Tag Archives: Short Story

Antidote for the Soul is going to be PUBLISHED!

My title says it all.

I had this wonderful, thought provoking, craft educational post all thought out and outlined for today, but nope, that will wait for another day.

Last night at 9:05pm I received an email from BurialDay Books:

“Dear Courtney,

Thank you for sending us “Antidote for the soul.”

We love your story and would like to publish it in the Gothic Blue Book!

We will be in touch shortly with a more formal letter and details.


Time for a few fireworks in the world.

I am an author (soon to be officially published in both ebook and traditional print) and teach others how to write, yet I can find no words to describe how I felt at that moment. Excited, too pale and blah. Elated, nope, not enough hop to it. Ecstatic, not enough zing. Euphoric, getting closer, but still not enough to describe that one moment in time.

Everything just froze. I read it and re-read it. I then got up, did my happy puppy dance all over the room as I called all those who had helped me on my journey. It was a moment I hope to relive in the future, but no matter what, I will always remember and work back towards that feeling.

It’s true. As of the end of next month, my words will be in ebook and traditional print format. People will be able to go out and buy them, take them home, read them, judge them, enjoy them. I have street cred.

Exciting and humbling all in the same breath. So, next rounds on me, folk. Let’s celebrate!

Image by: xedos4



I Hear Imaginary People

Voices, voices everywhere, all telling me what to do.

Ganhdi once said “The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.” Does this mean that authors have worlds of little tyrants all demanding they be written into existence? We created and hone these voices until they gain faces and style and story and quirks and finally a voice that others can hear as well. See, it’s not schizophrenia if others can hear it too, right?

Characters and characterization tend to be very important to me. There’s the plot and conflict carrying them along from misadventure to misadventure until they learn how to be masters and mistresses of their own fate (well, at least for a short time). However, the characters have to be relatable and real to make the story interesting and my readers care. And that’s not just the good guys. We all want to feel a part of the hero/heroine. See something of ourselves there in the hope that we can raise ourselves to such heights and overcome the obstacles we encounter. Thus making the characters real and concrete enough for others to hear and see while making them broad enough so everyone can slip into their shoes if they try is no mean trick.

Aww, but look at the teddy. He LOVES me!

But what of our villains? Villains need love, too. This doesn’t mean you have to like the villain by any stretch of the imagination. Nor should you want to cheer for them. They have to be just as relatable and real as the hero/heroine or they lose their punch and become caricatures. Even in the movies, some of the villains I most remember I don’t like at all. I HATE them, but I LOVE hating them. Very often it is because their motivations and actions are believable. Not understandable (we’re not psychopaths) but believable. We are not all murderous cannibals, but something within us loves the suave control of Hannibal Lecter and his intellect. Moriarty is a cold blooded killer with no regard for human life, but his ability to think around Holmes makes us marvel at his brain. Very often we love the villains because they represent the darker shadow side of ourselves just begging to be let out. They do the things we want to, only to a much greater extreme.

But hero or villain or sidekick or reflection, each character has his/her own voice. How he sounds. What vocal pauses she uses. Vocal ticks. Voice helps the image of the character come more alive in the imagination of the reader. I use full character and vocal sheets to create the character fully so I won’t forget who says what in what way, especially over multiple books.

Then comes the added trick of writing a character’s voice from a time not our own. I am faced with that right now. I am writing character in the 1830’s, a time with speech and etiquette very different from my own. Added to that, my main character is a male Irish doctor living in the 1830’s. Having to get the gentile nature of the time, the turns of phrases and the accent all wrapped up into one phrase is fun, exciting, interesting and a pain. But he’s starting to take fuller shape on the page, especially as people are dying all around him. It’s sink or swim time and the devil’s at the door, maybe for real, and his voice is reflecting it.

Benjamin Disraeli said it well, “There is no index of character so sure as the voice.”

Antidote for the Soul

Last week my husband sprang a new idea for me over dinner. He’d run across a request for Gothic Horror and thought since I have such fun writing twisted horror…and he continued talking about it but I was someplace else. My mind started whirling. Ideas, possibilities, characters, settings, they all began circling in my brain with twisted and wondrous scenes taking shape before our meal even arrived.

By the time we reached the car, he HAD to drive, so I could sit down with pen and any piece of paper I could scavenge from the depths of the car (ended up using the back of a quiz for my students) to write down the outline for this short story. By the time we made it home, the outline was complete from beginning to end. The last three days I’ve spent on researching time period, medicine, toxicology, convents, religious orders and dress.

And last night I started drafting the story itself!

Only peace and tranquility here...right...right?!

I am so excited about this new tale. I’ve been in the future for so long, I’d forgotten how fun it could be to write in an established time period. Who needs the future to throw drastic wrinkles into the horrific mix?

This short is ending up being a mix of Irving, Lovecraft and Poe. Even if this short goes nowhere professionally, it’s going to be an adventure to write, and I hope each of you enjoy it immensely.

Image Credit: Salvatore Vuono

Beta, Beta, bo Beta

The first of my Beta Readers has Black Sun. He is also double checking my continuity and copy editing. I am excited to have someone else’s eyes reading my work in full. A giant step forward. Every step is making this more real, and I can’t describe how that makes me feel deep down. Dreams are enticing and amorphous ghosts that chase us through life. It’s fun to do the chasing for once, and to feel that I am almost a hand’s reach away.

Problems in the food chain affect everyone

On other fronts, I did a lot of work today on “Waiting for Tomorrow”. This is set between Black Moon (Book 2) and Black Planet (Book 3). A glimpse into the future the characters will have to deal with. It’s nice to be writing from another perspective and on planet again, even if the ending is not quite “and they all lived happily ever after”.

Waiting for Tomorrow

Black Sun is a chapter and a half away from being ready for beta readers. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Years of work, ready for people in the world to experience and enjoy.  A step closer to the reality of a dream.

So rather than boring you all with more revision talk, how about something special from my special files of short works. This is an excerpt from the short story I told you about on May 23rd. The working title right now is “Waiting for Tomorrow”. This would be the opening mood setter. It’s still rough, but is starting to shape up.

“The lieutenant stomped his boots in the snow, gaining back momentary feeling in his feet.  Brief but satisfying none the less.  He gazed out at the large black structure that stared at them day and night.  The gate to nowhere they’d been “assigned” to watch for the last six months did the same thing it did everyday…nothing.  Just hung there in the middle of the Dakotas, big and ominous and empty.  If it did something, maybe he could keep his men’s mind on their task better, but no.  Some swore it hummed; he’d never heard it.”


What could put humanity on the endangered species list?

Short Work

I’m continuing with my revisions upon revisions. I’m really happy with the changes and tightening of language that has formed from the process. Even gave a semi pitch to a friend who is anti-Sci-fi yesterday. She thought the story sounded interesting. For her to listen to a story about something taking place on a deep space station, that’s saying something. It made me smile. To reach my goal for this summer, I can’t wait to get this cleanly into the hands of my Beta readers then hopefully agents and publishers.

But now, I’m thinking of other projects to churn the waters. Getting noticed cold turkey is not impossible, but it is hard. I need stir things up and venture to the world beyond the safety of my inner circle.

So, a short story is cooking. It is a story of Earth far in the future. A time when Earth is tenuously unified but barely making it. Huge structures of alien material have appeared all over the planet, both on land and in the air, just hanging there. What could these structures hold? Who brought them? What is their purpose? Why at these locations?

The story will be from the POV of the commander of a battalion of soldiers stationed outside one of these structures. They have been waiting months, just stationed in this desolate area, waiting for the structure to do something. And then it does…

Hoping to get this one polished as well and shop it for some shorter format publications.

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