Phoenix Project is a new and very exciting series of community events coming to my home town of Cobden, Victoria.
Phoenix Project really is the perfect name. Almost a year ago, Cobden, Camperdown, Terang, and much of the surrounding area was either destroyed or threatened by bushfires. Homes and livestock were lost – but miraculously, no lives. Our town, and those others nearby, emerged covered in soot and smelling of smoke, but determined to recover and keep on going as we always have done before.
That’s something I’ve had to do in my own life, too. I’ve been through some pretty tough seasons when it felt like my life was burning down around me. Yet I’ve emerged, covered in soot, and smelling of smoke and… you get the idea. As I observed last night, I’m a bit of a phoenix myself.
There’s no doubt the fires were an absolutely awful experience for everyone involved. But we got through it.
And those hard times in my life – I’ve come out braver and stronger than I’ve ever been. Well – mentally and emotionally, at least. My spine would tell you a different story.
I was very privileged to be one of the featured artists on the opening night of The Phoenix Project, alongside outstanding blues musician Alister Turril and Josh and Yas, spoken word artists from lowercase poetry in Geelong.
I shared some of the poems from ‘Smoke and Shadows’ that I wrote during and after the St Patrick’s Day fires, followed by some of my fantasy style poems because I didn’t want my bracket to be too heavy or confronting for a largely local audience.
The poems I shared all focused one way or another on the idea of resilience, and getting through the trials of life stronger and wiser than on the way in.
It was a great night. The music was cool, the poetry was powerful and thought-provoking, and the tone of the evening was 100% positive.
Phoenix Project continues this weekend with a great lineup of musicians and artists to feed the soul of everyone who comes along.
Carmilla Voiez is a proudly bisexual and mildly autistic introvert who finds writing much easier than verbal communication. A life long Goth, living with two kids, two cats and a poet by the sea. She is passionate about horror, the alt scene, intersectional feminism, art, nature and animals. When not writing, she gets paid to hang out in a stately home and entertain tourists.
Her books are both extraordinarily personal and universally challenging. As Jef Withonef of Houston Press once said – “You do not read her books, you survive them.”
Carmilla’s bibliography includes Starblood (Vamptasy Publishing, Dec 2018), Starblood the graphic novel, Psychonaut the graphic novel, The Ballerina and the Revolutionary, Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales.
Carmilla writes horror that is female-orientated supernatural horror, full of demons and seriously flawed women.
Starblood. Book 1 of 4 in the Starblood series.
Star craves freedom, but her lover, Satori, refuses to let her go. He casts a spell to make her love him again, opening a gateway through which Lilith, mother of demons, enters their lives. Lilith serves no man. Instead she seduces Star, assuring her that there is no shame in love, only completion. Thus begins a strange and terrible love triangle that leads them to Scotland and the Cairngorm mountains.
Reader Review: “ A genius work of contemporary fiction. Should become a future Horror classic. Highly recommend *****” on Amazon
Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales
Thirteen tales of the macabre from horror author Carmilla Voiez. Meet a confused ghost, a vampire, searching for love, and a woman bent on revenge; visit a gateway to hell, a hotel in faery and an abandoned asylum, in this unique collection of stories. Includes the novella Basement Beauty.
Reader Review: “ I found my mind drifting back to the various tales at all times of the day, they got under my skin and haunted me long after I powered down my kindle. At the end of a story, you emerge bloodied, battered and genuinely grateful to have survived. It’s what horror should be like; raw, frightening and thought provoking.” on Amazon
Joanne is an Australian writer of horror, poetry, and occasionally fantasy stories. Her tag line is ‘Poetry with soul. Horror with none.”
She lives near Warrnambool in regional Victoria, Australia, with her husband and two furbabies. She spends four days a week teaching senior high school English, History and Drama/Production. She is an active member and performer in Camperdown Theatre Company. Her hobbies include reading, music, travel and photography.
Joanne loves travelling, and has visited many places in Australia as well as holidaying in New Zealand, Fiji, the USA and Canada at different times. Other than Australia, eastern Canada is her favourite place in the world, and she’s proud to have been adopted as an ‘honorary Canadian’.
Joanne is the author of thought-provoking and profound poetry, horror and short stories. She has won a number of awards for her books ‘New Horizons’, ‘Nova’ and ‘The Silver Feather’.
Joanne writes horror with a strong element of poetic justice, especially those stories that focus on Friday, a magical black cat with a devilishly strong sense of right and wrong. Other stories explore various types of horror – fright, the unexplained, fear of the unknown, and the macabre.
The Silver Feather
A graveyard. A talisman. A confrontation with evil personified.
When Phil loses the girl he loves, life as he knows it comes to a screeching halt. Little does he realise that there is so much more yet to be lost.
A haunting, macabre tale that will please all lovers of horror and dark fiction.
Reader Review: ” A delightful tale that begins in the prosaic world of unrequited high school romance, only to suddenly veer into a shadowed realm of loss, violence and evil. Van Leerdam’s writing is crisp and insightful, her protagonist achingly real, and I guarantee you will devour this dark confection in a single sitting. Highly recommended.” on Amazon
Lac du Mort and Other Stories
From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.
These macabre tales that will make you look over your shoulder at moments you never expected to.
Reader Review: “Well written, fresh horror grabbing at the reader from a the first story. A few tales stab at the mind, some tear away at blood and bone. We get one visit to hell. I am a fan.” on Amazon
Stories about a magical black cat, superstition and strange events. Friday is a black cat with a lucky habit of being present when curious things take place.He’s highly intelligent, fiercely loyal and devilishly handsome.
Curious Things delivers thirteen stories of people encountering justice for their wrongdoings, all as Friday watches on. Is he responsible? Or is it just lucky coincidence that he is present when these strange events take place?
If you’ve ever wished for karma to move a little faster, indulged in uncharitable thoughts about certain annoying people, or suspected that having a black cat cross your path was not quite as unlucky as people seem to think, this book is for you.
Reader Review: “Vengeance may be sweet—but, meting out justice vigilante-style just isn’t practical. Then along comes Friday, a black cat whose intelligence and curiosity gets the better of those who deserve their just desserts. Obvious or implied, Friday shows up where the wrath of Biblical justice is called for. And, it’s so gratifying to watch the gruesome details unfold!” on Amazon
Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. Her Coven Series has successfully topped Amazon’s Hot New Releases list consecutively. She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.
Lily was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.
In Lily’s Own Words:
The horror I write is mostly urban fantasy mixed with horror. My author tagline is “horror with heart” because I believe, deep down, everything has light in it. Whether it’s a rogue vampire in the streets of Downtown Chicago or demons controlled by Nazis in World War Two, a story has to be more than just darkness, more than the “gore factor”. A true horror story has to have heart. It’s why the horror elements are elevated: when characters (and readers) are given something to care about, what rips it away is even worse. And I firmly believe, even in the most horrific situations, light wins in the end.
My stories are more than violence, though I have plenty of that. My stories are about people. The characters drive the stories, and in caring about them, you find yourself cringing when they’re injured, or when they fail to prevent an innocent victim from being torn to pieces or having their soul eaten.My books are about the half vampire who hates existing, disgusted by her hunger for blood. They’re about a psychic who wants to die rather than dream about those he cares for being tortured. A siren who was persecuted, first for being a monster and again for being Jewish. They’re about a teenage girl who has to fight against the evil that lives in her veins.Horror is more than a monster or torture. Horror is what lurks in the dark corners of our minds.
Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Book One)
In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge… Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire! The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral. Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp. But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be.
Your blood does not define you. Harley Torrance’s parents were killed in a home invasion when she was three. Adopted by a nice couple, Harley begins to develop strange powers. At fourteen she brews a potion so strong it gains the attention of the Coven King, and changes her world forever. She’s not human, she’s a witch. Now a part of the magical community, Harley must learn to control her powers lest the Darkness already in her blood overcomes her. Can she dampen her lust for power in order to stop the Dark from taking over the Coven and killing everyone in their way?
Reader Review: “Luchesi kept the whimsy and wonder inherent in magical YA novels while exploring the darker side of the magical world and those who dwell in it. It’s everything I dreamed of in a magical YA novel and more!”— On My Kindle
In this standalone spin-off of the Paranormal Detectives Series, we discover the true horrors during Hitler’s reign. In World War Two, not all monsters were human.
Male siren Sean Wireman was ostracised from his small village in Israel in the sixteenth century, forced to wander the world until he settled in America in the 1920’s. Since he doesn’t age like a normal person, he was fit to fight in World War Two, to defend the heritage he spent his whole life running from.
Seventy years later, after he has lived a whole other life since Hitler was defeated, from attending law school to becoming a bona fide rock star, the monsters the Nazis released upon the Jews in concentration camps have returned, and he is the only one who can destroy them. But can he save his people once again, or will this fight take a deadly toll?
Reader Review: “The truthful elements woven into the fantastical produced an unstoppable read that will surely please current fans and those looking for a historical ride filled with both legitimacy and the dark paranormal. The rich historical elements were expertly dropped in context instead of sounding like a lesson, serving to add a realistic twist to Sean’s life and anchoring the reader to his story.”—Knightingale Reviews
WordyNerdBird’s note: I have just finished reading ‘Never Again’, and it really is an excellent horror read. Make sure you check Book Squirrel’s book blog for the review!
I always feel a little naked when asked to talk about myself. So let me put something on first. Ahhhh, that’s better. So they call me The Queen of Scream. If you’ve read any of my work, you know it is a well-earned moniker.
I live near Annapolis, Maryland in a town called Bowie with my boyfriend, Tim. That places me halfway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD.
My Supernatural Horror Crime Thriller books in The Devil’s Due Collection take place in these metro areas so anyone who lives here will recognize some of the locations. I also have a Paranormal Romance/Ghost series – An OBX Haunting – that takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
I’ve had many interesting things happen to me along my life’s path. The first President Bush gave me a shoulder/back rub when I was visiting the compound in Maine one hot August. I went to church with Princess Diana and Prince Charles. I’ve been to Las Vegas to play competitive pool in the APA World Championship.
I won’t share all of my adventures. Where would the mystery be if I expose all?
I would consider myself to be a fair and giving person who loves hard. I am nice, but if you do me wrong, I will never forget. I may forgive, just to get past it, but you will never get close to me again. I am loyal to a fault. I’m into shoes and purses, they have their own room here.And now I am naked again.
Suzi writes Supernatural Horror Crime Thrillers. Her novels are psychologically scary. She utilizes everyday characters who find themselves tangled up in horrible situations that seem inescapable. She likes her characters to have intense personal relationships that complicate their situations.
Death Most Wicked
Mikael was six years old when he learned his father was a murderer.His mother, Sofia, knew there was more to it. Her husband wasn’t just a murderer, no, he was fiendish. She tried to shield Mikael from his father’s savage deeds. But when she discovered her husband, Dimitry Ivanovitch, had demonic plans for their son, she made a decision that would prove deadly if she were caught. In the dead of night, she snatched her son from his bed and fled to the safety of America. There, no longer living in fear, Mikael grew up and became a decorated homicide detective. Sofia, however, kept constant watch for signs that her husband had located them.
One hot August day, Mikael is assigned a string of kidnapping/murders of young girls. Soon another body turns up, and then another. With no suspects and no clues, the pressure proves too great for Mikael’s partner who commits suicide. Just when Mikael thinks things cannot get any worse, his father tracks him down. And now Ivanovitch is deeply involved with the Devil. He attempts to lure Mikael into his cult by dangling the name of the murderer in front of him. But the name comes with a steep price tag. Can Mikael escape his father’s clutches again? Or will he choose a fate worse than death to save the next little girl?
If you like sagas such as The Godfather and Goodfellas because of their heart-pounding action, and any of Stephen King’s books for thrilling terror, this book will have you turning pages all night long. Don’t miss out on Death Most Wicked.
The Devil’s Lieutenant
A night at the local bar proves deadly for three friends when they fail to notice the rotting stink of evil coming from the far corner of the room.
Brothers Jake and Bobby Holyfield along with Max Wilson catch the eye of Dimitry Ivanovitch, the Devil’s right-hand man who is seeking victims for his Satanic cult. With one phone call, he discovers that Max is chronically unemployed and desperate for money. And that Bobby has an insatiable fiancé who is cheating on him, however Jake has no weaknesses or secrets. Ivanovitch sets out to take the souls of all three but realizes Jake’s will be harder to steal.
Meanwhile, Jake is promoted to homicide detective. His first case is a perplexing one that appears unsolvable. Around the same time, Jake hears that Max is suddenly flush with unexplained money. Jake fears that Max has taken a dark turn. And then Jake gets unexpected help from an angel and another detective who contacts him with intel that is crucial to not only his case but to the survival of humanity. However, now Jake’s worse fears are confirmed. Will Ivanovitch succeed in stealing Max and Bobby’s souls? Will he turn a good cop bad? Or will Jake rise up and save everyone?
The Devil’s Lieutenant reads like a mish-mash of the best scenes from the Godfather saga and the Exorcist. It is not your mama’s lullaby. Pick it up, and you will be reading far into the night. The Devil’s Lieutenant is Book 2 in the Devil’s Due Collection.
Today, I woke up in another man’s coffin, under some poor soul’s limp body. It is so dark in here, but God help me, I think I know whose body it is.
This can’t be happening. Not now. I mean come on, I may be a short, balding guy with a thick waistline, but I’ve also got pockets full of money. Sure, most of it is family money, my wife’s family but it’s in my pockets. This is the time of my life, for crap’s sake. Can this really be happening? I swear when I was dragged up to the coffin, I saw my dead father-in-law in the corner of the room, his fingers crusted with dirt and dried roses from digging himself out of his grave. And he was clutching that damned contract he made me sign in my own blood.
Maybe fear is causing me to hallucinate but I think that monster, Royce, cut off my thumb before slamming the lid shut. I must be bleeding but I can’t lift my arm to check. Oh my God, the furnace just fired up. It’s rocking my coffin. My head was spinning from the drugs, but I know my formerly loving wife helped shove my body into this cramped chariot to hell. Surely, she’s just punishing me for my indiscretion with the lovely Karina. She’s going to come back and let me out with a reprimand, right? Wait a minute… is that crackling I hear? My toes are burning.
If you enjoy Twilight Zone-like books, you will enjoy Scorn Kills. And if snarky characters, ironic circumstances, and horror are your thing, this book will keep you enthralled, page after page. One reviewer has even asked, “how can a book so funny be so frightening?” This is a “can’t resist reading it” book.
A.Giacomi is the author of the wildly entertaining Zombie Girl Saga, a four-part series from CHBB Publishing. She is a wife and mother two tiny humans. She is a Canadian born writer, educator, and artist. A. Giacomi is a zombie enthusiast, lover of all things Tim Burton, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Marvel, Star Wars and just generally just loves film and literature. Essentially she’s a fangirl.
A. Giacomi mostly writes YA horror and loves to write about monsters. She’s been fascinated by zombies, vampires, demons and other creatures of the night since she started reading horror novels at a young age. If it isn’t creepy and sprinkled with all things supernatural, then it’s just not for her.
Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl.
Eve used to be an ordinary girl, from an ordinary town, with ordinary dreams, but her dreams rapidly turn into nightmares when one grave mistake leaves her a little less than human and a lot less average.
Eve’s not quite the same girl she used to be. She desperately clings to her humanity as new desires, new abilities, and new urges take over with each passing day.
Turns out living was the easy part.
Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl is a tale that takes you on an emotional and terrifying journey as Eve struggles to cope with her new life and find a cure for her strange illness before time runs out. She desperately clings to her humanity as she tries to control the monster she knows is lurking inside her.
Eve Brenner: Zombie Agent
In this second installment of The Zombie Girl Saga, Eve teams up with CSIS to find out more about the Azrael Virus coursing through her veins. As she learns about the dangers of the virus, she also learns that there are some advantages to being less than human. Eve is quickly thrown into fieldwork to stop the spread of a virus that is spreading silently on a global level.
She might be the only hope the world has, but she’s running out of time.
Eve Brenner: Zombie Experiment
Eve’s battle continues in ZOMBIE EXPERIMENT an action-packed read that will leave you thirsting for more. Eve gets a small taste of freedom only to be taken captive once more. With her world crumbling around her and her loved ones paying the ultimate price, she is forced to decide whether she will give into the darkness that resides within or fight to become the beacon of hope that the world needs to survive an impending apocalypse. Her blood holds the key to the fate of all humanity, but can Eve remain human enough to triumph? In this third installment of The Zombie Girl Saga, Eve will be tested like never before…
July 1 was Indie Pride Day, on which Indie authors worldwide posted selfies with their books to show the world what we have achieved. Posts were made with key hashtags to get those tags trending and get attention across all social media platforms.
It’s just one way we can stand up and say “we’re here!” to a world that still focuses on traditional publishing and looks down its nose at Indie authors, even though Indie artists and musicians are almost revered as artistic heroes – which, of course, they are.
The encouragement I’ve received from other Indie authors today has been incredible. I’ve seen people following other writers on social media, sharing other authors’ pictures, leaving encouraging comments, and cheering one another on. It has been an enormous wave of positive reinforcement, friendship and camaraderie that any other industry would, and should, envy.
So, while my social media posts for Indie Pride Day may at first glance appear as though I’m trying to sell my books, that’s not my intention. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think putting my face beside anything is going to help sell it. Those pictures of me with my books are intended to be an encouragement to others to be loud and proud about what we do, and to encourage writers to embrace Indie as a viable and legitimate route toward getting their work read by audiences worldwide.
It’s also fair to say that, having made a mission of going out to take themed photos, I had quite a bit of fun doing it. These shots didn’t make the final cut, but they’re actually some of the ones I like best.
And all you readers out there? If you choose to bypass books because they’re Indie, you’re missing out on some truly excellent reads.
I am perpetually frustrated by the disdain that many have for Indie authors. Indie artists, musicians, and filmmakers are applauded for daring to step out, break the mould and do their own thing in defiance of the industries that are perceived to have grown too big, too powerful, too rich.
Nobody hesitates to go to a doctor or lawyer who owns their own practice. People don’t think twice about having their car serviced by a mechanic who runs a local garage. They’re independent practitioners within their industry, too. Let’s face it, there are some shonky ones out there – in any industry – but they are the vast minority, and their behaviour should never be used as the yardstick by which all others are measured.
So why is the double standard against Indie authors still not only acceptable, but so widely endorsed?
I won’t deny that I’ve picked up two or three books that I just couldn’t finish because they were either poorly written, poorly edited, or just not very good at all. But two or three out of more than 150 is a very small percentage, where the others have consistently ranged between very good and excellent quality in terms of both writing and production.
Having been an avid reader all my life, it’s also true that I’ve read – or rejected – a number of books that weren’t so great in the traditionally published world, too. Some I just couldn’t get into – even among the most famous and widely commended are certain ‘literary greats’ whose writing I just don’t appreciate. There are also traditionally published books that remain popular among less discerning readers and sell quite well, despite the fact that the writing and/or story lines really are… well… rubbish.
I’ve read almost exclusively Indie books for more than a year. I am continually impressed by the originality of the stories, the high standard of writing, and the depth of creative talent. I’ve posted countless book reviews for these books, and have shared my appreciation of both books and authors far and wide, because those books deserve to be read and appreciated.
Having been an avid reader all my life, I’ve read – or rejected – a number of books that weren’t so great in the traditionally published world, too. Some I just couldn’t get into – even among the most famous and widely commended are certain ‘literary greats’ whose writing I just don’t appreciate. There are also traditionally published books that remain popular among less discerning readers and sell quite well, despite the fact that the writing and/or storylines really are rubbish.
Indie authors are, more often than not, Indie by choice. For many, the first foray into traditional publishing has ended up being a very negative and traumatic experience. For some, their publishers have closed down, leaving the author without their rights, unpaid and unable to sell or market their work. Other companies have published books and then done nothing, leaving them to languish in obscurity unless the author does their own marketing.
Sure, that hasn’t happened to J.K. Rowling or George R. R. Martin. People need to understand, though, that they are the exceptions, not the rule. That kind of success doesn’t just happen for everyone who writes a fantastic book or series, and it’s well-established fact that it almost didn’t happen for Rowling either.
Last week, I saw someone comment on social media platform in a most derisive tone that “traditional publishers won’t touch anything that’s been self-published”. My response was that it’s their loss. And when it comes to my own work, they’re not welcome to.
Like many others, I choose to be Indie because I control my own intellectual property, I retain my legal rights to my work, and I earn the royalties for my books. My hard work is not lining the pockets of some faceless company that pays a small fraction of the earnings of a book to the author and gets fat on the rest, without actually doing much in the way of marketing or promotion. Marketing and promotion is really hard work, there’s no doubt about it. But if I have to do the schlepp work anyway, why would I let someone else have control of my work? And I can take pride in the fact that I have earned every review, every award, and every cent, on my own.
In the end, I choose to be Indie because there is nobody in this world as committed to my books or my career as an author than I am.
It’s time we got rid of the double standard that celebrates Indie music and art, and which takes pride in supporting local and artisan businesses, but considers Indie books and authors to be something less than their traditional counterparts.
Indie authors are doing their part by writing and producing excellent books.
Readers are doing themselves a gross disservice by accepting the kind of intellectual snobbery at the heart of this double standard. I’m confident they will be more than pleasantly surprised when they finally choose to set prejudice aside and find out what they’ve been missing out on.
It’s amazing how much help there is out there for writers when it comes to promoting their work and raising their profile.
Like anything in life, there are a few sharks out there who want you to give them your money in return for not very much at all.
There are also some great websites and services that offer great services and publicity without costing your life savings and a ransom worthy of your first-born.
Goodreads is a two-way service for both readers and authors. Readers can rate and review books, update their friends on what they are reading, and engage in different reading challenges. It links very conveniently to Facebook and blogs. Authors can set up a profile and blog that are aimed at increasing readers’ awareness of their works, and giving their books publicity and promotion. It’s easy to do, and I’m very happy with my profile. Goodreads gives regular updates on Twitter, promoting authors, books, and reading in general.
Quotesrain is a thriving literary community that presents authors and quotations from both famous people and the authors themselves. It’s visually rather lovely, too, so it’s quite relaxing to browse around. Quotesrain is also on Twitter.
Also on Twitter is All Author, a service of Quotesrain that will promote my book via social media for a year for just $24. There’s another level of promotion I could sign up for, but I’ll see how this goes first. I only signed up yesterday, and they’ve already tweeted both my books at least once. I’m pretty happy with that!
Finally, there’s the Indie Writers’ Cooperative on Facebook, where authors are encouraged to share the links to their works, promote their events, and to help each other out by sharing one another’s links, works and events. It’s a positive and encouraging environment where writers can meet and help each other out with a little healthy cross-promotion.
All in all, it’s been a productive and quite enjoyable exercise.
A promotional quote for ‘Leaf’ made at Quotesrain.