Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why We Need Women In Horror Month

As a new writer (so far as publishing is concerned), the one thing I've learned is that the profession is filled with friendly, helpful, supportive people. Most of the time. But, like any group of people, there are a few bad seeds that sprout up from time to time and spread their vile spores. Nobody knows why. Maybe my friend Mercedes has them pegged and it's simply because they're 'whakadouches'.

As a writer of mainly horror, I can't help but be thankful to women writers of horror. They were key in bringing forth the modern era of horror with authors such as Ann Radcliffe in the 1700's, to Mary Shelley in the 1800's and on into more modern times with Shirley Jackson. If not for these women, authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and many others probably would not have had a horror platform to stand upon.

Now, the blog post that inspired me to write this, by the awesome author and lovely woman of darkness, Mercedes M. Yardley (hopefully with permission):

This is Exactly Why We Need “Women In Horror Month,” You Jerk.

Well. I’m mad.
I’m not trying to be inciting or hysterical. But I am angry.
A “fellow” horror writer lambasted a dear friend and amazing woman for doing book signings while in costume and…I’m not quite sure what else. Being a woman? He said women were especially bad at trying to grab attention (“claiming” we’re horror writers when we aren’t) and most of us are hags anyway.
That’s right. Most of us are hags.
I’m sorry, but how did appearance even manage to worm its way into this conversation? This author has one book out and a second releasing soon. Yet he has the authority to decide who is really a horror writer and who isn’t? And bringing physical appearance into it is exceptionally personal. He doesn’t like the way most of us look? Next time I’ll be careful to wear a helmet while signing so I don’t offend readers. I thought writing was about the *writing* but apparently I was wrong! Silly woman, “claiming” to write horror! Thank goodness this random dude was there to set the #LadyHags in our place.

The Helmet of Haggishness will hide my face nicely at signings. Oh, and look! An Anti-Hag Cooties visor, as well!
Hags? All right. I’ll hop on that broomstick and ride it.
I’m not naming names for a few reasons. The first reason is grace. Perhaps the ranting author had a really bad day. Perhaps he wrote something without thinking and didn’t realize how hurtful and misogynistic he was being. Perhaps these aren’t really his true thoughts. I wouldn’t want to cause this individual pain, even though he so clearly caused it in others.
The other reason that I don’t want to share his name is because he doesn’t deserve the attention.
The third is because the woman he attacked (before his vitriol spilled over to the rest of womankind) has the right to share his identity, not me. If you’d like to talk to her about it, feel free. Besides being a fun, compassionate writer and person, she is also a mother dealing with a sick child. Her son has cancer. That’s right: cancer. And some random whackadouche decided that she wasn’t up to his standards.
You see why I’m so furious right now. My hands are shaking.
Meme Created by Sister Hag Tonia Brown
This isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a constant thing. February is Women in Horror month precisely because of things like this. Women are often shunted to the back or otherwise demeaned in this genre. Definitely not by everybody. If we’re hags, then we have a strong troop of hag supporters. Team #LadyHags. There are men inside this genre and out who link arms and stand with us. Which is how it’s supposed to be, by the way. Who has time for pettiness and division, really? Don’t you have lives you’re trying to lead? Children you’re trying to feed and keep alive? Don’t you have loved ones worth fighting for? Why spend your time attacking women that are of no concern to you?
You don’t have the right.
We are here. We are beautiful. We are strong. We’re going to write what we want and how we want. If we want to do readings in libraries, good. If we want to do booksignings on a lawn, more power to us. Our path to success doesn’t concern you. It doesn’t impede yours. You don’t like what we write, where we hold signings, or what we’re wearing?
Nobody asked you. And more importantly?
You don’t get to tell us what to do.
If you’re going to judge us as writers, then judge us on merit. Like us for who we are or what we bring to the table. But don’t turn us away because of something stupid like, oh, having female anatomy. Besides, women are wired for horror. Believe it.
As for the rest of us, Happy Women in Horror Month. Support your favorite lady hags and pick up a book. If you already have a copy, gift it to somebody. Let our haggishness shine! ‪#‎LoveYourHag‬ ‪#‎ladyhags‬

 Please stop by and visit Mercedes' blog, A Broken Laptop

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Free Puppies

It's been a while since I posted something here, so, I thought to satisfy your disturbing need for something vile and evil, I'd post a super short story that doesn't seem to want to find a home anywhere else. This piece came about, as so many of my stories do, through a real-life event. Well, not so much an event, at least for myself, so much as a simple discovery. I was driving home from the post office one afternoon when up ahead in the middle of the street sat a cardboard box lying on its side. As I drove past I saw it had written across a side in kids handwriting (or a very sloppy adult. One never can be sure around here) "Free Puppies" in bright pink Sharpie. It was open on the side I passed and I could see no puppies, free or otherwise. The story just popped into my twisted mind almost immediately. It's just a weird, kind of funny, twisted story.

Free Puppies
by Guy Medley
artwork: stolen from Google

Sarah pulled the corner onto Meadow Lane, steering her car toward home. She was exhausted from a week of the same weekly bullshit at the office and was more than ready to get some relaxation in during the weekend. But, she knew that wasn’t likely to happen. The kids would be demanding of her every second, while their father would demand they remain out of his way as he wrote. He was home every day, writing, or so he claimed. But she knew his routine: get up and write for two or three hours, then spend the rest of the day eating Cheetos and watching Sports Center, or as he called it, partaking in a “creative interlude.” The bastard, she thought angrily. He writes one best seller and now he thinks he’s Stephen fucking King.

 As she neared her driveway she saw something lying in the middle of the street. As she got closer she saw it was the cardboard box the neighbor kids had been using to house the litter of puppies that their dog had delivered a few weeks earlier. The hand scrawled “Free Puppies” in neon pink marker, was plainly visible, written across one side, which now faced upward, as the empty box was now lying on its side. That’s odd, she thought as she swerved into her driveway.

 Then she saw the florid streak of blood that trailed from the dark maw of the upended box. It seemed to stretch from the box in the street up and over the curb and onto the sidewalk. She followed it with her eyes as she parked. It continued across the sidewalk and up the walkway to the front porch, and beyond. “What the hell?” she stammered. Had something happened to the puppies, or to the neighbor kids? As the horrid thought of kids being mowed down in the street with puppies blossomed in her mind, she rushed from the car toward her house, following the dark grisly trail to the door.

 She burst in through her front door, fear and worry growing steadily with each step, as the trail leading her way now contained bits of fur and chunks of god knew what. She threw her briefcase down on the foyer floor and rounded the corner into the living room. Both of her children were sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, a mound of bloodied fur surrounding them both. They were covered head to toe in blood and vile guts; fur sticking to them at odd angles and in clumps as if they themselves were sprouting an animal’s coat.

 Neither child looked toward their mother as they continued, what to her horror, she realized was play. They swung the ragged remains of puppies around by their legs and tails, flipping them into the air as they giggled and laughed. Blood covered the floor in a thickening pool. It congealed on the sofa and curtains and lamps in a splatter pattern Pollock would have been proud of. “What the hell is going on here?” she asked, her eyes wide with disgust. “Where is your father?”

The children paid her no attention, continuing their macabre game, wringing the last of the blood from their once living toys. Sarah marched over to her youngest child and spun her around to face her. “Why are you doing this, Becky?” The girl looked up into her mother’s eyes with eyes that were as black and soulless as a skull’s, and smiled wide. Even her teeth were colored pink with blood. “Jesus, what are you doing?!” she shouted at them both. Donny now looked at his mother and smiled as well. Sarah’s blood chilled at the sight of them both.

 “Where the hell is your father?” she asked again, backing away from them, tremors of fear now gripping her.

 In unison they answered in voices as foreign to her children’s lips as that of the devil’s himself. “Zirnek demands the blood.” They then went about their play.

 “Zirnek? What’s Zir…?”

 “Zirnek demands the blood,” they both interrupted, once again in perfect, chilling unison.

“Goddammit, what is…?”

“Zirnek demands the blood,” they uttered again, still playing with the bloody corpses.

 “Who the fuck is Zirnek?!” she yelled, tears beginning to stream from her eyes. She stumbled and caught herself as she staggered backwards toward the hall, away from the things that were her children when she had left for work this morning. She had reached the archway to the hallway and foyer when she bumped into something solid and soft. She spun around on shaky legs to see her husband standing behind her. His bloodied face lit up with a wide pink smile as he looked down at his wife.

“Zirnek demands the blood” he said in a dark raspy voice that was nothing like his own.

Sarah’s eyes grew to saucers as she saw the large kitchen knives he held in each bloody fist.

“Zirnek demands MORE blood,” he said as he lunged.