Sunday, February 28, 2016

No Snow in Toronto!

Someone's On a Mission

Kylo Ren had spring fever today. After all, it was 12 degrees and sunny out. Not a flake of snow for February 28, 2016 in Canada!

He went for a walk. No snow here! It looks like fall still. Is it Halloween?

No snow here! Usually this is buried this time of year! Not even slippery with ice! It's a gorgeous day for walking and dreaming. 

Nice walk along the lake. No ice. No snow!

Yes, that's the CN Tower behind you, Kylo Ren!

Looks like moss is growing here instead of ice!

Where are you going, anyway?

You've done it now! Lost in a garden!

Peek-a-boo! I see you!

The white stuff isn't snow. It's salt, dirt, sea gull mess, sand...

 Ah-ha! I get it now!

Making plans for the new Starkiller Base, are you?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Samhain Publishing Shuts Down

Experiments in Terror

The news of Samhain Horror Publishing, in fact Samhain Publishing as a whole shutting down has spread like wildfire across Twitter and Facebook. Those of us who are on the inside, authors in the horror genre, for instance, weren't suprised at all.

My only surprise was that the romance line wasn't doing well.

Samhain Publishing has been around since 2005. I have several friends who have written romance for them for years. Samhain didn't really become known for horror, although they published it, until Don D'Auria came aboard. His presence enticed former Leisure authors and others to submit to Samhain and if this were the nineties, everything would have thrived. It was the perfect plan.

But we're in 2016. That plan didn't work. It had nothing to do with the calibre of authors. Nothing to do with Don's fantastic work. Nothing to do with all of the rest of the great team at Samhain including the President.

It's a weird wacky world we're living in.

It's a wild west.

Publishing and readership is mutating by the minute like an out of control virus.

No one knows what's going to happen or how to adapt.

Grab a surfboard and ride the wave.

It's quite funny when you think about it, how within even my own publishing career, people were bemoaning the handcuffs of the traditional houses. There was and always has been small press, micro press, etc. but somehow, more authors in speculative fiction began to turn to them.

However, most authors took a traditional path to publishing. We wanted to be on best sellers lists, go to publisher parties, do book tours, talk shows, and all of that. Advances could pay the bills for a month or for a couple of years so who didn't want to have that? Writing a book was actually like a real job. You had some freedoms but you also had to tow the line, whatever that meant.

Some authors didn't like the control of publishers and even agents over their careers. As I said, there have always been entrepreneurs and rebels. But now, technology has changed everything in so very many ways, that publishing books the traditional way is becoming archaic; slow, expensive, wasteful, controlling.

Smaller presses give authors and artists more control because there are less chefs in the kitchen.

Self-publishing gives authors and artists complete control over every step of the process. Some authors aren't up to wearing all those hats, they want to just write. And that's fine, too.

Savvy, prolific authors have always published with more than one house. My own career has about a dozen publishing houses, perhaps more. It's a fool's game to be with only one house. Your entire career rises and falls with their ship.

I look back on some of the publishing houses that fell while I was with them, or was one of the last authors published by them.

Darktales Publishing
Neon - Imprint of Orion
Blue Moon - Thunder's Mouth - Vivid Video
Leisure Books
Samhain Horror

There were a couple of anthologies and magazines that died while holding one of my accepted stories as well.

If I wasn't old enough to know how history repeats itself, I would feel cursed. But I don't. This is how it is. This is how it's always been. Businesses come and go.

I suspect most of my horror counterparts have diversified in recent months, if they hadn't before Don was abruptly fired. I have no idea what will happen to authors' carers on the romance side of Samhain because I've never published romance with them. I know a lot of people have long-standing careers and most of the ones I know also publish with other companies. But I suspect many don't. I would say to them, "Fear not! You're an established author with a fan base, just self-publish those suckers and reap the rewards!"

We're in the Wild West. We can control our own careers.

Of course I'm sad Samhain has to shut down like this. I obviously saw the writing on the wall long ago from the inside so have been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My new series, Witch Upon a Star is not with Samhain, in case anyone thought it was. I have four Samhain horror books and they will continue to be for sale indefinitely and after that, I'm not sure, so if you've been wanting to read them, better do it now in case the rights get tied up or something.

I wish the best for the staff and freelancers who relied on Samhain to pay the bills. I hope we all land on our feet.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Talk to Me on February 24 on the Supernatural Radio Show

I'm going to be a guest once again on the Supernatural Radio Show with Corrine de Winter.

Call in to ask me about tarot, crystal balls, ghost hunting, Lizzie Borden house, Alcatraz, the Haunted Mansion Retreat in California, my new erotic astrology horror series, Witch Upon a Star, or ask me a question.

Don't be shy, give us a call!

Wednesday February 24, 2016  8 pm

Supernatural Radio Show

Have you watched this week's free horoscopes at

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Great Lakes Horror Company Podcast is Live!

I've been insanely busy with writing my new series, Witch Upon a Star, as well launching a new horror podcast. Life is good when you're busy! At least it is for me. I've barely noticed it's minus twenty out there!

The Great Lakes Horror Company podcast is the brainchild of Andrew Robertson, a member of the Horror Writers Association Ontario Chapter. At our November meeting, he pitched the idea, and now a couple of months later, we've been on the air for two weeks. Good job, Andrew!

The cast will rotate with various members of the Ontario Chapter of the Horror Writers Association but the first taping of four shows included: Sèphera Girón, Andrew Robertson, Monica Kuebler, Suzanne Church, and Bill ZombieZak Snider.

The show includes a roundtable with a discussion about a timely topic such as Women in Horror since it's Women in Horror Month with several HWA ONT chapter members and features an interview with a different person working in the horror field each week.

Interviews with horror creators are conducted off-site and members Crystal Bourque, Brad Middleton, Tonya Liburd, and Brian Clement will also be contributing. 

Interviews that are already up include:

Marie Bilodeau
Nancy Kilpatrick

Interviews airing soon include:

Lisa Mannetti 
Linda Addison 
Monica J. O'Rourke
Mike McCarty
Lisa Morton
Matt Patterson

New episodes are posted on Mondays.

Let us know what you think!

In the meantime, it's back to work for me. I find acting out scenes with dolls and writing notes on cue cards really helps to keep twelve books and thirteen major characters straight. Of course, there are no Star Wars characters or even skeletons being boiled alive in these books, but toys trigger the imagination, as we all know. Kylo Ren's look is so fantastically witchy that he is a joy to have on my desk while writing an erotic witch romance series. I also find it amusing that I have a character named Adam (created years ago with most of the other characters up to the Taurus book) so I have the maskless Kylo hold his cue card. It doesn't take much to amuse me.

I've been sharing a few of my creative process pictures on social media although I'm sure some people think I've lost my mind if they don't understand what I'm doing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Witch Upon a Star Series has Launched!

Buy Capricorn: Cursed today!

The first book of my new Witch Upon a Star series has now launched.

Each book contains an erotic horror mystery occult astrology romance book. Although characters are threaded throughout each others' stories, each book can be read on its own. The horror element in these books is not as extreme as my regular horror work.

The stories revolve around twelve witches in a coven run by a thirteenth witch, Lucy. Each witch represents one sign of the zodiac. Each books shines a spotlight on one particular witch's love life. Once a month the coven gathers to cast a love spell for whoever has a birthday that month. These books follow the results of these spells.

Capricorn: Cursed follows Natasha who is a medium with a secret. She can channel ghosts willingly and not so willingly. She also plays the violin at various events around the town of Hermana. She met tall, dark and handsome Gus on New Year's Eve and they share a kiss before dashing away at dawn. Her passions lead down a dangerous path and she may have to finally pay the price.

The next book will be Aquarius: Haunted Heart which follows ghost hunter Madeline.

Interview about Witch Upon A Star series.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

It's All Fun and Games Until You Meet A Real One

Strange Days
These are difficult times we live in. I see it in my children. I see it in my friends. I see it by the lack of stability in relationships, careers, housing, investments, and even the weather patterns.

Yes, there has always been flux and evolution and survival of the fittest and such. But what monstrous times we live in.

We can look back at history at other monstrous times: WWII, The Spanish Inquisition, Romans, Biblical events.

There are have always been despicable people performing alarming acts on others. These stories, these realities, these historical facts, should be teaching the human race to evolve.

But we don't.

Villains in Fiction
It's fun to watch villains in fiction. We love the Joker, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, Snidely Whiplash, Dandy Mott, Alex, Dracula, The Wicked Witch of the West, Cruella deVille, and so on. We love to watch them do evil stuff and either find redemption or pay the price by the end of their story. Fiction is fun. Without evil, there would be no good. How would we know who the hero is since there wouldn't be one? Stories would suck.

In real life, it's not so fun to dance with a psychopath/narcissist/sociopath. And they are getting harder to avoid as they are Academy Award winning actors and actresses roaming around our every day world. And there is often no redemption or happy endings in any story they star in, which is all of them.

The barrage of TV shows about these dysfunctional people indicates we are hungry to hear these stories. We marvel from the outside at the clues we're fed by the writers. How are people so easily conned? Why don't they leave if they think they are abused? How could she not know her husband is a serial killer?

As a horror writer, I'm interested in real life horror and keep the TV on a lot for company. I watch American Greed, Dateline, 20/20, all those OWN shows about con artists, serial killers, cheaters and though it gets depressing, it's also interesting to see rich, famous, intelligent people get just as conned as Joe Everyone who lives next door.

The human condition is a strange and complicated one. Yet in many ways, very easy to contemplate as well. We all want to survive. Some people think surviving is manipulating others to get what they want, no matter the price. Others believe that helping others is the way for everyone to just get along and all get what we want in the end. Most of us fall somewhere in-between, living our lives, doing our best, hoping for the best, and getting by and assuming everyone else is doing the same.

But some people aren't. They will stop at nothing to lie and cheat their way to ...what? "The Top" whatever that means to them. To some, it's to be President of Something, a judge, a doctor, a movie star, and others it's to own their own business or have a car or own their own home. Goals may vary but the lies and deceit don't. People who lie and cheat to get what they want will do it in every level of their life. It can seem exhausting when watching it in action, but that's just how some people are. And those types of people aren't very good for most other people. They know how to push buttons, how to seduce and manipulate, whether it's a conscious act or just a natural gift/curse. It behooves us to learn to recognize their games early on.

These people make great villains in fiction like in the hits Wolf of Wall Street and Catch Me If You Can but the people who lived through those crimes would likely have a different version of the story.

No one wants to live through that kind of drama and trauma. But people do every day on different levels. And no one talks about it. This is why it's hard to get untangled from the spider web once it's recognized. Then when people do finally break free, it's rare they are applauded for their efforts.

No, the target is often considered stupid, selfish, weak, insane, abusive, if he or she dares to leave or even more so, to speak out at all about any of the abuse.

Domestic abuse is so insidious that to relay one or two incidents often sounds ridiculous. The listener has to bear in mind all the rest of the set dressing of the event. Get into that D-box chair and put on the 3D glasses. Think about tone, facial expressions, body language, seduction, setting, family repercussions, financial's never so very simple as, "Oh, he slapped you? Why didn't you just up and leave?" or "Just kick him out."

No, it's not easy to decipher the truth and perception and perspective and experience. But if a person feels fearful of another, that is never good. And to feel fearful enough to try to please him or her? That's co-dependency and a thing of its own which also needs to be recognized and talked about.

The Trial of Jian Ghomeshi
The trial of Jian Ghomeshi is happening right now. Already witnesses are being raked through the coals about what appears to be contradictory acts on the part of the alleged victim. This is an opportunity for people to be educated about the dangerous manipulations of seduction, abuse, hypnosis, gaslighting, and more. This is the chance for people to learn that yes, you can be smacked around and horrified by it, yet still want to please your abuser because you feel like YOU did something wrong for this ugliness to happen and you will tie yourself into knots trying to understand it, to fix it, to avoid it happening again. However, it can take a lifetime and some people never figure out that it wasn't their fault, that they had been gaslighted/abused/lied to/manipulated and kept on a string.

Until such behaviour is experienced in one's own life, such situations can look like ridiculous, ludicrous behaviour. People who haven't been through a mind-fuck don't understand how a perfectly intelligent, sane person can be driven to madness by loving or trying to please someone who turns out to be abusive.

People don't go into an abusive relationship knowing its abusive. They are seduced by magnificent behaviour, gifts, romance, hot sex, and so on and only very slowly does it all erode into a nightmare. So slowly that it's barely perceptible. And that's why it's difficult to see from the inside, as the seduced target, that something is horribly wrong even if people on the outside can see it plain as day. There's no specific place to pinpoint what happened and often the target will blame her or himself for somehow making things fall apart. And so he or she will try to please the abuser more, who of course, is getting away with bad behaviour and so it all escalates.

Get Educated About Toxic Relationships
At any rate, there are hundreds of websites, groups, and books these days geared towards toxic relationships. If your relationship suddenly seems to have taken a left turn at Albuquerque, get educated about domestic abuse, narcissistic personality disorder, and learn how to set your own personal boundaries. Keep in mind that material possessions mean nothing if you or your children are dead whether from mind games, health issues, or physical violence.

Print version of (Stop) Dancing in the Gaslight

The trial of Jian Ghomeshi will bring abusive behaviour out into the light. Hopefully the proceedings  will open up some dialogue about abusive relationships.

In the meantime, let's keep the villains in fiction. Real life ones suck.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Scorpio Actors Playing Psychopaths

It does tickle me on some level and so I thought I'd share what other fans of these actors have also likely figured out.

As followers of my blog know, I took great delight in the Dandy thread on American Horror Story: Freakshow. Dandy was my new favourite obsession for a while there.

Then Dandy was gone.

Now, Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens has tickled my psychopath bone as we can see from my growing toy collection and daily Instagrams.

So like any fan, I long ago checked out a bit about actors Finn Wittrock and Adam Driver and find it amusing that they are both Scorpios close in age and both recently married their sweethearts from when they attended Julliard.

It's interesting that these young Scorpio actors scored iconic roles and also married their sweethearts and all four attended Julliard. The two Scorpios brought great acting work to what could have been really cheesy roles for either one. But they both brought a depth and compassion to their psychopaths that keeps/kept the audience engaged and sympathetic to the story.

I don't know what it means, if anything, It's just one of those things that makes me go, "Hum."

I also managed to figure out the volatile nature of Emma Roberts and Evans Peters relationship and why they keep reconnecting though anyone can see they aren't good for each other.

They are both Aquarians. As an Aquarian myself, I will vouch for the fact that Aquarians have a mean streak. It's usually with our sarcastic tongue. There's a reason this air sign is signified by the suit of swords in the tarot deck. We're the kindest, nicest people in the world until you cross us. Then it's all over. Roberts and Peters keep going back and forth despite domestic violence issues. They are still young and need to realize they can and should move on from each other. Of course, it doesn't help that they are always working together or near each other, that their worlds are always touching, so I can see how they want to ride that "famous couple" wave while it lasts as well. Absolutely. I hope they can work through their issues as they mature. We'll see.

That also explains why they are so compelling to watch even when their acting may not be at its strongest. Peters blew it out of the water this year as psychopath Mr. March in American Horror Story: Hotel. I give him 100 stars for his role and he kept continuity throughout the entire series. A great feat in what is an uneven show.

I'd like to see Emma Roberts back on American Horror Story as a bitch actress/model/rich girl like she was on Coven. Something where she can be mean and cold and doesn't have to act much. Some kind of serial killer would be good.

At any rate, it's fun to see how star signs and celebrities may or may not have patterns.

Do you find any similarities in celebrities or characters?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Valentine's Day is Time for Love Magic

Love Magic: The Good Witch's Guide to Healing Your Heart is a little book I wrote a few years ago. It contains advice and exercises to heal your heart and move on towards healthy, happy relationships.

 Love Magic is available both in print and ebook.

Do you have a Love Magic story to share?