Help Me Choose My NovPAD Theme

ETA: Voting has closed and that’s the winner right there ^ Chancer’s Inn. Thank you to everyone who helped me pick the theme for this year’s poetry challenge. Now I better get my butt in gear and write the poems 🙂

The original post is below for archivey/context purposes 😉




Whaaat? Two blog posts in one day?!


I have a bit of a problem… it’s an affection for pre-made book covers. I love them. The problem is, I buy the cover and then I have to find the time and inspiration to write the stories to go with them, and sometimes that’s a pretty big challenge.

Several weeks ago I held a flash editing sale on social media. The idea was that if enough people bought in for me to pay for the pre-made covers I had my eye on I would buy them and write the stories to go with them. Well, lots of people supported my sale, more than enough to pay for the covers, but when I went to buy them they’d already been sold! *sad face*

Since I couldn’t get those covers I said I would pick a selection of other pre-mades and let Twitter and Facebook decide which one of them I would buy and write something for.

But then there was this sale and I spontaneously bought premade covers for a trilogy. And added those to the other trilogy I haven’t written yet but have covers for. I was forced to admit that I had a bit of a problem. A wee bit of a backlog. I still wanted to let Twitter and Facebook vote on a cover for me to write for but it was pretty obvious that I could not commit to a full-length novel for that.

And then today my November Poem-A-Day partner in crime, Beth Cato, sent me a message and said, “Are you doing NovPAD this year?” and I was like, “Yes. But I wonder what my theme is going to be.”

And then EUREKA! It struck me.

I could let you vote on a pre-made cover and use that cover to determine my NovPAD 2018 theme. And then, eventually, use that cover to publish the resulting poems. Perfect.

Except that NovPad begins tomorrow, so there’s a huge time crunch on this. >_<

Here are the covers:

Two things to remember while looking at these:

  • That is dummy text. It’s just there to show off the typography and will be replaced with my name, title, etc. when the time comes. In other words, those titles are not staying 😉
  • My interpretation of the theme based on the cover may not match the text at all. (ie: Just because it says ‘Horror novella’ doesn’t mean my poems will be horror-themed). It also may not match your interpretation or expectations.  


To vote, drop me a line however you prefer (Tweet, Facebook comment, Blog post comment, email, whatever) and tell me the dummy title for the cover you want me to use (ie: ‘The Road of Lost Souls’ or ‘Frozen’ or whatever).

I will total up all the votes that are in when it’s time for me to start working on my poem for tomorrow (probably around noon Mountain time), purchase the winning cover, announce it here and on social media and then get to work.

Thank you for taking the time to help me decide on my NovPAD theme. I look forward to discovering what it will be!

The Other Side of the Door

A collection of ghost stories that will touch you, thrill you and send chills down your spine.

An abused boy receives a ghostly visitor, a lost girl discovers a house which could save or damn her. An impossible voice sings an impossible song. A Christmas miracle allows for a once in a lifetime visit, and a man faces the darkness in himself and his world in these tales which will haunt you long after you’ve finished reading them.

Available Now!

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)





Okay, see, what happened was I was left unsupervised…


Honestly, I’ve intended to pull together a bunch of my ghost stories into a collection and release them together for a while now–I had the cover made for it last year so it’s been at least that long–but I never seemed to find the time to do it. Then, on the 20th my husband had to work.

We’re usually pretty strict about not working on weekends around here, or we try to be anyway, in order to keep my workaholism in check and ensure we have family time together. But on the 20th he had to work. Which meant I had a day I could work if I wanted to, guilt free, and there was nothing in my planner. Nothing that needed to be done. And with Halloween approaching, that made it the perfect chance for me to finally make this collection.

It also meant there was a super small window between when I created the book and when I released it, so there was none of the usual pre-release trumpeting and promotion. I offered copies to my ARC team* and then it was today and here I am, surprising you with my ghost stories.


This collection includes some of my personal favourites (“Coming Storm” and “The Other Side of the Door” in particular) and if you like ghost stories I really hope you’ll check it out.


*If you’d like to join my ARC team please just drop me a line

Giftmas 2018 Sign-up

Over the past few years it has become a holiday tradition that I organize a blog tour to benefit the Edmonton Food Bank. The way it works is that we have a holiday-themed blog tour and on each of the stops we invite people to support the food bank through our link and help feed hungry families. Some years we give away prizes, some years we just rely on the goodwill of others. Every year once the fundraiser is over everyone involved gets to feel that special kind of glow that comes from having done something unselfish and good for someone else.

It means a lot to me.

This year we’re going to be doing a sort of Advent blog tour. I will be asking each participant to share some fiction on their blog for their stop in the tour. That fiction might be a poem, or flash, or a short story. We will have one stop, one story, each day leading up to a very special stop on Christmas Day. The number of stops we have will be determined by the number of participants who sign up.

Would you like to participate? Do you have a story to share? It doesn’t need to be holiday or even winter themed, but I would appreciate it if it wasn’t completely dark and depressing. Something appropriate for all ages with a little hope, a little optimism, a little light would be wonderful.

To sign up to participate, or if you have any questions at all, hit me up at

Sign-ups will be open until November 15th or until I get 25 participants, whichever comes first.

Black Pearl Dreaming is Out :)

In one of those fun little parallels that make up my life I’m in the middle of editing the third book in the Portland Hafu series by K. Bird Lincoln and it is awesome. It’s relevant and magical and beautiful and I love it. But this is not about the third book, it’s about the second, because BLACK PEARL DREAMING is out today!


I got to edit this book, so obviously I’m biased, but I think it’s awesome. Up there? Those are my contributor copies that arrived a little while ago. Aren’t they pretty? You know you want one already and I haven’t even told you about the book yet 😉

When K. Bird Lincoln first submitted this book to World Weaver Press I knew I had to have it. An urban fantasy featuring mythology beyond vampires and werewolves? Yes please! I have nothing against vampires or werewolves, I love them, actually. But I wanted something different. Koi Pierce, a baku who picks up dream fragments when she touches people offered that. Something different. Pair that with kitsuni, a corvid trickster and a dragon? Yeah. I had to have this book.

I wasn’t the only editor with my eye on it either. I won’t go into details but there may have been some back alley dealings required in order for me to secure Dream Eater (and thus the whole series) for myself but it was 1,000% worth it.

Dream Eater delivered and Black Pearl Dreaming builds on that. Each book stands alone (though BPD is complex and it might be tricksy to pick up all the threads without the grounding that DE gives you) but together they combine to make a powerful one-two punch I think most fans of urban fantasy will enjoy.

Best part? Dream Eater is on sale now for you $0.99 so you can check it out for less than the price of a coffee and then, if you like what you’re reading, you don’t need to wait to get book two because it’s out now!

But Rhonda, you say. Could you stop sounding like an infomercial for a damn second and tell us what they are about?

Sure. ‘Course I can.

Koi Pierce dreams other peoples’ dreams. Her whole life she’s avoided other people. Any skin-to-skin contact—a hug from her sister, the hand of a barista at Stumptown coffee—transfers flashes of that person’s most intense dreams. It’s enough to make anyone a hermit.

But Koi’s getting her act together. No matter what, this time she’s going to finish her degree at Portland Community College and get a real life. Of course it’s not going to be that easy. Her father, increasingly disturbed from Alzheimer’s disease, a dream fragment of a dead girl from the casual brush of a creepy PCC professor’s hand, and a mysterious stranger who speaks the same rare Northern Japanese dialect as Koi’s father will force Koi to learn to trust in the help of others, as well as face the truth about herself.

Koi Pierce, a half-baku, visits Japan looking for answers and finds an impossible choice.

With the help of powerful new friends, Koi defeated her dragon enemy in Portland. Now, no longer able to deny her dream-eating powers or the real reason for her father’s mental decline, she flies to Tokyo with her new Kitsune love, Ken, and the trickster Kwaskwi, seeking answers. But secrets from Ken’s past and Kind politics threaten to unravel their newfound trust and someone in Tokyo is desperate to kidnap a Baku. Koi must untangle a long history of pain and deceit in order to save her father, an imprisoned dragon, and herself.

I think you’ll enjoy them and you won’t be alone. Check this out:

“In Black Pearl Dreaming, Koi is a delightfully watchable heroine in way over her head. She struggles to figure out whom to trust, where she can get good coffee, and what exactly she should do about this enormous sleeping dragon, in this fast paced paranormal intrigue set in a vividly detailed contemporary Japan.”

— Tina Connolly, author of Ironskin and Seriously Wicked series.

Oooh or this one:

“I absolutely got sucked in by the way several mythologies were mixed with modern-day and WWII history to form a cool, surprising, and action packed plot. ”

— Pat Esden, author of The Dark Heart and Northern Circle Coven series.


I hope you’ll give the series a shot. And if you do, lemme know what you think 🙂

Bright Spot — Alison McBain

When Brian Hades and I were discussing themes for Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) one of the possibilities he suggested was optimistic speculative fiction. I pounced on that idea for two reasons. First, because I’d just recently become aware of solarpunk (largely through Sarena Ulibarri) and was excited to work on an anthology that might include some and second because I’d become convinced that we were living in the darkest timeline.

That was in 2016. I had no idea how much darker it could become.

Still, despite a very difficult couple of years, I manage to find reasons for optimism. Lights in the darkness. And I’m not alone in that.

In the coming weeks I will be hosting a series of blog posts I’m calling “Bright Spots in the Darkest Timeline”. Each will be written by a Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-one) contributor and I think they will serve the dual purpose of giving me an excuse to talk about the anthology, and shining a bit of light into people’s lives.

This post from Alison McBain talks about something that’s all too easily forgotten and taking steps in the right direction…


by Alison McBain

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned in my writing journey is there is no down without an up, too. Writers talk a lot about harsh critiques, bad reviews, and rejections, rejections, rejections—but there’s also the opposite. Those days where you not only get one acceptance, but you get FIVE. Or when you get your story into your dream journal or magazine or anthology. When someone emails you and says, “Hey, I like your writing.” Or the best yet, when you get another writer saying, “You’ve inspired MY writing journey.”

Now, how cool is that? I had that happen to me this year, and when the person said it to my face, I wanted to turn around and look behind me to see who the person must be talking to, because it couldn’t be me. MY words were an inspiration to someone else who wanted to write? That just blew me away.

This year was a great one for me for a number of reasons—I had a lot of “firsts.” While I’ve had a number of short stories and poems published over the past five years, 2018 was when my debut YA novel, The Rose Queen, hit shelves in July. It’s a gender-inverted retelling of Beauty and the Beast and the first of a trilogy, and people seem to be enjoying it so far. In fact, I’ve had several readers ask when the next in the series will come out (answer: 2019).

Also this year, I became lead editor for the first time and helped put together a very awesome time travel anthology containing stories by a number of award-winning authors from around the world. It’s called When to Now and will be available for sale on October 1st. I was also “promoted” at Bewildering Stories, so I’m a coordinating editor and a member of the Review Board, and get to help choose the quarterly and annual awards to celebrate the best writing the magazine publishes each year.

I feel that now is the best time to be a woman, a POC, and a speculative fiction writer. Every day I hear /read about another anthology or another award that is going to an author in one of these aforementioned categories, to say nothing about the growing popularity of speculative fiction writers from many other marginalized communities and groups. For example, in the Fairfield Scribes’ soon-to-be-released anthology that I’m editing, When to Now, ten out of the eighteen stories are penned by women. And for the second year in a row, the Hugo Awards were dominated by women writers. I can’t say how inspiring this is to me.

I’m not blind to a number of ongoing trends around the world, however—and sometimes it’s hard to stay optimistic when I’m writing science fiction stories, since it seems like perhaps there won’t be a world as we would like to imagine it in 1000—or even 500—years. And perhaps, despite focusing on an optimistic outlook, things could change for the worse sooner than that.

I’ve written dystopian. I know how that line of reasoning goes.

On the other hand, I’d like to think that for every step backward, we’re taking two steps forward. Not just me, personally, but in all the realms of technology, society, and culture. We’re a global community of writers, now more than ever, and it’s a great time to celebrate how far we’ve come. And to look forward to where we have yet to go, and how we can get there together.

Alison McBain was born in Alberta, grew up in California and received her B.A. in African history and classical literature at U.C. Santa Cruz. After her nomadic twenties, she settled in Fairfield, Connecticut, where she is raising three girls and her husband.

She is an award-winning author with more than 70 short stories and poems published, and her YA fantasy novel, The Rose Queen, was released at the end of July. She is also an editor for an awesome time travel anthology coming out October 1st called When to Now. It has contributions from more than ten local authors, in addition to stories penned from around the world, including writers from India, New Zealand, Britain, and Canada.

When not writing, she practices origami meditation and draws all over the walls of her house with the enthusiastic help of her kids. Once in a while, she puts on her editor hat for the magazine Bewildering Stories, or interviews authors and artists at her website

Get your copy now!