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

I have a new story up on Nina D’Arcangela’s Spreading the Writer’s Word! Check out “Wash Me,” which is not about hand-washing but does feature dirty hands. Read more at the link below.

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

March_Image_03e

Wash Me
by Sonora Taylor

Kayla froze when she approached her car. A message awaited her, scrawled on the front bumper of her number one beauty: WASH ME.
Kayla frowned as she jerked her car keys out from her coat pocket. The nerve. How dare someone touch her beautiful car with their dirty fingers? How could they rub through years worth of desert dust, garden dirt, and human detritus with a swipe of their hand and a flick of their wrist?
“Hey lady!”
Kayla turned and saw a man walking towards her. He held a grocery bag in one hand and held up the other in a motion to stop her. His hand was filthy.
“You forgot this,” he said as he held up the bag.
His fingertips had smudges of dirt. Dirt that had once been on her car.
“You need help with…

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WIHM Interview: Hailey Piper

Hailey Piper
Hailey Piper

As Women in Horror Month enters its final week (sniff), here is the final interview in my WIHM interview series. Today, I’m chatting with author Hailey Piper. Read on to get to know this awesome writer!


Sonora: How long have you been writing?

Hailey: I’ve been writing since I was little, telling stories about werewolf weddings and Bigfoot. I don’t think I could ever get away from it, and I wouldn’t want to.

Sonora: Tell us about your novella, The Possession of Natalie Glasgow. What inspired the story?

Hailey: The setup isn’t all that different from The Exorcist in that we have a single mother whose daughter is acting strangely and the doctors seem useless, so she reaches out for spiritual help. The novella starts at that point, where the narrator swerves from the usual, so as not to retread well-explored territory. I wanted to tell a possession story outside the organized religion worldview, where witchcraft isn’t the devil and the evil lies in human hands.

Sonora: Since its initial release, Natalie Glasgow has had a title change and also became available in paperback. Tell us more about the experience of making these updates after the novella was out. What motivated you to do it? Did you notice positive changes afterward? Is there anything you would do differently?

Hailey: I had never planned it to be more than an ebook, and I hadn’t expected anyone to pay much attention to it. I had considered The Exorcism of Natalie Glasgow; Possession hadn’t occurred to me until Steve Stred suggested the title change. Months later, I decided to just do it, at which point Eddie Generous offered new cover art, and then a few cool people (including you, Sonora!) won me over on creating a paperback. Since then, the novella has seen entirely unexpected success, with an explosion of Goodreads ratings/reviews, a featured group review from the Night Worms bloggers, and people sending friendly messages to say they enjoyed it. I think this proves the value of a strong title and cover art, and while I’m happy with the path Natalie Glasgow has taken, I’d definitely try to come out of the gate stronger if I ever self-publish again.

Sonora: Your latest release, Benny Rose: The Cannibal King, is part of Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series. What was it like writing a novella for such a series? Did the idea come to you when you read the call for submissions, or had Benny Rose already introduced himself to you?

Hailey: Benny Rose as a concept has a complicated history. He was a lot of things for me at different times through 2018 as I tried to make his and Desiree’s story work in notes. I had characters, backstory, but there was something wrong.  When the call went out for Rewind or Die, everything clicked—the 1980s was the perfect time. I had to cut some elements, but that only made the novella stronger. All the stuff I really cared about stayed.

Sonora: Tell us about Benny Rose. How is it like your previous works? How is it different?

Hailey: Blackwood, Vermont is a small town, its only claim to fame being local folklore ghoul Benny Rose, allegedly based on a serial killer active in the 1950s. On Halloween night, Desiree St. Fleur and her friends decide to play a Benny Rose-themed prank on town newcomer Gabrielle Walker, unaware that they’ll stumble upon the truth behind the legend. As Natalie Glasgow twisted possession tropes, Benny Rose is my stab at slasher tropes, but where Natalie Glasgow focused on family and pride, I hope readers find Benny Rose a harrowing gauntlet of friendship, tragedy, and sacrifice.

Sonora: What have been your experiences in horror as a queer author? As a woman author?

Hailey: Rewarding, if daunting. I had stopped writing for the longest time, and when I bounced back into it, I was unapologetic about letting myself out in the open. I wanted to write queer stories. And I definitely wanted to write feminist stories. I drew back a little at first—I don’t think anyone realized Natalie Glasgow’s protagonist Margaret Willow is gay because I cut almost every reference to that—but I’ve come back from that with a vengeance. I’ve been tremendously fortunate to have the support of publishers and readers alike.

Sonora: Horror is often analyzed as inherently queer. Even stories that don’t explicitly have LGBTQIA+ characters are viewed as queer narratives. What are your thoughts on horror as queer?

Hailey: I think horror is the genre most-suited to telling queer narratives, even without queer characters, but that could be my own queer perspective talking. We’re innocently existing and then someone horrible intrudes. Or, the world doesn’t want us, so we’re monsters to be destroyed.

Sonora: Similarly, horror, like other genres, is often seen as a safe way to present queer narratives to mass audiences, since it’s “disguised” under classic genre tropes. Do you agree with this? Do you think this is still the case, or is explicitly queer horror coming more to the forefront than coded horror stories?

Hailey: I think there’s room for both queer-coded themes and narratives in horror and for queer characters at the forefront to co-exist. A winning story in Pseudopod’s 2019 flash fiction contest that will appear in a future episode presented what felt like a transgender narrative through a speculative lens, and it was brilliant. In the same year, Sarah Fannon’s short story “Consumed” told its horror through a gay woman’s point of view as she searched for companionship, and it was also brilliant. I want both kinds, and lots of them.

Hailey: How can the horror genre be better in its treatment of LGBTQIA+ characters and stories? How can the industry be better? 

Hailey: We need more queer creators and decision makers. While there are excellent stories told by allies, there’s only so much that can be understood without firsthand experience. Different perspectives mean different voices which lead to different stories. It’s not enough for allies to tell their stories but with queer characters, wonderful as some of those stories have been. We need to tell them too, share our unique worldview, both lovely and terrifying.

Sonora: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are some of your favorite books?

Hailey: It’s hard to list favorite books when I’m reading so much excellent short fiction that I want to shove in everyone’s faces, but some favorite authors would be Gwendolyn Kiste, Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Sara Tantlinger, Caitlin Kiernan, Christa Carmen, and Ray Cluley.

Sonora: What are you working on right now?

Hailey: The dreaded question that outs me as a workaholic! I’m a third into writing a new novella, halfway through a novelette, planning a new novel, revising another, and editing short stories. There’s a lot going on.


 

About Hailey Piper:

Hailey Piper is the author of horror novellas The Possession of Natalie Glasgow and Benny Rose, the Cannibal King, and her debut dark fantasy/epic horror novel, The Verses of Aeg, will be published by Bronzeville Books in Q4 2020. An active member of the HWA, she enjoys consuming horror, writing it, and sometimes haunting her wife through their apartment. Find her on Twitter via @HaileyPiperSays or at her website www.haileypiper.com.


Check out previous WIHM interviews:

 

New Flash Piece: “Bramble” [reblog]

I have a new story up on Spreading the Writer’s Word! Check out my flash piece, “Bramble,” below. Thanks for reading.

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

03_IMG_FEB

Bramble
by Sonora Taylor

Mimi loved her hair. It grew past her shoulders into long and flowing locks. Those locks, however, loved to tangle; and Mimi’s mother hated having to brush them out.
“You have so many rat’s nests in here, I expect a rodent to come crawling out any minute,” her mother said as she brushed her hair in increased frustration. But Mimi ignored her mother’s anger, instead focusing on the bramble of her hair as it grew outwards and upwards, floating and spilling in all directions over her shoulders.
One morning, Mimi’s mother had had enough. She tugged the brush from another rat’s nest and threw it on the bathroom floor. The thwack against the tiles rang in Mimi’s ears as her mother opened up a drawer.
“Enough!” her mother said. She grabbed the tangles in Mimi’s hair and cut them.
Mimi…

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

I have a new story up on Spreading the Writer’s Word for the monthly flash picture prompt challenge! Check out “Slate,” a tale with a tip of the nib to one of my favorite horror films, “Carnival of Souls.”

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

03_img_jan

Slate
by Sonora Taylor

All around Matilda, the carnival was slate. She remembered the merry-go-round as a world full of color and light. Now though, she walked through the abandoned fairgrounds and only saw steel and shadow. A forgotten wooden horse stared at her with beady eyes of black. What had happened?
She only remembered walking through a tent with faded red and yellow stripes. The one with the clown that beckoned her from the entrance. Matilda had never been afraid of clowns. She had no reason to fear this colorful figure’s invitation, no reason to anticipate the sharp blade that pierced her shoulders the minute the tent flap closed behind her.
When the pain receded, Matilda wandered back outside and saw the carnival abandoned. She looked for her mother, and then for anyone. No one was there. When she reached the merry-go-round, its…

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

I had a lot of fun writing this creepy Christmas tale for Nina D’Arcangela’s flash picture prompt challenge. Check out “Knee-Deep” on Spreading the Writer’s Word!

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

DEC_IMG_02

Knee-Deep
by Sonora Taylor

Oh the weather outside is frightful …
Carl grunted as he shoveled snow. That stupid song had been in his ears for days. He heard it at the mall, on the radio, at his office as his coworker Martha sang it at the top of her lungs.
“I just love the season,” she’d said with a smile as he walked by her desk, even though he’d made it a point to avoid eye contact. “I just want to wrap it in a box and gift it to myself.”
“Probably the only way you’d get a gift,” Carl muttered.
“What?” she asked in a tone that said she’d heard him clearly.
Carl sighed and sipped his coffee, but he could still feel Martha’s grin and gaze drill into his back like an icicle.
But the fire is so delightful …
Heat…

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

I have a new story available as part of Nina D’Arcangela’s monthly flash picture challenge! Check out my latest flash piece, “Streets in Sepia,” on Spreading the Writer’s Word.

Spreading the Writer's Word

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

November_img_02

Streets in Sepia
by Sonora Taylor

The streets were in sepia now. Claire only saw them in her memories, cobblestone and starlight, clean and immaculate.
Everyone takes liberties with their memories. Claire could leave the blood off the streets if she wished.
She only saw them in sepia. Burnt photographs of what she’d done lingering and fading in her mind like photographs in pages with torn binding. Unprotected from the sun, covered in dust and smelling of mold. Claire breathed in and took in the scent of mildew and dust, engrained so deeply into her mattress that she wondered if the bed was older than the prison itself.
Everything had been in color then. Everyone had roamed the streets laughing and piercing her ears with their shrieks. Claire had longed for the city she’d seen in a photograph. It was in sepia, empty and…

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A Halloween Whirlwind

A whirlwind. That’s what it’s felt like since the release of Little Paranoias: Stories. But like Pecos Bill, I’m here to ride the storm!

First, I want to extend a huge thanks to everyone who preordered, purchased, read, reviewed, and/or promoted Little Paranoias this past week. It’s been amazing and I love seeing what all of you thought!

And if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, you can find it in ebook and paperback on Amazon.

Within the whirlwind, though, were a few pieces that I wanted to make sure all of you saw. Check out the list below to see interviews, news, and some new stories!

As you can see, I’ve been all over the place; but it’s all been worth it. Now that the dust has settled a bit, I plan to keep at it on Book #3.

Thanks for reading!