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My first published straight-up horror story has gotten a lovely review over at The Book Smugglers. The reviewer had this to say about my story and others that she enjoyed in Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths.

In the very good category, I would single out Shanna Germain’s “Sugar Pie, Honey Pie” (my favorite of the book), Michael Josef’s “Station 19”, the pretty funny Jamer Patrick Cobb’s “The FNG”, Ken Goldman’s “Lunchtime at the Justice Café”, Joel A. Sutherland’s “The Bocan”, and Matt Hults’ “Feeding Frenzy” (my second favorite story). Each of these stories not only wrote with a distinct voice that felt real and characters that had dimension, but most importantly had a distinct ending that made sense in context of the story. A major problem with many of the stories in this book (and with many horror stories and movies in general) is the finish line stumble. I applaud each of the above authors for hitting an ending note that worked. In “Sugar Pie, Honey Pie”, I admired Ms. Germain’s creation of a female character that was put in a compromised situation, and for the sake of her daughter and sister makes a sacrifice of her own. Plus, there’s something distinctly creepy about sticky sweet fast food pies, and the ‘Queen Bee’ female hierarchy under the guise of a sweet Grandma type.

Okay, so now I want to write even more horror. Although I do struggle with it quite a bit. It’s harder for me to find new ideas, thing s that don’t feel like they’ve been done a million times. And I waver between “telling too much” and “making it so freaking hidden that the reader can’t understand it.” I do have to give kudos to the editors of this book, as they read my draft and emailed me back to say, “We really like it, but the ending doesn’t quite work. Would you mind trying again?” That is such an amazing thing for editors to do, invest in a story that needs work, and I’m grateful that they let me have a second crack at it.

In other news, the second novella that I wrote has been accepted for Bedding Down, a winter-themed collection by Rachel Kramer Bussel. My story is sweet, sexy piece called “Sweet Season,” about making maple syrup, getting down and dirty in the woods, and learning to trust again. I’m not sure who else is in the collection, and the cover isn’t finished yet, but knowing Rachel it’s going to be another collection that makes you hot and wet, despite the wintery weather!

[Addition: So, it sounds like the talented Alison Tyler, as well as Dayle Dermatis and Teresa Noelle Roberts (together writing as Sophie Mouette) also have novellas in this collection. And Kristina too. Wow, this collection really is going to be amazing!]

Now, back to work. I have six “dares” to write today (it’s a long story), plus an article on online ordering to finish, a novel to work on, a proposal to finalize and…of course…at the end of it all, a new episode of Lost to cap off the day!