A Hell of A Week

You guys, I did a grown-up thing.

I am now a fully-fledged member of the Horror Writer’s Association as an affiliate writer! It may sound silly, but it really does feel like the most grown-up thing I’ve ever done.

As well as celebrating this monumental happening, The Suffering is now released for pre-order on Kindle. It became the #1 new release in the LGBTQ+ category in Amazon, which made me exceptionally proud. Having a queer lead character wasn’t planned when I first started writing the book but, as my characters seem to have free will, Kyle let me know along the way! In a week of dark controversy in regards to representation and diversity in the horror writing world, it’s great to be able to share this positive news.

The book also did great in the categories of New Release in British Horror Fiction and Ghost Suspense, hitting #5 and #3 respectively. This is mind-blowing to me, and I thank everybody who has made the choice already to pre-order the book.

I’ve also received my first reviews from ARC readers on Goodreads. The first was a 4* review, saying they enjoyed the story and that Cassie was their favourite character. This was so great to hear! It was amazing to have a total stranger react positively, and to name a character that resonated with them. I’m also glad it was Cassie – she’s a badass, and I’m thrilled someone else feels the same way.

The second review was a 3* but the reader helpfully listed the reasons why it wasn’t for her, and I guess my style definitely isn’t what she enjoys! I’m grateful they took the time to explain the reasons why they didn’t love it: it has a 2000’s goofy horror kind of feel (excellent! That’s exactly the style I love!). I feel as though lovers of Thirteen Ghosts, which is the ultimate 2000’s goofy horror, will be more my audience. If you’re looking for a slow-burn, suspenseful chiller, this isn’t the book for you! It’s more of a fast-paced, horror romp. Just the way I like it.

Potentially the most exciting thing of all for me was seeing the book unexpectedly feature in 2 publications. You’ll find it in The Horror Maven‘s Comprehensive List of 2023 Horror Book Releases, and The Line Up‘s 4 Terrifying New Releases from Indie and Small Presses.

It’s been a whirlwind few days, the book having only been on pre-release for less than a week. There is so much happening, and a lot more to come! Thank you to everyone joining me for the ride.


October Writing

October was a pivotal month for my writing. As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to brand myself as a horror writer, focusing only on the horror genre and beginning work on a full-length horror novel. It makes sense, as most of my short stories have been published in horror anthologies, providing me with a spook-filled portfolio to approach prospective agents and publishers with when the time comes. Happy belated Halloween, by the way!

As of 5th October, it isn’t only short stories in my portfolio. I was over the moon to have the No Sleep Podcast pick up one of my shorts, Better Than Mardis Gras, and turn it into a segment on their incredible show. It features as the second story in Episode 16 of Season 13. Hearing three talented actors perform the story gave me goosebumps. It felt even better because this was a story that has faced rejection in the past. It reinforced the idea that you should never shelve something just because you get a few rejections. One day it may find a home, and a perfect one at that!

I have to admit, there was one glaring error in the story – a dreaded hanging adverb! There is no writing mistake that stands out more than an adverb at the end of a creepy sentence, read out by an actor, with atmospheric sound effects in the background, followed by a dramatic pause. Believe me, now I know. But hey, I cringed. I moved on. If I hadn’t have spotted that as a mistake, maybe I should worry (and yes, I wish I had spotted it before I submitted it!). But we live and learn – that’s what writing is all about. It’s a comfort to me to know that even though our work may not be as perfect as we’d like, we still get these chances to showcase and improve.

So, I’m chugging away at my horror novel. I’m not taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, but I’m enjoying seeing participant word counts growing on Insta! I’m currently on 20k and hoping to hit 30 by the end of November (definitely not enough to make the Nano grade!). Good luck to all of you who are participating. I can’t wait to hear about your successes.  


Summer Submissions

I am loving the variety of submission call themes that have been released this summer! As usual, signing up to the Author’s Publish newsletter has been invaluable, and I’ve got a few publications on my list that I’m hoping to sway!

Cohesion Press/SNAFU are looking for military or mercenary stories on the theme of The Last Stand. This publication is a huge draw for me as the introduction will be written by Tim Miller, director of Deadpool, new Terminator & Love, Death & Robots. Now, I am coming from a Marvel obsessed household. As I write, there are about twenty Pop Vinyl’s staring back at me, and I have a giant X-Men print on the wall behind my head. My husband rocks around in a Deadpool dressing gown every night, so you can imagine what a huge deal it would be to make it to final selection. Needless to say, I am working hard on this submission!

I have enjoyed writing a story for Michael A. Ventrella & Randee Dawn’s Across the Universe alternative Beatles fiction compilation. They are looking for Beatles ‘What If…’ submissions, and judging by the information they have offered up already, it should be set to be an extremely fun read. I went through a mad Beatles phase when I was a child, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that my What If tale is good enough to make the final cut. I am slightly concerned that my laptop seems to despise converting to rtf. and it alters all of the layout formatting upon sending, which may hinder my efforts. But, fingers crossed! All we can do is try, sheepishly explain, and try again…(welcome to my morning).

Another upcoming submission is for the Jolly Horror Accursed object anthology. This is right up my street, and I’m just putting the finishing touches to a nasty little tale featuring a bunch of pranksters. I am a sucker for gruesome horror, so giving this one a try has made me smile this week!

I also have a new mantra, with my upcoming WIP amendments and huge edits in mind. It’s Not Everest! We’ve got this, you guys.