Tag Archives: writing

“Tentacled Stars and Madness” and “Generational Loss” – My Two Award Eligible Poems from 2020 #SFPA #Poetry

As I’ve mentioned several times this year already, 2020 was a dry desert as far as new writing from me after the four years before that increasingly produced all types of work from short stories to poetry. It was just a hard year for everyone, and our home was no less struck in certain ways. On a positive, I also had a lot of work come in as far as editing as well, but it did limit my writing time as much of my free time went to family situations.

I did write a couple poems in 2020, and two I’m proud of were published on the Spreading the Writer’s Word website, during the monthly Ladies of Horror Fiction writing prompt project. I wanted to share them here with my followers as well as mention that they are two of my poems eligible for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s annual Rhysling Award. I would be happy for any fellow SFPA members and readers to also give them a read for consideration. I’ve been enjoying reading through all the posted eligible works myself in the last few months.

But my hope is for all to enjoy my celestial thoughts and mind. Let me know if you liked them! And keep your eyes peeled because I’m writing more already in 2021, as least poetry wise, and I have plans to publish some of my work from the stacks I wrote in 2019! I hope that my writing freeze is over, but keep the inspiration and motivation coming please!

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Tentacled Stars and Madness

I twisted the handle,
and I floated toward the stars,
toward the particles,
toward the tiny fires,
and I landed with one foot upon
the twinkling glow.

I outstretched my arm to the abyss,
and a tentacle clasped my hand,
and I laughed, being pulled away
into the midnight expanse of iridescent
nothingness

or is it encompassing, life painted as a cerebral hemorrhage,
an image emblazoned on our mind of what God is or the gods are,
of our existence.

I rotate through the soft air, looking upward from my back
as the sky creature pulls me toward oblivion,
as if I don’t even care to know where I go,
but enjoy the spontaneity.

The symbols etched in the stars as I go by – I finger them,
the runes of the galaxy;
my brain on fire, each synapse bursting open,
and yet, I’m unburdened.

In its lair, finally, it wraps its long arms around me and crushes,
bright lights flash before me, around me,
my mind downloading all of humanity’s curses and wishes,

and then,

I’m gone, floating in some communal stomach cavity, disintegrating to smaller pieces,
but becoming part of a bigger cosmos we could only dream of understanding…

…from our tiny window below.

–Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi / Nov 2020

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If interested, I also had another prose poem on Spreading the Writer’s Word that would be eligible as well. I was able to write it to my good friend and exceptional poet Christina Sng’s beautiful artwork.

General Loss

The night was chilly. Foggy. I pulled my wrap tighter around my shoulders as I rocked in my chair and watched my daughters from the porch.

They traveled, little feet and big minds, down the valley and through the woods, then up the mountain. We lived in this place where anything could be imagined, except health.

They were in search of miracles in the twinkling, night sky. Even the cat, who had tagged along behind them knew to look above to the skies and ask the right questions, fib the right lies.

Summoning gods or demons or angels or creatures, they had no preference. Brave souls with hearts like a fortress and energy like a magnet. The clouds swirled above and the fog dissipated below, and the sounds of far off waves suddenly became war drums.

My young ladies, my hope, my solace, plead in our tongue to the blackened sky that was illuminated by an unnatural light. Asked for their life-giver to be spared the disease of this Earth, to endeavor together to another vastly realm where resolute ladies (and their cats, their protectors) reigned immortal.

Where no tears were cried for death or cough, no graves buried or mourning of loss. Where people worked and lived with passion and grace, mercy and empathy, a true human race.

–Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi / 2020

If you’re interested in the SFPA, click to get details, or HERE, to learn about Rhysling and other awards.

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A Prose Poem: Beneath the Surface of Us All by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

As you’ve probably seen, read, or assumed, I’m going to start using my site more often again, offering you content I hope you enjoy. It’s been ten years with this Oh, for the Hook of a Book! site, and to those subscribers who’ve been with me a number of years, to those who’ve followed my writing journey or book talk, I’m so grateful. Thank you!

With that in mind, I’m also going to start sharing some more of my own work again. I’d really love to hear from you on my writing, or any posts really, in the comments. And feel free to let me know what’s new with you too and point me in the direction of one of your posts to read as well. I’d like to limit my social media use and create and reconnect lasting and living connections through other means.

Photo Credit: Unspash

February brings about Women in Horror Month, and I’ll have some content on my site in celebration of that, but you all know I promote women in any genre and any form all year long. It’s evident on this site for one. One of the groups I like to be involved with is a ladies in horror writing group. Each month we are given photo prompts and we write poetry or flash fiction inspired by it. The support of these ladies is amazing. And it really keeps me writing some months! You’ll find a wealth of women in horror to read or discover on this site.

So….. here is my prose poem for January at Spreading the Writer’s Word.

Beneath the Surface of Us All
by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

She has no cares for earthly exploration whether land or water. Mired with no focus, her mind races with anxiety and pain and chaos enough to fire several universes. She floats through life peering through blinking eyelashes and wondering about the tangible dirt most people grab and can feel running through their fingers. She’s been freed from topography constraints and has submerged into a realm saved for a chosen few in which maps aren’t needed, time doesn’t exist, and movements are fluid.

But she’s cold. Cold of heart, stoic of mind, narrow in her observations. It’s a dichotomy but it’s also a trauma effect. She needs my warmth, my clarity. When I reach out my hand to her, she touches only my fingers briefly and I shiver as electrons shoot up inside me. In her own quest for feeling, she opens the darkest places within me, pulls and widens and prods, but I’m not fearful, as instead I crave it.

I start to question my own world, my life, my surrounding stimuli. I sink into her. And then, she opens her maw, and she eats me whole.

End / Erin Al-Mehairi, Copyright January 2021

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You can read many other free poetry and flash fiction by amazing women twice daily most days, at Spreading the Writer’s Word! Thank you to Erin Lydia Prime, Nina d’Archangela, and all the sisterly writing support found at the Facebook group of Ladies of Horror.

Stay tuned for interviews, reviews, and guest articles from women in horror in February for the 12th Annual Women in Horror Month as well as people of color for black history and appreciation month. If you’d like to be considered for inclusion, please let me know!

If you’d like to see what I’ve done in the past, head to my Women in Horror page.

Have a good weekend!

Erin

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#HookedOnPoetry: “This Was Supposed to be About Poetry” by Bram Stoker Award Nominated Poet Donna Lynch @geeklioness #poetry #writing

Donna is fast becoming one of my favorite people and poets. She has an honest way about her I really like and, whether she knows it or not, she’s taught me a lot about letting things go and being easy on self. She’s super funny, creative, and kind. She has some stellar work out there in the music, writing, and poetry world. Her last two collections Witches and Choking Back the Devil earned Bram Stoker nominations and both were worthy of wins even among the highly exceptional field of poetry in horror. She’s a beautiful lyricist and her words flow so smoothly and with such passion.

I asked Donna for a poem or a reprint and then…. in true Donna form, she writes this instead and asks me what I want to do with it. Ha! I just felt in this moment, that it was perfect. It explained exactly how I’ve been feeling about writing myself, even poetry, which sometimes breaks through when I’m blocked otherwise. These days I’m too stressed and tired. I want to clean too. It’s a weird thing. I don’t know if any of you other writers can relate to this, but I hope you can. We will all rise from this with some major emotional dumps onto the page eventually.

Thanks for the piece, Donna…. and readers, feel free to discuss in the comments!

HookedOnPoetry

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This Was Supposed to Be About Poetry
by Donna Lynch, author/musician/poet

Are we tired of talking about the pandemic yet?

Yes, of course not.

“I’m so glad we’re doing this tonight because I really need a break from all the COVID-19 talk,” we say to our loved ones via the video chat platform of our choosing, then immediately start talking about COVID-19. Maybe not the virus, itself, but about our futures and our right nows.

I’ve probably told twenty people no less than thirty times how happy I am that my husband and I finally cleaned up our porch. The weather will be nice soon and now it’s like I have a whole extra room in the house, I say. I keep saying it. When people ask me how I’m doing, I tell them about the porch. I don’t feel like saying much else about how I feel. I’ve had a couple episodes of word vomit in regard to my feelings, which I immediately regretted, so now I’m just really fucking happy about the porch. That’s what I say.

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Photo by Avi Werde on Unsplash

This piece is supposed to be about poetry. I write horror poetry, and I’ve written a couple novels, a novella, and so on and so on. It bugs me that anytime I talk about being a poet, I can’t help but mention the novels, as though the poetry isn’t enough. That is, of course, bullshit. I’m a horror writer. That should be enough, right there. But right now, nothing feels like enough.

I’m envious of the 100+ writers I follow on Twitter, because they all seem to be making the most of this situation. For a horror writer, how much more firsthand material could you ever get access to than the realities of a world-wide, modern-day plague? I feel like they’re reading and writing and thinking and observing and taking advantage of this sudden, threatening, and unsolicited gift of time, meanwhile I’m staring blankly at a huge to-do list and an empty Word document each day, calling up friends around the country at 2am, while busting into yet another box of wine that smells like Lysol.

I don’t begrudge them their productivity. I’m happy for them. And I’m jealous.

The thing is, though, there’s nothing about me that makes me unique or exempt. There’s nothing about them that’s superhuman. They’re making themselves work through the stress and anxiety, I’m sure, just as I could be doing. But it’s harder than I thought, and I’m using my pre-existing hurdles as excuses. No sense in lying about it. Writers tell the truth, except when they’re lying their asses off and kidding themselves. Or maybe I’m projecting.

Here’s an issue that I can’t decide if it’s me kidding myself or not: Two of my most prevalent topics in the horror genre are body horror and existential dread, and a pandemic does a fantastic job of creating both, which has left me feeling paralyzed. Could Stephen King write The Stand right now? Could Josh Malerman write Bird Box?

Probably, because neither strike me as the type to make a lot of excuses, but maybe I need to hold on to the idea that, for me, Fear in the Time of Corona would be easier to bang out once we get a vaccine. So, I guess my workaround is to revisit my ghosts and witches and vengeful creatures, because I’m not afraid of them when I go to the store.

And there’s the punchline. I’m not having Imposter Syndrome about being a writer. I’m having it about being a horror writer, because now that we’re here, staring directly into the void I attempt to toss readers into through my poems—you know, to really make them face the things they fear the most—I’m suddenly speechless. I feel like I talked a lot of shit, and now I have to put my money where my mouth is.

Poetry. This was supposed to be about poetry, so I’ll share a tiny poem that I managed to write the other day inside of someone else’s journal.

 

Karma resigned / Do crime / But be kind

 

I don’t know what to say about it. It’s what was there in my hands when I picked up the pen. It was honest.

One bright light is that artists are truly being appreciated throughout this. I thanked a front-liner recently and they thanked me back, saying that if it wasn’t for books and music and Netflix series, they’d lose their mind. That was humbling to hear. The gratitude this past month has been the shiniest silver lining I’ve seen in a very long time, and with that I think about how that gratitude will be the thing that will make me sit down and face my fear. I will write. I will make music. I will use the gifts this monster inadvertently gives me and I won’t let it consume me. I will try to give back hope, or maybe just some distractions.

The truth is, I really have no choice. I don’t have another porch to clean.

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Donna Lynch, Biography –

AUTHORS-DonnaLynchDonna Lynch is a dark fiction writer and the co-founder—along with her husband–artist, and musician Steven Archer—of the dark electro-rock band Ego Likeness (Metropolis Records).

Her written works include Isabel Burning, Red Horses, Driving Through the Desert, Ladies and Other Vicious Creatures,, Daughters of Lilith, In My Mouth, and her Bram Stoker nominated Choking Back the Devil and Witches poetry collections. She and her husband live in Maryland.

 

About Choking Back the Devil (2019) –

BOOK-chokingDonna Lynch’s poetry explores the horror of losing control of mind, body, and autonomy. Whether it be through death, hauntings, violation, mental illness, violence, or the demons in our brains that terrorize and tempt us all, no one is immune to the nasty surprises of life. Yet somehow we must go on. Choking Back the Devil documents the attempt to get through the worst of what life can through at us.

Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch is an invocation, an ancient invitation that summons the darkness within and channels those lonely spirits looking for a host. It’s a collection that lives in the realm of ghosts and family curses, witchcraft and urban legends, and if you’re brave enough to peek behind the veil, the hauntings that permeate these pages will break seals and open doorways, cut throats and shatter mirrors.

You see, these poems are small drownings, all those subtle suffocations that live in that place between our ribs that swells with panic, incubates fear. Lynch shows her readers that sometimes our shadow selves—our secrets—are our sharpest weapons, the knives that rip through flesh, suture pacts with demons, cut deals with entities looking for more than a homecoming, something better, more intimate than family.

It’s about the masks we wear and the reflections we choose not to look at, and what’s most terrifying about the spells is these incantations show that we are the possessed, that we are our greatest monster, and if we look out of the corner of our eyes, sometimes—if we’ve damned ourselves enough—we can catch a glimpse of our own burnings, what monstrosities and mockeries we’re to become.

So cross yourselves and say your prayers. Because in this world, you are the witch and the hunter, the girl and the wolf.

Praise for Choking Back the Devil

“Lynch mixes in childhood fables with waking nightmares, the result is electrifying; sometimes in a few razor sharp words; sometimes in longer numbered verses counting down the cycle of a damaged life. The silent cries of souls tormented to healthiness by pills and poultices, force fed by imperfect humans, echo in the silhouette of these poems. I smiled at the shadows unexpectedly delivered by her words, as will you.”

—Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend and HWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner

“This collection is not for the chronically disturbed, as fear is doled out in terse, potent portions. I got the shivers reading these unsettling poems.”

—Marge Simon, Bram Stoker Award winner, SFPA Grand Master Poet

Cover Artwork: Steven Archer

Find Choking Back the Devil, and her other works, HERE.

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Enjoy yesterday’s poetry by Joseph Van Buren over at Kendall Reviews, then stop back by there again tomorrow for another poetry piece. That one will be by Stephanie Evelyn. Next week we’ll host more poetry on both sites, starting back here on Tuesday.

Keep sharing and spreading the word, please!

pen poetry

 

 

 

 

 

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#HookedOnPoetry: Thought-Provoking Poems by Madison McSweeney #poetry @MMcSw13 @gjkendall

Today as part of the #HookedOnPoetry project, I want to introduce you to Canadian poet Madison McSweeney. Madison submitted her work to me in an open call for this project and I’m delighted she did so because it allowed me to get to know her and her work. Her poems are ethereal and rhythmical. She’s very talented and I hope you all will appreciate her work as much as I do.

Below is an original poem first published here with Hook of a Book as well as two reprints, all which will give you an idea of her wonderful style. Of course, I’m not only excited as my great-grandparent’s name last name was Sweeney (haha), but because I really enjoy featuring new-to-me poets (and therefore maybe new to you as well). Madison, however, has been published in some cool magazines and anthologies so you can check out more of her work there.

If you’re new to the project as a whole, you can read all about it here in this introductory essay or here on this page. It was started to celebrate National Poetry Month in April, but will carry throughout May too.

Enjoy!

HookedOnPoetry

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Holy War

He did not have the heart        to burn down his favourite building

but he was curious to see        how the alcohol

would mix with the flame       this

tempting isolation, with a lighter and a bottle

and the stench

of burning plastic panic          in the distance

burning dreams

why should this castle stand

when a thousand fantasies of wonder and lust

turned to dust              on a parking lot pyre

why should his persecutor

have a place to call home

and why must this distant smoke        be permitted

to drive me mad?

no sense to blame the bricks   for the man

nor the windows                        for the fog

nor the turrets                            for the bullets

let it stand.

may this place be a prison for you.

A companion piece to The Forest Dreams With Teeth, a sword-and-sorcery/folk horror story set during the heavy metal panic of the 1980s.

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 Cemetery Way

 Walk with me

along cemetery way

where one day we may rest

securely locked away and topped

with white marble

(white like orchids, white like bone) lest

we stir in our sleep and seek

to claw our way towards the

sun   is so lovely today

as we walk along cemetery way

where we may rest

for a moment, on the wrought-iron

bench erected in honour

of a fine local citizen

long lost

what bliss is this

your hand

so warm in mine

your eyes shine

like marble

(like funeral orchids, like bone)

“darling,” you say

“your hand”

(in yours)

“it’s so cold”

(like marble)

like bone

 Originally published in Truly U Review, Halloween 2019

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The Last Poem

 Keep the books from the children –

They may want to read them

the Librarian said, with the world-fearing concern

she had learned

in her years on the job

watching far too many minds

erupting with horrible thoughts, borrowed

from those tomes;

Shut the windows –

There’s darkness outside.

 

Lock the cabinets

Hide the folk tales with the poisons and the fetal pigs

our dears will know a world

with no fear.

they will know flowers

and fairies – the good kind;

and boyish adventures controlled and quickly resolved

with a minimum of risk.

Lock the doors –

A stranger may knock.

 

We will do all we can

To restrain the world from them

they will not know pain,

or death,

until it comes for them

in the flower garden

and they will blink, for they do not recognize a skull and scythe

and try to hand the Reaper a rose.

Disperse, darkness!

Until such time as you are too deep to see through.

Originally published in Truly U Review, Halloween 2019

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Madison McSweeney –

Author Photo1Madison McSweeney is a Canadian author and poet interested in the macabre and fantastic. Her poems have appeared in Rhythm & Bones, Pussy Magic, Cockroach Conservatory and the Twin Peaks themed anthology These Poems Are Not What They Seem. She has also published horror and fantasy stories in outlets such as American GothicCabinet of Curiosities, Unnerving Magazine, and Zombie Punks F*ck Off. 

She lives in Ottawa, Ontario and graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Political Science and Communications. She was an arts and culture contributor to The Fulcrum campus newspaper, and has written music-related articles for Bravewords, Music Vice, Hellbound and Ginger Nuts of Horror.

 She blogs about genre fiction and the local music scene at www.madisonmcsweeney.com and tweets from @MMcSw13.

Instagram: madisonmcsweeney.13

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Check out yesterday’s poem from the amazing Ashley Dioses over at Kendall Reviews and join us back next week on both sites for some more poetry celebration!

pen poetry

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Publishing News: My story “Mia” in Outpost 28 Magazine’s Halloween Issue. #Outpost28 #amwriting #shortstories

I have several of my own writing announcements I’ve been lax in getting shared here to my own site. I’ll start with this one since I’m super excited about it. My dark fiction short story, “Mia,” is in Issue 4 of Outpost 28 print magazine published by Dean Kuhta.

Mia story plus illus

My story “Mia” with illustration by Michael Brack. Taken by Dean Kuhta (those are his hands!)

This particular story was inspired after watching an episode of Ancient Aliens on the star Sirius, which is the brightest star in the night sky, and the Dogon tribe in Africa. This story’s main character is LGBTQ+ and my first attempt at a character (and a teen character) who is a lesbian, so I hope it resonates. Of course, it features my particular love of ancient religions, spirituality, cultures, and archaeology as I often write these in to my stories, but it also has a touch of time and/or place slip. I am very proud of this one and I hope you like reading it as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it!

I appreciate my college-aged son Nassem helping me with development of it as well as to one of my best friends, the author Duncan Ralston for his amazing edits and suggestions that helped it shine.

It’s accompanied by a lovely illustration created by Parisian artist and illustrator Michael Brack. It really captures the mood and feel of Mia and I couldn’t be happier. This marks the first time I’ve had a full illustration done for one of my stories so I’m making milestones all over the place!

full Mia illustration.jpg

I’m especially excited also because I get to share a table of contents in this issue with my good friend, author Christa Carmen, as well as another writer friend I admire, Cina Pelayo! It’s full of stories, art, interviews with musicians, a comic, and more. I applaud Dean for a job well-done and I’m looking forward to getting my own copy.

The vibrant cover art below is by the creative and interesting artist Gunsho. It’s bright and fun and interesting, I think! It’s a little in your face, but stuff like that is growing on me (though be advised he does have his middle finger up so I can’t be held responsible for other content in the mag might be as such haha!). All his artwork and comic art is this unique brand of what he does and I think that’s cool.

Outpost 28 Issue 4

The magazine is out now in time for Halloween 2019, and you can order it off the publisher’s website here.

Back of Outpost 28 issue 4

It has been so much fun to be a part of this Halloween Edition! I hope you can check it out too. If you do, let me know what you think of my story “Mia” and the rest of the magazine!

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10 Pieces of My Writing from 2018! And 8 That You Can Read for FREE!

Hi Friends!

Coming off the heels of the end of 2017 bringing about my debut poetry and fiction collection Breathe. Breathe., and contributor stories in the anthologies of Hardened Hearts and Project Entertainment’s My Favorite Story, I found myself writing even more in 2018! So what did 2018 bring in terms of my creative writing….

Not only did I finish, with paper and pencil of course, my next poetry-only collection (which will be in the typing and editing stages for early 2019), but I wrote many stand alone poems and stories for various magazines and projects, some which are already published and others which I’m working on submitting this year (I’ve already submitted two – fingers crossed!).

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Me trying to WRITE at the library with the crazy person pacing back and forth while rapping out loud to the music in his headphones! haha!

I wanted to share some of my writings from this year that are available for free at links below. A good portion are from a women in horror writing monthly challenge, which helped keep my juices flowing, so I have so much thanks for Nina D’Arcangela and her team for running this project and giving us a platform for our work.

I was also featured in several anthologies as a contributing author as well as a co-curating editor, and you’ll find more information on them at the links below too!

I want to remind people that some of these are horror or trend toward darker fiction, but some of them are fairytale, or fantasy, or just writings that anyone can read!

It was a strange year full of more personal and professional strife, changes, and issues – and most of all, some semblance of transformation. I don’t even know how I got done half of what I did! I appreciate so very much those who’ve continued to support me both personally and professionally, those that keep Breathe. Breathe. continuously alive online with reviews and praise, and to friends who’ve stood by me through it all. We live and learn who our friends are in this business, and what I’ve learned the hard way just might be fodder for a future dark fiction collection.

Read my Poetry and Short Stories FREE online at these links – 

Poetry:

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Chained by Love” – Enchanted Conversation: A Fairytale Magazine, Feb. 2018 Issue. (Note: As far as I can tell this poem is also eligible for Rhysling nomination in the over 50 words category and I’d be honored for any SFPA members to take a look at it.)

A Land of Autumns” – SpillWords Press, Nov. 2018. 

Life’s Shadow” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, June 2018 (Note: Should be eligible for Rhysling)

Sacrificial Invitation” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, Nov 2018 (Note: Should be eligible for Rhysling)

Mummy Poetry – You can read two of my mummy poems right here on my own site! They were two of my favorite to write all year!

Short Stories:

Purple Hex Society” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, May 2018

The Witch’s Cottage” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, Oct. 2018

The Insistent Reporter” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, Dec. 2018

Anthologies:

dark voices cover

Cover by Luke Spooner

Wrapped in Battle” – Poetry, Dark Voices Anthology, Lycan Valley Press, July 2018. I dedicate this poem in memory and honor of all my female family and friends who’ve fought cancer, as the proceeds of the anthology go to breast cancer research organizations. This is an all-female anthology and I am so thrilled to be a part of it with so many other fabulous women dark fiction authors. My poem finishes up the collection. It’s currently available in print only, but should be available in e-book later this year.

Purchase – Amazon

Add to GoodReads

haunted are these houses

Haunted Are These Houses” – co-editor, Gothic Poetry and Short Fiction Anthology, Unnerving, Sept. 2018. I read almost 600 poetry and short story submissions as co-editor of this anthology, had the great honor of bringing in and editing Catherine Cavendish’s short story to it (she’s one of my favorite women authors in horror), and was in final, the poetry editor, curating the poetry selections from some of the finest poets in the dark fiction and horror communities such as Bruce Boston, Stephanie Wytovich, Sara Tantlinger, Christina Sng, and more.

Purchase – Amazon

Add to GoodReads

If you enjoy my work, I love hearing comments and thoughts! Thank you so much for supporting me in my work in 2018. I am looking forward to an even more productive 2019 with my writing – stay tuned for a post on that soon.

Warm wishes,

Erin

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Happy New Year 2019! (Also, free haunting holiday story to read.) #HappyNewYear

I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season full of happiness, food, family, and relaxation, but most of all love! As for us, we had a wonderful Christmas. We were able to drive the eight hours to Washington D.C. and see the sites for a day or two with my son, who attends college there (except for the National Christmas tree I so wanted to see up close – but a gentleman climbed to the top of it and security shut down the lights and were in droves everywhere just at the time we headed down to see it!), and then, bring him home with us in time for Christmas Eve and Day. It’s been a house full of love and laughter since he’s been here with us. I am enjoying my time with my son again. And I am loving having my daughters on break from high school and middle school as well. We’ve spent so much quality time together. On a sad note, I also lost someone very dear to me a few days after Christmas and I’m still processing that.

I will possibly message more on some of the sights and sounds and life here from the end of 2018, and as we begin 2019, talk about my entire insights from 2018 and my goals for 2019 as well. Plus, I’ll have some great book reviews and interviews too, but for now…

…I just want to wish everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope for ALL there is success, health, happiness, joy, love, inspiration, and friendship. I hope there are more quiet times, more writing time, more discovery of art and nature, more one on one with people you know or meet.

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Cheers to the beginning of a much better year. I am anxiously awaiting 2019 to be better than this year I am soooooooo happy to put behind me! If you’re still in my life, or want to be, and are coming along for the ride, I welcome you with open arms.

Also, FREE STORY!!

I have a 1,000 word Christmas story, a haunting Christmas story in fact, in the vein of the old Victorian fireplace ghost stories, to share with you too if you haven’t yet seen elsewhere for yourself on the Ladies of Horror flash project site. I’ll share that below, and though the initial photo prompt was the impetus, I’ll share in another post soon some photos of the place (Kingwood Gardens and Mansion in Ohio) that inspired even more of the story. I hope you like it!

Read my story here: “The Insistent Reporter”

Best New Wishes for a Happy New Year!

Erin

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Celebrating Breathe. Breathe.’s One Year Anniversary: THANK YOU!

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My ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the publication of my debut dark poetry and short story collection, Breathe. Breathe. from Unnerving, came around in October 2018!!! It was fun to celebrate and almost like I had just published it all over again! I honestly have no idea how so much time has passed so quickly, and though everyone else is probably sick of hearing me talk about it, I don’t think I ever will be – even when I publish my next book or collection! Breathe. Breathe. will always be special to me because it’s an extension of me and a big part of me. I’ve enjoyed celebrating every milestone!

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Gratefully, people have still been embracing it this year and letting me talk about my stories, my inspirations, and sharing their own thoughts on the book in continual reviews. In just October and November, in celebration of the anniversary, I wrote several articles I’d love to share here. Coincidentally, I had some wonderful new reviews come in as well. I’d love to share them with you below! It’s definitely not a full list from the year, but it’s my goal to soon have up my media page to include all the links.

Stay tuned too, as I have three interviews and a few more articles I’m finishing up that will appear this month (December) or January. Soon I’ll hopefully be able to share more news about publications and writing projects coming up!

Articles

On Ginger Nuts of Horror – Five Scary Books to Read for Halloween

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On InkHeist – Vahalla Lane: We’re All About Revenge Here

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On The Horror Tree – My Writing Inspiration: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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And…..

Brian Fatah Steele’s Site – My Writing Process: Wait, There’s a Writing Process?

Interview

7 Q’s with Brian Fatah Steele

Reviews (Click on blog title for full review)

Kendall Reviews – “If the idea of reading a collection of poetry is what is preventing you from checking this out, give your head a shake. If it’s the lack of corpses and skulls on the cover, have a friend smack you silly. This is dark, dark stuff and it should be mandatory reading by everyone in the horror community.”

Red Lace Reviews – “There’s a lot of content in this title, and all of it was thought-provoking. I may not be a connoisseur of poetry, but I appreciated the heart-wrenching emotion poured into every addition, and the concluding short stories also interested me.”

Howling Library – “Altogether, Breathe. Breathe. is a fantastic collection of poems and stories, and—at risk of sounding cheesy—is a real breath of fresh air. Erin shows a natural talent for writing, and I am so appreciative of the way she bared her soul to the world in her work here.”

Down in a Book – “This collection beautifully showcases the beauty in the worlds we create (either physically or in our own heads) and also reminds us of the sickening cruelty inflicted onto others. A great collection for anyone who enjoys reading work on the darker/haunting side, and who may want to feel a little vengeance a little once in awhile!”

The RAC Magazine (Nov/Dec Issue) – “Erin’s words were deeply moving.”
(This Reader Author Connection Magazine is subscription only.

And…

just a few days ago, Emily from Book.Happy posted her favorite debuts she read in 2018 (all 4 and 5 star reviews) and included Breathe. Breathe. in her stack. I was honored by the company I was keeping and thankful for her support.

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If you’d like to order Breathe. Breathe. I’d be honored. Please let me know if you’d like to purchase a signed print copy by e-mailing me at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Or you can order in e-book and print from Amazon, read on Kindle Unlimited, or order print from Barnes and Noble.

Thank you so very much for your continued encouragement and for celebrating with me. More soon!

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#HookonWiHM: Author David Duggins Interviews Horror and Fantasy Author Angeline Hawkes

Today in the #HookonWiHM series, author David Duggins has interviewed author Angeline Hawkes! I adore Dave, but had never heard of Angeline, so very glad he’s introduced another new woman in horror to me. And not only does she write horror, but she’s a fantasy gal too, which is another genre I love. I feel sad I didn’t know her, she’s been writing a long time and has worked with some excellent presses and has garnered high praise. 

I’m taking interviews by men and women with women in horror, as well as guest articles, throughout the month of February, but will schedule throughout the year too in order feature women in horror all year long. You can find information on this at the bottom of the post.

Let’s introduce you to Angeline and then we’ll let Dave take the white page with his interview..

Angeline Hawkes is from Texas, which means she ain’t got no quit in her.  She’s been busy not quitting since 1981.  She works mostly in fantasy and horror, where her publishing credits include stories in Stoker and Origins Award-nominated anthologies, and enough novels featuring monsters and kick-ass warriors to fill a very large transport trailer. 

Sometimes, she writes with her husband, Christopher Fulbright.  Sometimes she writes by herself.  She always writes hard, bright and true, and her characters live in your head for a long time after you’ve read her work.

Her current short fiction collection, Inferno, is available from Elder Signs Press, on Amazon.  Upcoming works include a new horror novel, Cold Is the Mountain, out later this year through Elder Signs, and a short story, “Strange Gods,” in the anthology C.H.U.D. Lives from Crystal Lake Press.

Angeline’s website is http://angelinehawkes.com/

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Interview with Angeline Hawkes

What are you working on now?

Three barbarian/heroic fiction novels all set in my Kabar of El Hazzar world. The novels are in various stages of completion. Every couple months, Christopher Fulbright and I write a new short story or novella for this project or that. We tend to take those opportunities as they come up and write longer works in the meantime. I also have a few non-fiction articles in the works as well.

Has your writing process changed significantly over the years?

Yes. It’s funny because when my four kids were all babies, I wrote my tail off. For some reason I always thought I’d have more time when they were older. I look back at my writing schedule in those days in awe. I don’t know how I did it all! Now that they are older (my youngest is almost 10 years old), I find I don’t have as much time as I did when they were little.

I don’t despair though. As Stevie Nicks says, time makes you bolder, even children get older, and I’m getting older too.  I know some day I’ll look back at this time in my life and remember it fondly even if I’m not cranking out the fiction at break-neck speed like I was ten years ago. I think I’ve moved into the quality over sheer quantity stage of my career. Not that I wasn’t concerned with quality before, but now, I don’t feel the need to place four stories a week. I do what I can. I write when I can, and I let the chips fall.

What advice would you give new writers?

Practice. Write often. Study grammar and sentence structure. Read outside your genre. I think there is a lot to be learned from the old masters: Hawthorne, Dickens, Shakespeare, Hardy, Stevenson, Conrad, O’Henry, Bradbury, etc. Study history. Study PEOPLE. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? People? Every person has a story. Listen to as many of them as you can. Those tales tucked away in your head are the root of character development. Go hang out in a nursing home and spend some time with some of our forgotten elderly. What tales they have to tell!

Stay away from the haters. Storytelling is a gift. Hone it. Don’t be afraid to try a different approach. If something isn’t working, just put it away. You’ll return to it. If you don’t, it probably wasn’t worth the development and time.

Above all, believe in yourself. This is a harsh industry full of constant rejection. YOU have to believe in your talent, believe in your gift. You don’t choose writing. Writing chooses you.

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Amazon Link

Thanks to Dave for providing a wonderful interview!

David Duggins, Biography –

Dave GuitarDavid Duggins is a writer and CG artist who’s been thrashing around in the genre fiction pool for almost thirty years. While he has published short fiction professionally in magazines like Cemetery Dance and Fear, David prefers the DIY approach, and now publishes under his own Silvern Press Imprint.

You can follow or find information on Dave on his websiteHis new novel, Watershed, is available in the Kindle store. You can follow him on Twitter: @dave_duggins

Watch for more to come in the #HookonWiHM series….

February is Women in Horror Month! Though I agree women should be celebrated on the same level as men every day of the year, I like to partake in Women in Horror projects as a catalyst for spreading the good news and works of women in the genre in hopes that it will carry on throughout the year. It’s time to celebrate and show off what we got! For those of you reading, men AND women both, try to read and watch more horror produced by women this year.

For the #HookonWiHM, or Women in Horror Month at Hook of a Book, we’ll be hosting interviews conducted by men and women with other women in horror. Watch for those spread throughout the month, and if you want in, contact me.

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Welcome to 2018: Book Lovers and Writers Unite!

emoticon hiWelcome to the SEVENTH year here at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! That’s right, SEVEN years! We are celebrating our seventh year of bringing you news about books, reviews, interviews, guest articles, and our professional editing and publicity services. We’ve seen a lot happen over these last seven years and I want to personally thank everyone, in all the genres we dabble in, for their support. You have my eternal gratitude for your respect, inspiration, and love.

UPDATE ON THIS BLOG

At times, I get so busy working in publishing, polishing books by others and sharing them with the world, and in what little free time I have, and depending on the season, I have the needs of my growing three kids, so this blog doesn’t see as many reviews or interviews as in the days I tried to do five to six posts a week that were strictly reviews and interviews. In fact, when I started it seven years ago, it was to talk about the books I was writing! It was my outlet for that from my busy job(s) as a marketing and PR professional out there in the world.

Now, I’m running Hook of a Book Media and working with many top indie authors and writers, even bloggers and publishers, on editing, writing mentorship, and marketing and public relations/publicity. Currently, I work with not only authors, but directly for Sinister Grin Press as an editor and doing marketing and publicity as well as Raw Dog Screaming Press. Working in publishing is very busy. I often work 7 days a week and some days 15-18 hours a day, seasonally. Out of the book industry, I still occasionally do marketing, advertising, copy writing, and PR work for business and non-profits. As well, I am chair of the board of directors of a our local mental health center and rape crisis domestic violence shelter. This also keeps me busy!

But since I’ve stopped doing as many posts, I’m happy to say though that my traffic, due to all my well-written content, stays very high each month and posts are read and re-read even from many years ago. I learned to write for SEO many moons ago, and so much of my views come from google searches. I’m very proud of that. As much as I can, I hope to continue to do reviews, interviews, news, and hosting guest articles on my blog, interspersed with news of my own publications and writing pursuits. This is NOT a review mill, but a site run by an educated journalist, a PR professional, editor, and author.

WHAT NOT TO DO AS AN AUTHOR

I’ve not got off to a great start of posting here in 2018 yet, at least in the realm of posting reviews and interviews at least. My first major post at the beginning of the month was to be an interview with a historical fiction author. It was one that I was to post months prior, but that I hadn’t gotten posted due to our overwhelming personal struggles last year (including moving to a rural area, no internet service – then it taking over two months of a wait for installation, family problems, my son having a very long extended illness, my kids needing me, etc), and the blog becoming a last priority.

As the air cleared a little, and our internet finally was hooked up, and life had a bit more of a routine, even on crazy days, I began to catch up, and I posted the interview. I noted at the beginning of the interview about the delay, the season, and that I wanted to get 2018 off to a better start. Unfortunately, the author asked me, after I had spent about two hours formatting it, to take it down and re-post in the coming summer, also indicating to me that in the introduction I had written, since I noted one thing of accomplishment she had achieved since my previous review posted,  I had left off two awards she won (I hadn’t heard).

As this blog is volunteer-run, posts and hours to do them are always free, and I’m already spread very thin, often times only sleeping two hours a night (and sometimes struggling with my own health issues), so I didn’t really take too kindly to this at all from a personal stand-point. Being cordial back, and as always a professional, I removed the post and only asked her to remind me when she wanted posted, but did indicate to her that I wished she had respected my judgement. I hold no ill will. But as a future note to authors, both from the stance of running this site and personal desires, plus as a note from me as a professional, don’t do this. Don’t harass, embarrass, or take bloggers, reviewers, or media and their time for granted. Most of them, if not all of them, in the book world, do it as a labor of love. When you do these things, it makes it more like free labor and less like love.

My interviews, since I am a trained journalist, consist of originality every time. I write each interview catered toward the author. I sometimes ask the hard questions. I could get paid for my interviews, and I have, but on my own site they are free to you. Please understand the time involved in writing and posting them. It’s your job as an author to respect my time as well as your own, provide me with good answers, photos to accompany them (often times I spend time searching them out and verifying for use), and to share it along with me. This is the same advice I give my author clients, or any clients in entertainment or even business, when working with other sites or the media.

MY WRITING

And all of this talk of time does even mention the fact that I’ve made goals for myself of actually carving out more time for my own writing. Last year saw my own first collection published, a dark poetry and fiction mix called BREATHE. BREATHE. by Unnerving, as well as work in two more anthologies, HARDENED HEARTS from Unnerving and MY FAVORITE STORY from Project Entertainment Network, in which authors and podcasts hosts featured their favorite story. Proud to say I am in this with authors like Brian Keene, Christopher Golden, Jonathan Maberry, Mary SanGiovanni, and more. This year, I already have two secret projects going and I’m writing and submitting more this year as well. I need to be creative too, just like you do.

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So, now that I’ve cleared the air, I hope that my site continues to offer the best it can, as well as our business Hook of a Book Media, in which we offer editing, writing mentorship, publicity services, and more. Tim is now also offering editing services. I’m often booked, so please consider him if you’re looking for editing services as well. You can find information on that under our services tab. We offer respect and professionalism and support those who bring their best selves as well.

WANT TO BE FEATURED?

I am always open for guest article submissions, either articles you’ve written or interviews you’d like to do with others as a feature on my site. As well, I’m always available to try to fit in writing a guest article for your site too or to be interviewed. For book reviews, we are always open to receiving e-mails about new titles you’d like us to consider. I do not do formal reviews of clients book or book from publishers I directly work with on my blog or other online sites, for ethical reasons.

YOU CAN BE INVOLVED HERE

Upcoming projects of note for the site: we will doing volunteer campaigns for Women in Horror Month, Women in History, and National Poetry Month! You can check each individual page on this site for the calls and more information ongoing.

Thanks for a great seven years so far, and really looking forward to a wonderful 2018 in the book world. My best advice to everyone: JUST BREATHE. HAVE PATIENCE. IT WILL BE OKAY! 🙂

If you follow me here, THANK YOU!!

-Erin

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Filed under Book Reviews, Book Services, Breathe Breathe, Editing, Feature Articles, Guest Posts, My Writing, Q and A with Authors, women in history