Emz Newz

Why Do We Love Romance: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Truth

Great blog written by a fellow romance writer, M.M. Genet. Needs to be read!

Meant to Be Press

Why Do We Love Romance: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Truth

by M.M. Genet

Maze.jpgI’d like to confess straight away that I know it was ridiculous.  I died my hair to get rid of the grey for a job interview… An interview, my friends, that took place over the phone.  While I could joke and say that I have a face (or hair) for radio (or an interview taking place over the phone) the truth of the matter is, it’s all about feeling a certain way when I answered the questions.

If during the interview, I sounded anything but confident, letting my insecurities come through in my voice, then I knew I’d blame myself if I didn’t land the job.  So there I was at eight thirty in the morning, staring at myself in the mirror, a croning goddess on the hunt for silver and white enemies that…

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The REAL Women Writers of Speculative Fiction #REALWomenWriters

Welcome back to the blog series #REALWomenWriters to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: Loren Rhoads

Genres: Horror, urban fantasy, paranormal romance,
science fict
ion, nonfiction, and travel

Favorite story you’ve written and why. “Never Bargained for You” is about a succubus buying Jimmy Page’s soul right before Led Zeppelin hit the big time. It was published in an anthology called Demon Lovers, which is now out of print. I did a bunch of research and I’m really happy with how the story turned out.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? The succubus Lorelei, who’s in that short story, is the star of my novel Lost Angels and its upcoming sequel, Angelus Rose. Lorelei is so passionate and open to exploring that she’s really fun to write.
What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? People think I’m death-obsessed. Actually, I’m obsessed with life. I hate to let a sunny day go by, because I know how few of them I’ll get.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? That it would take so much work to become famous.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? Battle scenes, where I have to juggle lots of moving characters at once. I can do it, but it’s really hard.
Did you go to college? What was your major? I got a BA at the University of Michigan. My major was Communications, specializing in journalism, with a minor in English.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” I always thought I’d be a writer, but I assumed I would work at a magazine and live in New York City.

EVENTS

What is the best event you’ve ever been to? The book release party of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die at Borderlands Books was the best because so many people I’ve met through cemeteries came. I could see my love of cemeteries echoed in them. It was the first time I could see the impact my work made.
What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? I was invited to a four-woman anthology very early in my career. The stories ranged from erotic horror to literary horror to straight-up horror as social commentary. The publisher announced he was hosting a party for the book at one of the World Horror Conventions. Then he announced (without asking any of the contributors) that it would be a pajama party. The expectation that the four of us would show up in our pajamas. I was a brand-new writer, so I didn’t feel like I could refuse to go. The idea of using my body to sell the book was humiliating. 
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? I only had a week to come up with something decent to wear, so I wore a long black dress with a bustier. When people asked where my pajamas were, I said that what I slept in wasn’t appropriate for public and left it to their imaginations why that was. I had to practice delivering the line beforehand, so I wouldn’t blush. To be honest, my comfy stretched-out pjs weren’t anyone else’s business.
What is something hurtful you’ve witnessed another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) I’ve been on panels where the male panelists talk over the women and/or take up more than their share of the panel’s time. I’ve gotten around that by volunteering as a moderator and cutting speakers off when they go on too long. The trick is to ask questions specifically of people who haven’t gotten a turn, to make space for them to speak up.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? Befriend other women writers so you can sanity check anything that makes you uncomfortable. It’s great to know that someone has your back. Keep in mind that you deserve to be heard. Your observations are valid, even if you’re new or not widely published. Speak up, for those who can’t.

ONLINE PRESENCE

What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? Facebook is my favorite because it’s more interactive than the others. I really like hearing from people: https://www.facebook.com/loren.rhoads.5

I’m also on Twitter @morbidloren, mostly to re-tweet things, and Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/morbidloren/

What is the biggest challenge of social media? Setting boundaries so I’m not available and distracted all the time.
Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? When I was younger, I used to get a lot of creepy DMs from men who wanted to tell me how much they liked my gray hair. That’s better now, since I’ve turned off chat. I also screen people before I accept their friend requests. I also don’t accept requests from doctors or soldiers who are widowed, anyone with two first names, or anyone serving on an oil derrick. I may miss out on some legitimate fans, but most of these guys seem to have the same profile pictures. They are either bots or up to no good.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? Sometimes men in the horror community will whine that women can’t (or don’t) write good horror. They are generally shut down promptly. I don’t think I’ve seen any women singled out, but we talk about it amongst ourselves. We keep lists of idiots whose books we won’t buy.

I also so serve as a mentor for the Horror Writers Association, so new women have someone they feel like they can talk to about their writing and careers.

What should readers know about your social media presence? It’s curated. I don’t write a lot about my personal life, because I don’t want to invite advice. I try to focus on positive things, because I hate reading writers’ Facebook posts when they’re just a catalog of whining. Life is hard on all of us. I try not to add to anyone’s burden by belaboring my own. 

YOUR MESSAGE

What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? Female characters can be as dark, complex, and fascinating as males. They may be even more dangerous.

Check in next time when Alanna McFall
will tell us about her journey.

Thank you for joining us for
#REALWomenWriters!

Requiem in Frost by Jonathan Fortin – Free Fiction Excerpt

RFBANNER

On this day of Mabon, HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present the next book in their eHorror Bites series. eHorror Bites 4: Requiem in Frost is the newest work of Next Great Horror Writer Contest winner, Jonathan Fortin.

RFJF

BLACK METAL LIVES!

Located in the deep frostbitten woods of Norway, Ingrid’s new home is old, spooky, and possibly haunted. Guttural screams wake Ingrid and her mother nightly. When they discover the shrieks belong to deceased former occupant and extreme metal musician, Skansi Oppegård, Ingrid investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. Hoping to exorcise Skansi’s ghost, she talks her mom into being part of a metal band. Oppegård’s last musical creation awakens forces beyond Ingrid’s understanding and causes Skansi’s murderer to resurface. In the battle between a madman and zombies, metal may be the only weapon she has.


A Peek Inside REQUIEM IN FROST

Despite Mom’s distaste for the music, she let me buy the CD and a pair of cool headphones with skulls painted on them. Mom had a new window stashed in the back of the car, along with some groceries. We drove home in silence, but the heavy metal we’d sampled still echoed in my head, and I ached to hear more.

Entering the house again, a chill licked down my back, and it occurred to me that it was colder inside the walls than in the woods beyond. Mom seemed to sense it, too. Neither of us took off our coats, even while we fixed the window.

After lunch, Mom surprised me by pulling a ouija board out from one of the grocery bags.

“Found this at the antique store,” she said, putting it onto the table. “Thought it might help. Every ghost story has a ouija board!”

The ouija board didn’t do shit. After several attempts at communicating, the only words we were able to get were “ufdijedji” and “ehdusadj,” and we only got those because I got so bored I started pushing it myself. Disappointed, Mom threw the thing in the trash.

That night, I lay in bed listening to the Frost Prophet CD with my swanky new headphones. Maybe it was the music, but for whatever reason, falling asleep wasn’t as hard as it had been the night before.

******************************

When I opened my eyes, it was still dark—probably after midnight. When I took off my headphones, I didn’t hear screaming. However, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

Someone was standing in the corner of my room.

He was tall and muscular, with long, ragged hair. Smeared skeletal makeup covered his face, mingling with open scars. His torso was splashed with a fresh coat of crimson, dripping all over the floor, but drippiest of all was the huge axe in his hand. As I considered the growing red pool at his feet, I found myself wondering where all that blood had come from…

Is Mom all right?

The thought hit me with the force of a speeding train. If the ghost had hurt Mom, he could hurt me, too. Perhaps it should have been obvious, but I’d never felt threatened until that moment. My heart stopped as I lay there, paralyzed in bed, fearing he would kill me, and that he’d killed Mom already.

The spirit approached my bed, his huge axe dripping a river onto the floor. I tried to muster up the courage to run, but my legs were frozen in place. All too quickly, he was right beside me, raising his axe high.

“Skansi…” It came out before I could stop it, the squeak of a girl much younger than myself.

The spirit halted, surprise in his bulging eyes. Perhaps he hadn’t expected me to know his name.

“Someone killed you, didn’t they?” I asked, my throat dry.

The spirit continued to stare, but he did not lower his axe.

“I have your CD.” I held up the CD player. “It’s really good.” I tried to sound calm, but I wasn’t. I could smell the coppery scent of blood. I knew if the spirit struck me with his axe, it would cut straight through me.

The spirit stared, saying nothing, and I couldn’t tell if he was disturbed or bewildered. Then he backed away and disappeared into the darkness.

I got out of bed and rushed to Mom’s room. Her eyes were closed, but judging by the rise and fall of her chest, she was alive and well. Relief rushed over me, and with it came a drug-like euphoria. Dangerous or not, living in a haunted house was so cool.


JonathanFortinAuthorPhoto_SepiaJonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (coming December 2019 from Crystal Lake Publishing) and Nightmarescape (Mocha Memoirs Press). An unashamed lover of spooky Gothic stories, Jonathan was named the “Next Great Horror Writer” in 2017 by HorrorAddicts.net. He attended the Clarion Writing Program in 2012, one year after graduating summa cum laude from San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program. When not writing, Jonathan enjoys voice acting, dressing like a Victorian gentleman, and indulging in all things odd and macabre in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on Twitter.

You can also find Jonathan in HorrorAddicts.net’s Clockwork Wonderland and eHorror Bites 3: #NGHW Editor Picks.

NEW FICTION! Ink Dreams in eBook and Audiobook

Emmy Z. Madrigal

Ink Dreams by Emmy Z. Madrigal

Teen life sure sucks when you’re half-octopus.

Living on land with her mortal mother seems safe for octo-gal Tealy McKracken until she comes of age and inks herself in front of the town’s mean girl. It doesn’t help that her childhood crush is dating the annoying fashionista werewolf. Disturbing dreams of singing sea creatures aren’t helping.

Can Tealy possibly control her inking, stay away from an evil vampire witch, and win the heart of the vampire prince? Find out in this tentacled love story.

Available on Kindle and Audible.

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The REAL Women Writers of Romance #REALWomenWriters

Welcome back to the blog series #REALWomenWriters to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: Lea Kirk
Genres: Sci-fi Romance and Paranormal Romance

Favorite story you’ve written and why. You know, this is like asking me, “Which of your kids is your favorite?” Lol. I’ve loved writing all my stories, they each have such different personalities. The best answer I can give you is Collision. It’s the book where I finally felt like I was understanding my own writing style, and it was flowing better.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? Oh boy, this is just as difficult to answer as the last question…for the same reasons! How can I pick just one? All right, I’m going to say…Graig Roble (pronounced Robe-lay), one of my secondary characters. He’s a gruff, ruff, hard-ass alien on the outside, with a gooey inside for his loved ones.
What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? That I have my poop together. I really don’t.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? That it’d take so dang long to write a book! Honestly, I’m lucky to finish one a year, yet I know authors who can crank out three or more annually. And excellent stories, too! I’m pretty sure this comes back to them having their poop together.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? Sex scenes (says the mother of five). On the positive, the more I write them, the easier they’re coming. Practice, practice, practice!
Did you go to college? What was your major? Yes. My major was Travel and Tourism. You can see how well that worked out.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” An author. And, I wanted to be a mom too. This plan worked out a little better than my major.
EVENTS
What is the best event you’ve ever been to? Oh, this is an easy one. The Literacy Signing at RWA Nationals in Denver last year. It. Was. Amazing!
What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? Apparently, I haven’t been to enough events to have a bad experience yet.
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? n/a
What is something hurtful you’ve witness another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) A good friend got trolled by a guy on social media. It was shocking. She’s the sweetest person imaginable, and the guy attacked her. It was nasty. I was one of many who rallied around her, raised her up. Most of us outed the guy on our social media as a warning to others. Turned out at least two of my friends were friends with him. They immediately unfriended, reported, and blocked him. It was an amazing showing of women joining forces against someone who thought one of our own was an easy target.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? She and I did text privately. Without going into details, I made it clear that she is a wonderful person, she is loved, and what happened was in no way her fault. The only thing I’d change about this is to do it in person and accompany it with a hug. Unfortunately, we live a couple thousand miles apart.
ONLINE PRESENCE
What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? Facebook, at the moment. I have a Twitter page, but I’m not very proficient with that platform. I’m trying to figure out MeWe as well, but have a bad feeling it’s not going to last long, which is a shame.
What is the biggest challenge of social media? Facebook. That’s probably not what you meant, though.

The disconnect between people that gives an artificial buffer in which people forget their manners and show zero empathy to the feelings of others. For some, social media is a place to voice their opinions and viciously attack anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? Not exactly. I do purposely avoid politics online as much as possible so I don’t get slammed for my political party, or that I didn’t vote party line last election. I voted for who I thought was the best candidate, which is my right. No one gets to tell me I should’ve voted differently.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? Believe it or not, I haven’t. Unfortunately, I suspect that I will at some point, and probably more than once.
What should readers know about your social media presence? I love promoting other authors in my genre. If I see someone has a new book out, you bet I’ll share their post. (I limit it mostly to SFR and PNR because those are the readers who follow me.)

I also love funny memes, gifs, etc. And if you share my books, I will love you forever!

YOUR MESSAGE
What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? That we’re stronger when we support each other.

The best keyword I can think of is Hope.


Check in next time when Loren Rhoads

will tell us about her journey.

Thank you for joining us for
#REALWomenWriters!

Summer of Hush by R.L. Merrill

Summer of Hush by R.L. Merrill

A rocker with a crush

An intern with a secret

A meet-cute

A band attempting to make a comeback after a tragedy occurred

A group of metalcore musicians who are all awkward and adorable and a supporting cast of bands and crew who will make you laugh, swoon, and maybe even tear up a time or two.

Hush is back… and it’s about to get loud.

After two years grieving the death of his best friend, Silas Franklin is back on the road with his metalcore band, Hush. With a new member, a brilliant new album, and a headlining spot on the last cross-country Warped Tour, life couldn’t be better—unless Silas could meet the intriguing music blogger known only as the Guru. Silas has followed his blog for years and feels the Guru might be the only person who “gets” him.

For years Krishnan Guruvayoor has reported on the metal scene as an anonymous blogger, and he’s just landed an internship on the Warped Tour as well as a potential position with a well-respected music magazine. His best friend arranges for him to meet singer Silas Franklin—but only as Krish the Intern. Their chemistry is instant, and Krish is thrilled to get to know the man behind the music.

The rock star and blogger quickly go from meet-cute to cuddle session, but secrets, overprotective bandmates, meddling media, and a terrible accident all conspire against them. Can their romance survive the summer of Hush?

The REAL Women Writers of Romance #REALWomenWriters

Welcome back to the blog series #REALWomenWriters to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: R.L. Merrill, call me Ro
Genres: LGBTQ and Straight Contemporary Romance,
Paranormal Romance, Historical Horror Romance

Favorite story you’ve written and why. My very first book I’ve written that I haven’t published yet, Haven. It’s a supernatural romance about a woman who takes a counseling job working with children who are victims of trauma at a boarding school—sight unseen—and discovers that their experiences have made them into something…more. When a powerful man bent on revenge threatens the school and her students, she’ll work side-by-side with her handsome, yet mysterious boss to protect them—and learn the truth about herself. I’ve tried shopping it around but no luck so far. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do with it, but I’ll always love it because it was the story that let me know I actually could do this. It gave me a purpose and gave me a release during a difficult period in my life. And when I shared with a few people close to me whose opinions I trusted, they loved it and were surprised yet excited for me.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? Danny Black. Reclusive rock god, single father, and ginger bad boy. Lead singer of metal band Blackened. Charming, sensitive, sexy af, and totally head over heels with the woman who comes to help him earn his diploma while he recovers from vocal chord surgery. Danny is everything I love in a book boyfriend. He’s charming, vulnerable, hilarious, and an enthusiastic lover. I could go on…Put it this way. It took me three books to tell their story.
What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? That I have my shit together. I so don’t. If you saw my house, looked in my carport, hell, even look in the trunk of my car and hold still while I push you in KIDDING…Seriously, I’m a mess, that’s how I can write.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? That I was capable of writing a book that people would actually want to read. Never EVER thought I would do it, never thought I’d even want to. Definitely didn’t ever think something I wrote would help someone going through a hard time.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? The black moment. I never want to hurt my characters.
Did you go to college? What was your major? I went to Graceland University and earned a B.A. in History and Secondary Education. I also have a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Cal State Hayward (Okay, East Bay. I hate the change.) Never even took a creative writing course haha.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” The Bionic Woman? Wonder Woman? A Solid Gold Dancer? I really had no idea. By high school, I thought I would become a therapist and then in college had great history teachers and thought I’d love to be that teacher that made kids love history. I ended up being both a teacher and counselor in schools.
EVENTS
What is the best event you’ve ever been to? I can’t decide between the RTs and BLC. All have been a blast. Atlanta RT might have been my favorite because I actually sold my first book during that convention, Hurricane Reese to Dreamspinner Press. I was on top of the world.
What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? While staffing a table at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference for my local RWA chapter we endured person after person coming up to the table and talking about how they don’t read smut or trash and while they loved rooting through our chocolate bowl, they found ways to put us down, whether on purpose or not, and I found myself becoming even more determined to convince people that romance is a viable, successful, and difficult genre to write.
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? Learned more about the history of the genre and ran for the board for SFA-RWA.
What is something hurtful you’ve witness another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) A judge of the RITA contest tweeted about how she gave a low score to a book because the heroine was a black scientist “and that’s not believable.” I was absolutely flabbergasted that someone would feel that way and think that it was okay to feel that way. It opened my eyes to just how much bias and racism there still is, which was surprising to me as I live in a very diverse community where up until a couple of years ago there were rarely any incidents of overt racism. I had a false sense of security that things were better, and my eyes were opened to the fact that there is still so much more work to be done. The hurt that racism has caused members of our organization saddens and angers me. I don’t ever want another author—or human being for that matter—to feel as if they aren’t good enough or worthy because someone made an ignorant comment.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? This is hard to do. I’ve rewritten this five times and every time it sounds condescending or like lip service. Look, if you want to write, write. You have to know it’s going to be hard, you’re not going to make a million overnight (or maybe ever), and people may write awful reviews BUT know that you’ve created something no one else could create, you’ve achieved a goal many have had and never accomplished, and you’re a freakin’ rock star. No one can take that away from you, no matter what they say or think about your work.
ONLINE PRESENCE
What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? Facebook is where I hang out most (www.facebook.com/rlmerrillauthor) But I’m also a huge fan of Instagram (www.instagram.com/rlmerrillauthor) and I am on Twitter (www.twitter.com/rlmerrillauthor).
What is the biggest challenge of social media? I enjoy interacting with folks and sharing my love of music and books. I haven’t quite mastered ads, however, so my reach is nearly all organic and though I’d love to sell more books, I love it that I frequently receive messages from folks who tell me that my books meant something to them. That means everything to me.
Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? I’ve had a couple of bad reviews and a few trolls, but I don’t engage. It is incredibly important to me to not engage in drama. I hate when people get hurt, I hate it when it consumes them. And I know there are a lot of people with bad intentions on social media, but it’s not the majority of folks. I speak up when I see people mistreated and I wish others would do the same. I know I’ve lost readers because of the stories I’ve chosen to write, and that’s their choice. I’m not going to be quiet about my beliefs. That may have hurt my sales, but it’s more important to me to be authentic.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? Yes. A friend of mine was attacked online by a cover model. She made a joke on his timeline and he retaliated by calling her names and putting her down in a vicious, misogynistic manner. I was there for her as she vented and I interacted with several men afterward who were friends and lett them know what exactly it was about the comments the model said that were upsetting and why it was important for them to speak out against that kind of behavior. I had a lot of conversations with people.
What should readers know about your social media presence? I’m about positivity, I’m about truth, I will listen and discuss issues with people who have different opinions, but I believe that what some people consider being “political” is actually advocating for human rights, and I will always advocate for human rights.
YOUR MESSAGE
What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? My stories are about hope, love and rock ‘n’ roll. I was drawn to romance because the stories give me hope in humanity, and we could all use some of that right now. Love has the power to heal, and rock ‘n’ roll makes the world go ‘round. If you read my books, hopefully you will come away feeling hopeful, believing in love, and maybe learning a little more about how it might feel to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Check in next time when Lea Kirk
will tell us about her journey.

Thank you for joining us for
#REALWomenWriters!

The REAL Women Writers of Speculative Fiction #REALWomenWriters

Welcome back to the blog series #REALWomenWriters to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: Selah Janel
Genres: Dark fantasy, horror, fantasy, speculative

Favorite story you’ve written and why. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite! I have a soft spot for my historical
horror piece Mooner and the vampire stories I have in The Big Bad
anthologies. Olde School, my fantasy novel, isn’t in print anymore but I love the humor and world-building in it.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? I love Clyde from Olde School. He’s a fairy tale talking bird, but is actually
an ancient being of cosmic horror trapped in bird form, but he likes
creature comforts like cable and wine too much to bother taking over the
world. The sheer possibilities with Clyde crack me up. I tend to love
writing personalities that are way different than mine. It’s really freeing
and tons of fun to write him. I also love writing the vampires that are in
the stories in The Big Bad anthologies. They’re messy personalities
clinging to the lives and version of vampirism they’ve carved out for
themselves, and a great opportunity for reflective moments and snark.
What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? I think people tend to think I’m either really docile or over-the-top
aggressive, and neither is true. I can be assertive and sarcastic, but I’m
also empathetic. I like cute stuff, but I’m not a pushover. I think
somehow along the way certain circles have misunderstood my passion
for a project or desire to stay informed of business or my frustration as
my total personality. At one point I had a person compare me to Tommy
Lee, and I’m pretty sure there are a few big differences there. On the
other hand, I’ve had a lot of people at events underestimate me and
assume I’m doing things for very superficial reasons, which also isn’t
true.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? I don’t think you really know the reality of anything until you’re in it.
That being said, it was surprising how much time social media and
looking for media and marketing opportunities really takes. That balance
between that, writing, my daily life, and other things is still something I
constantly reconfigure. So much of that is on the author, and it takes a
huge chunk of time to do well.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? Large action scenes tend to make me anxious because there’s a lot to
juggle and balance well, yet somehow I end up writing things that end up
going in that direction.
Did you go to college? What was your major? Yep! I have a Bachelor of Science in theater.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” Originally an author, but when I was 9 or 10 a family friend who had
been a writer laid out how hard it was, so I let myself be talked out of it.
Then an actress, which led to my theater degree, and I gained a huge love
of costume construction and design, so that’s where a lot of my work has
been. There were some weeks as a young kid where I changed my life
plan from teacher to astronaut to paleontologist, so I’m sure life was fun
for my parents for a while.
EVENTS
What is the best event you’ve ever been to? A lot of the smaller cons and library events tend to be better for me at
the moment. Evillecon was really warm and the audience was a lot of fun
when I was a guest there and I’ve done some library events in different
states that were super well organized and really went beyond to help me
figure things out. Everything has its hiccups and moments, but they
stepped up to help when different challenges arose.
What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? I feel like most women authors and entertainers have a list. I’ve been
talked over on panels and I’ve joked for a while that I’m either the token
girl on genre panels or put on the ‘women in whatever genre’s panels that
usually don’t get as big an audience. When I first started getting
published I was interrupted mid-pitch by a publisher who said that
women only come to cons to meet celebs or cat around (I’m
paraphrasing to be nice). I’ve been followed around by people and dealt
with my share of comments. I’ve come close to making a sale at an event
and had the prospective buyer’s girlfriend come up, rip the book out of
his hand, and get mad at me for talking to him even though he
approached my table and I was just there to sell books.
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? For me, the best thing that I’ve found is to surround myself with a close
group of friends of all genders who are specifically on the lookout for
that kind of thing and will shut it down for each other. It also helps
because I have people I’m comfortable with there and know I have
people to go get dinner with and things like that. But it’s much harder for
that sort of thing to thrive when other people not only see it happen,
but are going to vocally call it out in the moment and then to the event
or on media or to others there, as well.
What is something hurtful you’ve witnessed another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) I was with a group of authors at an event and a person wanted to buy a
(male) author’s book. She tried to push the money at another woman
author and myself and wanted to set up an event with that author
through us – she assumed we were there as his staff even though we very
obviously had our books and were doing our own thing. It was
mortifying because it took a while to get the person to let it go and to
actually do that kind of admin and sale business with the actual author of
the book. They felt he was beyond that and that should be part of why
the other woman author and myself were there.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? I usually give people a space to vent and encourage them to keep going.
It’s a frustrating business in general and even more so when you have to
put up with this kind of thing, but there are so many talented and hardworking women authors who deserve to be known and read. I also
try to spread the word about their work, because that’s just as important
as a pep talk.
ONLINE PRESENCE
What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? I go into different things for different reasons. The book communities
can be great on Twitter if you know what to look for and how to
cultivate who you follow and your feed. There are some facebook groups
that I love. I like to talk so I like blogging and reviewing for different
places as well as my own site. You can catch me at www.selahjanel.com
www.facebook.com/SelahJanel on facebook and @SelahJanel on
Twitter.
What is the biggest challenge of social media? Finding time to do it! The balancing act of that, life, and writing is
something I’m still working on.
Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? I haven’t been overtly shamed per se, but I’ve had my views and
experiences dismissed in conversation a lot. Usually, I either walk away or
block if it gets too much, but there are other times when there are others
in the conversations who will have my back.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? All the time. I think that’s where having each other’s back and having
friends in the writing community really can help. It won’t stop things but
it helps if you’re not alone.
What should readers know about your social media presence? I’m still figuring it out and balancing it with a lot of different things.
YOUR MESSAGE
What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? I want people to feel like they matter, that their emotions and they
themselves have a place. You can be an outsider or marginalized or a
crumbled cookie and still be a hero or an important component in life. I
also want to draw focus to how magical stories and belief can be, and
how beautiful life is, even when things feel obscured by darkness.

Check in next time when R. L. Merrill
will tell us about her journey.

Thank you for joining us for
#REALWomenWriters!

The REAL Women Writers of Speculative Fiction #REALWomenWriters

Welcome back to the blog series #REALWomenWriters to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: Jennifer Rahn
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Favorite story you’ve written and why. Dark Corridor, because I’ve finally gotten past writing my own insecurities into my characters and I’m finding that it’s affecting positive change in my day-to-day life.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? Probably Maxal, from The Longevity Thesis. He’s been broken, and his mind warped, yet he accepts it all and what he has become. None of that impacts his moral core, and he doesn’t let the niceties stop him from fighting for the greater good.
What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? Probably that I’m full Chinese. I’ve had people argue with me that I spell my last name wrong (it’s German, thus Rahn, not Ruan) and tell me that there is no way I can have a child without brown eyes (her eyes are green; I’m an F1 hybrid, and she’s an F2 backcross). I’ve also been told that my Dad can’t translate things into German (he most certainly can).
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? I suppose that would be how much easier planning a plot arc is once you get past the “hump” of the learning curve. It was much more difficult when I first started, and now it just seems obvious.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? I don’t write sex scenes. My life experiences always creep into my writing, and that’s not something I’m willing to share.
Did you go to college? What was your major? Yes. Pharmacology (BSc Hons.), Pharmacology (MSc), and Medical Sciences (PhD).
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” A child psychologist. However, once I realized that running around in a lab coat doing science stuff that most people don’t understand was the closest I’d ever get to becoming a sorcerer, I changed my mind.
EVENTS
What is the best event you’ve ever been to? World Fantasy 2008. I’ve met Barbara Hambly, David Niven, Tad Williams and saw Guy Gavriel Kay from across the room.
What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? I had to remove myself from a publisher event, because one of my publishers had broken off a collaboration with the first publisher, and no one knew about it. I didn’t want to take sides, so when I was asked, I had to politely decline.
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? I just carried on, being friendly with both parties and not making a big deal out of it.
What is something hurtful you’ve witnessed another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) I’ve seen a #WomanAuthor come forward about abuse she endured in the workplace. For a long time, she lashed out at everyone around her, and took offense where none was intended. Even when a comment had nothing to do with her, she heard it differently. A lot of people didn’t know what she’d been through and shied away from her, rather than show her compassion and give support. I think the worst part of it was that despite her bravery and the actions taken to remove the individual involved, nothing was really resolved for her internally, and her anger remained.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? I’m not sure I could say anything, not having been in her shoes. The best I could do is listen without judgment, and not take offense if she did lash out.
ONLINE PRESENCE
What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? Right now I’m loving Instagram @jjrahn70. I’m also on Twitter @jennrahn and Facebook @rahnbooks.
What is the biggest challenge of social media? Controlling my reactions and not responding to trolls and haters. I can’t tell the difference between people who truly believe some ridiculous statement they’ve made or are just trying to bait others into fighting.
Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? Not directly, but one of my books was slammed for containing “casual racism and sexism”. Of course, it did. I put my personal feelings and life experiences into what I write. This person was so intent on scoring points for upholding current views of what should be socially acceptable that s/he didn’t bother to consider *why* I expressed such things. I dealt with it by writing another book and putting whatever I liked into it.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? The whole Amelie Zhao story really upset me. I don’t know her, so no, I couldn’t help.
What should readers know about your social media presence? It’s small, but friendly. That said, I ignore messages from lonely bachelors.
YOUR MESSAGE
What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? I walk between cultures, and it’s a wonderful thing. I was born into such an environment and am still living in it. My keyword is acceptance. Not tolerance but accepting “the other” to the point where it is incorporated into your being. I hate social conventions that put up walls between people.


Check in next time when Selah Janel

will tell us about her journey.

Thank you for joining us for
#REALWomenWriters!

EVENT: October 2nd, 2019 San Mateo Tales of Horror

Come join me and the gang at the San Mateo Public Library!

With Emerian Rich, Jonathan Fortin, Trinity Adler, Loren Rhoads, E.M. Markoff, Laurel Anne Hill, Ben Monroe, R.L. Merrill, Mercy Hollow, and Sumiko Saulson.