Wandering Away with My Uterus

Cover for My Wandering Uterus

A while ago I told you that my short story ‘In Search of Sorrow’ had been accepted for inclusion in the anthology titled ‘My Wandering Uterus’. I’m very excited about introducing you all to my new character ‘Sorrowful Jones’ and the anthology promises to be filled with interesting articles, poems and stories, all carefully curated by Kate Laity and H Byron Ballard.

My previous post looked at the history and mythology around the Wandering Uterus so I thought today I’d give a brief outline of how my story was accepted and the process to publication.

Sub to Pub

As so often happens, I saw the invitation for submissions on social media. I was intrigued by the title and decided to submit.

I carefully read and reread the submission guidelines. These can be a little vague and tricky (many places ask for stories to be for,attend in ‘the usual way’ but each have their own ‘usual’ style so it’s always important to check their preferences’).  Luckily Kate had been very clear with what she wanted so then it was a matter of writing the story!

I’d long been percolating a character, influenced in part by cowgirls in the ‘Wild West’ but who didn’t fight using guns. I’ve been listening to a lot of Amanda Palmer and so decided that my character would carry a ukulele. This being me, there would also be elements of the supernatural.

So, Sorrowful Jones was created!

I wrote my story, sent it to beta readers who also loved it, but who made a few suggestions about how to change things and picked up a couple of grammar mistakes. Multiple readings and more edits and I was happy with the story.

Then came the stressful part – submitting! After getting hubby to check my formatting, my story was flying through the internet. I obviously started hitting ‘refresh’ every two minutes on my email to see if it had been accepted. The waiting for acceptance/rejection is always the hardest part for me. I always think of it like Christmas where you have the expectation and excitement, then on the day you either get the pony you’ve always wanted or another naf jumper. Luckily for me, after waiting impatiently for weeks, I had the good news that Sorowful Jones would be out in the world.

Kate and Byron then had the unenviable job of editing each submission before deciding on the running order.  First edits are sent to the authors for their approval or rejection. More often than not, I accept the suggestions as they will often make my story sharper and ensure there there are no major plot holes. There’s also the grammar and spelling mistakes that I always manage to miss, despite my best efforts.

Once they’ve been returned, the stories are collated and checked before the final proofs are sent out. This is our final chance to check for typos or any strange formatting. I once had proofs sent which were fine in .pdf format but once they’d been put into the book formatting program had strange gaps, added spaces and blank pages! It’s a laborious process for all involved to check for mistakes and I remember a book agent once telling me that you can read and reread a piece but it’s not until it’s been printed that you’ll see a very obvious mistake, usually on page one.

So that’s in brief is the process of putting an anthology together. It’s a long process of putting a book together, but it’s exciting and different every time. Now, we’re trying to get the word out and generate interest before ‘P Day’. If you’d like a review copy, please contact Kate or Byron. Keep an eye out for more information and news, including where to meet different writers in the anthology at conferences and more.

If you’d like to read more about my Path to Publication, as well as some hints and tips for submitting your own work, click here.

While you’re waiting for ‘My Wandering Uterus’ to be published why not check out my other book of short stories ‘Weird Wild available now. (The link below is an affiliate link which means I may receive  small commission, at no added cost to you, if you purchase after clicking)

Women in Horror Month: Let’s Play A Game

How are you enjoying ‘Women in Horror Month’ so far? And are you enjoying the daily challenges? I’m loving hearing about people’s favourite movies, books, actresses, characters and more. As always, I have a growing list of assorted media I need to plough through and I’m excited about being terrified by all your recommendations.

Today’s theme is ‘Let’s Play A Game’ and it’s definitely something I need your help with. I’ve never been a gamer as such and the scariest game I play is ‘Plants vs Zombies‘. If I’m honest, I was never into video games growing up and the few I’ve attempted, I’ve not been brilliant at (I generally get stuck in a corner and can’t get out or I get frustrated at slow gameplay and give up).

For those who don’t know, it’s a simple strategy game that’s free to download. You have to grow plants which have special abilities (‘pea shooter’ which shoots peas, dragon fruits which breath fire etc.) in order to defend your house against assorted zombies. I like the strategy aspect to it, plus it’s not too scary to play first thing in the morning.

However, I feel I should expand my horizons and want to know what games you’re all playing? Let me know in the comments below about the scary first player action games, strategy games or more that you’re playing and why you love them.


How are you all enjoying ‘Women in Horror Month’? I am really enjoying celebrating women writers, directors and more, as well as having my socks scared off daily!  As part of my daily challenge, here is my ghostly short story ‘Reborn’.


He tried his best to contain his excitement as the small bundle was pushed into the cave, but the little squeal that started deep in his stomach burst past what passed for his lips, alerting the others. Soon, seven little ghosts were looking at the dozing baby, wrapped in thick woollen blankets to stave off the chill of the cave.

‘A baby,’ whispered one of the ghosts, slowing stretching one of her rainbow coloured tentacles towards it. She screeched as the stinger of one of her companions penetrated the tentacle. The rainbow colours rapidly dulled to black and it hung uselessly against her gelatinous body.

‘Don’t touch that child,’ her attacker warned. He was shaped like a foot, with three large toes, each with a sharp stinger on the end.

A third ghost moved between them, his two frilled antennae gently separating Rainbow and Toes. The antennae were attached to a spherical, clear body in which bobbed an ever watchful eye. The Watcher spun his antennae gracefully upwards, mindful not to touch the dripping walls of the cave.

‘Now, we must not disturb the child until the decision is made.’ His eye spun and one of his antennae whipped out at one of the ghosts who dared get too close to the child.

A bell-shaped ghost edged towards the group. He rippled as he spoke, the oily surface of his skin reflecting what little light penetrated the cave, ‘But which of us is it to be?’

Rainbow swatted the Watcher’s antennae away and drifted closer to the child, the others ready to pounce on her if she touched the pink, warm skin. ‘It should be me. My son needs me,’ she said, her voice breaking a little.

Bellringer pulsed as he laughed, ‘Your son’s been dead for generations, you stupid witch. Your pathetic attempts at magic were no more effective than that fools attempt to kill a god.’

The antennae folded around the Watcher. ‘I would have killed him, had I have had more men,’ he huffed.

A worm-shaped ghost with a spotted crest inched closer. ‘Your army was washed away by the same god you were trying to kill.’ Her crest quivered as she giggled.

‘His plan was no more ludicrous than taking a life just so you can keep your bath filled,’ a small, furry ghost muttered.

The Worm writhed angrily. ‘You mock me? I was trying to keep my youth. You were taking body parts to try to rebuild your deceased mother. That’s ludicrous,’ she shrilled.

The ghosts froze as the walls of the cave shifted, dislodging stones, dust and salt residue that the dripping water left behind. Several of the ghosts cried out as the salt hit them, causing their skin to sizzle and peel.

‘Be quiet,’ hissed a diamond-shaped ghost, the small spikes which covered his body clicking in agitation. ‘Any more loud noises will kill us all.’

The ghosts watched in silence as the dust slowly floated down, each all too aware of the nature of their prison. Only when the constant dripping of the water from the walls had resumed and the last particles of dust had hit the floor did they dare to speak.

‘The child is mine,’ proclaimed the Watcher, ‘I have had time to realise my mistakes and will not make them again.’

‘Which mistake is that? Attempting to kill a water god by stabbing the water?’ mocked Bellringer.

The Watcher snorted. ‘No. I need more men. Then, I’ll kill the water gods.’

Toes flexed his toes and flicked out his stingers. ‘Pah! You talk of killing a god. I plan to resurrect one! I was one kill away from my thirteenth and then my dark lord would have arisen from his fiery pit.’

‘It should be me,’ said the Worm. ‘I meant no harm, merely to bring beauty to the world. My beauty.’ Her crest rippled, the spots reflecting the dull light.

The hairs on Fuzzball bristled. ‘No! I should go. Mother needs me,’ he whined. The Watcher slapped Fuzzball with one of his antennae, sending him spinning dangerously close to the salt-covered walls. Fuzzball hissed in anger but dared not move closer to the group.

‘I had ‘em running scared, those filthy whores. Let me go back so I can finish the job. I can still remember the feeling as my knife gutted ‘em. Gotta cleanse the streets. Vermin they are, running around spreading disease every time they spread their legs. I’ll slice ‘em up real pretty with my knife.’

‘Please, you don’t understand. My son is at war and I need to keep him safe. If I continue making the sacrifices, he comes home to me,’ begged Rainbow.

The ghosts huddled together, arguing. Their movements causing a blur of colours until it was difficult to discern one from the other.

A short, sharp whistle brought them all to a stop and they turned to see Diamond-spike floating near the dripping wall.

‘You pathetic creatures. You argue and fight for the right to be reborn, for your petty beliefs or desires. You all want a chance to return and continue doing whatever ridiculous thing it was that got you sent here. But me? I was born evil they said, never had a chance to go topside.’

‘You mean, you’ve never….’ Rainbow trailed off.

‘If you’ve never been up there, then what right do you have to claim the child?’ demanded Toes.

Diamond-Spike spun lazily, his spikes grazing the wall but he didn’t flinch as the salt burned his skin. A slash of a grin appeared on one side of his body. ‘I seen a lot of your types come and go. All have their reasons for killing, for pleasure, for pain, their gods to serve or sacrifice. Some got ideas about purifying their race, others about keeping loved ones alive. But me?’ Diamond-Spike let the question hang in the air between him and the other ghosts. The others drew closer to him, eager to know his reasons for being sent to the cave. Diamond-Spike’s grin grew larger.

‘But me?’ he repeated, ‘I got a plan.’

He spun, flinging the droplets of salty water which had accumulated on his spikes at the other ghosts. They all howled and screamed as their bodies began to smoke.

Diamond-Spike floated down to the baby who had begun to stir with all the noise. The child gazed at the tiny speck which bobbed in front of its eyes. However, it let out a scream as Diamond-Spike forced himself inside its nose. The child thrashed its chubby arms around as a small droplet of blood dribbled from its nose and across its face. As quickly as it had started crying, it stopped, its blue eyes turning to black with tiny blood-red flecks. A thin grin spread across the baby’s face and it disappeared leaving the other ghosts in complete darkness.


If you enjoyed this short story, check out to my other free fiction. Feel free to add links to your short stories below or on my Facebook page.

Movie Review: The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook movie poster 2014

Synopsis: A widow and her son battle with an evil entity in their home. Don’t invite in the Babadook!

Director: Jennifer Kent

Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman

Review: I first watched the Babadook when my daughter was first born and I remember being terrified. I couldn’t watch it all in one sitting and had to watch the rest during the day whilst the baby slept as I was too scared to watch it at night.

So, I wondered how I would feel, watching it nearly four years later with the benefit of dealing with my own little bundle of trouble (although thankfully no Babadook!).

Well, I was still terrified! In many respects, my situation is completely opposite to that of Davis’ character but I have a definite feel for the exhaustion felt by a mother when you’ve got a child who hasn’t slept for an extended period, coupled with the demands of a job, keeping house and all the other pressures both external and internal.

Davis has rightly been lauded as she gives a fantastically nuanced performance of an exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed single mother caring for a troubled child whilat also grieving for her husband. Her character is trying to manage so many things without support from her family, no real friends and a child with very specific needs. Her son, played by Wiseman also deserves huge praise for excelling is a very challenging role. I’m always impressed with child actors who are able to display a maturity in their performance well beyond their years and should he continue to follow an acting path, then I expect we’ll see more stellor performances from him.

However, the kudos belongs to writer and director Kent.  This project was born from a 10minute short caleed ‘Monster‘ she wrote and directed. Nearly ten years later the story was still nagging at her and she expanded it to create ‘The Babadook’. Kent’s other credits include directing an episode of a TV show, acting and producing. She truly has a rounded knowledge of the industry and this is evident with the slick delivery of ‘The Babadook’.

From the first instant, the movie has you on edge and it doesn’t release you until the final few scenes. Kent’s use of different colours to signify moods works well, with the bright sunlight of time spent outside in contrast to the blues and greys of their home. This lighting lends itself well to the scary scenes which are light enough to see the action, unlike some horror movies where I have no idea who is running in terror etc as it’s too dark to see anything.

The script, for the most part, is sharply written and Kent’s observations of looking after a child, as well as pressures placed on parents both by society and themselves are dealt with well. The scene where the group of mums are sympathising with Davis’ ‘Amelia’ whilst also silently judging her is spot on and something I know a lot of mothers have endured. Amelia’s isolation in this scene, reflected both in the fact that the colour of her dress is different to the muted colours of the ‘popular’ mum gang, as well as having her seated whilst the other mums are standing at the opposite end of the table is a scene which has stuck in my memory. It’s not overtly horrific but it’s one of the more run-of-the-mill daily encounters which resonated with me, and one which I experienced more the second time I watched it because like ‘Amelia’ I’ve had to find my voice to stand up to others who have judged my parenting style.

It’s an intimate movie in many ways, with the bulk just playing out between Davis and Wiseman. Keeping other characters at arms length works well to help build up the tension of what lurks in the house as well as the sense of isolation felt by ‘Amelia’. The creepiness of the book as well as the lack of explantion as to where the Babadook comes from is works well. Sometimes the over-explanation of where the ‘big bad’ is from slows down the pacing and doesn’t add anything so it’s lack allows speculation and for the viewer to create their own scary ideas.

Overall, I loved this movie. There were a few minor niggles I had but then, everyone’s a critic and they didn’t stop me from enjoying this movie. It’s one I’ll definitely be watching again, although hopefully not from behind a pillow!

If you’ve enjoyed this review, have a look at the other movies I’ve reviewed.

Women in Horror Month: Favourite Book

It’s always tricky asking my friends for book recommendations. Knowing a lot of writers, reviewers and book lovers, I know if I ask for a recommendation I’ll open floodgates of books. I wrote a post about my ‘12 Favourite Books‘ and the minute I posted it I had my friends reminding me of so many other good books I had left off my list!

I spoke about Mildred Hubble and ‘The Worst Witch‘ (written by Jill Murphy) as part of Witch Wednesday yesterday. I really loved those books growing up. It was definitely my first experience of ‘fantasy’ and allowed me an escape into Mildred’s magical world which, although challenging seemed both similar and also more exciting than my own school experience.

I’ve read assorted books by horror authors over the years but recently I seem to have been enjoying short stories. I suppose that running around after a toddler and the other assorted demands mean my time is less (sadly no more Sunday afternoons lost in a book!) and my attention span is definitely shorter. However, there are so many fantastic short story writers out there, and for the purpose of this article,  female short story writers.

Luckily for me, Adele Wearing, founder of Fox Spirit Books has always championed female writers and many of the assorted anthologies, including ‘Eve of War’ and the ‘Monsters’ series have been curated by women. Here’s a brief look at a two of my favourite Fox Spirit Femmes.

Chloë Yates: Chloë very kindly agreed to be interviewed as part of my ‘Big Interview‘ series where she spoke candidly of her battle with mental illness. She’s been a staple of a number of anthologies and I’ve always loved her work but it’s probably ‘Tuna Surprise!’ in ‘Under the Waves‘ which has stuck with me. Like all of her work, it’s unexpected, witty, dark and sharply written with a twist at the end.

KT Davies: another victim, sorry interviewee for my site. I raved about her debut novel ‘The Red Knight‘ and have been begging for a sequel. What I love about KT’s writing is her use of language – it’s so varied with a real mix of old English and more fruity swearing as well as her ability to write evocative fight scenes.

As part of their celebration for Women in Horror Month, Mental Floss created a list of 11 Female Horror Writers and I”m ashamed to admit that I’ve not read any of them. Have you? Who’s you’re favourite?

Women in Horror Month: Witch Wednesday

Crochet witch my bluebeaglebabyI have always loved witches. Probably my first was the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ from ‘The Wizard of Oz’. I was terrified by completely absorbed at the same time. I still remember the feeling of watching her on the TV, screetching ‘I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!’

From there, I started reading ‘The Worst Witch’ and I still remember the mishaps poor Mildred Hubble got in to. I was obsessed with those books (though never really got into the TV shows) and remember being constantly in trouble with my teachers because I refused to do up my shoelaces like my favourite heroine.

I was then terrified by the witches in Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’. The way they peeled off their ‘human’ forms still gives me the shivers and of course, their penchant for eating children! It did cause me to look at women, specifically those wearing gloves, very suspiciously for a long time after.

I think it was around this time that I discovered the Addams Family. They were either a Sunday morning show or something I’d  watch after Blue Peter, I can’t remember but I adored Morticia and her outlook on life. It was equal measure realistic and also depressing. I have loved the assorted actresses who have played her by my personal favourite is Anjelica Huston. Whilst Morticia is never explicitly referred to as a witch, her mother is, so I always assumed she was too, she’d certainly put a spell on Gomez!

These were three of my favourite witches but I could have mentioned so many more, including the girls from ‘The Craft‘, ‘Sabrina‘ or the very scary series of comics by Cullen Bunn ‘Harrow County‘ published by Dark Horse Comics.

Who are your favourite witches? Let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to follow all my Women in Horror Month posts, right here on my blog.

Women in Horror Month: Tuesday Team Ups

Welcome back to my Daily Challenge for Women In Horror Month. How are you enjoying it to far? Today we’re looking at ‘team ups’. I’ll be honest, when I thought of this prompt, I was in the midst of a ‘Supernatural’ rewatch and had planned to post assorted photos of the Winchester brothers (as an aside, are you Team Dean, Team Sam or Team Castiel?).

For some reason, women in genre often fall into different categories: the slut, the geek, the survivor, the frenemy, the bitch, stereotypes lampooned somewhat in ‘Cabin in the Woods’. I get frustrated that so few movies reflect the friendships I have and see all around me. We’re not all the bitchy, underwear flaunting, ditzy, serial killer fodder were portrayed. In my experience, my girlfriends are supportive, funny and I know they have my back. Having worked on the collective project ‘Girls’ Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse’ I also know that we can work together to create something fantastic without resorting to bitchiness or pillow fights in our undies.

However, I got thinking: whilst I could name half a dozen male ‘teams’ in horror, sci fi or fantasy, I struggled to name a team of women who joined together to beat the big bad so my focus shifted and here we are, celebrating women’s friendship in the midst of terror!

It’s not an exhaustive list, so feel free to add your favourites below.

Sidney Prescott, and Tatum Riley (Scream). Poor Sidney has been going through a tough time since the murder of her mother but her trusty friend Tatum has been at her side, fiercely protecting her whilst also giving her a shoulder to cry on.

Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). One of the most formidable teams on my list, a Slayer and a witch but these two girls were firmly bound by friendship. What I also love is that twenty years later Sarah Michelle Geller and Alyson Hannigan are still friends!

Julie James and Helen Shivers (I Know What You Did Last Summer). First they work together tocover up their involvement in a hit and run, then join together to find the serial killer targeting their group. What else are girlfriends for?

Hongryeon and Jangwan (A Tale of Two Sisters). I love this movie as you can see from my review. Sisters don’t always get on, but when joined in a battle against an evil step mother, they do well.

Katniss Everdeen and Rue (The Hunger Games). Many in the Capitol grew uncomfortable when Katniss volunteered to take her sisters place in The Hunger Games but it was when she teamed up with Rue that the seeds of revolution were firmly sown. Fans of Suzanne Collins book and the film will celebrate this poignant but beautiful friendship.

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy (assorted, most recently DC Comics).  These are two of my favourite femmes, even if they have been criminally underused in the assorted Batman franchises. I really enjoyed the juxposition of the unstable Harley with the studious and serious Ivy I’m the most recent comic release. That these two are now a couple is definite trouble for our favourite Bat, but brilliant for readers  I can’t wait to catch up on their adventures!

I’m sure I’ve missed loads of great female team ups so sound off in the comments below. And because I can’t help myself, here’s a picture of the Winchester brothers….

Women in Horror Month: First Scares

We all remember our firsts: first kiss, first holiday, first best friend, first home but do you remember the first thing which truly scared you?

Image of Phantom Raspberry Blower from Two Ronnies

When I was introducing Women In Horror Month I said that Horror was a very personal genre, and what may scare one person will cause another to laugh out loud (much like when hubby laughs at the end of Titanic when Leo slips into the water whilst I’m reaching for my third box of tissues!). The monsters, serial killers, things that go bump in the night, we all have our own triggers and effectively tapping in to those is what ultimately links writer and reader.

Phantom Raspberry Blower logo

My First Monster

Many UK readers will remember a comedy duo called ‘The Two Ronnies’. Their long-running skit show was a stable of weekend TV during the 80’s and I remember they had a long-running sketch featuring ‘The Phantom Raspberry Blower Of Old London Town’. I remember between the chatting farmers and endless stories from Ronnie Corbett there was a very dark sketch, loosely based on Jack the Ripper. The sketches followed the misadventures of a police officer trying to catch a killer who would ‘Raspberry’ his victims. It was all very tongue-in-cheek but I remember watching these skits through my fingers (much the same as others watched Dr Who from behind the sofa!). For years, the face of the ‘Raspberry Blower’ haunted me and doing a google search to find a picture for this piece, the terror returned. He reminds me a lot of the Babadook. What do you think?

My First Alien Encounter

I dontvremember the first time I saw ‘Alien’ or the sequels, although I did love Sigourney Weaver in all of them so I can’t say if I saw them before or after a movie which still gives me shivers today: Event Horizon.

Event Horizon movie poster

This is a family site so I won’t share any of the gorier images from the film but the synopsis is that a rescue mission is launched when the space ship ‘Event Horizon’ reappears after going missing. Turns out it wasn’t caught in a black hole, but rather somewhere far more demon-filled. It’s not soon before the evil crew decide decide to remind the rescue team of their own inner demons, slowly driving  team to madness. It’s gory, blood-filled and showcases a range of human emotions from guilt, despair and friendship. I remember being too terrified after watching this film I couldn’t drive home and I t’s still one of my favourite movies.

My First Serial Killer

I’d seen copies of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Halloween’ at friends houses and whilst they had creeped me out, none freaked me out the same way Scream did. I’m not a huge fan of serial killer movies, mostly because they follow the same format: a killer out for revenge slowly murders his victims one-by-one in ever more ridiculous ways until the sprightly protagonist overcomes him (and it’s usually a him) in the last act. However, Scream brought something new to the genre, highlighting the silliness of the genre as well as giving a number of Easter eggs for fans of horror. Yes, people die is impressive manners but I remember not being disapppointed when the credits started rolling and worse, I couldn’t answer the phone for weeks!

So, those are my most memorable ‘firsts’. Do you remember the first horror movie you saw? Do they still scare you now?