Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Homage to Women in Horror - Part 3

And so we come to the final post in my three-part tribute to women horror writers.

Several of my fellow horror hounds over on the AbsoluteWrite forum have also been honouring Women in Horror Month, so this week I'd like to give them a shout-out. Go check out their blogs, because they are all worth a read.

Rhoda Nightingale: Rhoda's 'Glitter and Gore' blog does what it says on the tin, and she has several posts paying tribute to Women in Horror.

Damien Walters Grintalis: Damien has a lot of guest posts for Women in Horror month on her blog, including one from me. Do read the post about Ripley from the 'Alien' movies, by Molly Tanzer. She makes some jolly good points.

Brittany Maresh: On her blog, Brittany has listed the female horror writers who have inspired her at different stages of her life.

Tracy Pittman: Tracey's 'Flying With Broken Wings' blog pays tribute to more female horror writers, and she also explains why she writes horror.

As we come to the end of Women in Horror month, I'm aware that I've barely scratched the surface in naming women horror writers, even counting all the links that my fellow Horror Hounds have posted. We are to be found everywhere, we women in horror, and we are a much larger force than people might think.

Ladies of horror, remember to say it loud: "I am a woman. I write horror. I am proud."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Playing Hidden Object Games

One of my favorite pastimes is playing Hidden Object Games (HOG). I also like to play chess, but that's another blog post.

For those of you unfamiliar with HOG, the goal is to solve a mystery, find a treasure, etc. via finding hidden objects and often solving mini logic puzzles. Complexity varies with each game but there are often walk-throughs available.

Most of the HOG I play contain mystery/supernatural themes/elements. My favorites include Phantasmat, Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst, Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, The Exorcist, and Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Premature Burial. Of course, this is only a partial list and certainly not conclusive.

Why do I like HOG? Part of it's the mental challenge, hence my love of crossword puzzles and chess. (I also like playing video games on occasion. Right now I have my eye on L.A. Noire.) With HOG and video games, it's the game play, character designs, backgrounds, story line, and music that, hopefully, when combined, will create an overall enriching gaming experience. Big Fish Games offers an hour free trial for their HOG. Worth checking out if you're interested.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Homage to Women of Horror - Part 2

Continuing my tribute to Women in Horror Month, today I am following on by mentioning some of the women of horror I have met, and who have inspired me, over the years:

Sally Spedding: I first met Sally at the Winchester Writers' Conference a few years ago. Part of your delegate ticket when you register is the opportunity for three one-to-ones, two of which can be with agents or editors. I picked Sally for my third non-agent/editor one-to-one because she was another writer who crossed the genres of crime and horror. I sent her the first chapter of DEATH SCENE. When I sat down for my fifteen minutes with her, she told me it was the best thing she'd read all weekend and I'd really made her day by sending it to her. Well, she made my week - nay, my year - by telling me so, and we've stayed in touch ever since.

Sarah Pinborough: Sarah is a versatile writer who writes in many genres, including YA, sf, horror and crime - or combining all of the above. I can particularly recommend her "Dog-Faced Gods" trilogy. Set in a near-future dystopian London, the main character is a paranormal investigator looking into a series of crimes. It becomes clear that there is something supernatural involved. I feel like I've known Sarah for ages, because I run into her at every convention I go to. But I think we first met at the World Horror Con in Brighton, less than two years ago.

Lisa Tuttle: Many years ago, in my first job as book shop assistant, an anthology of horror stories written by women came into the shop. Published by Women's Press, it was called THE SKIN OF THE SOUL and Lisa Tuttle gave the introduction, making the argument that horror had been erroneously considered a man's domain for far too long and it was high time to acknowledge all the fine women horror writers out there. I've been a fan of Lisa's ever since. I got to tell her how inspiring I found that anthology at World Horror Con in Brighton - and it seems I wasn't the only woman to do so, as she makes reference to it in a blog post on her livejournal blog.

Next, a shout-out to some Women of Horror I've connected with online, but haven't met in person:

Rita Vetere: Rita's WHISPERING BONES is a thrillingly scary horror tale.

Diane Dooley: Diane is also honouring Women of Horror on her blog this month, so go check it out.

Fiona Dodwell: Fiona is another Writer of Damn Scary Books.

Sealey Andrews: Sealey is also honouring Women in Horror Month on her 'Girl in the Soapdish' blog.

Jenna M Pitman: Jenna's horror fiction can be found everywhere, it seems, going by her list of publishing credits.

Last but by no means least, I want to give a shout-out to the lovely ladies who are my co-bloggers here. They are all fabulous writers, and you should go read their books:

Sonya Clark
Nerine Dorman
Pamela Turner

Seeing as how February has an extra day this year, next Wednesday will be the third and final part of my homage to women of horror, so be sure to come back next week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Story Published

For the longest time, I worried I would never see another publication. It's not for lack of writing. I have partials and completed manuscripts, plus a file folder of ideas. The problem was finding beta readers and critique partners to help me polish my works in progress and get them ready for submission.

I'm excited to announce my short story "It's in Your Blood" is included in the anthology Bites - Ten Tales of Vampires. Originally titled "Initiation," and posted for free on Scribd and my blog, "It's in Your Blood" is a new version of the story. (The original story is removed from the aforementioned sites.)

In other writing news, this afternoon I sent a screenplay to a CP who is a professional screenwriter and juror for the Humanitas prize. He offered to critique my screenplay before he starts reading the Humanitas entries. Since his time is valuable, I appreciate his willingness to look over my work. 

If you'd like to learn more about Bites - Ten Tales of Vampires, you can find information on Amazon or Smashwords .

I'm stoked about writing opportunities this year. Can't say how it'll turn out, but so far things are looking good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Homage to Women of Horror - Part 1

This month is Women In Horror month. As a woman of horror I want to support this worthy cause. I'm going to start by pointing you towards this website, dedicated to Women In Horror Month.

"Women don't write horror". This is a battle I feel I've been fighting my whole life. It's as frustrating and erroneous an assumption as the notion that all SF fans are 16-year-old boys who like pictures of women in chain mail bikinis, with unfeasibly large breasts, because they can't get anywhere near a real-life woman.

The media does nothing to disabuse the general public of this notion. Cult SF and horror magazines sport covers featuring pictures of mostly-naked women with the aforementioned unfeasibly large breasts. Books aimed at women sport pink covers with curly lettering and pictures of lipstick, shoes and shopping bags. Gifts aimed at women (and we are bombarded by such ads at Christmas) suggest that your mum or aunty or sister or girlfriend wants a make-up kit or bottle of perfume. Never have I seen an advert that says she wants the new Resident Evil game on the PS3 (which is what I want next birthday).

I would like to point out that women horror writers are hardly a modern phenomenon. One of the first horror novels to be published was not only written by a woman, it was written by a teenager. Mary Shelley was 17 when she penned FRANKENSTEIN.

In support of Women In Horror month, next week I will be paying homage to some contemporary women of horror. If you are one such woman and you want a mention and a link to your blog this month, please let me know.

Let's hear it for Horror Women!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2012: The Year of the Critiques

Happy Valentine's Day!

After about a year of indecision, I finally joined Sisters in Crime last month. I also joined their critique group, the Guppies, and my local chapter this past Saturday.  In my short time with them, I've learned information that will help my writing.

Part of my concern was how did SinC react to e-books? Did they embrace or eschew them? So far, all indications seem to be acceptance. Traditional publishing avenues aren't ignored, either, so there's a nice balance of information and opinions.

I'm currently on the third (fourth?) draft of my vampire Victorian paranormal m/m mystery, The Ripper's Daughter. Once I have a solid draft ready, I hope to send it to my Guppies group for critique. 2012 is going to be the year of critiquing, I see. I really want to submit work this year so I'm making a conscious effort to finish revising these stories and getting them out. (Fingers crossed...)

Other than that, I have some news I'm waiting to tell. Should be very soon so hopefully I can post it next week. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Geek Excitement: Resident Evil 6

This week's post is not about writing, but if you will indulge me I want to burble on about one of my other obsessions - computer games. More specifically, one particular game.

If you've been following my blog Imaginary Friends, you will know I have something of an obsession with playing 'Resident Evil 4'.

We have 'Resident Evil 5' as well, but in my view it's just not as good. Sure, the graphics are better - RE4 is only available on the Nintendo Wii, and it was never really designed to be a superior graphics machine. But I prefer the Wii controls to the PS3 controls. I am a hopeless shot. The Wii controls are gentler on those who are crap shots.

But the game itself just has more atmosphere than its sequel. In RE4, Leon spends a lot of time runing around alone (apart from occasional cut scene interactions with NPCs, and of course the interactions with the very annoying Ashley) in a lonely and creepy part of rural Spain, being attacked by zombies and other unnatural beasties, on a dark rainy night. RE5, set in the daytime under the baking sun of Africa, just doesn't have the same atmosphere.

And then, of course, the game has Leon. Leon is hot. I have a solid faction of female friends who all drool over Leon. The main character in RE5 is Chris Redfield, who doesn't have the same lust factor.

'Resident Evil' as a series has been around for years. Not being familiar with the game before RE4, I can't say anything about what earlier games were like, but I gather that the same characters have been popping up periodically throughout the series - Chris and his sister Claire; Leon; Krauser; Jill Valentine; Ada Wong. Each game progresses the plot along, with points from the previous series occasionally referred to. The films follow through with this. I hear rumour there's a new film in development - live action this time - that will feature all of the series' characters. Including Leon. Can't wait for that one.

Anyway, more exciting than that is the news that 'Resident Evil 6' is being released later this year. It's on the PS3, not the Wii, so I will have to get a handle on the awkward controls. But the graphics will be great. And, more relevant, this game features Leon. In full PS3 CGI glory. Woohoo!

For a taster, here's the trailer:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Conglomeration

First, I'm happy to hear the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The battle isn't over but any victory helps.

Also, many of you are probably aware of the RWA/RWI debacle. I won't get into it here but the gist is the Romance Writers Ink chapter of the RWA decided no same-sex entries in their More Than Magic (MTM) contest this year. They apparently did not have a problem with same-sex entries before, since many GBLT books not only finaled but won in previous years. Supposedly, the reasoning was the members "felt uncomfortable" with such entries, hence the ban.

Well, to say the information went viral is an understatement. Members of the Rainbow Romance Writers (the GBLT chapter of RWA) protested and other writers, blogs, etc. picked up the rallying cry for the RWA and RWI to stop this discriminatory practice. Sadly, the RWI canceled their contest.

I hope the RWA does the right thing. Many of my favorite writers identify as GBLT. And lest you think this applies only to romance writers, let me also list a few who are noted among the literary: James Baldwin, Tony Kushner, Edward Albee, and Audre Lorde, among others.

On another note, I'm hoping to share some news soon. Also, here's my writing update, with a nod to Sara, who posted hers last week. (And I did say this was a conglomeration) :-) Anyhoo, working on the 3rd revision of The Ripper's Daughter. I used Lynn Viehl's The Novel Notebook to plot my story and it's really helped keep my story focused so these rewrites are going much better than the angel UFs, which I often had to restart from scratch. Either that or I've finally found my genre. LOL

Speaking of angel UF, The Zaphkiel Project is currently with beta readers/CPs. So things are moving along a bit faster than last year. I really want to submit two books this year, hence my drive. (Besides, I can't let everyone else have all the fun, right?)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Writing Update - February 2012

I thought it was about time for a roundup of current news in my writing world.

Firstly, the big news is that I have been asked to contribute to an anthology on the subject of siblings - one of whom must have a dark secret - that is to be part of Hersham Press's pentanth series, to be published in September 2012.

The other four writers involved are Richard Farren Barber, Stuart Hughes, Sam Stone and Simon Kurt Unsworth.

This is tremendously exciting for me, as it's the first time I've been approached to write something that's not been vetted or auditioned first. The fact that there's an assumption I can write something good enough to compete with these other marvellous writers is singularly thrilling and terrifying.

However, one obstacle at least has been overcome. I've got an idea for my story, and I'm already 3,000 words in to the first draft. So I have plenty of time to polish it up to publishable standard. She says confidently...

And what of other writing projects? Work on my short story collection SOUL SCREAMS continues apace, though its release date has been put back a little. We are now expecting the e-book and the print version to be released in June. I will reiterate this will available in print as well as electronic format. So all of you who keep saying you don't like e-books and prefer 'proper' books have no excuses with this one. A paper version will be available.

On top of all this, I still have my two WIP novels on the go - the second Shara book, and the new horror novel.

So already 2012 is proving to be a very busy year, and it's only just started!