#WinterofZombie is Coming…


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This is more or less a teaser for ya…

Once again, November will be Winter of Zombie blog tour time and this year I am opening it up to not only the great zombie authors I’ve worked with in the past, but the new ones as well!

Starting September 1st (or around there) I will begin accepting zombie authors onto the list who are interested in participating in the event. A few things you need to know before you send me a message in September, though:

1. You have to have RELEASED a Zombie book. Seems common sense, but…

2. Your Zombie release has to be out before October 15th so I can get all the material for it well ahead of time. Unfortunately, I will no longer accept authors promoting books being released in November or beyond, since it’s (quite frankly) a pain in the ass to update posts, especially when you’re talking 150+ posts I put together for the month. You need to have everything ready to go as soon as I ask for it. 

3. You’ll be expected to do a Spotlight On interview, 2 (or more) Guest Posts and a teaser for your Zombie release. You’re also expected to share all of the other posts each day and spread the word. 

4. The goal is only 35 Zombie authors, and we had three times that many not able to get in during the Summer of Zombie event, so this will be a First Come First Served type of deal. I make ALL decisions and if you’ve been on previous tours you know I don’t take kindly to slackers and those who only promote themselves (those people won’t be on the tour again)

5. Got it? September 1st send me an e-mail to  armandrosamilia@gmail.com with WINTER OF ZOMBIE in the subject line and any questions you have and tell me you want in. I’ll begin putting the list together and asking for material asap. I create a secret group for the authors involved and all the info will be there, too. Deadline will be October 15th for all material to be in. Gives you plenty of time if accepted. NO EXCEPTIONS this year, either. You’re either 100% in or you’re not. 

6. The actual event page (where all the actual posts will go and people can join and read all of them) is now live ahead of time at WINTER OF ZOMBIE on Facebook. Join it and feel free to add all of your fans and friends, too! 

Armand Rosamilia

#WinterofZombie

Guest Post: Joseph Falank


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THE PAINTED LADY – EXCERPT

There was no way to know his wife was going to be murdered; the most horrific twist of irony when considering a discussion that took place on their second date some thirteen years earlier. They had been sharing stories of the worst dates they’d ever been on. The kind of thing two people talk about after too much wine.

He spent much of that night staring across the table at the woman he believed far too beautiful for him. This wasn’t Miles selling himself short, thinking she was way beyond his league; it’s just that he wasn’t a complete idiot to the fact that he was the luckiest guy sitting in Tony’s Restaurant (and made sure to pray his silent thanks when she got up to use the bathroom). To further drive this point forward came numerous sly gestures of the congratulatory kind from other patrons sitting nearby—winks and nods, even a big ol’ thumbs-up from an older man in a pink polo two tables away, he who also licked his rubbery lips suggestively at the same time. Of these silent manners of congrats directed his way Miles was appreciative; of the old man a bit weirded out. It’s always nice to know when other people think you’ve scored well beyond your means.

This girl was indeed beautiful. Stunning, even. Dressed in simple black and pinstripe slacks over leather boots that itched the curiosity as to how high they traveled up her calf, along with a turquoise wraparound sweater that matched her eyes. Her shoulder length auburn hair had been straightened. This, he learned through a prior conversation, took considerable time and patience and effort to rid the natural kink she maintained fresh out of the shower. The enticing image of her stepping out of the tub that popped in his head resulted in another considerable itch of curiosity.

Such distracting thoughts, however, needed to be shoved out of mind. If she caught him not paying attention because he was too busy picturing what she looked like naked there would be a sharp decline in the possibility of that fantasy becoming a reality. He’d already missed out on something she said about her mother having Lyme disease. Or maybe that her mother was allergic to limes. He couldn’t remember.

So instead he lingered on the beauty he could see rather than imagined. Her makeup was simple. No bold raccoon eyes, no rosy enhancement of the cheeks; her lipstick was non-existent, only a sheen layer of Blistex to keep them from chapping. She was nothing like the lineup of painted women dolled up in fishnets in the bar at the front of the restaurant, whose heavy application rivaled rodeo clowns and left behind thick residues of ruby red on their downed glasses of Chardonnay.

Those who also sported purchased tans. In the middle of winter.

Miles would not call Stephanie hot by any means. He always regarded that term as derogatory. A woman’s hotness factor was determined by the amount of add-ons and touchups; tucks here, there, everything defying gravity and age. Barely-there clothing that barely covered up what really wasn’t there underneath it all, beneath the glossy surface. Being hot never improved upon a terrible personality. And hot women tended to have more mileage on them than a New York City taxi, along with a comparable amount of work performed under the hood.

This woman, Stephanie, wasn’t supplemented, augmented, or boosted. She wasn’t fake. No Plain Jane either, she was simply beauty and comfort. From her clothes to her fair skin to the way she carried herself. Humble, casual, and confident without an air of pretentiousness. Everything he had been looking for. Everything that made him feel relaxed, feel grounded, when his anxiety wanted to skyrocket him through the paneled ceiling.

And thank God when it came time to order she gave the waiter actual items off the entrée list. If she had ordered a salad, Miles may have gone back to picturing her naked. At that point who cared if he paid attention?

The topic of their worst dates came up midway through their last refill of Pinot Noir. Both were on their fourth glass.

Miles went first.

“Well, does it count if I got stood up?”

Stephanie flashed a pouty frown full of sympathy. “Oh no, that really happened to you?”

He took a shallow gulp from his glass and shrugged in a manner that said yeah, oh well, what can you do?

“Why didn’t she show up?”

Miles explained, “I should tell you first that this girl had been divorced for a while. We went out a couple of times and things were going really well. She was an NP over at Wilson. We were going to meet up for coffee on a Sunday afternoon after her shift ended. So I got to the café, an hour passed. I tried texting, I tried calling. Nothing.”

“So she never said anything?”

“Oh she did,” Miles said. He took another sip of wine. “About four days later. She sent me a text and apologized. She said she just couldn’t go through with our date because right as she was leaving work she got really sick. Turned out she was pregnant. With her ex-husband’s baby.”

The reaction was priceless. Stephanie’s eyes doubled in size. Her mouth almost made a perfect O, the awe lowering her jaw like a shocked cartoon character. “No way!”

Full of pride, Miles lifted his glass by the stem and tipped it in his date’s direction. “Beat that, if you can.” He drained what red was left.

Before Stephanie began the story of her worst date she drained the remainder of the wine in her glass as well, about two fingers full, and said she’d need another refill on hand while telling it, but asked, “How long ago were you stood up?”

Miles got the attention of a waiter. “About three weeks ago.”

“Did you meet her on the site?” She was referring to LocalSingles.com, the online dating pool where she and Miles had begun conversing a week ago.

Miles nodded. A waiter arrived at their table with a fresh bottle of Pinot. He went through the process of unwrapping the cork and opening the bottle in front of them. Their glasses were filled three-fourths to the rim. Miles paused until the waiter was gone before resuming their conversation. “With the exception of you, that site’s been a bust.”

Stephanie smiled. “That’s nice of you to say, but I saw all the winks and pokes you got on your profile page. There were a lot of girls interested in you. What if I’m keeping you from one of them, maybe the one you’re supposed to be with?”

He waited for the rush of the wine to hit his senses. There was the feeling of slick warmth sliding down his throat. He felt a quiver in his stomach that was begging for food but fueling on red. It took a few seconds before the fog of the alcohol blossomed inside of him. “I don’t think it works that way,” he said.

After a healthy swallow of her own, Stephanie reapplied a thin layer of Blistex. “You don’t, huh?”

“There’s always a reason for things,” explained Miles. He could see it then on her face, that pretty face tinted by the burst capillaries in her cheeks. By the adorable twitch in her nose something had clicked in Stephanie’s mind. She leaned in closer, their conversation turning exclusive. Private. The remainder of those in the restaurant were cut off. It was only the two of them that existed now. Miles felt a distinct rise in the temperature around him. That likely had to do with the fact that when Stephanie leaned toward him the V in her sweater opened slightly, revealing a bit more of her skin and the top of the line that began her cleavage. He fought to keep eye contact.

“So then,” she said, “are you implying there’s a reason you and I are here right now?”

The provocative way she worded the question, the emphasis and soft tone she used made him wonder if she was feeling out their situation. She was being quite forward, and this was likely due to her own skimming under the veil of her own alcoholic haze. He liked her, definitely. A lot. But in his current state—where the lights in the room were just beginning to glow soft and puffy—he didn’t want to assume anything. This—their second meeting and first official date—had been going perfectly so far. No need to scare her off.

“I just think there’s a reason for everything,” he said. He then took up his glass in a private toast. “Even the strangest things happen for a reason.”

 

The Painted Lady. Excerpt courtesy of Joseph Falank (author) and Winter Goose Publishing (publisher).

All rights reserved. 2015.

 

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AUTHOR BIO:

Joseph Falank lives with his wife and daughter in his hometown in upstate New York. He is the author of SEEING, a quiet coming-of-age tale, and the upcoming THE PAINTED LADY, a fractured supernatural mystery/thriller that sees a widower encounter strange happenings after meeting an unusual woman. THE PAINTED LADY will be available on August 5thwherever books are sold.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

www.josephfalank.com

www.facebook.com/AuthorJosephFalank

http://wintergoosepublishing.com/authors/joseph-falank/

www.twitter.com/JosephFalank

Guest Post: Roger Jackson


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The Song of the Counter-Intuitive

By

Roger Jackson

Every writer has their quirks, I think. Whether it be a constant supply of coffee chuckling blackly to itself beside them, or a place where the sunlight is perfect, or even, as Annie Wilkes suggests in Misery, a pair of handmade writing slippers, every writer has a gimmick of their own, perhaps even the smallest talisman or routine that greases the wheels of the writing process. A lot of writers need peace and quiet, absolute silence when they create, but it’s fair to say that most authors I’ve spoken to listen to music when they write, perhaps with the volume cranked up to its apex, rattling the kitchenware like a poltergeist, perhaps with their ears couched in the intimate embrace of an isolating pair of headphones. They listen to what they like, what relaxes them. They listen to what their characters like, or the music that’s playing in a particular scene. They listen to movie soundtracks, something that fits or sets the mood of the moments they’re creating.

I’ve done that, and sometimes it works, but I’ve found something else that works, too. Ones instinct is to listen to music that’s appropriate for a scene, the driving beats of a chase or a struggle, the sweeping strings of a romantic interlude. That works, but I’ve also found it useful to take a different approach, to think counter-intuitively about what music might accompany certain given moments.

To offer an example. I’ve a scene in a novel I’ve written where a character is confronted by a horribly twisted version of a deceased family member. Let’s give this character the entirely fake name of Steve, just in case the novel is ever sold, and someone reading this reads the novel and is like, “Hey, I know what happens in this part! Spoilers! This novel is DEAD to me!” (how’s that for writerly optimism?). Anyways, Steve is trapped with this apparition, and I’ve paced the scene very quickly, nice and terse, lots of breathless paragraphs as Steve’s scared companion tries to break into the room in which he’s trapped with something monstrous.

And it is monstrous. Like most Horror writers, I’m pretty proud of my twisted track record, proud of any moments I’ve written that have touched the reader with fear or disgust or dread. I’d like to think I’ve done a few of those, but this scene … it’s dark. It’s the darkest thing I’ve ever written, maybe. Hopefully, there’s a raw, visceral quality to it that’ll unsettle. There’s imagery, yes, but I don’t think that’s where the Horror comes from. I don’t think it comes from how the monster moves, or what it’s saying, or the terrible transformation that the dead family member seems to have undergone. I think the Horror of that particular moment comes from how heartbreaking it is for Steve to see what’s happened to someone so well-loved, so very missed. He’s terrified, yes, but if we’re playing a kind of psychological rock-paper-scissors game here, then in this instance heartbreak vanquishes terror, hands down.

And so the Horror is borne not from what Steve can see, but what he can feel, and what he feels is a terrible, empty grief, a moment that needs not a soundtrack of action, where there’s an apparition advancing and a concerned companion trying to break in fast enough to rescue him, but a sadder tune, one that reflects the core of the scene. That was the kind of music I listened to when I wrote it, and it seemed to give the sequence the tone that it needed.

I’d suggest giving it a try. Maybe you’re writing something and the words are flowing but the mood of the scene, the beating heart of it, is stuttering on the page. It might be because the coffee is cold, or the sunlight is fading, or even that your handmade writing slippers are pinching your toes, but it might be that your chosen music isn’t oiling the cogs of your imagination like it should.

It might be that you, and the moment your characters find themselves in, need a different song.

 

 

 

Roger Jackson lives in the United Kingdom, drinking tea and owning more Geeky tee-shirts than he will ever live long enough to wear, unless he lives forever, which is sort of the plan. He writes scary stories because he has to, and the most recent to scramble from the graveyard of his brain are the short story, “No-Man’s Land” in the Grey Matter Press anthology Equilibrium Overturned, and his novella, “Cradle Of The Dead” from BloodBound Books. Writing about himself in the third person really creeps him out.

 

Twitter: @jabe842

Blog: jabe842.wordpress.com

Guest Post: Kevin Bond


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Why You Should Carry A Rock in the Zombie Apocalypse

We’ve all seen the meme: “Quick! The first thing on your left is your weapon in the zombie apocalypse! What is it?”

It always ends up being a paperclip, a coffee cup, or a guitar pick, and unless you’re Riddick, none of those are going to be useful for killing zombies.

Of course, a kitchen knife isn’t far away, and you’ve probably got a baseball bat in the garage. Those of us who are more prepared may have an arsenal for backup, gun enthusiasts and knife collectors. You might even have a detailed plan for how to survive the zombie apocalypse.

I’m going to propose a different line of thinking, though, and I guarantee you’ve never thought of it before:

You should carry a rock in the zombie apocalypse.

Not a boulder, not a rock the size of a soccer ball. Just a simple stone that will fit into the palm of your hand. And it’s not a big deal if you lose this stone. It’s very easy to find a new one.

Why?

Because it will save your life.

You can carry a rock in the palm of your hand, out of sight, and it becomes a projectile weapon. You’ll need to train yourself to aim well, so throw a lot.

You could throw a knife too, but a knife is not necessarily expendable, and it’s harder to throw a knife straight than it is to throw a rock. And again, rocks are easy to find.

If you don’t have a spring-assisted knife or a straight blade in your hand already, then if you get a sudden surprise, you may not have enough time to get your knife out and ready. Holding on to a small stone means that you have an instant weapon for instant surprises, like zombies, or thieves.

A stone is much more dense than your hands, so bashing someone’s face in with it will do much more damage than you could do with your hands.

Plus, if you find yourself in a sudden end of the world situation, and you haven’t prepared for it, you may not have a weapon. Having a rock will give you something hard to hit with.

Thousands of years ago, it was common for people to be killed by stoning them. The blunt force trauma from multiple rock projectiles was enough to do major damage to a person.

You don’t need to have fancy weapons to kill someone if you have to. Carrying a rock can provide you with an easy way to distract a zombie or a person who wants to kill you or wants your stuff.
Even if you’re not under a sudden attack, it’s not noticeable that you’re holding something (go for a thinner, smooth rock), so as long as you have good aim, throwing it at the person should give you enough time to escape.

I guarantee this will work, because no one is thinking like this. Throwing rocks at people is just so unheard of.

Remember when you were a little kid and you were throwing rocks at other kids on the playground? No? Well then, I guess I was the weirdo. Anyway, your mom scolded you, and it’s kind of ingrained in your head not to throw things at people.

No one is going to suspect that you’re prepared to throw a rock at them. Practice throwing, and your impact will send them a very clear message.

There may be times when you don’t want to escape, but instead want to steal whatever that person has (remember, it’s the end of days, and just about anything goes) before they steal from you and leave you for dead. In that case, hitting them with that rock will hurt and distract them long enough for you to close in for the kill.

In case you run into a group of scavengers, though, your best bet is to run and live to fight another day.

For zombies, it doesn’t matter if that rock hurts them, because it won’t kill them, and it won’t send them down to the ground unless you throw a really mean rock. The distraction is what you’re after. Hit them to slow them down so you have enough time to grab your zombie-killing weapon, or to give yourself enough time to run past them.

For multiple zombies, throwing a rock won’t work. For groups of zombies I recommend just hightailing it out of there.

You can also use a rock as a noise distraction, for zombies or people. Use it to trick your pursuers into following the sound, or to distract them from your sneak attack!

I hope I’ve convinced you to add a rock to your arsenal of zombie weapons. It’s an easy item to get, and it has a couple of good uses in certain situations. Give yourself this edge against your enemies, and happy surviving!

 

About Kevin: Kevin Bond is the author of HelpZombies.com, a zombie-themed survivalist website. It is expanding to include makeup tutorials, survival guides, product reviews, and even a zombie shop!

Guest Post: John L. Davis IV


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“Horrors” How I See It
 
            Something dark, slimy, gruesome crawls from below, sharp white teeth bared and ready to snap closed on an unsuspecting victim.  Those teeth will easily shred flesh; the jaws can crack bone, disturbingly sexual fleshy red lips seal around jagged shards of bone and draw out the marrow. 
            This nightmare beast isn’t something from a new horror movie, or a recent novel, it’s that thing inside the reader, that creature reveling in the dark tales of horror.  It’s one side of the bloody coin of fear we readers trade in when delving into a novel of terror. 
            The other side is the cowering thing, the one hiding from the beast, afraid of the darkness, afraid of the words. 
            When reading that truly terrifying novel and you find yourself turning on every light in the house, or pulling your feet up over the edge of the bed, that’s the cowering thing that has to draw away, to hide in the light.
            But you keep reading, crawling ever deeper into the dark pit, searching out that next thing to terrify. 
            It is in the center of this duality that the reader and writer of horror can most closely examine the human condition and in far more depth, I believe, than any other genre. 
            In horror fiction the fluff of niceties is often blown away by a throat-ripping scream.  Pomp is hacked to pieces like two horny teenagers in a backwoods cabin.  You’re left with bleak and nearly hopeless circumstance.
            In that circumstance are the dark things and the light things that make us who we are and both can be difficult to look at head on, but when you read about that zombie shuffling toward the now-weaponless hero backed into a corner with nowhere to go, in that moment you are both the zombie and the hero.  The dark and the light.
            Here the beast delights, savoring the scent of fear exuded by the small thing that hides, turns away, curling toes up beneath the covers.  Then that moment has passed, and the reader moves on.
            The cowering creature reads on in hopes that the hero wins, and it can come out of hiding.  The creature lurking in dread waits silently for the next flash of panic to leap out, claws slashing, hoping to tear something away.
            This is horror the way I see it. 
Ever since I first read Dean Koontz’ “Phantoms”, or Stephen King’s “The Shining” I’ve had a  dark love affair with every nightmare inducing permutation of horror literature.  From the splatterpunk ravings of John Skip and Craig Spector, to Shirley Jackson’s dark and brooding “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” to the twisted brilliance of Lovecraft and Poe, I have been darkled by things that claw at the imagination.
Horror, to me, is the one form of literature that shines a blacklight on humanity, revealing those things normally not seen. Then the blades or claws come out, slashing at our perceptions, permitting the reader to view the world with the flesh peeled away, the glistening redness beneath exposing the reality of all that we are and can be, both beast and simpering coward and all that lies between.
JohnDavis
John L. Davis, IV is an avid reader who enjoys adding to his ever-expanding home library and talking books with pretty much anyone at any time. John lives in Hannibal, MO, with his books, his wife — Erica, daughters — Astrid and Hannah, and their much-loved pooch — Pixie. He loves to hear from his readers, so stop by and converse about life, love, and the pursuit of zombies.  He is the author of the American Revenant series, available at Amazon.com
Americanrevenantseries.com

Guest Post: Alyssa Cooper


A Centuries Old Legend – Brought to Life

A few years ago, my parents bought a trailer about 25km north of the city of Peterborough. We started spending every weekend there through the summer, a release for all of us after the work week. My partner, who grew up in Peterborough, spent the days showing me the city, introducing me to its history – and I immediately fell in love.

 

Peterborough is known as the most haunted city in Ontario – most of the ghosts that the city boasts are found in the Trent Severn Canal Lock, a hydraulic lift lock that was constructed over a hundred years ago. One man died during construction of the massive structure, falling into the shell of a concrete pillar – his body was eventually covered over with concrete, becoming a part of the pillar, when it became clear it would be too difficult to remove. After the structure was completed, a painter fell to his death from the very same pillar, when his scaffolding tipped. Years later, a woman threw herself from the top of the lock when her son was married against her wishes – her son followed her down five days later. All of these dead have been seen and heard by workers and visitors ever since, wandering tunnels, whispering and screaming, waiting at the tops of the pillars, and looking out over the river.

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But there is one ghost haunting the lift lock that is more famous than all the others; more famous, and much, much older.

 

In 1840, when Peterborough was still in its infancy, a woman was accused of witchcraft. When she was found guilty, the townspeople dragged her to the top of Armour Hill. They bound her to a stake. The lit her on fire. She died less than 100km from what would become the site of the lift lock, and she has never left that spot. She has been seen in the forests, on the twisting trails, and even down at the lift lock, seeking light and sound and warmth.

 

She was the beginning. And from my fist steps through the tunnel under the lock, seeing the forest at Armour Hill open up before me, I have been obsessed with her.

 

She fascinates me.

 

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The Witches of Armour Hill was born of that fascination. It is the story of that witch, Marion, who loved Peterborough as much as I do, and who was betrayed by its people. It is the story of her daughters and descendants, all the witches they couldn’t burn, taking the city back. It is the story of the magic that floods the forest, that even I could feel.

 

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“Margaret May Reis knows how strange she is; people have been telling her for years. At sixteen years old, though, Maggie begins to realize that strangeness is only half the story. Maggie isn’t just strange – she’s a witch.

Sent to live with a cousin she’s never met, in a city she doesn’t remember, Maggie is sure that life as she knows it is over. It doesn’t take her long to learn that Peterborough is not at all what it seems. Her first week in the city, Maggie meets a stray cat named Elowen, who seems to appear out of thin air, and a strange girl named Rhosyn, who introduces her to a coven of witches, and assures her that life will never be the same.

The newest member of an ancient coven, Maggie discovers new friends, new powers, and a new lease on life. As she works with her young sisters to hone their magical skills, they stumble across the coven’s darkest secret, one that their governing council has kept hidden for over a century. Caught up in a conspiracy that began with the very first generations of witches, Maggie and her friends tumble down the rabbit hole, reaching blindly for the truth.

It will take three young witches to uncover the secrets that their Matriarch left behind over a century before.”

 

Switch is the first installment in The Witches of Armour Hill series. It’s currently available as an ebook on Amazon – paperback edition coming soon.

http://www.amazon.com/Witches-Armour-Hill-Switch-ebook/dp/B011IVD8HG/

 

The second installment, Twisted, is currently in the works. Look for updates and excerpts on any of the pages below!

http://alyssacooper.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/AlyssaCooperLit

https://twitter.com/alyssacooperlit

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6467653.Alyssa_Cooper

 

 

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Alyssa Cooper is a Canadian writer with a graphic design diploma and a passion for story telling. She collects old books and antique typewriters, and has a preference for the darker side of fiction.

Alyssa is the author of three traditionally published books, Salvation, Benjamin, and Cold Breath of Life, as well as an independently produced collection called Whispers, and her first self-published novel, The Witches of Armour Hill: Switch.

She’s currently living in Kingston, Ontario with her cats, her cacti, and her personal library, while she works diligently on The Witches of Armour Hill, Book Two: Twisted.

Guest Post: Kris Baker Dersch


Kris Baker Dersch

A writer friend of mine was helping me edit a short story for a competition recently, and I mentioned to her how long it had been since I had entered a contest or submitted a story.  She just looked at me and said, “I never have.”

She has a B.A. in creative writing and is talented, capable, and produces quality work.  Not only has she never submitted, but the idea completely terrifies her.  I thought I was the only one.

I had no trouble submitting when I first decided to become a writer.  I was maybe nine years old and had been writing stories for a few years.  I told everyone that I wanted to be a writer.  I wrote a story I liked and sent it to a few publishers.  I got nice form rejection letters back from them that my mother saved.  I was undeterred.

A year or so later, after doing some research, I discovered the whole idea of querying.  How wonderful to not even have to send the whole manuscript!  I started querying for a book I hadn’t even written yet.  My query letters started with “I have written a short book.”  It wasn’t close to true or close to the right way to query.  I got more preprinted postcards back from publishers.

At thirteen, I had a short story published in the local newspaper, which occasionally printed fiction by kids (it was a simpler time.)  I got lots of nice compliments on it, but it also made me nervous.  This whole idea of getting published…it meant someone was actually reading what I wrote.  I think that’s when I stopped submitting.

I didn’t stop writing.  Like a lot of writers, I could never shake the bug, so in the decades since that time I’ve written a lot and published very little.  I always figured I would get published…someday.  I’m running out of somedays.

This spring, something made me take the leap, so I launched a short fiction podcast.  I now record some of my own work plus a lot of work by other writers, and send it out into the world.  It has been exhilarating.  And terrifying.

The first time I hit publish and sent my words out to Internet-land, I was terrified.

The first time I sent out a call for submissions and asked other writers to trust me with their words, I was terrified.

The first time I asked my friends and family and social network to listen to the show, I was terrified.  Also the second time.  And the third.  Turns out people don’t listen very well and you have to ask them more than once.

I now have five episodes of the podcast out and am working on a sixth.  I have contributors lined up and episodes planned for at least seven episodes after that and am reading more submissions every day.  I took the leap and spent some of my hard-earned money on a nice mic so I can really do this right.  We even have listeners.  It turns out that while completely terrifying, starting a podcast and becoming an editor were totally doable and really not all that hard once I got past my own fear.  And, as is usually true, stepping outside my comfort zone helped me learn a lot.

I’ve learned that there is a need for community among writers.

I’ve learned that everyone is scared.

I’ve learned that sharing your work is worth it.

I’ve learned I’m not the only writer with good work in a drawer waiting to be shared.
Every day, I learn to be a better writer, a better reader, and a better editor.

There are a lot of voices out there.  It’s a crowded marketplace.  There are a million author blogs, books, and literary websites.  Does the world really need yours?  Google “start a literary journal” or “start a blog,” and you’ll get some good advice, some terrible advice, and a lot of people telling you what’s the point, there’s too much out there, do you really have something unique to say?

Well, nine-year-old me didn’t have a lot that was original to say, but she submitted her little behind off because she hadn’t yet learned to be afraid.  And I’ve waited way too long to try to get her confidence back.  After all, I have just one voice.  Mine.

This 1920s quote from author John A. Shedd informs my writing a lot: “A ship in the harbor is safe.  But that’s not what ships were built for.”  Where does your writing belong?  Where it’s safe?

I know.  The answer is terrifying.

Kris Baker Dersch is a full-time mom and freelance writer living just outside of Seattle, WA.  She produces and edits the flash fiction podcast No Extra Words and is working on a novel.  Follow her adventures in writing and editing at http://twitter.com/noextrawords, and get the podcast on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/no-extra-words/id1000095644?ls=1 or find out more and submit your story at http://noextrawords.wordpress.com.