“Rejected” Fundraising Anthology is Out on eBook and it is Fantastic!

Front Cover ebookThrough the summer I’d been accepting short stories and poetry submissions for an upcoming anthology I’ve titled “Rejected”.

“Rejected” is two-fold in that every piece submitted to the anthology had to have been rejected for publication by a publishing press at least one time and the anthology itself supports the Spay/Neuter Coalition in Georgia, a licensed non-profit organization that offers education and access to affordable spay/neuter options.

One question I’ve gotten asked is how I found the Coalition. When I had the idea for this anthology, I also had the idea that I wanted to find a not for profit, small organization to support as I felt it juxtaposed well with the idea that I, myself, consider my platform relatively small. I believe that small actions make big impacts.

So, I put the question out there on my Facebook platform asking friends if they knew of any small organizations that advocated for our four-legged friends. I received several good choices and in the end decided to reach out to the Coalition who graciously agreed to accept the funds that “Rejected” will raise.

(**As of now, just one day after publication “Rejected” has raised close to $25 for the Coalition!)

The anthology itself turned out the be over three-hundred pages and over one-hundred-thousand words. I tried to accept each story and poem that I possibly could, but in the end I did have to turn down a few pieces. This was what I would consider the most difficult part of the process. As a writer myself, I understand that gut-tearing feeling of being rejected, and I’m not sure that since this was an anthology specifically for rejected pieces if it made that letter harder for the writers. Maybe I should have considered two volumes? Maybe? I don’t know. One is stressful enough. But I genuinely believe in what we do.

As advertised “Rejected” (See how I keep linking it? That’s a hint!) boasts a multitude of genres and poetry that has been carefully edited by my personal friend and editor, Linette Kasper, formatted by KH Formatting, and last but absolutely NOT least, the cover was designed by Leslie Safford (Who I keep saying needs a website but does not currently have one). Anyhow, these ladies have done an absolutely FANTASTIC job teaming up with me to see this anthology through.

I can guarantee that y’all readers are going to love the mashup of horror meets psych thriller meets sci-fi meets romance meets drama meets contemporary poetry meets fantasy meets traditional poetry and I could go on, but you’re smart, and you get it.

A rare cuddly moment between me and one my rescue cats, Archie.

Having rescued several friends over the past couple of years, I’ve seen first-hand shelters struggling because they’re over capacity and the horror of high-kill animal shelters. One effective way to help minimize this is to offer cost-effective access to spay and neutering. This can also benefit feral cat populations.

Finally, I would like to thank all the authors and poets who have contributed to this anthology, to everyone who has shared the posts on my Facebook Author Page to help get the word out about this amazing, limited-edition anthology. They have been wonderful to work with and I appreciate their patience and professionalism throughout the process!

I will be sure to make another post as soon as “Rejected” is available in paperback. For now, be sure to snag your electronic copy for only $1.99!

 

New Fundraiser Anthology Announcement!!

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This year I’ll be putting together another multi-genre anthology titled “Rejected” where all online proceeds will go to benefit Georgia-based 501c3 non-profit group Spay and Neuter coalition. This group works with the public to educate and provide cost-effective options for spaying and neutering pets.

While the nature of the anthology is multi-genre, one of the main requirements is that whatever piece an author or poet submits must be a piece that has been rejected from another publication–note: I do not need the name of said publication as I will not be publishing that.

Keep your eyes out; over the next couple of weeks I will be posting detailed submission guidelines. I’m looking forward to reading submissions and working with another group of very talented artists to see this project full-circle!

**The Spay-Neuter coalition does not endorse the contents of this post or in the anthology. They have agreed to accept the proceeds from online sales.**

 

Cocky-Tales Anthology

cocky tails TO CURVES

As I wrap up the final touches on “Cocky-Tales” anthology, I can’t help but be grateful–not for the situation of #cockygate and the inane need to monopolize words–but for the experience. I am thankful that life challenged me with a project that I never thought I would be a part of.

In the end, it wasn’t actually me. It was all of the wonderful authors and poets from a gamut of writing backgrounds coming together and sharing their talents that made “Cocky-Tales” possible.

A few observations–I have a sincere appreciation for publishers who piece together anthologies. People, this is not an easy feat. There’s advertising for submissions, reading those submissions, writing acceptances–and sadly, rejections…I’ll pause…rejections were difficult, because having received many myself…I know the let-down, contracts, edits, the cover–Created by Leslie Safford who doesn’t have any social media links–…and gosh darn-it (!!) making sure the author bios and links were correct with no spaces (spaces within links was a thing…I don’t get it).

Anyhow, kudos to people who compile anthologies on the regular…and that formatting tho…I could write a blog post about nothing but formatting. *Deep sigh*

The feeling of completing “Cocky-Tales” is awesome! I’m not sure if enough celebratory cakes exist in the world to honor the release tomorrow.

The majority of the excitement comes from the opportunity to not only learn but to give back. I think that #cockygate is a situation that could have impacted any genre; it just happened to take place in the romance community. But more so than looking at creative writing as an art that contains the genre-centric borders, the writing community is just that: community, and it is imperative that we view it from that lens.

Talk to any two authors and we will not have the same process when it comes to creative expression, and that’s what makes art so interesting–the ability that artists have to impact a variety of individuals, to express just how each person perceives the experience of life in a different way!

Don’t get me wrong–I believe in marketing and creating a unique brand. I also believe that it can be accomplished without attempting to own common use words. Words such as “cocky”, “forever”, “quantum”…are building blocks with which we create our worlds, and it’s a scary thing to believe that one person would strive to “buy” those building blocks to eliminate competition.

It happened. I hope that it won’t happen again. But I would also hope for an apology from “she who shall not be named”. (I also hope for a million dollar check, a Caribbean cruise, and a beach home–all of the above might be more likely than a simple “I’m sorry”.)

I hope that “Cocky-Tales” encourages those who have taken part in it and those who read it to continue to create and to support all forms of art.

My biggest wish is that through this anthology we illustrate the definition of coming together as a community for an important cause.

To snag your copy of “Cocky-Tales, click here! And Many Thank You’s for supporting our project!!!

 

Now Accepting Submissions for Cocky-Tales Anthology

Submissions

 

Nah! I haven’t lost my mind–I mean, truly, who can lose what they’ve never had?

I never, ever thought I would be publishing an anthology, but I also never, ever thought I would hear of such a thing as an author trying to bully her peers by “owning” words.

Is this truly what the creative arts have come to?

I don’t think so, and because I don’t think so, I am putting out a call for submissions from other brave authors/writers who have read about this and want to say, “enough is enough”.

If that’s you, click here for more submission guidelines for “Cocky-Tales”.

Book Review: Oh Horrid Night

ohorridblog3‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house was a slew of creepy-crawly horror stories guaranteed to scare you more than Aunt Gertrude’s pudding surprise (no offense to the reader who has an actual Aunt Gertrude who brings mystery desserts to family dinners).

Well, hello and welcome back for another good laugh at my feeble book reviewing attempt. Keep laughing, doesn’t bother me. When I review books, I indulge myself in gas station nachos– there’s a payoff after all.

Salem, Massachusetts-based press, FunDead Publications does it again! Headed up by Amber Newberry, Author of ‘Walls of Ash’, this small but growing press places a direct focus on publishing the macabre– which makes sense– they’re based in Salem… soooooooooooooooo, it’d be strange if they produced works about pink unicorns that fart sparkling wish fairies with purple glow-wands. At least, it’d throw me for a loop–

Following the success of their debut anthology ‘Shadows in Salem’, they set out to compile some of the best and upcoming voices in horror for a creepy seasonal selection guaranteed to make its reader think twice before dipping into that figgy pudding.

Boasting twenty unique short stories with compelling voices, ‘Oh Horrid Night’ is nothing short of disturbing. Without a doubt, it left me wanting more, or maybe a teddy-bear or night-lite or Shemar Moore…Just sayin’ . Not that I’d publicly admit to using a night-lite…

*Coughs* Moving on,

Load up on the bread and milk, kids because the icy journey begins with Corrine Clark’s ‘A Ghost Story’ where a stranded traveler shares a tragic story about a wife who goes in search of her husband and reaches a gruesome end, or is it the beginning of forever? Muwhahaha….

Who loves caroling? Meeeee. At least, I used to. Then, I read Kenneth Cole’s (No, I’m not talking about the shoe company)  ‘Carolers’ and found I could no longer hold my sheet music still from shaking. Maybe it was the Felix the Cat clock that did me in right there.

One thing I have enjoyed throughout both books is the collection of voices and ‘Sol Invictus’ by Kevin Wetmore can be heard loud and clear. Not familiar with the subject, I did a bit of research. Here’s a link that’ll explain more about Sol Invictus. What do I love about the story? Uncle Mike’s retelling, duuuuuuuuuuuh. Or maybe the pipe-dream that the mystery stranger Uncle Mike encounters could look like Ian Somerhalder (??).

… And a holiday horror is not complete without Krampus. Now, I was hoping that in Brad Christy’s ‘ ‘Twas the Fifth of December’, Krampus might fool us all and be some good looking, yet shady character. No luck there and no luck for little Robby. The shocker to Christy’s tale was the ending; I caught up with Christy and asked him why he decided to trick me out with that. In his words, “I chose that particular ending because I wanted the reader to continuously question the reality of the situation. Is Krampus real, or just all in Robby’s imagination?…”

One of the most interesting questions to put to authors is, what inspired your story. Christy answers, “I’ve always been fascinated with the psychological aspects of horror. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ for me, was greatest in the moments leading up to the killing, so I wanted to take a subject that screamed splatter punk and twist it into a psychological horror.”

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“She rubbed a hand over the place on her shoulder which had crashed against the wall of the carriage. It hurt more than it should have on account of the large, purple bruise in the shape of Lord Beaufort’s hand. She’d dressed carefully that morning, choosing a high collar to cover the part of the bruise that extended across her collar bone. She was grateful for the thick, long sleeves which covered the fading wounds down her arms from the many terrible interactions with her husband in the previous few weeks. Lady Cassandra hoped the browned bruise on her hand would not be too visible to her grandmother when she took off her travel gloves for tea.” — From “A Perilous Gift” by Amber Newberry

“A Perilous Gift” by Amber Newberry illustrates a shining example of feminism in literature. What better way for a woman to maintain power over a man than by a symbol of objectification. You’ll follow after you read the story.

Another aspect I enjoyed throughout the collection is, simply put, nothing is sacred, not even the much sought after figgy pudding. Admittedly, I’ve never had figgy pudding.

*Gasp* I’ll wait while you shake your head in dismay and disgust.

Finished? No.

*Sigh…* Fine…

Now? Yes, Erin, I’ve found coping mechanisms for my disappointment in you.

Great! Moving on…

If you’d like to mail me figgy pudding, please don’t. After reading “Figgy” by Wendy L. Schmidt and “The Sixpence in the Pudding” by Callum McSorley, I’ve concluded this pudding can giveth and taketh away…and I’m not talking about your waistline. I will not entertain receiving this in the mail, if you’d like, feel free to message a recipe to me– then I’ll know exactly what is in the mystical dessert.

While “Shadows in Salem” gave us voices from a gamut of time periods, “Oh Horrid Night” serves the reader with tales from an array of cultures. I particularly enjoyed ‘The Black Coach or the Visitation at Wakwak Creek’ by R.C. Mulhare & I.M. Mulhare. Hoof beats sound in the distance, but it sure isn’t Cinderella’s carriage. Perhaps, you guess, it’s family coming for the holidays… keep dreaming, this is a horror anthology, after all.

From the German celebration of Ogden to the Roman Saturnalia to the status quo’s commercialization, the history of the holiday season is undoubtedly deep-rooted in culture and tradition.

This being the case, what does the collective of voices tell the reader about this time of year?  In a broader sense, the message is remembrance of the impoverished, of past transgressions, and lost loved ones.

Therein lies the juxtaposition between the warmth of friends and family depicted in traditional representations of the holidays and the reality of death, poverty, domestic violence, economic, cultural, and feminist struggles that continue despite society’s attempts to wrap them in pretty paper and garnish with glitter bows.

There’s something eerie behind the thousands of strands of twinkling lights garnishing the neighbor’s front porch (and it may not be limited to their electric bill…).

I would highly recommend the series of stories; I found them to be engaging, fast-paced, compelling, and meticulously edited.  –‘Till Next Time–

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“I have had a blast working with FunDead Publications! I will keep submitting to and working with FunDead for as long as they will have me. I highly recommend their works.” -Brad P. Christy

“Shadows in Salem” Review

sisblogheaderimgI’ve never written a formal blog review of a novel *wipes sweat off forehead and grabs a tub of gas station nachos*. Soooo, thank you for sitting back, relaxing, and having a few laughs as I fumble my way through this article. *Clears throat*.

I’m always game for a collection; poetry, flash fiction, short stories, baseball cards, balls of yarn, wine, chocolate– especially the chocolate–  you name it… I’m down. So it shouldn’t be shocking that when I first heard of Shadows in Salem, an anthology published in the fall 2016 by Salem, Massachusetts  based independent press FunDead Publications, I was immediately fascinated. FunDead is run by Amber Newberry, author of Walls of Ash. Continue reading → “Shadows in Salem” Review