Upcoming Anthology: Running Wild Stories Volume 4

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Sometime in April, my friend and fellow Inkblotter, Erica Ruhe and I decided to pen a short story together. We figured that if we could join forces, using our strengths to collaborate then perhaps we could write a very compelling and moving story that both of us could be proud of. That’s how our short story, Fragile Fruit was born.

For some time I wanted to write a short story set in Sicily in the late 1960s. I had always been intrigued by how vastly different Sicily was to the rest of the world during that time when it came to women’s rights. 1968 was widely known as the “peak of the sexual revolution” and yet, in Sicily, it was very common for young men to kidnap girls they fancied and rape them, and then said girl was expected to marry their rapist in what was known as a “rehabilitation marriage.” The only way for a woman to regain her sense of worth and dignity from a rape would be to marry her rapist, which would make her an “honourable woman” again and thus automatically extinguish the crime for the man. Franca Viola was the first woman to stand up to her rapist and say NO. She refused to marry him and it made international news, as many women saw her as a pioneer for cultural progress and emancipation. While many men, on the other hand, saw her as a threat.

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Franca Viola, the Sicilian feminist icon that inspired Fragile Fruit

Inspired by Viola’s courage, we decided to pen a story about a girl, Marietta who too, refused to marry her rapist but instead of remaining in her hometown of Maletto, fled to New York in hopes of a new life. Four years later, Marietta is forced to return to Sicily when her mother is on her death bed. She soon finds that she’s going to have to find a way to make peace with her demons and her past before both threaten to overtake her.

But when her rapist Alfio turns up dead a few days after her return, all eyes are on Marietta. But did she really do it?

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So, since April I’ve been sending this short story to various literary journals and magazines and of course as the norm of any writing it was rejected by a lot of them, despite each of them stating that they had enjoyed the short story very much. Flash forward to last week when I receive an email from Running Wild Press that Fragile Fruit was selected to be in the upcoming anthology Running Wild Stories Volume 4. Of course, both Erica and I are thrilled about this opportunity and that our creative child finally found a home. I don’t know yet when the anthology will be released (sometime mid-2020), so keep your eyes peeled for that info!

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Cover Reveal: Betty Bites Back – Stories to Scare The Patriarchy

When I first saw the call for submissions last year for Betty Bites Back, I somehow saw it late (as in I had only ONE week to come up with an idea and write a short story). And I knew that it was almost impossible (especially to come up with a story worth publishing). Since I had time against me, I didn’t even have the time to send it to my friend Erica (who acts as a beta-reader for some of my stuff) for any feedback, nor did I have the time to send it to my go-to editor for any missed typos or grammar mistakes.

Essentially, I thought I had an awesome story (who wouldn’t love to read a story about a kickass Muslim gal who also ends up becoming a shapeshifter?), and prayed that that would be enough for me to be considered. Because, honestly, I wasn’t expecting to be published (I was going to be up against veteran YA authors who had agents and publishing deals! How could I possibly be on the same level?!).

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But the writing muses were kind to me that day as my story, Good Sister, Bad Sister was indeed considered, if only I was willing to make some edits. I can’t even begin to count how many edits have been made to this short story. There were moments where I thought, UGH IF I’M GETTING ALL THESE EDITING NOTES I MUST SUCK! Good thing my inner cheerleader was like, “Come on, these amazing authors wouldn’t be wasting their time GIVING YOU EDITING NOTES if they didn’t think the story was worth being published!” So thanks to my inner cheerleader, and my close Muslim friend, Derya (who have me invaluable advice on how to portray Dilay as authentically as possible.

What’s the point of this whole sweat and tears post my friends? WELL, to announce that you can now pre-order Betty Bites Back: Stories to Scare the Patriarchy (the book will officially be released September 16, 2019). And I’m not telling you to pick up this book just cause I’m in it (although my story is one of the best I’ve personally written so far) but it includes short stories from these amazing authors:

Liz Cole
Shannon Green
Elaine Griffin
Lindsey Klingele
Kamerhe Lane
Jenna Lehne
Demitria Lunetta
Emilee Martell
Tracie Martin
Cori McCarthy
Kyrie McCauley
Mindy McGinnis
Kate Karyus Quinn
Melody Simpson
Amanda Sun

Also, you should check out Mindy’s blog for a chance to win some fantastic swag!

Let me know which of these authors you’re looking forward to seeing some new stories from!

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DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY

Coming Soon! My American Nightmare: Women in Horror Anthology

As a reader, I’ve always been an avid fan of horror anthologies and short story collections, because it has always allowed me to discover new authors without committing to a full-length novel. As a writer, I’ve always wanted to put together an anthology and seeing that I prefer the darker side of life I thought that going with horror short stories would be my best option.

Female representation in the horror genre is still very scarce. The horror literary market is filled with male authors. So with my anthology I decided to showcase the talent of female authors. This is how the concept for MY AMERICAN NIGHTMARE: Women in Horror Anthology was conceived.

The anthology will be available TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2017.

Fans of Joe Hill, American Horror Story, and Stephen King will love these dark and twisted stories!

Excerpt from “The Girl & The Yellow Wallpaper”

The faces in the flowers were more pronounced than usual that night. Big eyes, gaping and expectant, seemed to blink back at her. Lizzie dismissed the idea immediately. Paper did not blink. Nothing could move in the room, except her. But the yellow faces had a more human quality the more she looked. They were women’s faces. Lizzie found something feminine in the shape, warped as it may be. The heads in the wallpaper appeared to tilt to the side, violently, like their necks had been snapped.

*

Excerpt from “Perle”

A muscle flickered in that clean-shaven jaw. “Step out of the vehicle.”

I hesitated. Another bang.

I said step out of the vehicle.” Singer popped the snap on his holster. “I’m not gonna ask you again.” Dog whimpers urged me to comply.

My shoulders slumped. I released the latch and fought open the stiff door. It protested with a loud, long squeal.

Now what is in the back of this truck?”

Still I hesitated, puckering my lips in a coy attempt at innocence.

My stepdad.”

*

Excerpt from “Whatever Happened to Peyton Rose?”

Jesus,” she whispered, not sure if anyone could hear her. The dolls made her feel unsettled as they stared back at her with vacant eyes. Peering down, a scream escaped her throat when she realized that their plucked eyes were scattered on the bed. She pushed the comforter off of her. The eyes fell down, making a sound similar to marbles crashing to the floor as she ran for the door.

Frantic, she opened the door and stood upon the landing. She looked to and fro, not knowing what direction to run to next.

Don’t panic! She told herself. And yet, her hands were shaking.

*

My American Nightmare 2

The author lineup is the following:

Angela Sylvaine – “Ballad of Sorrow and Lily”
Amelia Kibbie – “We Kill The Skull Man”
Roberta Goli – “Mr. Buttons’ Tea Party”
Jamie Kahn – “The Poison & The Ivy”
Rachel Bolton – “The Girl & The Yellow Wallpaper”
Hillary Lyon – “Boys’ Night Out”
Nicky Peacock – “She Looked Like Krystal Sparkle”
Spinster Eskie- “Angie’s Change”
Sheri Kreitner – “The Pickman Sisters of Salem”
Sierra Ryan – “Volunteer”
Kara Nelson – “The Eye”
E.F. Schraeder – “Night Moves”
Andrea Teare – “39 Days”
Heather Miller – “The Stars”
Marnie Azzarelli – “When Evacuating Pennsylvania”
Erica Ruhe – “Perle”
Phoebe Jane Johnson – “Ruby”
Azzurra Nox – “Whatever Happened to Peyton Rose?”
Kara Dennison – “Billson”

If anyone would be interested in receiving an ARC of the anthology for review purposes, please get in touch with me at: azzurranox[@]yahoo.com or leave a comment below!