You Know You Want Some Signed Horror Books, Motherfuckers

I have a LIMITED number of SIGNED copies of my horror books The Associated Villainies, Hopeful Monsters, and The Five Poisons available directly from my website. They are even a dollar off their regular Amazon sale price FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!!! If you’re nice, I might even throw in a free bookmark. Get ’em before they’re all gone!

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Odds, Sods, Gods and Broads: The Goddess Makes Entirely Too Much Work For Herself

The cause of evil never rests, as all of you know, and as a card-carrying emissary of said evil, I work tirelessly to bring you, my minions, the most enjoyable nastiness that my fevered brain can vomit up. Yes, I bestow upon you small nuggets of nefariousness in the form of these here blog posts (and I will have a new Scary Silents up by the beginning of next week, I promise; it will either be about The Sealed Room from 1909 or Dante’s Inferno from 1911, so sit tight), but there is so much more, darklings, and perhaps you don’t realize the extent of my iniquitous empire. If you’ve read any of my previous ramblings, you’ll know that I often piss and moan about how busy I am, so for your edification, I’m gonna outline exactly what I’m doing with all my malevolent hours. So here, in handy-dandy list form with pictures and links and everything, are the ten projects the Goddess has going on right now:

1. Something Old, Something New

Like any writer, I have a fuckton of unpublished bullshit lying around on the sofa, not helping out with the rent and just generally being useless wastes of space. In order to make these shiftless little word-bums earn their keep, I’ve decided to put out a NEW print book containing a veritable gumbo of goodness: New short stories! Older short stories that appeared in anthologies years ago that you probably didn’t read! Unpublished screenplays! Even modified versions of some of my favorite posts on this very site! At the moment, the book’s working title is Salmagundi, but I might change it if I think of something better, which I probably will. It’s gonna be an epic compilation of my various brain leavings and obsessions, and you’ll all need to buy copies for everyone you know for the upcoming holiday season, or else Jesus won’t bring you any presents and Santa Claus will let his reindeer shit in your rain gutters. I will, of course, be posting the link when this literary milestone drops, so keep your eyeballs peeled.

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2. Mammoth Mountain Mischief

By now you all know that the book I co-authored with the God of Hellfire, The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist, is the best poltergeist book ever penned and will bring about world peace in our lifetimes. In my frazzled, half-assed way, I try to promote the thing, mostly through paranormal-type radio shows and podcasts (such as here, here, and here). The GoH and I will soon be appearing on yet another one of these, the UK-based Keeping the Paranormal Friendly show! Tune in on Sunday, August 9th at 4:00pm Eastern Time and watch our sexy, Skype-enabled mugs flapping our jaws about the book. Then buy a copy in print or Kindle, goddammit.

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3. More Paranormal Hijinks

As I believe I’ve mentioned a few times before, my above-mentioned foray into paranormal nonfiction drew the attention of British parapsychologist Steve Mera of MAPIT, and I am working with him on a book about the Rochdale poltergeist case from 1996. I’ve written the bulk of the narrative, and now the first draft of it is in Steve’s hands so that he can correct details and add his own insights. I’m not sure when this will be done, but it will definitely be soon, so again, keep watching this space.

4. Dirty, Filthy Sex

Since some of my horror stories veer into erotica territory, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a series of straight-up erotica tales (which, since it’s me, will likely have horror elements, because I just can’t seem to help myself). These will be longer short stories, published as ebook exclusives and sold for about 99 cents each. I will also probably write them under a pseudonym, just to keep everything kinda separate, but I’m not gonna make a big secret about what the pseudonym is (when I decide on one, that is), so I’m not trying to be sneaky or nothin’. I’ve written part of an erotic short story so far, and hopefully I’d like to get to the point where I’m cranking out at least one a week. Keep the lube and tissues handy for the first moist installment!

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5. Ambition, Thy Name is Goddess

Christ on a cream cracker, I’m already worn out and I’m only on number five. But this here is a project I’ve been mulling over for years, and I hope to have it come to fruition fully in 2016. It’s going to be a serialized novel/interactive mystery that spans several mediums. I don’t want to go into too many details, because I’m still working everything out, but I’m very excited about this and hope I can do it without fucking it all up. I’ve already got gobs and gobs of notes, layouts, designs, video scripts, and so forth; the logistics of it are complicated, but I think it’ll either turn out super cool and make me a beloved horror sensation, or flop spectacularly into a wet diarrhea fart of insignificance. Either way, it’ll be fun for me to do, so, y’know. *shrug*

6. Cooking With Satan

Here’s something you might not know: In addition to being a writer, I am also a graphic designer. Here’s another thing you might not know: I have cool-as-shit friends. One of these friends is the motherfuckin’ Vegan Black Metal Chef, who is rad and metal as fuck and has an awesome YouTube show where he cooks delicious vegan vittles whilst he serenades you with ear-bleeding death-metal tunes that describe the recipe so that you may follow along in your own kitchen/dungeon. Subscribe to him, he rules. Anyway, I have been working with him for the past several months to design a cookbook as epic as his show is, and we’ll be coming down the home stretch in the next couple months. By the way, he has a Patreon, so throw some filthy lucre in his direction. The book is gonna be badass, and seriously, you don’t have to be a vegan to want to cook some of this shit in here, because all of it is devilishly delectable. *horned hand salute*

7. All About the Club Life

Speaking of cool-as-shit friends, I have another one known as DJ Lavidicus, and he hosts the best monthly goth-industrial night in central Florida, Memento Mori at Independent Bar in downtown Orlando. Great music, great crowd, great vibe, and if you’re in the area, you need to check it out as soon as you can. The GoH and I always make an appearance, and we also have a hand in promoting the night and the scene in general! I design all the posters and promo materials! The next one is going to be on Monday, August 17th, but go to the Facebook page to keep up with dates and make requests! (Might as well check out the Facebook page I run with the GoH too, Our Gothic Orlando, while you’re at it, and also check out Cold Therapy, the band featuring the beautiful wife of DJ Lavidicus, Jen Draven.)

Oh, and I can’t mention Memento Mori without mentioning our other beloved monthly scene night, Escape at Southern Nights! Hosted by some talented and batshit insane friends of ours, it tends more toward fetish, with outrageous costumes, monthly themes, sexy dancers, crazy game shows, and general debauchery, so kindly stop by, say hello to the GoH and myself, and maybe have a chance to go up on stage and get playfully molested by a giant bunny! Here are a few videos to whet your appetite!

8. I Know People in Bands Too, You Guys

Speaking of that graphic design work I do, a large percentage of it comes from my amazing friend Imani and her company, Valkyrie Management. She manages tons of (largely) death metal bands in the area, and she’s always got shows going all over the place, for which I design several posters, tickets and T-shirts every month. Check out her page, check out her bands, go see some of them play! Live music, motherfucker!

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9. Looking for a Handout

If you have a few meager pennies left after tossing money at everything else on this list, won’t you consider dropping a few into the coffers over at my Patreon page? You can get free books and other cool shit, and I promise it’ll be a couple bucks well spent. COUGH IT UP, PEONS. Ahem. I mean, thank you in advance.

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10. Oh Yeah, That Nine to Five Thing

Did I mention I also have a full-time job doing graphic design at a printing company? I’m not gonna tell y’all where it is, though, because you might stalk me. 🙂

And now, back into the fray. Until next time, keep it creepy, my friends. Goddess out.

The Goddess Has Gobs of Exciting News!

Well, kiddos, it’s been a crazy week, hence my relative dearth of posts, but you’ll be edified to know that a bunch of stuff has been going on behind the scenes, so here’s a brief wrap-up!

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If you happen to live in the central Florida area (and I know I do), then put on your charity panties and head on down to the Whole Planet Music & Art Festival at Bombshell’s Tavern! It’s a big ol’ concert event put on by a few good friends of mine, and all proceeds will benefit the Whole Planet Foundation. There will be bands and art and general debauchery (probably), plus there will be a raffle in which you may WIN music and art from local performers, or perhaps even a SIGNED copy of either my novel Bellwether or my short story collection The Associated Villainies! Please try to make the trip if you can!

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The book I coauthored with the God of Hellfire himself, The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist, should be out by next week! The proof copy is making its way toward me as we speak, and provided there are no terrible fuckups, the book should be for sale on Amazon and the regular channels very soon. By the way, if you or someone you know has a paranormal blog, podcast or suchlike on which you’d be willing to review the book and/or interview its charming authors, shoot me a message and I’ll get you a free copy and all the info you may need. I’m also planning on doing a giveaway for free copies on Amazon sometime in the next few weeks, so keep watching this space!

Remember, my short story “The Mother of Foresight” will be appearing in the new ebook horror anthology coming next month from Play With Death. More details as I have them.

And finally, please remember I still have that Patreon campaign going, so if you’d like to contribute a few bucks and get yourself some sweet writer-style swag, click the link and give until it hurts. Or at least until it mildly stings, y’know the kind of sting you get when you just scrape your knee and can make it feel better by spraying some Bactine on it. Let’s not get too insane here.

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Oh, and speaking of insanity, did you guys see “The Walking Dead” this past Sunday? Holy FUCKBALLS, y’all. Shit’s getting real. I think I may need therapy. Hold me.

Until next time, Goddess out!

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein & the Summer of 1816

A strange gathering of intellectual luminaries during one “haunted summer” produced one of literature’s most enduring creations.

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Frankenstein’s monster is one of the most ubiquitous characters in popular culture, appearing everywhere from movies and novels to children’s toys and cereal boxes. Though the image we have of the lumbering creature today—greenish skin, square head, beetling brow, ropy scars and neck bolts—has been largely formed by Boris Karloff’s stunning portrayal in the Universal horror films of the 1930s, in the beginning, the monster was literally dreamed into existence under rather eerie circumstances by an eighteen-year-old girl.

Summer in Switzerland

It was May 14, 1816. Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his “wife” Mary (the couple only married later that year, though Mary already used his last name) had been invited by friend and fellow poet Lord Byron to visit him at a rented chateau, Villa Deodati, on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Also joining the festivities were Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairemont—who was pregnant with Byron’s child and was trying to get back into his good graces—and Byron’s personal physician John Polidori.

The gathering apparently started out quite idyllic—the friends spent long hours writing, discussing weighty ideas, and boating in the lake. But a short time after the group arrived, the weather took a bizarre turn, and it seemed the streaks of lightning and the torrents of rain would never cease. Mary and the others were confined to the house for many days.

Ghost Stories

More reading and discussion ensued. Particular topics of conversation included the early evolution theories of Erasmus Darwin, as well as the new science of galvanism. Also contributing to the entertainment of the group was a book of German ghost stories called Fantasmagoria, which the friends took turns reading aloud.

The combination of the macabre tales and the isolating weather seemed to have strange effects on everyone present; Percy Shelley, at one point, succumbed to visions that sent him screaming from the room. Later, Shelley claimed that Byron’s reading of the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem “Cristabel” had brought to mind the image of a woman with eyes instead of nipples, which horrified him.

Setting to Work

Some time after this incident, the group decided that they would each try to write their own ghost story. Most set to work immediately and produced tales of varying quality. Byron wrote a story fragment titled “The Burial,” which was later published as a postscript to his narrative poem Mazeppa. Shelley wrote a tale called “The Assassins,” which apparently never saw the light of day (though his poem Mont Blanc, written around the same time, was published later that year). Dr. Polidori wrote “The Vampyre,” later expanded to novel length, which was the first vampire story published in English and which some speculate might have been an inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, written 78 years later.

The Monster Is Born

Mary Shelley, however, couldn’t think of an idea for a story, and had to respond with a frustrated “No” when asked by the others if she had begun work on it. But then, one night, she had a terrible nightmare. She woke violently amid the sounds of the storm howling outside. The dream had been so vivid that she had a difficult time believing it hadn’t been real. Since she was too shaken to sleep, she began writing down her dream, in which “a pale student of the unhallowed arts” used bits of corpses to create a man. “By the glimmer of the half-extinguished light,” she wrote, “I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.”

Mary’s terrifying dream was described verbatim in the story she presented to the others. Though the first draft was only about 100 pages long, Percy loved the story and encouraged Mary to flesh it out. She did, and two years after the strange events at Lake Geneva, the story was published as Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, thus introducing one of literature’s most frightening figures to the world at large.

The Goddess Picks Her Five Favorite Horror Novels by Women

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February, in case you hadn’t heard, has been designated Women In Horror month, and even though I gotta admit I’m kinda longing for a future where female horror writers will be so commonplace that it will be unnecessary to even remark upon them, I do feel like we vagina-havers still need our own month for now. That’s because, for whatever reason, women who write horror are still thought of as something of a novelty, or at very least a tad oddball. It’s a lot better than it used to be, sure, but even in this enlightened year of 2015, it’s not unusual for a horror anthology to come out containing no women authors at all, and there’s still a lingering perception that women don’t like horror as much as the guys do, or they don’t write it as well, or something, since apparently we’re all just precious delicate flowers who could never possibly enjoy the song of the chainsaw, the call of Cthulhu, the visceral thrill of seeing someone’s spine forcefully extricated through their mouth. I guess there’s a similar bullshit thing going on with female comedians and “girl geeks,” but I’m not really gonna go into all that because this is a horror blog, and I gotta stay focused on the topic without going off on a rant. Anyway, since I’m a woman who has always loved everything to do with the horror genre, I’ve decided to celebrate Women In Horror Month by honoring a few of my favorite “girl” writers in the genre with this humble blog post. So here we go.

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Shirley Jackson – The Haunting of Hill House

I know I talk about this book a lot (and I wrote a whole blog post about the fantastic film adaptation as well), but that’s because it is probably my favorite horror novel of all time, and easily one of the best horror novels of the 20th century. In Ms. Jackson’s capable hands, something as pedestrian as a haunted house story becomes a multilayered, intensely terrifying study of psychological breakdown. Her masterful characterization of Eleanor Vance is one of the best in literature of any genre, and I would defend that statement to the grave. If you love Haunting of Hill House, and I know I do, also check out her other novels The Sundial and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which explore similar themes.

Anne Rivers Siddons – The House Next Door

Another haunted house story (because you know how much I love those), but from the completely opposite side of the spectrum as Jackson’s novel. The haunting in The House Next Door takes place in a fancy, newly-built contemporary pad thrown onto an odd-shaped lot by a hot-shot architect in a chi-chi Atlanta suburb. The main players are agonizingly upper-crust, status-conscious, and at times completely snobbish and obnoxious, but their unlikeability makes their fates that much more devastating. The cursed-from-birth house next door doesn’t contain anything as gauche as a spirit, exactly, but more like a force that somehow knows and plays upon the residents’ deepest fears and insecurities, and dishes out scares accordingly. A fresh take on the subgenre, and a satisfying one.

Doris Lessing – The Fifth Child

A supremely literary horror story, and a short one clocking in at only 150 pages, but its tentacles grasp tightly. Somewhat reminiscent of Rosemary’s Baby, The Fifth Child sees “perfect” married couple David and Harriet pushing out one kid after another, much to the consternation of their extended families, who fear that the couple cannot care for the ones they already have. The first four kids are pretty much okay, but that fifth one, as the title suggests, is a doozy. A concise and terrifying examination of family dynamics and the social expectations surrounding the bearing of children.

Poppy Z. Brite – Exquisite Corpse

Perhaps this isn’t a fair choice for a “women in horror” post, since Poppy (born Melissa Ann Brite) has since undergone gender reassignment and now prefers to be known as Billy Martin, but at the time this novel was written she was still identified by a female pronoun as far as I know, so I’m going to include it. It’s a shockingly sick tale of two serial killers (based on real-life nutcases Dennis Nilsen and Jeffrey Dahmer) who join forces in order to find “the perfect victim.” They find their unicorn in the form of a pretty Vietnamese boy named Tran, and the story spirals into horrific madness from there. All of Brite’s trademarks are present, from the obsession with twisted killers to a fixation on the darkest and seediest underbellies of New Orleans. This is an intensely gory and profoundly fucked-up (but fantastic) novel.

Caitlín R. Kiernan – The Red Tree

Kiernan has written a lot of great books, including several pleasingly Lovecraftian ones. The Red Tree is the creepy tale of a woman named Sarah who moves to an old house in the woods after a terrible breakup and becomes obsessed with the ancient tree growing in the backyard, and the manuscript she finds that seems to hint that the tree conceals some terrible secret. If you like this one, I’d also recommend Silk and Low Red Moon by the same author.

Until next time, Goddess out.