The Harpy 2 is Coming


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What does it mean? Are we all going to die? IS THIS BAD? SHOULD WE HIDE?

Relax. I know harpies aren’t the cutest or cuddliest of creatures, but do not hide.

Instead get your reading peepers ready, folks. A new book is headed your way. But it’s a sequel, so let me introduce you to the first. The Harpy by Julie Hutchings…

Blurb: Charity Blake survived a nightmare. Now she is the monster others dream about.

By day, punk-rock runaway Charity Blake struggles through a stream of dead-end jobs and the haunting memories of her past. But at night she is the Harpy, sprouting wings with black feathers, and claws made for tearing the flesh of her prey. 

Having survived a lifetime of abuse and torment from a sadistic man who broke her spirit, Charity’s physical manifestation of her grief and anger allows her to hunt down those like her abuser. Only this time, Charity isn’t a helpless little girl praying for things to end. Now she is the monster, and hell hath no fury like a harpy scorned.

Power always comes at a price though, and Charity’s inner predator craves to take over. Torn between a life with no feeling other than the sweet satisfaction at ripping evil apart or suffering through her days to stay with the two people she cares for most, Charity must choose between her human existence or the wild and feral freedom of a flying avenger.

Go find it on Amazon!

Want to know what I thought about The Harpy, go read my little review on The Midnight Society blog…Great Horror Book Alert: The Harpy. I loved this book. I loved the story. I loved the characters. Not a sweet touching little tale, this book grabs you by the throat and holds tight. So many images and feelings remain in my dark heart from The Harpy, and I shall treasure them.

You’ll want to read it because book two is about to hit the world on January 14th.


Blurb: Charity Blake became a nightmare. But there are far more dangerous monsters out there than her.

Train-wreck antihero Charity Blake thrives at being a winged avenger, but exacting vengeance takes as much from her as it gives. To retain the humanity she’s fought tooth and claw to keep, she tries to walk away from her monstrous side for good.

With no sense of purpose and a lifetime of failures haunting her, Charity struggles not to fall back into old, murderous habits. Until she meets a little girl who is more broken than herself. Rose presents a new direction for Charity. One where they can combine their carnal abilities to rewrite a horrendous history of wrongs that have impacted so many like themselves.

While Charity revels in the idea of following a new path, Rose drowns in her own power as she tries to piece together parts of her life her mind has buried deep. As Rose unearths hidden truths about her past, her catastrophic abilities spiral out of control, threatening everyone’s future. Overcome with debilitating grief and a world-altering rage, Rose becomes a danger beyond anyone’s control. A colossal threat that Charity must stop.

Pre-order now on Amazon! Release day is January 14th! SO SOON!

When I learned that Julie was writing a sequel, I nearly died of joy. I can’t wait to head off into the messy world of emotions with Charity. I can’t wait to meet Rose! And I hope Keegan is still around…my little spot of sunshine.

Julie herself is a spot of sunshine. Go find her on Twitter @HutchingsJulie. And head on over to her blog.

Soon, my friends…soon we can all dive into The Harpy 2: Evolution.

Tale of a Story: “The Path”


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Do you know Krampus? The dark side of Santa. The one who punishes the naughty by throwing them in his sack. You better watch out, for Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol is out now and waiting to share tales of this creature of the season.

And my story “The Path” waits for you too.

Cover art by Abigail Larson

Edited by Cynthia Pelayo and Gerardo Pelayo, Gothic Blue Book VI is out now for Kindle and paperback. With 31 stories and poems, there’s one creepy Krampus tale for each day of December.

When I saw the call for submissions for this, I knew I wanted to submit something. I loved the whole idea. But what to write?

Initially, I wondered about the story of Krampus coming to get someone. But that felt wrong.

Then I thought of one of my favorite Christmas movies…Krampus. I thought of the final scene in that movie, where the family is trapped by Krampus in a snowglobe…that snowglobe sitting on a shelf with so many others. That scene always sends my mind humming with creative wonder. What does happen to those taken by Krampus?

A snowglobe on a shelf? Or something else?

Then the character of Grayson spoke up…about his life, his struggles, his anger. And I began to uncover this ten year-old’s situation. I carefully extracted the reason he was taken by Krampus…and where he ended up after a trip in Krampus’ sack.

Many decisions are reactions to emotions. Anger being the strongest. Unfortunately, dealing with the consequences of those actions can be difficult, traveling the path created can only lead to darkness.

Over 150 people submitted. I didn’t think my little tale stood a chance. When I got the acceptance e-mail, from Krampus’ personal assistant, left me honored and feeling extremely lucky. So, here’s your reminder to try. Always try. Never give up.

I can’t wait to read all the stories and poems.

Look out in December, as I read one a day and blog about them. Buy your own and read with me!

Tale of a Story: Within the Plum Attic


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Earlier this year, a person from my writers’ group decided to get authors together and publish a mystery anthology. Introduce fans of certain authors and genres to a wonderful world of words they might not find otherwise.

And she asked me to contribute! Not that I have “fans”…seriously, some of the authors in this anthology have several books out. But a chance for me to put more of my weird out into the ‘Verse was tempting.

However, as I prepared to e-mail back a “yes, I sure will”, I paused. For the word MYSTERY stared at me with its little beady eyes. Mystery? I don’t do mysteries. To help connect the different genres and styles, we would use the game of Clue as inspiration, each choosing a color, murder weapon, and room.

How could I pass up the opportunity? I told her I would try to come up with an idea, claimed purple (Prof Plum) and a candlestick in an attic (because creepy lives there), and my brain chewed on all sorts of thoughts.

But that darn mystery part.

I don’t read, watch, or write mysteries, so have no idea how to plot one, not that plotting is really my thing anyway.

As my creative gears began to turn…I wondered if maybe I do watch mysteries…

I love horror. Horror everything. It’s October right now and my house is covered in skulls. I watch many horror movies, some of my favorite include haunted houses…ghost stories.

And aren’t those mysteries? A spirit remains, a secret trapping them in a pocket of emotion, wrapped in an unresolved moment of their life. The 1980 film The Changeling (really good movie!) did an excellent job of giving clues to solve the mystery of the ghost.

So…all I had to do was create a past and present, two timelines linked by similar stories and emotions. Because I love when everything ties together! Once I knew who died and how, all I had to do was leave clues in a very ghostly manner for the poor twin teen girls who visited the attic, well, were drawn to the attic…

This was my first attempt at dual POV, wanting to give the tale from two different perspectives. One twin connected to the ghost and overcome by the leftover emotions that mirror her own. The other, the protector, the one fighting for freedom from what resides in the attic, and maybe freedom from something else as well. As they learn what happened in the past, they start to deal with new feelings and thoughts that had crept into their minds after they moved. But can they rid the attic of the ghost before the ghost sinks its invisible teeth into them?

I’m not telling.

And here it is!

Blurb from Amazon: Murder comes in 7 different genres. By 7 different authors. Are you a fan of courtroom drama? In the anthology’s first story, Abraham Lincoln defends a friend’s son against a charge of murder. For lovers of speculative fiction, Jason Fogg dissolves into mist to sneak through open windows and snoop for clues. How about a cozy? Jazzi, Jerod, and Ansel discover a dead body while renovating a kitchen, dining room, and half bath. Have a craving for a Regency? Lord Peregrine and his wife, Elizabeth, use their sharp minds and quick wit to solve a murder at a garden party. Need a bit of literary fiction? A young, lonely widow must deal with the theft of a valuable butterfly collection. And what about a little psychological horror? Twin sisters discover that their attic is haunted by not one, but two ghosts. Last, but never least, the anthology concludes with a historical mystery. A young, newly married knight is accused of murdering his obnoxious host at a holiday gathering in his castle.

Go get it for your Kindle on Amazon here.

I struggled to write this story. And I worried that my ghost story sitting among tales penned by more established authors would cause readers to ask what the heck that story was doing in there?

A few reviewers have chosen mine as one of their favorites, which surprised and delighted me. Thank you to everyone who picked up this book and enjoyed the seven tales of murder. Seven very different tales. I finally sat and read them and found each story, from cozy, to regency, to a little paranormal fogginess, to historical, held a new, engaging voice and a fun tale of whodunnit. There is something for everyone in Murder They Wrote.

Tale of a Story: UNTIL…


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Once again, it’s time for the Spooky Showcase on the wonderful Jolene Haley’s blog. Every fall she sets a theme and invites authors and artists to write and draw anything they like and, throughout the month of October, Jolene posts them. And we all read and enjoy and celebrate all the art. This is the eighth year for the showcase and my seventh year participating. Links to my stories are on my blog’s SHORT STORY ACHIEVEMENT page.

This year’s theme was twisted fairy tales.

Through October, a new story or work of art will be posted to make the month more fabulous.

Today is my turn!

With the theme announced last summer, I immediately thought of a story I wrote years ago. One that received a place in an anthology, now out-of-print, and one that never became what it could be.

That story was “Together”. Based on the tale “Snow White and Rose Red”, the story explored someone with a voice in their head, one that certainly wasn’t real. As the story unfolded, Rosalie learns to accept Red’s voice and becomes stronger. It was fine, but there was always parts of it I didn’t like. So, here was my chance to rewrite it!

The original “Snow White and Rose Red” told the tale of sisters, who were always nice and, in the end, were rewarded for their continued kindness even in the face of evil.

So to twist it, I added in a little darkness. Because being nice is fine, but what about those moments when you can’t…or won’t be kind.

Rosalie’s mom always says to be nice, be kind, be good. If you aren’t you’ll be punished. So Rosalie tries because she’s scared by something in her mother’s voice, some terrible secret that lurks in her mom’s past. But there’s that voice in Rosalie’s mind. One she knows is real. One that takes over…because her fingernails are painted red and she didn’t do it, because her car radio is tuned to loud music and Rosalie didn’t do that either.

As the voice grows stronger, telling Rosalie to stand up for herself, to fight, Rosalie resists, insisting to be good. That she has to be nice.


And there is a deep dark secret in Mom’s past. But you’ll have to read it to find out.

Being kind matters. But fighting for yourself and others does too.

Go read “Until…” on Jolene’s blog, then go read the others. Follow on Twitter at #SpookyShowcase.

Jolene is one of the best people I know. She’s always supportive and always ready to fight for you. Participating in her showcase each year has been a pleasure and honor. Joining the spooky showcase means being a part of the writing community at its best, sharing words and ideas, spreading the joy. Everyone is welcome.

Maybe next year, you can add something.

Now go, make the world a better place.

Party Time: For the Midnight Society Queen Jolene


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Do you know that I contribute twice a month on The Midnight Society blog?

Do you know that the person who brought the bestest, creepiest group together to become The Midnight Society is Jolene Haley?



Go find her on Twitter.

Go find her at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency because she is an agent! *throws confetti* Send her queries…if you have what she wants.

Go read her blog. Her author/illustrator showcase is coming up soon! This fall we are twisting some fairy tales. A fantastic time to cheer other writers and support each other.

She co-wrote a great book with Brian LeTendre honoring all the things we love about serial killer stories. Go read Harrowed…if you dare.

You will never meet a nicer, more supportive, harder working, talented individual than Jolene. When she invited me to become part of The Midnight Society, I never imagined being a part of such a great group, and we owe it all to her. THANK YOU, JOLENE!

So, let’s have a party. In true Midnight Society fashion.

Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society…

A party. A celebration. A dark and magical kinda night.

In a great location.

With cake.

And lots of fun guests.



He remembered the pizza! YES!

Jolene, you do so much for so many. We appreciate you more than you know. Go have a creeptastic day that is all about you.


Love, Kathy

Tale of a Story: Exposed


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The wonderful Jolene Haley has delighted horror fans with her fall author/illustrator showcase for years. It began six years ago with the dark carnival, then each year she has hosted hosted stories and art for themes of haunted house, harvest festival, haunted hotel, summer of screams (summer camp stories), dark seas, and this year urban legends! I found and started participating in the second year with the haunted house theme and had so much fun that I join in each year.

So today, my story is up on her blog for the…

Go read EXPOSED here!

I’ll wait, then we can talk about the fight that was writing this story.

Okay…so…when you sign up to participate in the #SpookyShowcase, there is no fear of rejection. Everyone gets to have their story posted. All the authors and illustrators are super nice and supportive. It is truly a wonderful time. Which is why I continue to add my words. No pressure, right?

Except there is.

I can’t just write a story and send it. I have to let it sit, revise it, let people read it, revise it…let more people read it! Because only after I am truly happy with it, will I send it.

The theme of urban legends made my choice pretty easy, I knew immediately what legend to pull inspiration from. Just miles from me, sits Bruick Road, and there are lights that appear, strange lights with no explanation. I’ve never seen them, but my creative brain began to ask questions. WHAT ARE THEY?

But…my stories need a theme. I need a main character, one who is struggling with something, who wants something…something that will link to these odd lights.

After a lot of pondering, I had a thread to hold onto, one that I could take and knit and weave and grow into a story, one about a past that won’t be forgotten, about how a victim can become a monster.

About how light will expose the truth.

And I had a title. Exposed.

Some stories write themselves. Some take a minute. This story haunted me forever.

The hints had to be subtle, but present. The reveal had to be easy, not dumped on one’s head like a ton of bricks. I wanted everything there, enough information so the reader could figure it out, so it could all come together in the end without a huge awful explanation.

Since finishing and beginning the query process for my MG earlier this year, I hadn’t written anything. Not a thing. My brain refused. Doing the showcase would certainly nudge my brain back into writing! It was tough. I struggled. It was too long. It didn’t make sense. Too many characters. Characters who weren’t all the way realized. Characters who needed to connect to the story.

After very helpful feedback (and a lot of me questioning whether I could untangle this complicated knot), I got the story to a place where I was happy.

And I sent it.

Today, Exposed is out for all to read.

If you read…THANK YOU! I hope you enjoy it. Please leave me a comment if you wish.

Tale of a Story: Freckles


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I can’t remember where I heard of an anthology looking for submissions about what clowns fear. Probably from my friends at The Midnight Society. Probably. They are on top of everything horror.

I decided to try and tackle the subject. We’ve all read the killer clown stories, but what do clowns fear? As usual, my brain spat out the strange not-so-good ideas…

Clowns are afraid of…



bright colors?

UGH WHAT? Maybe I should give up and not write this?

Stories never solidify until I have a theme. What about that side of ourselves we don’t like, the part we hide, the part that we can’t get rid of…

And I drafted a creepy little tales of Freckles the Clown, the moment when he decides to face his fear, the man behind the mask.

But it doesn’t go well.

The first draft flowed pretty easily. Don’t you love it when that happens? I had a clear path and just wrote. After reading it to my writers’ group, I realized the reveal could be better…the tension could be upped. It didn’t take too long to get it where I wanted it. After another couple people read it, I knew I was good.

So I submitted it, thinking that it might not even be close to what the editor wanted. But I had to try. I liked this little story.

When I got the e-mail, I opened it, prepared for the rejection, but he was amused by my inversion of the killer clown trope and accepted it. Amused…he was amused. This is the best thing I had ever heard!


Anyway…edits appeared. I think he changed one punctuation mark and added another.  Easiest edits ever.

And I waited…an e-mail graced my in-box with news that he had everything ready to go and had found a cover artist.

Not too long after…the cover was sent.

Next I learned that it was to be released on Friday the 13th! Epic.

I got my copy today!

Seeing your name in print is pretty cool. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.

I haven’t had a chance to read all the stories yet, but I’m excited! For those interested in getting your copy…let me show you the new anthology BLOODY RED NOSE: 15 FEARS OF A CLOWN…

In a world filled with menace, dare to paint on a grin.

cover art by Henry Snider

The world is full of images of scary clowns: packs of grinning figures with knives plaguing towns; pom-pom clad serial killers; loners who like children in the wrong way.

But clowns can be a force for good: it takes a kind heart to put other people’s joy first; keeping children entertained is honest work; what better disguise than one that makes the villains laugh?

What if, rather than being childhood-spoiling serial killers, clowns were the victims or heroes of the story?

When all the children at a party are poisoned, an entertainer’s profession and past both make him a prime suspect.

An anti-corporate prankster discovers his guru might be just as callous as the capitalist world-view he claims to reject.

A clown attempts to redeem the image of his profession by saving a group of teenagers from a serial killer.

And twelve more stories of clowns facing humanity’s baser natures.

Find it on Amazon

On Kobo

At Barnes and Noble in either…





When There are No Answers


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I started writing about fifteen years ago. Have I learned everything yet? Nope.

I stopped trying to learn everything. It’s impossible.

For me, writing began in a bubble. Just me and my computer and my crazy brain ideas. I never studied writing. I didn’t know any other writers.

Just me in my happy little bubble.

However, if being published is a goal, staying in that blissful bubble is…not going to work. With a brave poke, I broke free.

I listened, soaking in everything, then tried to force myself in this writer mold. However, not everyone out there agrees on what this mold looks like. So…

I’ve had people tell me to do this thing or that thing. I’ve seen tweets where people declare one way to do things.

THIS is how you write a query…a synopsis…a first chapter…

THIS is how to write…

THIS is what agents look for…



Yup. That.

SO…here is THE ANSWER.

There is no answer.

There are rules. Sure.

These rules. Guidelines. A place to start. Then the path you take is up to you.

Critique partners can help. Beta readers can help. Comments can inspire your brain to take the best steps for you along that path. Comments can help you see your strengths and weaknesses.

Listen. Always listen.

Then do you. This is your art. Your voice. Your vision. Only you can decide what works and what needs to be destroyed with fire.

For not every comment will guide you in the right direction.

So, in the world of publishing where much depends on luck, opinions, and wishes, there is one thing that will keep you going.

Love what you do. Love the way you do it. Love the adventure, one that seems cloaked in darkness and pain, sure…but a journey!

If the process, the words, or the path feels wrong, then it probably is. Let joy guide you.

To a glorious adventure.

Staring at Something New: A Tale of Being Afraid


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A new idea. All bright and shiny…and incomplete and talking a mile a minute or completely silent and full of possibilities, or maybe all sorts of problems.

Some writers plot, they outline. Some start in with words. Some do a little of both. Some stare at the idea with fear that they won’t get it right and just can’t begin.

I like to live with an idea, wander around the new world until most of its incompleteness is complete. But I never know everything. I’ll start writing when I know enough…


I don’t know. I never know. Does anyone ever know?

I’m sitting at the edge of this strange idea. A few scenes have been revealed. I even have the first chapter jotted down, but not written. Because starting new things is hard. It’s scary. The story lives in my head, where it can be grand and fun and weird, until I start writing, then all hell can break loose. Do I really know how everything fits together? Nope. I’m circling the words like a great dragon. Waiting for…something. Some spark of inspiration…some big idea to tie it all together.

Or maybe, I’m simply procrastinating. That is entirely possible.

What I do know is that I need to let go of all the thinking and HAVE FUN. This idea screams for fun, a release of all things mundane and an embrace of everything fantastical and creepy. THERE MUST BE CREEPY.

Hopefully this is just the thing to work on next, to take my mind off the things I have no control over and set my mind free.


To all out there writing and thinking and creating…

Keep going.

You are magic.


Writing, Writing, Writing…Or Not


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I have a blog. I know this. Tis mine and I will do with it what I please, which, apparently, lately has been nothing.

Strangely, for a few months now, nothing is what I have been doing with creating of the new words. No new words.

I worked pretty hard to get my last ms ready for querying. Oh the joys of querying, I have missed you. When I started on the road to gathering rejections and self-doubt, I gazed at the blank page, at the stacks of notebooks full of ideas, at the shelved manuscripts waiting for help…and my brain shut off.

I see the tweets of the writers who go from one project to the next with reckless abandon. I see the people working on multiple projects. I APPLAUD THEM.

I…am not one of them. Nope.

My creative brain takes breaks. I let it. Because when I try to force it to think up all the made-up stuff, it shuts down. No more making up stuff for me.

I’ve learned to relax. Read. Do nothing. Watch the world pass. For eventually…the creative brain reawakens.

It’s happened again. After trying to force myself onto the next project and failing…I gave up. Let my brain off the hook.

And I have a new idea. Well, not new exactly. A short story I never wrote let me know that maybe it’s supposed to be a book. Perhaps that’s why I never wrote that story.

So, if you, like me, can’t seem to go from one thing to another…if you, like me, sometimes yell at yourself for not doing all the things all the time…if you, like me, have to let the ideas form on their own, I offer a giant cheer.

Writers work in their own way, making the world an interesting and crazy place. Find what works for you and do it. Don’t fight how your brain works…it never ends well.

I shall now go prepare for the sending of more queries. Send chocolate.