Sex-Positive Succubi

lost-th-1247308191-1578763426991.pngWhen Brian Thomas and I began a book about the relationship between a succubus and an angel, the chief thing I was adamant about was that sex had to be beautiful and liberating and celebratory.  Sex in and of itself could never be the event that tarnished someone’s soul or damned anyone.

I mean, sex in and of itself isn’t even listed as a deadly sin.  The Ten Commandments prohibit adultery – consensual sex between a married person and someone other than their lawful spouse – but that leaves succubi pretty much free to do as they like with anyone who is unmarried: from a certain succubus’s point of view, anyway.

My succubus Lorelei was created in Hell for a singular purpose: to lead mortals into lust (which does make the list of Seven Deadly Sins).  Lust, as her boss Asmodeus tells her, must drive all hope of Heaven out of Azaziel’s heart.  Otherwise, he’ll remain unfallen.  The demon tells Lorelei that Aza has had sex before.  What he doesn’t tell her was that Aza had even been married before, in the days before the Flood.  While Aza and his bride had a healthy sex life, each saw the reflection of the divine in their lover.  For Azaziel and Anah, sex was a sacrament.  It was holy.

So Aza and Lorelei do have sex once in the course of Lost Angels, the first novel, only to be interrupted by the angel Muriel.  Muriel loathes succubi and is no fan of humanity, but she sees herself as an unwavering beacon of morality.  Everyone else – angels included – see her as a prude.

One of the characters says in the book that Lorelei uses sex as a way to communicate with people.  It’s a physical hunger for her that she feels down deep in her hips.  The sex she has in the first book ranges over a spectrum from getting to know someone to thanking them for helping her out, from deepening a friendship to illustrating love.  Lorelei is never possessive and doesn’t expect anyone to remain exclusive to her – just as she never promises to be exclusive to anyone else, even “her” angel.

Which is not to say that all the sex Lorelei has in the book in joyous.  Asmodeus tries to use sex to remind Lorelei of her place, but in the end, she doesn’t allow herself to be defined by anyone else’s views of her.

It was important to me that Lorelei be able to define the sex she has for herself.  When Aza takes her to bed, he puts her into a position where she’s imprisoned in her flesh.  The angel envisions it as a kind of erotic bondage, but he doesn’t allow her a safe word or any possibility of escape.  He does what he can to pleasure her body, all the while terrorizing her spirit.  She defines the experience as rape:  erotic for him, but frightening for her.  It takes him a while to understand her viewpoint – and when he finally does, it radically alters his understanding of himself.

The second book in the series, Angelus Rose, continue to explore what sex can mean, both inside a relationship and as a way to punish, demean, celebrate, and praise another person.  In the novels, sex is – above all else – character development.

Angelus Rose will be available next month!


Angelus Rose small ad.jpg

This essay was originally published on We Read with A Glass of Wine. RIP.

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Never Enough: All the Rest

Actually, I’m fairly pleased with how the promotional aspect of everything went last year. I had some great conversations with podcast people this year. Because of the Camp Fire book, I managed to get out in public some. Thanks to Angel Leigh McCoy (more about her later!), I started sending out a monthly-ish newsletter, have a working bookstore on this site again, and the Morbid Curiosity Wikipedia page finally got updated. Oh, and I made my pen name legal.


Get Published podcast#185The Get Published Podcast
Paul Brodie interviewed me aboutShut Up & Write, Nanowrimo, Writing Down the Bones, and how to set up a one-week book tour.
Airdate: January 30, 2019
Listen to it:

Strange Familiars
I talked with Timothy Renner about 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die.
Airdate: February 23, 2019
Listen to it:

Madness Heart Radio
John Baltisberger interviewed me about the Tales for the Camp Fire book.
Airdate: April 16, 2019
Listen to it:

Peter Finch interviewed me about the Tales for the Camp Fire book.
Airdate: June 8, 2019

SF in SF
After Nancy Etchemendy, EM Markoff, and I did SF in SF in June, the podcast went live in August.
Airdate: August 7, 2019
Listen to it:

Horror Addicts episode 171
Horror Addicts featured part of my story “Still Life with Shattered Glass” from Tales for the Camp Fire.
Airdate: August 9, 2019
Listen to it: August 2019 all three

Lilycat on Stuff 
EM Markoff and I chatted in the FCC Free Radio studio with DJ Lilycat about Tales for the Camp Fire. We read excerpts of our stories, too.
Airdate: August 11, 2019
Listen to it:

Print/Online Interviews:

AL Kaplan interviewed me for her blog series, Wolf Notes: An Uncommon Interview, on January 30, 2019:

Stephanie Ayers interviewed my character Alondra DeCourval for her Word Whisperer blog on February 15, 2019:

Vonnie Winslow Crist interviewed me about Lost Angels for her Whimsical Words blog on March 12, 2019:

Lana Ayers interviewed me for her blog about the Alondra Stories and Tales for the Camp Fire on April 19, 2019:

I live-chatted with Anita Stewart on Facebook for her series Between the Pages on May 1, 2019. Watch it here:

L. S. Johnson interviewed me about David Wojnarowicz, my hopes for the future of California, and my story in Tales for the Camp Fire on June 3, 2019:

IMG_1781Dark Ink magazine published an interview with me by Kate Anderson in Summer 2019.(photos on my phone)

The Chilling Chat interview done by Naching T. Kassa went live on the Horror Addicts blog on August 9, 2019:

Emerian Rich did a series of interviews with Real Women Writers of Speculative Fiction. Mine went live on October 16, 2019:

Word Whisperer Stephanie Ayers interviewed me for her Horror Month Spotlight on October 23, 2019: :


The Calaveras Enterprise featured Tales for the Camp Fire in a piece called “Charity anthology to benefit Camp Fire relief efforts” on April 13, 2019:

The Petaluma Argos Courier featured Tales for the Camp Fire in a piece called “Scary Story Anthology to Benefit Wildfire Relief on April 26, 2019:

Tales for the Camp Fire made i09’s list of the “Sparkling New Books” coming out in May. Thanks to Cheryl Eddy for encouraging readers to “support wildfire relief efforts and scare yourself silly with this collection of creepy sci-fi, horror, and fantasy tales, all by Northern California authors who’ve contributed their stories to help people affected by last year’s devastating Camp Fire.”

Tales for the Camp Fire was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle in a piece called “California Wildfires Spark Creativity in Horror Writers” on June 25, 2019.  Thanks to Jef Rouner!

Chad Schimke featured my story “Still Life with Shattered Glass” on his blog on September 15, 2019:

The Guardian included 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die included on “Top 10 Books About Graveyards” by David Barnett on October 30, 2019:

Miscellaneous Good Things:

Buzzfeed featured 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die at #1 in a list called “23 Pieces of Home Decor That’ll Say ‘Welcome, Foolish Mortals'” on March 7, 2019:

My very first cover blurb appeared on the amazing book Making Space for the Dead: Catacombs, Cemeteries, and the Reimagining of Paris 1780-1830 by Erin-Marie Legacey, published by Cornell University Press in April 2019.


I sent out my first newsletter in June! If you’d like to get the inside scoop, the occasional book giveaway, and a morbid adventure or two, you can check it out here:

QSF button imageIn July Queer Sci Fi was looking for a new slogan for their giveaway buttons. I won the contest! Here’s the final button.

Some of the best news of the year: Ellen Datlow included my story “Elle a vu un Loup” (which appeared in Weirdbook #40) in her full recommended list for Best Horror of the Year, volume 11, in September 2019.

In October, I got my first royalty check for 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die. That means, thanks to all of you, the book earned back the advance the publisher paid me to write the book. That is very exciting news.

In December, the Morbid Curiosity magazine Wikipedia listing went live with an update. That does my heart so good. Here it is:

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Never Enough: Live in 2019

Never enough doesn’t really describe last year’s live events, because I’m really pleased with how many times I got invited to speak or read in public. I wish I’d been able to work things out with the Cliterary Salon, but I’m not sure I could have managed anything more. Maybe this year?


Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
Sunday, March 10, 2019
FogCon in Hayward, California
Emceed by Rebecca Gomez Farrell, with L.S. Johnson and Tina LeCount Myers. I read from Lost Angels and “The Arms Dealer’s Daughter.”


Contributors to Tales for the Camp Fire:  Clifford Brooks, Eric Esser, Ken Hueler, LS Johnson, me, EM Markoff, and Nancy Etchemendy

SF in SF
Sunday, June 9, 2019
American Book Binders Museum, San Francisco, California
Moderated by Terry Bisson, Nancy Etchemendy, EM Markoff and I read from and discussed Tales for the Camp Fire. The SF in SF podcast went live on August 7:

Loren-rhoads at SMPL 2019.jpgThird Annual Tales of Horror
Wednesday, October, 2 2019
The Oak Room, Main Branch of the San Mateo Public Library
Emceed by Emerian Rich, Jonathan Fortin, Trinity Adler, Laurel Anne Hill, R.L. Merrill, Mercy Hollow, and me, along with Tales for the Camp Fire contributors E.M. Markoff, Ben Monroe, and Sumiko Saulson.
I read a piece of “Here There Be Monsters” from The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two.

Litcrawl 2019.jpgThe San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the HWA at the Litcrawl
October 19, 2019
Dalva, San Francisco, California
Members of the SF Bay Area Chapter of the Horror Writers Association read from Tales for the Camp Fire. I emceed, joined by Clifford Brooks, L. S. Johnson, E. M. Markoff, and Ben Monroe. I read one of the sexy bits from “Still Life with Shattered Glass.”

Screen Shot 2020-01-01 at 8.50.11 AMLiterary Speakeasy’s Martini Bar of Horrors
October 24, 2019
Martuni’s, San Francisco, California
Emceed by the inimitable James J. Siegel, I joined Laura Blackwell, Chaz Brenchley, Meg Elison, Vernon Keeve III, Ginger Murray, and Jean Znidarsic to bring the spooky back to Martuni’s.  I read the scene in the haunted swimming pool from “Here There Be Monsters” out of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two.


I did a little presentation to my local HWA group about how to prepare for a reading and introduced them to all the reading series in the Bay Area, April 14 at the Borderlands Cafe in San Francisco.

I only did one brand-new one last year, but I am really proud of it. I debuted my “Future of Death” speech at the Nebula Conference on May 16.

Miscellaneous Live Events:

Screen Shot 2020-01-01 at 9.37.25 AM

Camp Fire contributors: Chad Schimke, EM Markoff, Ben Monroe, LS Johnson, Sumiko Saulson, and me.

Bay Area Book Festival
May 4 & 5, 2019
Berkeley, California
I spend the entire weekend hanging out with the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Horror Writers Association at the Book Festival this year. As always, the company was really fun. We debuted Tales for the Camp Fire, which was a rousing success.

Books on B - T4TCF

Camp Fire contributors: Roh Morgon, me, Ben Monroe, Anthony De Rouen, EM Markoff, Eric Esser, and Gene O’Neill

Tales for the Camp Fire‘s first signing
May 11, 2019
Books on B, Hayward, California
I was joined by Anthony De Rouen, Eric Esser, E. M. Markoff, Ben Monroe, Roh Morgon, and Gene O’Neill for the first bookstore event for Tales for the Camp Fire.

Tales for the Camp Fire at Borderlands Books after hours
Borderlands Books, San Francisco, California
June 22, 2019
E. M. Markoff and I presented Tales for the Camp Fire at the Borderlands Sponsors Party.

Screen Shot 2020-01-01 at 9.14.34 AMTales for the Camp Fire second signing
Dark Carnival, Berkeley, California
July 29, 2019
I was joined by Anthony De Rouen, G. O. Clark, L. S. Johnson, E. M. Markoff, Ben Monroe, and Gene O’Neill for another book signing event for Tales for the Camp Fire.

SVCC tableSilicon Valley Comic Con
August 16-18, 2019
I joined L. S. Johnson and E. M. Markoff in San Jose, California to sell books at my first comic con. It was a major learning experience.

Convention Panels:


Debut Author Lessons 
Friday, March 8, 2019
I joined Vylar Kaftan, Tina LeCount Myers, and Tyler Hayes to talk what we learned — or wish we’d known — as beginning writers.

How do you sign books? What’s the etiquette when talking to bookstores? Join our panel of authors, some brand new, others with several books behind them, as they discuss the things every debut author needs to know, from signing contracts to signing books.

Down to Earth: The Future of Green Burial
Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 9
Moderated by M. Kennedy, with E.M. Markoff, Terry Weyna, and me.

“We’re not detached from Earth. We turn *into* earth.” Inspired by Becky Chambers’ Record of a Spaceborn Few, this panel is a discussion of death customs in science fiction and an introduction to existing environmentally conscious burial methods. How can human decay be a catalyst for helping forests flourish, or repopulate coral reefs, or nurture a family garden? What resources exist for people like Kip, who want to care for the bodies of loved ones without prior formal education? Readers inspired by the work of Caretakers like Chambers’ Eyas may be interested to learn that several organizations in the Bay Area not only specialize in providing green burials, home funerals, and death midwifery, they actively seek to train volunteers to provide this care for their own communities.

Wizard World – Bay Area

Screen Shot 2019-11-25 at 8.55.24 AMFlaming Piles of Garbage: How to Write a First Draft
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Oakland Convention Center, Oakland, California
Moderated by Kerstin Marie, I joined Billy San Juan and comix author George Michail at my first Wizard World convention to talk about how to get the words down.

What’s the process of writing the first draft of a manuscript? New writers often struggle with the first draft because they either get lost, try to get everything perfect, or don’t even know where to start.

Screen-Shot-2019-11-25-at-8.55.42-AM.pngThe Psychology of Horror
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Oakland Convention Center, Oakland, California
Moderated by Billy San Juan, I joined George Michail, artist Ben Russel, and Lara TK to talk about why being scared is so fun.

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Never Enough 2019

Every year I recap the writing triumphs and disappointments of the previous twelve months. Every year I feel like I haven’t done enough, but that was especially true in 2019. The year started strong, then I got consumed with revising Angelus Rose. I wish I’d had the energy to hustle more. Hopefully 2020 will be more productive.

Book publications:

T4tcf new bookmarkTales for the Camp Fire: An Anthology Benefiting Wildfire Relief came out on May 2, 2019. Since then, it’s raised $2200 for survivors of the Camp Fire, which devastated Paradise, California in November 2018.  Every aspect of assembling the book — from the glorious cover art to the stories donated to the events the local Horror Writers Association did to promote it — exceeded my expectations. I am extremely proud of this book. If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, pick one up at Amazon:

Short fiction publications:

ODQ5 cover“Something in the Water,” an Alondra DeCourval story set in San Francisco’s Academy of Sciences, appeared in Occult Detective Quarterly #5, published January 15, 2019.

“In the Pines,” inspired by the blues song of the same name, appeared in The Siren’s Call, published on February 26, 2019. You can read the whole issue for free here:

“The Arms Dealer’s Daughter,” featuring Ariel Shaad and Raena Zacari from my space opera trilogy, appeared in Space & Time #133, published on March 20, 2019.

A new version of “Still Life with Shattered Glass” appeared in Tales for the Camp Fire, published by Tomes & Coffee Press in April.

Shallow waters vol 1“Silence of the Sirens” appeared in Shallow Waters, Volume 1: A Flash Fiction Anthology edited by Joe Mynhardt, published by Crystal Lake Publishing on June 24, 2019. Check the ebook out on Amazon:

“Rock Faces” appeared on the Ladies of Horror Flash Project on October 29, 2019. You can read it for free at this extremely long link (sorry!):

Short fiction sales:

Nothing upcoming. I wasn’t great about sending stories out in 2019. I only got 4 rejections last year, but I’ve got 5 stories out that I haven’t heard back on yet. Hopefully one of them will land.

Short Nonfiction Publications:

Mental Floss was so happy with how many of you read my 2-year-old cemetery travel piece that they published a new & improved version on October 10:

My essay “Fire Season,” about my brushes with wildfire in California, was published on Hook of a Book to promote TALES FOR THE CAMP FIRE on June 28:

My essay on “What Every Writer Needs” was published on No Wasted Ink on May 17, 2019:

My essay “Overlooked Elements of Promotion” went up at the Online Writers Conference or #HOWConference on February 24, 2019.

I only managed 4 columns for the Horror Writers Association newsletter in 2019. I tried to quit the column, but the editor is very persuasive (read: extremely complimentary). I really should give it up since I continually miss the deadlines. Maybe this year.

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5 Questions for Juliette Wade

AuthorPhotoColumnPeekJuliette Wade and I keep running into each other at our local genre conventions. We’ve been on panels together a couple of times, even shared the table of contents of the Strange California book, but we never sat down to chat until last FogCon, when I asked more about her work.  She told me about her amazing book Mazes of Power, which will be out next February. You can preorder it now. I’ll put the link below.

Juliette Wade never outgrew of the habit of asking “why” about everything. This path led her to study foreign languages and to complete degrees in both anthropology and linguistics. Combining these with a fascination for worldbuilding and psychology, she creates multifaceted science fiction that holds a mirror to our own society. The author of short fiction in magazines including Analog, Clarkesworld, and Fantasy & Science Fiction, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Aussie husband and her two sons, who support and inspire her. Her debut novel, Mazes of Power, will come out from DAW in 2020.

Mazes of Power FCOThe cavern city of Pelismara has stood for a thousand years. The Great Families of the nobility cling to the myths of their golden age while the city’s technology wanes.

When a fever strikes, and the Eminence dies, seventeen-year-old Tagaret is pushed to represent his Family in the competition for Heir to the Throne. To win would give him the power to rescue his mother from his abusive father and marry the girl he loves.

The struggle for power distorts everything in this highly stratified society and the fever is still loose among the inbred, susceptible nobles. Tagaret’s sociopathic younger brother, Nekantor, is obsessed with their family’s success. Nekantor is willing to exploit Tagaret, his mother, and her new servant Aloran to defeat their opponents.

Can he be stopped? Should he be stopped? And will they recognize themselves after the struggle has changed them?

Did something in the real world inspire Mazes of Power?

Mazes of Power itself was not inspired by anything in the real world, but I can track the origins of the world of Varin back to a trip that I took to France when I was twelve years old. I had a chance to drive and camp around France at that time. We went to visit a place called the Gouffre de Padirac. It’s an underground cave system. You climb stairs down and down through an enormous sinkhole, and from there enter an extensive system of caverns where you can board a boat and continue your tour along an underground river. At one point, the ceiling is 110 meters above the surface of the water. I was absolutely awed by the place — and a year later, I invented a world where people lived in high-tech underground cities.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

I went back and forth on this question for a long time, because there are so many scenes I love in this book. In the end, I went with a scene that I love because I’m a geek who loves scenes of interpersonal interaction between people with very different cultural backgrounds. There’s a scene where Lady Tamelera, a kind noblewoman, invites her manservant Imbati Aloran to play a game of keyzel marbles with her. Keyzel marbles is somewhat similar to the game Halma, in that you have a round board with cradles in which colored marbles sit. Keyzel is a two-player game where people attempt to move blue or green stone marbles step by step across an obsidian board. Tamelera’s home has a gaming table and chairs made of inlaid wood — a rare and expensive substance in Varin. Aloran, having sworn himself to Tamelera’s service, truly wants to grant her wishes and play the game with her, but can’t bring himself to sit down in the extravagant chairs, and can’t wrap his mind around the idea that in order to play fairly, he would have to attempt to defeat her.

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

My general writing process is to outline as far ahead as I can, usually several chapters ahead, but then to start writing the book from the beginning and continue in chronological order until I reach the end. In the case of Mazes of Power, I attempted to write it once and my momentum petered out at about the 40% mark because the outline was so long and unwieldy. At that point, I took a step back and realized that I had made the wrong person the primary protagonist. Mazes has three point of view characters: Tagaret, Nekantor, and Aloran. The first draft that didn’t work had been treating Aloran as the main character, when in fact it needed to be Tagaret. Once I had rewritten the book so that Tagaret’s was organizing its structure, everything fell into place. I was able to outline it all the way to the end, and able to write it in a way that worked.

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

The best thing that happened was that I learned I had sold audiobook rights for both Mazes of Power and its sequel. The reason why this was awesome – besides just that audiobooks are awesome — was that I was able to stop teaching part-time and concentrate fully on my work on the novels.

What do you have planned next?

I’m currently writing the contracted sequel to Mazes of Power, entitled Transgressions of Power. This book also takes place in the world of Varin, and many of the characters from Mazes appear in it. However, it features all new points of view and goes to many places we’ve never seen before. I’m especially excited to be exploring the world of the Arissen officer caste in this book, given that I spent so much time with the Imbati servant caste in Mazes.

Preorder a copy of Mazes of Power on Amazon:

Check out all the books Juliette has had stories in: 

Or visit her website:

And read her blog:

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