Posts Tagged ‘writing’

 

Shadowy_Natures

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

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, which you can read here.

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

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 11.40.22 AM

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.

Before having a kid, I was a little worried that balancing my attention between my job and offspring would result in zero time for writing. This year proved the opposite. I realized that my increase in writing is not despite caring for a two-year-old but, in part, because of it, contrary to what many assume (including myself at one point). Being a parent forces you to manage time better and appreciate mindfulness: you multitask like crazy and value solitude so more. When I had all the time in the world to write I produced very little; now that writing time is more precious, I’m forced to focus and make the most of my writing time. 

Having a kid is like strapping a ticking clock to your head; the list of to-dos is endless and time is always short. At the same time, you relive your own childhood again through their eyes. This heightened sense of mortality and reduced free time makes me write more urgently. And when your identity is consumed by parenthood, writing (or any other passion) is a way to replenish the self that day-to-day living can wear down.

Aside from parenthood, three things of note helped my writing kick up a notch this year:

1. Writing Workshop

I was accepted into the 2019 Borderlands Bootcamp, where I connected with other authors for an intense weekend of beta reading and story feedback in Baltimore. This genre-focused writing workshop featured instructors Tom Monteleone, Douglas E. Winter, F. Paul Wilson and Ginjer Buchanan. I can’t stress enough how helpful this was for me to get myself in gear, accumulate helpful feedback on a scifi novel-in-progress, and continue to experiment with and refine new short story ideas.

2. Flash Fiction Writing Community

From the workshop, I connected with fellow writers and started doing a low-pressure, weekly flash fiction contest at various points throughout the year, run by the talented Donna J. W. Munro. Participating in this forced me to write (and complete!) a number of short stories. It also seeded the idea for a Labyrinth-inspired novella, “The Final Hour,” about a captive forced to rule a goblin realm.

3. NaNoWriMo

“National Novel Writing Month” is a worldwide effort that happens every November. Free to participate and open to everyone, NaNoWriMo is an online and in-person community where writers aim to finish a novel (50k words) in one month. Something as simple as a collective word-count tracker helped me outline and draft a story idea I had been kicking around for a while. While I fell short of the 50k goal in one month, I accomplished my personal goal: to write at least a few hundred words nearly every day of the month and complete a second novella/novel, a weird west horror adventure.

Additional factors that helped boost my writing:

4. Outlining

For a long time, I’ve written without a formal outline (“pantser”) but for NanoWrimo 2019 I tried the snowflake method of outlining, created by physicist and author Randy Ingermanson. This method was a perfect middle ground for me: not as detailed as notecards but focused enough so I didn’t get hopelessly lost in the weeds. This method helped me stay on track on my fantasy adventure western story and find a path through the difficult middle spots.

5. Local Writing Community

As always I am thankful for the group of local writers through the Horror Writers Association and other writing groups, as well as the San Diego treasure Mysterious Galaxy, a bookstore haven for genre writers and readers.

Year-End Roundup

As for my numbers, in 2019 I wrote 14 new stories and had 7 acceptances. Reprints in 2019 included “Better Halves” to the debut issue of Macabre Museum magazine in October and “A Dusty Arrival” in Uchronia: Alternate Histories & Alternate Worlds, available this month.

New stories accepted in 2019 included “Vermin” in Unnerving Magazine; “Protection” in Frozen Wavelets issue #1; and “Cup of Holiday Cheer” in Christmas Lites IX, all published in 2019. Two new stories were also chosen for publication in 2020: “Minor Malfunction” in Running Wild Press Anthology of Stories, Volume 4; and “Maternal Bond” in a soon-to-be-announced anthology.

In addition to the 14 new stories (two of which are novellas), I pitched, wrote and published three fiction-related essays in Aurealis Magazine throughout the year: “What’s Next for the Weird West,” “A Horror Renaissance,” and “Legendary Women of Horror.”

I am incredibly grateful for the writing and editing community, particularly in the areas of genre fiction. I am also indebted to friends and family who provide support in this tough craft. I hope the coming year leads to new stories that provide respite, intrigue or food for thought.

Happy 2020! 

 

pencil-1486278_1280

Keep writing! Keep reading!

 

Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 2.45.30 PM.png

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.

 

51GhtmDOcFL

 

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.

My story BETTER HALVES and other unsettling paranormal and cosmic tales are now available in the print issue of Lovecraft eZine (#36), published by Mike Davis.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 10.49.24 AM

I wouldn’t want to run into that creature at night!

 

 

I am honored to have my story reprint, “What the Storm Brings,” included in this Stoker finalist anthology with a number of excellent female horror writers. FRIGHT MARE – WOMEN WRITE HORROR is now available on Amazon in print and ebook format. Check out that eerie cover!

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 10.53.50 AM

My latest horror story, BETTER HALVES, and other disturbing tales are available in the new issue of the excellent Lovecraft eZine (#36). This piece was conceived at a Cape Cod inn whose owners had a strange obsession with mirrors…

Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments! Also check out the wonderfully disturbing illustration by SandPaperDaisy Art.