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Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Announcement: The Last Temptations of Iago Wick

I'm terrible at keeping secrets, particularly when they excite me. It has been so difficult to keep this under wraps, and I'm thrilled that I can finally talk about this book!

It's my pleasure to officially announce the upcoming release of my fourth book, The Last Temptations of Iago Wick. It's my first book published in over FOUR years. I took a long break from publishing my writing, and I knew when I returned, it had to be for something I really believed in. Iago's story had been floating about in my brain for five years already when I sat down to finally write about him.

He has been such a joy to write. I cannot think of another character of mine I've had such an incredible relationship with. Some characters constantly haunt you and push you to the nearest computer or notebook to write their stories; Iago DRAGS me to the computer, pushes me into the chair, and says, "Write."

And so, without further ado, I present The Last Temptations of Iago Wick:



For centuries, Iago Wick has meddled in the affairs of Man for the benefit of Hell—and had a damnably good time doing it. As one of two resident demons in eerie Marlowe, Massachusetts, he’s claimed some of the foulest souls for Hell’s legions. Now, with the twentieth century approaching, Iago is ending his tenure as a master of temptation and mischief. His final assignment pits him against The Fraternal Order of the Scarab, a society as secret as it is exceptionally unpleasant.

Enter Thomas Atchison, the mysterious and ruthless inventor-turned-demon hunter with a burning desire to obliterate Iago--how charming. They are quickly thrown into an exciting game of cat and mouse. With the help of his partner, Dante Lovelace, Iago endeavors to topple The Order and unlock the secrets of Atchison’s shadowy past. 

What is Thomas Atchison hiding behind that frigid exterior? Will Iago succeed, or will Atchison conquer clever Mr. Wick?

The Last Temptations of Iago Wick will be available in Kindle and paperback format on February 27th, 2017.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Location, location, location...

I am currently listening to the audio book of American Gods on my daily commute. (I'm all about listening to audio books in the car, by the way. What better a way to prep for the day than to lose yourself for a spell in the works of great authors like Neil Gaiman?)

In the introduction, read by Mr. Gaiman himself, he talked about all the different places he wrote the original draft of American Gods. This really made me think. Reading and writing are all about traveling to other worlds. I can be in space while I'm sitting waiting for the bus, or trekking through Middle Earth while in a noisy cafe.

Much of my latest novel (set to come out in February--look for an announcement soon!) was written either on my couch with a cup of tea or at the local county library. My sister spent the last two years in Virginia getting her Masters in piano performance at James Madison University. I would talk to her about my WIP and my main character, Iago, and all of his adventures. The first time she visited my apartment after returning to Ohio, she looked into the living room and said, "So, this is where Iago was born."

My living room--the utter mess that it is--was indeed where much of Iago's story was written. It's not a very inspiring place. It's unfortunately dark, and I'm usually surrounded by empty tea cups. All the same, I've had so many fruitful and exciting writing sessions there.

But is there a benefit to writing in new and different places? And what about reading?

If anything, there's a certain feeling of inspiration that can come with writing in different places. I'm not saying that every author should book a plane ticket every weekend and go write at the Grand Canyon. I merely mean that switching settings might keep things fresh. On Saturdays, visit the library. On Tuesdays, check out that cafe down the street. There's a short story in Thoroughly Modern Monsters that I wrote in the car at a local park after stumbling upon an old graveyard. (Be ready to write everywhere.)

I feel like reading can be the same way. I often connect the places where I read books with the books themselves. Frankenstein, for example, will always remind me of the various reading rooms and hidden nooks at Ohio State. It enriches the experience, somehow. When I think of the book, it takes me on a little trip in my mind.

I'm currently 20,000 words into my next manuscript (a tale that, though it focuses primarily on another character, still features Iago--I can't get rid of him yet). I'm making a pledge to write that manuscript in as many different places as possible. It's a bit of a challenge, I guess. I want to see if it has any effect on my process at all. And, of course, every writer is different, just like every reader is different.

Today, I plan on visiting the Columbus Museum of Art.

And what about you, dear reader? Do you value a change of scenery? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,
Jenny

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Thoroughly Modern Monsters has a brand new look!


It's been a while since I posted anything, hasn't it? I blinked, and nine months were gone!

I am happy to say that my latest novel is almost ready for publication. It's been a tremendous ride, and I am so happy with the final product. We're in the final stages, and soon, I'll tell you all about it...!

But not quite yet.

In the meantime, I wanted to announce properly that Thoroughly Modern Monsters, my collection of paranormal short stories recently got a brand new cover! This is currently on the Kindle edition only, but there's a likely possibility you'll see it on the paperback copies soon, as well.

Purchase Thoroughly Modern Monsters on Kindle here.

Have a happy and pleasantly spooky New Year, everyone!


Jenny

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Horror and Feminism: Taking a look at The Yellow Wallpaper and The Witch

SOURCE
I wanted my first substantial post here at this blog to be about a work I really loved. I considered all sorts of contemporary works, but in the end, the choice was obvious. As a student at Ohio State, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892) had a tremendous impact on me not only as a reader, but as a writer. Some readers who are familiar with the story may have some problems with me featuring it on a blog about horror and paranormal writing; while there are no ghosts or monsters in this story, I promise I have good reason for featuring it!


But first, a little background: the story was first published in The New England Magazine in 1892 (Wikipedia). It follows the sad tale of a woman who suffers from postpartum depression. Her physician husband attempts to treat her while they stay at an old house for the season, but the narrator--forbidden from any labor and unable to care for her child--becomes obsessed not only with the disgusting yellow wallpaper in the upstairs nursery but also the woman she believes is trapped inside of it.


The story is hailed as a distinctly feminist work, commenting on the sexism which was (and some might argue still is) inherent in medicine and also commenting on the misunderstanding of women’s issues. Indeed, it is a thought-provoking piece of social commentary, but its language and atmosphere have caused readers to see shades of gothic horror in the story.


Most prominent is the woman trapped in the wall, representative of the narrator’s own oppression and desire to overcome it but conjuring the idea of a spirit. Perkins Gilman uses the word “creeping” to describe the way the woman moves about the wallpaper. In the eyes of more modern readers, this description provokes images of the sorts of spirits we see in films such as The Ring or The Grudge, crawling and creeping in a jarring way through the use of camera tricks. The narrator sees the images of people being hanged within the pattern of the wallpaper, and her ceaseless obsession with the hideous wallpaper is reminiscent of the works of Poe (Perkins Gilman).


So, what do we make of this feminist tale which is written like a horror story? We make the conclusion that it is an extremely effective angle and one we still see today.


SOURCE
We need look no further than Robert Eggers’s film The Witch. The tremendously atmospheric and terrifying tale of a 17th century Puritan family haunted by what appears to be the work of an evil witch in the wood has been hailed by many as one of the greatest horror films ever made.


But is it a horror film? Much like “The Yellow Wallpaper,” it blurs the line between supernatural horror and the horrors of reality. Both use oppressive atmospheres to drive their points home. Interestingly, both also focus on women’s issues. The Witch uses the idea of witchcraft and the coming-of-age of the family’s oldest daughter Thomasin to comment on the condemnation of women’s independence not only in the time period during which the movie takes place, but arguably today as well. Horror is often criticized for being a misogynistic genre, but here we see themes which combat that stereotype.

I highly recommend both “The Yellow Wallpaper” and The Witch for those who aren’t familiar with them. I love horror and the supernatural, and there’s nothing wrong with fun and spooky stories that are nothing but that: a great time! But I love it even more when writers and directors use these genres to talk about something more, to make you think. Of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” writer Alan Ryan once said, “It may be a ghost story. Worse yet, it may not.” (Wikipedia) There are things in this world which are far scarier than anything in fiction, but fiction helps us to educate and to combat.

Until next time, stay spooky!
Jenny

Cited: PERKINS GILMAN, CHARLOTTE. The Yellow Wallpaper. Project Gutenberg, 25 Nov. 2008. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Beldam's Eye and Thoroughly Modern Monsters: Now Available (...again!)

Greetings!

Just a short post today to announce that my books Thoroughly Modern Monsters and The Beldam's Eye are once again available on Amazon in ebook and paperback format!

It has been a little over a year and half since these books were available, and I'm so delighted to have them in print again.

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A love-sick vampire working at a department store. 

A confident siren kept from his home by the owner of a traveling carnival. 

A famous crime-fighting werewolf reunited with his hostile brother. 

The age of the monster under the bed is over! New law integrates all beings considered monsters by the United States government into human society, throwing them into the workforce. As these beings overcome workplace woes, unexpected romance and any personal demons that may have come along for the ride, they discover for better or worse what it means to be a thoroughly modern monster. 

Thoroughly Modern Monsters is a collection of seven short stories complete at 21,800 words.




When Erasmus Bramble finds the recently-deceased Angus Heyer rummaging through his kitchen cabinets, he knows he has a unique case on his hands. 

As paranormal investigators in rural Ohio, Ras and his business partner Antony Yeats tackle ghostly problems on a daily basis, from poltergeist exterminations to troubled spirits just looking for a shoulder to cry on. Angus isn’t looking for ghost therapy. He needs Ras and Yeats to help him retrieve a pocket watch stolen from him after death, a pocket watch that is said to be cursed: The Beldam’s Eye. 

The skeptical Ras and Yeats agree to take Angus’s case, but they soon find themselves in over their heads, facing murder, theft and perilous dark magic. Is it all just backwoods superstition or is the curse of The Beldam’s Eye grisly reality?


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Before you ask: These Hellish Happenings, my first book, is not yet back in print. This is inevitably the book that I am most often asked about. (Someone is obviously attempting to sell a print copy on Amazon for almost $500. I love this book, but believe me, it ain't worth that.) There are a few options on the table with that particular book, but I promise I'll keep you all posted.

Thank you for taking a look today, folks, and be on the lookout for a new post later this week (one that's not just a big ol' self-centered book announcement!).

Stay spooky,
Jenny

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Welcome!

I have spent the last two years collecting vintage clothing and combing through antique stores and junk sales.

A strange way to open the inaugural post on the blog of a paranormal/horror author, right? You must be expecting a tale of some cursed object or haunted 8-track player.

Alas! No spirits!

As a result of my obsession, my living room looks like the set of Mad Men, and I’ve picked up some killer ensembles for my closet. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of mid-century fashion now, and even though my bank account has suffered for all of those treasure-hunting weekends, it’s been a wonderful adventure.

But I was unknowingly suffering due to one very important fact: I wasn’t writing.

Don’t get me wrong! I love my Mad Men living room and my 1960s tiki kitchen, and I still love collecting. But I discovered recently that these things had become a distraction.

I needed to create. Creatively I was floundering, flopping about like a fish out of water on the beach.

A fabulously-dressed fish in pumps and red lipstick, but a fish nevertheless.

It was time to get back to writing.

It may sound a little romantic, but the moment I put pen to paper again, I felt somehow content. Even as I reacquainted myself with the frustration of creative writing, I was happy for it. Let’s face it: there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to word a sentence just right or fighting to get the pacing of an action scene to just work already! But we love it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t pour blood, sweat and tears into these stories and characters.

There was never any question, as I settled back into my old habits, of what I would write. Supernatural and horror fiction still called to me as strongly as they ever did. Once a creepy kid, always a creepy kid, I suppose. Ghosts, demons, and all the other nasties that go bump in the night will always speak to me. When I was a kid, I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas daily. In my teenage years I was obsessed with real ghost stories and the paranormal. I had quite the love affair with the show Supernatural while in college. And in 2010, I independently published my first novel, a comic tale of demons and vampires.

Horror and paranormal fiction will always be such a wonderful way to explore imaginary worlds and the very nature of mankind all at once. We create monsters and ghouls because of the flaws we see in ourselves and in our fellow men, after all. We comment on the evils of the world by writing of demons and other creatures that live only to wreak havoc.

In fact, my current work-in-progress focuses on an agent of Hell who loves to do just that…

… but I’ll talk more about him later. For now, I wish to welcome you to my blog, where I will not only talk about my own creations, but the creations of others in the paranormal and horror genres. Pull up a chair, grab a glass of wine and enjoy my “creepy little corner of the web.”

(I bet no emo kid ever used that phrase on MySpace ten years ago.)

Over the coming months, I will put previously published works of mine back in print, and I have a few other tricks up my sleeve. So, keep an eye on this space and as always, thank you so much for reading!

Cheers,

Jenny