Filtering by Tag: Halloween

StoneThread Publishing Blog Hop: "The Lost Detective"

Floating heads...
Whenever a writer puts her or his work out into the world, there is a secret hope that the story or book might be next on the hot list. You know, the short story that is optioned for film or the book that wins Oprah’s praise. Often overlooked is the simple truth that the next big thing is often not an overnight success story. Along the journey to such acclaim, writers wrote hard, marketed harder and formed alliances that helped to get that book or story “out there.” The Next Big Thing Blog Hop bands together writers from across the globe in an effort to help readers discover new authors and their published books or a work-in-progress.

Follow the blog hop long enough and you’re bound to find books to add to your ‘must read list’ and a selection of authors you’ll want to keep your eye on. You’ll also discover writing secrets such as: Which actors does an author secretly wish would portray characters from their book? Where did an author get her story idea? You might even discover a book that ends up being The Next Big Thing.

Fellow author and publisher Harvey Stanbrough (Stone Thread Publishing) invited me to join the blog hop. Below you’ll find answers to a few questions about stories I’ve written and what I’m working on, now. At the end of my Q & A, you’ll find a short list of the authors coming up next in the blog hop.

You can purchase a copy of Things You Can Create: A Speculative Anthology and read a fine gathering of strange and intriguing stories - including mine, haha.

What is the title of your story?

"The Lost Detective"

Describe your story in one sentence.

In a Halloween-themed resort town, the undertaker's twin sons, Preston and Donald, search for their father in the moorlands, assisted by an odd and strikingly-familiar detective.

Where did you get the idea for this story?

My grandparents' house sits on top of a hill; whenever I went over there to play in the backyard, I got a big old view of the cemetery right below. I couldn't reach the cemetery from the backyard - unless I wanted to get scratched up by an unstable fence - but I used to poke my nose through the chain-links and imagine what kinds of body parts must surely be hidden in the grass or how many vampires slept inside the lion-guarded mausoleum.

I've always been a fan of creepy things; Halloween is my favorite holiday. I thought it would be fun to write about a town that's dependent on tourists, a place where people come to get scared, stomp through tacky haunted houses, and say hello to the local handsome undertaker. Pierre Frohock, and his twin sons, Preston and Donald, followed quickly after that. I had to tell their story.

If your story was optioned for film, what actors would play the main characters and why?

Wow, I hadn't really thought about that.

*walks off to think about it*

I'm not sure who would play the twins, but the adults are easier to picture as actors / actresses. I think Maggie Gyllenhaal would made a great Hildegarde, the mysterious detective. When I think of tragic and romantic Pierre, Blake Ritson comes to mind. And Christopher Lee would make a charming, if not eerie, Mr. Biddix.

Who are your favorite writers? Why?

Mervyn Peake and Francesca Lia Block. Peake creates these fantastic, expansive worlds filled with oddball characters that grow on you - his words are like paintbrush on the page, and I love the subtle humor he works into his stories. I grew up reading Block; what I love most about her writing is that she's able to bring magic into her stories through her use of language and imagery.

What else about this story will enthrall readers?

The mystery behind Hildegarde, hopefully. There's something interesting about a detective who may be in more need of help than her clients.

What are you working on now?

Since I'm in my last year of graduate school, I'm putting the finishing touches on my thesis - a novel - as well as sending another finished manuscript out into the world to be considered. And there's always another strange short story to write, just waiting in the wings.

Authors on the Blog Hop, Up Ahead

Check out some of the blogs and Blog Hop posts from other writers featured in the new anthology:

January 15th - Teresa Milbrodt

January 20th - Dawn KnoxBE SeidlMike Chin

This is Halloween

At this very moment, children are running around in the dark with their trash bags and pumpkin-shaped  totes. Drool runs down their chins as they bite into tiny pieces of chocolate - double-checked first by cautious parents.

It's crazy out there. It's Halloween.

Excuse me while I plug my ears. I'm not on candy duty, but the doorbell keeps ringing and my dog, Misty, is barking up a storm.

When I went to school today, I wore a simple costume - a T-shirt that's designed to look like I'm wearing Sailor Moon's top - the sailor collar, ribbon, and imperial silver crystal brooch. Ironically, it wasn't as popular as the Pikachu shirt I've worn the past two years (but then again, I barely left my office today. That might have to do with it).

This month has both dragged and skittered and I'm actually surprised that it's still October as I write my blog post.

Things I've Done

Somehow, I've managed to find time to make lovely-eyes at a few early Christmas presents. In an earlier blog post, I mentioned how I've been putting off ordering a burgundy Modcloth coat. Well... I'm still successful at that, but I ended up falling in love with another coat - the one to the right, called A Thrill in the Air by Knitted Dove.

After crawling my way through a difficult end to the month, I decided to indulge a little and went with this one. Why? Unlike the other coat, this one has reasonably long sleeves, a Penelope-like design, a detachable collar (so it'll look like a dress), and the neckline is high enough that I won't have to depend on a turtleneck or scarf to stay warm.

Yes. I've thought about this, haha.

When you're up early like I am, it's actually nicely chilly. When winter break comes, and I head into colder Florida places, it'll be nice to have something warm and fun to wear.

I squeezed three books into the mix too! I've finished The Diviners (and I hoping it becomes a movie because I really want to see it visually) and The Fault in Our Stars (it's about time, right? I'm presenting on this book tomorrow). I just started The Elementals by, like, my favorite author Francesca Lia Block (she's tied with Mervyn Peake). Block' newest book sings differently than her other work, but I'm enjoying it so far. It's just really wonderful to be reading something new (how many times have I re-read her books? Gads).


Who's participating this year?!

I'm going to do my best, though this is probably going to be my busiest November yet. Ah, graduating year - endless surprises.

My main goal for this month is to make at least a 25k dent in Birdcage Girl's sequel, A Horse to the Moon. My thesis work has set me back in terms of working on it so far, so I'm happy to finally crack my knuckles over this one. Because I'm still searching for agents, you guys won't see anything new from AHM - but never fear! For the month of November only, I'll be posting another manuscript of mine called Tread Softly. I haven't written the last couple chapters... and if I'm honest, I'll need to revise what I do have along the way. It's about time!

What are you writing this month?

Publication News: Rose Red Review

Hallo! How's October treating you so far?

Although I'm still sweating in my shorts and tank tops, the world is starting to change. Ghosts hang like used tissues on tree branches. The grim reaper watches me as I dump half-price cheese balls into my shopping cart. I wish for bats, remembering how I saw them fly each morning while I wandered the outside hallways of my high school. Gads, I love Halloween spirit.

This month is also proving to be one full of, well, my stories.

This may be a late announcement, but the lovely Rose Red Review has published my short story called, "Scissors & Thorns." Hurrah!

You may want to read this story if you:

  • think scissors are magical
  • never underestimate the danger of thorns 
  • are partial towards clumsy boys with fishing traps

"Sleeping Beauty's Dream" by Catrin Welz-Stein
If you've been reading along, you already know that I have a thing for Sleeping Beauty. It's one of my favorite fairy tales. There are so many angles to explore, ideas to follow... and I feel like, one day, I'll end up with a giant pile of short stories and novellas that all center around it. After all, just look at "Tick-Tock Beauty," the short story I had written for Mossyhearth. I can't get enough.

In this case, the idea of what caused and sustained the thorny barrier in the original fairy tale was what started "Scissors & Thorns." Even if the good fairy had cast the spell to cover the castle in thorns, how could the thorns stay alive for a hundred years? Maybe by feeding on the all the boys that weren't the princess's true love... or maybe, well, the thorns weren't purely thorns at all. Hmm. Hmm. Go read the story.

In other news: two more stories will soon be published this month.

The first is a flash fiction piece that will appear in the first issue of the White Ash Literary Magazine.

The second is the first segment of an audio serial featured on the Tripod Cat.

Believe me, I'm excited to share these stories with you.