Monday, February 27, 2017

Horror in Photos: Can You See The Ghosts?

I love Photoshopping ghosts into photos. Just for fun, I wrote a dark story inspired by shots I took. 
Can you see the ghosts?

A thick fog lived in his mind. He couldn't reach through it to grab his past. Bones showed through his skin. His clothes hung like oversized sacs. His stomach cried.

Phantom winds stirred leaves in the small stone room. Silence made a home in these walls.


His name was...Silver?

His arms and legs felt like brittle sticks. Silver's mouth tasted like sand. Shards of glass attacked his throat every time he swallowed.

He used the wall to steady himself. Stone squares with ornate handles sat close to his hand. Drawers? Something was inscribed on each box. The letters wouldn't stop moving. What was wrong with his eyes? Silver gave up trying to read them. One of the drawers was missing. Did he come from that hole?

Legs feeling steadier, Silver walked out of the room. A name was etched above the door.


A sharp pain twisted in his chest. Fire lived in his arms. He needed to break something. Kill someone. The name taunted him. Silver wanted to feel this Wissmann's blood cover his body. He wanted to peel off the skin and wear it. His stomach flipped. Silver shivered in excitement.

A song swept through the tunnel. It's beautiful yet sad notes surrounded Silver in a comforting wall. They eased his rage. He followed the sound.


Chanting voices joined the song, quiet to match the somber notes. Then louder and louder. Hundreds of screaming voices drowned out the beautiful song. Their desperate words flew at him all at once. He couldn't understand any of them.


Voices burst from the rooms he passed. Doors opened and closed as though pushed by invisible hands. Drawers inside the stone chambers trembled. Whispers of the wind brushed past his ear. The back of his neck itched. He felt hundreds of eyes on him.

Yet, Silver wasn't afraid. He licked his lips. A warm tingle started in his fingers. It moved through his body. His stomach groaned. His throat rumbled.



Tapping echoed above the noise. Shoes. Each footstep crushed a scream. The chanting voices died. The steps remained. They drew closer yet Silver didn't see anything. He kept walking. Again, he wasn't afraid. This was familiar. The memory was still too far out of reach. How had he gotten here?

The footsteps stopped. A black cloud of smoke rose from the floor. Silver stopped walking. This... person, that felt wrong, enjoyed creating footstep sounds even though he didn't need to walk. He enjoyed the fear his invisible steps caused. Who was he? Silver saw a name but he couldn't grab it.

The smoke rose high enough to touch the ceiling. It formed a hooded figure with glowing yellow eyes. The figure bowed with its hand over its chest. A wooden flute was in his other hand.

"Master Silver, I hope you had a pleasant rest." The voice was low yet cheerful, opposite the figure's size and demeanor.

Silver's stomach knotted. His heartbeat lived in his ears, it lived in the walls. The air shivered. He inhaled. Silver knew that scent. Fear. Those that screamed and chanted were afraid of him. They hid inside their rooms, trembling.

"It took me years to prepare this feast. Please enjoy," the figure said.

"Leave me." Silver's voices wasn't as commanding as he expected, too long without use. "Thank you...Tah."

Silver couldn't see Tah's face but felt his pleasure.

"I will return when you are finished," Tah became smoke and vanished.

Voices groaned and wept. Why were they crying? They wouldn't feel anything.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Week in Links 2/24/17 Get Out, Switch, Han Solo



Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fellow writers and nerds.

Book Marketing and Branding
Proven Instagram Stories Strategies from the Experts at Bustle – Hannah Caldwell
Video Blogging: How to Create Consistent YouTube Content

Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi
Congratulations to Our 2016 Nebula Award Nominees!‘American Gods’ Finally Gets A Start Date
Catch a FIYAH: Notes on Building a Black Speculative Fiction Revolution

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Guest Post: Behind the Horror Film by R. Prioleau


Please welcome R. Prioleau as she talks about her film project, The Descended.

Thank you, Auden, for allowing me to guest post on your blog during Women in Horror Month 2017!

I would love to tell your readers about my first film project of the year, The Descended. Inspired by my Gullah ancestry, The Descended is the story of two estranged sisters who travel to the Gullah south to inherit family property. Along the way, a restless spirit possesses one of them and other must work with Gullah Witches to save her.

I really loved this original concept, however, I knew it needed something more. I reached out to the members of Colors in Darkness (www.ColorsInDarkness.com) and four amazingly talented and creative authors, Eden Royce, Kenesha Williams, Paula Ashe, and Lori Titus, answered the call to form our writers’ table. They helped give the script a much-needed boost, making everything from the atmosphere to character development much better, and allowing the script to become an Official Selection at the 2016 Fright Night Film Festival and the October 2016 Indie Wise Film Festival.

We were also very fortunate to secure Hollywood Actress/Producer Lunden De’Leon as our Executive Producer, truly one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She’s all about her business, too. With a recording label, production company, and her own line of cosmetics, she is a powerhouse to look out for in the industry.

I must admit that casting has been the hardest thing about pre-production. Because the writers’ table did such a wonderful job with the script, matching the talent to the project has been challenging. We posted a casting call online and got several responses, however, we've decided to hire a casting agency to help make sure the best actresses are selected for each role.

Finding locations, on the other hand, was not as big of a challenge. The State of South Carolina has a Film Commission website (www.FilmSC.com) that helps productions find locations. We submitted our script and allowed them a few weeks to respond with several options. As of this moment, we are looking at Hobcaw Barony Farms in Georgetown, South Carolina. The location has over 70 cultural sites with rice plantations and includes old cemeteries as well as intact slave cabins (featured in the Slave Dwelling Project).

As you can see I am very proud of this project and I cannot wait to share it with the world! #BlackGirlMagic!

For further information and to track this 2017 film production progress, visit www.GullahGeecheeHC.org.



Rasheedah Prioleau is a southern writer of speculative fiction. Her early education included studying math and sciences, however, she found herself easily getting lost in great books.

With a B.S. in Art Marketing, she began her professional career in the Marketing Department at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. She spent her early twenties freelance writing and traveling internationally. A chance encounter with Octavia Butler’s Mind of My Mind in an airport book store sparked her dream to become a writer. She turned her attention to creative writing in her mid-twenties, becoming a script reader and creative developer for a literary management company in Los Angeles, CA.

She continued to freelance as a ghostwriter for independent writers and producers. Completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Full Sail University, Rasheedah shifted her focus from screenwriting and began her career as an author with her breakout novel American Specter: The Seven Sisters, a paranormal mystery, and dark fantasy currently under Hollywood option.

More information on Rasheedah Prioleau and her books can be found on her website at www.RasheedahPrioleau.com. She may be contacted by e-mail at rasheedahprioleau@yahoo.com.

For Women in Horror Month, #WiHM Rasheedah Prioleau is promoting her Gullah Horror novel.




Everlasting: Da Eb’Bulastin:

After another incident of sleepwalking, Aiyana Gamelle wakes up lying under the stars on the Beach of Sa'Fyre Island, an island off the coast of South Carolina with a rich Gullah and Native American history.

Knowing these incidents of sleepwalking have something to do with her long-awaited transition to becoming the Gullah queen of the island, Aiyana shrugs them off as little more than a nuisance to be expected since her lineage leads to a mysterious African goddess.

Aiyana moves forward with plans to host a week-long festival that will end with her succession to the island throne, but the murder of an important guest and the passing of her grandmother bring the festivities to a screeching halt and Aiyana learns that the transition also involves an unwanted possession and the revelation of a dark family curse.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dealing with Fear in Your Writing Life


Fear can cause writer's block. It can chase you off the path. Being an author, or an artist for the matter, is...challenging. The past couple of months have been rough for me. Most days, I wonder why anyone would choose to be a writer. "Success" can take years. The fear sets in while you're waiting.

  1. You're not on the wrong path- You want to make a living off your books or, at the very least, sell enough to pay bills. You aren't so you start to fear you've chosen the wrong path. Maybe you should quit. I've been searching for a job for months with no success. There's little money coming in from book and photo sales. Often I've thought I should give up this writing/running my own business stuff and focus 100% on a "normal" career. Seems like a logical thing to do.

    I think of it this way, I have 11 published books and 5 years spent marketing my brand. All that will go to waste if I quit now. You put a lof of effort into publishing your book. Don't quit because things aren't going the way you expected.

    Besides, I've sold books and I've gotten great reviews. I'm just not selling as much as I would like. The writing life can be a pain but I love what I do. Just because the money is trickling, and I mean trickling, in doesn't mean you chose the wrong path. This is normal. You've heard of the starving artist. It's not just some romantic notion. It's hard to earn a living from selling art. 

  2. Losing followers is normal- Most of you know how much I love social media. Recently, I realized I'd gotten it in my head that I need to post every day, several times a day or I'd lose all of my followers. Turns out, that's not true, not all the time.

    I used to tweet 5 times a day. I cut it back to 3 sometimes 2 and it made no difference. I'm active on Facebook but I don't post as often as I used to. Didn't change anything. Instagram is different, though. I skipped one day of posting and lost like 10 followers. I consoled myself by saying, if they jumped ship after one day then they weren't that interested in my content and therefore, not my audience.

    I don't particularly care about unfollowers anymore. I just unfollow them and move on. Don't waste your bandwidth on them. Getting unfollowed is like getting a one-star review. It's going to happen. It will suck but don't stress too much over it. 

  3. Dark stories can lead to a dark imagination. Read something fluffy once in a while- When you write dark fiction, you're, most of the time, torturing your characters physically and emotionally. That's not something I ever get used to. I could write lighter stories but they aren't as much fun.

    The problem with writing dark stories, at least for me, is I scare myself just by simply commuting into Manhatten, imagining all the bad things that could happen to my train. My dreams are really weird. I start thinking all these dark stories are messing with my mind and I need to stop.

    I combat this by taking breaks from reading and watching dark stuff. I'll read a story with the right amount of fluff. Certain parts don't often make sense but overall, the story is enjoyable and relaxing. I also have soothing sounds playing while I sleep. One of my favorite apps is Relaxing Melodies. Take a break from the dark stuff every now and them. 

  4. Don't be afraid to dream big- You hear often that it's impossible to be a full-time author. so you don't even try or you keep your dreams realistic. I have a habit of doing this, been trying to stop. When someone talks about how my book would make a great movie, my response is usually, "that's not going to happen." I didn't dream of becoming a bestselling author because I knew the facts.

    I wasn't being realistic. I was shielding myself from potential hurt. Those dreams aren't impossible but they're at the far end of possible. Right up there with winning a million dollars. There is nothing wrong with dreaming your book gets turned into a movie. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be a bestselling author. It's good to be realistic but that doesn't mean your dream is out of reach. Look what happened to Fifty Shades of Grey. These days it's not impossible to live off of your art but it can take years, a lot of work and a great deal of planning. 
I didn't include fear of rejection/negative reviews on purpose. I also thought of adding fear of my upcoming book not selling. I haven't sold a book in months. I'm not afraid of that anymore. Between my writing, photography and design, I've been rejected so often I've gotten used to it. Rejection and no sales still hurt but I'm not afraid of them. They come with this life.

There is always hope.

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default." J. K. Rowling




Common Writer Fears (A.K.A.,You’re Not Crazy)
5 Common Writing Fears and Hor to Overcome Them

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Week in Links 2/17/17: J.K. Rowling, Pokemon Go, Nintendo



Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fellow writers and nerds.

Book Marketing and Branding
What’s the Value of Romance in Sci-Fi & Fantasy?

Writing, Publishing and Bookishness

Nerdy 
PewDiePie Apologizes For Anti-Semitic Content, Accuses Media Of Attacking Him
How to Develop a Unique Style for Your Photography

Want to see your post in the next The Week in Links? Email me at audendjohnson@gmal.com. The post needs to be published between today, 2/17 and next Friday, 2/24.