Day 1: MDC3 Con: Creatures, Crimes & Creativity Conference

Friday, September 30, 2016 — At the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel, Columbia, MD


PANEL: Writing Outside the Box: Crossing Genre Lines to Tell Your Story

Panelists: Dana King (moderator), Bruce Kingsolver and Sandra Webster

Sandra’s salient points:

  • Write for the art of writing, OR write for the business of writing — you cannot do both and do them well
  • She ignores “genres.”  She allows others to put the genre(s) to her books (after the books are written).  Instead (of writing to market), she strives to tell a story that pulls you in, and the story she wants to write.
  • Question from audience: If she sees an opportunity to add a genre trope to the story will she go with it?  Yes, she will if it will not take away from the story.  She will do it, if possible, in order give that particular group of readers what they are expecting.
  • Some people write their endings first and then write the rest of the book

Bruce’s salient points:

  • When you cross genre, you can do anything you want.  But, there are certain tropes you must have, within the book, if you claim that genre.  If you miss a trope of that genre (you claim) it’s unforgivable.
  • He analyzes his work and will decide its genre after reviewing what’s in the book (after it has been written).  If the tropes of a specific genre are not there, or not strong enough, he will refrain from using that genre category in his marketing efforts.
  • Question about where do writers get ideas from.  Ideas are not the problem.  It’s the implementation and the expression of the idea that is the issue.
  • Question about how to keep a story moving throughout the middle.  He remembers a quote but cannot recall who said it, “In the middle, make sure no one has time to sit down.”

Dana’s salient points:

  • He does a simple chart of the book and writes a sentence for each chapter of the book.  Then, when he sits down to write, he knows what has to happen for the chapter — but doe not know how it will all come to pass.  He has to write it to find out.
  • Ideas are everywhere.  We trip over ideas, but which one will we write.  And, more importantly, which idea(s) do we have the expertise to write?

PANEL: Mysterys – Noir, Cozy, Police Procedural, Detective, etc.  What makes them so different?


Panelists: Allan Ansorge (moderator), Dana King, Donna Andrews and Millie Mack

Donna’s salient points:

  • In complete battle with the term “cozy”; her books do not contain recipes, nor tips on a craft.  She feels that a sub-genre has colored the entire term and therefore, many expect organizational tips, recipes, and step-by-step how-to’s within a book in the genre “cozy”.  She feels this expectation should not be the case.
  • Any subject can be used (within a story/genre) if you handle it properly.  She had pornography in her first cozy book but she did not tell the reader about the images seen.  She instead described the character’s reactions to what she was seeing on the computer screen — multiple screens popping open, the character’s facial expressions, etc.
  • Definition/distinction — Mystery: Is a Whodunit and then solve it.  Thriller: Something bag is going to happen but what, and where will this bad thing happen is unknown.  This is what the hero must figure out.
  • Show your detective character and how they can assist cops in seeing what the cops cannot/will not see

Dana’s salient points:

  • Writes hard-boiled cop procedurals
  • A typical police procedural = Barney Miller
  • A typical classic mystery = Agatha Christie
  • An awesome line of detective mystery are the Mickey Spillane books [Mike Hammer]
  • Current forensics are currently changing constantly. It’s always being upgraded.  So, if you write about a specific forensics test in your book, by the time it’s published it could be out of date and no longer utilized.  This is why his books are set in a small town with limited forensic resources.
  • 90% of the crimes that take place today are solved by cops talking to people; not by forensics.
  • Forensics rarely solves a case; forensics come more into play for the court case if the results come back in time.
  • DNA testing results take 16 – 18 months to come back, if it comes back at all.
  • Important to take note of: In most states, there are no medical qualifications are necessary to become a coroner.  A coroner is an appointed position.  So it becomes very difficult to label a murder, a murder, if the coroner doesn’t say it is.  There’s no leverage for anyone to say, do an autopsy because the corner has no medical knowledge!
  • The biggest asset to cops in the solving of cases is TIME and the changes wrought in the people involved in the cases.  In cold cases, a man now with a daughter approaching the age of a girl murdered, may have a change of heart and spill his guts about his doubts/observations of what he knows of xyz during the time(s) in question.  Thereby giving the detective new pieces to add to the puzzle of the long cold case possibly enough to solve it.


Need a Nudge? Here’s a few.

You know when you’re sick of facing the same sh** each and every day?  Not speaking of people and situations, I’m speaking of your own internal (read: mental) garbage that traps inside of a limited (read: tunnel vision) view of the world and how it works?

But, wait — you may say.  How do you even realize that you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Easy.  You have no energy.  You cannot settle on any one thing that you want to do.  You dream of doing things and then find EVERY single reason on the planet you cannot get it done now (or, ever).  A bleak outlook on life.


That’s how you know.

What am I leading up to?  Got no clue.  I just came back from vacation!🙂  I’m still floating on high from the sun, the gorgeous skies and the clear crystalline sea water. <sigh>

However, back in New York, on the train?  I see faces that are sick and tired of even thinking about their situations.  I see frustration, anger, anxiety.  I see pain on so many faces that are desperately trying to distract themselves from their doldrums with technology and entertainment distractions.

What do you do about it?

Find your passion.  Or, if you can’t find that — find something that interests you.  That makes you smile. That makes you want to interact with others in a manner that approaches normalcy.

Try kayaking on the Hudson River (it’s really a strait but, hey — that’s nitpicking, right?).  It’s absolutely FREE and you’ll definitely get shaken up a bit.

Or, why not try something new like experiencing an escape room game?  Komnata Quest has several locations — Long Island City and in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  They’re opening up a new location in Manhattan later this year.  Get lost for an hour in a robbery heist — you’re the robber!  Or, why not get locked in a box and have to use your noodle to escape?  (If that doesn’t get you out of your comfort zone I don’t know what will!)

Or, why not go hiking upstate?  New York State is gorgeous especially this time of year when the trees are beginning to turn.  Saratoga Springs is a great place to visit.  And, you can visit the racetrack when you’re there!  (Ooops, race course only open in the summer.)

Perhaps these things are too far off the beaten track (pun intended).

What about discovering a new social media platform that’s a combination of FaceBook, Ebay and WordPress all wrapped up in an easy-to-use interface?  And, it has an app, of course!  You get to click through folks’ hilarious updates.  See their pics (or, close your eyes praying you’ll never see that image EVER again…).  And, you can go shopping for cool stuff, read blogs, and join groups with common interests — all in one spot.  Check it out here.

If none of these suggestions move you in any way — hey — I tried!🙂

Seriously, stay sane by seeking what makes you happy.  Read a good book such as: Taking the Leap by Pema Chodron, or Start Where You Are also by Chodron.



Don’t want to read?  Check out Brain Sync with Kelly Howell.  These CDs have music that incorporate meditation, binaural beats and subliminal messaging.  The topics cover the gamut of life experiences/issues including losing weight, attracting wealth, stress management, awakening Kundalini, etc.

Okay, I’m done.

Vacation: Jamaica


My brain doesn’t want to write. Why? ‘Cause I’m on vacay!  So, here’s a short blog in pictures on this Writer Wednesday.

Sweetsop Lady

Buying sweetsop coming down off the ‘hill’ in Portmore.


RC hilltop

Me at the top of the ‘hill’. Altitude? 1,000 feet about sea level. In Portmore Jamaica in St. Catherine.


Ackee Saltfish & Food

Breakfast after the major accomplishment of climbing the hill! Ackee and saltfish with ground food and boiled green bananas.


Port Henderson Bulkhead

We stayed at Callie’s Beach House in Port Henderson, right outside of Kingston. Hurricane Ivan came several years ago and this resort had to put up a bulkhead to protect their property from the encroaching Caribbean Sea.


The steep road heading down towards the sea in Portland Jamaica near Port Antonio.

The steep road heading down towards the sea in Portland Jamaica near Port Antonio.

Short Reads: Jack, Some Cows, a Giant and, Oh, yeah…a Beanstalk

Last week, Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) posted a writing challenge where, if you so chose, you could randomly pick two sub-genres and write a story.  You should have seen these sub-genres!!!  Man…bodice-ripper, heist/caper, time travel, comic fantasy, fairy tale, etc.  You get the point right?  Not the easiest of topics to fit nicely into a story!  (If you want to see the post, here it is.)

Okay, sure.  I was supposed to post my story by NOON Fri, 8/12/16.  Clearly, I did not do that but I wanted to share my post with you guys anyway.  If you feel like it, leave me a comment below about what you think of it.

Thanks for running this challenge Chuck!


Jack, Some Cows, a Giant and, Oh yeah…a Beanstalk

By Rochelle Campbell

Jack and his mother lived on Mother Gaston Boulevard and Pitkin Avenue.  They had a blind cat named Milky-white and lived above a bakery.

One Wednesday after school, Jack was sitting at the kitchen table eating day-old donuts from the bakery below them.

“Man, Momma,” Jack said, between bites.  “We never catch a break!  We can’t even afford fresh donuts.”

Jack’s mother wrung her wrinkled hands and just looked at him.  She was older than most mothers as she had waited for better circumstances before conceiving a child.  When that didn’t happen, she and her husband adopted a teen-aged Jack.  Jack’s father didn’t like the instant family and left.

“Child, it will all get better soon,” his mother soothed.  She came to stand beside him.  She was barely four inches taller than Jack in his seated position.

“Momma, you say that every single time,” he shied away from her calloused hands as she reached for his woolly afro.  “Leave the ‘fro, Ma.  I just picked it out.”  He pulled out his cow dog whistle and flipped it around with one hand.

Stung, she drew her hand back quickly.  Her faded eyes had a light blue rim around the dark irises.  Her walnut colored face was compassionate but lined with age and hard labor.  “I was jus’ tryin’ ta help.  You playing with that damn whistle again.  Usually means you’re upset ‘bout something.”

Jack looked up at her eyes widened; he quickly put the whistle away.  “I know Momma.  I just get so frustrated, you know?  I want things to be better for us both but I’m afraid that – “

A loud noise drew their attention to the window.  Jack grabbed her arm and pulled her down to the floor.  Another loud CRACK filled the air.  They heard glass tinkle and fall to the floor.

They laid low for what seemed like ages when in reality it was only for seven minutes.  They heard the sirens of both the cops and an ambulance in the far distance racing towards them.  The closer the sirens came the better Jack felt.  The emergency vehicles stopped right below their third floor window.

Milky-white sauntered up to them and brushed his white and light grey head against their clenched fists.

“Not now, MW!  We’ll pet you later,” Jack shooed the cat away while helping his mother to her feet.

They tip-toed over to the living room window and peeked through the slit in the heavy maroon curtains both wondering what they would see.

Jack’s mouth dropped open as did her mother’s.  Down on the street below was full-sized pickup truck with a turned over trailer that had busted open.  On the street were four black and white cows lying motionless.  One cow had blood leaking from its head.  Another’s leg was at an unnatural angle to its body with a bloody snout.  The other two twitched and shivered near the mouth of the trailer with stakes of metal protruding from their flanks.

“Lord Sakes!  What in heaven’s name…”

The cops were across the street talking to a dazed looking man in denim overalls with a straw hat perched on his head.  The countrified dude was sitting on the curb staring at the cows with tears streaming down his face.  He was clearly ignoring the cop speaking to him.

“Momma…is you seeing this, too?”

“I see cows, Jack.  Dead cows.”

“They might not all be dead – yet.”

“Jack, didn’t I tell you never to lie?”


“I’ve been on a farm a time or two, so’s I know what a dead cow looks like. Jus’ like these here.”

As she was speaking, an uncomfortable feeling began to permeate Jack’s awareness.  He felt as if the man in the overalls was looking up at him.   Jack turned from her and looked down.  The man, indeed, was looking up directly at him.

Jack’s heart slammed against his chest.  He knew he needed to be downstairs somewhere close to the farmer dude.  Why?  He couldn’t fathom a why.  He just knew he needed to leave their cramped one bedroom apartment.

“Momma, I’ll be right back.  I need to check something real quick.”

“Child – no!  You git back here,” she hissed after him.

But he was already out of their front door and heading downstairs holding his breath in the musty, pee-soaked dank stairwell.  He let the breath go as he opened the front door to the building right next to the bakery.

As soon as Jack opened the door, the denim-clad man raised his aquamarine eyes and met Jack’s dark stare.  Jack felt a zing of recognition but knew he had never met this man before.  The odd déjà vu continued as Jack’s feet took him inexorably closer and closer to the man and the cop.

The cop had turned around to see what had arrested the man’s attention.  Upon seeing the skinny tall Black kid in the ubiquitous uniform of jeans, T-shirt, fancy sneakers with a medium-sized uneven afro, the cop’s brow furrowed.  The cop turned back around, looked at the farmer’s pale sun-burned skin then back at the dark-skinned youth.  He took a step back as his head swiveled back and forth between the two.

Jack stopped five feet from the cop.  He didn’t look at the man in dark blue.  Jack only had eyes for the man he couldn’t help feeling he knew.

“S’up, man.  Sorry ‘bout your cows.  What you doing around here anyway?”

The man didn’t blink in surprise.  He didn’t move a muscle.  He answered simply, “I was coming to see you.”

“Excuse me, Sir.  Do you know this young man?” The cop asked, confusion coloring his tone and face.

“Indeed I do.  He’s Jack – Jack Mackenzie.  Isn’t that right, boy?”  The man’s eyes grew hard as flint and narrowed as he saw Jack’s reaction.

“Don’t call me that!  I don’t know you, Man!”

“So, how do I know you?  And your mother?  She’s still up there looking down at us.  Worrying about the cows.  You should tell her.  She’s wrong.  You’re right.  Only two are dead.  Bessie and LuLu.  They’re goners.  Lucy and Mavis are just stunned.  Good thing for you, too.”

Jack’s brow couldn’t get further into his hairline.  “What you talkin’ ‘bout?!  I ain’t never seen a cow in real life before let alone in the middle of the hood dead on the street!  You talking crazy talk, Mr. Knox!”

He stilled and so did the cop.

“Son, how did you know this man’s name?”

How had he known?

The older man got up and dusted off his bum.  “Officer, unless you need something else, I think I’m fine now.  If you and your fellow officers can help get the cows back in the truck…”

“But sir, your truck is still overturned.”

“Is it?”

They all turned around and the dusty beige truck was right side up and no longer dented.  The cows were still all lying in the street.

The cop’s eyes bulged and he passed a hand over his face.  He took out a white handkerchief from one of his many pockets, lifted his hat and mopped his bald head dried his forehead of the moisture he found there, as well.

“Mr. Knox, we’ll do our best to get the cows up on the flatbed but we may need to call the fire department and their lifting apparatus to help with that.  Those animals are massive.”

“You do whatever is necessary.  But, I think you, your fellow officers and the EMT gentlemen can get a few cows in the truck.  Don’t ya think?”

With a pointed stare, the cop turned on his heel and walked woodenly to his patrol car reached in for the radio and began speaking into it.  He made no moves towards the cows, nor did he turn back around and look at either Jack, or Knox.

Jack took this in without saying a word.  He looked around and noticed that there were very few people about.  In fact, he saw only two other people.  This surreal scene was not being witnessed!  Jack shook his head, rubbed his eyes and looked around again.  Even the two guys were no longer anywhere to be seen.  It was only him, Knox, the three cops and the two EMT guys.  He couldn’t stall anymore and he turned to the man he had been avoiding and the question he knew he needed to ask burned a hole in his mind.

“So what is this all about?  Who – no, what are you?”

“I’ve got a gift for you, Jack,” Knox began digging in his pockets.  “I’ve been looking for your kin for a long time.  Your folks had me promise to deliver this to you ages ago, but time slipped away from me and ‘fore you know it, it was 2016.  But, here I am anyway.  Better late than never right?”

Jack took a few steps back knowing he did not want whatever this man, who most likely was not mortal, had to give him.

“See, Jack.  You can backpedal all you want but I will make my delivery.  It’s what I came to do.”

Jack turned to run and the world slowed down and time slowed down like he was mired in molasses.

Knox reached out in extreme stop action-like motion and touched Jack’s shoulder lightly.

Jack opened his mouth wide to yell but only thick oval waves of molasses-thickened sound came out.  In a moment, the world sped up and did a dizzying 360 turn.  Jack came back to regular reality with a jerk and whirled around to face Knox.  In the process, Jack noted the trees, the wide open fields, the low wooden fence, dozens of cows – brown, white and black ones – milling about the fields.  Far in the distance on his left he noticed a red barn and a windmill spinning idly in the light spring zephyr.  The yellow sundried wild grasses swayed in the wind as Jack stumbled forward falling to his knees as his eyes widened and he took in the pastoral rural scene before him.  He finally looked directly at Knox and said in a strangely calm tone, “Who are you?”

Knox looked away from Jack, plucked a piece of the grass and stuck it in his mouth.  “Funny thing about time; it’s maddeningly fluid, isn’t it?  One minute, you’re stealing a goose, a golden harp and a bag of gold, then the next you’re in a Brooklyn neighborhood hundreds of years later wondering what the heck just happened,” he paused, looked back at Jack and shined a mirthless toothy grin at him.  “Or, maybe it was the other way around. Right, Jack?  ‘Member that beanstalk over yonder?” Knox used his head to point towards the north.

Jack turned slowly, forcing himself to take more complete breaths that would not leave him so light headed.  He blinked rapidly against the glare of the late afternoon sun.  That’s when he saw it.  It was dark green and thick.  Thicker than anything he had ever seen.  It was as thick as a one hundred year old tree trunk.  Dried brown vines seemed to embed themselves into the trunk of the beanstalk.  It was massive, beautiful and terrifying.  It was an impossibility that somehow was a reality.

Picture on Brittany Jones-Cooper's website. Image from Yahoo Travel.

Picture on Brittany Jones-Cooper’s website. Image from Yahoo Travel.

Jack couldn’t help himself.  His eyes rose and continued to rise until they saw the beanstalk disappear amongst the clouds high up in the sky.  A shiver ran down his spine.  Knowingness came unbidden.  He dropped his head and refused to look at the man behind him.

“That’s right, Jack.  You know who I am now, doncha?”

“How long have you been chasing me?”

“The real question was how did you manage to steal my cow dog whistle?  It was so well hidden; so small.  How did you know what it was?  What it could do?”

Jack gulped hard.  There was no way he was going to tell Knox the Giant the harp had told him.  He just blinked hard a few times and tried not to sweat in the high noon sun.

Knox stepped closer to him; grabbed him by the arms and shook until Jack’s mind felt like scrambled eggs.  He shoved him away hard.

Jack fell backward and landed flat on his bum.

Knox went through Jack’s pockets and plucked out the whistle.  “There she is.  My sweet ticket back to my old home; the one you tossed me out of when I followed you.  Not sure why you brought us here but, you can have at it.  I ain’t taking you back.  I’m curious.  How did you travel here without blowing the whistle?”

Knox backed five feet away, put the slim silver whistle to his mouth and blew.  The air turned wavy and thick like molasses once more.  In a few seconds, Knox was gone.

Jack sat up and looked around him and smiled.  The harp had also taught him how to transfer the time walking properties directly into his body.  The whistle probably had only two or three travel jaunts left in it.

He got up slowly and walked to the barn with a smile on his face.  He was looking forward to seeing Milky-white, his prize-winning cow.  After selling the original Milky-white to get the magic beans, Jack had always kept a cow that looked similar.  Having an MW in his life was his lucky charm, or so he believed.  Furrowing his brow, Jack wondered if he should go back and get his mother now, or wait until the sun went down.  It would be easier to explain when it all when she couldn’t see that their surroundings had completely changed.  He would have the whole night to try and make her understand who he was, and what he could do.

Jack pulled open the barn doors and paused to allow his eyes to adjust to the dimness.  With a broad smile, he stepped inside and shrieked.  Knox was sitting on a bale of hay but he had transformed into his original form.  The Giant raised a hand in greeting.

“I was thinking about how we got here and why you would bring us here,” the Giant rasped in his deep gravel-filled voice.  “Then, I realized this damn harp musta told you all of my secrets, including about the whistle.”  The Giant put a hand behind the bale of hay and pulled out the golden harp.

“Noo!  Save me, Jack!  Save me!!”

Jack took a step forward and stopped short when he saw what was in the Giant’s other hand.”

“That’s right.  Look into her eyes.”

Jack stared into the double black iris-less eyes of a sawed off shot gun.

“Hasta la vista, baby.”  And, Knox pulled the trigger.

# # #

Developing One’s Writing Voice

For the past few months, I’ve been speaking with writer friends, reading about how other’s find their writing voices, and have been ruminating on this topic in quiet moments.  With all of this, what have I come to?

Finding one’s writing voice is intensely personalized.  No one way works for each and every writer.  Each writer must find his, or her, own way over whatever time period that the process takes.

For me, the process involves finding my true self, the self buried under the foolishness and mundane layers of social propriety.  Yeah, the real me!  LOL. (Scary!)

voice and voice bubbles chart

What I’ve found is that I like to write different things at different times.  I would not self-identify as only a “horror” writer, or only a “SciFi” writer, or a “women’s fiction” writer.  I would say I am a writer moved to write about different life experiences.

I’m finding my voice by writing different things, by trying different genres and seeing how it feels as I complete these projects.  With some projects I love the way I feel as I am writing.  With other projects, I absolutely abhor what I write and the emotional pulses as I write repulse me.  These are all signs to me that I never really paid attention to before.  I just wrote.  Now, I am writing to find out what I really want and like to write.  This is probably something I should have figured out before but I was told we could write anything we want to write.  We’re writers, after all.  True.  But each of us has our own personal writing path/journey.  I guess I am clarifying what my path is right now.  It’s my time.

writing painting of voice_voltaire

I like Voltaire’s quote.  It comforts me.  And, most importantly, I find it to be true.  My writing voice reflects where I am at that moment in time.

What has your journey been?  How have you found your writing voice?

Bleeding on the Page

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  And, there’s a lot going on good stuff, mainly.  My day job’s been quite busy.  My children are growing up but still needing time and attention.  (Gee, imagine that.  They still need a mom…)  And, to boot, I added in some fun work in mid-April — curating the Horror Writers Association Twitter feed.  I am one of the contributors.

Did I mention that my New Year’s goal for 2016 was to write a new short story each month?  Oh, and then try to submit a story, or two, each month?  (Not necessarily the one just written.  I do have quite a few stories written from previous times that I NEVER did anything with; except write them.)

So, I’m in the middle of all of this.  Hubby just keeps watching me and asking if I’m alright.  As well he should!

Going along now for several months and my writing goal is going as planned.  But in April, I hit a snag.  Yes, that’s when I took on a bit of extra fun work and I had to get used to fitting in the work curating entailed.  That took a few weeks but then all of a sudden it was PitDark (May 12, 2016)!  I had only a few days to prepare.  It crept up on me.  And that’s when the big wham-o happened.

What the heck was I doing writing a graphic horror novel?!  (This thought comes fully two years after it’s written; 102K+ words.)  Shocker to my system, I tell ya.  You think you know yourself and then — oops, you don’t.

Somehow, this book poured out of me and characters were born (a few died, of course).  An awesome book cover is all in place and I’m feeling like a skittish bride — right before PitDark.  You could say it was classic cold feet as it was my first online pitchfest.  You could say it was fear of rejection.  You could say it was regret at not having written say, a romantic comedy.  You could.  What do I say?  I dunno.

I ignored the sensations, prepped my tweets in advance.  Had writer friends peek at them.  I revised them.  Took the day off so I could focus on the tweets and possibly revise my tweets as the day went on (as advised by many experienced pitchfest attendees/hosts).  I was as prepped as possible.  And what happened?  I received one ‘official’ like late in the day after having held my breath ALL day.  Imagine my exultation at knowing someone out there in publishing wanted to take a gander at my full MS!  Wahoo!  I happydanced until my heart felt it would burst (all of 30 seconds).  Then, I got to work submitting my book the proper way.  It took me a couple hours to get it all done.  Now, for the hard part — the waiting for a response.  I’m still waiting.  LOL.  That’s publishing folks.

During this time, I re-focused back on my short stories and wrote two new stories in May and increased my stories in submission by 3.  Total stories in submission right now is just under 10.

Even with all of this activity, there’s a thing still happening with me.  What’s that thing?  The question of what kind of writer am I.  I researched and talked to some writing friends and researched some more.  The most helpful article I found is this one by Holly Lisle:

Ten Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice

There are many pieces out there but this one resonated with me especially because it suggested I create lists — I love lists!🙂 — More importantly, you’re supposed to play games with your lists.  How frickin’ cool is that?  (Yes, yes.  Nerdy writer.)

Feeling some kind of way about having hit this particular wall so many years into my writing career.  I definitely thought I had my ‘voice’ down pat.  It seems I didn’t, don’t.  This is the underlying discomfort I had surrounding the horror novel.

But, here’s the thing.  That novel?  It came so easily!  The voice, the characters, the plotting, the plot shifts — it all flowed so well.  Some of it scared me out of my wits.  It’s supposed to — it’s a horror novel.  But, I didn’t think about it, I just wrote.  I was also pregnant with my third child during the majority of the writing of that story.  Maybe that freed me up and allowed the story out.

Now, I am past postpartum emotions.  I’m back to ‘me’ again.  And, herein lies the problem.  I’m back to me.  The horror novel?  I did what Hemingway suggested.  I sat at my laptop and bled a little.  Maybe, more than a little.  While pregnant, it didn’t bother me.  Now, not pregnant.  It bothers me — a lot.

Hemingway_bleed 2 quote

It seems I played it ‘safe’ with my stories and my readers.  Without getting pregnant again, how do I bleed onto the pages?  That’s the question.  Working through it.  Will let you know when I come out the other side…



1st Darker Literature PitchFest: #PitDark – Thurs, May 12

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am supremely excited about #PitDark — the first ever Twitter pitch fest for dark literature (horror, psychological thrillers, mysteries with a dark edge, etc.).

When is it happening? Thursday, May 12, 2016 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm EDT

Set your calendars!  Polish those full-length novel manuscripts (no, short stories)! And get those tweets ready!  Only 1 tweet per hour, please.

There’s a very exciting lineup of literary agents and book publishers that will virtually attend seeking new manuscripts.  Yours could be one of them!

For more information, check out Jason Huebinger’s page for all the deets (including the hashtags for you to use for your specific genre).