Busy Bee for Spring

One thing I don’t want this blog to ever become is a string of posts promising to write more. I figure, if there’s a prolonged period where I don’t have much to add, I’ll let the blog sit and hope that people see me tweeting or Instagramming to see what I’m up to. Of course, on Twitter and Instagram, I’m usually talking about hockey or terrifying beauty rituals if I’m not talking about writing.

That said, I realize it’s been a minute since I’ve posted; and I wanted to check in, especially since I already recapped a prolonged absence following the release of Without Condition. This time, my absence hasn’t been because of writing. I have some exciting things going on in my personal life, which I’ll talk about more once those pieces are in place; but I can assure you that they’re all good!

In between the hubbub, though, I’m doing some writing. I’m working on a piece for a food horror call for submission. Sadly, this call for submission doesn’t accept flash — otherwise, I’d totally submit Crust (which you should read if you haven’t yet!).

I’m also letting Little Paranoias sit before giving it one full read-through. I plan to send it to Evelyn for editing in June, and in the meantime, I’ve started working with Doug on what the cover will look like.

I’m a busy bee this spring, and I’m grateful for the energy warm weather gives me to juggle it all. In between new projects coming out soon, I hope you’ll pick up one or two of my books to read if you haven’t done so — I have four to choose from!

Happy reading, everyone.

Progress Report: A First Draft of “Little Paranoias” is Complete!

We have a first draft! We have a first draft! *throws confetti*

“Little Paranoias: Stories” is my next short story collection. It’s not like my previous short story collections, though; which are both very short — four stories apiece. “Little Paranoias” will have twenty pieces: five short stories, twelve flash fiction stories, and three poems.

“Little Paranoias” is also unique in that I came up with the title long before I knew which stories I wanted to write and collect for the book. I didn’t even have a story called “Little Paranoias.” The title came to me and wouldn’t go away. It ended up becoming a small, four-line poem that will open the collection.

The collection will feature a mix of both new, never-before-published stories; and pieces previously published in ezines and anthologies — including my work that has appeared in The Sirens Call, and “Hearts are Just ‘Likes,'” my short story featured in Camden Park Press’ “Quoth the Raven.”

Right now, I anticipate publishing the collection in early December. In the meantime, the book is already listed on Goodreads — please add it to your shelves!

I can’t wait to share this next collection with you. Watch this space for more updates, including the cover and a final table of contents.

New Poem: “As Quick as Poison” [reblog]

As a bonus for World Poetry Day, I have a poem of my own up on Spreading the Writer’s Word. Check out my latest piece in the Ladies of Horror Flash Picture Prompt Challenge, “As Quick as Poison.”

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

As Quick As Poison
by Sonora Taylor

In the darkness, liquid pooled
Upon a table in the wood.
A bottle lay inside her hand
And seeped its poison in the land.
She’d thought a drink would calm her nerves,
That one last sip would stop the stirs
Of voices crawling in her mind
Which fed her thoughts and dreams unkind.
But when she drank that fatal cup
And took a moment to look up,
She fell to earth. Her time had passed
As quick as poison through a glass.
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor

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More from Sonora Taylor:

Without Condition

Cara Vineyard lives a quiet life in rural North Carolina. She works for an emerging brewery, drives her truck late at night, and lives with her mother on a former pumpkin farm. Her mother is proud of her and keeps a wall displaying all of Cara’s…

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A Dash of Horror for World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day! Some of my earliest writing was poetry. I mean very early — elementary school, middle school, etc. I have notebooks at my parent’s house with all of my emotions in verse. Some are good. Most aren’t. But poetry was always a nice way for me to write out anything weird or crazy I was feeling, in a way that was less concrete than an essay or a diary entry. Other times, it was a way for me to capture a sight, moment, or memory in a different way.

I don’t write as much poetry as I used to, but when I do, it’s more of the snapshots of memories, or something altogether made up — a short story in verse. I still think my strength is in prose, but sometimes, the best way to tell the story I want to tell is in metered verse.

Sadly, I don’t read as much poetry as I could. I read quickly, and as such, it’s hard for me to slow down and really absorb the gravitas of the verses. Other times, the poems are so over my head that, while they sound nice, I don’t really get them. Most of the time, I admire a poem more than I feel it.

Then I discovered horror poetry.

I didn’t discover horror poetry until late — as in, last year. I’d read bleak poetry and dark poetry before, but never a collection marketed as poems meant to scare you. I’m glad I found it, though, because I found myself connecting with horror poetry in ways I hadn’t connected with other poems before.

While some deal with monsters, many still focus on the terrifying things we feel or experience in real life. I think I connect with this more than other forms of verse because I’m drawn to extremes, especially when describing experiences. My own struggles with anxiety fuel both my work and what I like to read or watch. While non-horror poems cover that, the horror poetry I’ve read cover it with a harshness, a viscerality (I hope that’s a word), and a sense of fright that I haven’t encountered elsewhere — but one I find myself able to connect with deeply, even if that connection is a shared feeling of fear.

I also enjoy horror poetry that tells stories, be they fiction or nonfiction. I like seeing the unique way that poetry can tell a classic horror tale, in ways that give anything from serial killers to demonic possession to vampires a refreshing twist.

For World Poetry Day, I highly recommend you check out some of the horror poetry collections below:

Breathe. Breathe. — a collection of poetry and short stories from Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi.

The Devil’s Dreamland — a series of poems that chronicle the life, death, and murders of H.H. Holmes; from Sara Tantlinger.

How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend — another blend of poems and short stories, interspersed with one another; by Linda Addison.

What are some of your favorite horror poetry collections?

New Flash Piece: “Crust”

Today is Pi Day! In honor of the tastiest, most mathematical day, I wrote a flash piece. It’s about dessert pie, perfection, and baking. I hope you enjoy a little fusion of creepiness into your morning. Happy 3.14, everyone!

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Crust

The crust was her least favorite part to make. Millie sighed as she ran her rolling pin over the stiff disk of dough. It needed to be cold for the butter to make it flaky, But it needed to be warmer in order to be rolled out. But not rolled out too thin, or else the crust would tear. And not too thick, or else it wouldn’t be a crust at all.

Millie hated making her own crust, but it was the way her mother liked it. Homemade, nothing from a can or freezer. “You can’t make everything easily,” her mother would say as she spit a piece of pie into her napkin, Millie’s latest effort publicly shown as a failure. “You’re spoiled, and that spoils your food.”

Millie would swallow back her tears — “Tears just show how much you think you deserve sympathy,” her mother would say, “and sympathy is earned” — and try again another week. She’d try and try, stirring the blueberries into a perfect compote, baking the apples in sugar until they became thick and soft, baking the pumpkin puree until it formed into a perfect, stable custard that didn’t fall or seep, just wiggle a little. Millie was excellent at filling. It was just the damn crust.

She thrust the rolling pin too hard as she rolled, and tore the crust. “Dammit!” she yelled as she pressed the dough back together. She felt it warm beneath her fingers, felt the butter melt inside the flour before it had a chance to do so in the oven. It’d be less flaky now. It wouldn’t be perfect. Millie threw the crust away, then turned to face her mother at the table.

“I won’t make it if it isn’t perfect!” she said as she blinked back tears. “I’ll start over. Is that good enough for you?”

Her mother didn’t reply. Her mother hadn’t said a word for weeks, not since she’d died at the table while finishing her dinner. Millie found her after placing another pie in the oven, sitting still, her mouth hanging open and her eyes vacant yet narrow.

She still sat there, her body crumbling like an oat topping, her skin wrinkled like an apple perfect for filling. Her eyes were dark and rotted, but Millie could still see the judgment within them. Eternally in disapproval, even though she couldn’t voice it.

Millie could hear it in her head, though — and until she didn’t hear it, she would try and try again to make the perfect pie. “I’ll make it better,” she said as she turned to the fridge to get some butter. “I’ll make it perfect.”

Interview and Guest Post Round-Up!

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since Without Condition came out. In addition to promoting the book, I’ve been working on my next short story collection and doing guest posts and interviews with other blogs. I’ve been neglecting this blog a little bit, but now that the dust has settled, I’ll be back on here; especially with some of the exciting news that’s been happening over the past couple weeks.

While I haven’t been on here as much the past couple weeks, I’ve been all over the place online, having conversations with bloggers about Without Condition, my writing, food, travel, you name it. I’ve collected the interviews below:

I’ve also contributed a couple of guest posts to horror blogs. Check them out below:

Thanks for reading!

Interview: Sonora Taylor Opens Up About Themes in Novel Without Condition #WIHMX #HookonWiHM [reblog]

I had the pleasure of speaking with fellow author, editor, and publicist Erin Sweet-Al Mehairi on her site, Hook of a Book. Check out our conversation about writing, food, women in horror, travel destinations, and my plans for a Mother’s Day promotion for “Without Condition.” Thanks for interviewing me, Erin!

Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!

Hi Sonora, and welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’m so glad you’ve joined me, and I look forward to talking to you today. I know we are both “foodies” and so if you brought some Duck Donuts or some Georgetown Cupcakes from D.C., I’ll make the enchiladas for lunch. It’s freezing here so let’s whip out the coffee with something a bit stronger, like rum or Kahlua, or I bet you even know something better because you are always giving me tips about the good stuff…?

Sonora: Thanks for having me over! I did indeed bring some donuts, but – not to be that local – I thought you might enjoy these cupcakes from Baked and Wired a little bit more. I also brought pupusas, and yes, load me up on some rum and coffee (though I take no responsibility for what I start saying after…

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