WorldCon 2016: Schedule for Laurel Anne Hill, August 17-21, Kansas City, MO

Written by Laurel on August 5th, 2016

Steampunk, Terraforming, Writing, Space Technology Spinoffs, YA Fiction, the Oceans, Hard Fantasy and more: Laurel Anne Hill has a full schedule at the World Science Fiction Con in Kansas City, MO, August 17-21. (https://midamericon2.org/)

 

“First Friday” by Tory Hartmann Reeled me in. (Book Review by Laurel Anne Hill)

Written by Laurel on June 25th, 2016

I purchased a copy of Tory Hartmann’s novel, “First Friday,” from her at the 2016 San Mateo County Fair. As Editor of Sand Hill Review Press, Tory was pushing her literary wares. She’s a friend of mine and a great writer with a keen sense of humor. How could I go wrong? The blurb on the back of “First Friday” lured me in. The story kept me hooked from cover to cover.

 

Once Upon A Scream Author Spotlight: David Watson Interviews Laurel Anne Hill

Written by Laurel on May 19th, 2016
Laurel beside the Seine River in Paris

Laurel Anne Hill, author of “Commanding the Stones,” beside the Seine River in Paris 2002

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published their fourth anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Laurel Anne Hill and recently she talked to David Watson–from HorrorAddicts.net–about her writing:

Cathedédrale Alexandre Nevsky de Paris

Cathedédrale Alexandre Nevsky de Paris

Paris Sewer Tour: Tunnel Drain

Paris Sewer Tour: Tunnel Drain

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about? My short story is “Commanding the Stones,” about Yana, a middle-aged Russian-American woman on a business trip to Paris with her husband in 1995. In “Commanding the Stones,” a murder, Yana’s troubled marriage, her mysterious benefactor, and a Russian fairy tale—a twisted variant of The Stone Flower—add up to terror and redemption in the sewers of Paris.

What inspired the idea? My love of Russian fairy tales and painted lacquer boxes sparked the initial inspiration. Then I visited Paris during the month of November in 1999. Through the rain and chill, a story line emerged.

Once Upon a Scream

Once Upon a Scream (An Anthology, HorrorAddicts.net)

When did you start writing? I started writing before I could read. I created stories and my older sister wrote them down. I illustrated them with pictures from comic books and magazines. My first short story was published—in the kids’ section of a major San Francisco newspaper—when I was eleven. The piece was absolutely terrible, but I had no clue. The San Francisco News paid me $2, enough for eight double-feature movies back then.

What are your favorite topics to write about?  Many of the stories I craft have inspirational premises. Worthiness is rewarded. The power of love, honor, faith and duty can surmount daunting obstacles and transform lives. But I also like to write about the jolting “rewards” unworthiness can bring, and the sometimes blurred line between virtue and vice. Whatever I write, I love to use my imagination.

What are some of your influences? Without a doubt, atmosphere and music influence the direction of many of my stories. Between 1999 and 2005, for example, I made three trips to Paris—all during the November time frame. When first working on “Commanding the Stones,” I took the Paris sewer tour. The unpleasant taste of the air near an underground sewer drain let me picture ominous things happening to my protagonist. My mind processed the many details of the scene. Back home in California, I listened to Russian Orthodox chants to set my mood, allowing ancient magic and mysteries to merge with modern times as I worked.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre? The physiological reaction a scary movie produces in me. The increase in my heart rate and breathing. The tensing of my muscles. It’s like I’m the one in danger. I’ve had a half-dozen or so close brushes with death—experiences that had nothing to do with movies. During those times, survival—and the various chemicals released into my bloodstream to secure it—exhilarated me. Not so with movies. When an emphathetic character on the screen escapes death, I feel more exhaustion than elation. When I read horror, however, my brain does a better job of moderating the intensity of my physical reaction. Maybe that’s why I prefer scary books to scary movies in recent years, although I do adore both.

What are some of the works you have available? My award-winning novel, HEROES ARISE, and many of my thirty published short stories are available through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Anne-Hill/e/B002XK5R5S. To listen to my stories I’ve recorded (including award-winning “Flight of Destiny” and “The Grave of Mario Bandini”), go to Welcome to my Bedroom Closet at http://laurelannehill.libsyn.com. For my darker short stories in print, read “Wings of Revenge” (in The Wickeds), “Till Death Do Us Part” (in Horrible Disasters), “The Vengeance Garden” (in Spells and Swashbucklers) and “Fowl Consequences” (in Fault Zone: Diverge).

What are you currently working on? My novel, The Engine Woman’s Light (a spirits-meet-steampunk, weird west tale) was accepted for publication by Sand Hill Review Press last month. I anticipate it will be available in 2017. I’m preparing to serve as editor for the next Fault Zone Anthology. That, too, will release in 2017. Also, I’ve started working on a short story for Horror Addicts’ next anthology. For long-term projects, I’ll either return to a novel-in-progress (magical realism) set in Mexican California, or start a new one based on my recently-published fantasy short story, “Going Revolutionary.”

Where can we find you online? For my website, go to http://www.laurelannehill.comMy Amazon author page is at http://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Anne-Hill/e/B002XK5R5S. For Facebook, go to https://www.facebook.com/laurel.hill.7.

One of the historic stone walls of the Paris sewers, labeled with the name of the street above.

One of the historic stone tunnels of the Paris sewers, labeled with the name of the street above.

 

 

“Once Upon a Scream” HorrorAddicts.net Anthology Now Available on Amazon

Written by Laurel on April 24th, 2016

Read Laurel Anne Hill’s short story, “Commanding the Stones,” in ONCE UPON A SCREAM.

"Once Upon a Scream" now available on Amazon.

“Once Upon a Scream” Anthology available on Amazon.

 

Once Upon a Scream…there was a tradition of telling tales with elements of the fantastic along with the frightful. Adults and children alike took heed not to go into the deep, dark woods, treat a stranger poorly, or make a deal with someone-or something-without regard for the consequences. Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it. From wish-granting trolls, to plague curses, and evil enchantresses, these tales will have you hiding under the covers in hopes they don’t find you. So lock your doors, shutter your windows, and get ready to SCREAM.

Go to http://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Scream-Dan-Shaurette/dp/1530529514/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461512625&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=once+upon+a+scream+anthology+horror+addicts

 

Wine Country Comic Con: A family event in Santa Rosa, CA

Written by Laurel on April 24th, 2016

I was so honored to be photographed with Eric, the winner of the costume contest today at the Wine Country Comic Con. My owl and his hawk made a good combo for this picture.

I met so many delightful people, from toddlers to folks well beyond my age, at this fledgling event. I’m looking forward to another great day tomorrow. Thank you, Uriel Brena, for making this possible–and all for a good cause: addressing the needs of autistic children in the local community.

Warm wishes,

Laurel Anne Hill, Author of “Heroes Arise”

Laurel Anne Hill and Capitán México

Laurel Anne Hill and Capitán México

 

 

Mayday! Mayday! Call for Wicked Women Writers & Podcasters: Signup Deadline May 1

Written by Laurel on April 4th, 2016
MOST WICKED 2016

Most Wicked 2016???

Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge 2016 is still open for registration! Sign up by May 1, 2016.

Who Will Be … MOST WICKED?

THEME: This year’s theme is “Twisted Urban Legends.”

With the outstanding success and quality in last year’s challenges, HorrorAddicts.net is continuing the audiodrama as part of the challenge. This year they are pushing the challenge to the next level by asking participants to write an audiodrama revolving around one of the urban legends.

The key is to take the urban legend and give it new slant to make it twisted.  Remember the couple making out in the woods? Perhaps it’s no longer the boyfriend’s sneakers squeaking on the roof of the car, but the girl’s father’s shoes after he followed the young couple into the woods.  Take the legends we love and twist them up a bit to create surprise endings for your audience.

It’s all up to you!

This year’s hostess with the mostest is Killion Slade and she’ll be randomly assigning the following to each contestant.

*An urban legend

*A setting

*An obscure item

And every audio must include:

*At least two different reader voices in their production.

To register now, simply fill out the registration form here:

Register now!

You will receive your specialized contest items to create a fantastical, horror-filled, terrifying audiodrama for the listeners of HorrorAddicts.net to enjoy.

DEADLINE: Sign up by May 1st, 2016. The sooner you sign up, the more time you have to prepare.

*Note: The Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge and the Master of Macabre Contest share a theme this year “Twisted Urban Legends Audiodrama,” but they will still be aired and judged separately.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FURTHER DETAILS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SPECS:

As a contestant, you will write and record a horror story, fitting the theme and incorporating your extra elements. The style should be decidedly audiodrama, meaning music, sound effects, and two or more voices should be incorporated.

Audio mp3 and text will be due to horroraddictscontest@gmail.com by June 4th, 2016, 11:59 pm PST. Contestants will then be narrowed down to 5 semi-finalists. Those 5 authors will go on to compete for the final prize of being “Most Wicked 2016.”

The audio can be no longer than 10 minutes. This is strictly adhered to.

The text can be no longer than 3000 words, but may be submitted either in story or screenplay script format. Usually 1000 words=10 mins, we are giving you 2000 extra words for stage direction.

You may have someone else record your story for you, but it must still include 2 voices and none of the HorrorAddicts.net staff or previous Wicked winners may help you.

You may not compete if you have won the “Master of Macabre” or “Most Wicked” awards before. You CAN compete if you have submitted in the past but did not win the final award.

HOW ARE THE VOTES SET UP? There will be a 3-part voting system.

1/3 of the vote will still be the voters emailing in.

1/3 of the vote will be judged on podcast quality and will be judged by seasoned podcasters.

1/3 of the vote will be judged on writing quality and will be judged by seasoned writers.

These 3 sections will be added together for a final score

The winner will be honored with the coveted title, “Most Wicked 2016.”

Dates to know in 2016:

May 1st – Registration closes

June 4th – Audio and text are due.

July 9th – finalists will be announced

July 23rd – Audio airs (text will begin posting near this date)

July 23rd – Voting starts

August 20th – Voting ends

September 17th – Winners will be announced on the HorrorAddicts.net show.

Got QUESTIONS?

Questions should be addressed to Killion Slade at:horroraddictscontest@gmail.com with the subject 2016 WWW CONTEST QUESTION.

How Do I Enter?

1) Please click on the survey monkey link and it will take you to a page to fill your information.  This signs you up for the contest and we can provide you writing prompts for your audio drama.

survey monkey link

2) Please go to the Facebook group Wicked Women Writers and ask to join the group.  Join the Facebook Group!

The group is where Killion will communicate the most to you and be able to easily answer any questions you may have.

And that’s it!

Horror Addicts looks forward to hearing from you and finding out if YOU will be Most Wicked 2016!

From,
Laurel Anne Hill (Most Wicked 2011)

 

 

Call for San Francisco Bay Area Authors: Sell your books at the 2016 San Mateo County Fair

Written by Laurel on March 24th, 2016

AUTHOR DAY BOOK SIGNINGS AND DISCUSSIONS ON JUNE 18, 2016, 2-6 P.M.
CALL FOR AUTHORS!

 San Mateo County Fair, San Mateo Event Center, Expo Hall, Galleria Stage

2ND AERIALAUTHOR DAY CROPPED

AUTHORS SELL & SIGN THEIR BOOKS: SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2-4 P.M. Twenty to thirty local authors will gather near the Literary Arts Stage in Expo Hall to sell and sign their books on June 18. Two authors will share each table, as shown in the photo above. Tables will have a drape, but no backdrop wall for hanging signs. Authors will receive free entry and parking passes for the day. In the past, the parking lot has filled up fast on weekend days. Author participants are advised to arrive at the parking lot 11 to 11:30 in the morning.

Followed by a “Writers Helping Writers” discussion period (4-5 p.m.) and “to-be-announced” finale (5-6 p.m.). A number of the authors present for the signing generally volunteer to participate in the 4-6 p.m. programming.

This year, the vendor and jungle exhibit sections are being moved to a different building. The change will provide room for other exhibitors, such as the youth department, in Expo hall. It also means no more squawking parrots.

Interested authors should contact Laurel Anne Hill, Literary Stage Manager, before April 20th if possible.

For more information about Author Day, contact Laurel Anne Hill at: http://www.laurelannehill.com/Contact.html. The SMCF website is at https://sanmateocountyfair.com/.

 

If it’s Tuesday, this can’t be RadCon (Reflections by Laurel Anne Hill)

Written by Laurel on March 18th, 2016

February, 2016, gave me twelve days on the road, in the air, or at various events. At times I’d awaken in the morning, momentarily unsure where I was—without a clue of what day of the week greeted me. All my return trips happened on Mondays. So my first morning home, I’d see the familiar “cat eyes” (recessed ceiling lamps) staring from the other side of my bedroom and know Tuesday had arrived.

RadCon—picture 3,000 people gathered at a Red Lion Inn—never ceases to amaze me. Enthusiasm and dedication abound annually. There’s a big student turnout, too. A high proportion of all attendees wear costumes, ranging in complexity from cute antennae, to superheroes, to steampunk versions of The Six-Million-Dollar Man. The scratched-and-faded upright piano tucked into one of the corridors is always a bonus. Any moment may bring a sonata—jazz—or, maybe just chop-sticks. The music resonates and I love every note.

Once again, I was lucky enough to spend a day at Chiawana High School and speak to students about writing. A total of around 200, I think.

My panels included:
The Real Lab: Sometimes things go very right in the lab, and sometimes things go horribly wrong. A group of scientists discussed the sometimes terrifying, often hilarious, crazy things that can happen when working in the lab. (Thank you Berlex alumni for contributing your stories to me.)

 The Best Writing Advice I Was Ever Given: My first contribution was “You can do it!” What an English teacher said to me in high school really made a difference.

The Devil’s in the Details: Visualizing the scene when writing to keep from confusing the reader.

This year, David and I took in the performance of the Ignition Fire Troupe. I’m embedding their promotional film from RadCon 2013. The actual performance—in the Red Lion courtyard—lasted way longer. Over a half hour. Maybe an hour? I didn’t pay attention to time. Spectacular!

IGNITION

RuddyGore:  On February 21, I had a walk-on role at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The Lamplighters performed Ruddygore, my favorite Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera. I won this honor at the Lamplighters silent auction fundraiser last year. Here’s a photo of me in costume, ready for my appearance in Act I. Being part of the cast for an afternoon was so cool. Cast members went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and at home. The Lamplighters, formed fifty years ago, are a beloved San Francisco tradition for many good reasons. I always enjoy the way the cast gathers with the audience in the lobby after performances.

laurel at ruddygore (2) cropped

Laurel Anne Hill, all prepared to meet Sir Despard Murgatroyd of Ruddygore

 

Digital Author & Indie Publishing Conference, February 26-28, Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys, CA. I had the honor of serving on a panel on the opening day: Beyond the First Draft—Editing Your Work & When to Hire a Pro. Phil Giangrande moderated. My fellow panelists were Deanne Brady and Mike Robinson. This informative event was organized by Tony N. Todaro, CEO of West Coast Writers Conferences (WCx2) and President of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (GLAWS). I’ve not self-published before, except blogs via my website or podcast commentaries. I came away with the feeling that, “Yes! I could do this.” Thank you, Tony. And thanks to all of your many volunteers.

March is my stay-at-home month. Now that I’ve turned in my tax materials to my accountant, I’m actually going to clean the house. However, I’m also getting ready for April.

WINE COUNTRY COMIC CON

WINE COUNTRY COMIC CON

Wine Country Comic Con:  Roseland Lions Club is hosting the first ever comic convention in the North Bay. Wine Country Comic Con, which will be held April 23 and 24th, 2016, at the Sonoma County Fair Grounds will be open from 11am to 6pm both days.

Wine Country Comic Con aims to bring an amazing convention to the area, with guests, panels, cosplay contests, and so much more. All proceeds from the convention’s fundraising activities, including tickets and sponsors, will go towards the creation of an early learning center for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and children with speech and behavioral problems. This cause is especially dear to the convention’s founder, Uriel Brena, whose son has Autism and who is a big fan of comics.

I’ll have a table in the artists/authors area. Look for the blonde lady in steampunk clothing with her hand up the innards of a furry puppet.

Warm wishes,

Laurel Anne Hill, Award-Winning Author of Heroes Arise
(http://www.laurelannehill.com)

 

 

Fair Trade Bananas and a Free-Range Chick

Written by Laurel on March 6th, 2016

I zip down the freeway in my 1991 Mazda Miata. Blood draw at Lab Corp. Pick up fair trade bananas at Whole Foods. Return home in time to work on the income taxes. Review my notes from last weekend’s writers conference. My to-do list overflows. My brain keeps track in sentence fragments. 

banana-1368111328MGo public domain pictures

One parking spot remains open near the blood drawing center. I slip into the slot with ease. My stomach gurgles. I last ate twelve hours ago. No big deal for me. Far too many people in this world, however, live with hunger every day, and the situation has nothing to do with blood tests. Lack of food security is one of the world’s most critical issues. If only solving the problem was as easy as parking a Miata.

According to The Hunger Project, 795 million people—one in nine in the world—don’t have enough to eat. Fifty percent of those are farmers/farming families. I bet they’re not working in a fair trade environment. In a fair trade system, explains Co-operative news, workers get paid a living wage in conditions that are safe and secure. Labor is voluntary and workers have a right to collective bargaining. Producers are guaranteed a fair price for the goods they produce.

For well over a century, says Equal Exchange, banana conglomerates in Latin America have have been notorious for poor working conditions and blatant labor abuses. Several have been sued by their workers for respiratory illnesses, cancer, infertility, and birth defects, a result of continued exposure to pesticides used on the banana plantations.

These poverty and labor issues are why I and some other members of my Methodist church are going out of our way to purchase fair trade bananas—or eat no bananas at all—during this Lenten season. I plan to continue the practice even after Lent’s in my rearview mirror.

I enter Lab Corp. The phlebotomist draws my blood. I notice a photo of two young women posted on the wall. One wears a white ruffle gown—not the typical prom or wedding dress. Maybe for a Quinceañera celebration?

Regardless, no daughter of an exploited banana farmer could own a dress like that. I sigh, and think about Juanita, the Latina main character in my spirits-meet-steampunk novel manuscript: The Engine Woman’s Light. Juanita, a heroic resident of an alternate 19th Century California, is well-acquainted with hunger, poverty and danger. And she’s never even seen a banana tree. She just wants to save the lives of people society throws away, and then marry the man she loves.

Which carries my thoughts back to the writing conference I just attended in Van Nuys, California: Digital Author & Indie Publishing Conference, presented annually by West Coast Writers Conferences (WC2). Tony N. Todaro, Executive Director of WC2, planned an amazing lineup of speakers and faculty. How honored I was to be included on a panel. And I learned so much—about publishing and promotion—and not only from other members of the faculty. What a great place to network! I no longer feel fenced in by traditional publishing options.

The phlebotomist tapes a gauze pad to my arm. I head for my little red car. Bananas, networking and publishing. I’m off to shop fair trade while my train of thoughts travels along a free-range track.

An indie publishing house I highly respect continues to consider The Engine Woman’s Light. I hope they accept my work. But if it’s not right for them, I’ll self-publish. Twenty years makes for a long gestation. In this era of free-range authors, it’s time to birth my baby.

But one mission to accomplish at a time. I rev up the engine and get going. 1-1269535934rPDA chick

 

 

There ARE Miracles

Written by Laurel on December 24th, 2015

The Odell Lake Adventurers: Herb & Maggie Zeller; David & Laurel; John & Lynn; Son Dave’s in the insert.

The Odell Lake Adventurers: Herb & Maggie Zeller; David & Laurel; John & Lynn; Son Dave’s in the insert.

Alicia: A California-stylish lawyer

Alicia: A California-stylish lawyer

The sky bore a touch of gray as I peered out the cabin’s kitchen window. I stood at the sink, washing vegetables. There was David, down by the lake where we’d docked our rental fishing boat. Family members were with him.

A good thing. Even grasping his cane, he didn’t look too steady. In fact, he sort of listed to starboard. Literally. Four months had passed since he’d had his failed knee replacement surgically evicted and new hardware installed. The healing process advanced with snail feet.

David swung his leg into our boat. Nobody steadied the craft against the dock for him. What was he doing? That was right up there with climbing a ladder while using a chain saw. Didn’t he want to survive until our 50th anniversary? We had nine more years to go. The space between the boat and the dock inched wider. Lord have mercy! He was either going to fall into the drink or split up the middle like some dried-out wishbone yanked apart.

By some miracle, nothing bad occurred.  

SteamBirdie Visits David

SteamBirdie Visits David

In November, the day the OryCon Science Fiction/Fantasy Convention opened, my brain revisited that Odell Lake scene. David had just been admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland. His problem—which had manifested itself as a gradual increase in heart and respiratory rates, had culminated with a combination of congestive heart failure and pneumonia. The damn fluid in his lungs kept him from getting a decent breath. He was drowning on land and coming way too close to going down for the third time.

By some miracle, he recovered.

All Better!

All Better!

There’s lots of things we joke about lately. How the salty Rueben Sandwich he ate the day before hospitalization proved his downfall. How, in the future, we’re switching to refundable airline tickets and traveling only where we have doctor friends or relatives. (The presence of our son Dave and his wife, Kathy, in Portland saved the day.) But the truth is, hind-sight isn’t foresight. Neither David’s primary care physician nor his cardiologist picked up the category 5 level of his brewing medical hurricane, any better than we did.

Well I’ve now got the lowdown on really keeping his water retention down low. God’s given me the love of my life back. David and I aim to celebrate that big 50 in nine years.

Merry Christmas! May good health & happiness be yours.

With love,

Laurel & David

The Gang of Five (Jim, John, Dave,  Laurel & David)

The Gang of Five (Jim, John, Dave, Laurel & David)