Another Morbid Week

It’s been another week of Unsafe Words invading the internet.

Fang-tastic Books encouraged me to make a playlist to accompany my story collection. The playlist itself is on Spotify:

The explanation of why I chose the songs I did is up on Fang-tastic Books: https://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com/2020/10/playlist-unsafe-words-by-loren-rhoads.html

The Paranormalists had me by their blog for an interview about Bradbury and Poe’s influences on my writing and what I’m looking forward to reading next:
https://paranormalists.blogspot.com/2020/10/interview-unsafe-words-by-loren-rhoads.html

Reader’s Entertainment interviewed me about my lack of boundaries between horror, science fiction, and fantasy: https://readersentertainment.com/2020/10/13/are-there-boundaries-between-horror-dark-fantasy-and-science-fiction-an-interview-with-loren-rhoads/

Midnight Musings surprised me with a reading of an excerpt from “Here There Be Monsters,” the first story in Unsafe Words:

And for something completely different, Creatively Green asked me to talk about my Pandemic Garden: https://creativelygreen.blogspot.com/2020/10/in-garden-with-loren-rhoads-inthegarden.html

Oh, and here’s another snippet of the Ghost Magnet interview, this one about Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris:

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The Weekly Morbid

The essays that I’ve been scrambling to write have started going up to celebrate my favorite season of the year.

First up is an essay at Horror Made. I’m really proud of this one. I pulled together a list of 15 books, both novels and story collections, that inspired the stories in Unsafe Words. My influences range from Huysmans to Ellison, from Carter to Morton. Check it out:
https://horrormade.com/2020/10/10/15-books-behind-unsafe-words/

Some things are scarier than Halloween. I talk about one at the Horror Writers Association blog.

Halloween Haunts: Scarier than Halloween

 

I like to spend my birthday in a graveyard, and I’ll tell you why:

Birthdays in the Cemetery

 

I have also done a bunch of interviews lately:

J. Scott Coatsworth interviewed me about going to the gross anatomy lab to research “Valentine” in Unsafe Words:
https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com/author-spotlight-loren-rhoads-2/

The Book Junkie Reads interviewed me about the Lorelei and Alondra stories in Unsafe Words:
https://thebookjunkiereadspromos.blogspot.com/2020/10/spotlight-winterview-horror-science.html

Supernatural Central interviewed me about how the Haunted Mansion Retreat inspired “Here There Be Monsters”:
https://supernaturalcentral.blogspot.com/2020/10/interview-with-loren-rhoads-unsafe-words.html

Nina Soden interviewed me about Angelus Rose:
https://ninasoden.com/2020/09/16/loren-rhoads-author-interview/

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On tour with Unsafe Words

Time has passed in a whirl since my short story collection came out on September 20. October is always my busy season, but I’ve been writing a lot (including a new short story and half of another short story) and trying to take advantage of all the opportunities this season brings.

Some of the stuff I’ve been preparing is going up in the following days as Unsafe Words tours blogs.

Here’s the back cover text of the book, in case you missed it:

In the first full-length collection of her edgy, award-winning short stories, Loren Rhoads punctures the boundaries between horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction in a maelstrom of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll.

Ghosts, succubi, naiads, vampires, the Wild Hunt, and the worst predator in the woods stalk these pages, alongside human monsters who follow their cravings past sanity or sense.

Here’s the whole schedule:

The introductory post at Bewitching Book Tours has an excerpt of my story “Valentine”: http://www.bewitchingbooktours.com/sales/exclusive-excerpt-of-valentine-from-unsafe-words-by-loren-rhoads

The Book Junkie Reads interviewed me about the book: https://thebookjunkiereadspromos.blogspot.com/2020/10/spotlight-winterview-horror-science.html

Gail’s Gory Details includes an excerpt from the first story in the collection, “Here There Be Monsters”: https://gailsgorydetails.blogspot.com/2020/10/unsafe-words-by-loren-rhoads.html

Momma Says to Read or Not to Read: https://mommasaystoreadornottoread.blogspot.com/2020/10/virtual-book-tour-unsafe-words-by-loren.html

Simply Kelina: https://simplykelina.blogspot.com/2020/10/unsafe-words-by-loren-rhoads.html

YA Author & Reader (don’t let that fool you — Unsafe Words is not a YA!): https://jlkeathleyyaauthor.wordpress.com/2020/10/06/unsafe-world-by-loren-rhoads

T’s Stuff:
https://www.tsstuff.net/2020/10/unsafe-words-by-loren-rhoads.html

Coming soon:

October 8:
Supernatural Central (interview)
http://supernaturalcentral.blogspot.com

October 9:
Horror Made (Guest Blog)
www.horrormade.com

Lisa’s World of Books
http://www.lisasworldofbooks.net/

October 12:

Fang-tastic Books (Guest Blog)
http://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

October 13:

Paranormalists (Interview)
https://paranormalists.blogspot.com/

Midnight Musings
https://vocal.media/authors/midnight-musings-with-bertena

October 14:

Roxanne’s Realm
http://www.roxannerhoads.com/

October 15:

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom (Guest Blog about my kitchen garden)
http://creativelygreen.blogspot.com/

October 16:

Jazzy Book Reviews
http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/

October 19:

JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder (Interview)
https://jbbookworms.blogspot.com

Sapphyria’s Books
https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/

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Unsafe Words comes out today!

My new collection of short stories is out today!

From the back cover:

In Unsafe Words, the first full-length collection of her edgy, award-winning short stories, Loren Rhoads punctures the boundaries between horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction in a maelstrom of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Ghosts, succubi, naiads, vampires, the Wild Hunt, and the worst predator in the woods stalk these pages, alongside human monsters who follow their cravings past sanity or sense.

Featuring an introduction by Lisa Morton and cover art by Lynne Hansen, these never-before-collected stories come from the magazines Cemetery Dance, Space & Time, City Slab, and Instant City, the Wily Writers podcast, and from the books Sins of the Sirens, Demon Lovers, The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, Tales for the Camp Fire, and more. One story, “With You By My Side It Should Be Fine,” is original to the collection.

Available in paperback from Amazon, Indie Bound, and Barnes & Noble and for the kindle. Other ebook formats coming soon. The most up-to-date information will be up at https://lorenrhoads.com/writing/unsafe-words/

Purchase links so far:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2FjmmuA

Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/3h8WAqd

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unsafe-words-loren-rhoads/1137605973?ean=9781735187600

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781735187600

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Hello from the Apocalypse

It was dark this morning when I woke up on the sofa. My husband came in around 8, while I was reading the news. I said, “It’s so dark this morning.”

He said, “Have you seen the color of the sky?”

 

It was hard to get a photo of the true color of the air. My phone kept trying to up the white balance and brighten things up.

There’s construction going on in the building next door to us. The men were getting a late start today. Normally, they begin at 7, but today they were just bringing the equipment in at 8. I don’t know if there’s electricity next door yet, but it was much too dark to work without it. The foreman was on the sidewalk, taking a video of the sky.

By 8:30, rush hour traffic was picking up. The cars all had their headlights on. The streetlights, which have an electric eye, hadn’t gone off.

The closest fire to San Francisco is about 60 miles away, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. There are fires to the north in Mendocino and near Point Reyes. There’s fire near Sacramento, the state capitol. There’s a fire that’s burning in Sonoma and Napa counties. The worst fire now is in the Sierra National Forest. Yosemite is threatened. The Mariposa Redwood Grove is threatened.

At 9:30, it was so dark in the house that I had to force myself to eat breakfast. It just didn’t seem time yet.

My kid closed her curtains because she didn’t want to see the weird color of the sky.

Earlier in the week, when I was out in our atrium to water the plants, flakes of ash were captured in the spider webs. The ash was kind of pretty, if you didn’t think of it as centuries-old trees or people’s homes.

I read on Facebook that a friend’s 7-year-old asked if the sky was ever going to be normal again.

At 10, it seemed to be getting darker outside. Friends from Pacifica to the south to Eureka way in the north shared their photos of the strangely Martian sky.

Despite the eerie color, the air quality has been better today than it had been for weeks. The cold marine layer of fog that crawled in over us in the night was holding the warmer wildfire smoke at bay.

I’m not sure what happened at 11 o’clock, but it kept growing darker and darker. It felt as if the sun had simply forgotten to rise today.

The fog had lifted a little, so that I could see surrounding hills. After the heatwave last weekend, it’s apparently not going to warm up to 60 degrees today.

Friends joked about the skies that the dinosaurs saw. Several discussed nuclear winter.

I figured out how to turn on the air filter I bought last week. I googled how to seal up the windows and doors.

And apparently, since I am unable to stop obsessing about this today, I signed up to join a Shut Up and Write group online. I managed to focus for about an hour before I had to give up writing anything other than this blog post.

At 1:30, the weather was changing. Things had lightened somewhat and the sky had paled to orange sherbet. I could see the fog swirling overhead. I don’t want it to leave us, though. I’m afraid of what will happen, if it does.

I think of the 40,000 people who have been evacuated from the paths of the fires. I think of Lise, who lost her home, and all the people who don’t know if they have a home to return to. I think of Kenny, who just moved into his beautiful home earlier this year, who was on the roof yesterday with a garden hose, who had to sleep in shifts with his husband to watch the fire coming closer. I think of Ken, who was relieved to see that the school where he taught was still standing.

I think of all the firefighters standing between the flames and the rest of us, under skies that never lighten, breathing air that never clears.

I don’t pray. Normally I would light a candle, but today the world doesn’t need any more fire or smoke.  Today, though, my thoughts send up a plea:  Let the smoke change the weather. I pray it rains.

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