Today has been one of those days. Already. Kind of like when you wish you could rewind the first couple of hours, wake up in bed once more and start again. It doesn’t help that I’m tired. We started—and finished—the first season of Dexter very quickly, so staying up later on weeknights to watch ‘just one more’ has taken its toll. I’ve also been working on my Ellora’s edits and editing a book for my friend. I love it when books are gripping, but, like Sally Royer-Derr’s that I read the other week—or was it last week? Dunno—I tend to want to do nothing else but read that bloody book. Okay, so I did a bit of housework and the food shopping yesterday, but other than that, I’ve parked my arse at the computer and stayed there.
So, back to this crazy day. Bear in mind it’s only 9:20 a.m., and an hour ago I was ready to scream. I don’t usually get myself worked up like this, but every so often, the fates conspire against me, the angst fairy takes over my personality, and I want to flip. First, the weather is crappy—cold wind and horrible rain, so my umbrella kept flipping up, which, incidentally, bugs the hell out of me even on a good day—and it seemed we just couldn’t get out of the bloody house to do the school run. Then I realised Smallest hadn’t put on her glasses. Sod going back for them, she can have a day without, I said to my very irritated self. Then Smallest said, “Have you got the pound for non-uniform day?”
Well, we’re half way to school at this point, and quite frankly, no, I didn’t have the sodding non-school-uniform-day pound, and no, I most definitely WASN’T going back to get it. Not with the wind attacking me and my brolly, my temper at breaking point, and and and…
I dropped Smallest off, and Jennifer, one of the other mothers, very kindly lent me the pound. I left the classroom with over-zealous in-and-out breaths, with a neighbour looking at me with wide eyes because, yep, she knows that look I had on my face.
So, I was invited round for a cuppa with three other mothers, and I wasn’t sure whether to go. I mean, I have that book to read, I have more housework to do, and a couple of other excuses that would prevent me going, but d’you know what? I’m going to go round there now. It’s the last day before the Easter break, and I could do with the laugh—especially with 4 kids off school until 19th April, which will sorely test my nerves.
So I’m off. Sod the computer! Sod the things I *should* be doing. I’m going to do something I rarely do. Stop and smell the roses.
Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org
AWH MAGAZINE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
- Articles are accepted regarding a range of subjects. They can be any length. They do not have to be based on our current features. New ones are encouraged. Feature articles can be duplicated, so don’t worry if you have chosen one that someone else has also sent something in for. The only ones NOT to be subbed for are: Diary of a Reluctant Housewife, Publisher Splash, Just a Reader Reviews, Mah Jong (see point 6), and Writing Tips.
- If you have more than one article for each issue, no problem.
- If you would like to be a constant feature, please feel free. If you’re unable to send something in for one or two issues, don’t worry. Your articles will be posted in the following issue. This is a magazine without deadlines or pressure!
- Short fiction can be any length, but please base your submission on the usual publishing guidelines found at all publishers—no beastiality, necrophilia etc.
- Anon posts are exactly that. I will never reveal who sent them in, but if you’re uncomfortable with me knowing who you are, send via a new email address.
- Arcane Anna will now pull one card from her Mah Jong deck for a specific person, should you request a reading. If you don’t want your name related to the article, please state this in your request email.
- Blog Posts: Do you have a blog post that can be used as an article? These are welcome!
- Character Interviews: If you’d like to send in an interview with one of your characters, fabulous!
- To know what to send in and how your article will look, please check out April’s issue below to get a feel for what’s being accepted.
- Current Features Accepting Submissions:
Covers and Blurbs
Musings of an Author
Confessions of an erotica/m/m/any Author (anon confessions)
Darn That TV! (for TV addicts to talk about their fave programme)
Delight Features: M/M, Het, Ménage Delights = Covers and Blurbs
Top Secret (anon confession)
Rob is settled in a great relationship with Stuart, but his past catches up with him in a startling way. Photographs of Stuart engaged in sexual acts arrive in the post, sending Rob into turmoil. Stuart denies cheating, so who is the man in the pictures? Rob aims to find out, discovering someone from his past has a side to him even Rob finds hard to swallow.
The two men turn into amateur detectives and soon realise they have stumbled into something far more sinister than they could have imagined.
We follow down various streets, heading into the heart of Grebe. We’re talking a nasty place here, where a bloke being shanked on a street corner goes unaided by heroes. Who wants the hassle of a gang on their back should they intervene? Youths remain silent around here too—I saw and heard nuffin’, mister.
The streets are a tangle, a maze of roads that only a Grebe resident born and bred would know how to navigate. I don’t know where the fuck we’re going or how to get out if we have to go back the way we’ve come. We’ll have to rely on those two up ahead to lead us back to the outskirts where they live.
“Got a bad feeling,” Stuart says.
I can only nod; not feeling too bright myself. The brief thought of fucking off comes to mind, but a stronger force pushes me forward. Intrigue and, if I’m honest, downright nosiness makes me put one foot in front of the other in a place no one should be unless they have no choice.
The tunnel entrance looms ahead at the end of a cul-de-sac. Traffic from the main road behind it creates whooshing noises—tyres on a rain-slicked road, jetting along at speed. The houses either side of us give way to ratty scrubland, all knee-high grass growing out of an uneven, pot-holed surface. It skirts the whole of Grebe, a no-man’s-land of rough terrain the council didn’t have enough cash to fill with homes. It wouldn’t surprise me if a few dead bodies rest there, residents neither knowing nor maybe even caring whether they do. Just another day in the life of people struggling to mind their own, with perhaps a thought or two for the day they can pack up and leave—go somewhere the air isn’t tainted with the stench of death and violence.
“Shit, here we go,” Stuart mumbles, hands out of his pockets now as Dave and Muscle Man head into the tunnel unevenly lit by rectangular orange lights.
Patches of gloom hang between each illumination, and the tunnel bends halfway down, curving for about a hundred metres before the exit. That would bring us out, funnily enough, to the edges of the estate we live on. I’ve been through here once before, and let me tell you, it was enough. Just glad I was pissed at the time. It didn’t seem so sinister then, but it shit me up all the same.
Back to back, the two estates couldn’t be more different. At least on our streets we can almost guarantee help if it was needed. Folks round our way try hard to pretend Grebe and those living in it don’t exist.
We wait a minute or two at the entrance until the two round the bend. Fuck knows what we’re going to find down there, but with the mention of a gun and my suspicions about drugs, I have a damn good idea.
“You sure you want to follow?” Stuart raises an eyebrow, fists clenched at his sides, and shifts from foot to foot. The first light shines on his face, making him look the colour of a pumpkin.
“Uh, yeah. You?”
“Not really, but we’ve come this far so…”
“Right.” I breathe out and look down the tunnel. “Let’s go.”
Grit beneath our tread seems to shout our existence, the sound amplified in the confined space. I walk lightly but may as well not have bothered—a shouted “Oi, Davey!” rips through the tunnel, resounding until it dies out. A ripple of adrenaline spears my gut, filtering through my body, bringing me to a stop.
Should we go forward or back?
I glance at Stuart, who halts, arms rounded beside him, chest puffed out.
“Fuck!” He stares at the bend ahead then back to me. “Shit!”
He takes off, and I follow, heart beating like a bastard, my legs wobbly. Various scenarios flash through my mind, none of them nice, and we reach the curve and peer around it.
Dave and Muscle Man stand a short way ahead with their backs to us, legs apart, body poses those of men readying themselves for an attack. Some guy in front of them—I can only see his face between their heads—scowls, brows so low they almost obscure his eyes. His hair hangs lank and long—needs a bloody good wash—and an unkempt, scraggly beard and moustache cover the lower half of his face. The light they stand under brightens his red hair several hues.
“You got my fuckin’ money?” Redhead’s chin juts out, and the thin, tight line of his mouth disappears inside all that facial hair.
“No,” Dave says, hands clenching and unclenching beside him. “But I’ll be getting it Tuesday.”
“Tuesday. Right. And I’m meant to believe that, am I?” Red cocks his head to the side, as though listening really hard for the sound of bullshit. He sniffs. “And you got me here to tell me that.” Bland statement. “Right.” He widens his eyes and leans his head forward. “Anything else?”
Dave steps back—reckon that man’s breath must stink if his appearance is anything to go by—and slides a hand in his coat pocket. “Yeah.” He shrugs then rounds his shoulders, body jerking. “Uh, I need some stuff.”
Red throws his head back and laughs. I give Stuart a sidelong glance; he looks ahead, jaw rigid, body poised to flee, his face half in shadow.
I stare ahead again and whisper, “Get your phone out.”
In my peripheral, I see him do as I ask. He presses some buttons. Hopefully he’s got the camera ready to go.
Red takes a few paces backward, bringing into view his filthy grey coat, his hair laying over a multi-coloured scarf around his neck. “You want me,” he laughs again, “to give you some gear when you owe me ten grand? Give me a fuckin’ break!”
“I need it.” Dave eases his hand out of his pocket, snaking it behind him.
Jesus Christ, he’s got the gun.
The First Kill: A completely new start brings horrors that Lee could well do without. Who is killing the townsfolk? And who is sending those macabre gifts?
Lee has moved to town to start again. His last relationship turned sour, so he opens a bar and throws all his energy into it, though two men he has befriended cause him to wonder if he’s ready to take the plunge again. However, a murderer is out there, sending gifts to Lee—body parts—as a token of his love. Rumours say it’s a wild dog roaming the forest, but if that’s the case, who is sending the presents to Lee?
News crews descend on the town, and one reporter befriends Lee for inside information. Another corpse is discovered, and Lee wonders what ‘gift’ he’ll receive next from the warped killer. He turns to his friend, Nathan, for support, and their relationship blossoms. However, the killer isn’t happy, and one person has trampled on his last nerve…
After the shock of receiving yet another body part in the post, Lee gains news of the latest murder. The rumours are still rife that a large dog is killing residents, but with the arrival of werewolf hunters in town, Lee is forced to contemplate the absurdity that the killer is a man and a wolf. The head hunter gives Lee a talisman for protection, and Lee becomes the shoulder for the local policeman involved in the case, who needs to talk about his burdens.
Lee and Nathan’s relationship reaches a new level, but the killings continue. This time it isn’t anyone Lee knows, but news of the murder still hits him hard. He braces himself for another of the killer’s ‘gifts’. The policeman leans on Lee again, the case a difficult one for him to cope with, and they arrange an evening out to de-stress. However, the inevitable gift arrives, shaking up the small town’s residents once again.
Lee and the policeman meet up for their much-needed night out. On the way home, they walk past the scrubland, where one of the murders took place. Scuffling noises sound, and the policeman leaves Lee on the sidewalk to investigate. The killer’s ire is up, and his desperation at having Lee all to himself surges to the fore. When will this madness end? And will Lee come out of the ordeal with his mind intact?
Another Realm: With the task of slaying dragons ahead, Jerry and Zeb enter the realm of Vildas, a part-desert, part-earthy plane. The myth has it that The Beckoner and The Marked One survive the dragon fight, but with someone else in the realm with them… Circumstances ensure Zeb must conjure a demon for help in seeking out an invisible threat—a threat that can change destiny and end their lives.
At the moment I’m co-authoring with the wonderful Jaime Samms and having a great time with our book. We’ve been taking it in turns to write a chapter each. Jaime’s are in first person, and she writes the good guy. Mine are in third person, and I write the bad guy. He’s a killer, so I’m in my element there. The tale is unfolding so well, and we’re writing with no plan. I’m really happy to say it’s like we’re reading one another’s minds as to where the story will go, and I feel we’ll have a fantastic book once it’s complete.
I’ve got another thriller/suspense in mind for my next book. The kernel of a plot is in my head, and I’ll be ready to start in a few days when a little more of it has grown. I’ll be writing about a sociopath, so I’m looking forward to that!
That’s about it from me today. I’m having a day off. How exciting!
Ever had one of those busy couple of weeks where the to-do list is so long you could cry? That was me, my beauties, ploughing through the list and nearly weeping with joy when able to scrub something off. But yes! My list is gone! Gone, I tell you, and I feel marvellous and so full of the crazy gene that I could headbang the air and pretend I’m a drummer with my fake drumsticks. Or something equally odd.
Anyway, I have the great news that another Sarah Masters series will soon be available. Oh yes, dearies, there are a set of 5 m/m werewolf books if that takes your fancy. Lots of suspense and thrills that had my editor ripping through the edits to find out what happened. This is good to know. It means I achieved what I’d aimed for. Yee har!
I have the release dates for 3 new m/ms. Beautiful Sunset is 9th April, Grave Findings is 16th April, and Blinded is 23rd April. I turned in my manuscript for Reversed Blackmail yesterday, so that one should be coming out soon too. What a crazy ride this year has been so far, with 18 acceptances. I’ll be subbing a het novel to Ellora’s tomorrow and praying my editor likes it.
Tomorrow I’m having a day off and will probably spend the weekend either reading or compiling April’s issue of the AWH magazine. Lots of goodies going in, so I hope you’ll enjoy it.
That’s my news for the past couple of days, so I’ll leave you be and thank you kindly for reading this far. Goodnight you divine people!
I have more releases to nag you about today! Yeee har!
Carmel Wickens longs for a ‘proper’ life—one with a mother who hugs and cares for her and works as a waitress or secretary. Instead, Carmel is blessed with a prostitute mother who thinks nothing of her pimp taking explicit photographs of her child.
At the age of six, Carmel commits her first murder—an ‘accident’. The young girl she kills presents herself on occasion in ghostly form, ridiculing Carmel and urging her to cause more ‘accidents’ until every person that has hurt Carmel has been killed.
The shop keeper, the old man at the end of the street, her mother, the pimp…they all feature in Carmel’s upbringing. How did she stage their deaths and get away with murder? But even with the last one dispatched to Hell, Carmel’s journey isn’t over.
She has other demons to slay.
Samuel Harding is a sociopath. After receiving a comfortable inheritance from his monstrously abusive father, he spends his days carefully selecting young women to bring home with him—young women who will never leave alive.
When Samuel meets Bernita, a waitress in a café he frequents daily, he begins to realise she may be the fifth victim he has been seeking. He initiates the elaborate courtship ritual he has developed to determine whether the women he stalks are worthy of love, or destined for death.
Samuel recalls, through conscious thought and dreams that leave tangible evidence behind, the endless physical and sexual abuse he suffered at his father’s hands, as well as the odd behaviour of the crass, reclusive grandmother who became his primary guardian after his father’s death. As his relationship with Bernita deteriorates towards a violent end, he asks himself the simple question: Will I get away with murder?
Maimings, shootings, double-crossings. Subterfuge, deceit, secrets. Dare you take The Gamble?
Ronald Dolan: Gangland boss. Ruler of 1950s London. Owns public houses and holds illegal poker games. Don’t mess with him. He’ll cut your crown jewels off.
Violet Dolan: Ronald’s spinster daughter. Shirks her roots and acts prim and proper. She’s been devious in the past, and someone is out to get her.
Jonathan Pembrooke: Loses a game of poker to Ronald Dolan. Wins Violet’s hand in marriage. Falls in love with a younger woman. If Dolan finds out, Jonathan is dead.
Rose Lynchwood: An old friend of Violet’s. She’s out for revenge but hides her secrets behind a sweet façade.
Gracie Lynchwood: Rose’s daughter. Jonathan’s girlfriend—only she doesn’t know she’s his mistress.
The Brothers: Ronald Dolan’s hardmen. They’ll do anything—for a price.
Wayne Richards has a theory: Is it possible to make a woman do everything she’s told? To find out, Wayne kidnaps a young woman and holds her hostage in his home. After a time, the woman grows to trust Wayne, and a warm and caring relationship develops. But things aren’t as they seem. Something isn’t quite right…
Upon realising certain truths, Wayne finds himself in a mental institute. His therapist encourages him to face his past and oust the demons from his mind. With help from the institute’s employees, it appears the young man is on the mend. Or is he?
More shocking truths hit Wayne, forcing him to face the past in an altogether different way. Given two options, Wayne must decide which path to take. Will he choose the road of goodness, or has his past tainted him so badly he takes the only road he has ever travelled? The road to Hell.