Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Women in Horror: The Top Ten!!!


The following stories have been chosen as the TOP TEN Flash Stories of 2016! These stories (pending various technical stuffs) will be compiled into a micro-anthology for use by the press. However, now we need YOUR VOTES to determine the winner of the GRAND PRIZE-- $20 Amazon GC!  So use the form below to find your favorite (CLICK THE TAB FOR WiH Flash Fiction Contest 2016)  and VOTE!!!!

The Top Ten Flash Fiction Finalists!

Diabolique by Tracy Vincent
Flightless Rats by James Dorr
Pickman's Model by Jason Ellis
Hell on Earth by Carrie Martin
The Damned by Melissa McArthur
Servant Girl Anihilator by Robert Perret
Staying by Myriah Strozykowsky
Hag by Marcia Wilson
What the Dollhouse Saw by Karen Bovenmeyer
Thin Ice by Marcia Colette

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Someone Else's Creation

The Sherlock Holmes anthology "An Improbable Truth:  The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" was an entirely new experience for me as a writer, since I'd never done any kind of "fan fiction" before.  The idea of putting my own spin on someone else's character(s), no matter how iconic, just never appealed to me.  I usually like to go in my own direction, follow a thought and see where it leads me.

That anthology attracted me mainly for the atmospheric part of it.  I liked the idea of a cosmic horror set in the grimy dark of Victorian England, and Holmes was the perfect guide for that.  I'd so enjoyed Jeremy Brett's portrayal of the Victorian sleuth, and it was just an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

The trouble with this kind of project though, at least in an anthology, is that you have to operate within the editor's view of the character, not your own.  There's room for interpretation on the part of the writer, of course, but only within the parameters of what the editor considers a proper homage to the character.  Others may want to focus on the cold intellect and almost inhuman distance of Conan Doyle's Holmes, while I might have wanted to explore the brief but endearing glimpses of human warmth I saw peeking out from behind Holmes's mask of erudite detachment when watching Brett portray him on "Mystery."  It was those snatches of vulnerability juxtaposed with the air of cold superiority for which Holmes is famous that made Brett's portrayal my favorite.  The sadness in his eyes, the distant, pensive stare and the low, morose tone of his voice punctuated by the occasional shout in moments of anger gave him an almost pitiable air; the emotionally stunted intellectual giant, trapped in the lonely prison of his own mental superiority, the child within him struggling to emerge.  He displayed moments of compassion, as well, a gentleness in his eyes at the suffering of the innocent.  But, such flaws or hints of sentimentality just didn't seem to fit in with what the editor had in mind.

I like sometimes to jump on the bandwagon of an anthology if it's in a genre I enjoy; it's a challenge that sharpens a writer's skill.  I'm glad I entered that one; it was an enjoyable experience, revisions and all.  In general though, I'm still partial to developing my own characters, even knowing they'll never enjoy the fame of Sherlock Holmes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Women in Horror Month: A Flash Fiction Contest

February is Women in Horror Month, and we here at Mocha Memoirs Press love our ladies of horror! In celebration of “Ghoul Power,” MMP is hosting a February Flash Fiction contest! Flash fiction is quickly becoming popular on the eBook scene. They’re super short pieces (usually less than 1000 words) that you can read on your phone, tablet, or eReader while you’re waiting your turn at the salon, stuck in traffic, or right before bed. So here’s how it works:

  1. Write a short horror story with a female POV character that’s 1000 words or less.
  2. Submit your story to mochamemoirs.marketing@gmail.com with WIH FLASH FICTION_Title_YourName in the subject line (Example: Re: WIH FLASH FICTION_BathtubOfDestiny_AlexandraChristian) by February 15, 2016. Please take note that all stories must be submitted as a Word document attachment!
  3. All stories will be posted on the Mocha Memoirs Press blog**:  http://mochamemoirspress.blogspot.com/  by Feb. 17th.
  4. Our panel of judges will choose the top ten finalists’ stories by Feb. 22nd. Voting will open on Feb. 23rd, allowing readers to vote for their favorite finalists.
  5. Grand Prize Winner: $20 Amazon Gift Card.
  6. All TOP TEN FINALISTS will have their stories featured in a promotional mini-anthology used to promote Mocha Memoirs Press.

Even though it is Women in Horror month, authors of all genders may submit. Just remember:  HORROR stories with FEMALE PROTAGONISTS! So there, that’s not so complicated! Now, the submission window is narrow, so get to work on those stories!

** Please note that all standard MMP guidelines concerning content apply.  While this is horror, stories that feature explicit descriptions of rape, bestiality or abuse will not be accepted. Also stories that glorify violence, racism, or misogyny will not be accepted. Violence and sex are acceptable but make them integral to the plot. Remember, these stories are for Women in Horror Month and therefore we are all about empowering women!

About our “Ladies of Horror” Panelists…

Eden Royce: Eden Royce is descended from women who practiced root, a type of conjure magic in her native Charleston, South Carolina. She now lives in Kent, The Garden of England, and writes stories loosely based on her childhood. She has had over a dozen short stories published in various anthologies and her current release, Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror was on the Horror Writers’ Association’s recommended reading list for 2015. Eden is one of the writers for The 7 Magpies project, a first of its kind: a short horror film anthology written and directed entirely by black women.

She is also the horror submissions editor for Mocha Memoirs Press where she conceived and edited several anthologies, one of which is The Grotesquerie, twenty-one horror short stories written by women. She also writes a regular feature for Graveyard Shift Sisters, a site dedicated to purging the black female horror fan from the margins, where she interviews female authors and reviews their latest work.

In her dwindling free time, she is a proofreader, book reviewer, and ice cream connoisseur. Learn more about her at edenroyce.com.

Selah Janel: Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. The many people around her that supported her love of reading and curiosity probably made it worse. Her e-books The Other Man, Holly and Ivy, and Mooner are published through Mocha Memoirs Press. Lost in the Shadows, a collection of short stories celebrating the edges of ideas and the spaces between genres was co-written with S.H. Roddey. Her work has also been included in The MacGuffin, The Realm Beyond, Stories for Children Magazine, The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, The Big Bad 2, The Grotesquerie, and Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery. Olde School is the first book in her series, The Kingdom City Chronicles, published through Seventh Star Press. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own. Catch up with Selah at http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

S.H. Roddey:  South Carolina native S.H. Roddey has been writing for fun since she was a child and still enjoys building worlds across the speculative fiction spectrum filled with mystery and intrigue.  She brings to the literary world a unique blend of humor, emotion, and wild ideas filled with dark themes and strong characters. She is a voracious reader, wannabe chef, and video game addict with two full-time jobs: administrative professional and mom to a cat, teenager, and pair of precocious little girls. She also enjoys being married to her best friend and full-time muse and moonlighting as romance author Siobhan Kinkade. Visit her at http://www.shroddey.com.

Sumiko Saulson: Born to African-American and Russian-Jewish parents, she is a native Californian, and has spent most of her adult life in the Bay Area. She is a horror blogger and journalist, graphic novelist, horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy writer. Her works include “60 Black Women in Horror,”“Death’s Cafe: Ashes and Coffee,” “Solitude,” “Warmth”, “Happiness and Other Diseases,” “Somnalia,” “Insatiable,”  the Young Adult horror novella series “The Moon Cried Blood”, and the short story anthology “Things That Go Bump in My Head.” Visit her at http://www.SumikoSaulson.com

Monday, February 1, 2016

Spooky Victorian Sensibilities

When you think of Steampunk, it harkens back to the era of Victoria. The streets were dark, lit by sputtering gas lights. There was a dreariness to the London air enhanced by the coal dust and damp which created the infamous "pea-soup" fogs.

So...is it any wonder that the era also abounded with mediums and spiritualists? Ghosts were very real to the denizens of Victorian England. Remember, this was the heyday of the post-mortem memorial photo. The science of photography was not something everyone carried around in a smartphone. Photographs were fairly expensive, and time-consuming. Sometimes the photo of a dead child was the only representation of them that a family would have.

The desire not to lose all connection to their loved ones kept many a spiritualist well-fed and dressed.

Steampunk seems an ideal genre to marry with this era of mysticism. Imagine a steam-powered magic lantern device that could project the image of a deceased loved one -- and how that loved one might be angered if the medium tried to cheat those left behind.

Or perhaps a safety-coffin goes horribly awry. The "deceased" could be relying on rescue -- literally being "saved by the bell," and instead finds themselves buried alive with no hope of escape.

A couple of free story ideas for you. Now someone go and write me more submissions for Ghosts, Gears, and Grimoires! The pickings have been thin so far. If you've forgotten the guidelines, check them out here.