Posts Tagged ‘writing’

My science fiction story, “Comfort Zone,” is featured in the spring 2021 issue of British scifi magazine, Mythaxis.

Editorial introduction:

There’s a certain theme in science fiction and fantasy that’s always been popular – hard to set this up without spoiling it! Hollywood movies have repeatedly run with it (usually for laughs), so too surely every TV show in either genre. It has clear horror potential too, but very rarely are such stories approached from the outsider’s point-of-view. KC Grifant does so here, and with a similarly atypical air of loss, rather than gain.

In “Comfort Zone,” a new technology designed to improve empathy has the unintended side effect of putting a mom and daughter at odds. This story was inspired by my time reporting on emerging technologies while a science journalist. Specifically, research in the areas of quantum computing, brain-machine interfaces and neural imaging came together in a tale about the speed of which technology advances, and what happens when it’s hard to accept how fast the world–and children–can change.

You can read the story online for free here or an excerpt below.

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2020. I don’t think any more needs to be said about the year that will haunt many of us for a lifetime. Here’s hoping we can bring about a healthier, safer and kinder world in 2021.

This was a productive year of writing for me, even though it didn’t feel like it. Writing was an escape from the news and world events; writing was the only way I felt like I was able to survive this year’s chaos and uncertainty without completely losing my mind.

I wrote seven new short stories (down 50% from last year), mostly at the beginning of the year. Though I wasn’t able to attend workshops or conferences this year, and skipped NaNoWriMo, the time at home let me focus on some bigger projects I had on the back burner. Once the pandemic hit and I started working from home full-time and having a toddler home all day (read more about how having a kid helped me with writing in last year’s recap here). I switched to tackling two novels I’ve had in the works and finally finished them (!). I also made progress on a new one and had several acceptances of new stories and reprints.

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Six Guns Straight From Hell 3 cover.

Six Guns Straight From Hell 3: Horror & Dark Fantasy From the Weird Weird West is now available and debuts my zombie story, “Death’s Horse.” The collection is edited by David B. Riley and J.A. Campbell, with a cover illustration by M. Wayne Miller. The Weird West is one of my favorite subgenres for a variety of reasons (you can read why in an article I wrote for Aurealis Magazine, more details here). “Death’s Horse” features the plight of gunslinging, monster-hunting Melinda Putman, first introduced in “Dusty Arrival,” cover story for Andromeda Spaceways Magazine in 2018. Weird West stories in this collection include tales by David Boop, C.W. Blackwell, Kristal Stittle and many others.

Description from the publisher:

Saddle up for a wild ride through the weird, weird west. As you ride our trails you’ll want to keep one eye on the path ahead and one over your shoulder cause there’s a bushwhacking monster creeping up behind you. If your horse gets eaten by a monster, you might be able to get a ride on the midnight train, as long as you don’t mind sitting with ghosts. If you don’t catch the train, maybe the devil can give you a lift back to town. Just be careful which place you head for, because the folks in one town are about to die. Staying on ranches ain’t much safer, especially at one girl’s birthday party. Then again, even going to outhouses can be deadly. If you happen to visit the local brothel, be sure and treat the ladies right or you’ll pay dearly. And Tombstone is no place to get your picture taken if you want to keep your skin.

Excerpt from “Death’s Horse”

Death rode in on a horse made of wood and bones, its joints screeching with every pound of its hooves against the sand. Death, otherwise known as Elliot Red-Eye Carson, raised his rifle, the sun a smudged glow behind him like someone had burned the sky with the end of a rolled cigarette.

“Found you.” Carson leveled the rifle at Melinda’s forehead. He wore a hat the color of day-old puke, with rags to match. He and the horse smelled of sewage, rot and all manners of decay.

“You look a little different, El.” Melinda eased her finger off the trigger of her six shooter and set it gently down. Beneath the wide-brimmed hat and duster she wore year round, her skin dripped from the heat. Even at sundown, the desert was hotter than the hubs of hell this time of year.

“Quit stalling.” Carson yanked his monster closer and Melinda wondered, as she had plenty of times before, if this would be the day she died. “Give me what’s mine.” 

Read more in Six Guns Straight From Hell 3. The book is available from Mysterious Galaxy bookstore or other independent booksellers, as well as on Amazon.

 

Shadowy_Natures

The boundary line between instinct and reason is of a very shadowy nature.
-Edgar Allan Poe (1840) 

I’m thrilled to share that Shadowy Natures: Tales of Psychological Horror is out today. This disturbing collection edited by Rebecca Rowland features the debut of my story “Maternal Bond,” where postpartum paranoia and isolation chip at a new mom’s sanity as an outside threat pushes her over the edge.

I chat with Rebecca about the story’s background, as well as horror writing and inspirations, in my author interview here.

Update: Genre Junkies discussed Shadowy Natures with Rowland on their podcast, concluding: “cover to cover, excellent writing…a truly great collection: one of the strongest I’ve come across.” You can listen to the full podcast here: 87 – “Shadowy Natures” Anthology and Interview With the Editor, Rebecca Rowland! 

About Shadowy Natures

With its twenty-one stories of serial killers and sociopaths, fixations and fetishes, breakdowns and bad decisions crafted by authors as diverse as their writing styles, Shadowy Natures leads fans of psychological horror down dark and treacherous roads to destinations they will be too unsettled to leave.

From unique twists on traditional terror tropes to fresh frights found in the most innocuous of places, these tales will surprise and unnerve even the most veteran horror fans. Featuring brand new fiction from Jeremy Billingsley, C.W. Blackwell, Barrie Darke, Matthew R. Davis, Christina Delia, KC Grifant, Liam Hogan, K.N. Johnson, Thomas Kearnes, Rudy Kremberg, Scotty Milder, Bryan Miller, Hollee Nelson, Elin Olausson, James Edward O’Brien, Andrew Punzo, Lee Rozelle, Joseph Rubas, Paul Stansfield, Louis Stephenson, and Thomas Vaughn.

Shadowy Natures: Stories of Psychological Horror is now available at AMink‘s Dark Ink and at Amazon in print, audiobook and e-book. Alternatively, please check your local bookstores for order availability.

 

 

Early acclaim for Shadowy Natures and “Maternal Bond”

“The perfect anthology with 21 dark tales that will get in your head, squirming and pulsing until you have to look away. There is something in here for every fan of horror and/or dark fiction.”
Holly Rae Garcia, author of Come Join the Murder
“‘Maternal Bond’ by KC Grifant gets into the uncomfortable skin of post-pregnancy, and that’s only the beginning of the discomfort that this story brings. Grifant brilliantly channels the sleeplessness and disorientation of new motherhood, then moves in and shocks us awake.”
Goodreads reviewer
“Unnerving.”
-S.K. Gregory, Best-selling author of the Daemon Persuasion and Aurelia Graves series
“Dark prose and wildly unique stories…I suggest giving this book a looksie!”
-Mortality in Horror
“A terrific and terrifying selection of stories that will make you squirm in your seat and force you to get up to check the doors and windows before you go to sleep.”
-Bob Hastings, Goodreads
“These 21 dreadfully dark tales held me captive from first to last story…”Maternal Bond” by KC Grifant in which a new mom battles lack of sleep and postpartum depression really got under my skin as I recalled my own earliest days of coping with a baby who cried nonstop.”
 -Well Worth a Read

This story is submitted for 2020 Bram Stoker Award® consideration. Interested members of HWA you access a copy of the story until January 15, 2021 by going to this password protected page. The password is Bram Stoker’s famed character.

I’m pleased to share a fun print interview that Nico Bell, fellow horror author, conducted via email. In this Q&A, I reveal why the Weird West is one of my favorite subgenres, what I’m reading, and why my browser history would raise a few eyebrows. I also talk a bit about my current writing projects, including THE FINAL HOUR, a fantasy novella inspired by The Labyrinth; DARK TRAILS, a fun supernatural western; and two weird science stories.

Check out the other Spotlight Author feature for interviews with tons of horror writers, and my Q&A, here: http://nicobellfiction.com/featured-authors-meet-new-writers/2020/4/24/speculative-fiction-cosmic-horror-and-weird-western-author-kc-grifant-interview

2019roundup
Overview

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock of accomplishments of the past year and reflect on upcoming goals.

In general, 2019 was packed with exciting books, TV and movie releases in horror and other genre fiction. There are plenty of lists out there detailing some of the standouts (here and here, for example). Overall, the wealth of genre stories hitting mainstream audiences is encouraging for those of us who toil in realms of the fantastical and strange.

Personally, this was a productive year of writing for me. I wrote a number of short stories in 2019 as well as two novellas. With a demanding full-time job and wild two-year-old to take care of, I found it more important than ever to carve out writing time.

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I’m pleased to share that my New England-based quiet horror story, “Better Halves,” which first appeared in the Lovecraft eZine, is reprinted in The Macabre Museum‘s debut issue. 

Creators Sara Tantlinger, Chandler Morrison, Dan Coxon, Hailey Piper, Marge Simon, Sam Rebelein and others share their dark and twisted visions in this strong debut of stories, poems and artwork.

The quarterly horror literary journal and “digital museum of terrors,” edited by R.R. Trevino, is described as follows:

Imagine walking through a dark museum. A painting, basking in the soft light from a sconce, catches your eye. You approach, drawn in by its unparalleled beauty and raw power. Standing there, in front of the painting, you are mesmerized, changed in some profound way.

This is the feeling The Macabre Museum aims to evoke in its readers. Each piece we publish, whether it be fiction, poetry, or art, promises to claw at your heart and lie festering in your soul. Our art, like all good art, is timeless, has staying power, and is terrifying in its beauty.

Click through for the full version of the NSFW cover and/or to purchase via Amazon or support the Macabre Museum on its patreon page here.

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My weird western tale “A Dusty Arrival” is cited in this excellent guide Writing Speculative Fiction: Creative and Critical Approaches by Eugen Bacon. Bacon, PhD, is a computer scientist and award-winning writer and editor. Her book is a useful resource for anyone looking to start writing or learn more about speculative fiction.

From the publisher:

In this engaging and accessible guide, Eugen Bacon explores writing speculative fiction as a creative practice, drawing from her own work, and the work of other writers and theorists, to interrogate its various subgenres. Through analysis of writers such as Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling, this book scrutinises the characteristics of speculative fiction, considers the potential of writing cross genre and covers the challenges of targeting young adults.  It connects critical and cultural theories to the practice of creative writing, examining how they might apply to the process of writing speculative fiction. Both practical and critical in its evaluative gaze, it also looks at e-publishing as a promising publishing medium for speculative fiction.

This is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of Creative Writing, looking to develop a critical awareness of, and practical skills for, the writing of speculative fiction. It is also a valuable resource for creators, commentators and consumers of contemporary speculative fiction.

Check out this helpful guide with tips for aspiring as well as veteran writers in genre fiction at the link.

tales-to-terrify-itunes-logo

My short scifi horror story “The Peerlings” appears in the terrific British podcast series Tales to Terrify, episode 354.

“The Peerlings” was first published in Beyond the Infinite – Tales from the Outer Reaches (Things in the Well series), edited by Steve Dillon. In the story, members of an off-world colony begin to vanish once elusive creatures–who can only safely be heard, not seen–descend upon their home. The mayor must figure out how to protect her citizens while warding off mass hysteria and a brewing rebellion.

The story begins at 00:21:21 and is read by Amy Paonessa (Twitter), host of The Bloodlust horror review website. She does an amazing job bringing the characters to life and conveying a sense of desolation and isolation throughout the piece.

Funny enough, a few people have mentioned that Netflix’s recently released Bird Box (based on the 2014 British novel) reminded them of “The Peerlings.” Check it out on Tales to Terrify and decide for yourself!

TremblingWithFear

Trembling with Fear Year One is a collection of horror short stories and drabbles.

My short horror scifi story “Turning Tides” appears Trembling with Fear: Year 1, a print anthology collection of horror-themed flash and short fiction now available.

“Turning Tides” was first published at The Horror Tree’s January 29, 2017 online edition. The story is what’s known as a “drabble.” These are flash fiction pieces taken to an extreme, incorporating style, character and plot all within a paltry 100 words.

The new collection, which includes both dribbles and flash stories, is edited by Stephanie Ellis and Stuart Conover, who curate the immensely popular Horror Tree website.

From the publisher:

This Trembling With Fear anthology is a compilation of all the drabbles, flash fiction stories and dark poetry published during 2017 at HorrorTree.com. In its pages you will find work from both the novice and the established writer, the newbie and the award-winner. Here, the dead walk and murders abound, demons and ghosts torment the living whilst vampires and wolves compete for space with internet and aliens. Within these pages you will find dark speculative fiction from contributors across the globe, for our world is a world without borders. Nowhere is safe from the dark.

We have had some amazing talent contribute to the first year of ‘Trembling With Fear’ and we hope that you enjoy reading these as much as we have!

Read more or buy the book (digital or print) here.