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Posts Tagged ‘Dark Fantasy’

A Night Sky with Moon and Trees

A Night Sky with Moon and Trees

Broad Universe, an organization which supports and encourages women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, is sponsoring the Full Moon Blog Tour from October 25th until November 7th. As a member of Broad Universe, I’m delighted to participate, and encourage you to visit the other posts. There are prizes to be had, stories to be read, and new writers to meet.

And now, to my post, Owl Moon:

The moon holds a special place in myth and legend. Wolves, coyotes, and dogs howl at the mirror in the sky. Werewolves and other shape-changers are influenced by the moon and its mystical light. Gazing up at the moon, humans see Swiss cheese, a man, an old woman (Grandmother Moon), a rabbit, a dragon, and other images in the darker gray areas caused by craters. Beings of Faerie dance in moonlight (and lure the unwary to dance with them until they are either spirited away to Faerie or drop from exhaustion). And legend holds if you stare into a moonshadow, you can see the past.

So it’s little wonder that the moon and its magical light play a part in my collection of speculative stories, Owl Light. In fact, “owl light” is that period of a day from dusk to dawn when owls and their nighttime companions live their secret lives.

Maybe6 owl light cover Owls populate every story in Owl Light. “The Clockwork Owl” is a time-travel, steampunk story with a automaton owl who is made to save a life in the past and the future. Owls hoot from the trees in some of the stories like “Bad Moon Rising,” “Gabeta,” and “The Burryman.” Owls huddle in the corners of burial caves in ” Pawprints of the Margay” and serve as the companion of the daughter of winter in “On a Midwinter’s Eve.” In “Feathers,” not only do owls serve as mounts for fairies, but they’re able to talk and they attack an executioner ready to kill a condemned woman.

One of the stories in Owl Light where owls, the moon, folklore, and magic are pivotal is “Gifts in the Dark.” For those who’d like take a peek, here’s the Wattpad link so you can read the full story.

When it came time to paint a cover for Owl Light (yes, I am an illustrator, too), I found myself returning again and again to the image of a barn owl before an orange full moon.

Many cultures name full moons: The Harvest Moon appears in fall at the time of the harvest. Cold Moon appears, of course, in the depths of winter – as does Hunger Moon. Strawberry Moon is the full moon which appears in June when strawberries are ripe for the picking. One of my favorites, Worm Moon, is in the spring when the earth thaws and the worms become active again.

owl light cover 300 Therefore, it comes as no surprise that I named the cover painting, “Owl Moon.” What better creature to name a full moon after?

So as Selene (the moon goddess) rises into the night sky in a few days, go outside and listen to the nocturnal sounds. Perhaps there will be neighborhood dogs barking or crickets chirping, unless heavy frosts have silenced their songs. Or perhaps (if you’re lucky) you’ll hear the haunting call of an owl. Then you, too, can witness an Owl Moon.

Thanks for stopping by, Whimsical Words, and a shout out to Greta van der Rol for organizing the Full Moon Blog Tour.

Now, here’s the fun part – I’ll be sending a PDF of one of my books to one of the people who comments on this blog post.

untitled But wait, there are other prizes to be had – including books and gift cards via the Rafflecopter, and other goodies offered at other Full Moon Tour sites.

And here’s the link to visit the Rafflecopter for this tour.

Keep reading, visit my Broad Universe friends (see chart below), listen for owls beneath this autumn’s full moon, and maybe even purchase your copy of Owl Light. – Vonnie

Welcome to Broad Universe’s Full Moon blog tour, offering you a selection of the very best speculative fiction. Whether your taste is paranormal, space opera, high fantasy, gothic horror or something else altogether, please visit the participant’s sites for a taste of moonlit magic – and a chance to win some great prizes.

1. Jennifer Allis Provost 16. Once in a Blue Muse
2. The Multiverses of Liza O’Connor 17. Words from Thin Air
3. With What I Most Enjoy 18. Balancing Act
4. Life Happens. A Lot.  19. Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
5. Pippa Jay 20. Shauna Roberts’ blog
6. I Bleed Ink 21. Ripped from the Headlines
7. Clay and Susan Griffith 22. Ann Gimpel’s Blog
8. TW Fendley 23. Disquieting Visions 
9. Because quirky characters fall in love, too… 24. Bits of This & That
10. Carole Ann Moleti 25. Alma Alexander
11. From the Shadows 26. Darksome Thirst
12. The Far Edge of Normal 27. Kate’s blog
13. The Writing of a Wisoker on the Loose 28. Alexandra Christian: The Southern Belle from Hell
14. Melisse Aires ~ Romance with Infinite Possibilities 29. Whimsical Words
15. Fantasy, Science Fiction, Epic (R)evolutions 30. Musings From the Underworld

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IMG_2395 Only 2 weeks until Halloween and 6 days until HallowRead. So I decided to share with you one of my favorite readings of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven. Actor Christopher Lee is the reader.

A bit of background: Christopher Lee began his film career in 1947 in the Gothic romance, Corridor of Mirrors. Lee co-stared in classic Hollywood horror films with Peter Cushing, Boris Karloff, and other well-known horror actors. He also played Sherlock Holmes in several movies. Star Wars fans will recognize him as the villainous Count Dooku.  Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies will remember him as the wizard, Saruman, Interestingly, he was the only member of the casts to have actually met JRR Tolkien. Other recent films he appeared in include: Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows.

The Raven is a long poem, so be prepared to lean back, relax (if you dare), and listen to a marvelous Raven recitation by British actor, Christopher Lee.

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IMG_1833 Halloween, the day when ghostly and ghastly thoughts swirl about like an autumn wind, is 17 days away.  A week ago, October 7th, was the 166th anniversary of Poe’s death in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. So naturally, I chose an Edgar Allen Poe quote for today.

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins.” – Edgar Allan Poe in The Premature Burial.

What a perfect quote for this pre-Day of the Dead time. In the era of The Walking Dead, Ghost Hunters, Twilight, and other undead delights. For fans of the undead, two of my zombie-ghost tales are currently available in new books. “The Return of Gunnar Kettilson” can be found in the beautifully-bound Gothic fantasy collection, Chilling Ghost Short Stories from United Kingdom’s Flame Tree Publishing. And from the USA’s Alban Lake Publishing, Potter’s Field 5 – Tales from Unmarked Graves, contains my story “Snowbroth.” (Also available on Kindle).

For Poe fans, here are some other EA Poe quotes: 30 Thoughtful Quotes from Edgar Allan Poe.

And don’t forget, I’ll be at HallowRead October 23 presenting a workshop on Anthologies at 1 PM, and on October 24 I’ll be participating on various spooky, dark panels.  Plus, I’ll be happy to sell and/or sign my books and talk to fans of dark fantasy and horror.

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Daniel Beazley

Thanks to author, Daniel Beazley, for stopping by and sharing how he looked through his older stories, re-wrote, polished, and resurrected a tale suitable for a tower-themed anthology. Enjoy!

Resurrecting an Old Story by Daniel Beazley

When I saw the call out for submissions to Pole to Pole Publishing’s, Hides the Dark Tower anthology, I remembered a short piece that I’d written way back in 2004. My writing was still very raw then, but it’s always interesting to trawl back through your work if you’re willing to brave the horrendous wreckage that normally lies in wait. However, it was only the idea I was after, and once I started reading, I knew it would be perfect for this anthology if I could only polish it into something that resembled readable material.

The anthology’s theme led me to thinking about towers in general, and I considered what it would be like if there was a great tower, but only the tip of it could be seen protruding from the ground. What horrors would lurk beneath, and what would be the reason for such a creation to exist?

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Dark Ascent’ is based in a fictional land that I visualised as being similar to North America in its pre-colonial days. I have always had a keen fascination with Native American tribes, and it was from this that I took my protagonist. It follows a young brave who is on a spiritual journey and comes across a sinister scene that prompts a further investigation. This in turn leads him to a village where he discovers something ancient and horrifying, something that could threaten the very existence of his people.

I am certain you’ll really enjoy this anthology, and I can honestly say it is one of the best I have read in a long time. Vonnie and Kelly have done a great job in selecting an incredible collection of stories that will have you perched on the edge of your seats wanting more, especially ‘Squire Magic’ by Larry C. Kay, which was one of my favorites.

Sepherene

I would also like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about my recent book, Sepherene: The Complete Chronicles, which is a dark fantasy and sci-fi tale about a fallen angel, sprinkled with a subtle touch of mythology. If you like the sound of angels battling other angels in an attempt to save their souls, set within futuristic worlds in a time where religion is nothing more than a convenient commodity, then you’ll love this. As you can see, the cover art is excellent and it personifies the angel Sepherene brilliantly. Sepherene is available now as a paperback and eBook on Amazon.

Also if you enjoy humorous fantasy then you might like Goblins Know Best, a satirical tale about a goblin and orc partnership that follows them on some outrageous adventures. This book is available on Amazon as a paperback and eBook.

I’d like to thank Vonnie for giving me the opportunity to share with you a bit about ‘Dark Ascent’ and some of my other work. You can keep up to date with my writing and future projects through my website, facebook and twitter.”

Goblins Know Best

About the author: Daniel Beazley was born and raised in the South West of England. Growing up he became captivated and drawn into the World of fantasy courtesy of the writings of Tolkien, Feist, Gemmell, Lewis, Livingstone and Dever. These together with films like Conan, Red Sonja, The Dark Crystal, Willow and Krull, truly inspired him to want to join the creative journey that is fantasy. He began writing in 1996 whilst spending some time in the sunny climes of Sicily. This continued periodically whilst working in the Army and then the Police; living in various parts of the country as well as overseas. Daniel now lives with his family in the rural countryside of Devon.

Thanks again to Daniel Beazley for his guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, Quotable Wednesdays, blogs from me, and more. Have a darkly magical day! – Vonnie

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“I busied myself to think of a story…One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.” Mary Shelley (Introduction to Frankenstein, 1831)

And that’s what all writers of dark fantasy, horror, and mysteries do — busy ourselves trying to think of a story which will make our readers feel dread. Of course, just thinking of such a tale isn’t enough. We must type it out or jot it down, revise it, polish it, and then, submit the story to a publication. If we are persistent and lucky (yes, luck does paly a part), then our story of dread will be available to readers.

Mary Shelley was a writer and thinker ahead of her time. She blazed a path for women writing darker works, and still has words of wisdom for today’s readers and writers.

Here’s the link to an article filled with Mary Shelley quotes from Biographile: Between Life and Death: 8 Quotes from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Enjoy!

And if you’re enjoying my blog and its links, please consider purchasing one of my books from Amazon or elsewhere. Thanks.

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I’ll be appearing at HallowRead 2015 in Elllicott City, Maryland on October 23 and 24. Lots of ghostly fun and information for readers and writers alike including panels, workshops, ghost tours, book signings, author chats, a haunted house, and more.

The fine folks of HallowRead have put together a great video promoting the event. Here’s the video link to take a look.

Hope to see you there!

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chizmar author pic Richard Chizmar is the founder and publisher/editor of Cemetery Dance magazine and the Cemetery Dance Publications book imprint. He has edited more than a dozen anthologies, including The Best of Cemetery Dance, Night Visions 10, October Dreams, and the Shivers series. His fiction has appeared in many publications, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. He has won two World Fantasy Awards, four International Horror Guild Awards, and the HWA’s Board of Trustees Award.

Thanks to author, editor, and publisher, Richard Chizmar, for stopping by and answering a few questions.

VWC: When did you decide you wanted to be an author? What are some of the things you did to reach that goal?

RC: I started writing stories when I was a little kid. Usually war stories or tales of monsters lurking in the shadows. I still have my first “published” book from when I was 10 or 11 – about a lonely snowman who couldn’t melt. It even features my own artwork, which clearly predicted a career that had nothing to do with drawing pictures. But it wasn’t until college that I started writing seriously and submitting for publication. I started selling my stories my senior year at the University of Maryland.

As for things I did to reach that goal…I read everything I could get my hands on and I wrote a lot. That’s the key. Plop your butt down in a chair and do the work. I sent out a lot of stories and received a lot of rejections. But they didn’t discourage me. I looked at them as a sort of badge of honor. Eventually, I started selling stories to small magazines and anthologies. Then, larger, more professional markets. I was twenty-two years old at the time and doing exactly what I felt I was born to do…

VWC: How has your background as a publisher helped you with your career as an author?

jack5.500x8.500.indd RC: Well, it has certainly helped by allowing me to work with many of the genre’s top editors and publishers and agents and authors. I have access to a lot of cool projects that a beginning writer would never be exposed to. But, to be perfectly honest, my job as publisher/editor is probably more responsible than any other factor for me not writing that much for a period of 10-15 years. I was simply too busy building a business and working with other authors on their own books. Something had to take a back seat and unfortunately, it was my own writing time. This is something that I have finally been able to change. I have written more in the past 6-7 months than I have in the past decade, and 2015 should be a banner year for me.

VWC: How did you find a publisher for your first book?

RC: My first book, a short story collection called Midnight Promises, was published way back in 1996 by Gauntlet Press. I knew the publisher, Barry Hoffman, from other projects and he was kind enough to ask me to publish my first collection. Of course, I was thrilled.

VWC: How do you find a publisher for a book now?

RC: Pretty much just like you always have. Usually an author will send a query letter with a short bio and a very short synopsis of the book, asking if the publisher would like to see a complete outline and sample chapters, or if they are very lucky, the full manuscript. If the publisher agrees to read either the samples or full manuscript – and the odds are as tough as ever on this happening – then the waiting game begins. Usually anywhere from a couple months to a couple years before you hear back from them. It’s NOT an easy business, and you better LOVE it if you are going to do it!

chizmar2Of course, there is a somewhat different process if you have a literary agent, but finding an agent in today’s marketplace is a whole other subject and challenge!

VWC: Have you ever self-published a book? If yes, what are the greatest challenges for a self-published author?

RC: I haven’t. I have been very fortunate in that I have sold everything I have written to other publishers. But self publishing – if done correctly and professionally – is a viable way to reach a wide audience and earn good money, so it’s certainly something I would consider in the future. There are a decent number of self-published authors making a good living at it these days, so it’s definitely something more and more writers are trying…with widely varying degrees of success.

VWC: Four books written by you are to be published in 2015. Do you work on more than one book at a time?

RC: I do, usually by necessity. Sometimes, I’ll set aside one manuscript to work on another if I feel stuck or uninspired. Or if a deadline is looming!

VWC: Do you have any time-management secrets for writers?

RC: I wish! If anyone out there knows the secret, please ask them to drop me an email and share! I write when I can. At home. At my office. In the car waiting for one of my boys to finish practice. Anywhere I can squeeze in a few paragraphs…

VWC: What book that you’ve written is your favorite, and why?

chizmar3 RC: Ahh, that’s too much like asking me if I have a favorite child! My stock answer – which usually ends up being true – is whichever story I am currently working on is my favorite.

VWC: What projects are you working on now?

RC: I’m juggling a bunch of things right now. I’m finishing up a novella for my next collection, A Long December, due this Summer from Subterranean Press. Another novella for a British publisher, SST Publications, as well as a number of short stories for various editors and a movie script.

VWC: What advice do you have for writers trying to get a book published?

RC: Be dedicated, be stubborn, believe in yourself and your story, and do the work. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s the opposite of easy. But it’s all part of the process and worth it in the end.

VWC: Who was your favorite author as a child?

RC: Dr. Seuss and Stephen King. King’s stories are what made me want to become a writer.

VWC: Who is your favorite author now?

RC: Still Stephen King. I also really enjoy John Sanford, Ed Gorman, Robert McCammon, and dozens of other writers. My “To Read” pile isn’t a pile; it’s a tower.

VWC: When is your favorite time of day to write?

RC: If you had asked me this question 20 years ago, my answer would have been late at night, after most other people are asleep. I loved the hush and stillness of those hours, and they really worked for me as far as productivity and inspiration. I would write until 2 or 3am and sleep in. These days, I tend to write whenever I can find the time. Mornings seem to be working best as of late.

VWC: What was the most valuable piece of writing advice given to you?

RC: Do the work. Read. Write. Expect the rejections. Embrace the process. Don’t give up.

VWC: And now, the final and most important question: What’s your favorite kind of cookie?

RC: Chocolate Chip!

To learn more about Richard Chizmar visit the Cemetery Dance website. You can also find him on Twitter @RichardChizmar 

To purchase Richard’s books, you can visit Amazon.

Thanks, Richard, for stopping by. Watch Whimsical Words for more Guests, Quotable Wednesdays, Writing Tips, Recipes, and lots of other interesting posts. Have a Cemetery Dance kind of Monday – Vonnie

PS. If you want to show some love, visit my Amazon page and buy one of my books. 🙂

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