New LinkedIn Group for Women Horror Writers

 

As I struggle with time management, especially with ADHD and a day job on top of the writing and business duties, I’ve been diligently working on a social media plan and schedule. It’s led to me to try some new things and to try to figure out which social media platforms I like the best (Twitter, for example, mystifies me more than infomercials).

Among my new ventures:

  • I just started a group on LinkedIn, for women horror writers: Fear-minists: Women Horror Writers Around the Globe. Join up if you are a horror writer that identifies with being a woman (safe and welcoming space) or even if you just love a good horror story.
  • I think I will try to focus more on Pinterest. I don’t care what the detractors say; it’s fun. Especially for the visceral, visual type of writing I plan to do more of in the future. I started setting up a writer’s inspiration board.
  • I’m also going to try to be more active on Goodreads.
  • My blog will still carry on as my main author website, of course!

 

I’ll still be on Twitter somewhat, but since I never really got the hang of it, there probably won’t be much of a difference there. Until I can hire someone to manage social media. And, Facebook, well, aside from the well-publicized news headlines it’s been racking up, I only use it to keep in touch with IRL connections. Or to get notifications about local events. And, yes, I use it to play the game formerly known as YoVille. I can justify wasting time on there because it’s actually a great ADHD focus tool for when I have to do computer work, without which I also wouldn’t have survived grad school. Thanks for keeping me on track, YoWorld!

 

 

Spooky Schools and Spookier Scientists

And what’s more spooky than Moms? Especially the one in my story, “Birthday Roses,” that was selected to be in a MasterClass Anthology (second edition).

I also sold my story “Quietly Goes the Mix Tape” to the Mad Scientist Journal. Keep watch for it if you need an 1980s fix!

And, my story “School Daze” has been picked up for inclusion in another anthology, “New Mexico’s Emerging Writers” that’s being released by Z Publishing. 

Last, but not least, I had the opportunity to take one very spooky writing class over at MasterClass. From none other than author R.L. Stine!

Which pretty much sealed my fate. I think I’m going to give kid writing a go. (The class was great, so if you’re interested in writing middle-grade fiction or YA, check it out!)

Even my goofy cat Moon Pie is going to grab a bit of the spotlight. She’ll be on an upcoming #TRT post (Tummy Rub Tuesday) on the Katzenworld cat blog.

(Thanks to Mad Scientist Journal, Z Publishing, and Molly Esmiol/MasterClass Team for providing opportunities to authors for publication and to find their writing voice.)

Now I just have to wait for my favourite holiday for more spooky inspiration: Halloween!

Black CATastrophy Writing Prompt: Puppy Love

 Gone

 

                                                              Puppy Love

They found the bike propped up against the wall, but Allison was gone.
“Dammit, I knew I should have never got her that bike.”
“Dad, it’s not the city anymore. She’ll be okay.”
“I know, it’s just…”
“Yeah, I miss Mom, too.”
Samuel gave his son a side hug. “I love you, Marius.”
“C’mon, Dad. Let’s find her before she stumbles across a backwoods meth lab.”
“Ha, ha.” He watched his son load the bike into the back of the SUV. Hard to believe he’s already a senior.
“We’ll hit all the stores on Main Street before they close. Then head over to the dog park, then—”
“Then we’ll swing by the trailer, then the community pool, then out to the farmhouses on the outskirts. Can I drive?” Marius asked.
“When you get your own car.”
None of the store owners had seen Allison.
“Next stop, the diner,” Samuel said. His son was too busy texting to answer.
“Hey, Rhonda, seen Allison today?” Samuel asked his boss.
“No, hun, not since you all were here for Sunday brunch. She missing again?” Rhonda inched closer. “You just need a good woman to look after you all.”
He could smell peppermint Schnapps on her breath. “We’re doing okay.”
“C’mon, Dad, it’s going to be dark soon.”
“You all just let me know if you need something.” Rhonda patted Marius on the head.
Samuel hustled Marius out the door.
“Seriously, Dad, a head pat? Please tell me you don’t like her.”
“Why not? She’s a good woman.”
“Now I know you’re full of shit.”
“Watch your mouth, son.”
Their laughter stopped when they got to the trailer and saw Allison on the steps.
“Oh, no, she’s got Mrs. Wilson’s dog.” Samuel said.
“Daddy, look. I have puppy friend.” Allison stood, the dog struggling to get free.
“Dad, what’s all over her dress?” Marius said.
“Hopefully just mud.”
“It’s all in her hair, too.”
“Sweetie, that puppy is Mrs. Wilson’s.”
“No, daddy. Is mine.” Allison held the dog even tighter.
“Allison, we’re going to get hamburgers at Charley’s. Mrs. Wilson is going to watch the puppy while we eat. Okay?”
Allison smiled crookedly. “Okay, Daddy. Then we go get puppy, if I’m good?”
“I promise.” Samuel gently took the dog from her. “Now, go with Marius. He’s going to get you all cleaned up.”
Samuel carried the dog over to Mrs. Wilson’s trailer and knocked. The tin door squeaked open.
“That girl of yours stole my dog again?” Mrs. Wilson flicked her cigarette into a bush.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m very sorry. Allison doesn’t understand when she does something wrong. And she just loves dogs.” Samuel said, as the dog ran inside.
“So you keep sayin’. Next time, I’m gonna call the police.” Mrs. Wilson slammed the door.

********

Later that evening, Samuel made sure the childproof locks were set on the front door. At least she couldn’t wander outside at night.
“But what if there’s a fire,” his wife said to him, in his head.
“I tried my best, Janine,” he whispered, as he poured himself some Scotch. After a couple of sips, he took the glass to the desk in his room. He pulled out a glossy pamphlet from the drawer. “I’m so sorry, Allison.” Salty tears mixed in with the whiskey taste in his mouth.
The next morning, Samuel dropped his son off at school.
“Allison not coming to school today?” Marius asked.
“Nope, we’re taking the day off. After yesterday, I’d better keep an eye on her. Figured we’d go get pancakes. Can you get a ride home after band practice?”
“Sure, Jessica’s mom can drop me off.”
“Pancakes?” Allison said from the back seat. “Chocolate chip?”
“You betcha. All the chocolate chips you want.”
After Allison had her fill of pancakes, Samuel drove her to the state psychiatric hospital that Allison’s doctor had recommended.
“Daddy, where are we?”
Samuel unloaded her suitcase. “Sweetie, you’re going to go on a vacation.”
“Are there puppies inside?” Allison asked.
“Let’s go see, shall we?” He held her hand tightly while he led her up to the white building.

********

He got home well ahead of Marius. There was a dog sitting on the front steps of the trailer porch. At least it’s not Mrs. Wilson’s dog.
“Shoo,” he said, and the dog took off. The trailer was so quiet. He turned on the TV and then took a new bottle of Scotch and a glass from the cabinet. The house was still too quiet. He turned up the TV volume. Some old action movie.
He poured one drink, then another. Then a third. His hands hadn’t stopped shaking, but at least he wasn’t crying anymore. Have to be strong for Marius.
Five o’clock, and the winter darkness started to close in. Someone started yelling in the movie. Then a cacophony of barking dogs erupted from the television. I don’t remember dogs in the movie. How much Scotch did I drink? He shook the bottle. Almost empty.
He squinted at the TV, but the picture was blurry. He turned it off. The yelling stopped but the barking persisted. No, it was more like howling, now. He fumbled with the childproof locks and opened the door. Animals streaked from the small porch into the shadows.
“What the—” He took the flashlight from the shelf by the door and shone it into the darkness. Dogs. Hundreds of dogs. Some even looked like wolves. And they had stopped howling. Instead, they were growling. Growling and snapping as they sprinted forward. Samuel stumbled backwards and fell, dropping the flashlight.
“I’m so sorry, Allison,” he cried as the dogs closed in.

*********

“Hi, Marius.” Allison hugged her brother. “Are we going to go get pancakes?”
“Yes, Allison, pancakes with chocolate chips.”
“Then home?”
“Yes, home. But only after we get you a puppy from the shelter.”
“Puppy.” Allison clapped her hands. “I love puppies.” Her smile was no longer crooked.

 

–Willow Croft

Writing Prompt Link: https://blackcatastrophy.com/2017/12/03/black-catastrophy-writing-prompt-16-gone/.