If it Weren’t for You: A Thank You to Women Authors

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwif

Jenna Willett

“The best readers are the best writers.”

A friend spoke these words to me years ago, back when I was still a “closeted writer” who feared her lack of an English/writing degree would prevent her from being accepted into the official “writers club”. At the time, I didn’t really understand this quote. I mean, I definitely liked it: “The best readers are the best writers.” Well, that’s great, I thought, because I read a lot. Like, a lot, a lot, a lot…

As the years have gone by, and my stack of read books has grown taller and taller, I’ve finally come to understand what my friend meant.

Reading = Knowledge

Reading = Inspiration

Reading = Better Writing

Without a doubt, reading has made me a better writer. It has strengthened my storytelling skills, expanded my creative horizons and given me a plethora of inspiration (oh yeah, I totally just used the word plethora). Now, I can’t tell you exactly how many books I’ve read (500? 1,000? 10,000?), but I can tell you which authors have impacted me the most. Today, in honor of celebrating women in fiction (#ReadWomen2014), I’d like to pay tribute to the female authors who’ve given me the most inspiration. If it wasn’t for their various influences, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today.
 Patricia BeattyThe Dream Starter

What a young person reads becomes part of his or her mental luggage forever! This is the learning time, short but vital to the future adult. That mental luggage deserves to be filled with the best stuff only, not pap. It may have a long, long way to go.” – Patricia Beatty

The day I picked up “Charlie Skedaddle” by Patricia Beatty was the day I became a book fanatic. It was also the day I realized I wanted to be an author when I grew up. After reading and absorbing Beatty’s novels (multiple times), I nervously began writing my own. Admittedly, most of this “writing” took place in my daydreamin’ head, safe and sound where nobody but me could experience them. However, a few made it into a notebook I kept hidden under my pillow, and one even made it onto a computer when I was in 6th grade (a 32-page story about a girl who traveled back in time to the Civil War era…Yeah, it was awesome.). Despite my terror to admit to the world I wanted to be a writer (that confession wouldn’t come for years, after I graduated from college), I was able to admit my creative passion to myself. I may have only been a child, but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing stories.

So, thank you, Patricia Beatty. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with reading, and I wouldn’t be pursuing my dream of being a published author.

Marie LuThe Style Guru

9275658Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.” ― Marie Lu, “Legend”

One of the up’s (and down’s) of reading a lot while you write is you accidentally mimic the author you’re currently reading. This happened to me while I was devouring Marie Lu’s “Legend”. Suddenly, my writing became clearer and more precise, my characters more likable and endearing, my plot faster and tighter. Ever since that happy accident, I’ve aspired to write more like Lu. To use my words and build my sentences to draw  readers in and keep them there. To weave simple yet complex story lines around my audience–round and round–until they’re trapped and can’t break free, even after they’ve finished the book.

So, thank you, Marie Lu. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t understand how to ensnare an audience with good lookin’ storytelling.

Maureen Johnson & Cassandra ClareCleverness & Wit

17334064And if we get caught, I will claim I made you go. At gunpoint. I am American. People will assume I’m armed.” -Maureen Johnson, “The Name of the Star

People tell me I’m a funny person. And I’ve been told I can be a funny writer, too. However, I don’t like to write comedy. I just don’t. My comfort zone tends to be in the suspense/horror/thriller genres. Yet, despite my preference to create tenser, scarier plots, Maureen Johnson and Cassandra Clare have proven even dark tales need to be lightened up sometimes. Their serious, yet witty novels have taught me that adding dashes of clever humor can add surprising depth to a story. It can also endear readers to your characters and make them more memorable.

So, thank you, Maureen Johnson and Cassandra Clare. If it wasn’t for you (and you), I wouldn’t understand how sprinkles of comedy can make any story better.

Let me give you a piece of advice. The handsome young fellow who’s trying to rescue you from a hideous fate is never wrong. Not even if he says the sky is purple and made of hedgehogs.” -Cassandra Clare, “The Infernal Devices

Laini TaylorWeirdness is Goodness

8490112“I write books for youngish people, but they can also be read and enjoyed by oldish people, aka grown-ups. You know grown-ups? They tend to be a little bigger and hairier than kids. But not always.” -Laini Taylor

Okay, I admit it. I can be weird (hellllo, I’m a writer; we all have a weird screw inside of us, right?). Well, it wasn’t until I read Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” that I was able to confidently infuse that weirdness into my writing. Taylor taught me that being quirky–saying things, thinking things and creating things that make the reader go, “Huh?”–can be a wonderful and powerful tool. For example, rather than having a protagonist with brown hair and blue eyes, why not have a protagonist with blue hair and brown eyes?

“Think outside the box!” Taylor’s writing shouts. “Like way, way outside the box. Do it, do it, do it!” So, I try. Every time I sit down at my desk, I think, “Be odd. Be different. It’s okay. Laini Taylor said so.”

So, thank you, Laini Taylor. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have embraced my eccentric tendencies and breathed them into my stories.

Marissa Meyer: The Delightful Contortionist 

11235712Even in the future the story begins with once upon a time.” -Marissa Meyer, “Cinder”

I’ve always prided myself on being a writer that likes to brainstorm concepts that are as original as possible. I’m always sniffing around the misty alleys of my mind, trying to find an idea that just might be “the next big thing” in the YA market. I’ve never been a fan of taking already written stories (like a fairy tale) and putting a unique spin on them.

Then I began reading Marissa Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicles” and my entire outlook changed. Her crazy sci-fi contortion of “Cinderella” totally sold me on the unoriginal-original concept. Why not put a new twist on an old story? Why not embrace a solid foundation and build your own–original–world on top of it? Being a writer means being creative, and if you can create a spectacular story using a tried and true formula, you should. Why not?

So, thank you, Marissa Meyer. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be willing to open my eyes and see there are stories all around me that can be bent, shaped and warped into something fresh and dazzling.

Rainbow Rowell: Character Jedi Master 

16068905Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” -Rainbow Rowell, “Eleanor & Park”

One of my biggest weaknesses as a writer has always seemed to be my characters. And I think I’ve finally figured out why: Until 2013, I’d never read a Rainbow Rowell book.

FYI, writers: if you want a “how to” lesson on character building, this is your teacher. Rowell’s novels have inspired me to dig deeper and reach higher when it comes to my characters. She’s shown me they shouldn’t be 2-D individuals who entertain an audience. They should be 3-D humans who punch through a black and white page, straight into a reader’s heart. Characters should be likable, relatable, convincible. Characters should leave a permanent dent on a reader’s soul.

So, thank you, Rainbow Rowell. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t even know how to begin writing better, deeper, truer characters.

Kathrynn Stockett: The Cheerleader

4667024If you ask my husband my best trait, he’ll smile and say, ‘She never gives up.’ But if you ask him my worst trait, he’ll get a funny tic in his cheek, narrow his eyes and hiss, ‘She. Never. Gives. Up.’” -Kathryn Stockett

When people ask me what I do for a living, I joke and say, “I’m in the Industry of Rejection.” Sadly, it’s a true statement for most writers. I began sending my first query letters in 2009, after I finished my first real manuscript (and, no, it wasn’t about a girl who traveled back in time to the Civil War era). I was so certain I’d written a story worthy of nabbing an agent. So certain!…And then I got my first rejection letter. Ooouucchh! That was followed by a second, a fourth, a tenth, a twentieth. I slowly began to realize I’d chosen a career that wasn’t only tough to break into, but could very well break my spirit.

“I loved your story, but…”. “Unfortunately…”. “Your story still needs work…”. “We regret to inform you..”. “Thank you for your submission. However…”. “Best of luck with this project and all your endeavors.”

Yeah, let’s face it, rejection hurts. Every. Time. And, I’ll be honest, after a particularly harsh round of “Thanks, but no thanks,” responses, I think, “Maybe I should just give up?” Then I recall Kathryn Stockett’s journey and I clench my jaw, lift my chin and keep trying.

Did you know Stockett’s bestseller, “The Help”, was rejected 60 times before an agent finally gave her a chance? 60. Times! And, yet, after each stinging rejection, she didn’t give up. She went back, revised and then sent out more query letters. That’s how much she believed in her story. Despite the “Unfortunately”‘s and the “Best of luck”‘s, she refused to quit. Stockett’s “never say die attitude” has taught me that rejection isn’t the name of the game. Determination is. If you believe in your story, you should never give up on finding it a home. Keep writing, keep fighting! (Read more about Stockett’s relentless journey here).

So, thank you Kathryn Stockett. If it wasn’t for you, I may have given up on my dream a long time ago. And if it wasn’t for you, I may not have the stamina to keep going now!

Thank you to all the women authors who’ve inspired me. This small list doesn’t even come close to naming each and every one of you out there. But, trust me, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


“I write because I must. It’s not a choice or a pastime, it’s an unyielding calling and my passion.” -Elizabeth Reyes

31604_10100751948750663_1689533504_nJenna Willett is a native of Denver, Colorado. Currently, she’s working as a Lead Copywriter for a Denver ad agency, while pursuing her ultimate dream as a traditionally published author. In 2011, she optioned one of her young adult manuscripts to Envision Media Arts, a film, television and commercial production company based at Paramount Studios. She also enjoys writing the occasional short story or flash fiction piece (Why?) (Muck & Mire).

Besides writing, Jenna is proud to call herself a book lover advocate. It’s rare to find her without a novel in her bag. Like music, her taste in books is rather eclectic, though she tends to lean towards the ever expanding YA genre. Some of her favorites include Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan series. In the adult fiction arena, she loves John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things, Sarah Gruen’s Water for Elephants and Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants. Check out her entire bookshelf onGoodreads. Friend requests are always accepted!

Don’t worry, Jenna doesn’t spend all of her time with her head in the clouds or her nose in a book. She also enjoys fitness (currently addicted to spin), spending lots of time with her two beautiful nephews, and wishing she could afford to eat more sushi…And, yes, she loves living in Colorado, but no, she doesn’t ski or snowboard, so don’t ask her which slopes to check out (though Vail is awesome for shopping and sipping cocoa while “people watching”). When writing, she must leave the house or empty it of chocolate, otherwise she will devour it all, and, inevitably, blow up like Harry’s Aunt Marge!

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Books, Babes, and the Business: Chantal Noordeloos

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifChantal Noordeloos

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…) 

Stories have always appealed to me, and I’ve been a Storyteller for as far as I can remember. Even before I could hold a pen, I would create make belief worlds, and entertain (or annoy, depending on who you ask) my friends and family with them. When I was 15 I realized I wanted to be a writer ‘when I grew up’, but it took me twenty one years to take the step to actually pursue my dream.

Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

I’m what I call a ‘genre floozy’, which means I have troubles staying ‘faithful’ to one genre. My ‘go to genre’ is horror, and in a way it’s my biggest love. I guess I like to give people a bit of a scare. But I write all sorts of speculative fiction, and my latest ‘rump in the hay’ has been with Steampunk.

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

I don’t think I will, I’m proud to be a woman. (Not that I think there is anything wrong with men –au contraire- I love them, but I don’t feel the need to ‘be’ one.) I know it can really help in certain genres, but I am not a big fan of pennames.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

I’m a very big fan of Neil Gaiman. Sometimes you find that writer that seems to be able to look into your very soul, and write the stories that you need to hear. Gaiman is that writer for me. I’ve recently read Ocean at the end of the Lane, and reread Good Omens, which he wrote with one of my other heroes ‘Terry Pratchett’. If we’re talking more specifically female, I’d say J.K. Rowling has a special place in my heart. I think she’s a great role model for women writers.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

Pffft, this is a tough one. I come from a line of very hard working females, so I guess I get my perseverance from them. To be honest I’ve shaped my work ethics and methods from trial and error. If I would name anyone who has shaped my work, and my vision on writing, I would have to give some credit to Apple Ardent Scott. She inspires me and always knows how to ask the right questions. Apple brings out the best in me.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

I’d first tell myself off for several other things –one being the clothes I used to wear- and then I’d sit myself down, and do the ‘grave motherly face’ thing. I would clear my throat and tell that naïve, wide-eyed version of me: “Trust your own instinct a little more, and don’t just go along with what someone else says, just because they sound like they know what they’re talking about.” And then I’d box me around the ears for that time I got very drunk and passed out in my friend’s bathroom.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

*eye twinkles* Yes, I have many, recently I’ve felt like a bit of a mad scientist concocting all these different plots and plans. I love it, keeps me busy and I like being busy. The first thing that should come out should be the first story in the ‘Even Hell Has Standards’ series. It’s called ‘Pride’. I’m going to tell seven stories –each named after a sin- that all revolve around my version of ‘Hell’. They will deal with the darkness of humanity. It’s an ambitious project, and a little scary.

I’m also working on a YA Dark Fantasy novel, and the second novel in my Coyote series. A lot of projects surround the latter, like a comic book that I’m working on with Paul Chapman, and even a ‘hidden objects game’.

Where can we find you? 



Well, I live on Facebook, so you can always find me here: https://www.facebook.com/ChantalNoordeloosStoryteller

I try to Tweet (though I feel like a voice screaming in a room filled with voices): @C_Noordeloos

Am an Amazonian too (no not the female tribe…): http://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Noordeloos/e/B009XUB50W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

And of course Goodreads should be in this mix: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6564843.Chantal_Noordeloos

IMG_6178Chantal Noordeloos lives in the Netherlands, where she spends her time with her wacky, supportive husband, and outrageously cunning daughter, who is growing up to be a supervillain. When she is not busy exploring interesting new realities, or arguing with characters (aka writing), she likes to dabble in drawing. In 1999 she graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design, where she focused mostly on creative writing. There are many genres that Chantal likes to explore in her writing. Currently Sci-fi Steampunk is one of her favourites, but her ‘go to’ genre will always be horror. “It helps being scared of everything; that gives me plenty of inspiration,” she says. Chantal likes to write for all ages, and storytelling is the element of writing that she enjoys most. “Writing should be an escape from everyday life, and I like to provide people with new places to escape to, and new people to meet.”

Books, Babes, and the Business: Lori Hays

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifLori Hays

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…) Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

My name is Lori Hays and I like to talk. A lot. That must be why I’m the host a radio talk show! Every Saturday, I have the amazing opportunity to host authors of all genres on my show, Behind the Words. It is truly a dream gig, because authors are my celebrities. The conversations that I have are enriching, fun and simply….well, to use and entirely over used word…. EPIC! If I could only get paid to do this, I’d be talking on air every day!

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

Since I am venturing into the world of writing, and because I probably shouldn’t use my real name for my genre of choice, I will use a pen name. But not a male, no way. Not because I have anything against, strong, dominant male names. I’d just prefer to use them in my stories. Anything I write, regardless of the genre, will be written under a female name. This is simply because I feel that a woman is just as capable of selling quality literature as a man. Good marketing, an amazing story, and an established brand will enable this to be possible. Don’t need a ding dong to sell books!

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

Funny that this question follows the male pseudonym…because my most recent favorite book is written by a man with a female pseudonym… Ellie Stanton by Aurora Zahini. Truly amazing YA story, written from a troubled young woman’s perspective. I was hooked from the first page to the last!


Another favorite book that I just read is Claiming Carter by W.S. Greer. This is listed as an Erotica Thriller, and it does have some spicy scenes, but it is not hard core. And I love a sexy book written by a man.


Finally, the third book that is on the top of my list right now is Faded Diamonds by Camille Burke & Stacey Pacouloute with Mellissa Thomas. This story highlights the struggles that both young woman and their social workers experience together throughout their time in a group home. Eye opening tear jerker!


But really, pretty much everything I read becomes my favorite. And I read the books of all of the guests on my show. So, this blog entry isn’t nearly long enough to highlight all of them!

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

This is probably the hardest question of all. I don’t really have just one. I have maybe one a day! Most recently, I met the future me during an interview on my show. At least I hope to be half of the woman she is, when I’m her age. Janice Hanna Thompson, published author of over 100 spectacular books, baker, wife, and mother of three, grandmother of eight, teacher, inspiration……I could go on forever. She is really amazing, and I can’t think of her and all she has accomplished without smiling, and admiring her!

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Don’t be afraid. Just do it! I was asked to be a host on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network not even a year ago. I had no clue why the producer Pam Stack and any interest in me. I was just a lone reader who was addicted to fan clubs, talented authors and amazing books. I did not think I could pull it off, and if I did, I didn’t think I’d last very long. Boy was I wrong. It wasn’t easy at first, but it has simply been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. This can translate to writing too. This industry is not easy to break into. There are lots of options out there for readers like me. So my advice would be, figure out who you are and tell the world! And do all of this BEFORE you publish your first book. Then, write, write and write some more. Don’t give up, believe in yourself and tell your stories! There is a reader waiting for exactly what you have to say!

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

There are tons of awesome things coming up on Behind the Words. In February we finish our double feature month of love. August will be ZOMBIE month (you won’t want to miss this!) and October will be Fright month featuring horror authors! Sometime in the mix I will also feature Children’s book authors, so definitely stay tuned. You never know what crazy concept I’ll come up with next!

Where can we find you?


February Promo Video



lori hays1An avid reader, mother of two (three if you count the husband) and a driven professional in her work, Lori Hays is constantly on top of current affairs – and always on the lookout for what comes next.

A lover of all things books you can find her nose deep in a romance novel one night, and deep inside a business book the next – she does not discriminate against genres. Excelling in the world of industrial sales, Lori enjoys communicating with friends all over the world online and chatting with her favorite authors as a host on the Authors on the Air Global Radio network.

When not reading, talking, working or playing with her children you can find Lori…. Well, Lori is always reading, talking, working or playing with her children! Not much down time. Always busy, always smiling and very likely entertaining a lively conversation with someone, she is always ready and willing to talk about books.

Books, Babes, and the Business: Paula D. Ashe

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifPaula D. Ashe

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…)

Hello! I’m Paula. I’m a writer of dark fiction. I primarily write short stories, novellas, novels, and graphic novels.

Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

Everything I write is dark in some vein. I used to be a real hard-ass about being known as a horror writer but I also write sci-fi, fantasy, and erotica, all with a dark bent.

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

I can’t say I NEVER would, but I haven’t so far. Male or female, I don’t really get the appeal of pseudonyms. Writing is hard as hell; I want people to recognize MY name on it! I have heard some women writers state that publishing under a male name has sometimes resulted in more sales and positive reviews. I would potentially publish something under a male pseudonym just to test the phenomenon.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

I was REALLY impressed by Lily Childs’ “Cabaret of Dread Vol. 1” and Chantal Noordeloos’ “Deeply Twisted”. I also enjoyed Trent Zelazny’s “People Person” and the dark poetry of Roger Cowin and Vincenzo Bilof.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

Lame, I know, but that title has to go to my mom. She’s always been supportive even if she doesn’t fully understand (or like) everything I write.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Finish everything you write. Embrace the philosophy of the shitty first draft. Not every piece you write deserves to be published, however, not every publication is deserving of your work.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

I’m on a writing hiatus until mid-May when the academic year ends. However, I’m looking forward to putting together an anthology over the summer that will include a sequel to “Mater Nihil” from FOUR GHOSTS.

Where can we find you?

four ghosts cover


Website: www.pauladashe.net

Twitter: @pauladashe

Facebook: facebook.com/pauladashe

Paula D. Ashe is a native Ohioan who came to Indiana in search of a flatter landscape. She is an English professor at Ivy Tech Community College and a PhD student in the American Studies program at Purdue University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, her award winning dark fiction has been published in Nexus Literary Magazine, the Indiana Science Fiction Anthology 2011, Indiana Crime 2012, and Indiana Horror 2012. She also has stories appearing in Serial Killers: Iterum and Hell. Her first supernatural novella “Mater Nihil”, was included in JWKFiction’s Four Ghosts anthology with William Cook, Murphy Edwards, and Christine Sutton. Paula lives with her wife and far too many pets in Northeast Indiana.

Books, Babes, and the Business: Julianne Snow

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifJulianne Snow

Women in Horror

Is the average horror reader discriminatory?

Can female authors gain the same level of respect for their work as male authors?

They are both interesting questions; ones that I have wondered about since releasing my first horror/science fiction novel.

Looking through history, the horror genre is one that has been dominated by men. I have to wonder if that is a product of how society has viewed women as the weaker, fairer sex. Women have been seen as needing protection and guidance from the men in their lives and in some cases weren’t allowed to vote or speak their minds publicly until the 19th and even the 20th centuries. Yet, despite all of these forms of societal censorship, women have managed to gain popularity in the circles of horror writers and horror readers.

Horror has had a long history in literature, mainly in part because readers enjoy being scared. Society has had a long interest in all things supernatural and it’s absolutely no wonder to me that supernatural horror was the prevalent form until the advent of Gothic horror. A lot of the gothic horror coming out of the 18th century was from women writers and it was written to appeal to a largely female fan base. Women like Ann Radcliffe, Marjorie Bowen, Elizabeth Gaskill, Regina Maria Roche and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley have entertained readers with some of the most well-known and well recognized works of literature in the horror genre.

The trend for strong women in horror literature has only continued since then. Authors such as J.M. Dillard, Susie Maloney, Anne Rice, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Gemma Files, and Sarah Pinborough along with many others have only helped to propel the female voice further in horror literature as a whole. With the advent of the self-publishing revolution, many female horror authors have stepped up to the plate and delivered astonishing reads as well.

But are horror readers reading women horror authors? I think the answer to that question is yes but there is a bigger question – are they reading female horror authors as frequently as they are reading male authors who write in the same genre? That is an infinitely harder question to answer. If I look at the books shelves of my male friends, they are filled with male authors almost to the point of excluding the women. Conversely, the bookshelves of my female friends show a definite appreciation for both genders. That is not to say that men only read male authors, it’s just that some of them have yet to discover the strong and terrifying voices of the women writing in the genre.

As a woman who has just released a novel in the horror genre, I have found that the reaction to my book has been very favorable. While I realize that it may appeal to a sub sect of horror fans, I feel like I have been warmly welcomed into the fold. I had the unique opportunity to wet my feet prior to releasing a full length book so I believe that has helped me to cull a small fan base. In that regard, I am lucky and very grateful.

Given that women appear to have strapped themselves firmly into the passenger seat of the horror genre, it only serves to note that their notoriety will expand within the next ten years. With horror set to make a huge revival in the future, women authors are primed to make a distinct mark on the genre. So pick up one of the many wonderful tomes written by a woman and prepare yourself for a stellar scare.


CLICK TO BUY on Amazon

CLICK TO BUY on Amazon

Julianne Snow is the author of the Days with the Undead series and the founder of Zombieholics Anonymous. She writes within the realms of speculative fiction, has roots that go deep into horror and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. Julianne has pieces of short fiction in publications from Sirens Call Publications, Open Casket Press, 7DS Books, James Ward Kirk Publishing, Coffin Hop Press and Hazardous Press, and upcoming collections from May December Publications, 7DS Books, and Firbolg Publishing.

The Carnival 13, a collaborative round-robin novella for charity which she contributed to and helped to spearhead was released in October 2013. Her collection of zombie short fiction, Glimpses of the Undead is available online at all major retailers.

Julianne SnowSocial Media Links:

Twitter: @CdnZmbiRytr

Facebook: Julianne Snow

FB Fan Page: Julianne Snow, Author

Amazon Author Page: Julianne Snow

Blogs: Days with the Undead, The FlipSide of Julianne & Zombieholics Anonymous

Related: Sunday Spotlight at The FlipSide of Julianne: Wrapped in Red

Books, Babes, and the Business: Malina Roos

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifMalina Roos

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…) Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

I describe myself as a storyteller. I tell stories. I make stuff up that is almost plausible, throw in some weird character flaw for my protagonist and antagonist, send them on a journey into a ‘what if’ situation and see what happens. Inevitably, I have an idea, and it will come from something as simple as walking into a room and seeing something out of the ordinary and my mind wanders automatically in to….what if someone became so obsessed with her boyfriend that she thought he was cheating on her, and she killed a complete stranger in the process. The caveat in this piece is the MC was in grade nine.

I write horror. That’s what I classify it. It’s psychological horror, crime horror, the type of stuff that makes a reader go ‘huh’ at the end. It’s about people, damaged, broken, hurt people, who do messed up things, either because they have to, or because they want to. I have always been obsessed with why people do the things they do and I try to get into their heads and figure that out. I write from the broken perspective. Not to garner sympathy, just to play around in their sandbox for a while, mess with their toys, and then I go home to my warm bed and cuddle my dogs.

I do edit for others and my main goal is to write and edit fulltime after my I am finished with career number 8. I change jobs and careers like people change underwear. Well, hopefully people change their underwear more often than eight times in a lifetime……I have fixed airplanes in the military, hung upside down like a bat inside the cockpit of a Tutor; studied psychiatric nursing; managed a hair salon; was a live-in help aide to disabled people, and now I am in law enforcement. I have always wanted to be a writer, though. Wrote my first story when I was six about Dracula and a Duck. Yeah I don’t get it either. But the teacher thought it was great and had me read it to the class, then to the school during an assembly. By the time I was in Grade 6, I was in a Grade 12 English class.

I also review books for other authors and promote them whenever I can. As an industry, we are here to help each other. Being a writer is a tough job, and there are so many great ones out there, that are falling by the wayside. I started writing book reviews to help people get noticed. I read a lot, on the average, probably 200 to 300 hundred books a year. Insomnia is a gift. So when I read something that I think deserves credit, I review it and recommend it for the Bram Stoker awards.

I started the Solstice List two years ago, and a few Stoker recommendations appear on both lists. I love great writing, and want to do my part to promote it. The Solstice List is simple. If I read a book that is edited, blows me away or I can get lost in the dream of it, regardless of the year it is published, it makes it on the list. So out 200 books, 20 make the cut. I started this because I wanted to promote writers but also because I was reading all these great books I could not recommend for a Stoker because they were published in the wrong year. I thought, wow. You people are missing out, readers and writers alike. Penelope Crowe was my inspiration for this when I read 100 Unfortunate Days. What an amazing, terrifying and utterly page-turning book. I read that in one sitting then had nightmares and weird experiences for months. And I could not recommend it for a Stoker because she published it the previous year.

Not all horror writers are members of the Horror Writers Association. If you don’t know about it, how do you get your work noticed?

Right now, I work full time and I take courses in editing to get my certification as a professional editor. I sleep. A lot. I am recovering from the great Brain Splatter Incident of 2009 as I call it, when my brain decided, you know, you think way too damn much, and blew up. Had two ruptured brain aneurysms, who I have named Esmeralda and Esperanza, my conjoined twins. I was terrified I would not be able to write afterwards, but I did. And I take life way less seriously now.

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

I write under M.L. Roos because of the stigma there is against females in writing horror. Everyone expects men to be the horror writers, not the women, and, if you are a female horror writer, then it must be paranormal romance….and I am so far from that. I want people to read my work. I think I have a better shot at it if they don’t know I’m female. Is this reality? I think so. Some would agree, others would say, that’s BS and that’s a cop out. I don’t know. I am not here change the world, just to grab a tiny, crazy little piece of it. So if writing under my initials makes that happen, so be it.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

One of my favourites was The Missing Years of Thomas Pritchard from Matt Shaw. Beautiful, intense, lovely piece of work that made me cry, damn him. Just outstanding. Made my novel of the year for my Solstice List: The Best Books and Stories of the Year, that I publish every December 21st.

Deeply Twisted by Chantal Noordeloos was a great compilation of a deeply twisted mind. That girl can write.

And then of course anything by Michealbrent Collings, Craig Saunders, Billie Sue Mosiman or Penelope Crow. For shock value, I read Matt Shaw and that’s why he surprised the heck out of me with The Missing Years.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

Hands down, without a doubt, Billie Sue Mosiman. When I read Interview with a Psycho, I was hooked. She writes so clean, so to the point, without pretention and claptrap, and superfluous fluff. I loved her from the moment I read her and thought, dammit, that’s who I want to be when I grow up.

The one book that stands out is Widow. I wrote her and wanted her to change the ending. I loved the MC. She was doing horrible things, but she was so broken. I could totally understand why she was doing what she was doing and I was cheering her on. Loved her.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Be yourself. Do not give up. Keep writing. Keep eating cake for breakfast. Push the send button. One, you asked for one.…..ADD is a gift, dammit.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

I have several……as I am sure we all do. Do all writers have ADD? I think we have to be, or have some mental illness that sets us apart from the rest of the regulars.

Sever, Slice and Serve will be a collection of short stories, if it ever gets finished.

Talia is part one of a three part series about the origins of Vampirism, Sleeping Beauty and where fairy tales really come from.

Circle of Survivors is a compilation of research in to brain aneurysms and the treatment, care of, and survival guide for survivors and the people in their life.

The Wolfing is about a community of werewolves who share more with the human race than we care to think about.

Where can we find you? 

Author Site

Book Review Site on FB

Editorial Services                                                                                                                               



Death to the Brothers Grimm

 Zippered Flesh 2

 malina roosMalina Roos tells stories, runs with scissors, and makes things up all the time. The best part is, a lot of people believe the things she says. He loves her husband and family, including her fur babies and that’s what keeps her grounded. Especially her husband. Without his support, none of this would be possible.

Creating fiction in a non-fiction world keeps her sane and makes her less stabby. And yes, people in her life, do appear in her work……..

Books, Babes, and the Business: Stacey Turner

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifStacey Turner

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…) Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

I guess I would describe myself as an editor first, publisher second, with writer bringing up the distant rear. The first two jobs don’t leave me much time to develop the last. Although, I have managed to get a few stories published. I focus on the horror genre in particular with my own writing, but I publish and edit a slightly wider array.

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

I don’t think I would. Don’t get me wrong, there is a bit of a gender bias in the horror world, but that just makes me work harder. And if I do become popular with readers, I want to do so with my real name.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

This one is hard, when I have time to read it’s mostly submissions I’m reading. I’m a big fan of Allison Dickson; I think I’ve read everything she’s written except her latest book. And I’m currently reading Belinda Frisch’s new novel, Fatal Reaction, for a review. She’s written one of the few zombie series I’ve enjoyed. I’m also a big fan of Michaelbrent Collings, Kealan Patrick Burke, Stephen King, and Bentley Little. But I haven’t had time to read any of their most recent works.

And I’m always a fan of the books I publish. We’ve got some great authors already, and a fantastic line up of books coming out this year. If I’m not in love with it, I don’t publish it.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

My Grandmother has always been a huge inspiration to me. We were very close and she always had faith in me, no matter what. She was a very determined lady and was opinionated, long before women were supposed to have opinions. She passed away a few years ago and I still miss her nearly every day. Whenever things are really rough, and I’m struggling under my work load, or something personal, I look at her picture and think of everything she went through. She never gave up on anything and neither will I.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Start earlier! Lol. Write more, submit more, learn more about your craft. Don’t be so easily intimidated. Don’t take rejections so personally. Toughen up. But above all, write.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

The press has several fantastic books coming out this year that I’m super excited about. I love anthologies and we have six coming out this year. We also have several novellas, a novel, a young adult, a gothic novella, and more. Plus we have some ideas we’re working on to make the press even better. Personally, I’m hoping to put the finishing touches on a novella I’ve written and submit it to a few places.

Where can we find you?

st blog1My personal FaceBook page

The Press FaceBook

My blog: http://www.staceyturner-authorspot.blogspot.com/

The Press website: Angelic Knight Press

st blog2Stacey Turner lives in West Central Illinois.  Four wonderful, adult children call her “Mom,” and two beautiful little boys call her “Mimi” (Grandma). She is owned by cats. Most of her time is taken up with running Angelic Knight Press and editing, but she still finds time to review books & interview authors, write a blog about her absolutely ridiculous family, and write fiction. You can find her Author blog at www.staceyturner-authorspot.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter: @Spot_Speaks or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorStaceyTurner. To contact her about editing, you can email her at princess.spot@gmail.com.

She enjoys editing because she’s bossy. And also because she revels in helping an author polish their work. She has edited several anthologies, including the upcoming No Place like Home: Tales from a Fractured Future and the more recent 50 Shades of Decay, as well as many novels & novellas for a variety of authors.

She has been published in several anthologies and online magazines. When not working, she enjoys photographing cemeteries, playing “what if,” and discussing the imminent zombie apocalypse. She does not enjoy scarecrows, creepy dolls, birds (of any sort), snakes, clowns or garden gnomes.

Books, Babes, and the Business: Killion Slade

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifAuthor Interview: Killion Slade 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, Killion… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…)

The very first thing I would like to say is thank you for having me this month. It is such an honor to be featured along with so many wonderful writers on your blog.

I would describe myself primarily as a writer, though I am earnestly learning the very tedious craft of editing. I have gained such respect for editors! Editing by far has taught me more about writing than any writing class I ever attend. Editing not only my own work, but beta reading for others, proofing, and offering guidance anyway I can helps me to recall lessons, pitfalls, and bad habits to break before I sit down to write another sentence.

Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

I would love to be a genre-snob, but it just isn’t in me. There are days when I want to write a story about a butterfly landing on my daughter’s arm on a warm, sunny day, and then there are days when I want to write the nastiest horror I can contrive. I decided to write what moves me at any given moment. I want to yield to the muse who wants their time in the limelight, so I let them take me where they want to go. Sometimes it’s pretty, more often, however, it’s not.

The one thing though I like to do is incorporate humor into horror whenever I can.  It’s an intricately delicate line to balance and I have to be careful not to make light of what the character is experiencing, but allow them their defense mechanism.

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

I do write under a male name, but it isn’t to hide the fact that I am a woman.  Both my husband and I write and we often collaborate, so we decided to build under one brand and not split up among two.  We both have Irish lineages, so it just made sense to find a name we both loved.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

I have been reading NOS4A2 by Joe Hill and I have to say, this story has frightened me more than any of his father’s story.  Great Stuff!  I love to laugh – it is such great therapy. Unfortunately, with jobs, mortgages, and parental demands life can easily deflate any hilarity out of your soul leaving you a dried up, unfeeling corpse. By adding humor back into my life, I can forget the real horror I hear on the nightly news, and believe in humanity once again. I love to listen to funny books. I have taken a shine to Molly Harper. She has such a wonderful way of making you laugh your way through a vampire heart-staking scene.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

My daughter, hands down! She has reminded me of all my dreams, and the hows and whys of lost passions. As she grows, she helps me stay young, play games, imagine, and love everything as simple as dandelion weed growing in the front yard.  Instead of looking at the weed ruining my lawn, she reminds me of how fun it is to chase the seeds which blow away. My daughter allows me to pursue those long lost passions lost in growing up. To that, I will always be grateful and blessed to have her in my life.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Never accept anyone telling you that you’re never good enough. Make a decision and see it all the way through. Give it all you can! Always be an hour early and never five minutes late. If you’re tardy, you better have a damn good reason and bleeding from your eyeballs! Never grow old in your heart!

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

I am currently working on the second book in the World of Blood series, titled Revenant. I’m very excited to continue Cheyenne’s quest in finding her sister and bringing down the illegal vampire blood orchards. I am also actively working on producing the audiobook version for Exsanguinate.  It has been a great experience

Where can we find you?




Official Author Webpage


Amazon Author Page


About the Author

killion slade3Killion Slade is a married writing team who met in the virtual realms of Second Life and virtually enjoy everything. Mrs. Slade delves into the paranormal urban fantasy and horror stories, whereas Mr. Slade prefers sci-fi and high fantasy. Members of the Horror Writers Association and the Paranormal Romance Guild, they storyboard their characters inside Second Life as their avatars reveal their stories. Tucked away in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Northern Montana, they stay busy chasing kids, corralling horses and cats, and enjoying the harvest from their garden. Married on Halloween – they love to live life to the fullest and embrace one another each and every day.

Write Like a Girl #CWIF2014

Allison M. Dickson, Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifGuest Post: Allison M Dickson

In 1818, a young woman wrote what many consider the greatest horror novel as well as the earliest work of science-fiction. Her name was Mary Shelley, and her most famous work, FRANKENSTEIN, endures until this very day, spawning countless movie adaptations and books adhering to its central themes about the dangers of playing God or fooling with nature. The book has never even been out of print. frankenstein_book_cover_01That is a little bit of trivia I like to carry with me on my author’s journey, like a tasty snack during the long and arduous hike otherwise known as a writing career. When I start to feel like the world is against me, that I am a “woman in a man’s world,” where the bestseller lists in my genres of choice (horror and science fiction) are dominated by my male counterparts, I remind myself that it was a woman’s imagination we all have to thank for breathing life into this particular market. I also think of her bravery. Shelley wrote during a period of time when most women authors had to give themselves male pseudonyms to entice their mostly male readers. The first edition of FRANKENSTEIN was published anonymously to that end, but in 1823, they came to their senses and put her name on the cover. Overall, Shelley was taken seriously in her day as a writer. The passage of time after her death marred her memory. Her biographical writings were censored and sterilized by her own children to depict a quiet, conventional woman, the wife of her famous poet husband, a one-hit wonder with Frankenstein (and her authorship of that was even challenged a few times). Most of her other works fell out of print and the truth of Shelley’s life, both literary and political, was obscured until recently. Now she’s receiving the proper reverence as one of the Romantic greats a century and a half later, and her stance as a beacon for civil cooperation and the importance of women in the family is also well known. Mary Shelley was, overall, a seriously righteous chick who would have fit in very well with my circle of writer friends today.Mary Shelley

So if she could be considered the mother root for the genres I mainly focus on today, I feel extremely proud to be a tiny offshoot of that. I had my first horror novel, STRINGS, published in late 2013, and my first science-fiction novel, THE LAST SUPPER, is due out this April. I’ll be honest. I once worried I wouldn’t be able to compete as a woman in such male dominated genres. Those anxieties still haven’t faded among most female writers of certain genres even two centuries since the debut of FRANKENSTEIN, but I feel it’s important not to focus on that. The only thing any writer can do is focus on putting out damn good stories, because while there are still people shallow enough to evaluate a piece of work based on the gender of the author, there are even more people who just want to read a great yarn.

Besides, there are legions of female authors setting examples worth following. They are astounding talents, many of whom I aspire to meet or equal someday. Their achievements fuel me, their stories and characters have burned themselves into my brain and will never leave me.  Those names include Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey and Rice, Gillian Flynn, JK Rowling, Octavia Butler, Shirley Jackson, Poppy Z. Brite, Cherie Priest, Daphne Du Maurier, and all the amazing women who will be joining us here at Sekhmet Press this month to speak of the great female accomplishments in literature. I can’t thank them enough for their inspirations and their legacies, for giving me a place to stand in this crowded room. We can’t all be legends like Mary Shelley, and if any of our works survive our own generations let alone four or five, it it’s a monumental accomplishment for any writer. But whether you’re a woman or a man, if anyone should say you “write like a girl,” you should think of all these great women and take it as a compliment.

We Can Do It! Rosie the Riveter

amd holding strings2Allison M. Dickson is a writer of dark contemporary fiction. Two of her short stories currently appear in The Endlands Volume 2 from Hobbes End Publishing, and two of her collected works are currently available on Amazon along with her indie pulp novel, COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER. Her debut novel STRINGS, a psychological suspense story, released to rave reviews from Hobbes End, and the same publisher will be releasing her dystopian sci-fi book, THE LAST SUPPER, in spring of 2014. When she’s not writing, she’s co-hosting a weekly podcast, Creative Commoners. After spending several years in Olympia, Washington she returned with her husband and kids to her native Midwest and currently resides in Dayton, OH.

Her other obsessions include food, movies, cracking bad jokes with her family over dinner, and harboring secret fantasies of being a Bond girl/sword-wielding martial arts master.

Related articles: Best Horror Fiction 2013

The All-Time Greatest Horror Writers – Billie Sue Mosiman

Celebrating Women in Fiction, horror, Lovecraft, NEWS, Poe, Reviews, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Red

top 50 horror

Congratulations to the lovely and talented

Billie Sue Mosiman!!

 TOP 50 All-Time Greatest Horror Writers!

billie sue mosiman11

Sekhmet Press LLC had the great honor

of publishing Ms. Mosiman in the 2013 Wrapped In Red vampire anthology.

CLICK to buy on AMAZON

CLICK to buy on AMAZON

She is also the author of over 60 books since 1984 and two of them received an Edgar Award Nomination for best novel and a Bram Stoker Award Nomination for most superior novel. Please do yourself a favor and check out her work!

RANKER All-Time Greatest Horror Writers -Read the entire list HERE