Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Pen and Muse”

March Madness Flash Fiction: EMILY by Jolene Haley

TODAY’S BREW: Fancee Mistobox coffee

By Julie

I can’t trust myself not to go on and on about Jolene Haley because my heart bursts with love for the girl. When I was having my roughest time she got a bunch of folks to write what they love about me and made an entire Friday event out of it. She’s there for all of us, whenever we need it, but without that do-gooder vibe that makes a person run, you know? And her jokes are the dirtiest. The DIRTIEST. And there is nothing she doesn’t do. The girl is a miracle. And then she goes and writes stuff like this. Raw, but polished and frightening and heavy-hearted. Beautiful.

EMILY

by Jolene Haley

Crazy.

It’s whispered behind my back. It’s written on my charts. It’s murmured from professional to professional as they discuss me.

I don’t feel crazy.

I don’t look crazy. I‘m just an average teenage girl. Long blond hair. Brown eyes. Freckle-faced.

I’m not like the rest of the people locked away in Friendly Hills Mental Institution. For one, I don’t walk around drooling or screaming.

One of my favorite authors wrote something that fits these people perfectly. They’re “like haunted houses. The lights were on but no one was home.” That’s what it’s like here. I’m stuck in a house of horrors, complete with wailing.

I’m not dangerous like they say. It’s all a misunderstanding. If they ask Emily, she’ll tell you.

“Layla,” a soothing voice says.  “Ready for your three o’clock?”

Every Tuesday and Thursday at three o’clock sharp I see Dr. Novak, the resident psychologist.

No. I’m not ready.

I hate the doctor. He isn’t making me better. He makes everything worse.

Everyone at Friendly Hills knows that you have to go willingly. If you don’t, you still go. But with a new syringe mark in your flesh.

I slide the paperback back on to the shelf. I’ve read every book in the building three times. Maybe four.

“Sure,” I say, forcing a smile. “I’m ready.”

I know where the psychologist’s office is but the nurse escorts me anyways. The white walls and white floor are accented by white, tattered curtains moving gently in recycled air.

Before I know it, I’m outside the office. The blond woman in scrubs opens the heavy metal door.

I slip through the entrance, letting the door thud close behind me. This entire place smells like burst water pipes and mold.

An empty desk and rusty folding chairs are scattered around the waiting room. There’s another door to the left. This one is propped open. It’s the doctor’s office, so I walk in.

The round, middle aged man stands when I appear.

“Ah, Ms. Barnes,” the man says. Like he didn’t know that I’d be here. Like it’s some sort of pleasant surprise. But it’s Thursday, at 3:00. We both know better. We’ve had this schedule for the last six months.

“Dr. Novak.”

“How are you doing today?” he asks, almost like he genuinely cares. A warm smile spreads across his rosy cheeks. I want to cringe. I want to scream.

Instead I bite my cheeks and reply. “Great.”

He sits back in his seat, his large belly extending over his khaki pants.

“Well, you’re certainly looking well.” Dr. Novak’s eyes travel from my face downward. A shiver runs up my spine. Dr. Novak grins, his lips pulling up at the sides, displaying his yellow teeth.

My eyes slide over his desk. Messy stacks of paper, Bent manila folders full of secrets, stories. I hate that my entire life boils down to one fucking folder, strewn on his desk.

“Why don’t you shut the door,” the doctor suggests.

I didn’t like shutting that door. Nothing good comes after the door is shut.

“No,” I tell him.

A smile spreads on his face in such a strange way, it looks like a snarl. “I can help make you better, Layla. I can fix you.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.” I’ve told him that since the day I arrived.

“Your family doesn’t see it that way,” the doctor says matter-of-factly. “After all, it’s my report that can get you out of here. Don’t you want a good report?”

Movement catches my attention. We aren’t alone. Emily is here too, peeking out from behind the curtains. How did she sneak in without getting caught? Emily is great at sneaking.

Her long brown hair is stringy and she looks pale. Her hospital gown sags on her shoulders but it doesn’t matter. She’s my best friend. I love her. She won’t let the doctor hurt me.

“I said, shut the door Layla,” Dr. Novak repeats. He’s growing impatient.

I nod and pad over to the wooden door. I peek my head out. My heart sinks. The waiting room is still empty. There’s no one around to help me if I need it. I close the door behind me.

“Pull down the shade,” Dr. Novak instructs me.

I pull it down and turn, leaning against the door. My heart is racing.

Emily gifts me an encouraging smile. One that is wordless but says everything. I’ll protect you. Just like I always do.

“Come here,” the doctor orders.

I want to throw up. Every bone in my body screams for me to run. But where? Every white corridor only leads to three more. Every door is locked. Every window has bars.

“Come here girl,” the doctor orders. “You don’t want me to tell your family that you’ve sunken worse into your madness, do you? Come.”

Come, I think bitterly. Like a dog. Like an obedient pet. I am to come, stay, sit, and roll over whenever he commands.

My gaze travels above the doctor’s head and they’re met by warm brown eyes. Emily moves out from behind the curtain, beckoning me closer.

I take a step towards them both. Then another.

The doctor narrows his eyes at me. “What are you looking at?” He sits up in his chair and turns. I’m afraid that he’ll see her, that we’ll be caught. I don’t want Emily to get in trouble.

Dr. Novak’s gaze moves straight past her, before turning back to me with a look of confusion.

For an all-seeing doctor, he sure is blind. Emily’s right there. Right behind him. And she doesn’t look happy.

Emily lifts her arm and brings it to her neck, dragging her finger across her throat. Then she points at Dr. Novak.

I shake my head. I hate the doctor. But that doesn’t mean I want him dead. Or maybe I just don’t want to be the one to kill him.

Emily won’t understand. She doesn’t forgive. She doesn’t forget. And Emily wants Dr. Novak dead.

Emily points to the doctor’s desk.

My eyes wander over the mess. Amongst the files and papers there is one thing that catches my attention: a pair of large, sharp scissors.

“Layla, come here now,” the doctor demands, frustrated. “You’re being naughty. You ought to listen to your doctor. I know best.”

Dr. Novak settles back in his chair, tilting it so far backwards that for a moment I’m afraid that he’ll topple over into Emily.

I tiptoe to the edge of his desk, a scream settling in my throat. After all, who will hear? It’s no use. I don’t like to fight it. The doctor likes a struggle.

I run my fingers along the desk. The scissors are close. Very close. I can have them in my hands in a matter of seconds.

Emily nods encouragingly. Her nod says it for her, “Do it. End him. He doesn’t deserve to live.”

I don’t want to hurt anyone. Just like I didn’t want to hurt anyone last time. But Emily is never wrong.

“That’s it, girl,” Dr. Novak murmurs. “Just a little closer so we can begin our session.” He chuckles. I grimace.

“Do it,” Emily whispers. Dr. Novak doesn’t seem to notice.

I step around the desk stopping inches from his chair. He clasps his sweaty hand around my wrist. “Thata girl,” Dr. Novak coos.

“If you don’t, I will,” Emily warns me, standing right behind him. “And I’ll make him suffer.”

My eyes travel back to the scissors. They’ll do the job nicely.

Dr. Novak places one of my hands on his knee.

“He deserves it! He hurt me too. Don’t let him get away with it!” Emily’s shouting now. Her brown eyes are darker, cold. Her wispy hair is swaying, like there’s a draft in this windowless room. “Do it! Kill him!” she screams.

Emily’s right. He deserves it.

The doctor chuckles, grabbing my hand and inching it down his thigh. Then, he releases me, wrapping his hands around the back of his neck. He trusts me to keep going. He knows that I don’t want a bad report.

“Now!” Emily screams. Her dark eyes gleaming with bloodlust. “Just there,” she points to the doctor’s neck. “Jam them right in and twist.”

I keep my right hand on the doctor’s leg and with my left, I grab the scissors.

I stare at his neck, covered tightly with a stained button-down shirt and tie. The veins in his neck are crimson streams that soon will be set free.

I raise my hand, the shining scissors clasped tightly.

This is for Emily.

Emily dances with glee behind the doctor, waiting for the moment to come. She’s enjoying this. She always does.

“Doctor,” I say quietly, so not to alarm him.

“Yes?” he asks. His eyes are still shut. A smug smile is plastered on his face.

I clear my throat and perfect my aim. “I think my madness is getting worse.”

Emily rears her head back, screaming in laughter. She knows I’m not crazy. She knows that he deserves this.

The doctor’s eyes snap and land on the scissors pointed at his neck.

Before he has time to react, Emily grabs my hand. Just like last time. Just like all the other times. Before I can blink, the scissors are in his neck. Twisting. Turning. Setting his sin free, which comes out in squirts.

Emily’s hand is still on mine, pushing the scissors deeper.

“Oh yes,” she laughs. “Your madness is much worse.”

She giggles so loud it muffles the other sounds. The drips. Gurgles. Murmurs. Pleas.

I realize Emily isn’t the only one laughing. I am too. Giggling. Dancing.

Emily and I whirl around, holding the scissors in the air like a treasured pet.

The door opens, the blond nurse from earlier gasps. Her face twists up in horror and fear. She plasters herself against the office door. She screams.

I look over at Emily. Maybe she has an escape plan. But there, just where she was a moment before, she is gone.

Emily is gone.

Jolene Haley is an author and the curator of the best-selling horror anthology The Dark Carnival through Pen & Muse Press. She also runs a YA horror blog The Midnight Society and the author resource site Pen & Muse.. She writes every genre under the sun, but prefers horror. When she’s not writing she can be found cuddling her two dogs and enjoying the beach, where she lives.

Founder of The Midnight Society  |   Co-founder of Pen & Muse
Also hangs at JoleneHaley.com    |   Moonbeams & Mischief 
Tweet me!  @JoleneHaley 
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THE DARK CARNIVAL IS HERE

TODAY’S BREW: Dunkin’s dark roast because FREEEEEE. HAPPY NATIONAL COFFEE DAY, PEOPLE I LOVE!

By Julie

Soooooo, you may or may not be able to get a couple of killer stories from Ye Olde Undead Duo for free in the coolest anthology ever soon. AND MBY MAY OR MAY NOT I MEAN MAY. YOU MAY. Not to mention some of the most amazing short horror pieces I’ve ever read from many of our friends. I CANNOT WAIT FOR YOU TO GET IT.

dark_carnival-cover-banner

LOOK AT HOW EERIE AND SUBTLY HOLY HELL THIS IS.

October approaches. Autumn leaves are nearly falling. The Dark Carnival is calling, calling. Will you answer its call? Will you heed the beckon?

 The doors are opening.

 Will you leave with your life?

In this anthology, several authors and illustrators explore the dark and hidden dangers that lie within a carnival that has come to town. But it is no ordinary carnival. It’s The Dark Carnival.

And when The Dark Carnival comes to town, there’s no promise that anyone can leave…alive.

Edited by: Jolene Haley, Kristen Jett, and Jessi Shakarian

 LOOK AT THIS LINEUP.

Contributors include: Kat Daemon, Kristen Strassel, Julie Hutchings, C. Elizabeth Vescio, Mark Matthews, Brian W. Taylor, Kim Culpepper, Eli Constant, Mari Wells, J. Elizabeth Hill, Nicole R. Taylor, Ashly Nagrant, Kristin Hanson, Calyn Morgan, Tawney Bland, Roselle Kaes, Ken Mooney, Emily McKeon, Bobby Salomons, Ezekiel Conrad, Sheila Hall, Michelle Davis, Lucas Hargis, Vanessa Henderson, Ryan Bartlett, Debra Kristi, Jessi Esparza, T.A. Brock, Ruth Shedwick, Brian LeTendre, Amy Trueblood, Gregory Carrico, Jamie Corrigan, Kate Michael, Tyle Anne Snell, Alicia Audrey, Meghan Schuler, Jamie Adams, Wulf Francu Godgluck, J.C. Michael, Suzy G., Kristin Rivers, and Claire C. Riley. *Final lineup subject to change

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Add it to Goodreads here:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20495362-the-dark-carnival

Absinthe: A Walk On The Wild Side

Today’s Brew: Not Absinthe.  Frozen Hot Chocolate. Which was twice as good as it sounds.

by Kristen

***BECAUSE THE NIGHT is on sale this week for 99 cents! Merry Christmas!****

Still in Vegas.

It’s hard for me to talk about the book I just finished, We Own the Night, because it’s so spoilery if you haven’t read Because the Night. And with this week’s sale, you now have no friggin’ excuse for not owning it. There’s more change of the floor of the rental Camaro than that. But anyway, I digress.

Just before Halloween, I contributed a story for The Dark Carnival called Heaven’s on Fire, which introduced two new characters: Cash Logan and Holly Octane. After I finished that story, they wouldn’t leave me the frig alone until I included them in We Own the Night.  Cash is a magician, and I wanted him to have a bad ass magical show the only the likes of Vegas could host.

Of course, I placed The Cirque Macabre at Circus Circus. There is nothing cool at Circus Circus, and I know this to be fact. My friend Jason, the one I told you I ran into the other night, suggested we go see a bad at yet another of Vince Neil’s bar located at Circus Circus. What a nightmare that place is. The low ceilings trap the desperation like a fog.

Not to mention on the way out of that place, a 13 year old grabbed my ass. But I digress.

Tonight Liz and I went to see Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace. I wasn’t sure what to expect, all I knew was it was some sort of variety show with burlesque and roller derby, which if you know me, you can imagine the intensity of my lady boner hearing those two things together.

Imagine my surprise when I found Absinthe to set in a circus tent, just like my Cirque Macabre. And it was decorated all steampunk, similar to Cirque Macabre.  Kind of like my pinterest board come to life.

The performers were incredible! There was many different aerial and acrobatic acts that did thing with their bodies I could only hope to be able to move again if I attempted.  I love that shit. I’m still convinced that someday I’ll be able a little bit of it. No one set themselves on fire, like Holly.

Flash Fiction Friday Favorites

TODAY’S BREW: In light of my Trick or Treating hangover (because yes, my neighbors do serve drinks), I shall have inappropriate relations with vast amounts of coffee.

By Julie

This Halloween was a blast. So much amazing flash fiction flying around out there. I loved Joe Hart’s 31 Days of Flash Fiction (http://t.co/Y0U66xfRMP), and The Dark Carnival on Pen and Muse was incredible. (My favorite was Mark Matthew’s http://t.co/6lVaxoROWQ.)  Here’s a link to my very own story there that went up last night, featuring the Tunnel of Love. LOVE CONSUMES US. http://t.co/Y0U66xfRMP, and if you missed it, Kristen’s incredible story, HEAVEN’S ON FIRE is here http://t.co/oxJeu1l85f, and it’s the perfect thing to gear us up for release of BECAUSE THE NIGHT in just four short days!

For our special Halloween treat, however, Kristen and I put our fiendish minds together to bring our vampires that you love to hate into the same bloody room. See what happens when our worlds collide. Chris Lynch, my serial killing attorney turned vamp, and Tristan, Kristen’s rock star bad boy make interesting company.

BLOOD STAKES

The Clash of the Vampires

Her skin was so tan, it begged to be cracked and broken open like a tropical fruit, to let me taste the sweetness inside until it was gone.

Not here. I threw the dice again, willing myself not to look at the tan one, or even to feel the slowly lapping tongue of the chubby blonde in my ear on the other side as she crawled up and down my suit, wrinkling it. There would be a busty maid waiting to pick up my suit no matter what time I got back to the room, and when that busty maid quietly disappeared, another would replace her. Just like magic. This was Vegas, and magic happened all the time.

I needed to get the hell out of New Hampshire for a while, to somewhere with some refinery that appreciated a man with taste, and with taste for a special kind of sin. Looking around the high roller room, I thought I’d found it. Until my eyes landed on him.

Surrounded by a swarm of bimbos that made my dates look like choir girls, hair and leather sprawled out from the chair at the table.  He didn’t have a glass in front of him, but a bottle, that he lifted to his lips in between sucking on the necks of the girls closest to him.  He didn’t even look at them, how could he, his eyes open little more than slits.

“Young lady,” I said quietly to the waitress, a pristine thing in black and white, an old movie waiting to be colored red. She came to me quickly, smiling shyly.

“Yes, Mr. Lynch?” she said, a melodious voice that I wanted to hear scream.

“Can we please,” I glanced to the over-active corner, “tidy up a bit?”

Her eyes widened, her lips moving with a childlike uncertainty. “Oh, sir,” she said. “That is Tristan Trevosier.”

I ran a finger down her arm, feeling the goosebumps rise under my cool touch. “Why should that matter to me, darling girl?”

“He’s famous, you know?  He’s in Immortal Dilemma.”  Her eyes widened and she jerked her head back to the spectacle at the table in the corner.

“Still doesn’t matter.” My words were little more than breath against her skin.  She shivered as I spoke. “Why would that make him special?”

“I’ve heard he’s a…” She turned back again, looking nervous and lowering her voice.  “Vampire.”

“Do you know what vampires do?”

She was trembling, and it hurt to look at it. I would crush her butterfly wings to stop them from shaking. “Are you saying you think they’re real?”

“I don’t have to think it.” My shield was a fluttering thing around us, but still strong enough to keep the women I escorted from seeing as I leaned in, sniffing deeply her hot pink aroma.

“Mr. Lynch?” she squeaked, eyes darting to the shimmering air around us.

“Sssshhh.” And I plunged my fangs into the warm pulsing vein in her throat, my hand over her mouth so I could feel the scream. I’d been drinking, and my shield was a near failure. I would never be the strongest vampire. The thought of that made me drink deeper, squeeze her cheeks harder, want to consume and obliterate all at once.

“Hey! Hey, man. What the fuck are you doing?” The famous vampire approached me, snapping me out of my thrall.  There was delicious suction when I pulled my mouth from the waitress, her blood salty and thick.  She whimpered softly against my hand, now wet with her tears.  Gasps and murmurs swirled around us.  “We don’t do that shit in public.”

“You…you saw that?” It was my turn to be surprised.

The rockstar already slid his hands around the waist of my waitress, again making the swarm of on lookers and hangers-on cry out with objection or envy. He pressed her against his body, concealing her open wound.  “Yeah.  That’s not how you do it.  You do it like this. Are you ready, sweetheart?”

Drowsy, the waitress nodded as Tristan ran his tongue along her neck then laid her down over the lip of the craps table, so her legs were up above her head.  He ran his hands along her thighs, pushing up her already barely there uniform skirt and biting into the tender flesh of her inner thigh.

“What are you doing over here?” the chubby blonde bitched at the rock star. “Lynch, what is he doing?” she said, turning to me as I wiped a smear of blood off my chin. She noticed, and came quickly to look at it. “Are you okay?”

So she hadn’t seen me take the waitress’s blood. Only he had. He actually was a vampire.

I tapped him on the shoulder as he ravaged the waitress’s thigh. “I think you should go back to your hole in the earth, little boy, before I take your harem away from you.”

He raised his head just enough for me to see the blood glisten against his chin.  His eyes burned black and he bared his fangs to me.  “Try it.” He growled.

Faster than he could think, I took him by the mane of hair, wishing I didn’t have to touch it all the same, and slammed his face hard into the table next to the waitress. She screamed, a tinkling sound in this place, but only had the life left to curl in a ball on top of the game.

Tristan sprung from the table, but swayed when he stood. And I was the undisciplined one? He was a raging mess of a boy, with bloodshot eyes and a drug-thinned body. He ran at me, and I hit him, sending him back against the table. The girls were all screaming, mine and his alike. It made my teeth gnash and my heart pound.

My interests were no longer on him.

“Alright, man, I get it, you’re strong,” the rock star said.

If he said anything else, I didn’t care.  The plump blonde cried out, pushed away from the table by Tristan.  She somehow made her way into a chair, her arms wrapped loosely around her body in a hug. Nothing was going to bring her comfort tonight. I walked to her, going down on one knee and smiling into her tear brimmed eyes. I pulled her arms away from her stomach, pulling her body to mine, to taste the sweet nectar she held inside.

“Stop screaming,” I said through a smile. “It makes me crazy.”

But all the screaming around me, a cacophony of songbirds, had my teeth roaring to sink in to any one of them and all of them.

Her soft belly was in front of me and I pinned her to the chair, ripping my teeth into the flesh of it while she writhed like she loved it. The wound was wide, and she wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy me finishing her blood.

When I drained her, I moved to the next one, and the next one, wondering how long I had before the cameras caught on through the shield. I saw Tristan flash by as he did the same, laboring over the sucking of each girls’ thighs and chests, while I relished the distress of the others. It was a beautiful tragedy, perfection of destruction.

All too soon, the bystanders were reduced to bodies strewn on the carpet like emptied drink cups.  The rock star sat back down at his game table and ran his fingers through his hair.  He raised his bottle to me. “Cheers.”

Invigorated from our little competition, I couldn’t help but ask. “So what else is there to do around here on a Friday night?”

***You can find more Lynch in Running Home and more Tristan in Because The Night.***

On The Eve Of Samhain

Today’s Brew: Apple Cider. And remarkably, it’s not spiked.

by Kristen

Since Halloween is everyone’s favorite holiday (although mine is actually Superbowl Sunday), I thought I’d post some quick fun facts about The Big Day

  • Halloween is a Christian holiday! Take that, you pagan propagandist finger pointers. It is All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints’ Day.
  • I went to catholic elementary school and we used to have November 1st off every year, and of course I thought it was to recover from the chocolate drunkenness of the prior evening.
  • Until 835, All Saints Day was celebrated on May 13th. Someone then had the foresight to change it to November 1.
  • The origins of the holiday can also be traced back to the Roman Goddess Pomona, the goddess of fruit and seeds.  Bobbing for apples derives from the Roman festivals of this holiday.
  • Samhain was a Celtic festival celebrating summer’s end and the end of the harvest season.
  • Samhain was also a bad ass band formed by Glenn Danzig after he left the misfits. Glenn Danzig is 58 years old! WTF. That’s just not right.  
  • November signaled the beginning of the darker half of the year.
  • The Darker Half is also a bad ass collaborative writing blog. I believe I’m scheduled for a guest post there on Tuesday.
  •  The tradition of dressing up and trick or treating goes back to 16th century Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. (WTF, England? Why didn’t you join in on the fun?) “Mumming and guising” involved dressing up, going door to door and singing songs in exchange for food. I think we need to make kids today sing for their supper. Kinda like American Idol meets The Gong Show.
  • In Scotland, people would wear masks, going door to door threatening mischief if they weren’t welcomed.
  • Costumes have another Christian origin. See? Even Jesus like Halloween. “Souling” means dressing up or disguising yourself
  • In 19th century Wales, young people would dress as the opposite sex.
  • In the dark ages, no fun was allowed. Christians would have “soul cakes” to remember souls in purgatory. Churches would display relics or martyred saints. Poor parishes would have their parishioners dress up as martyrs instead.
  • Shakespeare mentions souling in Two Gentlemen of Verona.  
  • Britain used to bless homes and barns to protect people and livestock against witches on Halloween.
  • Oh, I get it now. You Brits are more into Guy Fawkes Day than Halloween. Guy Fawkes Day is November 5 and I’ll be celebrating by RELEASING A BOOK THAT DAY.
  • The Scots, always looking for a party, brought Halloween traditions to North America. The holiday gained popularity in the mid 19th century.
  • Jack O Lanterns are supposed to frighten evil spirits away.
  • Ireland and Scotland carve turnips instead of pumpkins.
  • We can thank classic gothic horror stories such as Dracula and Frankenstein for our current Halloween imagery.
  • Haunted houses may have originated by the Jaycees for fundraising.
  • Judaism forbids participating in Halloween or any other gentile customs.
  • Devil’s Night was a huge problem in Detroit from the 1970s to 1990s as well as other cities in the US.  City youths would vandalize and set fire to things at random. Way to suck, guys.
  • Looking for some Halloween stories?  Check out Chynna-Blue Scott’s The Zombie Project, Pen and Muses The Dark Carnival, and check this very blog every Friday for some great short fiction by guest authors!
  • And tomorrow, the evil geniuses of Twitter join to bring you something new and exciting. Stay tuned!

Trying on a New Hat with Pen and Muse Press

Today’s Brew:  I drank enough Diet Coke today I’ve probably corroded my innards.

by Kristen

If you’ve been hanging around the Twitter box lately, you’ve probably seen the buzz about the new division of Pen and Muse, run by the fabulous Kristen Jett and Jolene Haley.

Introducing Pen and Muse Press!

Teaser

What does that mean for you?

Pen and Muse Press is an accompaniment to Pen and Muse, a writer’s haven, for writers of all ages and genres. Receive personalized marketing, branding, and writing to help further your writing career.  Pen and Muse Press is the side of Pen and Muse for writers who are serious about treating their writing career as a business.

 “Found your writing Muse but need a little inspiration in the marketing department? We’re your Muses!”

What does this mean for me?

I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the publicity interns for Pen and Muse Press, to be launched on July 22 (date tentative).  July 22 is a big day round these parts.  Julie’s just releasing her debut novel that day.  So as you can imagine, it will be like any other Monday.

You’ll be seeing me musing on social media.  Facebook, Google Plus, possibly some Twitter action.  We will be hosting some of Pen and Muse Press clients’ blog tours here on Deadly Ever After as well, so stay tuned to see the some of the best fresh new talent as they launch their new projects.

I’m really excited about this position, and I thank Kristen and Jolene for choosing me.  I have discovered that I really enjoy the publicity end of book marketing, and these ladies know their stuff!  I’m looking forward to soaking in all the knowledge they are willing to give me, while giving authors the recognition they need to get their books off the shelf and into your hot little hands.  Stay tuned to Pen and Muse Press for more information, or follow us on Twitter!

 

Kat’s Cupcake Sangria–Elegantly Wasted Blog Tour

Today’s Brew:  Sangria!  A personal favorite

Julie and I thought we were the perfect hosts for this stop of the Elegantly Wasted Blog Tour. I don’t think I have to explain why.  Cheers!

title

Elegantly Wasted Book CoverOn the eve of her high school graduation, proper socialite Francesca “Frankie” Fairholm rebelled against her elitist and controlling family to pursue the dark lifestyle of a contract killer for the enigmatic Osiris Corporation. Years later, with her training complete, she believes she’s doomed to the life of a sociopathic lone gun until a botched hit brings two unlikely allies, her cousins Addison and Katharine.

Using Katharine’s etiquette school, Elegance, Inc., as a front, the trio weave through Frankie’s dark underworld, carrying out contracts, drinking too much wine, and trying not to get each other killed.

Trouble follows the team home when the death of the cruel Fairholm matriarch reveals more than they ever wanted to know about their family. As the funeral preparations play out, the trio begin to realize there is much more to their employer than meets the eye and their family connections run deeper than they ever imagined.

sangriaWine is a theme throughout the Wasted Series and one of the characters drinks a lot of it. Katharine Fairholm is a proper socialite who works as a “Wingback” for Osiris. She turns to alcohol to deal with her fear and uncertainties throughout the story. This makes her an amusing pain in the ass for the main character, her cousin Francesca.

Kat’s usual Friday night consists of raiding her wine rack and drinking her cares away. Unless there’s a contract to collect, in which case, she accompanies Frankie on her mission- still drinks… usually gets compromised and has to be rescued.

Sangria is my favorite drink because it combines fruit and wine. I’m not a huge fan of dry reds but when you add them to this recipe, it really makes a great party drink… plus, it’s pretty.

The base of this Sangria is Cupcake’s Red Velvet. It combines Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. If you don’t want to make a red sangria, replace the Red Velvet with Cupcake’s Angel Food- or the wine of your choice.

Kat’s Cupcake Sangria

One Bottle of Cupcake Brand “Red Velvet” Wine.
2 Cups. of Triple Sec
1 1/2 Cups of Club Soda (7Up if you want a lot of sweetness)
1/2 Cup each of Strawberries and Apples
One lime and one orange.
One bowl or pitcher.

Instructions:

  • Cut the strawberries and apples into chunks and put them in a large bowl.
  • Take half of your lime and squeeze the juice onto the fruit.
  • Cut the other half into thin slices (wedge those if you wish) and add them to the mix
  • Cut half the orange and do the same as you did with the lime.
  • Add the whole bottle of wine and the triple sec. Cover and let it sit for at least one hour.
  • Before serving, add your Club Soda or 7Up.
  • Fruit is very flexible. Raspberries, apples and strawberries also work nicely if you don’t want a lot of citrus added to your Sangria.

c_vescio_pic_smallAbout the author C. Elizabeth Vescio: Jack of all trades and stereotypical black sheep, Cara has been writing somewhat dark and morbid since that teen angst hit somewhere in the early 90’s- probably because her dad was a mortician. After pursuing a degree in English, she changed gears to photography and design in 2006… although she kept penning stories for fun while reading the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde and Hemingway (whom she adores even though he was a huge douche canoe). In 2009, her life shifted considerably and she found herself writing Elegantly Wasted- helping her sort out a bunch of stupid feelings and other lame stuff.

She enjoys cynical debates, cupcakes, making her mother-in-law sew her aprons that she never wears, zombies, the Fifth Element and Tomb Raider. She gathers her life inspirations from Neil Gaiman, Julia Child and Paul Simon. When she isn’t out photographing her next project, she’s studying color, concept and design or writing stuff down in hopes it makes sense one day… or she’s on Pinterest.

Cara lives in Las Vegas with her husband, John and their three genetically altered dogs all of which have personal vendettas for the guy who cleans the pool.

Cara on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6449013.C_Elizabeth_Vescio

Cara on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fictionalchick

Cara contributes to: http://penandmuse.com/

Book release date: August 1, 2012 by Luna Station Press

Series website: http://www.thewastedseries.com/

Elegantly Wasted on Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15768730-elegantly-wasted

Elegantly Wasted on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Elegantly-Wasted-ebook/dp/B008R54B7I/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343778410&sr=1-2&keywords=elegantly+wasted

Elegantly Wasted on Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/elegantly-wasted-c-elizabeth-vescio/1112319687?ean=9781938697159&isbn=2940015014044

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Guest Post: Kristen Strassel and Writing in a Crowded Genre

The fabulous Muses, aka Jolene Haley and Kristen Jett, at Pen and Muse asked me to do a guest post for them, and it’s up today!  Go check it out!  I talk about writing in a crowded genre.  We all hear that there’s too many vampire books, young adult, new adult, erotica, insert popular genre here.  I tell you why I stuck to my guns, and what you can do to make your work stand out.

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