The REAL Women Writers of Speculative Fiction #REALWomenWriters

by Emerian Rich

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!