Writing

Announcement: Hello, Stranger…

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Hello, and welcome…don’t worry about leaving the lights on or checking the doors, trouble has already found its way inside. It has been patiently waiting for you to relax. So sit back. Relax. Enjoy your peace of mind… until I make you question it.

For the latest news, upcoming events, and other chewy goodness scroll down. For books, biblio, podcast, social media, etc. use the menu above.

Lastest/New Release(s): Teeth  • The Atrocious Alphabet (a coloring book!) •  Left for Dead/Fall from Grace • Waking the Dead 

  Now on Audiobook: Survivor’s Guilt •  Grave Wax • Floaters • Buried Memories Waiting Out Winter  • Six Days

Kelli,  thriller/horror writer, podcaster, and puddle jumper


 

20 Essential Crime and Horror Crossovers

 

According to Max Booth III, “Life is terrible but at least we still have books.” And in celebration of that, he has an article on CrimeReads, in which he guides you through 20 essential crime/horror crossovers. It’s a helluva list, and I’m honored to be part of it…

 

Kelli Owen’s FLOATERS

 

I’m a strong advocate that there are never enough lake monster stories in the horror genre. Have you ever stared at a lake in the middle of the night? Anything can be hiding inside. You don’t know. Kelli Owen takes this concept and runs with it in Floaters. Sometimes corpses wash up from Lake Superior, but also sometimes the terrifying creature responsible for the corpses washes up, too. A detective, medical examiner, and reporter team up to hunt down a beast that should not exist. I recommend this one for fans of lake monsters and small-town legends. It’s a fun ride.

Check out the entire article here, subscribe to the Crime Reads newsletter or stalk them on facebook, and of course, show Max Booth III some stalking love as well.

Six Toe Press interview

“Kelli Owen talks being a Nerdy Klutz, how that impacts her zombie apocalypse plan, and what a vampire story has to do with prejudice”

Thus is the headline for the interview I did with ToeSix press, now available on their site in issue #17.

Go ahead and read about my apocalypse and other fun answers to fun questions! Have followup questions? Feel free to ask them on the post here in the comment section below…

 

Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival

Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival
Haverhill Library
99 Main St
Haverhill, MA

Sat, Oct 13th
10am – 4:30pm

FREE ADMISSION

(click image to enlarge)

Over 60 authors will be in attendance, including Christopher Golden, James Moore, Rio Youers, Laird Barron, Bracken MacLeod, Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, and many more …pssst me.

• I’ll have a table for the whole day (note: some authors are only there in either the morning or afternoon)

• I will be participating on the panel “The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Written—And The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Read” at 11.30am

In tow I shall have TEETH (yay *new release* vampires), the ABCs (Atrocious Alphabet coloring book), and something special just for this event! As well as a smattering of what’s left in stock for novels and novellas (read as: if there is something in particular you’re looking for, let me know, as I don’t have more than a couple of each but can post-it note reserve for you.)

Other panels include:

  • Horror, Horror, Everywhere: How Horror Infiltrates Other Genres
  • Hidden Treasures: Scary Books You’ve Probably Never Read, But Should
  • Our Favorite Halloween Books and Stories
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Horror Movies, or, How to Start Your Kids off Right
  • Best Horror Books We’ve Read This Year

For more information on the Festival check out the facebook page for the event.

See you there!

Rejections and Reactions

If you’re a writer, you should keep this word in the back of your head at all times: Grace.

If you’re a reader, the writers who don’t understand the definition of that word will be very easy to spot.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about how people respond and react to rejections. Because whether you’ve published one story or one hundred stories, there’s never a reason to not be professional. To have grace.

You see, there are those who write, and then there are those who submit. That first group is quite content to scribble volumes for their own eyes and never ever become published. And then there are those of us who are mildly sadistic at best and may actually enjoy torture at worst. We submit our words and then pace, while waiting to hear back from an opinion we purposely asked for.

Are we always happy with that opinion? No. Should we have a tantrum, whine, bitch, piss and moan? No. The golden rule of rejections? You absolutely should not, under any circumstances, ever ever do either of these two things:
1. respond to the rejection
2. whine about it publicly

That first faux pas? Responding? No. Just no. Why would you? You do nothing to change the mind of the editor who sent you the rejection (and keep in mind, on some level you should be thankful for receiving one in the first place, since many publications only contact you if you’re accepted). The editor had to read a lot more than just your story. If you respond, even to say thank you, you are wasting their valuable time. And if you think they won’t remember that, you’re wrong. If you think they won’t tell their editing and publishing friends, you’re wrong. Slowly, for those in the back, do not—do (period) not (period)—respond to a rejection.

And that second one? Seriously? Let me just remind all of you of one tiny, very very important fact: the Internet is forever. Don’t believe me? Waybackmachine.com. But also, and more immediately, screenshots have become the law of the land.

Recently, there was an amazingly bizarre call for submissions. You may have heard about it—they were asking for pizza stories. I saw the guidelines and I giggled, and then a little voice in the back of my head said, “Heyyyyy, don’t you actually have a story about pizza. You put it in the trunk because, well, pizza.” I did indeed. I had written it several years before and never ever thought I would publish it, so I literally trunked it without submitting. (Not something I would necessarily suggest anyone do.)

I hemmed and hawed for all of twelve seconds and then got curious. It had been a while since I’d seen it. What the heck, I thought, and I pulled out the story.

I read it. I read it again, out loud. I even read it to my daughter (you should know, she’ll be the first person to tell me something sucks… well, right after my mom gets done telling me why it sucks). And I thought, huh, this isn’t bad. The language was a little out of date, and you could tell it was an older story by my archaic style and voice, but with a little polishing… who knows, right?

I polished it. Sent it to my prereaders. Edited it a final time. Submitted it. And waited.

And it got rejected.

Why? It was a form rejection, so I’m not sure. Truthfully, I’d be willing to bet the stories they kept leaned toward blood-fest, scary, or more “traditional” horror veins, rather than my normally quiet, chilling or unnerving style. Nothing wrong with that. It just didn’t work for them. It doesn’t mean I can’t write. Remember, a rejection isn’t a statement on you as a person—it just means that one story, at that one point in time, didn’t work. It doesn’t even necessarily mean the story sucked. And it certainly didn’t mean I should do either of the items above: respond or react.

But others out there were either never told, or they outright chose to ignore the golden rules. Suddenly there were people posting online, openly, angrily, about how they were going to make their own pizza anthology out of their rejected submissions from this one.

Re-read that. Slower.

Yeahhhhh… you read that right. And the editor responded beautifully—telling them to feel free to do so, as it will be the worst thing no one’s ever read. I laughed. Oh my god, did I laugh. I mean, I gasped at the balls and willingness to knowingly damage their own careers. But then I laughed, because wow. Then I went to KillerCon and hung out with said editor for a good chunk of the weekend. We laughed and laughed about all those souls having little hissy fits online.

Once more, for those in the back: the Internet is forever.

And what else? Do you remember? Yes, those you annoy with less-than-professional behavior will tell others, sharing your foibles with all their editing and publishing friends. As I write this, there are currently three different threads on my various social medias discussing someone who reacted poorly in public. Three. Today. And that’s just in my little corner.

This world we call a genre is a small little island of misfits. It’s not a family, though parts can feel like it. The circles can be tight, but most are welcoming. And at the end of the day, it’s far too small a community to think you can do anything remotely close to responding or reacting, and not have it become a scary lesson whispered to newbies—to frighten them as they’re tucked in at night.

Grace, people.

Find it. Hold it tight. Never let it go.

If you are rejected, look at why. If they sent a form letter, it may simply be that it didn’t fit the theme or feel or gore factor or whatever other thread there was connecting the accepted stories. If they were kind enough to tell you why and there’s a critique or suggestion, look at it, consider it heavily, and then adjust and/or edit as you need. Either way, with or without comments, your job at this point is not to say thank you, it’s not to whine on your social media, it’s to resubmit the story. Get it out the door. No rejected story should ever spend the night. They are not welcome company, but rather relatives who don’t know when to leave.

Except when they need to be grounded. This particular piece needed to stay home. Not because it was crap, but because it was very specific. Pizza. And I know what happens to the market after an overly specific anthology sends out their rejections—because once upon a time, many of us giggled and some gasped in horror, as every open submission call out there received rejected stories about “pirate cats from outer space.”

No, specific themes need to sit for a bit—maybe forever. Some can be reshaped into something more generic, some cannot. Either way, I had a pizza story and it got rejected. What did I do? I didn’t respond. And I didn’t react.

Dallas (Jack Ketchum) once told me the most important words ever when it comes to a rejection, “Move on. They have.” Wise wise words, from a wise wise man.

For those who need it, maybe put a post-it note on your screen, keyboard, wall, whatever—wherever you’ll see it and remember. You can write his words if you want. Or you can write “don’t respond, don’t react.” Or you could even write “be professional.” Or you can reduce it to just that one really important word. Say it with me… Grace.

 

Interviews with Writers

I did this thing. An interview. There were questions, and I answered them. Now they’re out there, just sitting, waiting for someone to read them. Go on now… read them.

Interviews with writers: Kelli Owen 

 

And then I sat back and thought about it, and it all felt so familiar. So I did a little digging, and it turns out, I’ve been there before! Here’s the previous interview, from when it was posted under bookgoodies website (the two are attached), from several years ago.

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Travel Plans

—· Scares that Care ·—
August 2-4, 2019

—· Killer Con ·—
tba 2019

—· Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival ·—
tba 2019

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