Thursday, February 19, 2015

Women in Horror Month: Stacey Turner takes over and talks about gender inequality

Today for Women in Horror month I have a really amazing author/editor I first met in person at WHC 2013. She's one of the most loving people I know and she can spin a yarn that'll make you want more, I give to you, the awesome Stacey Turner.

Hey ya’ll, it’s “Women in Horror Month” again. But I don’t want to talk about glass ceilings, equal rights, or gender discrepancy in the workplace. Mostly because *gasp* I don’t pay a lot of attention to it. Here’s the thing: you can spend a lot of time and effort pondering, bemoaning, and shrieking about something, or you can do your thing. I’m not saying it’s not an issue in the horror (and writing in general) community. I’m just saying I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the issue. I just do me.

What I do want to talk about is being a female writer/editor/former publisher. Because gender inequality isn’t restricted to the work place, it’s all over the kitchen/living room/bathroom. I see you working moms out there nodding your heads. And let’s get this straight… I’m not “man bashing” because I know some stay at home Dads, some who are writers trying to work from home, some who are just doing the stay at home thing, and they say the same thing about their partners (be they female or male) that I hear my female friends say about their husbands. So maybe the term I really want is “partner inequality,” but since I’m a female and it’s Women in Horror month, it’s coming from my point of view.

And first, let me accept my responsibility in this issue. I created the monster. For many years I was a sahm who did everything. I cleaned the house, cooked the meals, raised the kids, managed the budget, and coordinated the calendar. I was your quintessential 50’s housewife. All I lacked was the pretty dresses and heels. (And possibly cigarettes, valium, and booze) I did everything related to our family’s daily living. My husband had taken on a new job that kept him busy pretty much around the clock and out of the house for most of it. But you can bet when he was there the house was clean, his laundry was done, and there was a plate of food waiting on him. I even homeschooled our kids. ( I know, you’re wondering wth was wrong with me. I like to call it “Marth Stewart-it is”) 

I make no apologies to the feminists reading this for that period of time. It worked for us. And it was how it had to be. And I honestly enjoyed spending time with my children. But then things changed. The kids grew up. I had some free time. I found I wanted to do something that didn’t involve Mr. Clean or the grocery store. I wanted a career. My family took this hard. What? You don’t want to continue devoting every waking hour to our needs? WHAT? I think their attitude is best illustrated by this partial post from a blog I wrote at the time. My daughter is 19 at the time of the post and my son is 17, both have graduated from high school, my daughter worked full time, my son was “deciding what to do with his life.”

I know my children are nearly adults. They know they are nearly adults. Somehow they just forget to act like it sometimes. And they still don't seem to realize that "working from home" includes the key phrase "working". Because I'm home most days, it still seems to fall to me to cook, clean & run our lives. You know—schedule doctor’s appts, grocery shop, deal with insurance, balance checkbooks, make travel arrangements, keep the calendar updated so people know when they're coming and going and who else is where. Oh, and keep bored people entertained. And this is why my Facebook statuses so often proclaim that I'm incredibly happy to be home alone. Those are the days when I get things done. Those are the days when I spend from the time I get up until the time I go to bed working. And even after I go to bed if I'm reading an upcoming review book on my Kindle. Here are a few conversations we've had about my work lately:

Molly: (after coming home from work around 10 pm) Did you even call the insurance lady today?

Me: Of course I called her. Why would you think that I wouldn't?

Molly: Because you were working when I mentioned it before I left and when you work you're in your own little world so I wasn't sure you even heard me.

Me: It's called time management. I come up for air around 11:30 and take a shower, eat lunch, and do any pressing household business before going back to work. But your utter lack of confidence in my abilities is heartwarming. Thanks.

After Sean got home from Scouts:

Sean: So all the guys were complaining about their mornings today and I told them how hard mine was. How I had to roll out of bed at 8:30 and then I had to eat Pop-tarts even though I hate them because you wouldn't make me breakfast.

Me: I was working. And you're a big boy.

Sean: Then they all wanted to know why you were still home at that time so I had to explain that you work at home and how you're a writer and all. They were hugely impressed.

Me: Aw. Thanks.

Sean: Well they were impressed until I told them about how you never used to burn supper and now you do it all the time because you're so caught up in work.

Me: Thanks. Thanks for that.

And now they’re out of my house, living on their own, and my husband’s job isn’t quite as demanding as it used to be. I still do everything. Oh, he’ll pitch in if I ask, but he never spontaneously does the dishes or vacuums the floors. And he rarely cooks dinner. My adult children who live in other states still call when they need advice or have some particularly pesky task they are pretty sure they can con me into doing for them. Or just to talk. Or to ask me to come visit. And you know what? I do it. Because, family, you know? So, this being my experience, I’m in total awe of the many talented female horror writers who manage to write and raise children and keep house and the million other things they do behind the scenes that equal family life. So many of them are doing it with small children. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. Some are doing it while holding down full time jobs. Some are doing it while coping with debilitating diseases.

So instead of ranting about the issues confronting women in the horror genre, I’d just like to give a standing ovation to each and every one of them—dreaming the dream, pursuing her passion, getting it done. ALL of it. You go, girl!!

Don’t miss Grimm Mistresses coming from Ragnarok Publications’ horror imprint Angelic Knight Press February 23rd. Featuring modern retellings of some of Grimm’s darkest Faery Tales. With stories by C.W. LaSart, Mercedes M. Yardley, Allison M. Dickson, S.R. Cambridge, and Stacey Turner.


Stacey Turner lives in West Central Illinois.  Three wonderful, adult children call her “Mom,” and two beautiful little boys call her “Mimi” (Grandma). She is owned by cats. She is the managing editor for the Angelic Knight Press imprint of Ragnarok Publications. She spends her days writing and editing, but still finds time to review books & interview authors, as well as blog about her absolutely ridiculous family and other adventures.  You can find her Author blog at or follow her on twitter: @Spot_Speaks or Facebook:

Her Amazon author page is found at

To contact her about her freelance editing, you can email her at

She enjoys editing because she’s bossy. And also because she revels in helping an author polish their work. She has edited several anthologies, including the upcoming No Place like Home: Tales from a Fractured Future and the more recent Fairly Wicked Tales, as well as many novels & novellas for a variety of authors.

She has been published in several anthologies and online magazines. When not working, she enjoys photographing cemeteries, playing “what if,” and discussing the imminent zombie apocalypse. She does not enjoy scarecrows, creepy dolls, birds (of any sort), snakes, clowns, or garden gnomes.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Women in Horror Month: Christine Sutton takes over

So, my guest for the day is not just an author whose work I admire, she's also one of my dearest friends. She is a fellow proponent for gender equality within the horror genre and an extremely prolific author as well. Without further ado, I give you the ever-awesome Christine Sutton...

“But, you can’t do that!”
This is something I have heard quite often in relation to authors. In relation to me as an author as a matter of fact. In relation to me as a female author. In relation to me as a female horror author, specifically. Women are better at writing romance! I may write a romance one day if the mood strikes me!

Le Gasp!

Okay, I probably won’t ever write a romance in all honesty, but if I want to, there should be no problems. If I want to write a balls out, gore filled cannibal story that would make Jeffrey Dahmer lose his lunch, there should be no problem with that, either.
There are still some naysayers that will tell you that women are no good at writing horror.

I call bullshit! So does Snape.
Women are great at writing horror. They are amazing at gore, paranormal, thrillers, horror comedy, and anything else they choose to write. Just like men.
I am pleased to see that there is a sharp decline in those naysayers mentioned above. The misogyny is finally dying. It seems that many readers are seeing that women are just as sharp with a pen as their male counterparts. I have one thing to say about that…

Speak it, Leo!

With the commercial success of so many female authors in all genres, people are seeing that no genre is an island, horror included.
Publishers seem to be aware that female authors can be huge money makers, and that is where it all begins.
Money is the root of all evil, evil is the basis for horror, therefore horror equals money, right?
Okay, it might be a stretch. But not much.
Hopefully, with the success of books like Twilight, Harry Potter, Divergent, The Hunger Games, Gone Girl, and yes, even Fifty Shades of Grey the book/movie industry will start to see that maybe women would be a safe bet in the horror genre. When that happens, readers will follow. You just have to get the titles out there. 

If you write it, they will come…and read it. Even that pervert, Betty White.
So, let’s get some more butts in the seats, or eyes on the page, as it were. Women, take up your pens, or your keyboards and let your horror flag fly! Readers, be gender blind and pick up a book because it sounds cool. Don’t pass it by because it was written sans penis. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Women in Horror Month: Meet the awesome Emerian Rich!

I run a group for women that work in the horror genre (Ladies of Horror) and I met my guest today through that group. She's an extremely kind, hard working, and talented author as well as a pretty damned cool Lady. Without further ado, I turn over my blog to the incomparable Emerian Rich.

I'm a Little Goth Writer in a Big Genre Box by Emerian Rich

So, you know that movie Jumpin' Jack Flash, starring Whoopi Goldberg? I love that movie. When I was a teenager, I knew all the words and my best friend and I would recite it as it played for the 400th time on cable. You might be asking why a horror author is talking about Jumpin' Jack Flash, it really has nothing to do with writing horror, does it?
That's where I'll prove you wrong. Writing horror as a woman is EXACTLY like Jumpin' Jack Flash. First, like Whoopi Goldberg, I always feel like I'm in trouble and being called on the carpet by the higher-ups or about to get fired. Why is it we constantly have to justify that we can be just as scary or scarier than male horror writers? Second, superior white guys are always trying to kill us (metaphorically speaking). Don't believe me? Try being a female horror writer on a panel of men at the next convention you go to, you'll see. I'm not saying all male writers are jerks, but there are a whole lot of them out there that back up my story. They talk over you, deny your points to be heard, discount what you've just said, and tell the audience not to listen to your BS. Don't even get me started on the little sexist or chauvinistic comments made before and after panel.

If you still don't believe me, here is a list quotes from Jumpin' Jack Flash to illustrate just how similar Whoopi's life in that movie and mine are.
1. "I'm a little black woman, in a big silver box, and the top of it says PHONE. Help!"
Only, my quote would be..."I'm a little goth writer in a big genre box, and the top of it says: WOMAN. Help!" People love to pigeonhole you into what they think your writing is like, even before they read a cover blurb. "You are a woman and write about vampires? You must write that Twilight fluff." These are not my words, but those of an actual convention attendee. How 'bout, "Gothic writers always write about Satan. Is this about his witches cause you're a chick?" True, comments like this make me laugh when I think about them later.

2. "I've got to have that promotion! I've gotta have it!"
Getting noticed as a female horror writer is like begging for a promotion. Please read my book, please, please! Want it for 99 cents? Want it free for a week? Free review copy? Sure! No problem! I only worked three years to complete it. Not as bad as the last one you got for free, that one took me ten years! So, like after you read this one, can you review it... PLEASE??

3. "Some guy, callin' himself Jumpin' Jack Flash hacks into my computer."
Better known as a virus, spam attack, stalker, or even the dreaded Microsoft Word crash when you are ten pages in and haven't saved in awhile. Losing text or even edits can feel like someone shaved a few years off your life.

4. "Get Larry, the heavy-set guard!"
There have been many times when I wished I had a "Larry" at my disposal. Not only to ward off those rare cases of stalkerish fans at gatherings, but also to tackle anyone asking for money, drunk, or close-talking who bothers me when I'm writing out and about. They bother you when you are sitting peacefully at a picnic table or park, there is really nothing to do about that, because you are in a public place. But they also knock on your window when you take refuge in your car!

5. "Oh look, a tropical fish and his mate!"
This is what I say when I look in the mirror after a late night of writing or editing. I have various colors of hair at any given time and when I sleep especially hard, I wake up with my bangs sticking straight up in the air. Those who have had the misfortune of witnessing this, can't stop themselves from bursting out in laughter. The Flock of Seagulls ain't got nothing on me. My pj's are generally disheveled, and there are sometimes pieces of paper stuck in my hair. Don't even get me started on if I fell asleep writing and now have chapter five imprinted onto my cheek from a not-quite-dry ink pen.

6. "See this face? This is the face of a woman on the edge!"
You have a deadline due with three chapters left to go, it's grocery day, your to do list is a mile long,  and the school calls to say your child is sick and needs picked up. Yeah, get the picture? You probably don't want to be in the store next to me that day. If I even make it to the store. Provided the son is really sick, I'll be trying to concoct some sort of make-do dinner with ramen, canned meat, and that can of popcorn left over from Christmas. Ewe.

7. "I was born... in a cauliflower hurricane... No wait, crossfire hurricane."
Only, when we get the words wrong, it's usually on a blog or article and broadcasted across all of social media before we catch it. And we all know how smart-alec the social media fans are, right? God forbid we have a typos in a published book, you would think we shot someone.
Now, I don't want you to think that I hate my job or that I don't love those of you who actually take the time to read and enjoy what I produce. Far from it! And really, being a female horror writer is just as the Jumpin' Jack Flash song says... "It's a gas, gas, gas." This piece was just to let you know what a tough road we've come in on and perhaps you'll give us a break every once in awhile. And if you see we're in one of those "woman on the edge" moods, give us a wide berth, and make it a little easier on us by giving our work a chance before you shoot it down as chick fluff.

Emerian Rich is a female horror writer and horror hostess of the internationally acclaimed podcast, To find out more about her, go to

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Crescendo of Darkness

Today I turn my blog over to the amazingly talented and seriously awesome folks at H...