New Flash Piece, “Stick Figure Family,” featured in Mercurial Stories.

I’m proud to have a flash piece featured in Mercurial Stories’ special horror-themed issue. Check out my story, “Stick Figure Family,” along with fourteen other chilling tales.

Mercurial Stories

I have never liked horror stories. As an overly empathetic person, it is impossible for me to watch slasher films or read about the brusque removal of entrails. I have never understood the point of gratuitous violence, of being purposefully revolting, nor have I ever sought to understand.

With Issue 36’s prompt though, I have begun to consider the appeal. With horror stories, death and gore are expected. The only happy ending is escape. Horror stories address, very boldly in most cases, the senselessness, the obscene viciousness of this life. In dramatic stories, death usually occurs to emphasise life while in horror stories, it is the opposite: life emphasises death. Horror stories give us a safe (albeit offensive) space to examine our human condition along with all its heinous possibilities while (not-so-gently) reminding us that death is part of life (and vice versa).

My dearly departed friend Alan, the one…

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Progress Report: Wrapping Things Up for the Holidays

2018’s winding down, and so are my writing projects for the year. Looking back, I got a lot done. I finished a novel, finished 14 short stores, and have 4 other short stories in progress.

It’s been a little hard to sit down and write since doing my final read-through of Without Condition, my next novel. But looking back at those numbers, I’m starting to think my muse is simply telling me to take a break for the holidays.

I’m still writing a bit, though. I got some more ideas for my next book, and I’m writing little pieces here and there. I’m also putting my focus on one work-in-progress that I’d like to finish before the year is over.

Winter is typically the time of year I write novels. The weather and early darkness make it much easier to pause, ponder, and write a longer story. This usually happens in January (my least favorite month) and February, though. I think the dazzle of Christmas — as well as everything there is to do — makes it a little harder to sit down and write a book.

Even when I’m not writing as much, though, I’m thinking about my stories and thinking about what to write next. I used to panic when I wasn’t writing, but over the past year, I’ve gotten better about taking on my projects one at a time and when they feel right; and trusting that things will get done when they’re supposed to.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Giving Tuesday Match Special: “Please Give”

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving to your favorite nonprofit(s). I love this day, and love the focus on charity in a week otherwise dedicated to buying and spending.

In honor of Giving Tuesday, I’m running a special promotion: today only, for every copy of Please Give purchased, I will donate one dollar to DC Central Kitchen, a local community kitchen which trains jobless adults in food prep and service. They hire several of their volunteers for full-time work and train many more for careers in the food service industry. They also provide meals for homeless shelters, schools, and nonprofits. Learn more about DC Central Kitchen here.

Art by Doug Puller
Purchase Please Give on Amazon.

Please Give takes place at a fictional anti-hunger nonprofit in Washington, D.C. It follows Beth Harmon, a 28-year-old woman whose dreams of working for the greater good clash with both her hectic office environment and her own struggles with anxiety. It’s my debut novel, and both a funny and sobering take on what it means to follow your passion into the workforce.

I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector for almost a decade, and I try to give back in both my personal and professional life. If you want to read Please Give — or even if you just want to pick up a copy for charity — now is a great chance to do so. This donation match is only good through today, November 27. Get your copy today!

New Flash Piece: “Hollow” [reblog]

Check out my latest flash piece, “Hollow,” as part of the Ladies of Horror flash picture challenge. Thanks for reading!

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Hollow
by Sonora Taylor

Mrs. Sassafras was Lindsay’s favorite doll. Lindsay spotted Mrs. Sassafras at the church rummage sale, her porcelain cheeks dull and her linen dress yellowed. But it was her eyes that drew Lindsay in. Their irises were gone, perhaps faded with time. Wherever they’d gone, Lindsay didn’t care. She wanted the doll, and once her mother bought it, it became her favorite.
Lindsay liked that Mrs. Sassafras couldn’t look at her. Her mother often looked at her with a sigh, her teachers with frustration as she answered questions wrong, her classmates with mocking and laughter as they asked why she was so quiet. Her cousin Bethany, who was her age and also in her class, was the worst. She always picked on her, both at home and at school. She pretended she wasn’t Lindsay’s cousin when she was around her friends…

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Cover Reveal: “Without Condition”

My next novel, Without Condition, is set to be released on February 12, 2019. While I’m still putting the final touches on the manuscript, the cover is ready for you now! Take a look:

. Without Condition. Cover Art by Doug Puller
Art by Doug Puller

The cover once again features artwork by the amazing Doug Puller. It shows Cara Vineyard, the protagonist of the novel and someone I’m looking forward to introducing you to come February 12.

Thanks for reading!

 

Donate Books This Holiday Season

(Note: this is not a paid or requested post — I’m writing this on my own accord)

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog because I don’t have much to report beyond the fact that I’m editing Without Condition. It’s going pretty well — I’m about 2/3 done, and I haven’t felt the urge to print it out and light it on fire, which I consider to be a success.

While this is a time of year where I’m typically editing, I’m also shopping; and I wanted to draw attention to one of my favorite annual charity drives. Each year between November and December, Barnes and Noble holds a book drive for a local school or library in need. They have a box of books that you can choose from to add to your purchase when you check out. They’re usually kids books, meaning you may be adding $5 – $12 to your bill — and sometimes less!

This drive means a lot to me because my love of reading and writing came from access to a variety of books at a young age. I had well-stocked school libraries and public libraries nearby, and friends and family who kept my bookshelf full. I’m grateful for that privilege, but access to good reading, especially for kids and teenagers, should be a right. Book drives like this one help get more books into more readers’ hands.

If you’re shopping at B&N this year, I’d like to ask that you add a book to donate when you check out. It’s for a good cause, and it’s an easy way to give. Thanks, and happy holidays!

Happy Birthday, Neil Gaiman

Today is Neil Gaiman’s 58th birthday, and I hope he has a happy one.

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read many of his books, and I’d have to say my favorite is The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s simple and elegant, sparse and yet full of story. I still remember in vivid detail the scene where the narrator falls back into Daisy Hempstock’s ocean.

I also really love The Graveyard Book. It came out when I was 22 years old, but I wish I’d had a book like that when I was in middle school — creepy and yet lovely. I think “creepy and yet lovely” describes most of his work, and explains why I love it so much.

Happiest of birthdays, Mr. Gaiman.