Dark Divinations Party – Facebook, Saturday, May 23rd

Come join Emz and the whole cast of authors at the
Facebook Book Party!
Readings, Games, Prizes, Fun, Trivia!
This Saturday, May 23rd, 2020
starting with a
WatchParty @ 1pm PDT
and a
Facebook Party @ 2pm PDT

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

Authors: Stephanie Ellis, Michael Fassbender, Alan Fisher, H.R.R. Gorman, Ash Hartwell, Hannah Hulbert, Naching T. Kassa, R.L. Merrill, Joe L. Murr, Jeremy Megargee, Jon O’Bergh, Emerian Rich, Rie Sheridan Rose, Daphne Strasert

“Rich and dizzying.” ~ Alyson Rhodes

“I enjoyed every story. Who wouldn’t want to read this?” ~ The Book Lovers Boudoir

“The stories are extremely well written and very engaging.” ~ Horror Madam

It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Join us as we explore fourteen frightening tales of Victorian horror, each centered around a method of divination. Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown.

Choose your fate.
Choose your DARK DIVINATION.

Available now in Print and Kindle ~ Dark Divinations

 

 

“The Pocket Watch” by Emerian Rich in Dark Divinations

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents:

Dark Divinations edited by Naching T. Kassa

It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown.

Choose your fate.

Choose your DARK DIVINATION.


An excerpt from Dark Divinations

 The Pocket Watch

Emerian Rich

Northern England 1883

Gretchen Windemere stood tall in her sapphire taffeta bustle dress, her neck and vermillion hair adorned with sapphire velvet ribbons and pearls. She smiled and nodded as her new husband gave her a tour of his family estate in Northern England. She’d never been inside such an antique home in her life. Growing up in Manhattan, she was no stranger to glamor but her family mansion was no older than 1780. Harrison’s estate had been built in the 1500s, seen kings and queens, lords and dukes, and at least eleven Lady Windermeres in its time. She was the newest and most unlikely mistress of the house being American and “new money.”

“Gretchen? Did you hear me?”

“I’m sorry?” She turned, taking in her new husband, Harrison. He was bright and trim and easy-on-the-eyes. All the things young girls like Gretchen looked for in a mate.

“This is to be your private study.” He smiled, wrapping his arm around her waist. “Would you like to stay here while I attend to some business?” Harrison’s butler, Prescott, stood by inspecting her with almost a sneer. She supposed the right answer would be yes.

“Certainly.”

“I’ll return for you at luncheon.” Harrison kissed her once on the cheek and left with his butler in tow.

Gretchen removed her traveling gloves and took in the room, admiring the antiques and placement of all the furniture. The color scheme of the room was very last-century, harkening back to the white and gold of Versailles. The desk sat in the middle of the room, facing the two front windows that looked out over the gardens to the right or left of a dainty golden mirror. A luxurious settee sat in front of the massive gold-encrusted fireplace mantle. A toasty roost if she were chilled. The chaise lounge near the closest window looked a sublime place for an afternoon nap. Everything seemed to be in the precise place it should be.

How very efficient the last Lady Windermere had been. So efficient, Gretchen felt the need to adjust the chaise ever so slightly askew just to break up the perfection.

Gretchen’s life in Manhattan had been too perfect. Her mother had groomed her from birth to be the prettiest, the most refined, the classiest girl in all of New York City. Her friends were Vanderbilts and Astors. Their pastimes were tea parties and cotillions.  She’d been taught the manners, the traditions, and the tastes of the extremely wealthy. But after fulfilling her mother’s purpose for her—marrying a titled man—she was of no use to her anymore. It was her sister’s turn to catch a lord, duke, or count. It was all so cold, Gretchen could barely stand it.

Luckily, she just happened to be in love with Harrison. They had met at the Vanderbilt Ball that spring, she in a forest sprite costume and he dressed as a matador. He made her laugh before she knew his title. His quirky disposition and a promise of a life away from the New York City social scene sealed the deal. By September they were wed and as October drew to a close, they’d returned to his country estate to settle in for the winter.

Satisfied with her private study furniture arrangement being “not-quite-perfect” Gretchen set to the arduous task of writing her family. First, she’d write to her mother—saying all the things she’d been taught to say—then shortly to her father, and finally to her sister.

At half-past eleven, Harrison strolled into the room, catching Gretchen as she stared out into the garden.

“Love, I have come to take you to lunch, but first, a surprise.”

“You’re going to spoil me with all the gifts,” Gretchen said, turning to find him holding out a red velvet box.

“You deserve all this and more. I can’t believe I convinced you to come overseas. To leave your family…”

“My family is nothing to me, you know that. Though, I do miss my beloved Annie.”

“There is a reason I fell in love with you. A woman who loves her horse more than her family. How am I so lucky?”

She smiled. “I do love riding.”

“But this gift isn’t from me, it’s from my mother.”

“Oh.” Gretchen’s heart pulled when he spoke of his family. Both his father and mother were deceased. They’d left him only a few years apart and the wounds were still very close to the surface. “I’m honored.” She took the box from him and opened it.

Inside was a golden pocket watch, by its appearance very old, but shined to the hilt.

“It was my mother’s. I’m only sorry she couldn’t give it to you herself.”

“It’s stunning.”

The pocket watch was rather large for a lady to carry, but had evidently been repurposed for Lady Windermere. A golden chain enabled the owner to wear it as a necklace and Gretchen looped it over her neck, admiring the impression of the Windermere crest on the front. Gretchen pushed the crown and the door flipped open, displaying the hands of the clock inching forward. On the inside of the door, a mirror had been inlaid at its base. Although the brilliancy of the glass was faded with age, Gretchen could see her Josephine curls and velvet choker in the reflection. She closed the watch with a click and hugged Harrison.

“Thank you. It’s beautiful. I feel so honored to have something of your mother’s.”

Harrison smiled sadly, taking her hand.

To read more, go to: Amazon.com or order the special edition, signed copy with hand-painted tarot cards at HorrorAddicts.net

Dark Divinations feat. Emerian Rich’s The Pocket Watch

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents:

Dark Divinations edited by Naching T. Kassa

Available now at Amazon.com

It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown.

Choose your fate.

Choose your DARK DIVINATION.

Join us as we explore fourteen frightening tales of Victorian horror, each centered around a method of divination.


“Power and Shadow” by Hannah Hulbert

A young woman, with the power to manipulate the future using tea leaves, teaches her friend a lesson at her mother’s behest.

“Copper and Cordite” by Ash Hartwell

On the eve of her fiance’s departure for the Crimea, a young Englishwoman discovers the power which lies in dreams. Can she use it to save him?

“Damnation in Venice” by Joe L. Murr

When a roguish fortuneteller counsels an aging writer, he ends up in danger of damning his own soul.

“The Pocket Watch” by Emerian Rich

When a young American bride returns to her husband’s English estate, she receives a present from his deceased mother that can foretell a deadly family curse.

“They Wound Like Worms” by Naching T. Kassa

A man writes his sister concerning a method of divination which reveals his true love. But, as his obsession grows, the method grows bloodier.

“Miroir de Vaugnac” by Michael Fassbender

A widowed seer, augmenting her skills through an antique scrying bowl,  faces grim choices when she learns she is not fully in control of its power.

“The Bell” by Jon O’Bergh

Dark Divinations 3d

A physical medium, who earned his fortune faking necromancy, finds he’s buried in a coffin and must call upon his powers to save himself.

“Romany Rose” by Stephanie Ellis

A penny gaff mysteriously appears outside a London shop, awaking a spirit with a terrible agenda.

“Miss Mae’s Prayers” by H.R.R. Gorman

A preacher seeks to rebuke an Appalachian witch for her use of the Bible to divine the future, but ignoring her warnings leads to dire consequences

“Broken Crystal” by Rie Sheridan Rose

A young, Irish fortuneteller discovers her true fate when she reads for a dangerous man who won’t accept her prophecy.

“Breaking Bread” by R.L. Merrill

A wife, suspecting her husband of infidelity, tests him with a magic loaf of bread, but her quest for knowledge might be more trouble than she asked for.

“The Ghost of St. John Lane” by  Daphne Strasert

While conducting a seance to contact her dead husband, a woman discovers a girl with strange gifts and provokes a man who seeks to destroy her.

“The Moat House Cob” by Alan Fisher

In a tower of fortune-telling animals, a spider spins a web over London. What ominous force may be headed their way?

“Of Blood and Bones” by Jeremy Megargee

When a woman throws the bones in search of her sister’s murderer, she finds an unimaginable evil. Will she avenge her sister’s death? Or share her fate?

Available now at Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087LBPBNS

Or order the special edition, signed copy with hand-painted tarot cards at HorrorAddicts.net

Happy Book Birthday! Wicked Gardens by Rogue Planet Press

wg2Wicked Gardens

By Rogue Planet Press

Wicked Gardens
What a wicked place indeed.
Explore it, if you will.
Many stories of sheer horror.
Each room, another portal to hell.
Each occupant, another soul to claim. – D.S. Scott

Emerian’s story in Wicked Gardens “The Rose Garden” is the tale about a girl who lives with her grandmother. Both named after the Belinda Rose, they tend a garden in the spare room which is against lease rules. As the Super becomes more suspicious and more liberal with his fascination with the younger Belinda, he learns the garden is more sinister than your average rose garden. Gram is just tending her roses, what could go wrong?

Including the works of: D.S. Scott, Joseph J. Patchen, L.A. Sykes, Mark Slade, Thomas M. Malafarina, John C. Adams, E.S. Wynn, Emerian Rich, Mark E. Tompkins, Tom Pitts, Kenneth Gallant, Gavin Chappell, Stephen Hernandez, Pete Lutz, Suzie Lockhart, and Bruce Lockhart.

Available now!

Wicked Gardens

Pandemic Stories: If Poe had written Annabel Lee during a Pandemic

In the book, Quoth the RavenI presented my interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” in short story form. In “My Annabel” I explored the theme from the perspective of an ER doctor and his wife in the middle of a Pandemic outbreak. Little did I know the theme would become so real to us today.

I now present you with an excerpt from “My Annabel” below.


My Annabel by Emerian Rich

They blamed me, but I couldn’t stop it. Annabel was going to die from the moment she hugged that poor sick child and I knew it. She knew it too, but neither of us vocalized it. It was more of an exchanged look, a silent message as she smoothed back the hair of that poor homeless waif.

The virus had been loosed on a plane flying in from London, but the passengers didn’t start getting sick until they left the airport. By then, they’d had time to infect others. Patients streamed into the ER faster than we could care for them. The rules? Stay four to six feet away, use the protective gear, and make no contact. We followed the rules…except that once.

Just like an unexpected pregnancy from casual sex, it only takes once.

I can’t explain why Annabel picked up the child whose sneeze infected her, only that it could have just as easily been me. Perhaps it was the child’s pleading blue eyes, too young to know the severity of what her innocent-seeming cold meant, or maybe it was those cute, chubby cheeks covered with tears. Maybe it was because we’d talked of having such a child, of finally being ready to give ourselves up to parenting, of allowing our lives to be taken over by the mixture of joy and stress of being parents. Diapers, late-night feedings, no rest. After all, if two doctors couldn’t function without a little sleep, what good were we?

And so Annabel allowed herself to be infected because of a sudden lapse in judgment, an urgent wish to ease a little girls’ suffering. Who could fault her for that? No one. But they blamed me.

She’d waved me off when a few of the interns in hazmats swooped in to handle the girl. The interns washed Annabel, too. They worked quickly, shedding her of her clothes and wiping her down as I watched from the other side of the glass.

“She can be saved,” they murmured. No way the great Doctor Lee—one half of the greatest medical team ever known to the West Coast—could succumb to the virus as the result of simply embracing a defenseless young soul. We were brilliant surgeons, but our bodies were still human. The physical laws of biology and virus still applied.

By the time I’d been installed in a hazmat suit, my Annabel was naked and shivering, more from fever than cold. Unembarrassed by being on the patient side, where modesty was nothing compared to wellness, her teeth chattered as she fell into my white-shrouded arms. I embraced her, gripping the body I knew as well as my own, wishing I could smell her hair, wanting nothing more than to rip off my mask and succumb alongside my love. But when I moved to do so, she pleaded with me to protect myself, that it was she who made the mistake and she who must pay the price.

“You must live on,” she said. “You must live this life for us both.”

In those last hours as I held her on my lap—me in my hazmat, she in her hospital robe—Annabel reminded me of our life. Not the life we lived then— each trying to be strong for the other, trying to concentrate on the love not the loss—but our life before. When we moved to San Francisco fresh out of medical school, against her parents’ wishes, to be interns in a new city on the West Coast. She spoke of the little apartment we could barely afford. Of lovemaking between shifts, or on breaks, or whenever we could. In the car, in the on-call room, and sometimes in our own bed, exhausted but craving each other’s touch. She reminded me of those rare days off when we’d take a picnic to the park and roll in the grass, enjoying the sun on our pale, indoor skin or running along the beach letting the freezing water tingle our toes in the sand.

“We loved with a love that was more than a love,” she said, her weary, red-rimmed eyes looking up at me from her curled spot on my lap.

“That we did and will always, forevermore,” I replied.

After the light was gone from her eyes and her heart stopped for good, I held her still, willing my love to revive her. You’d think it would. For why would the heavens give us such a gift of love if not to make it powerful enough to bring back life?

To read more of My Annabel, download Quoth the Raven.


The works of Poe were dark and often disturbing. From dismembered corpses, rivals bricked behind cellar walls, murders in back alleys, laments for lost loves, obsessions that drive men – and women! – to madness, his stories have had a profound impact on both the horror and mystery genres to this day.

In Quoth the Raven, we invite you to answer the call of the raven and revisit Poe’s work, re-imagined for the twenty-first century. Here, the lover of mystery and Gothic horror will find familiar themes in contemporary settings, variations on Poe’s tales, and faithful recreations of the author’s signature style.

Contains stories and poems by Aryan Bollinger, Brian Ellis, Chris Abela, Donea Lee Weaver, Edward Ahern, Emerian Rich, Frank Coffman, Gregory J. Wolos, Hugh J.O’Donnell, John Kiste, Kara Race-Moore, Karen Robiscoe, Kenneth C. Goldman, Lauryn Christopher, Lawrence Berry, Matthew M. Montelione, Melanie Cossey, Penelope Paling, R.C. Scandalis, Sarah Murtagh, Scott Wheelock, Sidney Williams, Sonora Taylor, Stephanie L. Harper, Steven R. Southard, Susan McCauley, Tiffany Michelle Brown, Tonia Kalouria, and Vicki Weisfeld.

Available Now!

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: Alanna McFall
Genres: Paranormal, stage plays

Favorite story you’ve written and why. The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus. This is my first full-length novel and it meant so much to get to spend such a long period of time exploring this world and getting to know these characters.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? Ava, a time traveler from my short play “Maybe This Time”, which I am currently on commission to expand into a full-length piece. 

She has the ability to send herself back to any previous moment in her life and live it over again, but she has had this power so long that she has become numb to it and detached from everyone around her. She has been great to explore some big existential questions with, and she opens the door for a lot of structural shenanigans with the piece itself.

What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? Working in an outward-facing admin job and being a bit shy, I get a lot of people who think I am very quiet and polite by nature. It’s when you get to know me that you find both a temper and a dirty sense of humor.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, so it’s a bit tricky for me to determine. But something I didn’t know about professional writing until I got deep into it was how much of a relief an editor’s suggestions can be sometimes. They can be very frustrating at times, but those moments where you just know that something wasn’t working and an outside perspective can help put it right? Those are great and take a big weight off your shoulders.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? Probably either action scenes or exposition scenes. I am a sucker for writing character moments of people spending time together and getting to know each other, but scenes that have a concrete amount of information that needs to be worked in organically can be difficult for me.
Did you go to college? What was your major? I went to Smith College, where I was a Theater major with a Playwriting Concentration.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” I had an eye towards being an actor as a child, and was always very dramatic about acting out my stories and make-believe games. But while I will always have a love for being on stage, the story making part of the equation was what ended up being my true passion.

EVENTS

What is the best event you’ve ever been to? In terms of events I have attended, it would have to be the Nine Worlds convention in London in 2015, but that feels like cheating in that I met my fiancée there for the first time.

As for events I have been an active participant in, I would have to say my book release party for The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus, which I hosted at my workplace, Kinetic Arts Center, in June. It was such a wonderful way to celebrate and feel supported by my community.

What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? It was not something intentionally hurtful, but I participated in a play-reading in New York City in 2014 that was so poorly organized, and honestly poorly planned from the get-go, that even participating in it became very uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing. It was truly a project of love, but passion alone cannot put on a show.
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? In all honesty, time and a sense of humor. The event became so bad by the end that it crossed into the absurd, and though it was over five years ago now, my best friend and I still tell the story whenever we get a chance. 
What is something hurtful you’ve witness another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) Again, not something intentional, but seeing a moderator repeatedly mispronounce a guest’s name, despite being corrected, was quite uncomfortable. By the end of the panel, the audience was literally shouting the correct pronunciation every time the mistake was made. It just spoke to a total lack of preparedness and, in a broader sense, of respect.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? I get having a hard to pronounce name (mine was said wrong in my college graduation ceremony). But do not feel shy or embarrassed about correcting people about your name, pronouns, or anything else integral to who you are. This is your mark, and you can stand by it.

ONLINE PRESENCE

What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? I have been growing a fondness for Twitter. You can follow me at @AlannaMcFall and check out my website at alannamcfall.com.
What is the biggest challenge of social media? Making sure that there is some actual conversation and content happening, not just shouting promotions of your own work into the void over and over again.
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? Thankfully I have not been.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? I have definitely seen some vile speech going around online and directed at female authors. I tend to just report trolls and move on, as there is not much to be gained by directly engaging with them, unless you can devote concentrated time to changing minds.
What should readers know about your social media presence? That I am a big nerd who will mostly be writing about books I just read or food I just made.

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 think my message would be that even in the face of strange and surreal and uncomfortable events, there is room for joy, love, healing and connection with other people. For a keyword, I feel like “off-beat” sums my work up pretty well.

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: 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!

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!