harvey had embarrassed her, that was true. This was a business meeting, nothing more. The man she sat with at the lobby bar was a dealer of rare animals. Vivica had been hoping to retire Abra Cadabra and introduce a more exotic rabbit to the act.

 

But Harvey had come through the hotel and spotted them at the bar together. He’d made a scene, made accusations. As if she were the unfaithful one! Ha! She knew about Harvey’s indiscretions in the matters of monogamy. Still, he always found a way to point the finger at her.

 

“I’ve got a rabbit that is very different from the rest.” He flashed that peculiar smile again, all tooth and no lip. “She’s a biter. Positively vicious.You won’t need to handle her, of course. I’ll take care of everything.” He winked. “Just imagine, if you will, the great and powerful Harvey, humiliated by a rabbit!”

 

Why had she agreed to such a reckless prank? The memory pained her now.

 

The spotlights dimmed as crew members trickled out from backstage. The audience fell silent.  Harvey’s body convulsed against the floor. His eyes rolled back in his head.

 

The color drained from Harvey’s face, and his movements slowed to a stop. One last, shaky breath left his lungs. And then, Harvey started to change…

 

Thick fur sprouted from his skin. It covered his neck, his cheeks, his nose—every part of him. His missing fingers grew back. Then all ten digits fused together into a disturbing human-like paw. Curved claws grew from the tips. His ears grew, too, rising up from his head, and he rolled to the side, coughing, sprinkling the floor with human teeth. Saliva glistened on his freshly grown fangs.

 

She scrambled back and rose to her feet just as Harvey sprang to his. Well, it was really more of a hop than anything. He tracked her with his beady red eyes. His still-human lips curled into a sneer beneath thick fur, and she could see the sharp points of his teeth.

 

She removed her high heels and prepared to run. He lunged at her, but she managed to sidestep him and bolt in the other direction.

 

Her bare feet slid in a river of blood. Blood from when Harvey had died. Time seemed to slow down as she fell, and all she could think was: He did die. I saw it with my own eyes. He did. The Harvey I know is long gone.

 

She hit the ground, flipped over, saw him closing in.

 

Beside her was a table with a mirror affixed to the front. On any other night, the mirror was just another prop used for an optical illusion. But tonight, it was a godsend.

 

She tightened her grip on the stiletto shoe in her hand and smashed the metal heel into the glass—once, twice, three times. It shattered. She selected a long, jagged piece, squeezing it so hard that it sliced into her palm. Blood trickled down her wrist as he fell onto her, straddled her, opened his mouth wide, ready to rip her throat out.

 

She stabbed the piece of glass into the side of his head directly below his giant ears. It sliced into his temple. Blood rained down on her face. The glass maimed her hand, but she kept on pushing, driving the shard deeper and deeper into his head, until his clawed paws loosened their grip and Harvey’s mutated body slumped to the side.

 

She crawled away from the monster that had once been Harvey. Trembling and hysterical, she cried on stage before an audience of horrified faces. And in that sea of faces, for the briefest of moments, she could swear she glimpsed a familiar one. His eyes so dark they glimmered black. A toothy grin, too big for his head. She was certain he’d been there… smiling.

 ************************
To vote for this story in the 2014 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: July 28th, 2014

WWW Challenge Story #3: The Gray Girl

The Gray Girl by Stephanie Lenz
Beast: Goat
Location: Mardi Gras
Blessing: Gris-gris
Curse: Your cocktail has been spiked with a voodoo potion!

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

“The Gray Girl”

Stephanie Lenz

 Mardi Gras, 1981

Since her mother’s disappearance, Maia had been drawn to the old St Louis cemetery. Mardi Gras made people careless so she had hope. Locked again but at its base, just inside the gate, she found a palm-sized rag doll. It smelled of lavender and she hugged it to her face. Attached to its dress was a note with words Maia couldn’t read.

Inside, a yellowish curtain of light seemed to cut the cemetery in half. A woman walking through the graveyard caught Maia’s eye. Not a ghost. Maia couldn’t see ghosts. Just people and their colors. She was as real as Maia herself and she glowed faint violet. The woman smiled, took three steps, and disappeared into the light.

In the morning, Maia found a woman sweeping beads, paper, and broken glass into Bourbon Street. She held up the doll and asked for help. The woman fingered the note, then wrapped an arm around the child and invited her inside. She made Maia a sweet cherry-almond drink that drew the damp from her bones, then made a telephone call that began, “Queen, I have a kid for you.” She smiled and draped cheap purple beads around Maia’s neck, adding, “Hold tight to that gris-gris, girl.”

“Gray girl?” Maia pulled at a goat’s hair poking through the fabric.

August 2005

The child had been curled in the corner of Queen Clémence’s shop since Giles had brought her the day before. No magic, real or imagined, could get her to speak, move, or take a sip of water.

“I can’t leave the Quarter,” Maia said, sipping a beer and leaning on the register counter, her bronzed arms glistening with sweat and work.

“Maia, it’s mandatory this time.”

“And the police,” she replied, pointing at his badge, “are trying to turn me into a babysitter. That is not what I do.”

He leaned forward. “I know what you do. That’s why I brought her here.”

Maia looked down toward the girl, barefoot with the dampness of the Ninth Ward still up to the knees of her pants. “What color was that man? The policeman who just left. Not his skin. His other color.”

The little girl allowed her eyes to meet Maia’s. “Purple.”

“I thought he was more of a pinkish-purple.”

The child unfolded and curled her legs alongside her body like a mermaid’s tail.

“He told me your name is Espie.”

“You’re purple too.”

Maia held up a finger, then opened the purse with the strap that she wore across her chest. Removing the doll, she asked, “Do you know what this is?”

The little girl’s eyes opened wide. “My dolls are all at home. Under the water. With my grandmamma.”

“Have you ever made a gris-gris?”

“Grandmamma says voodoo comes from the devil.”

Maia offered her hand as Espie stood. “Did she show you how to keep him away?”

Mardi Gras, 2014

“Goat Herder, wasn’t it?”

“You remembered.” She accepted the cocktail Hunt delivered to her, jostled by tourists spilling beer on her emerald green Tulane t-shirt.

He watched as she drank. “My, my, Maia. We never thought we’d get you.”

The potion he’d mixed into her cocktail rushed under Maia’s skin. Her protections, her memories, her training, as impossible to grasp as handfuls of water. His aura dissolved from pink to dusty orange.

She spotted this year’s kid on the other side of the club, his gris-gris bag knotted through a belt loop, as he sipped beer from a plastic gold cup. He’d gone from red to purple, the strongest aura Maia could sense. Hunt couldn’t see him. She’d done her job.

“Clémence’s hand-raised kid. Savior of the goats without horns.” Hunt ran his hands over her shivering flesh. He kissed her neck and whispered. “I’ll drain your mind before I’ll drain your blood. The meat,” he said with a squeeze, “is least of what I want. I might spare your precious Quarter for the year if you give yourself – all of yourself – to me, ma biche.”

As he spoke, Maia’s fingers searched her purse for her own red satin bag filled with herbs, cemetery dirt, and goat hair. She found it. He couldn’t see her or feel her but it was only temporary magic, a few minutes at best. She ran toward Basin Street, darting through the crowds to St. Louis #1.

As the night’s last tour group filtered past, carelessly dropping bits of stolen brick, Maia slipped through the gates, clutching the gris-gris with both hands over her pounding heart. The darkness rose like water.

“Voilà,” Hunt’s voice echoed off the marble and brick. “Maia Gray, Protector of Goats.”

Maia positioned herself carefully. The old border of the Vieux Carré ran right through St. Louis #1, soft, yellow, and pulsing. She took a step backward. The other colors of her world faded into gray.

Hunt picked plaster from a whitewashed tomb. “I have a lot to repay you for. Twenty-five years of hornless goats we didn’t get, plus that kid you kept as a souvenir from the Feast of Katrina. We’re hungry and we’re inviting you to the table, ma biche.”

Another step backward. Her dark curls lifted in a low breeze.

He recognized what she was doing. “You made a vow, Protector. You can’t leave The Quarter.”

“You’re right. I’ll never leave it.”

“You knew. You knew what I was gonna do, didn’t you? How long have you known?”

“All eight years.”

He nodded. “You drank it of your own free will. You know who I am, what I want. There’s nothing to save you from me now. Nothing to save the Quarter. Nothing to save your precious ‘kids.’ Let me feast on your fear, Maia.”

She dropped the gris-gris.

His eyes followed it, then fell on her face. His expression changed. The shadows around him swirled and rose like smoke. “No fear. How are you unafraid? For yourself. For the Quart… Another Protector? Th-that’s impossible! Tell me!”

Au revoir.”

His scream caught in his throat as Maia took her final step backward and disappeared.

Hunt de Chèvre had promised he would deliver The Protector, that they would finally devour her – body and soul. Instead, they would starve. He waved a hand in front of the cemetery gates to open them. He didn’t see the orange sparks that flew from his hand.

The young woman sitting cross-legged on a low tomb did see. She’d always seen the colors. Grandmamma had told her it was a curse. Miss Maia showed her it was a blessing. Maia had also taught that those with this blessing were called by the Quarter to protect the innocent. Otherwise they – prey and Protector alike – would become “hornless goats,” sacrificed and consumed by de Chèvre and his followers. The final lesson had been how to dissolve into the Quarter if, by time or by trickery, your powers grew too weak to protect anyone, including yourself.

She carried two gris-gris in her bag: the one she’d made with Maia and the one Maia had given her. The Gray Girl, she’d called it.

Esperanza slid along Bourbon Street like sap over bark. She hooked a finger through a set of discarded purple throw beads, looped the beads around her neck, and let the Quarter lead its Protector into its heart.

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To vote for this story in the 2014 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: July 28th, 2014

WWW Challenge Story #2: An Appetite for Trouble

An Appetite For Trouble by Chantal Boudreau
Beast: Monkey
Location: A Jungle Temple
Blessing: Candy Bar
Curse: Cannibals!

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

An Appetite for Trouble

                When Doctor Toyin Katabe, professor of anthropology, had been preparing for a journey to examine a potential find in the jungles of East Africa, the association awarding her the research funding had insisted she not go alone.  It didn’t matter that she had originally come from that area and was familiar with the language and customs there.  It also didn’t matter that she had been studying ancient cannibalistic civilizations since completing her masters three decades before.  Despite the fact that she was perfectly healthy, far fitter than the average woman her age and stronger too, they had insisted she take a graduate student along with her, and preferably one who was both young and male.

While not surprised that the old-fashioned, old-money codgers who chaired the association had placed such foolish demands upon her, Doctor Katabe had still been insulted.  She had always been perfectly capable of taking care of herself while on these outings.  Extinct ancient tribes hardly posed a threat to the living.  Insects were a much bigger danger, so unless a grad student was intending to follow her around with a giant flyswatter, she didn’t need him for protection.

Besides, Toyin knew her away around a jungle and had a talent with handling wild animals.  She even owned a trained monkey, Bobo, as a pet.  More than a pet really – she considered Bobo a service animal because he could do things for her she couldn’t manage for herself.  He could scale heights or squeeze into tight spots to retrieve things for her, and he had a few other special tricks he could perform with the right incentive.  As far as she was concerned, he was better than any graduate student playing assistant.  And while she might welcome human companionship while searching for evidence of Neolithic cannibals in Europe or South America, she preferred to visit her home turf alone.

At least, this is how she had felt initially, before it had turned out that the extinct ancient tribe of cannibals hadn’t been quite so extinct after all.  Doctor Katabe and her six-foot-two twenty-something chaperone, Derek, had been searching through the aged evidence of ritualistic cannibalism – cannibalism similar to that of the Mangbetu tribe that had brought them to the Congo Basin in the first place – when they were ambushed.  The swarm of mostly-naked jungle natives that surrounded and seized them had painted faces and wore jewellery made from carved pieces of cranial bones.   It reminded Toyin of a scene out of an old adventure serial.

Derek had tried to fight but was quickly overcome.  Toyin had known better.  She would wait until the odds lay more in her favour.  That way, unlike Derek, she was conscious when they bound her arms.  She could bunch her muscles as much as possible to allow some slack when she relaxed them later.  It might provide her with the opportunity to escape when they were paying less attention.

Along with being taken by surprise and frightened by the cannibals aggressive swarming, Doctor Katabe also suffered the disappointment of watching Bobo scramble screaming into the jungle.  His loss was more grievous than watching Derek succumb to a well-placed blow to the head.  She had never counted on any real help from the grad student anyway.  He was there merely as a watchdog for the privileged old men who had funded her trip to prove to their cronies they supported education and the exploration of different cultures, like good gentleman should.  Bobo, on the other hand, was her right arm.  Without him, her chances of escape dropped to almost zero.

Now, captured and held in their secluded village, Doctor Katabe had to admit that taking Derek along had been worth it after all.  The cannibals had taken one look at his youthful form and brawn and decided to eat the grad student first.  In their place, Toyin likely would have made the same choice.  One look at her silvering hair, lean muscle and wrinkling dark skin, and she would have assumed such a person would make for a tough and stringy meal, like chewing old leather.

She had been forced to watch as Derek had begged for his life, the young man in tears as they had prepared him for decapitation with a well-balanced blade that resembled the Ngombe cult weapons.  Toyin didn’t see the point to grovelling.  If she ended up at a place past any hope of escape, she would accept her fate with dignity.  Why get upset when death was inevitable?

But she wasn’t there yet – she still had hope despite watching blood gush from the place where Derek’s severed head had once rested and his brawny form twitch in its death throes.  She had time too, the lost tribe still full after cooking and devouring her grad student.  She only prayed Bobo would make an appearance before it was her turn.  If he did, she might not end up serving as the second course.

Doctor Katabe was depending on Bobo to follow the tasty trail she had left him while on route to the secluded tribal village.  Knowing Bobo’s affinity for sweets, the anthropologist had secured a small bag of stuffed figs from a vendor outside her hotel, which she kept in her pocket as rewards for the monkey.  She also had a chocolate bar secured in her shirt flap, but that needed to be saved for emergencies only.  With her hands only loosely bound in front of her, she had managed to ease the figs one by one out of her pocket and drop them along the way.  As long as Bobo’s appetite for treats drove him forward, he would reach her eventually. Toyin was relying on that.

In the meantime, she had been worrying at the ties that bound her wrists and she was close to the point where she would be able to free her hand to use as she pleased.  She would need that free hand when Bobo arrived, in order to reach the chocolate bar in her possession.  Her fate would be decided in that one moment: would she be liberated or would she be lunch?  She certainly was aiming for the former rather than the latter.

Toyin had been pretending to sleep on the mat they had laid out for her, still struggling with her bonds, when she heard the first delightful signs of that Bobo had arrived, making curious little noises from the shelter of the trees.  His arrival happily coincided with the somewhat painful removal of one hand from the ties.  She smiled inwardly.  The cannibals had no idea she was about unleash her worst weapon upon them.

Unbeknownst to the cannibals, the anthropologist truly had trained her monkey to protect her with the right prompts and the right incentives.  Fortunately for Doctor Katabe, Bobo would do anything for chocolate, including attacking people upon her command.

“Chocolate, Bobo – chocolate,” she whispered, sliding the candy bar from her shirt flap.  It was squishy, melted from the heat, but the monkey wouldn’t care.  Toyin tore the oozy packaging in two, passing one to Bobo who had emerged from the shadows of the trees with his mistress’s tempting summons.  She returned the other half to its original location.  “You know what you need to do for the rest of it,” she told Bobo as he sucked the last of the brown, sugary sludge from his half of the wrapper.

The next few seconds that followed were pure chaos, when Bobo’s shrill shrieks attracted the cannibals.  Once they came into view, he set upon them as if rabid, leaping upon heads, scratching at faces and biting at ears, gouging at eyes and clawing at scalps.  Multiple attempts were made to grab at him, but he was more agile than those who sought to snatch him up. Soon cries of agony and blood from the rending of flesh added to the pandemonium.  Toyin took the opportunity to free her ankles from their ties, while her captors were fully distracted by Bobo’s rampage.  After a few hearty rubs to restore some feeling to her numb legs and feet, she lurched away from her mat and sprinted off into the jungle.

Her flight was hurried and haphazard, trying to put as much distance between her and the cannibal village before they noticed she was gone.  The adrenaline generated by the memory of what had happened to Derek kept her running long after she normally would have succumbed to fatigue.  When she finally did slide to a shaky stop, she had to count herself lucky for not tripping on some root or stone in her path, or impaling herself on some unfortunately-placed tree branch.  She could no longer hear Bobo’s enraged hoots or the cannibals’ shouts of distress.  Either they had managed to subdue him, drive him off, or Toyin had succeeded in running far enough that they were all now out of earshot.

She hoped Bobo had survived unscathed and had made his own escape.  If so, she would definitely see him again.  He would most certainly track her by scent, demanding the remains of his prize once he had found her.  Doctor Katabe, in the meantime, would rest as best she could until morning, when she would reorient herself using the rising sun and make her way back to base camp and then the hotel.  She had gathered more than enough data by that point to consider her venture into the Congo Basin a successful one.

Toyin realized, as she settled down into the greenery to relax under the moonlight, that her stomach was grumbling.  She hadn’t eaten in over a day, the cannibals having only provided her with water to drink.  For the briefest moment she contemplated devouring the second half of the gooey chocolate bar resting securely in her shirt flap.  She reminded herself that it would be far better not to, despite the temptation.  The melted candy would only dampen her hunger temporarily.  After the crash from the sugar high, she would feel far worse.

And then there was Bobo. If and when he returned to her, she could only imagine how he would react to the fact that she had robbed him of the other promised half of his reward.  His response to her would likely be more violent than his attack upon the cannibals.  Toyin didn’t want to risk that, not when her monkey had such an appetite for trouble.

With that in mind, she left the chocolate bar where it was. She’d rather not invite that kind of pain.

Closing her eyes, with the vague chance of sleep, Doctor Katabe prayed that no other denizens in the area would also decide she looked and smelled like lunch.  She had had enough of playing potential snack for a lifetime.

****************

To vote for this story in the 2014 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: July 28th, 2014

 

WWW Challenge Story #1: Photo Finish

Photo Finish by D.M. Slate
Beast: Dragon
Location: A Japanese Night Club
Blessing: Hairspray
Curse: Hallucinations

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

 

Photo Finish

By D.M. Slate

Liza steps out of the cab, closing the door behind her.  She shields her eyes from the sun, looking up at the sky scrapers that line both sides of the busy street.  The over-cluttering of Japan’s rich, vibrant colored signs makes her smile.

Tossing her silky blonde locks over her shoulder, Liza straightens her shirt and heads for the front doors.  Her photo shoot today is on the top floor – at the White Serpent night club.  She enters the elevator, taking a deep breath as it begins to move.  Today is Liza’s first time working with Chuu, the photographer, and her stomach jitters with nervousness.  Being a petite blonde American has made modeling work easy to find in Japan, but learning the language has been a much harder task.

The elevator comes to a stop, and as the doors open Liza’s breathe catches in her throat.  The White Serpent’s décor is stunning.  Glowing chandeliers of red, blue and purple dangle from the ceiling, accenting the sleek white chairs, booths and couches that line the hard-wood floor.  A massive sculpture of a white dragon slithers around the chandeliers from one corner of the night club to the other.  To the south, a wall of windows provides a penthouse view of the bustling city below.

A man steps out from behind the bar and the movement catches her eye.  She hadn’t seen him standing there, silently observing her.  She smiles, raising a hand in a typical American greeting, before catching herself in mid-motion.  Pulling the hand down, she gives a proper bow, instead.

Chuu approaches, speaking a mouthful of words that Liza can’t decipher.  She’s taken aback by his appearance.  Dressed in noting but black, his tall slender form seems to float across the floor toward her.  His goth-like attire is complete with a sliver-link chain that hangs around his neck, and a head full of spikey black hair.  When he comes to a stop next to her, Liza notices the eye liner that accentuates his almond shaped eyes.

Agitated with her lack of verbal response, he sneers at her.  She rattles off the only greeting she knows in Japanese, which does little to win Chuu’s approval.  He spins on the heel of his boot, walking away.  Liza timidly scurries after him.  The photographer retrieves an outfit off of the bar and hands it to her, pointing her in the direction of the women’s restroom.

Once inside the bathroom, Liza lets out a deep breath, trying to calm herself.  Scoffing at the clothes, Liza shakes her head as she changes into the skimpy pleather outfit.  A cross between animee design and sexy-school girl attire – the mid-drift top, short skirt and knee-high socks seem to be essential items in most of her Japanese shoots.  And today, a pair of six-inch spiked heels completes the outlandish outfit.

Liza gives the shoes a trial run in the bathroom, terrified to trip and fall in front of Chuu.  Satisfied that she’s stable enough on them, she stuffs her clothes down into her massive purse and slings the bag over her shoulder.  Taking one last glance in the mirror, Liza digs down into the purse retrieving a bottle of hairspray.  Giving her hair a final spritz, she drops the bottle back into her bag and exits the restroom.

The club has taken on a new life and her eyes sparkle with wonderment.  Fog machines pump thick plumes of smoke out from the ceiling, filling the room in cloud of white.  A fan blows lightly against a wall of various colored silks, and the materials dances in the breeze.

The lighting equipment for the photo shoot is set up next to the silk wall, so Liza saunters in that direction, looking around for Chuu.

She gasps in surprise when he steps out from behind a pillar wearing a red dragon mask.  Covering his entire head, the large dragon-shaped mask seems unproportionate to his thin body, and Liza wonders how he’s able to bear its weight.  Seemingly unaffected by the mask, Chuu points toward the couch by the silk wall.  Liza approaches it, leaning lightly on the arm of the couch in one of her typical model poses.  Chuu begins to snap photos, holding the camera up to the eye piece of the dragon mask.  The lamps pop with a flash of light with each photo that is taken.

Ignoring the strangeness of the situation, Liza concentrates on posing for the photos.  Feeling light-headed and dizzy, she leans her full weight onto the couch.  The camera continues to click, and the lights continue to flash brightly before her eyes.  The bulbs seem to stay illuminated longer now, and Liza finds herself staring at the lamps, drawn to them.  Her mind is wandering, and before long, she forgets why she’s even at the nightclub.  Looking down at clothing her mind spins in confusion.

With each inhale of the drugged fog, Liza slips further and further from consciousness.  Chuu places the camera on a tripod, setting it on auto-click.  He disappears into the cloud of smoke and the camera continues snap photos.  By the time he returns, Liza has slumped to a seated position on the couch, staring blankly ahead in a drugged stupor.

Her eyes follow the movement of his large butterfly blades as he swings them from side to side.  The twelve inch knives are curved – slender at the bottom, wide at the end – and he holds one in each hand.  Fog dissipates and swirls around his crimson dragon mask as he slices the daggers through the air.  Liza’s transfixed, unable to look away.  With each swing of the blades her eyes hallucinate.  Tracers following the curving arches of the knives transform into fluttering wings on the sides of this red dragon beast.

Liza’s brain never processes danger, until the first slice tears through her flesh.  The razor-thin dagger bites into her pale white skin, gouging a deep cut into her thigh.  Blood sprays through the air, and the butterfly blades continue to swing.

Scrambling away from the monster, screaming, Liza sprints toward the elevator.  The spike of her heel tilts to the side, twisting her fragile ankle.  She crumbles to the floor, crawling on her hands and knees, trying to escape.  Another swing of the knife slices her lower back, sending her flailing to the floor.  Liza’s hand snags the strap of her purse, and her fingers clamp down around it.  She pulls the bag toward her, reaching for her phone.

The fatal slash of the blade penetrates the back of Liza’s neck, severing her spinal cord.  Gasping for breath, her brain slowly begins to misfire.

Chuu reaches down grabbing Liza by her feet, pulling her body back across the floor.  Reaching the couch, her rolls her onto her back, looking down into her dying eyes.  Picking her slender body up with ease, Chuu places her on the couch, in a sitting position.  Blood pours from the back of her neck, cascading over her shoulders and trickling down the front of her body.

The red dragon yanks the purse from Liza’s death-grip, not wanting it to tarnish his perfect photo shoot.  The camera continues to snap on auto, click, click, click. Chuu marvels at the perfection of the scene he’s created.

He tosses Liza’s purse carelessly aside.  The hairspray bottle rolls slowly out of the bag into the fog, but Chuu doesn’t notice.  Brandishing a blade in each hand, he swings the butterfly knives again, triumphantly.

Side-stepping out of the camera’s frame, Chuu’s foot lands awkwardly on the hairspray bottle.  Thrown off balance, his arms flail through the air as he trips, and falls.  The razor-sharp blade pierces the soft flesh of his lower back, skewering his internal organs, before exiting his stomach.

Impaled on his own blade, Chuu struggles to breath.  The mask falls from his head and his wide, dying eyes stare up into the fog.  Blood trickles from the corner of his mouth with every laborious exhale.

All the while the camera continues to snap on auto, click, click, click to capture the glorious photo finish.

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To vote for this story in the 2014 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: July 28th, 2014

Wicked Women Writers Challenge 2014

www9801202014 Wicked Women Writer Challenge – 

Welcome to the 6th annual Wicked Women Writers Challenge
Hosted by HorrorAddicts.net

The audio for these stories will post by Saturday June 28th. The text versions will run June 29th-July 3rd. Subscribe to this blog so we can alert you with they post.

Beauty and

the Beast

WWW2014promo

Premise: There is something both fearsome and attractive in a wild thing, be it man or beast. From creature legends told around ancient campfires, to modern tales of King Kong and cryptozoology, critters have always captured our darkest imagination. Five finalists have created stories based on this premise and with challenges that were randomly selected. Each challenger received: 1. Location 2. Blessing – Helpful Item 3. Curse – An untimely disability 4. Beast

Your task as a listener is to listen to each story (or read it on the blog) and then vote for who you think is the Most Wicked for 2014 by sending an email to: HorrorAddicts@gmail.com

In your email please include the challenger’s name or story tile and why you liked it best. One lucky voter will win a  HorrorAddicts.net prize pack!

Challengers

DM Slate

Photo Finish by D.M. Slate
Beast: Dragon
Location: A Japanese Night Club
Blessing: Hairspray
Curse: Hallucinations

Danyelle (aka D.M. Slate) resides in Colorado. She attended college at the University of Northern Colorado and completed a business degree, and now works as a financial analyst. She’s married to her high school sweet-heart, and together they have a young daughter and son. To find out more, go to http://www.dm-slate.com

ChantalAn Appetite For Trouble by Chantal Boudreau
Beast: Monkey
Location: A Jungle Temple
Blessing: Candy Bar
Curse: Cannibals!

Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies, online journals and magazines. Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by its sequels, Elevation, Transcendence and Providence. Magic University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by Casualties of War in 2012 and Prisoners of Fate, in 2013. Find out more at: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

stephanieThe Grey Girl by Stephanie Lenz
Beast: Goat
Location: Mardi Gras
Blessing: Gris-gris
Curse: Your cocktail has been spiked with a voodoo potion!

Stephanie Lenz writes mainstream and genre fiction in western Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband, daughter, son, cat, and two dogs. She has a degree in creative writing from Florida State and edits Toasted Cheese, where she created and co-judges the annual “Dead of Winter” horror contest. Some of her southern gothic fiction has appeared in Quantum Muse, The Journal of the Blue Planet, and the anthology Harlan County Horrors. Find out more at: piggyhawk.net

LindseyGoddardWhat Happens In Vegas by Lindsey Goddard
Beast: Rabbit
Location: Magic Act in Vegas
Blessing: Mirrors
Curse: Jealous Magician gone MAD!!!

Lindsey Beth Goddard’s stories have appeared in anthologies such as Mistresses Of The Macabre, Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror, Axes Of Evil, and Bleed. She lives in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO. When she’s not writing, she enjoys interviewing fellow authors, playing with her children, and plotting ways to take over the world. www.lindseybethgoddard.com

ToniaBrownMerry Go When by Tonia Brown
Beast: Horse… (Any equine incarnation)
Location: Kentucky
Blessing: Time Displacement Device
Curse: Chrononaut’s Ague

Tonia Brown is a Southern author with a penchant for Victorian dead things. She writes in many genres from horror to humor to erotica to steampunk. When not writing she raises unicorns and fights crime with her husband under the code names Dr. Weird and his sexy sidekick Butternut. To find out more, go to: http://thebackseatwriter.blogspot.com/

Good Luck

Ladies!

Wicked Women Writers Challenge 2014

Beauty & the Beast Wicked Women Writers Challenge 2014

Who Will It Be?  2014 Most Wicked

2014 Theme: Beauty & the Beast

Premise: There is something both fearsome and attractive in a wild thing, be it man or beast. From creature legends told around ancient campfires, to modern tales of King Kong and crypto zoology, critters have always captured our darkest imagination. Get your Beast on.

Challenge: Create a 10 minute horror podcast that contains four story elements, plus your written story. Registration closes 4-13-14. Audio and text are due on 5-13-14.

Story Elements: Each of our Wicked Belles will be assigned a location, a blessing, a curse … and a Beast. Your story must include a lady in peril and these four elements:

Location:  Anywhere in the world is fair game. A private zoo? A Japanese Nightclub? Kindergarten Show ‘N’ Tell? You are the game. We’ll give you the board.

Blessing:  A helpful item to tame the danger in your tale. We couldn’t have you stalked by a Werewolf without at least giving you a silver locket to melt down. Use your item wisely, Wicked. Even a trivial thing can save your life.

Curse:  An untimely disability. You can’t skip through this one without feeling a bite of a fang on your ass. The Norns can be quite evil with this element.

Beast:  Beasts will be drawn from the 12 animal signs of the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, or Pig. The Beast may be a main character in your story, or may be represented in other creative ways… a tattoo? An advertising logo? A supernatural brute? Freak of nature? You name it, as long as you include it. Any genre of horror is welcome, but this ain’t Lassie, my Wickeds. Not unless she rips out your throat!

Dates to Remember:
Contest Opens –  March 4, 2014
Registration Closes – April 13, 2014
Audio & Text Due  – May 13, 2014
Elimination Round to 5 Wickeds – May 24, 2014
Voting Begins June 13, 2014
Voting Ends July 28, 2014
2014 Winner Announced August 23, 2014

WARNING: The Norns are majorly p.m.s.ing this year. This challenge involves shotgun-quick writing & recording skills. The squeamish need not apply!

If you would like to compete, send an e-mail to: Horroraddicts@gmail.com –We’ll send you the complete set of rules and assign your story elements. Remember, the sooner you respond, the more time you’ll have to write and produce your podcast.

GOOD LUCK, MY WICKED, AND MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR!

Maggie Fiske - Most Wicked 2013

Margaret Fiske, our 2013 Wicked Women Writer Winner, will contact you for further challenge details and timeline. Deadline to enter the 2014 Wicked Woman Writer Challenge is April 13, 2014.

Please note: The earlier you enter the challenge, the longer you’ll have to prepare, write, edit, and produce your contest entry before the deadline. Contest slots fill up fast!

Kbatz: Witchy Film Viewings

Which Witch is the Right Witchy Movie?

By Kristin Battestella

Though often woefully inaccurate with a potion of pointy hats, warts, and broomsticks- there’s something, well…magical about a good dose of cinematic witch-ware and brouhaha.

The Craft – High school and witchcraft oh my! Boys Breckin Meyer (Clueless) and especially Skeet Ulrich (Scream) are totally lame, but gals Robin Tunney (Empire Records, Prison Break), Neve Campbell (Party of Five, Wild Things), Rachel True (Half & Half), and a crazy good Farizku Balk (Valmont) are still cool. Yes, the music is the same as 1998 sexy witch successor Charmed.  However, even with the nineties smorgasbord of cast and ideas; the supernatural effects are still sweet, and the girls don’t look super ‘96 in the moment bad fashions thanks to the school uniform stylings.  Some of the ‘back on you’ scenes are indeed scary, too- especially if you have a problem with snakes. The wonderful Assumta Serna (Sharpe) and cruel Christine Taylor (The Brady Bunch) round out the light versus dark misuses as well. What girl hasn’t wished ill on the clique wicked or played light as a feather stiff as a board? I’m not sure how accurately portrayed the titular practices are onscreen, but the appreciation here is more intelligent, mature, and consequential than lighthearted broomstick fair. Sophisticated ladies can still enjoy and boys will love the legal jiggle.

Warlock – Let’s toss in Julian Sands (A Room with a View, Rose Red, Boxing Helena) and this 1989 time traveling scare fest for some juicy- nay badass-equal opportunity magic produced by Roger Corman (House of Usher).  Director Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 2 and Part 3) does great with the colonial Massachusetts backdrop and carries the demonic mayhem into the eighties with so bad its good style from Lori Singer (Footloose, Fame, or as I simply say, Marc Singer’s sister). Meanwhile, fish out of water witch hunter Richard E. Grant (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) tries to thwart Big W from assembling an evil book that will uncreate existence. Yowza!  Some of the script speaketh from writer David Twohy (The Fugitive, G.I. Jane) is a little tough and the aforementioned datedness hinders some of the design and action, but of a sweeter titular man-witch, there is none- except for the lower in quality but just as kinky Warlock: The Armageddon (1993).

The Witches (1966) – This Hammer Horror wicked fest is chock full of tribal gone awry, polite but suspiciously Stepford townsfolk, creepy grandmas, and obligatory black cats. Let’s admit the effects and finale ritual are hokey, sure.  However, there are a few great shocker moments here along with swift editing and booming music to match the scares.  The mix of seemingly upscale rural England, witchdoctor mayhem, lovely locales, and on form sixties fashion designs work wonderfully as well.  Unfortunately, some may be very wigged out by a bloodless and tame but nonetheless disturbing rabbit butchering.  Again, the mystery unravels a bit in the end, but the debate of youth- too old to play with dolls but none of that naughty naughty with each other!- is doubly interesting along with what else is behind the schoolyard sinister: “A Sabbath, a meeting, an orgy perhaps.”  Naturally, classic Oscar dame Joan Fontaine (Suspicion, Rebecca) in her big screen swansong looks lovely, adds the film’s glue and sophistication, and most importantly doesn’t treat her horror ingénue as if the part was merely some two-bit paycheck. While we always expect such a thespian to put in her all, we don’t expect someone like be-frocked Joan Fontaine to get muddy or down with the bloody ritual. Bubble, cauldron, bubble! A ‘The World of Hammer: Wicked Women’ half hour treat on the DVD was sweet, too.

The Witches of Eastwick-  The all star cast- including Cher (Moonstruck), Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys), Jack Nicholson (The Shining), Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking), Veronica Cartwright (Alien), and Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)- looks a little eighties bad fashions and big hair, yes. Granted director George Miller (Mad Max) is little slow to start things until the wicked and deliciously sent up Nicholson lights up the town, and yes, the fun comes a little undone for the big finish. But the ladies look damn great and the fun is a little too naughty for younger audiences, meow!  Though the subtitles don’t exactly match the witty dialogue, the dark comedy and ham up style are just right.  The tennis match, balloons, and poolside delights are all downright silly, yet it’s refreshing that the raunchy and good fun is in what is said, not what is actually shown. Take hint bad modern slasher remakes! There’s room for sexual subtext, demented imagination, and moral insights into the battle of the sexes here, and Sarandon’s buttoned up cellist gets, uh, very passionate about her music!

 

 

One Potentially Bad Brew

Spellbinder – Though I don’t like Kelly Preston (Twins, or rather John Travolta’s woman who was once shot by Charlie Sheen), am mostly indifferent to Tim Daly (Wings), and Rick Rossovich almost always says cheese about a film (Yes there’s Top Gun and The Terminator, but Pacific Blue anyone?)- this 1988 witch in love shtick is only half bad if you can get passed the leads. Of course, the styles are low eighties dated and the story is slow to start as it gets right to the bedroom kink- naughty but tame and almost nudeless kink- before anything else begins. The cultish mystery becomes much more interesting when director Janet Greek (Babylon 5) gets scary away from the no-chemistry fronts.  Seriously concerned secretary Diana Bellamy (Popular) and for once a good guy cop Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Showdown in Little Toyko) and the warnings they provide are far more tantalizing, as is Audra Lindley (Mrs. Roper on Three’s Company!) as the creepy Mrs. White. The ‘pagan is evil’ portrayal is too heavy handed and Preston’s Valley delivery ruins the exposition of it all, but the coven scares and rituals ala The Wicker Man are perhaps juicy enough to keep this watchable for a late night alone.

Wicked Women Writers Challenge

Click to listen:

Who Will Be “Most Wicked 2013?” Thirteen Wicked Women Writers Compete for the Coveted Title beginning on September 7th.

This year, the WWW Challenge theme is How Will You Survive? Each of our WWW was assigned an apocalyptic disaster, a location, a helpful object, and an untimely disability. Voting starts September 7th and ends October 7th. Stories will air on podcast #95 September 7th on the http://www.horroraddicts.net show. To vote, email horroraddicts@gmail.com. Put “WWW” in the subject line.

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***CAUTION*** We Strongly encourage you to listen to ALL the stories. Just when you think you have chosen your most wicked story, there’s another story ready to slap you into the face of fear once again. You can also read along with the stories and catch words you might have missed on horroraddicts.net. Be sure and listen to all 13 stories before casting your vote!
The winner will be announced on the October 19th Finale of Horror Addicts.net podcast show. Break a Leg, Wickeds!
The wicked entrants are listed in order of submission for their completed podcasts. Twenty-five entered and only thirteen rose up out of the ashes and completed the challenge. We are pleased to introduce to you the 2013 Wicked entrants.

Contestants:

Leigh M. Lane has been writing for over twenty years. She has ten published novels and over a dozen published short stories divided among different genre-specific pseudonyms. Her traditional Gothic horror novel, Finding Poe, was a 2013 EPIC finalist. Her other novels include The Hidden Valley, World-Mart, and Myths of Gods. You can learn more about Leigh at http://www.cerebralwriter.com/.

Leigh’s story is “Enter the Corruption” Apocalyptic Disaster – Nano tech Invasion | Location – Bullet Train | Helpful Item – Hand Sanitizer | Disability – Extreme Itchiness

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Shauna Klein – I’m a freelance writer, website designer, photographer and overall Jill of all trades that lives in sunny and stormy Florida. Shauna Klein is my pen name and I’m married with children that have fins, feathers and fur.

Shauna’s story is “Static” Apocalyptic Disaster – Terrorist Invasion | Location – Greenhouse | Helpful Item – Skateboard | Disability – Migraine Headache

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DM Slate – Danyelle (aka D.M. Slate) resides in Colorado, where she completed a business degree at the University of Northern Colorado. She’s married to her high school sweet-heart, and together they have a young daughter and son. D.M. Slate’s first publication was released in 2009.

Danyelle’s story is “Veil of Darkness” Apocalyptic Disaster – Strange Matter/Anti-Matter | Location – Interstate Freeway | Helpful Item – Gas Mask | Disability – Elderly Parent

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 Chantal Boudreau is an accountant/author/illustrator who lives in Nova Scotia with her husband and children. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she has had stories published in a variety of horror anthologies. She also has two series published through May December Publications, Fervor and Masters & Renegades. http://www.writersownwords.com/chantal_boudreau/

Chantal’s story is “A Wing and a Prayer” Apocalyptic Disaster – EMP Blast | Location – Airplane | Helpful Item – Rubber Tubing | Disability – Pregnant

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Chantal Noordeloos is a writer from the Netherlands who1999 graduate from the Norwich School of Art and Design (UK) with a major in creative writing. Apart from work, motherhood and a busy social life that also includes -playing in and organising of- regular LARP (live action role play) events, she has been writing stories and honing her writing skills through workshops, seminars and a lot of writing. Chantal lives in The Hague with her family.

Chantal’s story is “Out of a Storm” Apocalyptic Disaster – Super Storm | Location – Haunted Hotel | Helpful Item – Rope | Disability – All Alone

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Rebekah Webb is a freelance writer from California. When she isn’t working on frightening stories or wild comedies about cellophane wearing ladies’ men, she enjoys cooking and various other things, possibly including training squirrels to take over the world. The reason she writes instead of some other creative endeavor is because of one simple truth: Writing rocks.

Rebekah’s story is “Prey” Apocalyptic Disaster – Super Virus | Location – Restaurant | Helpful Item – Baseball Bat | Disability – Allergic reaction

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Anastasia Marie Robinson is a young woman from St. Louis who has a passion for the macabre. She has a strong interest in the paranormal and is also a studying folklore expert. As well as being a published horror fiction writer she also writes reviews and original content for several websites. AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00BAGSPS2

Anastasia’s story is “Motherhood” Apocalyptic Disaster – BUGS! | Location – Circus Helpful Item – Backpack | Disability – Small child or baby to care for

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Rebecca Snow lives in Virginia with a dwindling herd of geriatricats. Her short fiction has been published in several small press anthologies and online. You can find her on facebook and twitter @cemeteryflower.com and has an online journal at cemeteryflower.blog.com.

Rebecca’s story is “Hazard” Apocalyptic Disaster – Bio- Terrorism | Location – Golf Course | Helpful Item – Scissors | Disability – No Medicine

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Julianne Snow is the author of Days with the Undead: Book One. An author of speculative fiction with roots deep in horror, she has pieces of short fiction in publications from Sirens Call Publications, OpenCasket Press as well as forthcoming anthologies from Hazardous Press and the Coffin Hop Charity Anthology. http://dayswiththeundead.com/

Julianne’s story is “Not All Jacks are Created Equal” Apocalyptic Disaster – Super Volcano | Location – Commuter Train | Helpful Item – Bottle of Jack Daniels | Disability – Naked

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R.L. Weston lives in Utah amid what her husband refers to as a refugee camp for stray animals. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and participates in the online critique group critters.org.

R.L’s story is “Drug Z” Apocalyptic Disaster – Dirty Bombs | Location – Zumba Class | Helpful Item – Workout Towel | Disability – Children Alone in Gym Daycare

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Maggie Fiske is a secretary, caregiver, musician, creature of the night. I live in Omaha with lunatic cats & a filching ghost.

Maggie’s story is “A Quarrel for Jimmy Lee Killscrow” Apocalyptic Disaster – Solar Flares/ or Gamma Rays | Location – Hunting in the Mountains | Helpful Item – Crossbow | Disability – Hungover

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Sumiko Saulson is the author of three sci-fi/horror novels, “Solitude,” “Warmth”, and “The Moon Cried Blood, and short story anthology “Things That Go Bump In My Head.” Born to African-American and Russian-Jewish parents, she is a native Californian, and has spent most of her adult life in the Bay Area.

Sumiko’s story is “A Birthday Present” Apocalyptic Disaster – Sinkholes | Location – Bowling Alley/ Pool Hall Bar | Helpful Item – Cue Stick | Disability – Lost Glasses

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Amy K. Marshall is a former archaeologist and curator (among many other things), current Director of The Craig Public Library on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska, I am also the author of THE FISHING WIDOW (Alaskan Gothic Press 2013). I am an Associate Member of HWA and a member of their Library Committee.

Amy’s story is “Paternoster” Apocalyptic Disaster – Loss of all fuel sources | Location – elevator | Helpful Item – Swiss army survival knife | Disability – sprained swollen ankle

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My name is Killion Slade, the reigning 2012 Wicked Woman Writer. It has been my sincerest pleasure to meet these talented ladies and be a part of their journey this year. One thing is clear, when it comes to scary – women know how to rock it!
We look forward to you listening to all of these amazingly creepy stories and choose who will be your next Most Wicked for 2013. Find out more about Killion’s work at http://www.killionslade.com.

Paranormal Books and Curiosities – Bringing the Spirits to the Shore

Tonight Kbatz is chatting with Kathy and the ghostly gang from the Paranormal Books and Curiosities Shop and Museum in Asbury Park, NJ!

Thanks for taking the time to chat it up with Horror Addicts.net!

How did the idea of a paranormal shop come together when you first opened in 2008? Did you find Asbury Park or did Asbury Park find you?

I had reached a breaking point in my former career.  While I loved what I did there did not seem to be much forward movement for me doing it.  I decided that I could put all of my skills and creativity into something that I was passionate about and my future would then be in my own hands.  Of course, I wasn’t sure how to do that! I tried a bunch of different approaches, started writing my book, scouted a tour site and ultimately, I decided the time had come for a brick and mortart destination spot for Paranormal enthusiasts and Paranormal Books & Curiosities was born.  Asbury park seemed a natural fit, it had a stormy history and it was interesting and unique and I thought Paranormal would fit right in.

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Now that ‘paranormal’ topics are arguably more popular than ever, how do you define your shop and inform against those who would call such themes evil, occult, witchcraft?

I find most people who come in are curious, even if they are afraid.  I don’t consider it my job to convert or convince anyone of anything.  I just want people to be able to explore their interests safely.  So, when someone comes in an asks me if I am a witch or if I worship the devil (this happens way less frequently than someone asking me if I am psychic or just saying “boo”) I tell them the truth, which is I am not, but there are a bunch of books on the front shelves that can help them with any questions they may have about those things!

How do you decide what books, merchandise, equipment, and oddities go in the store? Where do you get your more unusual museum pieces and exhibits?

I decide based on my own interest and the interests of my customers.  I can tell you that the store I have now is not the one I opened.  It is far more diverse than it was in 2008.  My customers have helped mold and shape it by the questions they ask.  As far as The Paranormal Museum, some items are artists renditions of legends but most relics I have either found in my travels or have been donated to The Paranormal Museum.  Many people have objects that are interesting to them, but they feel uncomfortable with them.  I am happy to make room for those items and to tell their story.

Do you have a ‘curiosity’ of which you’re most proud? What’s the weirdest object you’ve come across?

This is tough.  I have so many favorites!  One of the pieces in The Paranormal Museum that I truly love is a cutting from the Oleander Tree from The Myrtles Plantation.  The Myrtles is one of the most famous hauntings in America and it’s seminal story concerns a poisoning by oleander from this particular tree.  I love the idea that we have the DNA if you will, of a haunting.

Speaking of DNA, I also have a strand of Andrew Jackson’s hair.  Ole Hickory, as he was known, spent a few sleepless nights investigating the Bell Witch in Tennessee and that earned him a place on our wall.

Weirdest is tough, because they all make sense once you tell the story…but I do have a Palo Mayombe cauldron complete with bones and blood ash..I suppose some would think that weird.

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In addition to book events, you also host psychics, ghost lectures, and weekend ghost tours in the shop and surrounding community. Have you ever been frightened by any encounters? In twenty years in the investigative community, how much legitimate activity have you witnessed? Any false claims or debunkings?

I don’t know that I have ever been frightened, but certainly I have been made uncomfortable.  I consider myself to be quite skeptical, although I don’t generally “debunk”.  I try to explain.  “Debunk”-ing implies that there is some kind of hoax or intentional fraud and I don’t find that to usually be the case.  I have often been able to experience what is claimed by witnesses, but have interpreted my experiences differently than they. I can’t put a percentage on it, but I would say that paranormal activity is far more rare that contemporary field enthusiasts (ghost hunters) would have you believe.  But it is not non existent.  There is something that people are experiencing. 

How did the Paranormal BC Investigative Team at the store come together? Has the more recent popularity of ghost hunting shows and events helped or hindered the long active investigative community?

My team came together organically.  I get a lot of people asking to join or asking to “come along” on investigations.  The truth is I investigate much less than many other groups because it is very time consuming and a lot of people who ask for investigations are more curious to see what investigators do than they are concerned that they have activity.  Some of my team members came on public investigation and I liked how they approached the subject. It is all about the “fit”.

I think the TV Shows have done both good and bad, but overall I would lean toward good.  They have given a broad audience the vocabulary to discuss what we term paranormal.  That is good.  That helps start and continue conversations.  The bad is that they have created an entire army of weekend investigators armed with equipment they only understand from watching TV shows.  Is that bad?  I don’t know.  But I know it is frustrating to many people who have been investigating for 15-20-25 years.  Still, I don’t see how it has to negatively impact anyone’s legitimate research or study.  It is annoying for the old school people, but then again, sometimes I think there is a little too much territorialism in general.

My recommendation to people interested is what it has always been.  Read, learn, read, learn.

 

How do you deal with any jokesters, non-believers, and other norms who think its all hooey?

I don’t mind that, provided they are respectful.  I get it.  I’m not sure where I sit on these issues myself from day.  I am always questioning.  That is what it means to be a student of something, you question it to learn.  That does not mean I tolerate condescension though, or mockery.  If you have already made up your mind and are comfortable with what you know or believe, you should have no reason to disrespect other people’s journey to their own decision.  The key is to be smarter and more articulate than your heckler!

You were also involved in several Hurricane Sandy projects. Did you suffer much damage during the storm? Now that summer is upon us, has the clientele returned to the beach? Do you have any special events happening during the season?

I hesitate to even complain about our losses because in comparison to so many others they were minimal.  Of course we lost several months of business, which as a small business is very difficult to overcome.  But we were so grateful to be able to help our neighbors in the little ways we did.  Time will tell if the people will return, we haven’t seen it yet, but we are hopeful!  We have tours and seances, investigations and how to classes, psychic readings, book signings, pretty much something each week! Each month we have what we call a “Paranormal Weekend” where people can attend a paranormal event Friday/Saturday/Sunday and make a mini vacation out of it. 

 

What purpose does the Shop and the companion museum hope to serve along the Jersey shore?

I think we are different.  We are unique.  We offer people the opportunity to explore strange and unusual things in a beautiful setting.  I think we reflect what is so “cool” about New Jersey and specifically, the Jersey Shore.  I like to think we are a place people are proud to turn their friends onto. 

Where can we find you online?

 

www.paranormalbooksnj.com

Thanks again for taking the time to scare it up with Horror Addicts.net!

Horror Addicts 079, Wicked Women Writers Challenge

 

Horror Addicts Episode# 079
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini
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wicked women writers challenge | calm of zero | dark passages

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

wicked women writers challenge audio

80 days till Halloween!
| song flashback | events | the wickeds | a shadow over ever |
| the herd | my fearful symmetry | women scorned |
| horror on the installment plan | blood of the covenant | location |
| kbatz: hex | sinner sinners | gothhaus | dead mail |
| mmm awards | www promo | dark passages |
| graveconcernsezine.com | calm of zero |

#79 HorrorAddicts.net eStore
http://astore.amazon.com/horroradnet-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=25
Thriller
The Wickeds – Kindle
A Shadow Over Ever
The Herd
My Fearful Symmetry
Women Scorned
Horror on the Installment Plan
The Dark Clan
Calm of Zero
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T is for Trouble video – Dickie Flicks

h o s t e s s
Emerian Rich
s t a f f
Knightmist, Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Audrey Sabin, Marc Vale
Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com
c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s
http://www.horroraddicts.net
m u s i c
http://www.graveconcernsezine.com
t a p i n g . s t u d i o
Quills, A Place For Writers
13 Nightmare Lane, Awen, Second Life
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/168/179/23

HorrorAddictsCon: The Wicked’s – Meet the Most Wicked!

Meet our three Most Wicked with these encore interview excerpts.

H. E. Roulo – Most Wicked 2009

I asked Roulo what got her into horror and how she became a Horror Addict. Heather said that, “Rhonda R Carpenter and I were releasing our books at the same time on Podiobooks.com and became friends. She released a short story through Horror Addicts and ended up introducing me to the show and the host, Emerian Rich.”

Heather “was thrilled to win” the title Most Wicked which, “comes with the responsibility to organize the next year’s contest. The weight of the crown (Robe? Cauldron?) is heavy indeed.”

H.E. moved from one Podcast to another, her very own. She explained to me that, “[o]nce Rhonda and [her] finished releasing [their] books, [they] created Podioracket.com to support the authors and give fans somewhere to turn for more information. [They’ve] settled into a nice pace where [they] release a 20 minute show every two weeks, with two interviews and a little news and contest information. Through Podioracket [they have] also added a live Blog Talk Radio show and released an anthology, Podioracket Presents-Visionaries.”

What got the website started was Roulo’s uncertainty of what to do after she released her book, Fractured Horizon. “I wasn’t sure what the next step was for promoting it and I wanted to hear other author’s approaches. All the writers were so interesting. I realized they just needed a way to connect immediately with their audience and a central place that listeners could go. Podioracket caught on instantly because it had that ready-made audience.”

Heather gave us a little more detail about her novel. “Fractured Horizon is about Kay Downs, a contemporary woman who discovers that her absent father guarded a rift in time, but her accidental conception broke all the rules. Kay must travel through time by living through it, correct the changes her existence has caused, and ultimately heal the rift and save her father. Much of the book is spent in the near future, where a divided world teeters between bio-engineered warriors and mystical rulers who sense the future. In a world built on utter predictability, Kay’s misplacement in time makes her a dangerous wildcard. As if traveling forward through time weren’t hard enough, she is pursued by an enemy with a simpler way to protect the sanctity of the timeline—her destruction.”

For more information about Heather Roulo be sure to visit: http://www.fracturedhorizonnovel.com

Rhonda R. Carpenter – Most Wicked 2010

Not only is Carpenter an author and Clinical Hypnotherapist, she is also a Dream Analyst, Professional Psychic, and Reiki Master. With such an interesting background I had to find out how she was able to make the transition to author.

Rhonda was happy to share her story, “Author was a natural progression of a love of writing, teaching and helping others. Honestly, my first novel The Mark of a Druid was an experiment in what can I do as a writer instead of a continuation of writing for myself. I would always have written the challenge was putting it out there for others to consume. I am exceptionally pleased with the outcome. Writing is something I need to do to be happy.”

She was also kind enough to share her secrets that inspire her to write. “I am inspired by many things to write. Music is a big part of my writing experience. But the funniest thing that inspires me are my sleeping dreams. I often put a thought about my writing out before sleep and see what happens in my dreams.”

Having such an intensive background in psychology it’s easy to see why Serial Killers are Rhonda’s favorite horror monster. She told me, “I think I am most fascinated by the serial killer. I tend toward the philological and spiritual needs of the human condition. Why one person would perceive one thing and someone else perceive something completely different in the same situation is fascinating. How the mind works and what will break one person and not another makes my mind spin with stories.” Then she asked her own question, “Serial killers are often the most brilliant and demented individuals don’t you think?”

I was interested as to how Carpenter’s experience as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Dream Analyst, Professional Psychic, and Reiki Master has helped with her writing. Rhonda stated, “I believe all my life experience has added to and helped my writing. Hypnosis gave a vehicle for the story of The Mark of a Druid as did my love of all things Celtic. Dream Analysis even made an appearance in the first book. My belief system certainly has effected my writing and I think the things I do as a day job will always be a part of my writing in one way or another. Funny now that I think of it horror is so far away from what I do in my day job maybe that is way it is a stretch for me. But Scotland Burns has that one question I always asked myself about the one god religious belief. How could the one great and powerful god be so merciless?”

The Mark of a Druid, Carpenter’s first fiction publication and the first of what’s sure to be a great trilogy, “is about reincarnation and the idea that energy never dies it simply changes. It is also about honor and revenge and how those qualities can follow a soul from life time to life time.”

Book two of The Mark of a Druid, titled When Ethers Descend, “is about what the knowledge of past lives can do to a person in this lifetime and it is the continuation of Aileann and Adaham’s (sic) connection to a prophecy.” You can listen to the prologue for the book in Podcast episode 34 on Podiobooks.com.

Look froward to Rhonda Carpenter’s future works. “Besides the sequel When Ethers Descend [she] am working on a novel that takes place between 1890 and 1914 about a murder called Truth Slithers and [Rhonda has] a 3rd called From Mother to Daughter about a family of female psychics and the struggles of having the gift.”

For more information on Rhonda Carpenter check out www.themarkofadruid.com

Laurel Anne Hill – Most Wicked 2011

Laurel was excited when she heard the news, “I feel both honored and amazed.  With all the great WWW podcasts submitted, I never expected my story, Flight of Destiny to win.” She then added, “I have to admit, though, a bit of worry has crept into my mind.  Rhonda Carpenter did such an amazing job organizing this year’s WWW Challenge.  Talk about a difficult act to follow!”

The idea for Flight of Destiny came easy for this steam train fan. “I’ve served on several steampunk panels at science fiction/fantasy conventions.  Some authors of steampunk ignore the laws of physics when they craft their stories.  For over a year, I’ve wanted to see if I could write an engaging short story in that genre and include a few scientific details at the same time.  My WWW assignment presented a perfect opportunity.”

Hill’s steampunk knowledge didn’t cover everything though. “I needed to research the physical characteristics of polonium-210, as well as details about its discovery and purification.” She also did “some fact checking about the operation of steam-powered vessels in the Nineteenth Century was necessary, too.  And spent several hours reading about women’s Victorian-era clothing.”

For this year’s competition, each Wicked was given a poison, a place, and an object to base their story around. Laurel was given: Radio Active Polonium-210, Aircraft Carrier on the Pacific, and Cuban cigars.

“My prior employment involved working with radioactive materials and one previous boss of mine smoked cigars.  My assigned poison and place presented no unusual problems.  But an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean?  I knew little about Naval operations aboard such a vessel.  That part of the assignment generated an internal “oh, no.”  Then the steampunk idea hit me and my racing heart slowed to normal rhythm.”

Curious, I had to ask how her writing and podcasting processes came together. “I tend to mull over ideas in my head before I start writing.  I select a main character, give him or her a problem, and try to climb inside of his or her mind.  Then I write and revise over and over, finally reading the piece out loud for rhythm.  My story goes to my writing group for feedback.  Additional revisions follow.  During this process, I write in time blocks as short as thirty minutes or as long as eight hours. [When I start a podcast] I read the manuscript a couple times to prepare, then set up my computer, microphone and pop-filter (a knee-high nylon stocking stretched over a diamond-shaped metal hanger) inside of my bedroom closet.  After recording the entire selection twice using Audacity, I sound edit the better version.  Sound editing takes me the longest, often several hours.”

One thing is for certain if she can combine radio active materials, aircraft carriers, and cigars to make one killer story; then there is nothing this Wicked Women Writer can’t write! I’m sure next year’s WWW challenge will be just as deadly, if not more so, than this year!

Hill fans, be on the look out for Laurel’s up and coming projects: “My new fantasy/horror short story, “The Vengeance Garden,” is scheduled for publication in December 2011, in the “Spells and Swashbucklers” anthology (Dragon Moon Press).  I’m also working on several other short stories and a steampunk novel.”

For more information on Laurel Anne Hill check out: http://www.laurelannehill.com/

HorrorAddictsCon: The Wicked’s, Are Submission Guidelines Important?

Are Submission Guidelines Important?

by Emerian Rich

“Writers who don’t follow the rules aren’t worth our time.”

This is what most editors think and you should listen to them. Why? Because you’ll never get past the submission pile into the pile of stories they are seriously considering for publication.

I’ve heard editors say that they won’t even consider a story if the author hasn’t submitted it according to their guidelines. Writers think this sucks. Why should the way it’s presented mean anything? If it’s a good story, it should be considered on the plot merit, right? Being a writer I tend to agree, but we have to look at it as a job. If you were going to a job interview, you wouldn’t wear stained pajama pants and a bleach-spotted Kama Sutra t-shirt, even if you were a Harvard grad with excellent references. Think of the submission formatting as your foot in the door. Once you’ve dressed it up, then it’s up to your writing to break out of the pile and wow them.

Now, I am by no means a pro editor and I am still stuck some of the same piles you are. However, I did run a ‘zine called DarkLives for ten years. Nowadays, I receive on an average, 20-30 pieces of work a month from various collaborations, critique groups, and for my podcast HorrorAddicts.net. Having read hundreds of submissions I can tell you some things that make them difficult to handle.

First, always read the publishers website to see what their guidelines are and follow them precisely. Yes, they will notice if they asked for an outline and you give them a synopsis instead.

Second, don’t email them the next day to find out how they liked it. Especially if you are emailing another writer or a small publication, they probably have a “real job” and family that they have to work their writing dream around.

Third, if no guidelines are listed on their site or you are sending a manuscript to someone in the industry who doesn’t have submission guidelines (like another writer), PLEASE follow the standard submission format. I always change stories I receive into the proper format before I print or crit them. Mostly because someone will send me a twenty page story with no page numbers on it. If I drop the story, I’m in trouble. Trying to piece together someone else’s rough draft is insane. The author’s name and story title should also be in the header of each page for this reason.

So what is the “standard manuscript format”? Let me reiterate that you always need to follow the submission guidelines for the publication you are submitting to. If none are stated, go with these guidelines below:

  • Number pages in header or footer. It’s also nice to put the number of pages like so: 1/13
  • Courier font, 12 point, never in italics or bold
  • 1 inch margins all around
  • Double spaced
  • Use the # sign (centered) to indicate viewpoint change
  • Use left paragraph text (never justified)
  • Include your name and story name in the header of every page.
  • On the first page, list your name and a way to contact you. I don’t feel you have to include the info below if you are sending it to a critiquer, a simple email address should suffice, but if you are submitting to a publishing house, unless otherwise instructed, you should include: your name, address, phone number, email address, what type of story (Horror Novel or Fantasy Short Story, etc…), and computer word count.

There are more detailed formatting descriptions on publisher’s sites, in writing books, or online. If you are thinking about submitting, I strongly suggest you do your homework first so that you are put in the pile to read and not the recycle bin. If you don’t format it correctly, it won’t be read, and you might as well save yourself the trouble and cost of sending it out in the first place.

One word of encouragement. You’ll never be published if you don’t send it out. So… WRITE, SUBMIT, WRITE, SUBMIT and repeat as often as you can.

Emerian Rich is the author of Night’s Knights vampire series and Sweet Dreams Musical Romance Series. She’s also been published in a handful of anthologies and written everything from non-fiction reviews to Science Fiction. As a Horror Hostess, she heads the HorrorAddicts.net podcast and attempts to promote the Horror Addicts lifestyle from the fan point of view. For more information on Emerian, go to: http://www.emzbox.com 

HorrorAddictsCon: The Wicked’s Rhonda on Crit Groups

Critiquing groups are they helpful?

 by Rhonda R. Carpenter

After writing the first rough and I mean rough draft of The Mark of a Druid, I searched all over for a group that would be right for me as an aspiring author. I found that group on compuserve’s literary forum. Now since I joined, the group some almost 8 years ago it has had its membership ups and downs. For several years we were housed in another location on a Forums America site. Not too long ago the forum moved back to compuserve and into a much larger community setting. Lots of the old folks are there and a ton of new ones.

One of the things I liked about our little group was that there wasn’t anyone who felt it necessary to cut you to pieces to make a point about what you could do better in your story. The crits were not only content considerate but line editing as well. (for me extremely helpful) If you saw a mistake that was an obvious typo or grammatical help were also offered as well as plot and character development.

It was an easy system. Once granted access to the library of file you picked something that caught your eye and started critiquing. After you critiqued 5 pieces, you could upload 1. Pieces usually consisted of a complete short story or a chapter or chunk from a WIP (work in progress). From then on it is 3 to 1 and trust me you would build a cash of crits to use for your uploads fast if you put any effort into the group.

The diversity of the group was wonderful, people from all over the world joining together and helped each other out. The benefits to me as an author were worth every minute I spent with these people. Now I am not going to tell you that I agreed with all of the suggestions but if I didn’t incorporate something I thought long and hard about the readers experience.

Now there are plenty or writing groups online and in your local communities as well. I like the online groups because I can get more out of them, the volume of participants is higher and more diverse. While I am not active in the compuserve forum at this time because I am in a different phase, pre-publication and podcasting, I do recommend the group. Here is a link to them the membership is free and once your work is posted it is copywrited so it is actually a way to protect your work although others say it is not safe I just don’t agree. No one writes in the same way I do. They may be able to take what is there but they would never be able to complete the work like I would have, so I don’t worry about it. And from what I know this has not happened in this place. There is also a research and craft area that can be very helpful.

I found my time in a critiquing group extremely rewarding and I hope as I move into book two in the series I will find the group as helpful again. I met many wonderful people there and one of my dearest friends and I actually met there and we talk almost every day.

Keep Writing, I know I will!

Rhonda R. Carpenter

Rhonda R. Carpenter is the founder of Lifefirst.com. She is an Author, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Handwriting Expert, Dream Analyst, and Professional Psychic. Her first novel, “The Mark of a Druid” is available in audio, Ebook and print. Rhonda is the co-founder of www.Podioracket.com where you can learn all about the new Podiobooks.com authors and Indy-Authors from all over the world. Rhonda was awarded the coveted Wicked Women Writer’s Award in 2010 for her Sexy short horror story, “Barring Lilith” She lives on a secluded ranch in Southeastern Oklahoma where she enjoys raising chickens and cows. She is happily married and the mother of 4 boys, all grown and on their own and recently a first time Grandmother.

HorrorAddictsCon: The Wicked’s Introduction

For today’s guests we have the talented troop of women from our very own Wicked Women Writers group. The group was started by Michele Roger back in 2008 and (for me) was a welcomed distraction to the monotony that can be writing as a woman in a genre dominated by men. Our core group has stayed together and we’ve had other women of like-minds join us. For the most part, we use each other as a support group and I for one have long lasting friendships because of this group. I’d like to thank Michele for bringing us all together and the rest of the ladies for giving me feedback, moral support, and networking help when I’ve needed it.

Up next for The Wicked’s, is the up coming publication of our first anthology. The gals have all worked really hard on this one and I think it’s going to be awesome!  Today, get to know The Wicked’s and if you’re a woman horror writer (even just an aspiring one) come on over and join our Facebook group. It’s free to be a part of our group and we’d love to have you. Not only will you be eligible to compete in our annual Wicked Women Writers Challenge, but you’ll also build life long friendships.

Welcome to the HorrorAddicts.net Online Con. We hope you enjoy yourselves!

Emerian Rich
Wicked Woman Writer

—————————————————————

Coming soon from HorrorAddicts.net

The Wicked’s

A Wicked Women Writer’s Anthology

Edited by Hollie Snider

authors:

Emerian Rich
Michele Roger
H. E. Roulo
Rhonda R. Carpenter
Kimberly Steele
Hollie Snider
Arlene Radasky
Laurel Anne Hill
Linda Ciletti
R. E. Chambliss
Jennifer Rahn
Jeri Unselt
Sapphire Neal
Marie Green

Target release:
Early 2012

Horror Addicts #063, Wicked Women Writers Challenge

Horror Addicts Episode# 063
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Saints Of Ruin
————————
1940’s | wicked women writers challenge |shock 1946 | plasticoma
Find full show notes at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

Listen below by clicking the play button.

| quills address poll | 1940s horror music | shock, 1946 |
| 1940s books | alice game | newflesh review | storycasting.com |
| mark frankel | frontier(s) | free fiction fridays | gothahus |
| san mateo fair | laurel anne hill | anne wilkes | valerie frankel |
| anastasia blackwell | joann semones | 100 word story | dead mail |
| taijai mail | us events | das gift | uk events | plasticoma |
| www contest announcement | barbarellatones |

VOTE FOR WWW NOW! GO TO:
http://www.horroraddicts.net 

Quills – fans name the address poll! Vote!
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/vote-for-quills-new-address-on-second-life/

http://www.storycasting.com

Anastasia Blackwell – book trailer:
http://houseonblacklake.com/

Having trouble with the audio button above? Try this direct link:
http://m.podshow.com/media/18914/episodes/287553/horroraddicts-287553-07-07-2011.mp3

h o s t e s s: Emerian Rich
s t a f f
Knightmist, Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Ed Pope, Dan Shaurette
Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email emzbox@sbcglobal.net
c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s
http://www.horroraddicts.net
t a p i n g . s t u d i o
Quills, A Place For Writers on Second Life
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/168/179/23

Guest Blog: Rhonda R. Carpenter on Wicked Women Writers Most Wicked 2010

A little over 3 years ago I started dabbling in horror. It all started as a joke. Emerian Rich, the founder of Horroraddicts.net and author of Night’s Knights a vampire series,  joked on her podcast she needed to make me scary. She stated in her podcast 13 things that would make Rhonda scary.

You see I tend to write historical fantasy fiction like The Mark of a Druid which is available everywhere even in pod novel formats and I am pleased to say for a first time author it has done exceptionally well including hitting the top of the UK Amazon Kindle Charts at #2 in Historical Fantasy just a few weeks ago.

Horror doesn’t come naturally to me. But I completely enjoyed the Horror Addicts platform and have written several things for them and the support group of Wicked Women Writers in an effort to stretch myself as an author.

Simply put WWW is a private facebook group of female writers that mostly produce horror but we discuss all kinds of writing styles and genres. We check in on each other, brain storm, encourage and sometime kick each other under the virtual table of; come on you can do this, support. For the last 3 years WWW has held a competition that is fan voted. The winner carries the title of Most Wicked for the year and receives books and prizes. Last year my story, Barring Lilith, won! And because of that win a new audience was introduced to my work.

Well it is now time to hand that title to the next Wicked to win. On July 7th the 10 stories from this year went live on Horroraddict.net. Voting will close August 1st, 2011 at 12:00 pm PST. So you still have time to listen and vote for one of these Wicked Women Writers.

What does this mean for you and why should you care? I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for the next new author that is going to make my day with their writing. The awesome thing about this competition is that all you have to do is listen and vote via email. One lucky voter will win free books, ebooks and schwag from HorrorAddict.net and all 10 of the WWW and me. It’s like Halloween with Christmas presents.

Hear 10 new authors!
10 Free short stories that will scare you silly!
One author wins!
One lucky voter wins too!

Listen at www.horroraddicts.net and vote for your favorite by sending an email to horroraddicts@gmail.com . Make sure you include your snail mail address in case you are the winner the gals can send your prizes.

Until August 1st I am still the Most Wicked Woman Writer but I will always be WWW2010. My name is Rhonda R Carpenter I am an author, podcaster, and co-host of the wildly popular www.podioracket.com where you get the news and contest info, author interviews, writing and podcasting tips from all the Podiobooks.com authors. You can find out more information about me and my works at www.themarkofadruid.com, www.rhondacarpenter.com. Come say hi to me on Twitter @RhondaCarpenter or find me on facebook http://www.facebook.com/rhonda.carpenter. And just because you are reading this blog you get the Ebook Version of the full novel by entering the coupon code when you check out YV24T at  www.smashwords.com. This coupon is good until July 30th, 2011.