Out Now: “Little Paranoias: Stories”

I’m excited to let you all know that Little Paranoias: Stories is now available in ebook and paperback!

little-paranoias-cover-front
Art by Doug Puller.

About the collection:

Is it a knock on the door, or a gust of wind? A trick of the light, or someone who’ll see what you’ve done?

Little Paranoias: Stories features twenty tales of the little things that drive our deepest fears. It tells the stories of terror and sorrow, lust at the end of the world and death as an unwanted second chance. It dives into the darkest corners of the minds of men, women, and children. It wanders into the forest and touches every corner of the capital. Everyone has something to fear — but after all, it’s those little paranoias that drive our day-to-day.

I’m excited to release this collection, which has been in the making for over a year. I hope you like it!

Order your copy today!

Thanks for reading, everyone.

A Handy List of Where to Submit Your Work for Awards

Jump to the List

One of the challenges of self-publishing is that you need to be your own marketing department. You have to share the fact that your book is out in the world, and that includes letting awards committees know about it too!

It can be daunting to submit your own work for an award. I’ll admit, when I first got into self-publishing, I thought submitting my own work wasn’t sacrosanct. I thought that juries combed through books, selected their favorites, and made a ballot. Self-promotion for an award was rude and uncouth. I have since learned otherwise, and I’m glad I did.

Now, some awards juries don’t accept unsolicited submissions — but many others do! And further, they say specifically that you can submit as the author of the piece! So go on — submit that work! What’ve you got to lose?

But Sonora, where do I start? That’s where the list below comes in. I’m starting a living blog post — one I’ll keep updated beyond the initial posting — with links to awards that allow you to submit your own work. Please let me know if you know of any awards that aren’t listed, and I’ll add them as well.

Happy submitting, and good luck!


Literary Awards You Can Submit Your Own Work To (last updated: July 16, 2020)

October Reads: Something Written This Way Comes

Happy October! Let’s get spooky!

With October comes all the autumn and Halloween feels. I want to look at changing leaves, sip cinnamon-spiced tea, burn sweet-smelling candles (it’s not quite cold enough for our fireplace yet), eat winter squash, and curl up with some good reading.

October is the coziest month for me, which is probably why I like to read special books for this time of year — horror books, of course, but also folklore and stories set in autumn. It’s a time of year I’m more deliberate about what I want to read, more than any other month.

Here are some of the books I plan to read this month:

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell — I actually read this already, on Monday evening. It was a delight. I loved the setting of the pumpkin patch. Rowell’s attention to cheerful details, like the snacks and the scents, made me feel so warm and at home in a state I’ve never even been to. I can easily see this becoming an annual autumn read.

Washington Irving: An American Original by Brian Jay Jones — I engage with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow every October (usually with the Disney cartoon, but also with the original story), and decided to finally read this biography about the legend’s author. I’m reading it now as part of a buddy read and enjoying the history lesson.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving — see above. Also, can we talk about how great the cartoon is? The scene where Ichabod rides home alone before the Horseman appears is a mastery in mental horror made visible.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury — I adore Ray Bradbury, but have never read this one! My mom gave me a paperback copy and I look forward to reading it.

Video Nasties by Duncan Ralston — I’ve had this short story collection of extreme horror on my shelf for awhile now. I love old, gruesome, and crazy horror films; and this literary tribute to them seems like the perfect read for October.

Devil’s Hill by E. Reyes — a collection of Halloween-themed stories I can’t wait to dive into.

Bunnicula by James Howe — I read this in either 4th or 5th grade, and think of it whenever I see a white carrot in the heirloom varieties at the farmers market. I recently purchased an anniversary edition with an adorable red velvet cover.

Witches by Donna Lynch — fellow author Erin Sweet al-Mehairi recommended this book of poetry to me, and I can’t wait to read it.

What are you reading this month?

New Flash Piece, “Frosting,” on Spreading the Writer’s Word [reblog]

I have a new flash piece up on Spreading the Writer’s Word! Check out “Frosting,” a romantic wedding tale that cuts to the chase. Thanks for reading!

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Sept_LOH_Image2

Frosting
by Sonora Taylor

Theresa licked the frosting from her thumb. Vanilla: Scott’s favorite. The cake beneath the frosting was her favorite: red velvet. Both together, just like she and Scott would be for the rest of their lives.
Three layers of cake sat beneath a vintage topper that Scott bought for them as a joke. “I just knew you’d love the Precious Moments vibe,” he’d said with a smirk as Theresa groaned at the porcelain angel and noble mare.
“Yeah,” Theresa agreed. “Maybe Precious Moments from Hell.”
Theresa smiled at both the memory and the sweetness of the sugar and vanilla coating her teeth. She saw a bit of red upon the cake.
Her smile fell. “Scott!” she called.
Scott looked up from across the banquet hall. Their guests lay in pieces on the floor between them. Scott held the maid of honor…

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Special Announcement: Check Out “The Devil’s Tree” from Fellow “Quoth the Raven” Author Susan McCauley

October is coming fast, and while many of us read horror stories throughout the year, there’s a special thrill in immersing yourself in creepy tales all month long.

One tale coming out is The Devil’s Tree, the debut novel from fellow Quoth the Raven author Susan McCauley! (Read my interview with her here)

471252_Flatlay Devil's Tree 1_072319
Preorder The Devil’s Tree today!

From the publisher:

Kaitlyn didn’t believe in ghosts—not until one killed her boyfriend and her best friend. Now she must stop the spirit haunting the Devil’s Tree, or she could be next.
 
Seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn wants to escape her drunk mama and her trailer park home life to enjoy a Saturday night off work. Instead, her boyfriend, Hunter, convinces her to go with him and their best friends, Dylan and Keisha, to photograph a desolate tree with an evil past. A terrifying presence chases them from the tree, killing Hunter and Keisha. Left alive with Dylan, Kaitlyn must struggle with her unexpected romantic feelings for him, come to terms with her loss, and face being trapped in a dead-end town. Kaitlyn is desperate to put the past to rest, but when their friends’ spirits begin haunting them, she and Dylan have no choice but to seek help from a Catholic priest and attempt to set the trapped spirits free. 

I was a fan of McCauley’s story, “The Cask,” in Quoth the Raven; and I’m sure readers of The Devil’s Tree are in for a real treat.

You can preorder the book from all major outlets on Books2Read.

Progress Report: Winding Down for Fall

My summer was busy. There were a few personal upheavals, and writing projects seemed to begin and end in a constant infinity loop. Fall is fast approaching, and with it is a desire to calm down a little. Let’s just hope my life gets the memo!

Most of the summer has been spent working on my next novel and putting the finishing touches on Little Paranoias: Stories. The latter seems to finally be done on my end, at least in terms of pre-release prep. Review copies are out, and I’ve made all the final corrections and gotten them back from Doug.

Little Paranoias: Stories will be out in ebook and paperback on October 22 — and you can preorder the ebook right now! Yay!

Ahead of the release, though, you’ll see ARCs (advance review copies) in the wild on social media. I’ve been loving pictures of reviewers taking selfies with the book and its amazing skull illustration. I’ve shared several on my own Instagram page (I’d embed them directly here, but WordPress isn’t reading the embed code correctly, boo).

The collection also received its first review on Goodreads: 4 out of 5 stars from reviewer Valerie Dorsey! Give her review a read, and don’t forget to shelve Little Paranoias: Stories on Goodreads if you haven’t done so.

With pre-release prep out of the way, I’m turning my focus back to Seeing Things, my third novel. As with any new writing project, I’m having to force myself to sit down and work on it, which has been hard given how hard this past summer has been. Since the end of August, though, I’ve been feeling a slow sense of calming down in the air and in my soul. While I’m hoping that extends to my sense of well-being in general, I also hope it will give me the patience to see this new story through.

Happy fall, everyone.

New Flash Piece, “Lock the Cellar Door,” Available on Spreading the Writer’s Word [reblog]

I have a new flash piece up on Spreading the Writer’s Word for their monthly flash picture prompt challenge. Check out “Lock the Cellar Door” at the link below!

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_02_AugustLOH

Lock the Cellar Door
by Sonora Taylor

“Hurry Sandi! Get downstairs!”
Sandi rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and in the resulting blur, she saw her mother standing panicked in the doorway. “What is it, Mama?” she asked.
“Get downstairs, honey. It’s a big one this time. I can hear the wind.” Her mother ran into Sandi’s room and pulled at her arm. “Come on, move!”
“I’m coming!” But Sandi had already been yanked from the bed. She ran behind her mother, through the hall and towards the front door. They had to cross the yard to get to the storm cellar – a design that Sandi didn’t quite understand, but one she didn’t question.
“It’s coming,” her mother said as she opened the door. Sandi followed behind, then skidded to a stop behind her mother, who stood and stared at the field…

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Check Out Three New Pieces From Me, and an Excerpt from “Without Condition,” in Issue 46 of The Sirens Call! [reblog]

I’m honored and proud to be the featured author in this month’s issue of Sirens Call Publications’ The Sirens Call, “Summer Nightscares!” In Issue 46, you’ll find an essay from yours truly called “Fear, Sadness, and the Horror of Pain;” along with the first two chapters of Without Condition. I also have two other pieces in the issue: “Petal, Page, Piel,” a flash story; and “I Walked Beneath a Shining Moon,” a poem. Check out the issue for FREE below! Thanks for reading.

The Sirens Song

Sirens Call Publications is pleased to announce the release of the latest issue of

The Sirens Call

The 46th issue of The Sirens Call eZine features one hundred and five pieces of dark fiction and horror prose from seventy two different authors and poets. It also features an interview with, and dark imagery by artist, Jessica F Holt. This month’s featured author, Sonora Taylor, talks to us about ‘Fear, Sadness and the Horror of Pain’ and also offers an excerpt from her novel, Without Condition!

Click on the cover for your #FREE download!

eZine46_cover

Visit the web site to check out the other The Sirens Call issues!
www.sirenscallpub.com

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Preorder “Little Paranoias: Stories” Today!

My next short story collection, Little Paranoias, is now available for preorder! You can preorder the ebook on Amazon ahead of its release on October 22.

little-paranoias-cover-front

About the collection:

Is it a knock on the door, or a gust of wind? A trick of the light, or someone who’ll see what you’ve done?

Little Paranoias: Stories features twenty tales of the little things that drive our deepest fears. It tells the stories of terror and sorrow, lust at the end of the world and death as an unwanted second chance. It dives into the darkest corners of the minds of men, women, and children. It wanders into the forest and touches every corner of the capital. Everyone has something to fear — but after all, it’s those little paranoias that drive our day-to-day.

Little Paranoias features 20 short stories, flash pieces, and poems. It will be out October 22, just in time for Halloween.

Preorder your Kindle copy today!

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Remembering Toni Morrison

 

Photo: Timothy Fadek/Corbis via Getty Images
Photo from vulture.com. Photo: Timothy Fadek/Corbis via Getty Images

I just read that Toni Morrison has died. I felt my heart break when I read the news. She is one of my all-time favorite authors.

I was never assigned Toni Morrison in school (a damn shame, in my mind), but her works were listed as optional reading in AP Literature. I made a mental note of her work and, when I started college, I checked out my first Morrison novel from the vast rows of stacks at NC State: Song of Solomon. I was struck by the beauty of her prose amidst the sadness and darkness of her story.

Afterward, I read what would become my favorite Morrison novel: The Bluest Eye. My heart broke for the young girl who longed for blue eyes in the hopes of being accepted by everyone around her. It ached the most at the end, when she thought the staring at her pregnant belly was everyone’s awe at her eyes, at last, having changed.

I read many more of her books, including Beloved and Sula. In 2015, I was fortunate enough to see her speak at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, in promotion of her latest book, God Help the Child. She spoke about her books, but what I remember most was when she spoke about the recent, tragic murder of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Md. She spoke with disdain about the media giving their usual spin and asking their usual, fruitless questions. She answered their spin and their questions with a simple, powerful statement that she shared with an astonished voice: “A child is dead.”

Morrison’s voice will live on in her work. Still, I am saddened that she has left us. I will mourn and remember her. Rest in peace.