Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “authonomy”

The Nightmares Are Coming! Love For Our Writing Friends

TODAY’S BREW:  Green Mountain Eggnog. Delish.

The Nightmares Before Christmas short story non-contest, in which there will be no prizes, is nigh!  I, Julie, speak for us both when I say we are especially psyched out of our minds for this.  The response has been fantastic already, and the “rules” that Kristen made up say submissions don’t even really start till tomorrow.  Awesome.

I read all the submissions as soon as I got them.  Did I mention I am excited?  I am absolutely blown away by the talent of the people we have gotten to know.  That may sound like general blog reader pat on the back, but I assure you, I have been raving to everyone around me how bloody fantastic the group of writers we run with is.  Also, if I have nothing nice to say, I just won’t bother.  I am greatly impressed by the minds of the people who have submitted so far.  You know who you are.

This being said, all but one of the writers who have submitted to us included some clause of sorts that said, “If it’s not good enough, just say the word, oh you who has no right to do so, and I will scrap all of my hard work and feel bad about myself to make you happy.”  Then we have other writers, some of who I personally asked to write for us because I am so enamored of them and their work, that are afraid they are not good enough to submit.  I AM APPALLED, PEOPLE!

Yes, we asked you to write for us, but always, always write for YOU.   Be confident in your work because you made it.  Stop being your own worst critic.  Reserve that right for those who are not as good as you that will point out your every flaw, because, like your mother said, they are just jealous.

And another thing!  Scary is in the eye of the beholder.  You don’t need to write with blood, guts and gore to write a scary story.  Think of the thing that you never want to become, the thing that terrifies you to lose, the thing that stands to hurt you the most.  Then become it, lose it, and get hurt by it.  Now write it down.  Not that you need me to tell you what to do, because you are writing for you, remember?

What I find truly frightening is the idea that the writers I have had the great pleasure of getting to know, and I would love to mention by name here but won’t, may not write something one day because they think it  isn’t good enough.  I offer facts now. Our very own Kristen Strassel, now complete with representation, almost didn’t write Immortal Dilemma, or the fantastic novella she has finished because she thought it might have been a dumb idea.  Heard that from her a lot.  A good friend of mine from Authonomy. com almost stopped looking for an agent to self-publish because he thought an agent would tell him he sucked.  Then, just like I told him, he got one because his book is incredible.  Never doubt me.  This is not to say that the word of an agent is the word of God, but they represent the reading world, and know what appeals to them.  To think, we were almost denied these great works because of needless self doubt.

I cannot WAIT to introduce you all to the amazing writers we have come to know, and hope you all are as eager to support each other.  Because if you aren’t you will see something very scary.  Angry Julie.

Did I mention there are no prizes?  Need the scoop on participating?  Click Here.

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Discoredia by JC Michael: Read This Horror Novel and Like It, Damnit!

TODAY’S BREW: As much coffee as I can fit in all 5’2″ of my body.

This, my fine young friends, is the first chapter of our good friend, JC Michael’s horror, Discoredia. What I love about his work is the very realistic fright fest it provides, all while giving you kick-ass imagery that makes it a thoughtful read at the same time.

Discoredia is currently #1 on the list of books headed to the editor’s desk on http://www.Authonomy.com. I could not be more pleased to see a horror novel take that spot, and even more pleased that it is JC’s. He has worked for it the good, old-fashioned, honest way. Enjoy the read, and check out the whole novel on Authonomy!

CHAPTER 1

He was wrecked, wasted, totally, utterly, and unashamedly, out of his head. God it was good.
Back home he felt old, past his prime, almost thirty, and the drugs of the new millennium had disappointingly failed to live up to the promise of their ‘90s predecessors. He could remember a time when a couple of good E’s, Doves perhaps, were all he’d needed for a twelve-hour shift. Nowadays, gobbling down a dozen or more still wouldn’t guarantee he’d last an all-nighter, at least not without ending up huddled in a corner, wishing it would end. As for the music, to him it increasingly sounded like sped-up pop, the decline in quality seemingly linked to the current rise in popularity. Sometimes, he wondered why he still bothered.
Tonight, he knew why. Tonight was different. It was the payoff, the reward for his persistence. He felt young, a youth in his mid-twenties with his life ahead of him, and he was completely fucked; fucked on a single, solitary, pill. The music consumed him within his personal utopia. It was hard. Fast. Mean. It had retained its edge. This was real Hardcore, pride of place in the Main Arena, not shunted off into a shitty side-room to make way for the latest Top Ten bootleg. A Main Arena that in itself represented a step back in time to the good old days. An old school Shangri-La devoid of neon and fluorescents. No bright lights. No inflatables. No fucking foam. This was a proper rave, not a poor imitation like the ones back home that at times seemed more like a kid’s birthday party. The oppressive darkness was a world of shadows, a world filled with smoke and pierced by lasers. A warehouse full of Gabbers, not Hard House posers. He was overwhelmed. He was loving it. So what if he was abroad? This felt like home should feel.
This was RottRave, billed as Rotterdam’s hardest Rave of the year, and the first time he had travelled outside of England for a night out. By these standards, it wouldn’t be his last. Gabber, Techno, and Speedcore, an unholy triumvirate of styles of ultra-hard dance music, each of which endeavoured to trepan through his skull and bore into his brain. He lived for this music, so full of aggression and raw power.
He’d bought his ticket over the Internet; got a cheap crossing on North Sea Ferries with a voucher from the local paper. Made some new friends. Got drunk. Got caned on the best weed Amsterdam had to offer. Yet somehow still managed to get here. He wasn’t certain how. The pill had been purchased off a shady looking guy in a Feyenoord shirt. A bargain at five Euros. The end result? The night of his fucking life. He’d lost his new mates somewhere in the smoke, but he didn’t care. He was rushing like fuck.
This was how things should be, how they were meant to be, how they had been back in the day. The music engulfed him, taking away all perception of when and where. Time meant nothing; only the beat mattered. His hands, and the trails they made as he moved them, mesmerised him. How long had he been dancing? No idea. It must have been hours but he didn’t feel tired, not at all, he had energy to spare. Rushes of blissful euphoria swept over him in waves, swamping his thoughts with ideas of how this was it, nothing else mattered, work, family, life, all a sham, an empty way of existence. This was pure; he was one with the music, one with the crowd, the crowd he could barely make out through the smoke surrounding him. Everyone else just a shade in the mist. Brothers and sisters he knew were there, but by sense, rather than sight. He was lost but he was found, found himself, found a home, found God.
He stumbled, a momentary sickness coursed through him, but it passed, to be replaced by a glimmer of clarity as he remembered where he was. How long had he been tranced out like that? He tried to think, but the concept of time eluded him. Had he been dancing? Dancing like a shaman caught up in the rapture of ecstasy, or stood, barely moving, like a rock buffeted by the power of an angry sea, a violent ocean of beats and bass. He thought about it. He didn’t know. His thoughts moved on and someone spoke in his ear but the words were lost, drowned out by the sped up chorus of a track sampling one of the classics. “Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode, He’s Ebenezer Goode”. He began to dance and lost himself once more.
A melody swept around him, lifting him like an eagle on a thermal, before the percussive bass thundered in once more. Occasionally he thought that he recognised a tune, but before he could be sure, it disappeared. The mixing was tight and fast, each song replaced no sooner had it started. It was how D.J’ing should be, a skill, an art. Not one record played for three minutes forty-five before having its outro mixed with the intro of another mass-produced, music by numbers, piece of crap. He could barely tell where one track started and another ended; the changes so rapid it all merged into one, but he knew that although it sounded like a single tune, it was many. He tried to concentrate, to focus, but his head span, his attempts to think requiring too much effort when conscious thought was merely a distraction from the instinctiveness of being high. He closed his eyes and closed his mind, letting the music take him yet again.
Another stumble. He was at the front. Had he just got here or been here all along? He didn’t know. He turned his back to the stage and looked into the crowd. He raised his hands, and they raised theirs. He was a King. He turned. And saw his Queen.

The M.C surveyed the crowd before him. It was a good night with the D.Js on top form and those packing the dancefloor seemed well up for a party. He took a drink of lukewarm water and looked around some more. What the hell was Ruud doing? He recognised the girl as a regular at Gabber nights in the area, but why Ruud would be helping her up onto the speakers, he had no idea. If he wanted a “gabberinnen” to put on a bit of a show there were plenty more to choose from, the vast majority of which made this one look like the trash she was. Scrawny with greasy lank hair, and wearing the same grubby pale blue outfit and beaten up trainers she always wore, she looked terrible. Part of him hoped she would fall off the speaker stack; her attempts at dancing were an embarrassment, although there was some nut gazing up at her who looked positively besotted. He’d heard the rumours that the bitch was anyone’s for a line of coke or a hit of crack, but Ruud just wasn’t into that kind of thing. It didn’t make sense but then again, so what? Ruud now seemed more interested in the guy dancing like a lunatic in front of the little skank anyway, though God knew why. He put down his bottle and, raising the mic to his lips, berated the crowd for being too quiet. He could quiz the Ruudster later.

He heard the MC on the stage demand that the crowd make some noise but he was too engrossed in the divine image of the goddess in front of him to care. She was beautiful, and had been placed on a pedestal just for him. As she danced atop the speaker, he felt himself imitate her movements, first in canon, then seemingly in unison. He stopped imitating when she looked at him and smiled. He was transfixed as she raised her hands above her head, clamped her fists together, and danced as though performing for his own, personal, enjoyment. Performing a sensual, sexual dance around an invisible pole.
As the lasers on the stage behind her penetrated into the darkness they lit up the blonde streaks which shimmered as they shot through her long hair. Hair which was so luxurious it belonged in a shampoo advert. Hair which was held back from her face by a thick, pale blue, Alice-band only a shade lighter than the tight, cropped, running top and matching micro shorts that she wore. Hair which framed the angular features of her angelic face. His eyes lingered for a moment, noting her clamped-shut eyes, small nose, and rich, full, lips, before looking down over the curves of her slim, athletic figure.
Reaching out, he touched the pure white Nike trainer that, despite the writhing of her body, remained rooted in its spot on the speaker before him, level with his own shoulders. He felt the vibration of the bass through her foot and ran his hand up over her ankle to her calf, the nylon of her tan tights sending a tingle of static through his fingertips. The tingle was matched, and then exceeded, by a jolt of electricity that he now felt rushing up his spine to the base of his neck. He tilted his head back to gaze upon her. His whole body rigid. His penis erect.
Her foot pulled back and he looked up. Looked into a pair of ice-cold eyes above a sneer that demanded, “Who the fuck are you?” How could she not know he was her King? He smiled to bring her out of her confusion. She showed him her middle finger. The sign was universal and it was treason. A blatant act of treachery compounded by the audacity to only now bring a smile to her face.
The rage that exploded within him saw the tingle within his spine vanish, its replacement feeling like a column of molten lava erupting upwards and into his brain. He lunged forwards, sinking his teeth into her calf, his incisors biting through the nylon and puncturing her skin. The coppery taste of her blood excited his tongue, and as he pulled away, the nylon of her tights stretched and then tore into ladders running up towards her thigh, like a damaged spider-web. The fabric snapped as he ripped away a mouthful of flesh. His Queen fell to her knees, falling where she stood to bow down in supplication before her Lord, but her obedience had come too late. With her face only inches from his he paid scant attention to the wide-eyed terror that had consumed her, for now he could see her for the hag she was. The music pounded in his head, beating upon his brain. What trickery, what witchcraft, had she used to deceive him so? She looked at him, her eyes pleading for mercy, but nevertheless, she had disrespected him and must pay.
As violent eruptions in his brain demanded retribution that be both swift, and brutal, he knew that if he didn’t succumb, if he didn’t obey and deal with the slut before him, his head would crack open like the slopes of a volcano. He showed her his own middle finger and then thrust his head forward, straining his mouth open so wide that his jaw cracked, and bit her again, this time her neck. His teeth were clamped down, the jugular, yes; he remembered the vein’s name from the vampire films he’d watched in his teens with a fleeting clarity that had no business interloping on the fury that devoured him. He felt her pulse with the tip of his tongue as she tried to pull away, and bit down harder. The vein was severed and, as the lava continued to erupt in his brain, her blood pumped onto his face from the fissure he had torn in her flesh. His vision was gone, a thick red curtain brought down over his eyes. He swallowed a mouthful of blood and revelled in its richness.

“Security to the front of the stage. Fuck. Fucking Security. Down Here. Now.” They were words he barely registered.

He wiped the blood from his brow and the vision returned in his left eye just in time to see the M.C, microphone still in hand, jump off the stage and run towards him down the metre-wide gap between stage and stand-off barriers. He guessed that the muscle-bound skinhead bearing down towards him, with what looked like a bootprint tattooed on the right side of his face, was a fighter, and that was one skill he had never had, but the explosions in his head had opened up his brain. Areas previously unaccessed had swollen and burst, releasing the suppressed knowledge of ancestors now forgotten by time, but who had existed through eras far more warlike than the twenty-first century Europe he knew. He was suddenly aware of his bloodline, the warrior DNA that had been hidden for so long, and he had nothing to fear. The right hook, which M.C Bootface probably thought was a dead cert to break his jaw, came at him and he ducked it with ease. Now it was his move.
Throughout his act of aggression towards the innocent young woman, now collapsed, twitching, on the speaker before him, and the attempted retaliation that had followed, his middle finger had, unlike his manhood, remained rigid. In the absence of any weapon, other than his own body, he plunged the digit into Bootface’s right eye socket as hard as he could. He felt the eyeball push back and then ride up over the finger that he now curled and hooked into the socket, before yanking back and simultaneously launching his head forwards. The resulting collision shattered Bootface’s nose and, hearing the crack, he realised that the music had ceased. Cries, shouts and screams had taken its place but he didn’t care, the music was still there for him, there in his head. The red curtain descended again as more blood spilt over him. Act Two was complete. He felt so alive and wiped his face clear on his sleeve. Adrenaline coursed through his body like never before. Then another crack, this time from himself. Cheek? Jaw? He was unsure. His conviction began to falter as pain muscled into his thoughts. He fell to the floor and rolled to his right, looking up just in time to see the boot of a bouncer stomping down towards the side of his face. He moved. This time his reactions let him down. The boot connected, mashing his cheekbone further and leaving an imprint eerily similar to that etched on the M.C’s face. The red curtain dropped for a third time and the fire within him began to subside, the lava within the column of his spine and crater of his brain cooling and solidifying into paralysis.
Grabbed by the arms he found himself being dragged away. Through his court. Through his subjects. What had happened? Wasn’t he their King? Or was he a usurper whose rule was now coming to a bloody end? Confusion drifted upon him, the rush of adrenaline spent. Where was he? What were these people looking at? Looks of horror and disgust contorting their faces as he passed. Dragged further now, beyond those who had bore stunned witness to his madness, and to those unaware of what had just transpired and who seemed only to care why the music had stopped. Past more who looked at him with a morbid fascination. Why? He could taste blood. Was it his? Someone else’s? A cocktail of both? Had he had a fit? Collapsed? Been attacked? He felt sick but was unable to retch. Dragged further. He could see a light; a side door had been opened.
Hauled towards the opening now and he spotted a guy in a Feyenoord shirt standing out in the crowd. Did he know him? He thought so but the jumble in his mind failed to either confirm or deny. The man was talking into his mobile, but as he passed him he lowered it from the side of his face and looked straight at him, smiling as he did so. Who the fuck was he? Did it matter? And then he was gone, lost back into the throng of gabbers as he himself was hauled from it through the door and into the light. A pulse of nausea convulsed his stomach, creating an unsettling feeling that something intangible had been torn from deep within him. He was beginning to lose consciousness, but a voice pulled him back, someone saying someone had been assaulted, killed, could it be something to do with him? He didn’t know. He felt drowsy. He felt himself being dropped to the floor, but his eyes were now closed. Oblivion demanded him.

http://authonomy.com/books/42398/discoredia/ Now, go! Go, and back this novel for free on Authonomy so we can see this sucker in print!

Look at us go!

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Imagine our surprise and happiness when we discovered this! This is from the Authonomy site. Thank you to anyone who has supported our books!

Kristen and Julie

AA: Authonomy Anonymous

TODAY’S BREW: Dunkin’ Donuts coconut, hot, light, no sugar (If this doesn’t tip you off Kristen isn’t around, nothing will.)

So, Kristen and I posted Immortal Dilemma and Running Home on Authonomy.com, a writer’s site run by Harper Collins, the gods of publishing. Hundreds upon hundreds of writers post their manuscripts of all varieties here to be read by others of the writing community. If you consider yourself a writer, I highly recommend this site. It’s a bit daunting, what with the forums, rankings, starring, bookshelves, watchlists, editor’s desk, latest authors, most commented authors, top rated authors this week which is always changing…there’s a lot happening. And it is incredibly easy to develop a habit.

A page full of authors who want the same thing as you do pop up the second you click on the site. All you can think of is reading their books, and letting them read yours, and what will they think, and what will I think, and how fast can I get on the editor’s desk and what if I suck? So, you start to try to make friends based on their bios and their pretty, pretty pictures. Long story short, the comments start rolling in. Your heart jumps to your throat, then escapes your mouth, falls on the floor and finds its way back in somehow long enough for you to click on the comment and find out how much your life’s work means to people. The highs and lows of this are mind boggling. Literally, I have been brought to tears twice because the community is so pleasant and supportive. As soon as you get that first comment on your novel, you want more and more and more. You start asking everyone to read your book. I, for one, looked for the best ballbuster I could find just to see if I could take it. Before you know it, you are up until 3:30 in the morning working on this site, and don’t even care that 2 small children will demand a lot of energy in just a few short hours. I am getting all jumpy just talking about it.

What Authonomy offers is a ranking system that, for the Undead Duo, tells us in a number or 3 exactly how good we are. We are creatures of retail management. We need to be given a rank, and that rank had better be one or God help you all. Quickly we became obsessed with watching the rankings, creating a network, promoting each other’s works and escalating the high we got from all of those fantastic reviews. I’m fairly certain that my favorite friend on Authonomy thinks I am stalking him since he gave me a glowing review and defended me against a semi-harsh critique. Then he got all his friends to read Running Home, and back it. We call him The Hero around here. I send the poor guy a hundred messages a day about different issues. I may get kicked off the site for this, but let’s hope not.

Kristen finally figured out that we had hit bottom, and needed to let up a bit. I disagree. I think we should be allowed to binge directly following finishing our hard work as a celebration! We didn’t get drunk when we finished writing our novels, so it’s only fair that we indulge in something, right? I give myself a week of obsessing with Authonomy, and then I will just be a casual checker. If I fall off the wagon, I am sure Kristen will rope me back in, if she isn’t hiding an Authonomy ranking habit of her own.

For now, I think we will just take it one day at a time.

Not Everybody Has to Like You…the rejection letter

TODAY’S BREW:  chocolate something or other

So.  It happened today.  Both Kristen and I got our very first rejection letters from an agent. The very same one. Form letters. They weren’t bad, they just said that she wasn’t that in to us and she thought it was best if we all saw other people.

This is not the point where we start to wonder if we are going down the right path or not.  We made damn sure that we were.  We have been very careful every step of the way.  And in being so cautious, we also knew that our first query letters, no matter how good we thought they were, would not be our best ones.  Confidence gets gained along the way of this process, and it shows in the query letter.

However, I will never be confident in using the word “query.”

We didn’t send out 40 letters to 40 agents randomly.  We carefully selected a long list of agents that represent the genre, first and foremost, and who we think would have interest in our works.  From that list, we picked who our dream agents would be.  Then we gave them nicknames without trying to. It was kind of like picking a list of colleges to apply to.  We sent out our first five queries.  Even though we knew these were not probably going to pan out, we did extensive research on each one.  We worked together on our queries.  We put a lot of care into them.

This is usually where a person would feel bitter disappointment and start questioning their own abilities and judgment.  But we are not those people.  I am not going to sling you crap about what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.  I will tell you that being rejected was part of the plan.  That’s why we started off slow, and with our worst bets.  Sure, we both wondered, ‘what if this one wants to represent me?’  but we knew the chances were slim.  And we know where we are going from here, hopefully with some insight.

While we await more replies, we continue to have people read our works.  We take all criticism seriously, and consider common themes, while continuing to stand by our original ideas.  We are putting the full manuscripts on Authonomy for more solid critique, and some community.  And we write our sequels.  We treat these novels like a small career, and work towards making that happen continuously.

In my long and illustrious career in panty sales for the most prestigious ladies underthings company in the world, I was often given the reins of deciding who to promote, or put in charge of special projects or what have you.  Always someone who wasn’t chosen and thought they were a shoe-in was disgruntled.  Always there was someone asking what was wrong.  And the answer was always the same:  “She didn’t give it to me.”  Inevitably, I would end up having to pull this person aside for their unprofessional attitude, and once again address why they had not been promoted.  Every time I would get a long list of excuses why they had been dealt bad cards.  My answer to them was always the same: “It’s not why I didn’t give it to you…it’s why you didn’t get it.”

Whatever the rejection, the way to see through it is to take control of it.  What, if anything, do I need to change to get to my goal?  Have I given the best of myself to be considered, or is there something that I am holding back?

So, rejection letter #1 will have me go back, and reevaluate my pitch, and whether or not my voice came through.  I am willing to bet that my mind-numbing fear in sending it showed.  The next one will not have a note of fear in it.  I will refine, and build the confidence on paper that I feel in my heart for this novel.  We see the forest through the trees.

And Kristen and I will repeat our mantra: Not every agent has to like it.  Just one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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