Quoth the Raven Author Victoria Weisfeld on Crime Writing, Dark Fiction, and the Timeless Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Victoria

To celebrate the release of Quoth the Raven, edited by Lyn Worthen and published by Camden Park Press, I’m getting cozy with my fellow anthology contributors to learn more about their stories and what inspires their dark little writers’ hearts.

For my final interview, I’m chatting with Victoria Weisfeld, author of “Tooth and Nail” in Quoth the Raven.

Quoth the Raven celebrates the eerie and influential legacy of Edgar Allan Poe. What is it about Edgar Allan Poe’s work that speaks to you (perhaps from the grave)?

As a crime writer, I appreciate how he built up characters who could get under your skin. Growing up reading Poe and Dickens, those long loopy sentences still carry me right into the story, though that writing style is definitely out-of-date today. It’s fun going back to it.

Pick three adjectives to describe the story you wrote for Quoth the Raven.

Obsession, compulsion, and (this is a long one) seeing the world through a cracked lens.

Imagine you’re in an old-timey elevator, a rickety one that boasts a well-worn, rusty cage. There’s a man in all black in the elevator with you, and he asks what your story is about. What do you tell him?

“Well, Mr. Poe, it’s about a woman who sees her twin brother as the other half of herself and will stop at nothing to keep him close.”

Okay, I’m continuing with this scenario thing. It’s 1849, and you’re at a gathering of literature lovers, a salon, if you will. Across the room, you spy Edgar Allan Poe, and you simply must go over to him to compliment his work. What is the story or poem of his that you laud to excess? And why?

After gushing shamelessly, and extolling “The Gold Bug” for igniting my interest in cryptography, and “The Purloined Letter” as an example of a police procedural, I’d settle on “The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym,” one of Poe’s longer works, as one of the best adventure stories of all time, especially for an 1849 reader as yet unacquainted with the National Geographic and television nature programs.

As a writer, what do you think are the most important elements of dark fiction?

Atmosphere comes to mind first and characters whose darkness (or by contrast, whose innocence) reveals the danger of their environment. Naturally, dark fiction employs sinister plots, but a plot that just piles on gore without establishing a sense of menace or without developing characters the reader cares about falls short. (A flaw in some modern crime fiction, as well.)

As a reader, why are you attracted to dark fiction? Why do you think we like to read about the things that terrify us?

This is not an original insight, but sometimes reading about—exposing oneself to—supremely terrifying things makes it easier to deal with the fearful events encountered in everyday life. Some experts suggest this accounts for the popularity among women of a certain kind of thriller. Reading about sexual violence helps readers contemplate not just the terror of such an event, but also its survivability. Maybe.

What’s a story or poem – by any author – that has truly creeped you out (in the best way possible, of course)? What was it about that particular story that just got to you?

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. It was the first psychological thriller I’d ever read, so I wasn’t prepared for how far he’d go. Julia Heaberlin’s Paper Ghosts is a 2018 example. A young woman, Grace, embarks on a road trip with a demented elderly man she thinks may have killed her sister a dozen years earlier. The cat-and-mouse game between them, as she tries to figure out how lucid is he, really, is nerve-wracking!

Who are some of your literary inspirations?

I am a Dickens fan, and my last trip to England was to be part of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of his birth (favorite book: Our Mutual Friend). But since I’m a crime/mystery writer I have many sources of inspiration. I’d love to achieve the comic voice—even occasionally—of Joe Ide; the humanity of James Anderson; the literary power of Hannah Tinti, the suspense-creation of Gin Phillips. And many more!

What are you working on now?

Two novels are complete and appearing on publisher’s desks. One set in Rome, involving Eugenia Clarke, whom I’ve published several short stories about. Genie is a travel writer whose curiosity inevitably lands her in difficulty—deadly difficulty in this case. The other novel is about a New York architect whose mistress is murdered. On the surface, it’s about figuring out why she died and who killed her (and why they are plotting against him), but fundamentally it’s about a man trying to regain his self respect.

Where can we find more of your work or connect with you online?

I have an active website—vweisfeld.com—with a page on “My Writing.” You can link directly to many of my short stories there, including the Derringer award-winning “Breadcrumbs.” The website includes book, movie, and theater reviews; covers topics writers fret about; and offers some travel tips, possible fodder for Genie’s next adventures.

About Victoria:

My short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine; Betty Fedora, Big Muddy, and the recent anthologies Busted: Arresting Stories from the Beat, Murder Among Friends, and Bouchercon 2017’s Passport to Murder, as well as Quoth the Raven. I’m a reviewer for U.K. website crimefictionlover.com and Broadway-based theater review site TheFrontRowCenter.com.

Quoth the Raven coverAbout Quoth the Raven:

The works of Poe were dark and often disturbing. From dismembered corpses, rivals bricked behind cellar walls, murders in back alleys, laments for lost loves, obsessions that drive men – and women! – to madness, his stories have had a profound impact on both the horror and mystery genres to this day.

In Quoth the Raven, we invite you to answer the call of the raven and revisit Poe’s work, re-imagined for the twenty-first century. Here, the lover of mystery and goth horror will find familiar themes in contemporary settings, variations on Poe’s tales, and faithful recreations of the author’s signature style.

Purchase your copy of the anthology HERE.

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Dark Tales and Devious Plots with Quoth the Raven Author Donea Lee Weaver

Donea Lee photo

To celebrate the release of Quoth the Raven, edited by Lyn Worthen and published by Camden Park Press, I’m getting cozy with my fellow anthology contributors to learn more about their stories and what inspires their dark little writers’ hearts.

Next, I’m interviewing Donea Lee Weaver, author of “The Ca(t)sualty” in Quoth the Raven.

Quoth the Raven celebrates the eerie and influential legacy of Edgar Allan Poe. What is it about Edgar Allan Poe’s work that speaks to you (perhaps from the grave)?

I think what really speaks to me about Poe’s work is the way he delves into the psychology of madness. So many triggers and so many reactions and consequences. It’s fascinating!

Pick three adjectives to describe the story you wrote for Quoth the Raven.

Morally-gray, snarky, accidental.

Imagine you’re in an old-timey elevator, a rickety one that boasts a well-worn, rusty cage. There’s a man in all black in the elevator with you, and he asks what your story is about. What do you tell him?

I’d ask him, “Have you ever been married?…Happily?…If your answer is ‘yes,’ then my story is a cautionary tale of what could happen if you pushed your spouse too far – and liked the cat more than her…”

Okay, I’m continuing with this scenario thing. It’s 1849, and you’re at a gathering of literature lovers, a salon, if you will. Across the room, you spy Edgar Allan Poe, and you simply must go over to him to compliment his work. What is the story or poem of his that you laud to excess? And why?

I’d tell him that the story that has stuck with me from when I first read it in school, is “The Tell-Tale Heart.” The image of the old man’s eye and how the main character tries to convince the reader that he’s not mad…yet, he so clearly is…it’s awesome.

As a writer, what do you think are the most important elements of dark fiction?

They absolutely have to be atmospheric, such a dark and riveting setting that when the madness/terror happens you’re already sucked in. I also think they need to really dig into the inner-dialogue of what drives the main character to do this terrible thing they do.

As a reader, why are you attracted to dark fiction? Why do you think we like to read about the things that terrify us?

For me, it’s always been about the adrenaline rush. When I’m so terrified, I want to cover my eyes and hide away, but I’m still peeking through my fingers, because I just have to know what happens next.

What’s a story or poem – by any author – that has truly creeped you out (in the best way possible, of course)? What was it about that particular story that just got to you?

I’d have to go with Frankenstein. It’s terrifying and heart-breaking at the same time. And the way it plays with ideas of gods and monsters is really quite genius.

Who are some of your literary inspirations?

There are many, but some of the stories that have truly stuck with me – the ones I wish with all my heart were real – those are the most inspiring to me, and they were written by: J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Eva Ibottson, Cornelia Funke, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

What are you currently working on right now?

I’m working on a contemporary, light sci-fi novel that has a creepy explanation about the faces you might see in inanimate objects…

Where can we find more of your work or connect with you online?

I had a short novella published in an anthology a while back, but it has since been unpublished, so my story in Quoth the Raven is the only piece of mine you can currently find online. Hopefully, more to come soon. People can always connect with me on Twitter or Instagram: @donealee

About Donea Lee:

Donea Lee Weaver is a perpetual daydreamer who’s been creating and telling stories since her elementary school days. When she’s not writing about the things she loves (all things fantasy, sci-fi, romance and yes, even a little horror) she’s out exploring with her daughter, dog and husband somewhere in northern UT. She also loves to read, travel and play games with her sisters and best friend. She earned a BA in English from Weber State University and is a member of SCBWI, The League of UT Writers and attends the Storymaker’s Writing Conference every year. Feel free to contact her at donealee@gmail.com or find her on Twitter and Instagram: @donealee

Quoth the Raven coverAbout Quoth the Raven:

The works of Poe were dark and often disturbing. From dismembered corpses, rivals bricked behind cellar walls, murders in back alleys, laments for lost loves, obsessions that drive men – and women! – to madness, his stories have had a profound impact on both the horror and mystery genres to this day.

In Quoth the Raven, we invite you to answer the call of the raven and revisit Poe’s work, re-imagined for the twenty-first century. Here, the lover of mystery and goth horror will find familiar themes in contemporary settings, variations on Poe’s tales, and faithful recreations of the author’s signature style.

Purchase your copy of the anthology HERE.

Chills and Thrills with Quoth the Raven Author Emerian Rich

To celebrate the release of Quoth the Raven, edited by Lyn Worthen and published by Camden Park Press, I’m getting cozy with my fellow anthology contributors to learn more about their stories and what inspires their dark little writers’ hearts.

Next, I’m interviewing Emerian Rich, author of “My Annabel” in Quoth the Raven.

Quoth the Raven celebrates the eerie and influential legacy of Edgar Allan Poe. What is it about Edgar Allan Poe’s work that speaks to you (perhaps from the grave)?

He just gets us, you know? His mind created some of the best moments in horror by just understanding how we like to be scared.

Pick a couple adjectives to describe the story you wrote for Quoth the Raven.

Creepy, heartbreaking.

Imagine you’re in an old-timey elevator, a rickety one that boasts a well-worn, rusty cage. There’s a man in all black in the elevator with you, and he asks what your story is about. What do you tell him?

“My Annabel” tells the story of two surgeons caught in a pandemic emergency and their fight to stay alive for one another.

Okay, I’m continuing with this scenario thing. It’s 1849, and you’re at a gathering of literature lovers, a salon, if you will. Across the room, you spy Edgar Allan Poe, and you simply must go over to him to compliment his work. What is the story or poem of his that you laud to excess? And why?

To tell you the truth, I’d probably get too tongue-tied to express myself. Although I can speak in front of crowds and read to hundreds, I would have a hard time addressing someone I held so highly. I’d go into it thinking I would compliment him on “Annabel Lee” but then blurb out some incoherent ramble, ended with apologies and a quick exit!

As a writer, what do you think are the most important elements of dark fiction?

I really just want to scare my readers the way I want to be scared. What I think is creepy and spooky will also get under the skin of my readers. So, it’s getting into the head of a horror reader and pushing them just one step closer to the edge without losing them over the cliff.

As a reader, why are you attracted to dark fiction? Why do you think we like to read about the things that terrify us?

Horror addicts like to be scared in a safe, non-harmful way. Creep me out, test my limits, push me over the edge as long as in reality I am safe in my warm bed, able to switch on the light and see the monsters are just in my head.

What’s a story or poem – by any author – that has truly creeped you out (in the best way possible, of course)? What was it about that particular story that just got to you?

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill is pretty creepy. I read it after watching the movie because I just adored the film. The book is similar, but it’s got this underlying chill that scared me more than the movie. The house (or the bog) seemed almost like a Cthulhu creature, mesmerizing characters into doing strange things, or paralyzing their thought process in a way that seemed insurmountable to overcome.

Who are some of your literary inspirations?

Anne Rice and Andrew Neiderman are my favorite horror writers. I also enjoy Jane Austen and Regency Romance fiction. I try to take what others have done twist it so it becomes something new.

What are you currently working on right now?

My current WIP is a modern YA rewrite of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. You could call it Gossip Girl meets The Shining. This is my favorite of her books and fits me so well because the heroine in the novel is a horror addict like me. In my modern tale, Kat is a goth gal seeking adventure who finds it during a spooky trek to the snow country where a family is haunted by the memories of their deceased mother.

Where can we find more of your work or connect with you online?

emzbox.com


About Emerian:

Emerian Rich is the author of the vampire book series, Night’s Knights, and writes romance under the name Emmy Z. Madrigal. Her horror/romance crossover, Artistic License, is about a woman who inherits a house where anything she paints on the walls comes alive. She’s been published in a handful of anthologies by publishers such as Dragon Moon Press, Hidden Thoughts Press, Hazardous Press, and White Wolf Press. She is the podcast Horror Hostess of HorrorAddicts.net and you can connect with her at: emzbox.com.

Quoth the Raven cover

About Quoth the Raven:

The works of Poe were dark and often disturbing. From dismembered corpses, rivals bricked behind cellar walls, murders in back alleys, laments for lost loves, obsessions that drive men – and women! – to madness, his stories have had a profound impact on both the horror and mystery genres to this day.

In Quoth the Raven, we invite you to answer the call of the raven and revisit Poe’s work, re-imagined for the twenty-first century. Here, the lover of mystery and goth horror will find familiar themes in contemporary settings, variations on Poe’s tales, and faithful recreations of the author’s signature style.

Purchase your copy of the anthology HERE.

10 Creepy Questions with Quoth the Raven Contributor Steven R. Southard

Steven Southard

To celebrate the release of Quoth the Raven, edited by Lyn Worthen and published by Camden Park Press, I’m getting cozy with my fellow anthology contributors to learn more about their stories and what inspires their dark little writers’ hearts.

First up, I’m interviewing Steven R. Southard, author of “The Unparalleled Attempt to Rescue One Hans Pfaall” in Quoth the Raven.

Quoth the Raven celebrates the eerie and influential legacy of Edgar Allan Poe. What is it about Edgar Allan Poe’s work that speaks to you (perhaps from the grave)?

His work reminds me of Jules Verne’s with its precise and exacting language, and the frequent sprinkling of numbers with the text. Unlike Verne, Poe could convey deep terror and fear in a way that sucks you in and makes you feel it, too. Also unlike Verne, Poe, as a writer of both poetry and prose, could maximize the effect caused by the sound and rhythm of English words.

Pick three adjectives to describe the story you wrote for Quoth the Raven.

Bizarre, humorous, and lunar.

Imagine you’re in an old-timey elevator, a rickety one that boasts a well-worn, rusty cage. There’s a man in all black in the elevator with you, and he asks what your story is about. What do you tell him?

“Considering the rust on this rickety cage, I’m not sure we’ll even make it to our floors, so it’s tough to concentrate on answering your question. My story is a sequel to Poe’s tale about a trip to the Moon by balloon. Trouble is, Poe left so many questions unanswered: What were the Moon’s inhabitants like? What happened to the traveler, Hans Pfaall? Did the city of Rotterdam ever send a rescue mission? Poe intended to continue the tale in future installments, but never did. Someone had to write the sequel and tie up all the loose ends, so I did it.”

Okay, I’m continuing with this scenario thing. It’s 1849, and you’re at a gathering of literature lovers, a salon, if you will. Across the room, you spy Edgar Allan Poe, and you simply must go over to him to compliment his work. What is the story or poem of his that you laud to excess? And why?

“Mr. Poe, I could go on for hours trumpeting your praises for many of your works, but your poem ‘Anabel Lee’ is, in my view, your utmost achievement. The tight rhyming scheme, the skill in describing a love so intense it makes angels envious and survives death itself, and the romantic imagery, all combine in six short stanzas to produce poetic perfection. What are you drinking, sir? I’m buying.”

As a writer, what do you think are the most important elements of dark fiction?

To me, the most important element is mood. Whether it’s dark fantasy, horror, or some other form of dark fiction, it must convey a negative mood such as hatred, fear, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, or melancholy. Successful dark fiction drags the reader through the depths of the chosen mood, such that she can claim to have experienced it merely by reading the words.

As a reader, why are you attracted to dark fiction? Why do you think we like to read about the things that terrify us?

Actually, as a former engineer, I’m attracted to problem-solving protagonists, whether in dark fiction or other stories. Poe’s “A Descent into the Maelström” and the detective tales featuring C. Auguste Dupin are problem-solving stories, and are also dark. Most dark fiction readers love the opportunity to experience, endure, and transcend fear and terror in a no-consequence setting.

What’s a story or poem – by any author – that has truly creeped you out (in the best way possible, of course)? What was it about that particular story that just got to you?

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow. It’s a re-telling, and update, of George Orwell’s 1984, and it’s a chilling tale of how easy it may be to slip into totalitarianism.

Who are some of your literary inspirations?

Jules Verne belongs on my top pedestal. Sharing second place are Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Larry Niven, and Edgar Allan Poe.

What are you currently working on right now?

I’m writing the second in a planned series of alternate history stories about Brother Eilmer of Malmesbury Abbey. He’s a medieval Benedictine monk who creates technological inventions far in advance of his time. My first such story was “Instability,” which appeared in the anthology Dark Luminous Wings, and was based on an actual recorded event.

Where can we find more of your work or connect with you online?

My website and blog are at stevenrsouthard.com, where I’m known as Poseidon’s Scribe. Readers can follow me on Twitter at @StevenRSouthard, and like me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/steven.southard.16. My Amazon author page is here: https://www.amazon.com/Steven-R.-Southard/e/B002QO00TO/, and my Goodreads author page is at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2953497.Steven_R_Southard

About Steven:

Having spent time near Baltimore, it’s possible that author Steven R. Southard has somehow absorbed a measure of the still-lingering aura of Edgar Allan Poe. During the night’s darkest hours, by the light of a single candle, Steve pens tales of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and alternate history. His stories appear in more than ten anthologies and one series. The bravest and most curious among you may venture to his website at stevenrsouthard.com, where you may discover Steve waiting, lurking, and well hidden behind his codename: Poseidon’s Scribe.

Quoth the Raven cover

About Quoth the Raven:

The works of Poe were dark and often disturbing. From dismembered corpses, rivals bricked behind cellar walls, murders in back alleys, laments for lost loves, obsessions that drive men – and women! – to madness, his stories have had a profound impact on both the horror and mystery genres to this day.

In Quoth the Raven, we invite you to answer the call of the raven and revisit Poe’s work, re-imagined for the twenty-first century. Here, the lover of mystery and goth horror will find familiar themes in contemporary settings, variations on Poe’s tales, and faithful recreations of the author’s signature style.

Purchase your copy of the anthology HERE.

Tap into Your Dark Side with Drabbledark

Drabbledark

It’s fitting that I wrote my very first sci-fi-themed drabble laid up in bed, expecting an alien to burst out of my stomach at any moment.

I’d been up all night, in pain, so I’d called in sick to work. I was wickedly uncomfortable, but I was also at home, so I wanted to make the most of my “free time.” (You can only watch so many hours of Netflix before the novelty wears off.) I didn’t feel well enough to work on a long-form writing project, but I remembered seeing a call for submissions for 100-word stories. 100 words? Yeah, I could manage that.

It turns out I loved the challenge of writing a drabble. It’s an exercise in brevity and succinct storytelling. And if the author can set expectations, then subvert them quickly (who doesn’t love a good twist?), drabbles are rather delightful to read.

In the end, the rumbles in my tummy were a stomach virus (so, basically an alien), and the 100 words I’d written while bedridden were deemed cool enough to publish.

Today, Drabbledark: An Anthology of Dark Drabbles, edited by Eric S. Fomley, is out in the world! You can read my mini sci-fi story, “Survival,” within its pages, alongside 100 other short-and-sour tales of dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Despite their slight word count, these stories pack a punch.

If you dig micro fiction and dark plot lines, check out the anthology HERE. It’s a fun one!

Author Meg Archer on Humanity, Identity, and Hawk-shifters

Transformed_500x750

Last month, I had the pleasure of reading an advanced review copy of Triskaidekaphilia 3: Transformedthe latest anthology from Pen and Kink Publishing. Today, I have the pleasure of hosting one of the authors, Meg Archer, here on the blog!

I absolutely loved Meg’s story in Transformed. In “Red-tail,” hawk-shifter Ruby Vogel toes the line between a mundane human life and her other, hidden self. As a fly-by-night spy for a mysterious contact, she’s often tasked with trailing people, gathering information, and above all, being discreet. In exchange, she gets paid; no questions asked, no names, no trail to follow in the cool night air. But when she unwittingly gets caught up in a dangerous game, the huntress becomes the hunted, and Ruby has to decide whether she can really keep those two halves of herself separate anymore. Is it worth the risk, to deny her shifter side? Is she a woman who becomes a hawk, or is she a hawk who becomes a woman? Is she both, or neither–or is she something else entirely?

Meg’s writing style is sassy and fun, and this particular story kept me laughing and calm during a particularly rough bout of turbulence while I was on a flight to Phoenix (so thank you, Meg!). And spoiler alert, she’s just as sassy and fun off the page.

Without further ado, here’s Meg!

***

In my short story, “Red-tail,” a young woman walks the boundary between her human self and the hawk who lives inside of her. Or maybe I should say she soars across the boundary. As one of the stories featured in Pen and Kink Publishing’s anthology Transformed (the third in their amazing Triskaidekaphilia series), Ruby Vogel’s story is about how much of the animal we allow to live in our human selves, and how much humanity can survive when we are at our most animalistic.

(And it’s about sex. Can’t forget the fun parts!)

Like most of the things I write, Ruby’s story came to me in a series of images. One lazy, hot afternoon, I watched a hawk spiral high over my house, seeing its head move as it scanned the ground. I pictured a red-tailed hawk, flying out across a city, heading towards the trees, and wondered how it might hunt in those two very different locales. And I imagined a scene near the end of the story, when a character at their most vulnerable would also find their strength.

From those images—both familiar and strange—the rest of the story began to bloom.

In a world like our own, where rare animal-shifters lived relatively isolated lives, trying to fit in with humans, always searching for a balance with their true selves. Ruby, a hawk-shifter, takes on a variety of semi-legal jobs for an employer who pays well and asks no questions. She spies, steals, and waits for the full moon to pull her out of her skin and into her feathers. It’s been a good-enough life, but she wonders if she’s destined to be alone.

Is she the only one of her kind? Are there others who might understand? And if there were, how would she find them?

Is her morality, her ethics, the same as ours? Does she have a duty to humanity, or to her other-self?

What is it like, being a solitary hunter and a social creature, all at the same time?

Who is she, really?

My favorite thing about speculative fiction—whether it’s about hawk-shifters or brave explorers of alien worlds or space wizards with laser swords—is how it is able to make a statement about the here and now while being set in some other world. In my story, I became fascinated by the theme of identity and humanity.

We all have a little of the feral animal within ourselves, I think. From the adrenaline-powered mama bears who lift cars to save trapped children to the sudden steady calm of a pilot bringing a plane down safely under extreme conditions like a crane gliding elegantly down to the water, there are moments when that strange other-sense grips us. Moments when we’re more than what we are.

We can do the things we think might be impossible, and when we are pushed to our extremes, we sometimes are changed by the experience. If that were always accessible to us, who would we become?

In the tilt of a dog’s curious head or the frantic pace of a mouse in a maze, we see ourselves in animals. We’re busy as bees, snakes in the grass, curious kittens…

We see animals in ourselves, too—although that wilder, less constrained nature is sometimes frightening when it stares back at us in the mirror.

In Ruby’s world, one shifter’s advantage is another one’s nightmare. And when she’s confronted by the lengths to which another shifter will go to avoid the change, her perspective shifts and expands. With a romantic encounter that twists and turns as allegiances are revealed, Ruby’s wish to meet others like herself opens up her world in ways she never could’ve predicted.

I hope you’ll check out Transformed and read all of the great, wildly different stories that are alongside “Red-tail.” It was such an honor to be chosen for an amazing collection. A few of the stories in particular moved me and took me on an incredible journey, and I was so impressed by the range of styles, topics, and approaches to this idea of shifting and transformation.

Thank you to Tiffany for allowing me to share a little corner of her blog’s space!

***

About Transformed: Nothing is quite so deliciously freeing as caving to your instincts. For centuries, shapeshifters have personified our impulse to bow to our animalistic nature. From lycans to skin-walkers and everything in between, shapeshifters give us a chance to connect with our inner-selves and celebrate our intriguing differences, our passions, and ultimately our humanity through their necessity of striking a balance between their human selves and supernatural selves.

About the Editor: Charlie Watson is a freelance editor ready to make her mark on the Edmonton writing community. Through her work with various writing and editing groups around YEG who deal exclusively with first time authors, Charlie is devoted to ensuring that fledgling authors have a wonderful experience publishing for the first time.

About the Series: Triskaidekaphilia is the love of the number thirteen. It’s also the name of our anthology series which explores the more shadowy corners of romance and erotica. There will be 13 volumes in total, each of which will be released on a Friday the 13th.

Buy your copy of Transformed HERE!

 

 

2017 Accomplishments & 2018 Goals

new years

Yes, this is how I spent New Year’s Eve 2017, and it was awesome!

Though time is a uniquely human construct, there’s something beautiful about the idea of a new year. It’s like a crisp dollar bill, fresh and full of possibility. I use the turning over of one year to the next to celebrate achievements and either reinforce or set new goals. Here’s what went down in 2017 and what I’m hoping to accomplish in 2018.

2017 Recap

In 2017, I published five pieces: one harrowingly personal essay (Shapeless), my first erotica piece (Begin Again), a politically charged (but funny!) vampire romance novella (A Taste of Revolution), and two horror shorts (He Smelled Like Smoke and The Promise). With this motley smattering of writing, I’ve realized that I’m not comfortable boxing myself into a single genre or style. I’ve embraced the fact that I write what I want to when I’m inspired to create it. And I love that approach. It seems to be working for me.  

I read 45 books this year (hitting my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal – whoo hoo! – albeit just barely). My top 7 reads were (in no particular order:

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong bite somebody else

Losing It by Cora Carmack

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Joyland by Stephen King

Bite Somebody Else by Sara Dobie Bauer

rocket raccoon

 

Graphic novels I loved reading this year include:

March: Book One by John Lewis and Nate Powell 

Paper Girls: Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan 

Rocket Raccoon #1 by Skottie Young 

 

 

 

I crafted over 100 comic book flowers for my upcoming wedding.

I survived my first hot yoga class (which got up to 106 degrees, thankyouverymuch).

My fiance and I made our wedding bands. Like, mixed-and-melted-down-the-metals-and-cranked-the-metals-through-a-rolling-mill-and-soldered-them-together-and-beat-them-into-circles-with-mallets made them.

I took the stage in an amazing production of The Vagina Monologues. wookie

I learned how to hand stamp metal.

I rediscovered my love for baking pies.

I bought my first onesie and dressed up like Chewbacca for Halloween.

I did a water nymph photoshoot with one of my oldest and dearest friends.

I climbed to the very top of an exceptionally tall indoor climbing wall (six stories!).

I snuggled with an alpaca (which is the perfect way to end a list of accomplishments, right?).

2018 Goals

Read 45 books. I’m keeping this one consistent. Not gonna lie, I read some really short books on December 29th, 30th, and 31st in order to hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal. This year, I want to cruise into December confident that I’ll hit my 45-book goal – and then some.

Write one story or piece a month. This one is going to be a challenge. I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing regularly (it’s like I’ve convinced myself I don’t have time because I’m planning a wedding or something!) I lost a little bit of my love for writing in 2017, and I don’t know whether to blame stress, poor planning, a lack of inspiration, a lack of self-motivation, or the monster that hides out under my bed. Whatever the case may be, I want to challenge myself to meet a deadline every month in 2018 to see if I can re-spark my desire to write consistently. Whether flash fiction, a sprawling novella, or a personal essay, I need to write something every month. And I’m going to be gentle with myself. The pieces don’t need to be ready to sell or the best thing I’ve ever written. They just need to be complete.

yogaContinue to cultivate a regular yoga practice. When Bryan and I were living in Phoenix, I was really good about going to yoga at least twice a week. There’s something about yoga that makes me feel incredibly strong and incredibly calm, which I’ve found to be a really powerful combination for me. It’s also a great way to give my lower back and other chronic injuries the TLC they need. I started working toward this goal in 2017, and I’m hoping to build upon it to keep the momentum going in 2018.

Revive my blog presences. My personal blog and the blog I share with my fiance (2geekslife.com) have been grossly neglected. Again, I’ve fallen out of the habit, and I’ve also self-sabotaged a bit. There were times in 2017 when I thought my regular musings were too mundane or too boring to publish. Time to kill that self-doubt and trust that I always have something valuable or funny or thoughtful to say. Time to trust my voice.

Okay, those are the big goals. I’m sure other goals will pop up throughout the year, and I’ll go after them with vigor and an eye for self-improvement and cultivating accomplishment and happiness.

For those of you who create resolutions or set goals each year, I hope you’re off to a great start. I believe in you! Go get ‘em!