Category Archives: Writing

Cover Reveal: Eerie Edmonton

Full of ghosts and strange sights, Edmonton is a place rich in the paranormal. Or is it? Are there really spirits that lurk around Fort Edmonton and the provincial legislature? Do ghosts really haunt the halls of the University of Alberta, rushing off to classes that have long finished? Can paranormal echoes of the dark history of Charles Camsell Hospital still be felt within its walls today? What about the stories of the phantoms that loiter around the graveyards, bars, schools, and pools of the city?

In this collection of more than forty stories, Eerie Edmonton reveals the truth in the tales people tell and shines a spotlight on the city’s dark shadows and colourful past. Join Rhonda Parrish and Rona Anderson as they compare personal accounts of hauntings and paranormal activity with documented history and their own on-the-ground investigations.

I wasn’t actually sure how to handle this cover reveal, because the cover has been sort of unofficially revealed for a while now, but I official got the thumb’s up to share it just this week. And this week I have a lot of stuff going on on my blog and social media and I didn’t want this reveal to feel like an after thought, so I figured I should probably wait until after Grimm, Grit and Gasoline was out and not taking up so much space in my life.

But I’m also really impatient and I love this cover and didn’t want to sit on it.

So this morning when I woke up and stumbled, bleary-eyed to my desk I thought, “Why not?”

So here it is.

I love it.

The colours, the fonts, the Legislative Building right there front and centre. Love it 🙂

The book doesn’t come out until January, but you can add it to your Goodreads shelves right now.

It’s also available for pre-order:

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

In a couple months you should also be able to request it at your local library 🙂

Looking Back at My 2018 Goals

Because I have an awful lot of things on the go at any one time and generally lack focus in general, I set goals for myself each year to try and provide a sort of framework to work within. And then at the end of each year I look back over those goals and assess how well I did at achieving them.

It’s that time of year again…

Goals I feel I’ve accomplished will be in bold.

  • Write a book
    • I know this is super vague and that’s intentional. I have several ideas tumbling about in my mind and I haven’t settled on one yet.

Huh. I don’t know if I should bold this or not. I’m going to though… because I really turned up the amount of writing I was doing. Also, though I didn’t write a single book from start to finish I did write 20k ish words on a new book I sold to Dundurn Press (Eerie Edmonton) and wrote 50,000 words of a NaNoWriMo novel. I feel like that’s close enough to count.

  • Make at least one blog post a week

Uh… I don’t know if I did this, to be honest, but I don’t want to go back through my archives to count and see. If I didn’t actually write a post a week I definitely wrote more than 52 posts altogether and surely that’s good enough? Really, I question the judgement of Past Me in picking this as a goal because it’s definitely better to not blog on any given week than it is to blog about nothing, right?

Well, nailed the first half — I read over fifty books so far this year. I didn’t finish reading all the ones from my partial reading list, however. I guess that goal will get bumped to 2019 LOL

  • Increase the number of my books available in libraries
    • I wish I had a more concrete goal to go here, but I still need to figure out what my system is going to be (Am I going to focus on a specific book? If so, which one? Am I going to focus on a specific library location? Where? How much time am I going to dedicate to this?). As I figure out the details I will share them on this blog.

So technically this goal was achieved, but not through any effort on my part. Really what happened is D2D started distributing to Overdrive and a couple other places where libraries get books and a handful of libraries acquired some of my titles. I didn’t spend any time on this, though, which may be a thing for 2019 or may be a thing to put on a shelf for a wee bit longer. We’ll have to wait and see, I think.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage this. I planned to. I bought tickets, booked a hotel room, hell, I even had plane tickets, but I was just too sick to go. That’s twice in a row I’ve had to cancel. Both times were for good reasons, but, bleh…

However, I did participate in STARFest in St. Albert, Alberta and CoCoKon in Phoenix, Arizona this year and I hadn’t planned to do either of those things. So hopefully that will make up for the convention I had planned to attend but couldn’t.

Done and done. It was a good one this year. I felt like I had just the right amount of programming and a happy amount of social time too. Win/win!

  • Successfully participate in NovPAD
    • NovPAD is November Poem-A-Day. I haven’t successfully pulled this off in ages, and I miss it.

Narp. Sadly. I tried. I even picked a theme and bought a premade cover to use as inspiration and everything, but by the end of November I did not have thirty poems. I am still working on this though, I want to finish that chapbook and put it out… maybe 2019? Maybe 2020?

It was a busy year 🙂

  • Have a successful submissions window for Grimm, Grit and Gasoline
    • Have a Table of Contents decided by the end of the year.

Whoot! That TOC was tricksy, but I finalized it just this month. Edits will begin in January and then contracts which means I’ll probably be able to announce it in February or March 🙂

  • Continue in my role as Assistant Editor for World Weaver Press
    • At present this looks like it will include acquiring and/or editing at least three titles.

I edited some of these WWP titles in 2017 for a 2018 release. Some I edited in 2018 for a 2019 release. To be fair, the bulk of my work ends once edits are complete, but not all, so I’ve included all of the titles. I didn’t list those I copy edited though, so it seems balanced to me 😉

The Continuum by Wendy Nikel (Edited in 2017 but released in 2018)

The Grandmother Paradox by Wendy Nikel (Edited in 2018 for a 2018 release)

Book #3 in the Place in Time Series by Wendy Nikel (Edited in 2018 for a 2019 release)

Black Pearl Dreaming by K. Bird Lincoln (Edited in 2017 for a 2018 release)

Book #3 in the Portland Hafu Series by K. Bird Lincoln (Edited in 2018 for a 2019 release)

  • Edit the next book in E.C. Bell’s Marie Jenner series

Hearing Voices is out in the world and I’m ridiculously proud to say that I’m its editor. The previous book I edited in this series, Dying on Second, also won the Bony Blithe award this year. Of course, Eileen did all the work for that, but I get to brag about it a bit too 😉

  • Work on putting together TOC for [Top Sekkrit] anthology

So close to done on this. Close, but not quite.

  • Organise a Giftmas Blog Tour

Done and done. At the time of my writing this post we had exceeded our goal and still had several days to go. I am very proud 🙂

  • Increase my mailing list subscribers by 20%

I actually increased my numbers by significantly more than that — like closer to 30x at its peek. I used a couple builders to do that, however, so after the cycle of unsubscribers leaving and purging zombie members my subscriber numbers are much lower than that peek but those who are on the list really seem to want to be there. And even my current numbers are significantly higher than they were last year. About 9k at last count (because why am I being vague?)

  • Increase my BookBub followers by 20%

LoL Well, Past Me. It would be easier to know how I’d done in regard to this goal if I had written down my current number of BookBub followers somewhere memorable at the begining of the year. Alas, I did not. I wrote it down. I remember that much, but I can’t remember where… so I guess this one will have to remain a mystery. However… I think my ultimate goal was 1,000 BookBub followers (because that would open up tools to me) and I currently have just over 800. So probably this goal wasn’t nailed. Yet.

Not listed as goals but other things I accomplished this year include editing F is for Fairy (forthcoming), pitching and selling Eerie Edmonton to Dundurn Press and doing loads of research for it, sold an anthology about swashbuckling cats that was wholly conceived of on Twitter, and successfully completing NaNoWriMo.

I spent a good part of this year quite unwell so I was nervous about looking back at these goals but overall? I’m pretty pleased with how I did. I’d also set a fitness goal for myself that I totally failed to hit, but given how sick I was for over half of this year I’m going to cut myself a whole bunch of slack on that one.

Looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring!

Advent Ghosts 2018

Every year I participate in Loren Eaton’s Advent Ghosts event. In short, he encourages people to continue the Victorian tradition of telling scary stories at Christmastime. Ideally each contributor is meant to write a drabble — a story that is exactly 100 words long. I’ve written plenty of drabbles but so far I have never managed to hit that goal for my Advent Ghosts story. However, this year’s tale is my shortest to date, so maybe someday I’ll pull it off. Someday…

After you read my story, pop over to Loren’s website where he’ll have links to all the other participant’s stories 🙂

 

And the Dog Smiled

“Listen buddy,” Carl raised his hands, palms facing the gun-wielding lunatic in the Santa costume. King’s leash dangled loosely from his wrist and, ears back and teeth bared, the dog was facing the stranger and growling low in his throat. Angry, but not pulling. “I don’t know anything about any Christmas gremlins. How about you put the gun down and we–”

“Enough,” Santa snarled, shifting his attention away from Carl and onto King.

Carl had seen enough movies to know what that meant and a white hot fury replaced the fear that filled him since he’d first seen the gun. “This is the part where you shoot my dog to show me what a badass you are, then?” he demanded. “I don’t think so, buddy–”

The sound of the gunshot echoed through the alley. A burst of red blossomed on the grey brick wall behind Carl’s head and he slumped, lifeless, into a pile of trash that had spilled out of a dumpster.

King fell silent.

“No, this is the part where I kill you to show him I mean business,” Santa said. He wiped a gloved hand through his unkempt beard and turned his attention to King. “Isn’t that right, ye shapeshiftin’ bastard?”

Aphanasian Stories on Sale

Aphanasian Stories by Rhonda Parrish

Three of Rhonda Parrish’s beloved Aphanasian stories brought together in one collection for the first time!

A Love Story: Z’thandra, a swamp elf living with the Reptar, discovers a human near the village. When she falls in love with him, she faces the most difficult choice of her life, a decision that will affect the Reptar for generations.

Lost and Found: Xavier, the escaped subject of a madman’s experiments, and Colby, a young lady on a mission to save her brother, must combine their efforts to elude capture and recover the magical artifact that will save Colby’s brother before it’s too late.

Sister Margaret: A vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman are hired by a priestess to kill the undead pimp that is extorting, torturing and murdering vulnerable girls.

Okay, I admit it. The title is less than inspiring, but the stories are good 🙂

Aphanasian Stories are on sale for this weekend only–because Black Friday. You can pick up your copy now for less than a dollar… and the timing is great because I’ll be releasing a new Aphanasian story next year, so this will introduce you to the world and the characters just in time to pick that one up and dive in 🙂

Available Now

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)

Kobo

B&N

iTunes

Playster

But wait! There’s more 🙂

Because of course there is, it’s Black Friday.

Aphanasian Stories is on sale as a part of a larger sale.

Click here to check out dozens of titles in all sorts of genres that have been marked down to $1 for this long weekend 🙂

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?!

Yeup.

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)

Kobo

Apple

B&N

 

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.

Surprise!

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

2017 Advent Ghosts — A Christmas Surprise

Every year around Christmas time I write an ‘Advent Ghosts’ story. Loren Eaton started Advent Ghosts several years ago as a way to continue the Victorian tradition of sharing spooky stories at Christmas time.

Last year was exceptionally busy for me so even though I wrote an Advent Ghosts story I didn’t actually type it up and share it. Today when I was flipping through that notebook looking for something else I stumbled across it and decided to correct that. Better late than never, right? 🙂 So, without further rambling please enjoy my 2017 Advent Ghosts story:

 

 

A Christmas Surprise

His truck was in the driveway.

How was his truck in the driveway?

The meth head with the gun had relieved him of it an hour ago. And yet, there it was. Parked and still running in front of his house.

An icicle of dread began in his belly and spread its frigid fingers through his body. With leaden limbs he approached, cupped his hands against his face and pressed them against the driver side window.

The garish green light of the GPS howled

You have arrived at your destination: Home

while simultaneously revealing that the monstrous red suit usually crumpled into the passenger seat was missing. As much as he’d hated having to wear it for the past month to pay the bills he hated that empty seat even more.

The boot prints in the snow leading from the truck to the front door chilled him more than the December wind, but he entered the house to a scene straight out of a holiday television special.

Bathed in the coloured lights of the tree, the boys were stretched out on the floor in front of the television, snug as bugs in their flannel Oilers pajamas.

“Daddy, Daddy!” they chirped, bounding up and jumping around him like excited puppies.

He patted them distractedly on their heads, his eyes frozen to the wet foot prints heading down the hall toward the bedrooms.

“Boys—” he started.

“Daddy! Daddy! Santa’s here! Santa’s here!”

“Santa is what?”

“Santa is here!”

“Where?”

“He took Mommy down there,” Allan pointed down the hall. “He promised he’d have a surprise for us when he was done with Mommy. They were playing really loud, but it’s quiet now. Do you think that means we get our surprise soon, Dad? Do you?”

Eerie Edmonton

I just got the signed contract back from Dundurn Publishing, so it is official! Eerie Edmonton is a go!

While I was working on Haunted Hospitals I met up with Rona and Ben of The Paranormal Explorers here in Edmonton to talk about their investigation of the Charles Camsell Hospital. I was straight-up with Rona and Ben from the start, letting them know that I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to paranormal phenomena but if they were willing to accept that I was willing to accept that they believed everything they were telling me. It worked out really well. I got some great stories for the book and I enjoyed the time I spent with them.

So, when Dundurn invited me to pitch them a new book after Haunted Hospitals came out, I pitched to Rona first. “Why don’t we team up and write a book about haunted locations in Edmonton? You’ll come to it from the point of view of a believer, I’ll come to it from the point of view of a skeptic (but one who likes a good creepy story) and we’ll meet in the middle?” She agreed.

Even better? Rona shares my interest in local history so after we’ve investigated the haunted locales around the city, we’re going to research them to see if what Rona sees and experiences matches up with actual historical events.

I’m going to do all the writing, Rona will lead the investigations, and we’ll work together on research.

It’s gonna be awesome 🙂

Oh, and you can be a part of it! If you have seen or experienced something spooky that you can’t explain here in Edmonton, please use the form below to get in touch with me. I’d love to hear your story and maybe investigate the location where it takes place with Rona.

[contact-form to=”rhonda.l.parrish@gmail.com” subject=”Eerie Edmonton Story”][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name”][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea”][/contact-form]

Using this form will give me access to your email address and I may reply to you at that email address. Your story, name or identifying information will not be used in the book without your permission. I promise.

So. Exciting!

Prairie Starport

Prairie Starport: Stories in Celebration of Candas Jane Dorsey

I wanted to to do something to honour Candas Jane Dorsey, because she has done so very much to help me and countless other people. And not just writers or editors or publishers. No. Though she does that as well, Candas doesn’t limit herself to working to benefit people in the publishing industry, she has dedicated her life to helping people. Period.

That deserves recognition.

In fact, it deserves more recognition than I have the power to give, but I wanted to contribute what I could. As did all the authors and artists who contributed to creating Prairie Starport. Though my name is on the cover as the person who put all these things together I could not have done anything without the support and contributions of tonnes of other people — including, of course, my fellow contributors.

This collection contains work by Timothy J. Anderson, Greg Bechtel, Eileen Bell, Gregg Chamberlain, Alexandrea Flynn and Annalise Glinker, Barb Galler-Smith, Anita Jenkins, Laina Kelly, Derryl Murphy, John Park, Rhonda Parrish, Ursula Pflug, Robert Runté, Diane L. Walton, BD Wilson and S.G. Wong.

My contribution is “Sister Margaret” which is a short story about a vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman trying to save prostitutes from a vampiric pimp. I wrote it a looong time ago but it still remains one of my favourites.

And because my goal with this anthology is to show appreciation for and celebrate Candas, not to turn a profit, I am giving the electronic version away for free.

 

Download it for free at:
BookFunnel
Kobo
Playster
Apple
More coming soon!

Also available at Amazon

Paperback available at Amazon:
.com
.co.uk

And add it to your shelves at Goodreads

All profits from this collection will be donated to the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society in Candas’ name.

 

(In case you’re curious, yes, I could have used the word contribute in its various forms more if I’d tried. I really could have :-p )

 

One of the stories was accompanied by art. Since the interior only allowed for black and white art, we also included the piece on the back cover so that it could be displayed in colour… albeit with a text overlay.

Starry Night and Agency

There was a story I wanted to tell. It was about a drug-addicted stripper in post-apocalyptic Edmonton and the dealer who wanted to save her and through her himself (or at least assuage his guilt). It’s not really a long story, or a complicated story but it took me a very long time and a lot of thought to figure out how to tell it.

I tried telling it from her point of view. I tried telling it from his point of view. I tried using an omniscient narrator. I tried 2nd person point of view (oh yes I did!). I tried starting before the apocalypse. I tried starting at the end and working backward…

You get the idea.

No matter what I did it was a struggle. And the biggest reason it was a struggle was because I was pretty sure at least part of this story needed to be told from the woman’s point of view but she didn’t really have any agency.

Agency, in case you’re unfamiliar is… well, I’ll steal this description which came from Patricia C. Wrede — “The best short definition I found was “Agency is an actor’s ability to make purposeful choices.” (“Actor” in this sense being “a person who takes action,” not “Robert Downey, Jr.”)” (Source: http://www.pcwrede.com/agency-in-fiction/).

Normally when I discover that one of my characters lacks agency I rewrite them to give them some… but (because reasons!) that’s not what I did in this case. Instead I made the story about her lack of agency in a ‘This character has no real agency… but can she find some by the end of the story?’ kind of way. And it worked! Or, at least it worked enough for me to get the story written.

And it worked for the judges of the In Places Between short story contest at When Words Collide last year, because they chose it as the winner.

If you’d like to see if it works for you, you can download a free copy here:

Free download — Click Here

…and don’t mind the obviously American road signs. The story really IS set in Edmonton, I promise 🙂

 

ETA: 12/4/19 I actually had a new cover made for this story, in part because I couldn’t abide the American road signs:

Award Eligibility

Time is crazy.

I thought I had lots of time to get around to making an award eligibility blog post… and then World Weaver Press tweeted yesterday to remind people about all the things they’d published that were eligible and I started flailing like, “OMG nominations are open!!”

So here is my rather brief and very belated list of works I did last year which would be eligible for award nomination this year:

Short Story
“Starry Night”, In Places Between short story contest, IFWA, August 2017

Non-fiction
Haunted Hospitals (co-written with Mark Leslie), Dundurn Press, August, 2017

Anthologies
D is for Dinosaur, Poise and Pen Publishing, February 21, 2017
Equus, World Weaver Press, July 18, 2017
Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say, World Weaver Press, November 28, 2017

I am also eligible for short form editor for my work in the aforementioned anthologies, and for long form editor for my work on Dream Eater by K. Bird Lincoln.

If you are nominating for any major awards (and I count the Auroras among those) and would like to read any of my eligible works, just get in touch and we’ll make it happen.

Thank you.