GuestBlog: “Blood and Dust” a New Story From Tara Vanflower

Harkening back to the glory days of gothic romance that had us up reading all night, HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents:

Haunts & Hellions edited by Emerian Rich

HHCoverPromo13 stories of horror, romance, and that perfect moment when the two worlds collide. Vengeful spirits attacking the living, undead lovers revealing their true nature, and supernatural monsters seeking love, await you. Pull the blinds closed, light your candle, and cuddle up in your reading nook for some chilling—and romantic—tales.

With stories by: Emily Blue, Lucy Blue, Kevin Ground, Rowan Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Emmy Z. Madrigal, R.L. Merrill, N.C. Northcott, Emerian Rich, Daniel R. Robichaud, Daphne Strasert, Tara Vanflower, and B.F. Vega.

**********

An excerpt from Haunts & Hellions

 Blood and Dust

Tara Vanflower

1930, Oklahoma

The tents were empty, dust blowing through them, canvas flapping violently. Rosalyn huddled inside her wagon, daring not to move. Not yet. It was too quiet. All the voices had died down and the animals were silent. An elephant’s trumpeting sounded off in the distance.

Run, Eleanor. Be free.

She could picture Eleanor, her elephant friend, roaming across the vast duned plains looking for her lost sisters from another continent. Elephants never forget and so many times Rosalyn had been haunted by the pained look of sadness in the elephant’s teary eyes. How confused she must have been, taken from her home, only to be locked by chains and forced to perform for dolts who laughed at her dancing, not knowing, or caring, how she suffered.

I’m sorry.

Eleanor would survive better than any of the humans could. She had taken out quite a few of the bandits with her stomping feet and massive waving trunk. If only she’d had her tusks. That would have been a show.

Rosalyn’s wagon rocked with a burst of wind. The sound of the pelting sand outside grew deafening. When would it pass?

A moment of quiet was just enough to look out. Just enough to see if anyone had survived the attack.

It had been stupid to bring the carnival to Oklahoma. No one had any money there, but they were making their way toward California, the land of milk and honey. Rosalyn would never get there now, everyone was dead. Everyone. If it hadn’t been for her abilities and the cabinet in her wagon in which she hid, she might be dead, too.

She closed her eyes. Her heart ached. They had taken her in as family when her father sold her to the traveling band. She had been one of them. Now, they were all dead. And for what? A few measly coins? Some horses? Some wagons? Food? People were savages when they were hungry. She wondered if the bandits had even left the bodies behind. Perhaps they made a meal of them, too. At least some of them had also been killed.

Good job, Elenor. She looked down at her hands and squeezed them tightly.

***

 “Mama, Mama!” she cried out, her voice shrill in her ears, strangled by tears. “Mama! Wake up, Mama!”

“You took off the gloves! We told you to never take off the gloves!” Her father wept. “It’s all your fault, Rosy. We told you to never take off the gloves!”

“But Mama was sick. I was trying to help her,” she cried.

“She was sick because of you and now she’s dead!”

Rosalyn awoke with a start, her heart pounding like horse hooves in her chest. She sucked in a deep breath and held it, opening her eyes to peer out at blackness. It was nighttime, the winds had died down. She was still alive, still safe inside her cabinet. Dare she creep out? Dare she view the aftermath?

No. Not yet. Still too soon. They could be lingering nearby. She wasn’t ready to see the aftermath.

Sleep. She pulled her gloves up, tightening the leather against her fingers, and tucked her folded hands beneath her hot cheek. She closed her eyes. When the sun rose, she would try. She couldn’t stay inside this cabinet forever. No more dreams.

To read more, read Haunts and Hellions at: Amazon.com

“Left Behind” a New Story From Emerian Rich

Harkening back to the glory days of gothic romance that had us up reading all night, HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents:

Haunts & Hellions edited by Emerian Rich

HHCoverPromo13 stories of horror, romance, and that perfect moment when the two worlds collide. Vengeful spirits attacking the living, undead lovers revealing their true nature, and supernatural monsters seeking love, await you. Pull the blinds closed, light your candle, and cuddle up in your reading nook for some chilling—and romantic—tales.

With stories by: Emily Blue, Lucy Blue, Kevin Ground, Rowan Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Emmy Z. Madrigal, R.L. Merrill, N.C. Northcott, Emerian Rich, Daniel R. Robichaud, Daphne Strasert, Tara Vanflower, and B.F. Vega.

**********

An excerpt from Haunts & Hellions

 

Left Behind

Emerian Rich

1916

New York City

“Time for your tonic.”

Often Glorianna woke to her mother standing over her, bottle and spoon in hand.

“Take it.” Her mother’s voice was a combination of sandpaper and vinegar. Always irritated, always impatient.

“I just took some,” Glorianna’s voice didn’t sound like her own. Scratchy and unused, it croaked out like that of an older lady with consumption, not a seventeen-year-old Manhattan socialite.

“That was hours ago.”

“But I can’t eat. It’s giving me a sour stomach.”

Mother huffed. “It’s as if you don’t want to get well.”

“I do. I just—”

“Really? Because all I hear are complaints. Here’s your serum.” She slammed the bottle down on the bedside table. “Take it if you want, I don’t care anymore. Ungrateful little…”

“Mama, please. I’ll take it. I didn’t mean to…”

Mother threw the spoon back at her and it landed on Glorianna’s weakened legs. She barely felt it. Both Glorianna and her mother stared at the spoon, the action meaning so much more than a simple fight. It pointed a finger at the horrible illness they both had been dealing with for far too long.

Mother slowly picked up the spoon, took the bottle of tonic gingerly from the table, and uncapped it.

Glorianna obediently held open her mouth, wincing as the acrid taste hit her tongue. She closed her eyes and swallowed, taking the immediate glass of water offered and downing as much as she could, praying the acidic taste would fade with dowsing.

“I’ll have Pritchett bring you toast.” Mother slammed the decaying door to her room and left Glorianna alone in the dark.

Only after her mother left did Glorianna gag at the lingering taste of the pungent serum. She’d been taking the tonic for months. Would she ever be free from it?

Rain pattered the windows on another gloomy day in Manhattan. How she longed to go and sit to watch the storm pelt Fifth Avenue. Despite the downpour, Central Park still managed to raise her spirits. The trees reminded her of happier times when she and her friends would walk in the park. But her friends were gone.

They said the polio epidemic only hit the poor, but it had traveled through her ritzy club fast enough. Lila Billings had been the first to succumb to the disease.

At that time, Glorianna had been well enough to attend Lila’s funeral. The last memory of her friends was from Lila’s funeral, all lined up in mourning black, some hunched, and a few in chairs. With Lila in the ground, she could no longer bring Glorianna out of the doldrums with her bright smile.

Glorianna longed for her friends, for the excitement of normal life. She’d been asked to the fall dance by Tommy Opalson. He was the cutest boy at the club, but as the dance neared, a sympathy card from Mrs. Opalson to her mother had expressed their wish for Glorianna to return to health and to regret his cancellation. And that’s all. No visits from Tommy.

None of her friends, even the sick ones, had visited or written. In fact, if the club hadn’t sent the circular every month, she’d not even know which of her friends still survived. She wasn’t sure which was worse, the announcement of recovery or death? If they were dead, it was sad and she’d never see them again. But if they recovered, it just marked one more person who had overcome what she could not.

Quickly approaching her eighteenth year, Glorianna still had yet to share a kiss or even receive an amorous note, flowers, or chocolates. She was crippled and barely able to stay awake. When she was awake, she would spend most of her time nauseous. Were she able to find an appropriate and willing suitor, she doubted she’d inspire enamored feelings once he witnessed her constant regurgitations.

She sat alone in her high gloomy tower, in a deteriorating house, watching the world recover outside. Others happily went about their days, bright electrics from inside showing her a world she could only dream of. Stuck in a world of dim light, old furnishings, and spooky corridors she could no longer walk, Glorianna longed to be away from the wretched house.

To read more, read Haunts and Hellions at: Amazon.com

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.

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#REALWomenWriters!