My husband text me this morning “You keep getting a raw deal.”

Here’s a short list of my recent raw deals, otherwise known as being screwed over. Yes, there’s more, but these are the top three that really just get me.


Writing a short story collection titled Loteria. No publisher picked it up, yet that same year someone published a poetry collection titled Loteria which used the same cards I wrote about as a device. They got a big 6 deal, I got a raw deal.


Acting as an assistant YA editor of a certain blog where I did all of the research work. The editor got signed on with a prestigious literary agency. I got none.  So, I left the blog. Raw deal again.


Was told my poetry collection, which I submitted in 2013, would be published in 2015. Got told last night it would be pushed to 2016. Because of the length of time they held on to it, and thus moving my work to accommodate other people’s work, who likely came after me, I’m leaning towards not just self-publishing that work but  posting it all online here, on my blog because that’s just a raw deal to be told to wait that long.


Maybe I’m overly sensitive today. Maybe I just feel so blah and frustrated by this writer life. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just all unfair. Maybe that’s just what this is – unfair. Maybe it’s all just luck and I’ve just had bad luck. Maybe my bad luck won’t end. Maybe one day I’ll have good luck. I have no idea any more. I’m told by everyone to stay positive. Heck, I just wrote a blog about that last week – stay positive, but when you consistently get bad news how can you continue to be upbeat? Maybe all this is just pointing that I’m not good enough and I should just quit, abandon this goal because it’s just not working out. I don’t know. I have my press, and that does well, but I’m a writer too…at least I want to be one. I don’t want to be a writer confined to the indie space forever, yet that’s where I feel cornered and no one is listening. Maybe I’m just meant to be a 9-5 corporate office person who takes care of her kids, keeps a clean house, joins after school meetings and speaks fondly of art from time to time. Maybe I’m just that person who had occasional dreams about what life would have been like had her dreams come true.



Monthly Submissions are Open & Showmen’s Rest


It was a wild year end. We are excited to enter another year here at Burial Day and look forward to reading all of your tales. For those of you who have yet to receive a submission status for our monthly posting we will send you a status this week. Thank you for your patience, and yes, we are open for monthly submissions!


Last week, as we were recuperating from the madness of the holiday season we decided to take a drive to another cemetery, Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois to specifically visit Showmen’s Rest. Large elephant statues flank the hundreds of markers commemorating their circus family. The elephants each have a foot resting on a ball, and their trunks are lowered in mourning.


What makes this Showmen’s Rest so sad is that it’s where dozens of performers are buried from one of the most tragic circus accidents in history. On June 22nd, 1918 over 56 employees of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus were killed when an engineer fell asleep and ran his train into the rear of the troop train. Many died from the impact of the crash. Many others died due to the fire that broke out after. There are legends of elephants racing to douse the firey trains with water, succumbing themselves to the fire. A few years prior, The Showmen’s League of America formed in 1913 with its first president Buffalo Bill Cody had purchased 750 burial spaces in Woodlawn Cemetery for its members.Many of the victims of the train accident were laid to rest there in a mass grave.


Many of the victims were unrecognizable and are commemorated on their graves simply as Unknown Male 15, Unknown Female 43, all the way up to Unknown Male 61. Some accounts say 56 people died in the accident, but an accurate casualty count is unavailable because of the fire.  There are a few stand out names, such as Baldy. One wonders if he were a clown or a driver. It’s said many of those who died were roustabouts, people who travelled with the circus putting up tents and performing various other jobs before disappearing at the end of the season. Most were known only by their nickname.


The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus formed in 1907 in Peru, Indiana (now the site of the International Circus Hall of Fame) was the second largest circus besides Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey.  The Hagenbeck-Wallace circus continued through to 1929 when it was sold to Ringling Bros. There is plenty of folklore that surrounds Showmen’s Rest, primarily to do with the elephants. Some claim to hear the roar of elephants at night, but it’s said no elephants were buried at Showmen’s Rest. There is no official marker that indicates the Hagenbeck-Wallace disaster either at Woodlawn Cemetery or at the crash site in Indiana.


Other performers are buried at Showmen’s Rest. It’s a place of rest for other circus folk who have lived with the spirit that the show must go on.


Here are some pictures that we took at Showmen’s Rest. We hope you enjoy.










It’s the New Year…

It’s 2015. Look at that number again; Isn’t that staggering? The other day I thought it was 2012. I’m getting oldish, and nostalgic for a time we weren’t so connected, techno-driven, and obsessed with every ping, message and text.


In this New Year I promise to write more. I promise to read more. I promise to be healthier, and most important happier. I’ve been obsessed with chasing success that I’ve lost sight of what is around me, and I’m very lucky. I have a family who loves me, I have a tolerable day job, and I have had success as a writer, and an editor and a publisher. I was told multiple times during the holiday break that I needed to be more positive. Perhaps that’s true. Well, I know it’s true. I’m hoping that being more positive will help draw better things to me.


My sequel is almost complete. I have a poetry collection scheduled to be released this year, and I have another novel, or two, and perhaps a poetry collection to complete this year. Reading however, I’m really going to push to read more. As someone who has multiple degrees, I know that once we pull away from an academic institution that we can sometimes fail at reading a wide range of literature. I’m going to push that for myself – a great sampling of reading every day, and not just horror, or YA or fiction. I am going to push myself to read many things.


Now, here is my vague statement for the week. I received some good author-writer news. I don’t know yet if it’s going to pan out into something, but it’s the kind of news that can change my life. It’s the kind of news one receives once in a lifetime. I’m going to be positive, but I’m going to remain conservative. Of course I hope this turns into something, but if it doesn’t at least I had one sparkling moment this month.


Promise to write more soon.


Tons of Festivals

The year is almost over. I’ve been so busy and I hope that 2015 brings me at least an equally busy year.


A few weeks ago Burial Day Books was a vendor at the Chicago Ghost Conference . Our table was positioned next to Svengoolie! Unfortunately, Svengoolie was so busy meeting his great fans that I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself. My husband did get this awesome picture with him!





The highlight of my night was a lecture with the amazing Alexandra Holzer. Alexandra Holzer is paranormal research royalty. Her father Hans Holzer wrote over 100 novels on the paranormal and he appeared in multiple television programs even hosting his own. I will post a separate blog on my experience during the lecture. It was a true joy. I wrote so much during that brief time.



Then, last weekend Burial Day Books was a vendor at the Chicago Paranormal Film Festival. I met some great folks there, including the team that runs the Path to Bachelor’s Grove website. If you don’t know what Bachelor’s Grove is…Google it. Seriously. Like, do that right now. I didn’t get to see any of the films during the festival, but I did see the first place film afterwards, Bachelor’s Grove, The Movie directed by Ricardo Islas. If you would like to see it you can find the full film here on YouTube. Support indie horror!



This Saturday, December 6th Burial Day Books will be a vendor at the Chicago Book Expo at Columbia College. If you’re around come on down and visit us!



Horror Selfie


The Horror Writers Assocation (HWA) launched a Horror Selfie campaign with the aim of highlighting exceptional work produced by the horror genre. We were asked to submit a selfie holding a sign to encourage others to read, write, or watch horror. This project also aims to promote literacy.


My selfie was posted today. See it here, as well as at the link.


The work I am holding is William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist. My message, El monstro es nosotros  (Spanish) translates into – the monster is us.



Write what you’re meant to write


Edgar Allan Poe died today in 1849. If you know Poe, you know that his end was as tragic as his macabre tales. While Poe was known as a writer during his life, he struggled; he struggled with critics and bills and the stress of keeping and maintaining a family. He was one of us, a writer who aimed only to create.


My life continues to take on more responsibility, family, financial, career, and side careers of teaching and mentoring, but I still find time to write. I believe that this is what I’m meant to do, but I doubt myself, like many do. I get frustrated, like many do. I see people who can leave their careers and focus on writing and I get jealous. I see people who have been in this writing game a short period of time and they get an agent and I get jealous. I get jealous of people who have these fantastic circles of friends on twitter and seem to always be communicating with one another, and yes, I feel jealous. It’s human sometimes to feel jealous. Writing is solitary. I’ve never been drawn to big circles of people, but I do like the support, and yes, I have 1 support person – my husband. At least I have someone who keeps encouraging me to write. Of course, I would love the support of a larger writing community, or an agent, and a fancy publisher, but I don’t have that, and so what am I supposed to do? I’m supposed to write because that’s all I can do. I can’t live waiting and hoping what tomorrow will give me. I don’t know if I’ll get hit by a stray bullet (in Chicago, it happens), and so I have to keep writing.


One writing instructor once told me ‘Write the story you are meant to write.’ I believe him, I believe that there’s still something I’m meant to write, and I hope I find it. I have a pile of works in progress, an anthology I’m editing, but I have this crazy anxiety that I need to do more, that I need to shout at people and say ‘Look, I’m doing something over here and it’s great,’ but I have to fall back and just write the words. That’s all I can do. If more people gravitate toward me, toward my words then I did it, I set out what I wanted to do. Still, there’s that story in me that I’m meant to write and I hope I find it.


Poe is with me now and he’ll always be with me. I’ve visited his gravesite four times, and I feel like I owe him that much for inspiring me with his words. On this tragic death date, I hope that I can honor Poe with the writer I am and the writer I hope to be one day.



Gothic Blue Book and Teaching

It’s been a maddening few weeks. It was a mad dash to the finish line, or cemetery that is, to review final submissions for the Burial Day Books Gothic Blue Book Folklore Edition, our 4th anthology at Burial Day Books. I admit, this has been a wondrous love affair, me and my independent press. I have had the great joy of working with many fantastic writers. This year, I get to work with Bruce Boston, an award winning poet and Jay Bonansinga, an award winning writer and director who co-wrote the Walking Dead series. I’m excited about this collection, and overwhelmed because we received so many great stories. This will be the largest collection, and that means I have tons of work ahead of me to get all of this edited and formatted for an October 31st release.


In other news, I’m extremely busy with the day job in marketing research, but my new night job starts soon, mentoring Master of Fine Arts students at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Orientation begins this week. I’m looking forward to meeting my students and learning about their works and process.


Other than that, I’m still writing and editing. I have a poetry collection that is scheduled to be released next year, and two fiction works in progress that need to be completed as soon as possible.

I hope all of you are well. Thanks for reaching out and wishing me luck on the agent hunt. Still no agent, but I’m still hunting.


Love and peace fellow humans.




Still working, writing, editing

I received a confirmation from one agent thus far that they are reviewing my work, which to me is positive news. I’m still waiting on confirmations from the others, and so, patience is my friend.


This fall I begin a part-time faculty role at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, my alma mater! I will be a Program Mentor in the Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts program. So, I will be a part-time faculty member, in addition to holding a full-time career in marketing research, and being a writer. This my friends is how one keeps busy – time management.


There aren’t many updates other than that. There are quite a lot of works in progress I need to wrap up; a sequel to Santa Muerte, and a non-fiction book that really needs to be completed…by end of September. The non-fiction book is a true crime novel, which will incorporate a lot of research. So, I’ll keep you posted on that.


For now, I’ll keep writing, editing, and asking for your happy thoughts. Thanks for reading.



I love getting good news on a Monday!


First off, I just signed a contract to appear in Post Mortem Press’ anthology titled 44 Lies by 22 Authors. It’s going to be a wonderful collection of wonderful Post Mortem Press authors. For a tentative table of contents please visit author Christian A. Larsen’s page here who summed everything up nicely .


The short story I wrote for this collection is titled “Funeral Print.” It deals with a new mother who is obsessing over an antique funeral print in her home, and before you ask, yes, it may have some non-fictional qualities.


I have not been writing many short stories lately, as I have been focusing on my larger book length projects. This was the first short story I have written in a long time, and I’m happy it will be published.


Also, I received another brilliant piece of news this morning that I cannot share, yet. Before you ask again, no, it does not deal with any agent representation. It deals with a project I worked on for a very long time that may have finally found its home. I look forward to sharing those details soon.


On the agent front, as those of you who have a literary agent, or who have queried agents in the past, may know it’s a process, a very long, gut wrenching I-want-to-drown-my-sadness-in-a-glass-of-merlot process. I’m keeping up the faith, because that’s all I can do. I’m still writing, editing, and yes, praying to hear back from an agent to request a full manuscript. Then, after they read a full manuscript, if I get that far, I will once again go through the I-want-to-drown-my-sadness-in-a-glass-of-merlot waiting to hear back from them.


That’s all I have for now.


Thanks for playing.


Today, this is me at the office.

Good news, all of my partials are now off in the universe of Agent-Consideration land! Yay!


I stayed up late, reading and rereading and making sure that the first 50 pages/first 3 chapters of my manuscript were perfect. At one point, when I finished reading my first chapter for the 100th time I sat back and smiled. I really do like this manuscript and I love this story that I have written. I’m excited about it and I hope someone is as excited about it as I am.
I edited my pitch, the same one I delivered verbally in New York this past weekend, as well as my bio. Some agents wanted the sample of the text attached as a Word document and some wanted the text pasted in the body of the email. I spent a lot of time researching all of the agents I pitched to in order to make sure they are a good fit for this project. I see now how very important it is to seek the right agent. You want the right person behind your manuscript. You want someone to be a great writerly boss and a great champion for your word and your voice.

I’m now in the next stage – the waiting stage. I’m hoping that the agents read the work and show as much excitement about it as they did on Saturday. While I wait, I will keep picking at my manuscript, editing and finessing. I only hope to write you later this week, or next, with some great news – that a full manuscript was requested.

I really do hope this is it. I hope that this is the big hurdle that will lead me to get an agent. I’ve been writing for so long, professionally for nearly 10 years; first as a journalist and then fiction writer. I have so many stories I want to write and I hope they can be shared with the world. This is what I want to do. This is always what I’ve wanted to do. I’m in this obsessive stage now; all I can think about is writing. All I can think about are the lives of my characters.

I’m going to take a deep breath and I’m going to wait. Thanks to everyone who has been following along with me on this adventure and rooting for me. I have great friends, and know great people I have met along the way who want me to succeed. I want to make you all proud of me, but most importantly…I want to keep writing and telling stories.