Dark Delicacies

Dark Delicacies Sirens

Me, Christa Faust, and Maria Alexander at Dark Delicacies

In 2008, I did my first book signing as a “real” author.  Before that, I’d done events for Morbid Curiosity magazine for 10 years, but in those cases, I was showcasing the work of other authors.  I served as emcee, but those shows weren’t about me.  They were about the community brought together by the magazine.

Sirens CoverThat changed when Sins of the Sirens came out.  The book was a four-women anthology.  The editor chose my four stories to open the book. Two of the stories had been published previously: “Still Life with Broken Glass” in Cemetery Dance magazine and “Last-Born,” the first Alondra story to appear, in The Ghost-Breakers anthology. The others were new to the book: “Sound of Impact,” about a breakup gone spectacularly wrong, and “The Angel’s Lair,” the short story that led to my novel Lost Angels.

I got on a plane, flew to Burbank, and was practically consumed by nerves as I walked into Dark Delicacies for my first signing as an author.  Del Howison, whom I’d met through the World Horror Conventions, was the perfect host.  I came away with a Dark Delicacies t-shirt and a pen that was my favorite for signings to come.  Thanks to Del, I felt like my work belonged alongside all the treasures he had for sale.

Dark Delicacies is an amazing bookstore.  It’s dedicated to horror: books, movies, magazines, collectibles, clothing… You name it.  I always spend more than I can afford there because it has things I’ve never seen anywhere else.

IMG_8865I returned in 2017 to sign copies of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die. It was great to meet so many of my fellow taphophiles there, co-owner Sue Howison among them.  Dark Delicacies has the best collection of cemetery books for sale that I’ve ever seen in one place.

For years now, the owners have watched their neighborhood changing around them.  The little mom and pop places have been driven out by increasing rents and more restrictive parking limitations.  Del and Sue fought for the neighborhood, but the time has come.  They have to move.

They’re doing a Go Fund Me to raise money to fix up a new home for the bookstore.  It is also in Burbank, but away from their lovely tree-lined street.  If you can possibly kick in a few dollars to keep this amazing bookstore alive and help with their move, here’s the link: https://www.gofundme.com/dark-delicacies-relocation-fundraiser

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5 Questions for Jennifer R. Povey

Current Spring 2017

Jennifer R. Povey is another member of Broad Universe, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.

Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She is currently working on an urban fantasy series of which the most recent volume, Fallen Dark, was released in the summer of 2017. She is a regular writer and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who, and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

Falling Dusk is the first volume of her Lost Guardians series:

Anna McKenzie just wants her life back. She wants the brutal murder of her brother never to have happened. She certainly doesn’t want magic, power, and to deal with a certain vigilante named Victor Prince… …but once the world of magic has claimed her, there is no escape.

FallingDusk_promo

Did something in the real world inspire Falling Dusk?

Yes and no. I’ll be honest and say this book was written as a response to the vampire romance craze. I wanted to portray a (reasonably) healthy relationship with a supernatural boyfriend.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

That’s a favorite child question! It has to be the scene right at the end where the cat comes to the rescue. Anything else would be spoilers, but there’s a reason I have a plush cat with my convention stuff.

What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?

I’m mostly a pantser/discovery writer. This was book one of the series, and I thought I knew how the series ended. Thought. Heck, it wasn’t meant to be as romantic as it was. The characters, especially Anna and Victor, tended to take over. With the later books, I spent a lot of time with the book on one side of my screen and Google Earth on the other. This let me “move” through the locations with the characters. I highly recommend it, if you’re writing in the real world but not in the location you live in.

What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?

Honestly, the one thing I can think of is walking past registration at a con and seeing the volunteer reading it. There’s nothing like seeing your own book “in the wild.”

What do you have planned next?

I just finished and released book four in the series (Risen Day). My next release is with my editor right now: it’s a standalone urban fantasy currently titled Paths. I might be changing the title. After that, I’m going to go back to one of my science fiction universes and write a “parallel” book to my first novel, Transpecial. A sidequel, maybe?

Pick up a copy of Falling Dusk at https://amzn.to/2Qmqyyu.

 

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5 Questions for Carole McDonnell

 

carolemcdCarole McDonnell is another of my sisters in Broad Universe, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.

Carole is a writer of Christian, supernatural, and ethnic stories. She writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews. Her story collections are Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction and Turn Back O Time and other stories of the fae of Malku. She has several stand-alone novels: Wind Follower, My Life as an Onion, The Constant Tower, Who Gave Sleep and Who Has Taken It Away? She’s also writing several series: The Brothers Worth, The Nephilim Dystopia, and Novels of the Malku Universe.

Carole stopped by to tell me about her book, My Life as an Onion:

After the loss of her fiance, Denise Higgins, a young Jamaican American college student, has fallen on hard times. Struggling with grief, her impoverished life, and a needy family, she accepts an opportunity as a sober companion. Her job is simple: keep Ben Moreau away from drugs and report back to his parents. Then she meets him. Ben Moreau, despite being three years her junior, proves to be far more alluring than she ever thought possible. Not only is he a gorgeous and wealthy French Korean with an ever so charming personality, he is also generous and willing to befriend her so long as he can have her loyalty. Following her heart may only bring her grief. Ignoring it is certain to.

MyLifeOnion

Did something in the real world inspire My Life as an Onion?

So, so many things happened. I wanted to write a book that contained all the strange things that had happened to me. I’ve had folks ask me if the book was “true.” My only answer is, “The weird stuff happened. The non-weird stuff is all made up.”

What is your favorite scene in the book?

The scene where the angel appears. There are scenes of demons, spirit-sight, generational family curses, but the angel scene is my favorite. Not much happens when the main character sees the angel, but by then her life is in such shambles that the sight of the angel gives her some hope.

What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?

I wanted to be free, totally free. I wanted it to be a Christian book, but I knew that would turn off a few people. I wanted it to be honest about the sexuality of new adults. I wanted to get everything off my chest. In addition, I’ve often disliked Christian fiction books that showed a normal mainstream kind of story, so I wanted to show the natural supernatural events that happens to people as they go about life: magical realism in a normal, casual way. I love Korean, Japanese, and Chinese dramas, so I wanted to do a reverse harem story based on Korean drama tropes. I also wanted to write a book where all these hot guys were in various states of crushes on a dark-skinned Black girl. I felt baring my soul in a book was something young Christian Black girls needed, but it took so much courage. One reviewer said he liked the book but he felt the love story was wish-fulfillment. I had feared that. Other readers loved it and I reminded myself that my book wasn’t made for certain male readers. I’m glad I was brave.

What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?

Someone emailed to tell me the book really touched him. That made my day.

What do you have planned next?

My wheelhouse is tribal fantasy — Wind Follower and The Constant Tower, but I figured I should try writing a paranormal romance. So My Life as an Onion is my only contemporary Christian book so far.

I’ve returned to my wheelhouse. Right now I’m working on two fantasies that are part of two trilogies. The book I’m working on is SeaWalker and it will follow the already published The Charcoal Bride, which is the first of a trilogy about an evil curse that goes through the bloodline of the Malku kings. Malku is a universe where humans, faes, and merfolk live in a pretty diverse society.

The other book I’m working on is The Chimeran Queen. This will be the second installment of the Nephilim Dystopian trilogy, a world where standard humans, chimeric humans, demonic princes, and clones all live in utter disharmony. The first published installment is The Daughters of Men. Folks liked those two books, so I feel I should just get my act together and write the next books in both series.

You can pick up a copy of My Life as an Onion from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Pxh9im.

Check out all of Carole’s books on her Amazon page: https://amzn.to/2PvGbhU.

Follow her new works on her blog: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/.

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5 Questions for Dawn Vogel

DawnVogel-compDawn Vogel is another of my sisters in Broad Universe, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.

Dawn’s academic background is in history, so it’s not surprising that much of her fiction is set in earlier times. By day, she edits reports for historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business, co-edits Mad Scientist Journal, and tries to find time for writing. She is a member of Broad Universe, SFWA, and Codex Writers. She lives in Seattle with her husband, author Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. Visit her at http://historythatneverwas.com or on Twitter @historyneverwas.

Her steampunk series, Brass and Glass, is being published by Razorgirl Press. Here’s how Dawn describes the first volume, The Cask of Cranglimmering:

In the windy skies of the Republic, it’s not always easy to chart your own course. When Svetlana Tereshchenko, captain of the airship The Silent Monsoon, catches wind that a cask of mythical Cranglimmering whiskey has been stolen, she and her crew of outcasts fly off in search of it. With the promise of a reward worthy of the cask’s legendary lineage from both the Heliopolis Port Authority and the head of the Kavisoli crime family, Svetlana and her renegade crew embark on a breathless chase that takes The Silent Monsoon from one end of the Republic to the other.

What Svetlana assumes will be an easy search and recover mission quickly becomes more complicated as each step she takes uncovers secrets and lies about the cask and its contents. Now, with an ethereal Ghost Ship haunting their path, friends reveal themselves as enemies and alliances develop with the most unlikely associates. The lives of her crew hang in the balance as Svetlana makes the crucial choice of whom she can trust and whom she should fear.

FinalFinal

Did something in the real world inspire Brass and Glass?

I don’t know that it was in the forefront of my mind, but the whiskey found in the Antarctic several years ago was probably floating around somewhere in my mind when I set out to write about a lost cask of whiskey.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

About midway through Brass and Glass, Captain Svetlana Tereshchenko’s crew has dressed her up, complete with two corsets, to attend a fancy party. Said dressing up is very much not her thing. At the first available opportunity, she asks a gentleman acquaintance to help her get out of her clothes. And while she means it entirely innocently, things get a bit steamy as the scene progresses.

I really loved writing this scene because it’s absolutely loaded with layers of nuance and emotion. It does a lot to establish the relationship between Svetlana and Lar.

What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?

Brass and Glass began life as a short story, but everyone who read it thought it read like the beginning of a book. So while I was on a writer’s retreat, I crowdsourced some REALLY random ideas from my friends, and then cobbled together an outline from those pieces. I finished the first draft a few months later and set it aside for a bit. After a few rounds of my own editing and some beta readers, I found a small publisher interested in publishing the book. Of course, one of their first questions to me was “Are there sequels?” And now, two years later, yes there are. (Book 2, The Long Cursed Map, came out in April 2018, and book 3, The Boiling Sea, is slated for spring 2019.)

What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?

I did a local author event at a nearby bookstore, where there were about 20 authors promoting their books. It started with all of the authors taking a turn to talk about their books and other writing, along with some trivia and other games. The whole time we’re sitting there, there was a young woman in the front row with both of my books at the top of her stack. She hurried over to me as soon as it was time for autographs. She had come to the event especially because I was going to be there, and she was so excited to get my books and autograph! That was a fantastic moment for me. It was the first time I’d met a fan who had started out as a stranger to me!

What do you have planned next?

I still have the third book of the Brass and Glass series to edit, but I’m currently writing something completely different—a post-apocalyptic novel about recovering from past traumas and finding a new place to belong. After that, I’ve got a young adult novel and a middle grade novel in the earliest planning stages.

You can get a copy of The Cask of Cranglimmering at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2EddpR4

Or check out the whole series on Dawn’s Amazon page: https://amzn.to/2EarcYG

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Never Enough 2018: the Finale

Considering I didn’t have a major release out this year, I’m pretty pleased with the number of interviews I did and the attention that 199 Cemeteries is still receiving.

Podcasts

Extreme Genes, my first genealogy podcast ever, chatted with me about cemeteries on 3/25/18. My bit starts 24 minutes in:
https://extremegenes.com/2018/02/25/episode-226-black-history-month-advances-in-african-american-research-199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die/

Venerable goth podcast Cemetery Confessions broadcast our conversation about cemeteries on 6/17/18:
http://www.thebelfry.rip/blog/2018/6/15/cemetery-expert-loren-rhoads

Mark from On the Odd chatted with me about 199 Cemeteries on October 26, 2018: https://ontheodd.com/199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die/

And I’ve recorded two more podcasts that haven’t been released yet: I talked with Timothy Renner about cemeteries for the Strange Familiars podcast and Paul G. Brodie about Shut Up and Write for his Get Published podcast.

Print/Online Interviews:

“Loren Rhoads takes us through the gates of the Cemetery” for Women in Horror Month on Library of the Damned 2/22/18: http://libraryofthedamned.com/2018/02/22/wihm-interview-loren-rhoads-takes-us-through-the-gates-of-the-cemetery/

Martha J. Allard interviewed me on her blog about the history behind the Alondra stories when Alondra’s Experiments came out. “New Contemporary Fantasy by Loren Rhoads” appeared  2/28/18:
https://marthajallard.blogspot.com/2018/02/new-contemporary-fantasy-from-loren.html

Terri Leigh Relf asked me about my work/life balance (which is more like a pendulum) for her A Day in the Life interview on 3/13/18: https://tlrelf.wordpress.com/a-day…/a-day-in-the-life-presents-author-loren-rhoads/

Christine Verstraete did a 5 Questions interview on her Girl Zombie Author blog on 6/12/18. We talked about Alondra’s Investigationshttps://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/…/5-questions-with-horror-author-loren-rhoad…

Sonora Taylor invited me by for a Q&A on her blog on 8/15/18. Mostly we talked about 199 Cemeteries, but also got into the Alondra stories: https://sonorawrites.com/2018/08/15/ask-the-author-a-qa-with-loren-rhoads/

Ruschelle Dillon covered all my books in her in-depth Horror Tree interview on 8/20/18: https://horrortree.com/the-horror-tree-presentsan-interview-with-loren-rhoads/

Fiona McVie interviewed me for a second time on her Author Interviews blog on 9/16/18.  This time we talked about the Alondra chapbooks:
https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/here-is-my-interview-with-loren-rhoads-2/

Erin Al-Mehairi invited me by her Oh, for the Hook of a Book! blog for a long conversation about cemeteries and more on 10/30/18: https://hookofabook.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/hookinterview-cemetery-travel-writer-and-horror-author-loren-rhoads-lohf/

Articles:

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die still got some press attention this year, even though it’s been out a while. Most of these stories were a nice surprise when I stumbled across them online.

I served as a consultant about Potter’s Fields for “State-Funded Funerals: What Happens to the Unclaimed Dead” on How Stuff Works on  2/23/18. I’m a fan of the podcast, so this was an honor! https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/cultural-traditions/state-funded-funerals-what-happens-to-unclaimed-dead.htm

A feature story on 199 Cemeteries called “From Established to Eccentric, These Cemeteries are To Die For” appeared on Gonomad on 4/23/18: https://www.gonomad.com/109276-from-established-to-eccentric-these-cemeteries

Lifestyles over 50 reprinted Larry Bleiberg’s “10 Great Cemeteries to See Before You Die”: https://lifestylesafter50.com/10-great-cemeteries-to-visit-before-you-die/

Atlas Obscura did a lovely piece called “In Search of Cemeteries Alive With Beauty, Art, and History” for Halloween: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/cemeteries-to-visit-before-you-die-monuments

Halloween Lifestyle cautioned readers “Don’t Die Before You see These Amazing Cemeteries”: http://www.halloween-lifestyle.com/2018/04/23/dont-die-before-seeing-these-amazing-cemeteries/

And the Steampunk Explorer put together an in-depth 3-part series of historic cemeteries that would appeal to those of a steampunk persuasion:

Part 1: USA and Canada
https://steampunk-explorer.com/articles/exploring-historic-cemeteries-part-i

Part 2: Europe
https://steampunk-explorer.com/articles/exploring-historic-cemeteries-part-ii

Part 3: The Rest of the World
https://steampunk-explorer.com/articles/exploring-historic-cemeteries-part-iii

Miscellaneous Good Things:

This is my catch-all category of things that made me smile this year.

199 Cemeteries made the preliminary ballot for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award in Nonfiction. While the book didn’t advance to the final ballot, it was still an honor to make the long list.

Martha Allard reviewed Alondra’s Experiments. This is my favorite part: “Because they follow a single main character they are less like traditional short stories and more like serial chapters of a book, much like Charles DeLint’s Newford stories. This is a good thing for readers, because it means there are more Alondra adventures in store.”

I took part in the Bloody Valentine Horror Event on Facebook on Valentine’s Day, which gave me the opportunity to promote the first Alondra chapbook, Alondra’s Experiments. It was really fun. Thanks to Anita Stewart for setting that up.

The podcast Two Girls One Ghost read my fan letter on air after they mentioned 199 Cemeteries in an earlier episode. Here’s a link to their Haunted Cemeteries podcast: https://audioboom.com/posts/6692482-episode-27-rest-in-peace This originally aired on 2/25/18.

“Grief,” Martha J. Allard’s piece about how reading my space opera books got her through her dad’s death was published on 4/4/18. It is the nicest thing anyone ever said about my writing. https://marthajallard.blogspot.com/2018/04/grief.html

199 Cemeteries made a Buzzfeed list! “30 Gorgeous Products for Anyone with a Morbid Mind”  appeared on 4/13/18: https://www.buzzfeed.com/malloryannp/gorgeous-products-morbid-mind

I came across the first edition of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel listed on Amazon for $1200. I’d be glad to set you up with one for 10 bucks.

I sold out of Morbid Curiosity #7 in June!  Only #10 left to go.

I got to spend another wonder retreat at Gilchrist in Three Rivers, Michigan. That definitely was a highlight of the year.

Donnie Mirasou wrote in August to say they were using 199 Cemeteries as part of a burlesque routine. That is so cool!

Nancy Kilpatrick blurbed Alondra’s Adventures:

Sonora Taylor mentioned 199 Cemeteries in her list “October Reads: Time for (More) Darkness” recommendation list on 10/5/18: https://sonorawrites.com/2018/10/05/october-reads-time-for-more-darkness/

I contributed in a small way to Christine Verstraete’s list “October Frights: Favorite Monsters” on 10/14/18: https://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/2018/10/october-frights-day-5-favorite-monsters.html

I contributed in another small way to Atlas Obscura’s “The Foods You Want People to Leave on Your Grave” on Halloween: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/food-or-drink-you-want-placed-on-your-grave

Through the month of November, I hosted a series of Nanowrimo Write-ins at the Borderlands Cafe in San Francisco.

I got a new series of author portraits taken by Anna Carson Dewitt. She did a great job of making me comfortable and getting a whole lot of different expressions from me. Check out her work: https://annacarsondewittphotography.shootproof.com/

I got to provide a cover blurb for the first time.  I am really excited about Erin-Marie Legacey’s Making Space for the Dead, which is coming from Cornell University Press in April 2019.

I’ll have more to say about this soon, but I blended a series of teas to represent the characters in my Alondra short stories.  I can’t wait to share them with you.

In the meantime, you can check them out at Adagio Tea:

https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/group.html?group=15483

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