More Fragrances to Wear This Halloween

You may have seen my post on Fluky Fiction’s site earlier this month titled, Five Fragrances to Wear This Halloween. If not, check it out!

But I realized I had so many scents that didn’t make that list, so I decided to another post. No matter what costume you choose, even if it’s none, adorn yourself with one of these mood-creating fragrances.

The Morrigan by Swan Children Alchemy (women): From their Goddess collection. Dragon’s blood, juniper, black pepper, fir needle. Not to mention an obelisk of onyx in the bottle, for protection against evil magic and negative energy. When I wore this, I felt powerful, capable of conquering my to-do list with ease. The fact a piece of flash fiction came from wearing it is even better.

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Photo by Swan Children Alchemy

Devil’s Nightcap by Lush (unisex): Inspired by the Agglestone, a megalithic rock in England known as the “Devil’s Nightcap.” Invoking Druid rituals with oakmoss, oak wood and clary sage, it’s reminiscent of dead fallen leaves. The scent of weather turning.


The Revenge of Lady Blanche by Penhaglion (women): From the Portrait’s collection. Elegant, mesmerizing, heady, and dangerous… Who cares if she poisoned her husband? Perfectly described on the parfumier’s website:  a green floral narcotic.

Photo by Penhaligon’s

Bulletproof by Tokyo Milk (unisex): smoked tea, coconut milk, cedar, and ebony. A cool, dark place out of the heat of the sun, with a lingering touch of smoke and the barest whiff of heated metal. A perfect scent to wear to disguise your own smoking gun.


Tabu by Dana (women): A back-in-the-day classic. Spicy, with a touch of woods and resin. Dark and gorgeous, frightening to some, addictive to others.


Gibbon’s Boarding School by Solstice Scents (men): Designed to evoke the atmosphere of a schoolhouse. Rife with magic, mystery and closed doors. Woods, leather, smoke, dirt, leaves, and moss. A hint of apple. Maybe you’ll get to be the teacher’s pet.

Poudre de Riz by Huitieme Art (women): Tiare flower, rice, maple sap, tonka bean, and balsam. Vintage in nature, but not outdated. Powdery, intimate, and innocent, with a lasting cocoon-like feel. Who can I imagine wearing this? An elderly woman, who would smother you in your sleep. (And me, obviously.)

Poudre de Riz

2nd Annual Colors in Darkness Party

Today is the final day of the 2nd Annual Colors in Darkness Facebook party.

It runs from 1 p.m.-10 p.m. Eastern time. (I’ll be on at 4:00 p.m.) We like to party hard! But if you miss us, you can always go back to the event page and catch up on the festivities.

Stop by for a chat with lots of authors of dark fiction and play a game or two. You might win a  prize! Join us…

CID Skull party.jpg


Until then, a little piece of flash fiction I wrote while wearing “Red Room”, a fragrance from Swan Children Alchemy’s Twin Peaks line.

That Type of Girl

What’s that? On your face?

Lipstick, surely. Rouge, maybe. Smeared, ground, rubbed into your bare nails to tint them a rusty red.

But you don’t wear rouge.

The mist of memory swirls, runs. Under your nails…dirt. A line of it. You bring your hands to your head to contain the throbbing, the pounding.

Gardening. You’d been in the garden. Planting.

You yawn, then wince. Flex your cheek to ease the dull pain. Cool. Cold. Tiles. You’re in the bathroom. Your reflection the mirror tells you that.

Then she tells you: You don’t garden.

And you remember.

You argued.

He hit you.

Then red.


But… you wouldn’t. You’d never… hurt anyone, would you? You’re not like that.

Your reflection smiles. Rouged cheeks and red lips. Rusty red.

She tells you: You would.

But she’ll keep your secret.

You smile.

Rusty red.


Horror by POC for All Hallows Read

All Hallows Read is upon us and ’tis the season to give (or acquire for yourself) a scary book to read. If you’re not up on AHR, here’s the FAQ to catch up so you can start posting your recommendations on Twitter at #AllHallowsRead.

So you don’t have to run off to check that hashtag, here are a few of my recommendations for horror written by and about people of color.  Some are older, some newer, and there are even a few links to POC horror you can read immediately.

How’s that for a gift?

Happy Halloween!


Goth by Otsuichi

Japan has made a name for itself in the horror film scene, but I come across few people who delve into the written (and translated) words of Nippon horror. Details are painted with elegant brutality, all encased in the mores of Japanese society.

Morino is the strangest girl in school – we’ve all been there, haven’t we? – obsessed with murder. The more brutal, the better. Good thing she lives in a town that’s a magnet for serial killers, making it easy to investigate the slayings. But she and doesn’t want to stop the killer, she simply wants to understand…

Mou ichido, onegai shimasu (One more time, please.)


Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko

Leslie Marmon Silko is a Native American writer of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, and one of the key figures in the First Wave of what literary critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance. In Almanac, Silko puts Western, Euro-centric culture on trial and the evidence she cites is pretty damning.

This isn’t a feel-good read, or one to approach if you’re tender in any way, but if you can stand the brutality, it is a fierce, eye-opening novel.

Triggers: racism, homophobia, sexism, pedophila.



One Blood by Qwantu Amaru

Voodoo, family curses, political ambitions and a quest for power are dominant in this roller coaster ride set in Louisiana. I don’t recommend books on conjure magic lightly, as many authors aggrandize the practice, and make it something isn’t. But Amaru has done his research, pulling from his experiences living in small town America and in magic-loving countries like Brazil.

Governor Randy Lafitte is popular and beloved after battling back from brain cancer, but his political success has come at a price. When his daughter is kidnapped, Lafitte is confronted with a past he thought died a long time ago. However, what hasn’t caught you, hasn’t passed you. And what comes for Lafitte may be way more than he or the forces behind him can handle as he fights the literal demons from his past.


Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is a Blackfeet Native American author of experimental fiction, horror fiction, crime fiction, and science fiction.  Mongrels is dark humorous horror about a boy and his family who struggle to survive in a world that shuns and fears them.

They are mongrels, mixed blood, living a life of narrow escapes and midnight runnings to stay ahead of the law. As they free across the South, the boy comes of age and the family has to decide if he is one of their unusual breed or not. Bloody, grisly, and strangely moving.

Prefer to sample some of Graham Jones’ short stories first? Try The Ones that Got Away.




Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

Do you love horror that is gut-wrenching? That will leave you staring blankly at the screen with its beauty, but send you scurrying for a blanket to combat the lingering chill it leaves? Then you want to read Sharma’s short story at the link above.

Triggers: child abuse, incest, rape.


Glen Grant’s Chicken Skin Tales: 49 Ghost Stories from Hawaii

The late Glen Grant was a historian of Hawaii and all of her melting rainbow of cultures. If you can’t get to Honolulu to experience on of the ghost tours still occurring today, pick up a copy of this volume. It’s the first in Grant’s series to give the reader “chicken skin” or goosebumps, while celebrating the diversity of fear that is Hawaii.



Crota by Owl Goingback

Crota won the 1996 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel, and was one of four finalists in the Best Novel category. Bodies are found torn apart in the woods. Some think it’s a bear, but others know the truth: the beast whispered about around campfires for generations, is real. Goingback draws on Choctaw lore to create a monster—ursine, serpentine, ancient.



Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I was lucky enough to get an advanced reading copy of Moreno-Garcia’s upcoming release. Yes, it’s about vampires, but not as Hollywood—or even other bloodsucker literature— has portrayed them: with Aztec heritage.

Atl is a Tlāhuihpochtlin, the last of a clan of matriarchal vamps from the pre-Spanish colonization of Mexico able to take on an avian aspect. Her family slaughtered by a rival clan, Atl’s mission is to escape capture and finally make her way out of Mexico. Weak from lack of food when the young, vampire-obsessed Domingo happens by, he’s a distraction she doesn’t need. Grab a copy when it’s released on October 25th.



Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal

 The Mittals desperately try to contain the secrets that have been locked behind a mysterious bolted door, but to their shame, the supernatural always finds a way in. Forbidden love and the absolute sacrifice enhance the painful horrors brought about by the oppressive weight of family and of expectation.

Mumbai-born Agarwal’s early writings explored how colonialism and the chaos of dislocation shaped human interaction, but Haunting Bombay delves into the world of the slum-dwellers, prostitutes and hermaphrodites who survive on the peripheries of Indian society.


Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong

 Wong is a self-proclaimed writer of tiny horrors. She’s also been a finalist the Bram Stoker & Shirley Jackson Awards. Her short story, which you can read at the link above, won the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Bringing a new aspect to shapeshifters, a favorite of the horror genre, Wong threads queer identity and Chinese-American culture into a gruesome, chewy read. As you’ll see, I use the word “chewy” for a reason.



Black Girl Nerds Podcast: Halloween Special– This Sunday!

This Sunday, I am honored to be taking part in the Black Girl Nerds Horror podcast!

In the interview segment, I’ll be talking about my book, Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror as well as my outreach to other Black female horror writers. 51YOUAH3SBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

L.C. Cruell will tell us about 7 Magpies, the first all Black, all female horror film anthology: her inspiration for the idea and why this anthology will be an important dent in the horror genre.

A first of its kind: a horror film anthology written and directed by Black women.
A first of its kind: a horror film anthology written and directed by Black women. I’m the third.

Ashlee Blackwell will be telling us about about her creation, Graveyard Shift Sisters–how it came to be, the experience she’s gained, and the reception she’s gotten from it. (I’m also pleased to say, I write a feature for the GSS blog about other female horror writers of color.)

In addition, Ashlee will talk about her successful #FridayNightHorror, a monthly live-tweet hosted she hosts that selects various movies of the horror genre.

On top of all that horror goodness, we’ll be discussing our favorite things about Halloween.  (Hint: Scary movies and your horror crush…Every horror fan has one!) You don’t want to miss this!

Tune into the Black Girl Nerds Halloween Special podcast on Sunday, October 25th from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST at this link.

If you can’t make it, I hope it will be archived, so I can post a link to the show.

Blood Moon Rising 2: An October Event

Blood Moon Rising

The season of fear is almost upon us.

No, not tax time. Halloween. All Hallows Eve.

Already the stores are start into stock themed candy, costumes, and pumpkin spice flavored everything. (Not my thing, but hey…get those lattes while you can.)

This is also the time of year that dark fiction artists love. Especially writers and authors. It gives our dark creations a perfect stage on which to shine.

It also means parties. Like the Blood Moon Rising Party that is happening all October long on Facebook.

“Join us on Blood Moon Rising 2 – for fans of horror, fantasy and sci-fi, this is the place to be Oct 1st on Facebook.” 

Blood Moon Rising 2—the first was in May—is an event where thirty dark fiction authors will be chatting about their latest projects. There will be giveaways, free stories to read, and good old-fashioned shenanigans. And who doesn’t love that?

Each author will have one day to take over the event and post about their books and why they love this time of year. (My day is October 30.) Stop by each day for games, prizes, excerpts… whatever these authors’ mysterious minds can create. Everyone is welcome to join, comment, and participate in the festivities.

Here’s the Facebook link for Blood Moon Rising. Click it and join thirty authors of speculative fiction—horror, fantasy, and sci-fi—for a scary good time. Even if you can’t stop by each day, click the Thunderclap link and support the event on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.

See you in October!