The lockdown continues and although I’m not going into work – I’m on standby, whilst my husband is still working – my time is very much occupied. In fact, think it’s been a revelation to me how much I’ve been cramming into each day for the past couple of years since I started giving my writing a real push. With real life demands easing, I feel as if I can breathe freely for the first time in a long time.
Note, this is not to forget all those who are experiencing difficulties – my family has faced its fair share of those over the years – and we can certainly relate to many of the issues people now face, it’s just that for once fortune has chosen to smile on us a little and to not kick us in the teeth. It’s probably biding its time however. It tends to do that.
So, what’s happened since my last post?
First, I’ve signed a contract with Silver Shamrock Publishing for my folk horror/dark fantasy novel, The Five Turns of the Wheel. This is due for publication in October. Set in rural England during the winter months, it follows five days of ritual, led by three grotesque characters: Tommy, Betty and Fiddler. These three have corrupted the idea of nature and what Mother Nature wants and as they lead the rituals, the women – who are usually the ones to suffer- fight back.
Those characters – Tommy, Betty and Fiddler – came to life in a short story of mine, “The Dance”, first published in Horror in Bloom and then in the Infernal Clock’s CalenDark: The Infernal Almanac. I enjoyed writing about them so much I wanted to continue, hence the novel. This world they live in is also the one in which my short story, “The Way of the Mother” in Nosetouch Press’ Fiends in the Furrows anthology is set. It’s safe to say I am still writing stories with these characters and settings. You might even get to see another one in the not too distant future.
I’ve had a couple of anthology invites for a short story and I’ve not long completed these. I’ve also not neglected my poetry and subbed a poem to the HWA’s Poetry Showcase. Fingers-crossed on that one. And yes, I’ve had rejections. That should always go without saying!
On the novel writing front, this is where recent weeks have gone. I’ve managed to get one book out to beta readers and have had feedback from most so it won’t be long before I’m back in there tweaking it. This one is a post-apocalyptic type story where the expected apocalypse didn’t quite happen. Those who gained protection in an underground government complex want to return above, those above, the originally abandoned, don’t want them back. Separating the two sides is a mammoth barricade which houses its own monsters.
I’m also back working on a novel which has been hanging over me for a year or so. It’s at about 56000 words at the moment with probably another chapter or two to finish the book but then I have notes to go back in and insert a few additional chapters and change some parts. It does however, feel as if it’s finally getting somewhere. I’ll admit to it flipping and flopping between folk horror/dark fantasy but I’ve just decided to tilt it back towards the demonic.
Coming up in publication terms, Dark Divinations will be out on 13th May with my short story, “Romany Rose” and later on, Silver Shamrock’s Midnight in the Pentagram with my satanic “Family Reunion”.
And of course, there is always Bottled, my gothic horror novella from Silver Shamrock.
A noirish tale of modern-day gothic horror with a surreal, dreamy, nightmarish atmosphere. There are grisly bits, so if you’re squeamish, be warned! – Deborah Sheldon, author of Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories, Body Farm ZandContrition.
(Note: I have actually read all three books and would highly recommend Sheldon’s work. Don’t wait for Women In Horror month.)
If you’re stuck for something to read, I’ve been reading a lot in recent weeks and can recommend these:
The Deep by Alma Katsu.
Jerusalem by Alan Moore. Be warned this is a mammoth book.
Seven Cleopatra Hill by Justin Holley
Coleridge by Tom Deady
Whispers in the Dark by Laurel Hightower
Actually, I’ll stop there – there’s loads more listed on my goodreads shelf.