Thursday, July 21, 2016


For those of you seeing this and wondering what I'm doing now, this is part of the Pitch Wars contest and something that could be a little fun or end up a train wreck.

Soooo....where to start....

Why Am I Entering Pitch Wars?

I'm entering because I need to get my adult manuscript to the next level. After rounds of CPs and betas, it's as polished as it can be. I'm sure an awesome PW mentor can help get it to where it needs to be. I'm ready to bust my ass in edits and do the work. I like honest give it to me straight.

I want someone who will love my characters as much as I do, and possibly hate me at the end of the story. I want someone not afraid to call me on issues (like my CP who banned me from using the word smirk) but also someone I can learn from.

What do I write?

Dark adult speculative fiction and urban fantasy. If it's not on the darker side, I get bored. My current manuscript has a mystery element to it. I like characters who are emotionally wounded (often broken), can fight, and are sarcastic smart asses. I always swear there will be no love interest in my WIP, but one shows up. I'm a sucker for a good romantic sub-plot. With all the crap I put my characters through, they need a little something to keep them going. Though I appreciate a happy ending in books I read, I don't always write them. My characters often get happy for now.

Some Faves

Some of my favourite books are:
American Psycho
Wizard's First Rule (I love the series)
American Gods
Mists of Avalon
The Outsiders

My all time favourite is still Interview With The Vampire. I adore Anne Rice (though I promise there are no vampires in my submission). I love her characters, the history she builds into her books, and her beautiful writing.

Favourite shows (when I allow myself to watch TV):
Mr. Robot
The first two seasons of Heroes
The first season of True Detective

My Quirks?

I have music on when I write and often come up with play lists for my manuscripts. The one I'm entering into Pitch Wars was written to Chris Cornell/Audioslave/Soundgarden with some Godsmack thrown in.

When I'm stuck, I bust out the peanut butter M&Ms to help me write. It does work...most of the time. When it doesn't, it's sambuca and Dr. Pepper.

I leave myself notes as I draft which include things like, "Why didn't she do this already, genius?" or "WHAT TIME IS IT?!?!"

I use astrology to help shape my characters.

I also don't drink coffee. I think I'm the only news person (I used to work in radio) who doesn't drink coffee. But don't mess with my tea.

I use the word awesome A LOT. And I like Supernatural gifs.

On A More Personal Note...

When I'm not torturing my characters, I'm a mother to two imps, work as a circulation clerk at a library, do publicity for Pen and Kink Publishing, and co-host #DarkLitChat on Twitter once a month and moderate the corresponding Google community. Occasionally, I like to eat and sleep.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Six Things: On Sirens and Storytelling

This week I welcome Tabitha Lord who is featured in the Sirens anthology that came out this week.


1. I didn’t draft my first novel until after turning forty. Although I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, I never really considered myself a storyteller. I didn’t think I had the imagination to turn the snippet of an idea into an entire book, or even into a short story. But once I committed to the practice of writing every day, my imagination began to flow. Weaving the threads of a tale into the tapestry of a novel became a satisfying, exciting endeavor. Now I have so many characters and stories floating in my head that I have to tell them to wait their turn!

2. I enjoy writing short stories. My “big” books can take me over a year to draft and just as long to edit. With a short story, there’s still a sense of completion, of an idea fully expressed, but it may only take a month to get that idea down on paper. Another reason I enjoy writing shorts is that I can play around with different voices. If I’m working on a longer draft in the third person, I can write a short in the first person and really tighten up the point of view. Similar to working with different voices, I can try out different styles in my short fiction. “Homecoming” - my Siren story, is written in a much more literary style than my science fiction series. I’m not sure I’d be able to sustain that for an entire full-length novel, but it really made me stretch as a writer.

3. I was a Classics major in college, so the idea behind “Homecoming” has been with me for years. Intrigued by Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, I always imagined the possibilities for her story beyond what we’re offered in the Odyssey. When World Weaver Press announced the continuation of their magical menageries series with an anthology titled Sirens, I was intrigued. After all, it was the famous Siren, Kalypso, who lured Odysseus away from Penelope for over seven years. Maybe there was a story here about both women?

4. Being an avid reader makes me a better writer. I love genre fiction and my shelves are filled with everything from horror, to military thrillers, to historical romance. I also appreciate good literary fiction with characters I remember long after I turn the last page. I just enjoy a good story, no matter the genre or style, and I own more books than I could possibly read in my lifetime. In fact, I had to turn my dining room into a library to fit them all. I enjoy making piles of books, sorted into various categories, and hovering over them like a dragon with her treasure.

5. I think the most difficult part of the writer’s life is finding long, uninterrupted hours to work. For me to have a productive creative writing session – working on new material, not editing – I need a minimum of two uninterrupted hours, and four is preferable. This is not so easy with four kids!

6. Six lines from page six of my Siren story:
She believes she is in love, but it is an obsessive, savage love. She feels the madness of it lurking within her—it infiltrates the crevices of her mind, seeps between her thoughts, and weaves its tendrils around her heart. And then she feels something different. Something altogether foreign. There is an urge, a tenacious whisper, compelling her into the sea. She fights the burn of it, shrugging it off like a cloak weighing too heavily in the hot sun.

For more on Sirens visit:
Rhonda Parrish (editor)

Friday, July 8, 2016

For the Girls!

We need to do better by our girls and young women. Despite having come a long way, there's still a long way to go before we are viewed as equals in the world.

A simple one for starters is women being called girls. It's demeaning. We are no longer children. Do men like being called boys? No. I've seen many get quite upset when they were called that. So why is it okay for us to refer to women as girls?

I'd also like to know why women action heroes often have to have their breasts hanging out or are not properly clothed. Even in cartoons that my daughters watch, there's the female in a skimpy outfit while the male's are fully clothed. It's degrading. Now some may argue that it's because super heroes are geared towards males. I'm sorry, boys don't need to watch cartoons where women have vast amounts of cleavage showing. In case you haven't seen the numbers, lots of women enjoy super hero and action movies.

While on the topic of action movies...can we please stop the trope with the kick ass woman wearing heels and her long hair flying around? A woman who knows she's going to be running is not going to wear heels and, personally, I can't stand my hair blowing in my face, give your hero a hair elastic to tie her hair  back with. Plus, long, loose hair, is easier to grab a hold of and yank. She would err on the side of caution and tie it back.

Can we also please do away with the stereotypical woman who loves shopping and manicures? Many women I know are not obsessed with clothes, shoes, or purses. Many women don't even bother to paint their nails, let alone spend money for a manicure. I read an urban fantasy several years ago where the female main character decided she needed a shopping break, while her life was in danger. It seemed very out of character. The author used initials, rather than a full first name, and immediately I looked it up to see that the book was written, unsurprisingly, by a man.

I've read books to my daughter at bedtime for ten years now. One thing I have noticed about books geared towards girls and young women, is that the female characters are so catty. This is a huge problem in society, women not lifting each other up. Why should we promote and encourage this behavior? Let's show girls that they can be strong, successful, and unique without other girls tearing them down. Yes, bullying and being picked on will probably always happen, but let's not go out of our way to make all female characters so cheap. I don't see a lot of books about females ages eight to twelve where one of the main conflicts is the mean girl at school.

We need to do away with gender defaults. When a police officer, doctor, or politician is mentioned in a book, what is your automatic gender association? I try to be very conscious of this when I talk to my children. The other day I used the pronoun "he" while talking about police officers and my 10 year old said, "Or she. Because girls can be police too." I was so proud of her for correcting me. Try to be conscious in your work and don't default to males filling roles. Also don't default to women doing the's sexist.

There have been numerous tweets by literary agents commenting on the lack of females in books at all. I was rather surprised and hadn't really thought about it before. The other night while watching the movie Forsaken, I realized that Demi Moore was the only woman with more than a couple lines! I think two other women had speaking parts. Our society is made up with all sorts of people, from different backgrounds, abilities, and beliefs, try to make them present in your books.

The intent of this post is not to complain, it's to raise awareness. Writing isn't just a joy, but also a responsibility. You are responsible for the thoughts you put out into the world (this goes for anything, not just writing), so please be aware of what you are releasing. If you're unsure, ask, don't rely on stereotypes.