Super duper news

I started What Lies Within years ago when I was working at a library on a college campus. I had a one-sided window, and one day, I witnessed a couple fighting. The guy stormed off and the girl watched him for a moment, then proceeded to follow him. She had the strangest look in her eye…

Well, that morphed into a vampire short story, then a novel about two serial killers falling in love. It has gone through several edits, LOTS of missing drafts (I managed to short circuit about four computers in five years), doubts and worry. I even threw up a couple of times while writing it. It’s not easy having those kinds of characters floating around in your head.

So, needless to say, I was pretty thrilled when I finally found a publisher! Caliburn Press picked it up, and I’m super excited because they’re under new ownership and everyone is working hard to make things happen. I’ve connected with a few other Caliburn authors on Twitter–a cool bunch of folks.

I’m expecting it to take a while with edits and such, but whatever. I have plenty of stuff to work on in the meantime. Black Feathers Falling will be completed and published by Crescent City Crypt Press very soon (hopefully by the end of the year) and I have a couple of short stories I’m shopping around.

Anyway, if you want to get a hint of what What Lies Within is all about, check out Five Little Deaths–the last death will tell you all about Sophia and Claude and their disturbing antics.

The Neon Demon: They Only Want you when you’re seventeen

When you’re 21, you’re no fun.

The-Neon-Demon-poster-1

Modeling, blood and jealousy, oh my! Los Angeles can be pretty damn cutthroat–it seems like everyone there is out to get you no matter what you do, and that’s certainly the case for Jesse, a teen who has just moved to the city to make it big in the modeling biz. She meets makeup artist Ruby, who introduces her to fembots Sarah and Gigi. The fembots are NOT happy about this angelic newcomer. She’s stealing all the gigs, damnit!

So what is a used-up fembot to do in a situation like this? Devour the competition, of course.

This flick has some slow spots, but they’re quite atmospheric and beautiful with a backdrop of vampy electronic music that will hypnotize you. This film has a little bit of everything: a creepy motel owner ready to prey on young girls, bloodthirsty blonde models, lesbian necrophilia, eyeball eating, and innocence lost.

It’s not your typical slasher flick. It will leave you thinking, “what the fuck?” And it may even make you think beyond that.

For me, this hit a personal nerve (you can read about my personal experience with modeling here) and it made me think about Second Skin quite a bit. I only made one real friend when I lived out in L.A. (and she’s AWESOME, by the way) and it certainly felt like  a dog eat dog–or model eat model–world out there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dogging on L.A., but I did feel like The Neon Demon encapsulated the landscape in a shockingly real way.

Check it out if you like your horror atmospheric and thought-provoking.

Venting time!

Keeping up with querying, writing my next novel and social media (and a real social life) has been exhausting. I haven’t been participating in Twitter and Goodreads as much as I usually do, but I’ve been getting a good deal of writing done. That will continue to be the goal this summer, so I don’t know how much tweeting or blogging I’ll be doing over the next few months.

I’ve also started Invisalign, another exhausting endeavor. I’m not experiencing as much pain as I expected, but I have to keep reminding myself that I have a strange pain threshold–I can go for days plodding along through pain before realizing what’s bothering me. Invisalign has also made me realize that basic human functioning is a TEDIOUS thing–there is so much we have to do to take care of our own physical bodies (eat, go to the gym, brush teeth, blah blah blah) and I am sick of it.

200 (1)

I don’t know how else to explain it, but I feel like life on the physical plane is so annoying and tiring.

Anyway, I’m also preparing for an upcoming trip to Costa Rica, so I’m trying to ensure I’m in tip-top physical condition. I think for our trip to Paris, I was worn down and stressed over my grandfather’s death, so I fell ill in the middle of our trip. We still went out and did plenty of things, but I don’t feel like I got to enjoy them as much as I could have.

That trip made me realize that I need to slow down a little more. I’ve been sleeping A LOT lately, something that is rare for me, but very welcome at this point.

Until next time,

xx

Almost Mercy: Merciless, Bloody Revenge!

Almost Mercy is one I’m still processing. It’s one of those horror movies that makes you think–it’s not your typical ‘tormented teenager takes revenge’ a la Carrie, which made it pretty damn interesting to me. There’s also the case of nature vs. nurture–do people really inherit psycho traits, or are their behaviors shaped by society?

images

Jackson and Emily are different, and that’s what helps them bond together like glue. Throughout the film, they’re both portrayed as total outcasts in a grim town in B.F.E. Throughout the film, we get glimpses into their tortured lives. And believe me, Jackson and Emily go through some really fucked up shit. If high school was hell for you, too, you’ll definitely be able to empathize with their characters.

Both Jackson and Emily reach their breaking points and seek out revenge in the most horrific way possible: by inflicting torture and pain on the ones who have hurt them the most. Without giving away the ending, I’ll just say this: Emily is…um…a damn good friend?

This film was visually striking and set in a bleak atmosphere, but there is something disturbingly beautiful about it. It made me think about why we never discuss the reasons behind school shootings. It made me think about what today’s kids face in school. And it made me reflect upon my own high school years (cringe).

I know it’s not well-reviewed so far, but I really enjoyed this one. If you’re a Netflixer, check it out and let me know what you think.

Second Skin: The Truth

I’m getting some questions here and there about whether or not there’s some truth to Second Skin, and I feel like I’m ready to talk about it now.

Yes, I was a model. Yes, I lived in L.A. and wrote articles and stories about sex. And yes, I was with a guy, someone I should have ended things with long ago, and I was very unhappy. And I had been unhappy for quite some time.

Let me give you a little bit of background. My mother became really ill, I got depressed, took a lot of drugs, struggled with an eating disorder, and I was in a haze for a long time after she died. I was also processing a few things that had happened in my childhood, but I kept everything bottled up inside.

Flash forward to a few years later, I moved with a guy to Los Angeles because things were not working out for us in Austin. When I told one of my friends, he warned me to be careful–a young socialite he’d heard of had been drowned in a bathtub at a party years ago. She was working her way up to be a model, an actress…anything to make it in Hollywood.

That story saddened me. I thought about it the entire time I was living there.

Those events inspired me to write the story, but Second Skin is basically the seed of my upcoming novel, “What Lies Within.” WLW is mostly from a female serial killer’s point of view, but SS is from a victim’s point of view.

‘Second skin’ is sort of a metaphorical term for me. It represents a mask that I had to put on every day–and truly, it felt like I got to hide behind all the makeup I’d often wear. It represents the strange kind of vanity people assume when they try to make it in the world, the things we do just to get by and make money, and how gritty and dark life can get.

I’m in a totally different place now. L.A. was not for me. I love my New Orleans life–being near friends, family, my wonderful partner and having a career as a librarian and author has been very fulfilling. But I will never let go of the dark. I believe it is one of life’s greatest teachers.

Sneak Peek! Black Feathers Falling–an erotic horror shapeshifter story

DSC_0068

Never cross a crow.

Take a look at the first chapter of a new erotic horror shapeshifter story:

There were three things I noticed about this strange guy who had introduced himself as Angel: he wore all black, he was charming, and he had blood underneath his fingernails.

Being a pseudo goth myself, I can’t help but notice when someone else covers themselves head to toe in black. This guy wasn’t excessively huge, but with his neat, freshly pressed black button-down and slacks and his oiled black boots, he had one hell of a presence. I wouldn’t fuck with him. He was Latino, tanned skin, closely cropped jet-black hair, and dark eyes–the kind that had seen a lot, eyes like whirlpools that could pull you in and leave you drowning and breathless. As soon as he sat down next to me on the plane, I found myself intrigued by his appearance and his bizarre cologne: leathery, a tinge of sandalwood, and a faint hint of something organic and acrid.

I noticed his charm the minute the stewardess passed and this Angel guy tapped her on the shoulder. When she turned and locked eyes on him he didn’t hesitate for a second to launch into his spiel. “Excuse me, beautiful,” he said and smiled slowly at her. “I’d ask you to help me out, but I bet you’re a strict lady who won’t bend the rules, right?” His voice was sonorous and barely audible, the kind of voice that would make you want to lean in and listen.

“Depends,” she smiled, revealing an even white smile. She stood up straight and after giving him a thorough look over, she stuck her tits out just a little bit more.

Angel propped up his elbows on his tray table and steepled his fingers. “Well, you see, I fell off my motorcycle right before this trip and to be honest with you, my leg is still bothering me.”

“Ooh,” the stewardess cooed as she batted her beautiful blue eyes. “Are you alright?”

Angel’s smile broadened, and I couldn’t help but notice some strange sort of mischievous glint in his eye. Liar, I thought to myself, but I wasn’t quite sure why. And he was playing the motorcycle cool guy card.

“I’m fine, thank you. But it would help me a lot if some arrangement could be made–you see, if I could get off this plane before everyone else, that would help me a lot. I could make my connection a lot faster.”

“I’m sure I can work something out for you,” the stewardess said. And I shit you not that she looked back over her shoulder and blushed when Angel winked at her.

I barely caught the quick motion of his hand–he brought it up to his lips as if to hide his smile, and I saw it there: red and crusting into brown, but definitely blood. I guess he saw me glancing because he snapped his hand back by his side.

“You’re into motorcycles, huh? I ride myself sometimes. Cruisers, mostly,” I offered, hoping it would get him interested enough and locked into a conversation.

I couldn’t help myself. I needed an excuse to look at him. He was so…interesting. I think it was the sheer intensity of his eyes that intrigued me most of all. I wanted to soak up every detail of him down to the pores of his skin. I caught myself doing this every so often, and if the plane hadn’t have been so cramped, I would have whipped out my sketchbook and started drawing him right there.

“I’m more of a sports bike guy,” he said. “But cool, whatever. I don’t meet many chicks who’re into bikes. I’m Angel,” he said, and he didn’t offer his hand. Nodded instead. Okay, cool guy.

“Sylvia,” I said. “Nice to meet you.” I extended my hand, but not before making sure my sleeve hid the large scar on my wrist. Angel nodded and stared at the back of the seat in front of him while keeping a straight face. I shrugged and dropped my arm. I guessed he wasn’t really into flirting with chicks he couldn’t get anything out of. I looked down at my tattered, paint splattered blue jeans, dusty Converse and faded black hoodie. Maybe he just wasn’t into slobs. Aside from the blood underneath his fingernails, his appearance was very neat.

“Where you headed?”

“Oh, uh, Europe. Just doing some business over there. I’m in sales. Nothing exciting, just a quick trip there and then back to Los Angeles. How ‘bout you? New Orleans home for you?”

Innocent enough question, I considered before answering. But he did flip the conversation right back around on me. And most flights to Europe don’t have a layover in New Orleans. I played along anyway. “It is. Most of the time. I’m an artist, so I travel for exhibits a lot.” I decided to leave out the part about going to Los Angeles for a funeral.

Angel shifted in his seat. I studied him and considered he had perhaps cut his fingers on something before he boarded the plane. But how can someone who rides sports bikes be so careless? And where was the cut?

Blood always intrigued me. I fingered the cuff of my sleeve gingerly and studied the edge of the jagged scar on my wrist. My mind flashed back to the last time I tried to kill myself. As I dragged the razor down my skin, it had not hurt. The warm bath water helped with that. I just watched it trickle down my arms and bloom like roses under the water. Hours later, when my neighbor Nico found me, parts of the slash had opened even more, flooding the bathwater like a geyser. The bright, stop sign red color was a stark contrast to the rusty hue of the blood underneath Angel’s fingernails, but I knew blood when I saw it.

The uncomfortable pause in conversation was interrupted by the captain’s announcement welcoming us to “New Orleeeeens!” God, I hated when people pronounced it wrong.

Angel smiled at the stewardess as he quickly deplaned. No noticeable limp. He didn’t take anything out from the seat in front of him and he didn’t get any luggage out of the overhead compartment, either. I quickly gathered my purse and scrambled out to see if I could catch up with him, but he only left a faint trail of cologne.

I sulked. I can’t help it. I admit spying on people who I think are interesting, and Angel was definitely interesting. As I waited for my baggage with all the other bleary-eyed passengers, I had to remind myself that I was here to recharge, spend some time at home, and catch up on my social life. I whipped out my phone to text my friend Jamie to ask for her ETA when I saw the reflection in the glare of my cell screen. And there it was again–that weird cologne. I turned around.

Angel. Connection, my ass! He carried a black briefcase and headed out the door, his strides confident, his gaze forward and focused.

Let it go, Sylv. I swear, even though Jamie hadn’t yet arrived, I could still hear her bitching at me. I had to remind myself that not everyone wants to be an artist’s model.

But I couldn’t help myself. I turned and followed him outside and had to lengthen my steps to keep up with him. He whipped out a sleek cell phone, typed frantically, and looked around. A blacked out Camaro convertible screeched to a stop in front of him. He opened the door and was immediately swallowed up by the darkness of the interior. As the car pulled away, I noted the plate number. Louisiana license plate. He was staying in New Orleans.

I stood there on the curb and watched the Camaro speed away. Did he live nearby? Why did he make up some story about going to Europe?

I almost turned away. Almost. Something else caught my eye. A single black feather on the sidewalk, looking monochromatic under the harsh fluorescent light.

To this day, I can’t tell you exactly what drew me to Angel. Sure, the blood under the fingernails thing threw me off, but couldn’t I have just chalked it up to something minor? And why did the feather seem so strange and out of place?

My intuition has a way of overcoming the logical part of me. And this run-in with Angel proved to be no different.