Graveyard Shift Sister: Lynn Emery

Here lies the next installment in my series of Black female horror author spotlights on the Graveyard Shift Sisters blog. Read about the first installment here.

GSS founder Ashlee Blackwell has created for herself the awesome task of  “Purging the Black Female Horror Fan from the Margins”.  I’m happy to help by featuring Indie Black female horror authors on my blog and hers.

The late and great Vonetta McGee as Princess Luva in the cult classic Blacula.  If you haven't seen this movie, get to it!
The late and great Vonetta McGee as Princess Luva in the cult classic Blacula. If you haven’t seen this movie, get to it!

Without further ado, here’s my interview with native-born Louisianan author Lynn Emery and my review of her  book Only By Moonlight.  Head on over to the Graveyard Shift Sisters website and read about her writing process, inspirations and how she came to love horror.



Top Ten Writing Mistakes Editors See Every Day

Sharing because I’ve seen it and I’ve been guilty of it….

Confessions of a Creative Writing Teacher

Goya -The sleep of reason produces monsters (c1799) recut

In addition to writing and teaching, one of the things I do for a living is to evaluate manuscripts for their suitability for publication. I read fiction (and non-fiction) across several genres, and write comprehensive reports on the books. I try always to guide the author towards knocking his or her project into a shape that could be credibly presented to literary agents, publishers and general readers. You know how Newman and Mittelmark introduce How Not to Write a Novel by saying, ‘We are merely telling you the things that editors are too busy rejecting your novel to tell you themselves, pointing out the mistakes they recognize instantly because they see them again and again in novels they do not buy,’ well they’re right; I am one of those editors.

However good the idea behind a novel, when the author is still learning the craft of writing – like any…

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Deadroads: A Review

I love Gothic horror.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I may have mentioned that several (hundred) times.

Unfortunately, I don’t come across it much in new books that I’m asked to read. There’s a glut of shock and slasher horror, splatterpunk, cannibalism, serial killers, and the like.

While that’s fine, sometimes, I like to sit down to a quiet, yet creepy and disconcerting tale. Ergo, I’m pleased to present my Hellnotes review of Robin Riopelle’s Deadroads: A Novel of Supernatural Suspense to you.

Leading ghosts down the Deadroads takes special training...
Leading ghosts down the Deadroads takes special training…


I’m also pleased to have included the word “ergo” in a blog post. Read the full review on the Hellnotes website here:

Hyde: A Review

In sum, Hyde is a story about a quest.  Not the Dungeons and Dragons/sword and sorcery kind.  But the type of quest that many people never even embark on: one of self-discovery. The phrase “finding out who you really are” is featured more than once, and it is used well. Not something I come across often when given an erotic horror story to read.


Vince Churchill's understated cover for Hyde.  Don't let the smooth taste fool you.
Vince Churchill’s understated cover for Hyde.
Don’t let the smooth taste fool you.

For some readers, a few of the subjects may be off-putting.  For me, one of the marks of a good author is how he or she handles writing what can be considered difficult subject matter for the majority of the population. Churchill handles these subjects—kidnapping and voyeurism, to name a few—with a deft pen. (er… keyboard?) But at the conclusion of this story, even the initial feelings you have about Hyde’s actions are turned upside down and inside out.

This is truly an erotic horror, so brace yourself.  Once you’ve decided to strap in, Churchill creates an enthralling experience for the reader.  His imagery is creative, but not over-worked. He used his words craftily, bringing each character’s emotions to the reader in a vivid bas-relief, making reading Hyde an almost tactile experience. Both fear and sexual pleasure are given equal attention and the writing of each is powerfully effective.

Hyde is also peppered with pictures, shown like stacks of Polaroid photos within the text.  I’m pleased to say that each artist is credited with copyright for their work just inside the cover.

One of my favorite terms used in Hyde was “pained satisfaction”. It ties into a neat little bow what most of the characters face. I must admit, I didn’t forsee the ending, as I sometimes do with erotic horror. There’s no way for me to describe it here without giving spoilers, but the finale was a fit ending for this tale and an excellent way to wrap up this quest for self-knowledge.

Hyde reflects its namesake.  Disturbing, yet recognizable.