Life is what you make it

As I sometimes do, let’s start with a song:

Blast from the past, right? But it absolutely applies to the situation I find myself in. Don’t worry, this is a good thing – let me say that at the start… this is an AWESOME problem to have, but it is definitely a different situation than I expected to be in.

Because who could have imagined the past two years we’ve all had? I don’t need to remind you about the details of the pandemic (then and now) because we all lived and are living it, but the impacts felt in the publishing world were not anticipated… at least not by me. I didn’t see the paper problems that publishers experienced coming, nor the shipping problems. I didn’t think about how illness (personal and familial) would impact editors and typesetters and all the people who make a book come together. I didn’t think about the eventual worker shortage and how that would impact books getting from point A to point B. Nor did I anticipate the mental strain that would impact people at all levels of the process. We’ve lived through a rough time, folks. And I have learned a lot of things about patience, priorities, and compassion because of it.

I write a lot. I have a lot in the hopper. It was staggered so beautifully, just enough every year – a little L. Marie Wood goes a long way. But alas, best laid plans…

So now instead of the trickle, here’s the deluge! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have 9 individual titles coming out this year (yes… yep). Two have seen the light of day already!

The Black Hole is my experimental project with Mocha Memoirs Press that showcases the premise as a short story (it’s long for me, though!) and a screenplay. Lots of fun! Scared some people out of the woods, this one.

About Horror is my textbook (woohoo! I am BEAMING!). I have been writing horror fiction forever and I have learned a few things that I wanted to share about genre, writing, and voice, so I decided to combine my passions (writing and teaching) in this textbook. If you’re a writer (aspiring or seasoned) this book is for you!

My first foray into dark romance has hopped around with release dates but it will greet the world in early May.

And seriously, I can’t wait! This book was a blast to write – I can’t wait for you to meet these characters.

The preorder is available for you on Amazon, Target, and Bookshop!

Telecommuting came out in May of 2021 in print and ebook and now I am proud to announce the release of the audiobook version! It sounds amazing and is worth the read… listen? Check it out!

I have an amazing mystery coming (my first pure mystery ever!).

I have a really cool traditional horror project coming in the summer.

And, and, and… there’s more – check out the Coming Soon page to see just how much more (there are stories in anthologies too and speaking engagements and.. wow).

It’ll be a busy, busy year.

Things bumped and it was out of anyone’s control… so now I say…

๐Ÿ™‚

If you like conferences and listening to panels and learning more about the industry, you might enjoy Writing in the Dark (April 28-May 1). I’ll get to talk with friends about horror and writing and all sorts of things.

So remember, life is what you make it. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Roll with the punches. And finally, my favorite, it’ll all get done.

Until next time!

L. Marie

I can feel it coming in the air…

Can’t you?

The warm weather is almost here! It keeps trying to push through, to give us a glimpse of what we can look forward to and I, for one, am here for it. There’s something about feeling the warm air that just makes me happy. But, as I look out at the sun, then to my clock, then back at the sun and shake my head, I am reminded of how much I procrastinate during warm weather. And then I’ve been listening to this guy’s mixes recently, losing more minutes than I will ever admit to dancing along with him at my desk, and I just… I might be in for it, come to think of it.

Sigh.

I will have to have a conversation with myself, the part that just wants to go play. ‘These words won’t write themselves,’ I’ll tell myself soon… after this mix is over:

Speaking of words, I have a few new ones for you! Check THIS out!

A group of friends head out to enjoy a much-deserved night out and paintballing is on the menu. But the team they are playing against has something entirely different in mind.

The friends find themselves in a battle for their lives in unfamiliar terrain against well-equipped opponents whose motivations are both irrational and lethal.  Considered, โ€œโ€ฆ a true trip into the darkest depths of what mankind is capable of at its worst,โ€ by Midwest Book Review, this story is a classic tale of prey combined with slasher film โ€œedge-of-your seatโ€ vibes with a little modern-day relevance to keep you unsettled.

Told two ways in this ground-breaking screenplay/novella combo, The Black Hole will keep you guessing, engaged, and very, very scared.

Steven Van Patten, author of The Brookwater Curse series, said a little more than this about it, but I thought this was particularly cool, โ€œYou may never go into the woods again.โ€

And check out this cover – omgosh, right? I was floored when I saw it. Who do you think the guy up front looks like? Reply and let me know!

This fun novella will be released on March 15, 2022 but you don’t have wait until then to snatch one up. You can preorder your copy today! And while you’re there, Telecommuting is another Mocha Memoirs novella, if you wanted a little more L. Marie Wood in your life! ๐Ÿ™‚

In a strange twist of fate (ooh, nice segue, if I do say so myself…and also, now I can’t get that Olivia Newton John song out of my head!), my first foray into a story with a heavy helping of romance comes out right on the heels of The Black Hole. And ooh, I can’t wait for you to check this one out!

A moment in timeโ€ฆ insignificant and fleeting for most, but for Nicole, Mark, and Eric, it is life-altering.  Three strangers meet in a town they donโ€™t know in a place they hadnโ€™t expected to end up only to find that they are exactly where they were supposed to beโ€ฆ again. 

Love always finds a way.

Through space and time, past and future, through lifetimes and storylines they were destined to find each other, love each other, lose each other โ€“ coordinates and weapons, scenarios and demographics be damned.  A malfunction, to be sure.  But when Ryan tries to tinker with his project, a weapon the likes of which has never been seen in all of the Galactic Collaborative, he finds out just how inexorable their link isโ€ฆ and how insidious.

The beginning of an experimental series that will challenge the way you think about love, life, connection, and purpose, The Tryst will catch you in its whirlwind and never let you go.  Each book in the Affinity series will combine of mixture of mystery, thriller, psychological horror, action, suspense, science fiction elements in differing measures, always with romance as an undercurrent.

Love always finds a way.

But sometimes that way is paved with bones.

This books comes out on March 25, 2022, but heck, why wait? Preorder your copy today!

If you would like to listen to something scary while you fool around on social media, work on a puzzle, wait in the car to pick someone up from somewhere, or whenever you let your mind relax, check this out! My short story, “Hypnopompia”, (say that five times fast…say that just one time at regular cadence…lol!) is brought to life by the folks at The Something Scary Podcast! I get to share space with a good friend of mine too (which makes this whole experience that much better!) so be sure to hang out for R.J. Joseph’s story too – it’s right after mine.

If you like poetry, this collection is sure to provide some interesting, thought-provoking perspectives. And yeah, I’m in it! LOL! I don’t write a lot of poetry and I just can’t tell you how cool it is to be included alongside some real giants in the medium.

I have similar feelings about the Conjuring Worlds textbook. I have a short story in there as well as a critical piece and I am simply ecstatic to be part of a project geared toward educating youths about speculative fiction and how they can navigate the web work. These are due out in late March and early April respectively.

Yeah, I have some words coming your way for sure – and we haven’t even talked about what’s coming the rest of this year! I have some words over on the Horror Writer’s Association that are pretty interesting too. If you were ever curious about my thoughts on horror, check out this interview.

Ok, maybe I should get back to those words, you know, the ones that won’t write themselves.

๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time,

L. Marie Wood

Starting the Year off Right!

Hey folks! How did January 2022 treat you? I’m a big believer in the idea that the way you start the year sets the tone for the next 12 months, so I always try to be hyper focused and get some early wins to make the year a good one.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t!

But I put it out there every January anyway – both in my personal life and my writing career… (but that working out resolution never sticks for me!) Because of that, this newsletter almost didn’t make it out to you this month … I’ve been heads down working on a lot of stuff!

But whew, I made it and I listened to this guy almost every day because he keep me in the zone:

He brings good music and a great personality – seriously, you should check him out.

So, what have I been doing? Well, let’s see…

I started writing the third novel of a series that will be coming out in FEBRUARY! YES – next month! And, oh my gosh, I am so excited about this story. It is a little different from what I have done in the past – it is a psychological horror and science fiction mash up with romance elements and I can’t wait for you to see it! Speaking of seeing it… check out this GORGEOUS cover!

You can check out the website and read the back cover copy, watch the book trailer, and YES, you can preorder too! I mean, ok, I have to show you the book trailer here, though. It is… just wait… you’ll see:

The academy is up and in full swing! We keep releasing classes that are excellent for both new and seasoned writers. I was actually inspired by a class that talks about horror poetry. It is part of the series we call The Conversation . If you ever thought about writing horror poetry of your own, this class offers a great insider’s glimpse. I created a subgenres of horror class that was so much fun to do. I got to read some of the foremost work in the genre and so will students – the course has reading selections from people like Lee Murray, R.J. Joseph, Terry Maggert, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Gwendolyn Kiste, John Edward Lawson, and many more! I’m telling you, we’re having a blast over at the Speculative Fiction Academy!

I have also been working on some cool marketing projects to promote that novel and the other things coming out this year. I will definitely let you know about it all soon, but if you are interested in seeing what’s coming up in one place, check this page out. I have some things coming out that I have to sit on my hands a little bit longer about and ooh, that’s driving me nuts! But soon… very soon! I’ll have some covers to share and links to provide… soon…

I have a few film festivals coming up that I am in nail-biting mode about. I am enjoying this ride very much. The first day of the year I came in second at Lit Scares out of the UK – talk about kicking off the year right! Since then I’ve been lucky enough to get into six film festivals – I am just so honored.

And this – this one is a biggie – I was asked to be the Guest Author at the In Your Write Mind Conference! Blew my mind! I am amazed, honored, proud, giddy, and so very EXCITED!

I did a little academic writing, wrote a short story, gave a little thought to the novel that will come after this one – it will be a stand alone horror, and am kicking around an idea for another screenplay. And I’m loving all of this. I also watched a few amazing movies and tv shows this month, What ever happened to Baby Jane, Videodrome, and Archive 81 among them. I also had Rocky and Scream marathons show up in there. Got any recommendations for me?

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the year in a way that suits you. Let’s start this year off right… together!

Until next time,

L. Marie Wood

I’m fine, and you?

As this year draws to a close, I find myself getting into conversations with people while shopping in the supermarket or pumping gas the way I used to in the before times. They ask, “How are you?” and I say, “I’m fine, and you?” but there’s something different about this exchange now. Before it was by rote – call and response, really. But now, it’s so much more meaningful.

We are here.

We’ve made it so far and we are here.

For all the struggles we might have dealt with – the challenges, the fear, the losses – we are still here eating, drinking, breathing the air.

That’s saying something.

That’s saying something BIG.

I encourage you to think about that for a moment and then go one step further… think about what’s next for you.

What will YOU do in celebration of still being here?

Maybe you’ll take an art class – learn how to pour acrylic paints and make amazingly colorful masterpieces…

Maybe you’ll take singing lessons and record a track to put out on Spotify…

Maybe you’ll learn your favorite group’s dance routine and perform it with friends before diving into the eggnog waiting for you in the refrigerator (or do this AFTER you’ve had the spiked variety)…

Maybe you’ll enroll in the Speculative Fiction Academy and learn all the stuff you ever wanted to know about sprites and merpeople and vampires and faes… OK, I couldn’t resist that one, but hey, you never know!

Maybe, maybe…

The sky is the limit – really. There’s nothing keeping you from living your best life.

That’s really all I wanted to say to you today – I felt this message in my soul, so here it is.

Until next time…

L. Marie Wood

Oh, and you know… if you want to check out a few books to start the new year off right with, I may have something for you… ๐Ÿ™‚

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Seriously… BRRRR!

The end of October was so mild and November started off pretty mild but now that cold wind cuts to the bone and all I want is to get inside, put on some sweatpants and warm socks, and drink some hot chocolate. LOL! How are you feeling these days?

So, let’s see… what cool stuff has been going on here? Well:

  • I just got four Official Selections for three of my screenplays (Inexorable, Elevator, and Don’t Answer Your Phone!). All of you who are wishing me good vibes in the movie world, keep putting that out in the universe, please, because you are making good things happen!
  • I’ve been writing! I’ve finished three short stories and a poem since we last spoke and I’m kind of excited about that! I’m about to start writing the next novel. It’s about… hahaha! You thought I might slip, didn’t you? But NOPE!
  • I saw the cover for The Tryst and, oh my gosh, it is AMAZING! I can’t wait for you to see it! The Tryst is book #1 of my experimental series that is coming out in February 2022. Here’s a snippet from the webpage:

The Tryst is the beginning of an experimental series that will challenge the way you think about love, life, connection, and purpose, The Tryst will catch you in its whirlwind and never let you go.  Each book in the Affinity series will combine of mixture of mystery, thriller, psychological horror, action, suspense, science fiction elements in differing measures, always with romance as an undercurrent.

Love always finds a way.

But sometimes that way is paved with bones.

Learn more on the website!

What else?

Crescendo came out… again! My first novel has been re-released by Cedar Grove Publishing and it is flipping gorgeous. Crescendo is a novel about fate and the lengths we will travel to avoid the inevitable. Set in tranquil Rockland County, New York, this tale of suspense and horror will take listeners on an emotional roller coaster of anger, anxiety, compassion, and indelible fear.

Welcome back, sweetheart. I LOVE your new dress!

And lastly…

SFA is OPEN! We are adding classes every week and having a blast doing it! Do you know someone with a passion for writing? This is a FANTASTIC holiday gift for the writer in your life… even if that writer is YOU!

Sign up for the annual membership (best value – a month FREE!) or take an individual class. Buy a gift card for someone. Do something amazing for yourself.

Come learn with us!

Well, I think that is everything for now!

Until next time…

L. Marie Wood

We are going LIVE!

Remember when I told you about the Speculative Fiction Academy? Well, we are going live on Halloween! Boy, oh boy, do we have LOTS of amazing classes for you!

Come check out what SFA has to offer today. And there’s more coming. So much more!

Get ready!

What else is going on? Everything! All the stuff. I’ve watched 28 horror movies this month (my annual 31 horror movies in October activity). Lots of new ones too, but I did have to make sure that I saw my season faves like the original Fright Night, Christine, and of course I will watch Halloween on Halloween.

Book 2 of The Realm series released this month and I am so incredibly pumped about that!

And MultiverseCon was an entire mood.

So, yeah… not much! ๐Ÿ™‚

Celebrate with me on Sunday! SFA has been a labor of love and I am so excited to release it into the world. I’ll be dancing in my seat – you bust a move in your space too, ok?

Until next time,

L. Marie

Cacophony is Here!!… Well, Kinda…

Let’s have the strangest staggered launch ever, shall we? Book 2 of The Realm is out NOW on Kindle!

It’s called Cacophony and if you loved Patrick in book 1 and want to know what happens to Gabby, check it out. If you want to know who Patrick and Gabby are, check out Cacophony and the first book (The Realm) out! If you like action and horror and edge of your seat, page-turning fun, check it out! Just check it out – you won’t be disappointed. ๐Ÿ™‚

The paperback is coming soon! https://www.amazon.com/Cacoph…/dp/B09JPG1TH5/ref=sr_1_1…

Until next time…

L. Marie

I told you something cool was coming!!

I hinted around it earlier in the year and then outright told you what was on the horizon last month.

Well…

Here it is… again! This time with its own book trailer!

Cacophony is the exciting follow up to The Realm and the story keeps you on your toes. It will be released on October 13th but you can preorder now!

Until next time,

L. Marie Wood

Could it be…? Yes, it could! Something’s comin’… something good!

Yes… yes I did quote Tony from West Side Story. Because it is so apropos (and a fantastic play too!). I mean, this news… I can barely contain myself because, well, watch… you’ll see:

!!!

See what I mean? I am over the moon about Cacophony! Seriously excited to share the next book in this action-packed existential, psychological, cosmic horror saga. The Realm series makes you think about so many things at once:

  • To what lengths would you go to save your family?
  • What happens after death?
  • Can you change your fate?

And those are just a few of the questions that will bounce around in your mind as you join Patrick, Doug, and Gabby on their rollercoaster ride.

Wanna see some back cover copy?

Lemme show you some back cover copy!

Toddlers and playdates and white picket fences. Afternoons in the park, steak on the grill – all in the perfect neighborhood. Gabby was living a life that many people could only wish for and she was over it. It wasn’t that she disliked her world – it wasn’t that at all…she loved her family and the life that she and her husband had made. She just wanted more – more action, more stimulation, more excitement. Gabby was bored. But while she spent her days washing sand out of hair and making PB&J sandwiches, a battle was going on in The Realm, a cosmic tug of war over the most inimitable of prizes: Gabby’s very soul.

Cacophony will be released on October 13, 2021 but it is available for preorder now!

If you are wondering who Patrick, Doug, and Gabby are you can catch up by checking out The Realm. The crisis that they are going through is expressed pretty well here:

You thought you were dead.

Waking up and looking all around you, you realize all you learned about The Afterlife was a fantasy. You don’t know where you are, but you do know it’s not a pleasant or suitable place. You need to run. Hard and fast.

Eventually, you meet others doomed to live in this terrifying Realm with you. Here are gathered the newly dead from all over the universe. A formidable race of giant beasts hunts them. The likes of which have never been seen by those in the living world. This place is like nothing you ever learned about in life
โ€”neither Heaven nor Hell, neither Purgatory nor Sheol.

You encounter clusters of people huddled together for safety. You’re a lone wolf
โ€”they don’t trust you, nor you them. Perhaps with good reason.

Patrick is key to the future of The Realm. He must right old wrongs and fight against all the terrors it has in store. He must fight to save his family and, most importantly, all of his descendants. His revelations will impact the living world, as well as what comes next.

Patrick is the future of humanity.

Can he succeed?

(Ha! I just got you to read some more back cover copy! LOL!)

Pretty picture time!

Let’s see… what else…? The Speculative Fiction Academy – that’s what else!

The Speculative Fiction Academy launches in October! If you’ve always wanted to learn to write horror fiction, fantasy, supernatural romance, and science fiction goodness in the form of prose, poetry, or screenplays, come check us out!

Then this coolness happened! I was part of this miniature poetry festival (check the esteemed line up here – wowza!). Interesting, this poetry thing. I have another one coming out in 2022… maybe I am (still) a poet and didn’t know it!

What have you been watching?

Since the last newsletter I have gone to see the new Candyman and loved it (get it, Mr. Peele!) and started and finished Midnight Mass and loved that (go Hamish Linklater!). Such good stuff out there right now. I am getting ready to start Squid Game – having flashbacks of The Running Man, which is a good thing!

What are you reading?

I finished Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland (book two of the Dread Nation series) and loved it – definitely worth the read for you zombie fans out there. I’m reading The Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill now and enjoying it.

No new music for me these days – been listening to my faves and I having mini personal parties in preparation for all the festivities coming in October. On my playlist today? Much Kehlani. Check this one out – I jammed to it twice today:

Ok, well, I think that’s it. It was a lot. So, I guess that’s enough.

๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time.

L. Marie Wood