15 Sep

Superpow time! What is it? Check this out…

Superpow cover by Astro

Cover by Astro, Layout by Amanda Pillar


Yeah, so, The Red Penny Papers is back with a bang, I mean to say. Our first ever anthology–eBook and print–is on its way October 27, and it’s all about superpowers. What better pulp fodder was ever created? None. None better, that’s what.

Superpow contains eleven new superpowered stories: novellas, shorts, and even our very first poetry (which I’m in love with, ngl). It’s been a labor of love for me and definitely for the authors, who are all fabulous RPP alums of note.  The first cover hero is Corinne Duyvis’s Pantheress, from “The Masks of Sigma City”–a gorgeous imagining of a rogue hero negotiating her way through a tense mystery, and her own identity, with the help and hindrance of some other masks. Behind her is William Vitka’s bruiser, Rubin, who was working underground when the meteor hit and gave everyone in his world powers. Nothing’s ever been handed to him easy, and it’s even worse now he’s fresh out of prison–but he’s willing to fight for it. Good thing, cuz he’ll have to.

These are just two of the amazing heroes, villains, and strange worlds in Superpow. A girl with galaxies in her eyes, superspeed poetry, a useless translator, a washed up villain, otherworldly siblings, a painter with a talent well beyond the canvas, and… well, Leather Boy. I’ll let that one be a surprise. He’s fabulous, though, I promise.

For more info and the stunning table of contents, check out the post over here at RPP, and its perma-page, which will be updated regularly as new info becomes available.


A is For Apocalypse

12 Sep

In case you missed it, A is for Apocalypse lives!



Rhonda Parrish has put together a stunning collection, y’all. Just… Man. So happy to be a part of this. It’s the first in her ongoing collection of Alphabet Anthologies. I happened to get the letter “J” in this one, so my story is “J is for…”

Well, I don’t wanna give it away. Check it out, though! Vampire Apocalypse, for the win. And oh, there are many, many other types of post-apocalypse going on here, so if that puts you off, never fear. An unhappy ending (at least, for civilization, if not for the characters… necessarily) to suit anyone!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords| Goodreads | Hellnotes Review | Sequart Review

Next up? B is for Broken. Oh, you know I’m alllll over that.

All the Books

2 Jun

Well, as expected, these past few months since moving into the new place have been spent making up for last year’s dearth of productivity–in terms of writing, I mean. But they actually have been productive; all of my series except for The Family are caught up, with their next books published and out there, and so vampires next! But first, getting RPP’s next publication together, to which end I am devoting my entire month of June. Nothing else. Just RPP and superheroes.

But yes, more on that soon!

For now, I want to explain my lack of net presence recently. I’ve been on and off social media often, but mostly off for the last few weeks, but I have a good reason.

And that reason is books. See–no better reason is possible!

So, our new house. It has this glorious, huge space in the front of it with a half-vaulted ceiling and lots of good light. This flows directly into another space obviously intended to be an eating area (because there’s a pass-through from the kitchen). Then in the back of the house, there’s a kitchen and another living space–the one with the fireplace, so clearly, that had to be our main sitting room.

What to do with this gigantic front space with the great ceiling though?

Obviously, it had to become a library.

I had this plan in my mind from the moment we offered on the house, and of course, Balaji was behind it. Because books. We’ve spent eight years piling our books up on top of each other, in front of each other, and every which way we could, which doesn’t lend itself to finding things. To two such book lovers as ourselves, this is intolerable.

So we made a plan. And enlisted my mom and dad to help. Dad’s a handy dude with a lot of power tools, and they were both super keen on the project. And so, Memorial Day weekend, they spent three days working their butts off with us. Partly to reclaim the yard from the landscaping, which had gone a bit Sleeping Beauty while the house was unoccupied, but mostly to this:

Yeah. So. That was a lot of measuring. And cutting (thanks, Dad!) and painting. And screwing in brackets. And and and. BUT AT LAST, my dream of library domination was near!

… and a week later (because yes, it took me that long to arrange everything, we have this…

Which comes complete with a special section for fiction:

Yes, those are two of the originals of Megan Eckman‘s RPP covers in frames there. And my Sirius Black wand. And and and. STUFF!

Also, many books by friends there on the middle right hand side. :D

And then there’s the non-fiction, of course:

So yeah. THIS is where I’ve been. I just thought I’d share because… books! Now, we still need to find a proper couch and rugs and stuff, and my comics need to come out of their huge ugly tupperwares, but that can totally wait. For now I’m just gonna go stand int he middle of all my books.

And then back to work.

A is for Apocalypse Cover Reveal

13 May

What do you get when you take twenty-six amazing writers, randomly assign them a letter of the alphabet and give them complete artistic freedom within a theme?

A is for Apocalypse


Giveaway from editor and mad genius Rhonda Parrish:

I’m giving away three ARC copies of A is for Apocalypse (tour-wide). These are physical copies but I am willing to ship them to anywhere in the world. The Rafflecopter draw will run from May 12th to May 19th. On May 20th I will choose three winners and email them in order to get their shipping address. Anyone who doesn’t respond by May 27th will forfeit their prize and I will choose a new winner to receive it.

Enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vampire Movie Night: Fascination (sorta NSFW)

28 Mar

Welcome to the return of a  segment where we allow Liam Corchoran and Gianni Fiorenza, the so-called heroes of my vampire series, The Family, to regale us with their unnecessary opinions on various and sundry vampire films. Got a rec for the boys? Hit em up!

Tonight is Jean Rollin’s 1979 surreality, Fascination. Oh dear…

Fascination (1979)
Director: Jean Rollin
Stars: Franca Maï, Brigitte Lahaie, Jean-Marie Lemaire


G: Jean Rollin–there’s a name I haven’t heard in decades.
L: Do all of his movies begin with ladies hanging out in a meat locker drinking cow blood?
G: Of course not. But something very like, anyhow.
L: That’s pretty much how I knew this movie was going to be a weird experience.
G: And it delivered on that, at least.

L: So we have this dude, who is an absolute tool. I mean he’s a thief, which is fine, but also a tool, which is not. And for some inexplicable reason, women keep throwing themselves at him.
G: Well, he’s not terrible-looking naked.
L: I guess, but that red-and-black striped jacket… even know that’s shit.
G: I had one very like it in the seventies.
L: The seventies were a time of special madness for you weren’t they?
G: It wasn’t just me, darling, I assure you.


Welcome to our deserted chateau where we run around in nightgowns, Mr. Poorly Dressed Thief! Care for a fuck?


L: So basically these two girls are alone in this giant chateau. Having sex occasionally. Even though they kiss like they have no idea how to kiss.
G: It was a movie-kiss.
L: Right. And then, ugly thief-dude decides to hide in the chateau. So they… fuck around with him–and one of them fucks him–to keep him there until night for mysterious reasons. But the other one somehow falls in love with him. For even more mysterious reasons because what the actual fuck?
G: That would seem to be the whole of the plot. It really doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for the entire hour and a half.
L: Except to Naked Town. Because the blonde apparently has to screw like everyone in the house. Her friend, the ugly dude, the bandit dude.
G: And there isn’t really a trace of vampires.
L: But there are a lot of boobs.
G: And a little bit of man ass.


That’s it. That’s the movie.

L: And then we have what I assume is the iconic scene. Where, after fucking a dude to death in the stables, blondie throws a cloak over her birthday suit then picks up a sickle and runs around killing people.
G: Who have necessarily melodramatic death scenes.
L: While the viewer still has no idea what the fuck is going on, but hey, at least it’s kinda bad-ass.
G: That’s one word for it.


But really, it’s not much weirder than what you’d see at Fashion Week, is it?

G: I like the overall concept of the film, though–at least once we discover what it is in the last twenty minutes or so. All of these oxblood drinking, now blood-obsessed ladies finally show up at dark to have their ‘reunion’, waiting to see death and wearing veils… and this hapless idiot thief gets taken.
L: It’d be easier to appreciate if it wasn’t so annoying. Like, the audacity of this guy. He’s hanging out with seven freaky women who keep telling him death is coming and he’s just like whatever “you’re too bossy for my taste” and acts like he can screw with them.


Well, he’ll try, anyhow…

G: He thinks women harmless. They are exploiting that idiocy. Though there’s no real vampire, in the way we think of it, it’s quintessential vampire practice.
L: No, it’s way worse than that. This movie is basically saying women who are dangerous are evil. They’re all, like, lusting after this tool. I feel stupider for every minute this movie goes on.
G: You know, while I do think it’s trying to be arty, I think you’re reading too far into it. It’s really just meant to be an entertaining film about sex and death.
L: (makes a face)
G: (rolls his eyes)


Wait, did the movie just describe itself on multiple levels? This is getting too meta.

L: There are some major WTF moments right before the end but… I gotta admit, it had a better ending than I was expecting. For a second I thought it was gonna be ‘bad girl leaves her bad girl friends for douchebag boy and is suddenly saved’.
G: Agreed. I almost don’t regret this hour and a half.
L: Almost. Except. Not.
G: So if you’re looking for arty softcore with a lot of blood and deathfucking–
L: And French!
G: –this is the movie for you. And if you’re not, well, there’s no accounting for taste.


NOW, it’s a party.

Bullet Point Update!

24 Mar

Oh, life. Are we ready to slow down yet? Sure, I knew we were! Here are the recent developments in Kateyland in bullet point form, since I still have furniture to put together (grrrr argghhhh)!

  • I own a house. Weird but true. It’s a very cute house, too!
  • Lucy the mutant cat approves of the house, it would seem. Or at least, she approves of the windows.
  • St. Patrick’s Day came and went and I packed fueled entirely by Guinness and Paddy Rock that day. Not a bad plan… if no heavy lifting is involved. Probably.
  • Katey Hawthorne has a book coming out tomorrow. Oh, the timing. The terrible, terrible timing. Good reason to hop right back on the horse, though!
  • This week and weekend are RPP week and weekend. Next year’s schedule shall be finalized, emails shall be answered, and even if we don’t get the entire list of potential subs sorted out, we will be well on our way.
  • I am so tired of winter. Can it please be warm again?
  • Vampire Movie Night starts up again this weekend. Apologies in advance for what the first one will be… Fascination. It’s bad. So very, very bad.
  • Did I mention I own a house? Sorry, this is just weird. I also own almost enough furniture to fill it… but not quite. So we’ll be building a library. No really. A library. What else should a second living area be used for? Tea parties?
  • I need to have more tea parties tho.
  • I may be exhausted and slap-happy.


Back in the day

6 Mar

Is there anything more groan-inducing than opening up an old manuscript and realizing just how terrible it is?

No, I take it back. It wasn’t terrible. I liked the story, I liked the characters, but oh my god, technically, what a hot mess. Five years–just five!–and the damage was just unbelievable.

Things at which I was more terrible than I am now, apparently, complete with ranty tumblr moments from me and various others on these subjects.

-Overwriting. Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, how many actions does a character need to commit in one sentence? NO ONE IS PAYING ATTENTION AFTER THE FIRST ONE.

-Similarly: excessive description. Especially when you’ve already described them once. What the hell is this, Dickens? Move on, already! Delete. No one cares.

-Epithets. Okay honestly, I never used these a lot since I started submitting stuff; I’ve hated them for some time thanks to some very clever betas and fellow RPers. However, even titles can get just… bad. Even ‘the Secretary’ and ‘the Inquisitor’ are hard to follow after a while, man.

-Who the hell is talking? Okay, I still get accused of this a lot, but wow. Just. Wow.  Related: tags. Terrible, terrible tags. Hissing words, laughing words, snorting words.

No, Katey. Just. No. That is not a thing that happens.

-Looking. Looking at this, looking at that. Stop, okay, Katey? If you describe something we know the PoV character is LOOKING AT IT. Who else would be? Oh right!

-In a similar vein: filter words. “She felt” “he thought” “he knew” “he saw”… no shit, Sherlock, who did I think was feeling and seeing the crap I was describing? It’s tight third person limited PoV–there is only one possibility! (Assuming I wrote the PoV right. Which, well, at least I didn’t fuck that up!)

-Passivity. Passive voice can be used to such great effect, but I feel like shaking it off as a default has been pretty much the longest process of my entire writing life.

Now I look at this list and wonder, five more years down the road, what horrors will I find in my current works? Ah, it’s the fate of the writer to grow up in public a little bit, I suppose. Bless editors. Bless you all. And bless people who’ve hired me to edit between now and then, because thanks to you I have my little Elements of Style book memorized. And though many of its rules are outdated, it’s still the solid foundation it was back in the day!

Le sigh!

Please do not consider this a writing advice post, but do consider it me taking the piss out of myself. As an editor myself, these days, I find it necessary to reassure authors that I’m not just being mean and I TOTALLY understand where they’re coming from. Let this stand as proof. Because god, that only took a few days to edit up, but it felt like years.

Read an eBook week is here!

2 Mar

As they have for the past three years, Belfire Press is participating in International Read an eBook week with a massive sale at Smashwords. Don’t wanna click through? okay, I feel you, here you go:

All titles – including the anthologies, New Bedlam collections, and Needfire Poetry – are 50% off this week. Visit our Smashwords page, select your titles and use the code REW50 at check-out.

Yeah. Massive.

So that means creepyweird Appalachian Fae…


And creepyweird Monsterlove Vampires…


Are half off until the 8th. Yay!

And with the second installment of The Family shaping up nicely, now might be a good time to hop on board. Mwah ♥

J is for…

20 Feb

Those of you who know Rhonda Parrish from Niteblade may have seen a post from her a few months back about a project called A is for ApocalypseIt’s totally ingenious, and I’m not just saying that because I was lucky enough to land a spot on her roster for it. The deal is, 26 authors, each with a different, randomly assigned letter of the alphabet, and a post-apocalyptic theme.

Of course when I heard about it I flipped, because I haven’t done post-apocalyptic since Grants Pass, which I loved to pieces. However, the short I wrote for A is for Apocalypse is nothing like “Boudha”–it’s an epistolary supernatural horror short, “J is for…”

Well, I’ll leave that part for later. It involves monsters, though. Just–not the usual apocalypse-monsters.

The list of authors is really exciting–many that I’ve worked with  before, and many that I haven’t, and I’m excited about both! I found blog posts from Cory Cone, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, Steve Bornstein, C.S. MacCath, and Simon Kewin (hi, Simon!) talking about their involvement in the project too, but no one is giving too much away. I guess the only one who knows what all our letters stand for is Rhonda, at the moment. Mysterious, isn’t it?

So now things are all settled and my story has met with editorial smiles (because let’s face it, when someone asks me to write a thing, I am always waiting for a NOT GOOD ENOUGH, because, well, writers are like that), I had to squee about this a little. So exciteddddddd!

More as the project progresses but yay!

Building Backwards

27 Jan

WELP, after about ten years of writing several novels a year (most of which will never see the light of day for very, very good reason), I went an entire year without turning out even a short story. Not to make light of that–short stories are way harder to write than novels in my experience, but just in terms of word count…

Okay, I did actually write one short story, a halfway point between two of my ero-rom novels for Loose Id. It’s actually pretty cool because if you get it from me in person it comes on a CD that looks like it belongs to the band in the story, which revolves around them recording their first EP–

But I digress. It was barely finished on time to be useful. And it was intended to be a thank you for a book I wrote about three years ago and another I wrote one year ago (but that came out this year). Basically, the only reason I still exist on any map as a writer is because my absurd productivity over the last few carried over just enough to keep me in stuff to publish. Short fiction included.

This blog used to function a lot more as a working writer’s blog, with me talking a little about the process or weird discoveries I’d made in how-tos–for myself, not as advice or anything, but just because writing is a lonely profession and the net allows us to discuss these things. I’ve talked a lot in the past about how I draft a book, but the basic rundown is: puke it up in one quick go, leave it alone for a month or two, come back to it, do some worksheets to clarify plot and character arcs, rewrites, beta readers. After three KV Taylor novels/novellas and six for Katey Hawthorne, I figured I had the process DOWN, right?

Yeah. Enter the year of NO WRITING EVER. Watch how it changes. Hollllly fuck.

At first, I thought I’d get back into the swing of things by picking up one of the half-finished novels I had lying around on my hard drive. Should be easier, right? The plotting and stuff was still there in my head. NP!

Haha, no. Wasn’t happening. And while I have had trouble with characters not doing as they’re told, I’ve never before experienced a complete and utter inability to just write. Now, some of this had to do with my health issues, for sure, and med adjustment, and general FML feelings at the time, but in the past when life has sucked, I’ve always turned it into fiction.

I got really cranky, y’all. So cranky. AM I EVEN A WRITER ANYMORE?

Then I remembered an email from my romance publishers, which had been kind of chilling in the back of my mind while all this crap was going down. A call for novella subs on a very particular theme (Missed Connections). So I sat down and thought about that, realized I had some pretty damn cool ideas, and decided to build it from the ground up. I’d never pitched a book that wasn’t actually written before, but it seemed to me that if my old methods weren’t working to get my engine to turn over, why not try something new?

I found some inspirational images, as usual–in this case those funny signs you see outside coffee shops, bars, restaurants, etc. I wandered around my city, getting reacquainted with it. I decided what my heroes looked like and got a sense of who they were and what they needed. I did my worksheets first–both plot development and character arc ones–and built a synopsis from them. (FTR: this is how I do all my synopses and blurbs–here’s a three year old post on the subject–and it’s basically my one habit that keeps my editors from strangling me, I’m pretty sure. I am a synopsis and blurb EXPERT, motherfuckers! Just, I usually do it AFTER the draft to clarify my focus and development on the revisions. Yyyyeah.)

Amazingly, I had a contract in hand like a week later. For a book I hadn’t written. Which is standard practice for most working authors, I realize, but noooooooot for me. I usually have such an epic backlog of finished projects to choose from, I’m more likely to just be like, “Golly, which one do I send them next?”

Haha, those were the days.

Anyhow, I wrote the book. I wrote it in smaller chunks than usual, too. There were some days where my usual 7k chunks happened and I felt like a rockstar again. But for the most part, it was more 1k days between trying to pull life shit together. And it was fun. Like really, really fun. A lot of stuff changed between that first synopsis and where it actually went–as the characters revealed their dimensions to me (okay yes I know it’s actually me revealing their dimensions, this is just how I talk/think about it, come on), things went in different directions, and it was exciting.

I’m about to get the book back from my editor Raven. It’s called In Distress, and it’ll be out from Loose Id mid-March. Ish. It’ll always be the book that reminded me what it is I do and why I do it.

Now for all these half-finished manuscripts. *cracks knuckles* You’re next, Vampire Boy