Category Archives: Writing

Hollow

A car accident shattered sixteen-year-old Morgan’s family. Now her brother’s dead, her mom’s like a wheelchair-bound shadow, her dad lives at work and her seven-year-old sister Amy tries too freaking hard to salvage everything. What’s more, high school is its own special kind of hell, where her ex-boyfriend delights in spreading rumors that shred her reputation and make her feel like a loser.

When she finds an old camera in a creepy abandoned hospital, it seems like her luck is finally changing. And it is changing–from bad to worse. Because of course it is. Each time Morgan photographs one of her classmates they become corrupted versions of themselves. It’s like the camera steals their goodness, their essence, and leaves them hollow.

Then her sister uses the camera to take a selfie.

No matter what the cost, Morgan will find a way to reverse the effects of the cursed camera and save Amy, before her already-fractured family completely self-destructs.

‎October ‎31, ‎2012 I created the file that would become the first draft of the novel that eventually came to be titled Hollow.

I’ve written a few novels, a few NaNoWriMo novels, even, and this was the hardest one to date. In 2012 it was supposed to be my NaNoWriMo novel but every word was like pulling teeth so, if I remember correctly, I set it aside and cranked out something else to hit my word goal. I tried working on it again for Camp NaNoWriMo but again ended up putting it aside and working on something else while my subconscious worked away at it, figuring out my way into the story.

The next year, in 2013, it was my NaNoWriMo novel again and that year I finished the first draft.

Then came editing. So much revising. Turning one of my NaNoWriMo first drafts into something other people might want to read is no small task.

And yesterday the latest chapter in the story of this book was written. The paperwork is done and the contracts are signed. It’s official —

Tyche Books is going to publish Hollow!

 

I am so excited! I can’t imagine a better publisher to help me share this book with the world 🙂

I’ve worked with Tyche before as an editor, and of course they’ll be publishing Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns next year, but this is a different kind of excitement. I love editing, anthologies in particular, but writing will always a little bit closer to my heart. And this story, for all sorts of reasons I’m sure I’ll talk about between now and when it comes out, is even a little bit closer than most.

This feels pretty awesome.

When Words Collide 2017 Recap

What. A. Weekend.

I’m not going to even attempt to give a blow-by-blow accounting of When Words Collide because I couldn’t possibly. Not only would this post be impossibly long but my over-stressed memory is so bad these days that I would absolutely forget something or somebody and that would make me sad.

In fact, even while I was at the con if people asked how my weekend was going I would usually say “Ask me on Tuesday”. This weekend was fantastic, but simultaneously a bit overwhelming (which, really, is kind of my theme for 2017).

Well, it’s Tuesday so let me just say, my weekend was fantastic 🙂

First of all there was this:

"Believe" by Barbara Tomporowski

This year has been hard. I severely over-scheduled myself and the stress of that, coupled with dealing with some non-work things and a slight depression has taken quite a toll on me. I’m not going to go into details about that (that’s a topic for a different blog post) but, yeah, it’s been difficult. So when Barbara gave me a copy of this photograph which she’s entitled “Believe” along with some incredibly encouraging and supportive words I cried. It means more to me than I can put in words to have someone say, “I see what you’re doing. Great job. Keep it up. And also, are you okay?”

I’ll be framing this photo and hanging it over my desk.

Thank you Barbara.

<3

And a special thank you also to Ellen who provided similar but different validation to my work and additional incentive to keep on keepin’ on. With your incredible energy, enthusiasm and propensity for thinking out of the box I can’t wait to see what you create in the years to come.

Ever since I launched Fae at my very first WWC it’s been a sort of tradition for me to launch each new installment of the Magical Menageries there. Equus was no different.

I mean, it was different, but we launched it there just the same 😉

This is what our panel looked like. Well, to be honest Megan looked a wee bit different in person than she does in that photograph. I can’t imagine why…*

We have, from left to right, Hal J. Friesen, Susan MacGregor, C.S. MacCath, M.L.D Curelas , Sandra Wickham, V.F. LeSann (Leslie Van Zwol and Megan Fennell, Pat Flewwelling, Chadwick Ginther and Cat McDonald.

In addition to Equus contributors there are two D is for Dinosaur authors included in that rowdy bunch.

The reading was awesome and included flying cellphones, yeehaws, accents galore, laughs and tears. I am so lucky that I get to work with such amazing people.

And then this happened:

I’ve never won a short story contest before, I was pretty stunned and kind of floated through the rest of the day in a weird state of shock.

In Places Between is a short story contest organized by the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association that is dedicated to the memory of Robyn Herrington. In fact, the dedication on the associated anthology which contains all the stories that were finalists in the contest says:

Dedicated to the memory of

Robyn Meta Herrington (1961 – 2004)

Who believed so passionately in paying it forward,

She still is.

I never met Robyn but after winning the contest dedicated to her memory I spent some time with Barb Galler-Smith learning about her. She sounds amazing and I can only hope people speak so highly of me once I’m gone as they do of her. Thank you, Barb, for sharing some of your memories with me.

Before the con was done I had one more panel. This one was with Mark Leslie where we talked about collaborative publishing and how Haunted Hospitals came to be. The panel turned into an interesting discussion between Mark, myself and the audience and was a lovely way to end the programming.

The next day was time to come home, and on the drive back to Edmonton with S.G. Wong she helped me unknot a really annoying characterization problem for a novel that’s been collecting dust on my desk for years. Now, I’m really excited to re-write the thing over the three day novel weekend (I’m not officially registered), which is a much better state of mind than the ‘What am I going to write? What am I going to write?’ one I had been in before that. So yay!

Overall it was an awesome weekend, made so by many, many people (most of which aren’t listed here by name because if I did this blog post would be far too long). If you organised, volunteered or attended When Words Collide thank you for helping make it an amazing weekend.

See you next year!

 

 

*Just guessing here but it might be because she’s a brat…

My WWC Schedule

When Words Collide is kinda my jam. Technically apparently it’s a ‘Festival for Readers and Writers’ but I just call it my favourite convention, and I go every year.

There is a ridiculous amount of programming at WWC. I’m not kidding. There are twelve separate programming tracks, and it’s not like there are three real program tracks and a whole bunch of filler. Nope. All of these tracks are packed full of awesomeness so I wanted a bit more time to take it all in. So this year my schedule is a bit more laid back than on previous years 🙂

Friday

1pm — Live Action Slush: Early Bird Edition (Fireside)

Bring the 1st page of your short fiction manuscript to be anonymously read aloud and
receive comments from our editors.

This was the first ever panel I was on (at WWC or any convention ever) and it was so much fun I ask to be put on it every year.

5pm — Blue Pencil Session (Heritage)

Bring the first page or two of your manuscript (max 1000 words, typed, double-spaced) for
1-on-1 feedback from an editor.

These are booked ahead of time and I’m fully booked already (though there is usually a wait ist you can get on in case someone cancels). If you are one of the people coming to see me it’s a really good idea to send your work ahead of time so we don’t spend all our time together with me reading.

Saturday

11am — Equus Book Social (Fireside)

Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through the pages of the Equus anthology span the fantasy spectrum. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom. Join several contributors (and a couple special guests)
as they read short excerpt from their stories.

This is going to be awesome. I’m just sayin’…

12pm — Tyche Books Presents (Fireside)

Tyche Books introduces new books for 2017. Join the editors and attending authors for teaser readings and Q&A.

Okay, so I’m not actually ON this panel, my book from Tyche is a 2018 title, however since this panel immediately follows the Equus panel I can’t see any reason why people shouldn’t just hang around and watch it too 😉

4pm — Edge Publishing Presents (Fireside)

I’ll be talking briefly about the upcoming Tesseracts anthology that Greg Bechtel and I just finished putting together. Mostly, however, there will be readings from Edge authors 🙂

8pm — Autographs

I will be taking part in the mass autograph signing as will many Equus and D is for Dinosaur contributors so if you have a copy of either anthology this is the best place to collect a whole bunch of signatures 🙂

Sunday

2pm — Featured Author (Edge Publishing booth in the Vendor Room)

I’ll be spending an hour hanging out at the Edge Publishing booth in the vendor room. Last time I was the Featured Author I managed to wrangle two other people (Cat McDonald and Sandra Wickham) into joining me so we had a trifecta of awesome featured authors, so who knows what this year will hold? Swing by to talk about, well, whatever you wanna talk about. It’ll be fun 🙂

4pm — Collaborative Publishing (Fairview)

How HAUNTED HOSPITALS was born, created and developed (inspiration, origin story, how we divided the book up, and tools we used). This workshop provides insights on how to successfully collaborate on a writing project.

Haunted Hospitals wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for When Words Collide. Mark and I talk about it specifically and also more generally about collaboration 🙂

If you’re going to be at When Words Collide I hope to see you there! And please don’t be shy, even if we’ve never met before if you see me, please come up and say hi 🙂

Haunted Hospitals

Haunted Hospitals is officially out this weekend and the timing really could not be any better. You see, When Words Collide is next weekend and really, that’s where this all started.

A couple years ago I met my co-author, Mark Leslie, at WWC. I was sitting with him and a handful of other people at a table after the autograph session had concluded and I said, “You know, I live near a haunted hospital.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

We had several discussions via email and an in-person meeting at the next year’s WWC and slowly the plan for a book about haunted hospitals began to take shape.

And tomorrow that book is officially going out into the world!

I keep saying ‘officially’ it comes out tomorrow because last weekend I actually spotted a copy of it out in the wild — on the shelves at a local Chapters. Of course I squeed (like a total professional) and snapped some pictures.

I did leave it as I’d found it, spine out, on the shelf. So give me some points for that, anyway 🙂

This was my first foray into book length non-fiction and though it was incredibly challenging it was equally rewarding. I owe my co-author, Mark, a huge debt for showing me the ropes and demonstrating incredible patience as he answered question after newbie question. It’s been a huge adventure.

An adventure that continues even now.

The first review of Haunted Hospitals came out in the Sudbury Star and was then picked up by the National Post.

“If paranormal phenomena are going to occur, what better place than in a hospital?” noted Parrish in the book’s introduction. “Day after day, the most extreme of human experiences play out within the walls of hospitals. The most intense emotions are experienced again and again. Birth. Death. Trauma. Suffering. If paranormal activity is tied to energy or emotions, hospitals are the perfect petri dishes in which to culture it.

“Furthermore, if human spirits are trapped on this earth by trauma, disturbance or unfinished business, again, what better location than a hospital to forge the chains that hold them here?”

Read the full review here.

And yesterday I was a guest on J’lyn Nye’s show on 630 CHED here in Edmonton. That was my first ever radio appearance and I was super nervous. People have said nice things though, so I guess I hid it reasonably well. I thought I talked too much and stammered but you can judge for yourself if you’re so inclined. For the next week the show will be archived here at the 630 CHED Audio Vault. For the show I was on you’ll want August 3rd at 3pm 🙂

Mark and I will be at When Words Collide next weekend (August 11 – 13 at Delta Calgary South) to talk about Haunted Hospitals and how it all came together. There will be copies available there and we’ll be happy to sign them, however tickets are sold out. But fear not! Even if you can’t attend this year’s WWC you can still get a copy of Haunted Hospitals.

It should be available at your favourite local bookstore and/or library (and if it’s not you can usually ask them to order it in) or you can totally pick it up online!

Haunted Hospitals Online:

Direct from the Publisher

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

(Note: Some of these links might be pre-order links until the book officially comes out)

Check it out and let me know what you think! And, if you have a scary, spooky or eerie hospital story of your own I’d love to hear it. Share it in the comments or drop me an email 🙂

Looking back at 2016

Each year I set goals for the year to come and share them on my blog here. At the end of each year I assess how well I did in accomplishing my goals and set new ones. It’s an important thing for me, this setting and sharing of goals. Setting them and having them written down in concrete language really helps me regain my focus when I lose it (which is often), evaluate progress, get things done and also, look back over time and see a bigger picture of things I’ve accomplished. Sharing them on my blog here with you is equally important because it provides a sense of accountability which can be a huge motivation at times when I need it most.

Today I’m looking back at what I wanted to do in 2016 and evaluating how that all turned out. Goals I’m counting as achieved are in bold 😉

My Goals for 2016

  • Speed up my blog/website

So, largely I dealt with this by changing webhosts so it kinda feels like a cheat — but it DID speed up the website significantly. For a while last year it was painful just to try and load a page but now, with the new hosting plan, things go smoothly. Definitely a quality of life upgrade LOL

The book has been written, turned in, edited and copyedited. It’s all done and waiting for release which will be coming August of 2017. I’m super excited to see it go out in the world and I’d work with mark again in a heartbeat 🙂

  • Announce D is for… anthology and prepare it for an early 2017 release

D is for Dinosaur has been officially announced, edited, formatted and all that fun stuff and it’s scheduled for a February 2017 release. In fact, you can actually enter to win a copy if you were so inclined 🙂 This anthology is kind of a monster (well over 100,000 words) and might be the strongest volume in the Alphabet Anthology series to date 🙂

  • Release C is for Chimera on April 19th
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the sales numbers for A is for Apocalypse (based on the first three months after release)

C is for Chimera was released, as planned, on April 19th. Though A is for Apocalypse continues to be the bestselling volume in the series, C is for Chimera‘s reviews are pretty damned good, so I’m not going to complain. I think maybe apocalypses are just more popular than chimeras are LOL

  • Release Sirens (July?)
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the earn out its advance within the first year. Bonus points if it’s in the first six months.

Sirens went out into the world to rave reviews. It didn’t earn out its advance in the first six months but it’s on track to have done so before the year is up.

  • Attend the ‘Despite Excuses’ writing retreat in California this July

Done. I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done but I got to hang out with some awesome people in a beautiful setting so I’m still going to call it a win.

  • Take August off. With the exception of attending When Words Collide… which is work but also isn’t :-p

I mean… I may have worked a wee bit in August, but not a whole lot. Really.

  • Write the first draft of Deadmonton (My Winterknight Towers book), beginning in November and using NaNoWriMo as a springboard to get started

This didn’t happen. I did participate in NaNoWriMo but I didn’t have enough space in my brain to work on Deadmonton. I’m going to have to write this in 2017 though otherwise I’ll be running up against deadlines and I really don’t want this to be a last moment kind of thing.

  • Hire an editor for Shadows and prep it for release

Shadows is in the hands of an editor. I have no timeline for its release, but I’m progressing in the right direction, anyway LOL

  • Host a December blog tour to celebrate the holidays and benefit the food bank.

The Giftmas Blog Tour this year raised $521 for the Edmonton food bank, which is enough money to provide more than 1500 meals for hungry families. This was hugely important to me on a personal level and I am ridiculously proud of what we accomplished.

2016 was an emotionally difficult year for me (we lost my mother-in-law, our dog, some important celebrity voices and politics have been rough) but professionally it was good. I got a lot of things done, read a lot of books and lined up plenty of projects for 2017.

So there were plenty of bright spots in the darkness. I only had to look to see them.

Oh look, here’s one now!

 

2016 Eligibility Post

If you are nominating for industry awards this year please consider the following works of mine which I published in 2016:

WomenInPracticalArmorShort Story:

Sharper Than a Griffin’s Claw, Women in Practical Armor, March 2016

Where I come from they say there are a finite number of souls and after death each goes to a great repository to await another vessel to fill. By that reasoning, if one were to live forever, they would encounter the same souls over and over again…

Anthology / Related Works:

SIRENS -- cover by Jonathan C. ParrishSirens, World Weaver Press, April 2016

Sirens are beautiful, dangerous, and musical, whether they come from the sea or the sky. Greek sirens were described as part-bird, part-woman, and Roman sirens more like mermaids, but both had a voice that could captivate and destroy the strongest man. The pages of this book contain the stories of the Sirens of old, but also allow for modern re-imaginings, plucking the sirens out of their natural elements and placing them at a high school football game, or in wartime London, or even into outer space.

Featuring stories by Kelly Sandoval, Amanda Kespohl, L.S. Johnson, Pat Flewwelling, Gabriel F. Cuellar, Randall G. Arnold, Micheal Leonberger, V. F. LeSann, Tamsin Showbrook, Simon Kewin, Cat McDonald, Sandra Wickham, K.T. Ivanrest, Adam L. Bealby, Eliza Chan, and Tabitha Lord, these siren songs will both exemplify and defy your expectations.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. ParrishC is for Chimera, Poise and Pen Publishing, April 2016

This installment of Rhonda Parrish’s alphabet anthology series asks skilled storytellers to write around the theme of chimera. The resulting tales are part fable, part poem, part dream. But like any chimera, the parts make up a greater whole.

Blend reality with fantasy. Mesh science fiction with mystery. Mix history with what should have been. They are all chimera.

A shadow tells a tale of schoolyard bullies. A long-vanished monster returns from the cold dark. Make-up makes up a life. Alchemy, Atlantis, and apocalypse. These 26 tales bring both chaos and closure to dark and elusively fantastic geographies.

 

If you are qualified to nominate for awards (of any flavour) and you’d like a copy of any of these works in order to read and consider them, please email me. I will be more than happy to provide what I can.

2016 Advent Ghosts

To quote Loren Eaton from a couple years ago, “Advent Ghosts seeks to recreate the classic British tradition of swapping spooky stories at Yuletide. However, instead of penning longer pieces, we post bite-sized pieces of flash fiction for everyone to enjoy.

Loren has been hosting Advent Ghosts for I dunno how long, but I’ve been participating for a handful of years. It’s one of my favourite holiday traditions. Officially, we’re suppose to write and share drabbles–stories that are exactly 100 words long–to date I have never done this. My stories have varied in length over the years but this one is probably the longest yet at about 1,700 words long. It’s also the first story I’ve ever written that was set in space, or on a spaceship. That was pretty intimidating, I won’t lie–I really like it though, so I hope you will too 🙂 This story does contain sexual violence however, so consider yourself forewarned before reading…

bethlehems

Bethlehem‘s Star

As Christmas feasts went, it wasn’t much —an MRE, dried fruit and instant coffee—but it was the best she could do given the circumstances. She wasn’t supposed to be in orbit—she and her crew were supposed to have  returned to Earth weeks ago so she was lucky there was any food left at all. What was that saying? No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy? Well, no space mission ever survives leaving orbit.

They’d been on their way back to Earth when NASA spotted the debris field. If nothing was done the edge of it would come in contact with Earth and the results planetside would be catastrophic. The ISS was useless in situations like this—they only kept it operational as a floating museum of space exploration so Bethlehem would have to delay their return home, at least for long enough to set up a laser grid.

It wasn’t a difficult job—or it shouldn’t have been—but the whole thing turned into a farce of unbelievable proportions. Everything that could go wrong had gone wrong. First the shielding on the communications system had failed leaving it exposed to any cosmic rays that happened to come along. And apparently they did because it began to malfunction almost immediately, garbling their messages so much that the data they were getting back from Earth became completely unreliable.

Unable to get the information they needed to deploy the laser grid necessitated a EVA. It was Helen’s turn in the rotation but her preparations turned up a leaky air hose in her suit. They didn’t have time to repair it and since suits were custom fit she couldn’t just use another…

 

Helen glanced up at the digital clock on the wall—20:16. She had four more minutes before the ship’s rotation would swing back around and let her see the star—her star. The star shouldn’t exist, wouldn’t exist if Captain Monsef hadn’t done the walk in her place, but he had. And he’d died.

 

With communications down they hadn’t even seen it coming.

Helen had been on the bridge with D.J. when it happened. She saw the whole thing, saw it over and over again whenever she closed her eyes. A scout, a bit of debris that was ahead of the rest, had come out of the black, spinning and twirling like a dreidel. Helen watched it sideswipe the captain, snapping his umbilical to the ship and saw his face as he zoomed by—stiff-jawed and stoic. He knew he was doomed. Maybe he knew, even then, that they all were, but he wasn’t going to die kicking and screaming. That wasn’t his way.

She didn’t see the captain and the boulder tear through Shuttle One. Not with her eyes, anyway. She did see the control panel light up like a Christmas tree as every klaxon on the ship began to scream.

D.J. elbowed her out of the way and began pushing buttons seemingly at random.

“What are you doing?” She’d tried to stay calm—men tended not to listen if she raised her voice. “D.J. what are you—”

D.J. wasn’t even qualified to be on Bethlehem—he’d won some sort of social media contest or something and his inclusion in the ship was his prize—a PR stunt for the space program. Certainly no one had expected him to do anything.

He launched Shuttle One before she could stop him. In his defense, launching Shuttle One was the ship’s suggested protocol to deal with the hole the captain and the asteroid had punched through its hull opening them up to space. An experienced astronaut, however, would have just closed off that section and tried to find a way to save the shuttle and the captain.

She’d shoved D.J. out of the way just as Ramirez entered the bridge. In retrospect, that was probably when D.J. started hating her—the moment another man saw her overpower him and watched her try to correct his mistakes.

By the time the other four crew members had joined them on the bridge she’d stabilized things to the point the sirens had stopped wailing and she’d deployed the laser grid based on the last good coordinates they’d received from Earth before everything went to shit.

Unfortunately it was too late.

The grid did its job. Mostly.

Bethlehem hid beneath its cover and watched it obliterate the debris that passed through it, reducing it to sizes that would burn up in the atmosphere. The grid wasn’t perfect though and a few pieces slipped by on the edges. Helen and the crew could do nothing but watch and hope the Earth-based defenses could take them out.

 

Helen took another bite of leathery apple and looked at the clock again. Two minutes. Two minutes until she’d see her star once more. She and the star were orbiting around each other so she only got to see it every fourteen hours and then only for a few minutes.

 

Difficult decisions had needed to be made. They couldn’t land Bethlehem without comms—they needed to be in touch with ground control. Bethlehem had a nuclear reactor and any failed landing that resulted in a crash could cause a chain reaction that would endanger innumerable people planetside.

The remaining shuttle was operation and small enough that if it crashed it would only kill its passengers but there were seven people on Bethlehem and the shuttle was only designed to fit four. It was possible they could cram five in, but not seven. And they couldn’t just leave Bethlehem unattended in orbit, either.

And so they’d drawn straws. Well, everyone but Helen had. She’d volunteered to stay aboard—she’d been Monsef’s second-in-command so his death meant she was captain now and the captain goes down with their ship. But someone had to stay behind with her.

D.J. was chosen.

Helen suspected the process was rigged, that the rest of the crew was punishing him. Or her. Her cool competence had not earned her any friends on board, and more than once she’d heard them refer to her as a bitch. So maybe D.J. had been left behind as a punishment, maybe it was a message to her, or maybe it was just dumb luck. Whatever the reason it had signed his death certificate.

The shuttle launched without ceremony and then there was nothing Helen and D.J. could do but wait and hope it landed safely. Hope the crew sent up help. Hope rescue came before the food ran out…

Actually, that wasn’t all there was to do. D.J. found another thing—another two things, actually. The first was drinking.

He’d tracked down every liquid with any alcohol content whatsoever, including Smith’s potato homebrew, and spent more time than not totally hammered.

His hair stuck up in all directions, his face was flushed an odd orange colour and he pushed his mouth into a shape that resembled nothing more than an asshole. It might have been comical if not for what came next.

She’d been passing him in the hall on one of her many trips between her quarters and the bridge when he’d slurred something incoherent and groped her, obscenely cupping her crotch.

Shocked, she hadn’t reacted for several full seconds and then, when she did, it was in an explosion of energy. She slapped him hard across the face and pushed away. In the low gravity of the passageway that was enough to send him careening into the doorway of Ramirez’s quarters. The door irised open, D.J. floated through it, and it closed behind him while Helen propelled herself to the bridge.

There, gravity still reigned allowing her to stomp around with much more satisfaction than was possible in the living quarters. How dare he? If she ever saw him again it would be too soon.

Sadly, only a couple hours later he joined her on the bridge. He was leaning against a wall and blathering. He wasn’t making any sense, just rambling randomly about everything and nothing at all. When Helen started to turn her back on him he snatched a femur-sized wrench from where it was Velcroed to the wall and smacked her across the back of the head with it.

 

Helen reached behind her, felt the fist-sized lump that was still there and winced. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only place he’d injured her. She’d woken up striped to the waist with him grunting over her, his hand pawing at her breast, his putrid breath washing over her.

 

She tried to push him off but this time she couldn’t overpower him. He had gravity on his side, superior size, and wasn’t struggling just to remain conscious. Then, her searching hand landed on the wrench he’d struck her with, now forgotten on the floor. She closed her fingers around it and cracked him across the side of the head as hard as she could.

Then it was his turn to be unconscious. And when he woke it wasn’t in the bridge like she had. Oh, hell no. Even the brig was too good for him.

“A tragic accident,” she’d said into the intercom when the cameras showed her he was awake and aware of his predicament. “Just horrible. He must have had too much to drink and stumbled into the airlock…”

No one would believe that story, of course. Too many security protocols had to be overridden for that to be plausible, but Helen didn’t care. Help wasn’t coming from Earth. It had been two weeks now, if someone was coming they would have arrived already. Or signaled. Or something.

Maybe the shuttle had crashed on its way down. Maybe the debris that had slipped past the net had taken out the fleet. Maybe it had taken out the world. If it hadn’t, history would someday show that she, Helen Rosemary Carver, had gone down with her ship… after ridding it of a rat.

 

For now though, she glanced at the clock, in five, four, three, two—there he was.

He’d only been out there for a couple cycles but space was already working its magic on him—freeze-drying his corpse, turning him into a space mummy. He would never rot, but stay up here—a desiccated lump, arms and legs splayed like a starfish with a scream frozen on his face.

She watched him, the star she’d created. Even now when all hope for her, maybe even all hope for mankind, was lost, watching him sit and spin could still make her smile.

END

You can read all the other Advent Ghost stories on Loren’s blog — 2016 Advent Ghosts.

 

Women in Practical Armor

WomenInPracticalArmorIf women in fantasy are capable and intelligent enough to lead in battle, wouldn’t they also be intelligent enough to protect their abdomens, tie their hair back, and cover their faces in battle?

Edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy, this anthology of eighteen short stories showcases an already empowered female warrior who knows how to handle herself in battle. Take charge of your fantasy reading with Women In Practical Armor!

Steve Bornstein – “Serendipity”
Cassandra Rose Clarke – “A Night in New Verashtin”
Erik Scott de Bie – “King’s Shield”
Kristy Griffin Green – “The Family Business”
Amy Griswold – “The Raven and the Swans”
Sarah Hendrix – “Hero of Ithar”
Crystal Lynn Hilbert – “Stone Woken”
Chris A. Jackson – “First Command”
Mary Robinette Kowal – “The Bound Man”
Eric Landreneau – “Pride and Joy”
Wunji Lau – “No Better Armor, No Heavier Burden”
Todd McCaffrey – “Golden”
Rhonda Parrish – “Sharp as a Griffin’s Claw”
Anya Penfold – “The Lioness”
Mary Pletsch – “The Blood Axe”
Alex C. Renwick – “Ravenblack”
David Szarzynski – “Armor the Color of War”
Judith Tarr – “Attrition”

It’s out! It’s out! See that bolded name up there? That’s mine! I am so stoked about this.

My contribution is an Aphanasian story that includes some new and some familiar (*cough* Bayne *cough*) characters.

And readers are enjoying it. Check out this review:

“An unusual love story unfolds between an imp and a half-elf in “Sharp as a Griffin’s Claw” by Rhonda Parrish. I liked the unusual protagonists in the story, and how they came to love each other. I really liked how each of them gave their all to the relationship, and each became much more than they would have been had they been alone. Very smartly told, and an awesome addition to Women in Practical Armor.”

Check out the full review of this anthology I’m SO proud to be a part of — http://www.my-sf.com/2016/08/29/women-in-practical-armor-edited-by-ed-greenwood-and-gabrielle-harbowy-anthology-review/

Buy It Now 🙂

Haunted Hospitals Cover

I wasn’t going to share this just yet because my bio on the Amazon page is wrong (I haven’t lived in Calgary for 36 years) but I can’t resist 🙂

Check. This. Out.

Haunted Hospitals

The cover for Mark and my book, Haunted Hospitals has been decided upon. What’s more, it’s all online and has a release date and everything! Exciting!

Making this move into non-fiction was definitely not easy but, thus far, it’s been a very positive and rewarding experience 🙂

 

p.s. I’m glad this is the cover which got used in the end. I liked the hospital beds option, thought it did a fantastic job of capturing the lonely, institutional feeling of a great many of these stories and the hospitals they are set in, but “Mary” captured my heart from the beginning. I love the colours, the imagery of an empty hallway (who knows where it leads?) and I think when it’s sized down to a thumbnail it will be much more legible than the beds.

p.p.s. I named this apparition Mary (and Mark was lovely enough to go along with it) because, as I frequently bemoaned on social media while I was researching this book, a disproportionately high number of female ghosts are named Mary. It makes me happy to see us continuing with that tradition 😉

Looking Back at My 2015 Goals

All rights reserved by Rhonda ParrishEvery year I set goals for myself, and then at the end of that year I look back at them to see how I’ve done. It helps with my productivity and gives me at least the illusion of some sort of focus 🙂 Now is the time for me to look at my 2015 goals and see how I did to help me determine what my 2016 goals will be.

My 2015 Goals:

Goals in italics are ones I’m saying I accomplished 🙂

Health

  • Weigh less at the end of the year than I do at the start
  • Run 5k
  • No working on weekends and minimal working on evenings.

Huh. Yeah. So… totally failed at those first two, but I think with some small exceptions I did pretty well at not working on weekends and evenings. It’s a thing I need to continue to focus on because I really want to have a bit of balance in my life, but I definitely did better in 2015 than 2014 so I’ll take it 🙂

Editing / Publishing

  • Publish the final three issues of Niteblade and then close down that aspect of the magazine
  • Complete Corvidae and market it to the best of my ability
  • Complete Scarecrow and market it to the best of my ability
  • Publish B is for Broken and market it to the best of my ability

I published B is for Broken (and it’s awesome) but I may have dropped the ball a bit in the marketing department. It has significantly fewer reviews than A is for Apocalypse and its sales numbers are also much lower. Part of the issue, I think, is that ‘Broken’ is a much more nebulous concept than ‘Apocalypse’ but some of it was definitely me. It’s been a learning experience though, especially in regard to choosing anthology subjects that are easier to market.

  • When Shadows is published market it to the best of my ability

N/A

  • Have the manuscript for C is for… polished and ready for publication

C is for Chimera is pretty spectacular. I’m going to reveal the cover and officially announce the release date here on my blog this Thursday. Meanwhile, I’ve already managed to garner a 1 star review for it on Goodreads despite the fact no one has read it but me. So that’s awesome. *sigh*

  • Have the manuscript for D is for… polished and ready for publication

I have the authors lined up for D is for [TOP SEKKRIT] but haven’t progressed further on this title yet.

  • Come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion.

Yeah… I really should do this 😉

  • Make progress on sekkrit collab with CJD

Making slow progress… but progress 🙂

  • Open to submissions for Sirens

I’m currently trying to turn my shortlist into a table of contents. There were about 200 submissions sent my way and even many of the ones I didn’t shortlist were really, really good. There are some very difficult choices in my near future.

Writing

  • Write and submit at least one new short story a month*
    • The ‘submit’ part of this is important. I can’t just write a first draft and leave it to moulder indefinitely. The story needs to be ready for submission and, in fact, submitted, within the month to count.

LOL Well, it looked good on paper.

  • Begin querying agents about Hollow
  • Self-publish at least one collection of reprints
  • Complete work on collaborative project with Marge
  • Successfully participate in April Poem-A-Day
    • This means actually writing a poem a day or at least having thirty poems written by the end of the month
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo*
  • Either complete the first draft of a new novel, or revise one of the novel first drafts I’ve already written (this can be completed in conjunction with NaNoWriMo or separate from it)

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books
    • Slush doesn’t count, nor do books by friends I read to critique.
    • Have at least 20% be non-fiction

I read 46 books according to Goodreads, plus 13 which aren’t on Goodreads. And those 13 don’t count slush or books by friends I read to critique. So I really was successful even if Goodreads doesn’t know it 😉

Misc

  • Create a website at poiseandpen.com
  • Attend When Words Collide and Pure Spec
  • Blog at least once a week
  • When someone visits this blog and leaves a comment — reciprocate.

I’m still not awesome at this. I go to the blogs of people who visit and I read but very often I can’t think of anything intelligent to leave as a comment and ‘I was here, but now I’m gone…’ just doesn’t work for me, ya know?

Kobo

As of New Year’s Eve of 2014 I’d sold a total of one book via Kobo**. One. For a whopping $0.45 in royalties. One of my goals in 2015 is to improve that. I don’t have a super firm goal in mind but it shouldn’t be too difficult to top one sale and less than fifty cents in royalties, right?

Success! Partly on account of a BookBub deal, but I’d beaten my one sale for $0.45 in royalties even before that. There is still plenty of room for improvement here, but there’s always going to be, isn’t there?

*under this name or as a pen name project. Either counts.
**this doesn’t count books I didn’t self-publish like Fae, Metastasis etc.

 

Overall I feel like I had a successful year. I did plenty of things that aren’t reflected on this list of goals and even managed to accomplish more than I failed at. On paper it wasn’t a spectacular year but my reality was pretty amazeballs 🙂