Meet the VA Chapter of the HWA!

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There are probably three people in the state of Virginia involved in the horror writing industry that haven’t heard the name Pamela Kinney, and I am pretty sure those people live in a cave somewhere along the border of West Virginia and lack access to the internet and running water. To say the least, Pamela Kinney is an institution. Not only is she a published author, she’s also a well-known paranormal investigator, and if that isn’t enough she’s also an actress. Pamela has an amazing career and we are thrilled to feature her in our first ever, Meet the HWA of Virginia.

I have to admit up front, I am a big fan. Pamela is one of those people that I met early on in my career. She doesn’t seem to know how to go any slower than her top speed and the best part about it is that she brings everybody else along with her for the ride.

Bryan: So Pamela, I know your story, but those reading this blog might not. So why don’t you tell us about yourself?

Pamela: I’ve been writing since I was 8. But I was first published (and paid) at age 17 in 1972, three poems in a poetry magazine, Hyacinths and Biscuits Poetry Magazine, based in Los Angeles. These were “Sands of Time,” “The Leopard,” and “The Horse.” A few months later, they accepted three more poems. Over the years, I had more poetry published, though in 1987, I wrote an article about a friend that True Story Magazine accepted.  Around that time, I sent off a horror flash fiction piece, “Werewolf for Hire,” to a horror magazine. I originally wrote it when I was 15. It got a rejection slip. A couple days later though, I received something in the mail from the same magazine. I thought, “But they already sent me the rejection.” This letter though, said they had loved my story, but were going through a transition of merging with another magazine. They wanted me to contact them later. Sadly, I lost that letter and envelope with the address on it. It wasn’t many years later when FantasyHorrorScienceFiction.com accepted the flash fiction that it saw publication. Years later, it became part of my collection, Spectre Nightmares and Visitations, published by Under the Moon. Not bad for a story of 395 words that I first wrote by long hand in 1970.

I’ve been married for forty years to a man who encourages my writing, and though our son is on his own and married, we do have a ‘fur’ child, a black cat named Shade. I write horror, fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction ghost books as Pamela K. Kinney (the name I was born with), but also under the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, for paranormal romance. I do paranormal investigations and am even the co-producer of Paranormal World Seekers reality show, filmed by AVA Productions. I also have acted on stage and film.

Bryan: That’s awesome! Where can we find your your books or more information in general?

Pamela: To learn more about my books, check out my website for Pamela K. Kinney at http://pamelakkinney.com/ and for Sapphire Phelan at http://sapphirephelan.com/.

Bryan: I know you mainly as a writer, but where can we look if we want to find out more about you as an actress?

Pamela: You can see my actor’s resume at http://pamelakkinney.com/OtherLife.php. And though I don’t do it as much in the past few years as writing has become my life, I used to make my own costumes and props, and wear them at conventions.

Bryan: When I first met you, it was through the Horror Writers Association. I remember I had just published my first book No Name and was really just trying to figure out which way was up in the writing world. You gave me some of my best advice, and you continue to point me in the right direction. I am eternally grateful for your help. Tell me how long you’ve been with the Horror Writers Association, and what drove you to become part of the organization?

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Pamela and Husband

Pamela: I joined in early 2016. I had already been a member of Romance Writers of America and discovered how much I learned the business of writing from them. With me writing horror and fantasy, I knew HWA would be a good organization to join too.

Bryan: Okay well I guess that’s a bit of a leading question I just asked, because you know I’m going to follow up with asking you what would you say is the greatest benefit to being involved in an organization like the Horror Writers Association?

Pamela: Being a member of both RWA and HWA, my shtick is there is so much out there a writer doesn’t know, that joining these organizations helps us navigate the deep waters of being an author. Not just the business, but networking with other authors, publishers, etc…, and most of all, knowing you’re not alone in loving what you write.

Bryan: You get extra style-points for using the word shtick in a sentence. For all the newbies out there, and I consider myself in that category as well. Give us Pamela Kinney’s best advice for someone starting out in the horror and paranormal thriller genre?

Pamela: Write every day, even if it isn’t your WIP. Join a critique group as the other writers in it will help you strengthen your writing. Enroll or take workshops on writing, plus writing horror in particular. You can find these at conferences and conventions, even at your local library or online (there are virtual conferences and conventions these days). One more thing, read in the genre that you are writing and get to know it, see it from the viewpoint of a reader, not just a writer.

Bryan: I don’t know about you, but I get this question a lot, so I’m gonna ask it. What is your favorite novel or story and why?

Pamela: Well, the one book that scared me in the daytime, in a room full of eighth graders at the time was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. My teacher had allowed me to read my book as my science project had been finished. It was when I came to the part where the women had been left alone in a bedroom, the men chasing ‘something’ outside, and whatever it was, had begun to bang on the locked doors, including the one to the room they huddled in, I freaked out. I realized I was in my classroom and sun was shining through the windows. That is the only time any author has scared me like that. Stephen King only did it to me twice (and a few others), but it was at night and alone in my bedroom. The books were his It and Salem’s Lot. I still love to read her ghost story around October-it’s tradition for me. Jackson is one of the few I admit inspire me to write in the genre. One other book I love written by another author hero of mine, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Like her, I still reread his works, especially this novel.

 

Bryan: Something Wicked This Way Comes ranks up there is one of my favorites. Perhaps it is time for me to reread it? So, what kind of projects are you wor

Pamela

Pamela representing HWA!

king on now? Is there anything you specifically would like our readers to know about?

Pamela: I am working on a supernatural thriller/horror novel, about a cursed land. It is set in Virginia. The chapters have been shared at a critique group I’m with and I only have a bit more to write to finish it. I like to either pitch it or send queries out to agents/publishers for it. I’ve already been told by the facilitator of the critique group, she thinks this will be the book that will do it for me. We shall see. I am also working on a horror short story for an anthology.

Bryan: well Pamela this is been an honor. I really appreciate you taking the time to hang out with me for a little bit, even if it is virtually. For those of you out there in Internet-land reading this for the first time, I can highly recommend Pamela Kinney as an author and as a friend.

Check out Pamela on Amazon!

Thanks horror fans for spending a little time with us and I look forward to doing more of these in the future so you get a chance to know more about the members of the Virginia Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

-Bryan the Writer, Blogger/Northern Ghoul

 

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Holidays and Horror!

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Cowering in fear from the unknown, we kept our eyes glued to the television for some sign that everything was going to be alright. Pulling the blanket up tight, I tried to will it into a shield against the inevitable report of impending doom. Without warning, the doorbell rang and my wife moved to answer it before I could stay her hand. There they were. A ghost, a pirate, and the most adorable princess … all looking for candy.

My family and I have a tradition. Since my kids are older, and don’t trick-or-treat, we do the rounds to say hello to the neighbors and then sit down to watch a horror movie. This year we watched the 1941 classic, “The Wolf Man”.

I have to be honest with you, fair reader, I love this time of year. Basically anytime between Oct 31st and the 1st of January you will find me at my happiest.

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And it’s mine! All mine!

For us in the HWA-VA Chapter it is a time where we slow down a little (some of us never do) since there are less shows to do and we love to spend time with our families. You may find we do less events this time of year. However, it is a great opportunity to read … read … and read!  I, for one, have read a great book by a fellow HWA-VA member. I also intend to listen to a few classics as well as some books that I have accumulated on my shelf, but haven’t gotten back to.

Behind your favorite author is a living breathing human being who loves the same things you might. We all love spending time with our families (no matter how much they annoy us), partaking in the special time we reserve to sit and think about the world around us, and giving to those who need a little more help throughout the year.

HWA-VA members are very giving of ourselves. From participating in Scares that Care, which is truly a great event helping people who are less fortunate, to more personal pursuits. I do talks at schools and donate my time to the high school to help budding writers get their efforts off the ground.

Authors reach down to help those who need direction or some questions answered and that is what makes being part of the writing community so amazing.

Whether you believe the holiday season kicks off at Halloween (like I do) or stick to the traditional idea of it starting on Thanksgiving, it is upon us or soon will. So, I want to recommend you take some time to download, or buy in hard copy, some of your favorite authors (I can recommend a few) and consider ways to give back during the holiday season.

-Bryan the Writer, Blogger/Northern Ghoul!

 

 

Don’t just read horror, participate in it!

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The pounding of the heart, the chill up your spine, the goosebumps on your arms. It is all there, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why do we love horror? Is it because we love serial killers and monsters? Not at all. You love horror because it makes you feel alive. Watching your favorite villain, or villainess, work their dubious charms reminds you what it is like to be scared.

Think about the first time you ever saw Cruella De Vile in the movie 101 Dalmatians. If you are like most of us, you saw it as a kid. What was she going to do to those puppies? Don’t remember? Well, she was going to make them into a Dalmatian fur coat. Even kid’s movies can have that little something which unnerves us.

It doesn’t matter if you get your thrills from Dracula, The Mummy, Swamp Thing, Friday the 13th, IT, or any other hauntingly dark show. You need it like the crops need rain. But, why not move past just reading and watching horror to actually become one with the horror. Certainly I am not suggesting you go out and get measured for a puppy fur coat, but you can actively contribute to an association dedicated to horror.

The Horror Writers Association is dedicated to all the creepy crawly things that go bump in the night and you can be part of that world as well. Of course you are going to say, “But, Bryan, I am not a writer.” That’s okay with us. We have a supporting level which brings those people in who just really like horror. That gives you the inside scoop into all things HWA related such as new books, movies and a plethora of events we attend every year. You can get the latest information on all things horror related.

Want to know more about the Horror Writers Association? You can contact any member and they will lead you in the right direction. Of course, you can also go to our website www.horror.org.

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A busy afternoon at the HWA-VA table

The HWA-VA chapter is dedicated to serving Virginia. We have a few big events throughout the year that you can get into at the cost of just pitching in and helping a bit when the call goes out for volunteers. Those include Scares That Care, Ravencon, and a few others.

Plenty of opportunities to get involved exist and I want to make this your personal invitation to get involved. If you don’t know someone who is already a member, feel free to contact any of the local area Ghouls (I am the Northern VA Ghoul) or our administrator. We can all answer your questions and direct you how to get involved.

Don’t just stand there on the sidelines, come on off the bench and get involved. You’ll be glad you did!

-Bryan the Writer, Chapter Blogger and Northern Ghoul

Introducing the new HWA-VA Blog Guy

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I strongly believe the following things are true.

1) A good beer is something to treasure.

2) A great organization is only made better if people pitch-in and help.

The second belief listed is why I decided to throw my hat in the ring to support the Horror Writers Association-Virginia Chapter as the new blogger, sometimes dishwasher, and occasional milkman. But it is the blogger thing I want to talk about today.

What is the Horror Writers Association? The HWA is, at its core, “… a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it.” In short, we are an organization dedicated to all the things that make you jump at that strange noise you heard in the middle of the night.

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I used to have hair

So, why would the HWA-VA chapter need a blogger? We are a group of truly amazing and talented people. Granted, I may sound like I am tooting our own collective horns here, but we are pretty awesome! In our mix we have some amazing editors, a few publishers, lots of talented authors, and people who just really like horror. Telling our story should be a natural and blogging about it is a great option. Think of our blog as half historian and half promoter. I want this to be something everyone can forward to his or her friends and neighbors who want to know more about our truly great organization.

So … who am I?

My name is Bryan Nowak. I go by the name Bryan the Writer, but you can call me Bryan, Hey You, Blog Dude, Web Dude, Helper Dude, etc. I literally answer to just about anything these days as I have teenager

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Come Represent HWA-VA!

s and have learned to be flexible. I am an author myself with three books out and a fourth on the way. I prefer paranormal thriller/horror to other genres. Many of you have probably seen me staffing the HWA-VA table at events like Scares that Care and Ravencon.

So, back to the business at hand. What are we going to feature? Well, it is my sincerest hope that the membership will actually help determine that. However, I have it in my mind that we will do the following.

  • Interview HWA-VA members
  • Write about HWA-VA events
  • Write about HWA-VA members at other events

Really, we could write about anything within reason. However, if you have been looking for a home for that blog you wrote about the love songs of the iguanodons of the mid-Jurassic, please continue looking and seriously consider a new hobby. But, any other horror related ideas might just fit the bill, so let me know. And if no one sends me anything … hey I can always run the iguanodon thing or I have always wanted to try writing articles chronicling my efforts to master knife juggling. Just kidding … maybe not kidding … seriously, send me those ideas!

If you want to reach me, you can drop me a note on my e-mail: riverlootchaser@gmail.com. Just add “HWA-VA Blog” in the subject line and I will respond as quickly as I can.

-Bryan, HWA-VA Blogger/Northern VA Area Ghoul

Should You Join the HWA? YES!!!!

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GREAT NEWS FROM THE HWA

For folks who are on the fence regarding whether or not to join the Horror Writers Association, today’s blog is full of information.  So let’s get to it…

NEWS FROM PARENT ORGANIZATION

  1.  World Horror Convention 2015. (website) This is the premiere horror convention. WHC2015 is a 4 day convention that includes the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet, a Costume Ball and various pitch sessions.  The guest of honor include Charlaine Harris (Stookie Stackhouse series), Kami Garcia (The Legion Series)  and Tom Picirilli (4-time winner of the Bram Stoker Awards).

2.  Horror Anthology for Teens. (website).  Some of your favorite horror writers have submitted their demented ideas to “Scary Out There”, an anthology for teenagers.

3.  Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship (website). Named for the former HWA president, Rocky Wood, who guided the organization to unexpected heights before losing his fight with ALS, this new scholarship provides annual grants to members interested in writing nonfiction.

4.  Changes in Command Structure. The organization has a new president, a new vice president and a new mentor coordinator.   The new structure is:

President:    Lisa Morton                         Vice President:  Nancy Holder
Secretary:    Joe McKinney                        Treasurer:  Leslie Klinger
New Mentor Coordinator:      Michael Knost

CHAPTER NEWS
Congratulations to the Virginia Chapter members who ‘did their thang’ in the past year. …

 1.   2014 Bram Stoker Preliminary Nominations

The following Virginia Chapter Members published or edited stories that earned a space onto the Preliminary Ballot of the Bram Stoker Awards.  Click on ‘Buy this book’ and you’ll be directed to Amazon purchase page.

Brett J. Talley.   (Buy this book)   Story:  The Reborn (JournalStone)   Category:  Superior Achievement in a Novel.

Kami Garcia.   (Buy this book)      Story:  Unmarked  (The Legion Series Book 2) (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
Category:  Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel.

Brett J. Talley.  (Buy this book)    Story:  Limbus, Inc. Book II (JournalStone).
Category:  Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

2.  HWA Scholarship Winners

Michael Tungenhat                            Story:  For Poe   (Click to read)     Category:  2014 Dark Poetry Scholarship

3.   Book Releases

D. Alexander Ward (Buy this Book)         Book:  Shadows Over Main Street.
Release date:  30 January 2015.  (Already reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Hot New Releases)

Description:  An anthology of Lovecraftian fiction from contemporary authors and edited by D. Alexander Ward (Chapter Ghoul of Central Virginia) and Doug Murano.

4.  HWA Virginia Chapter Convention Attendance 2015.

a.  2015 Scares That Care Horror Convention in Williamsburg, Virginia.  July 24 – 26, 2015.  Website.
b.  RavenCon 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.  April 24 – 26, 2015.  D. Alexander Ward will sit on a panel.   Looking for members willing to vend this location.  Need at least 5 folks willing to man the HWA booth.  Website.

However, the best reason to join the Horror Writers Association is the camaraderie.  Our association is full of members who appreciate the dark and twisted.  If you’re a horror writer frustrated with dodging bottles of holy water – thrown by members in those ‘vanilla’ writing groups – then what are you waiting for?  Join the HWA!!!

You won’t scare us…if you do, we’ll nominate you for an award!!

Until next time…go forth and scare!!!

 

Welcome

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Welcome to the HWA Virginia Chapter Blog

Thanks for visiting our page.  We’re a new chapter, so expect this page to change as we decide the best method to disperse information.

For now, the goal is to present information that is short, sweet and to the point.  We’d like to encourage you to attain membership status, not bore you to death.

 Each Post will contain at least 2 sections:

Section 1:  Information directly from the Horror Writers Association website (horror.org).

Section 2:  Information about the Virginia Chapter.

Section 3:  (Optional and situational) Information about specific accomplishments of Virginia members or upcoming events in the state.

That’s it.  Those are the rules.  Feel free to leave comments or suggestions.  Until then, let’s get started.

 Section 1:  HWA Approves Self-Published Works for Membership.

(Posted on horror.org:  Jul 26, 2014)

The HWA’s referendum on including self-published work in membership qualification for our Active and Affiliate levels closed on July 23. The referendum passed by a significant margin.

The changes apply from July 24, 2014. New By-laws and Membership Qualifications were issued. Apply for membership here: http://horror.org/joining-the-hwa/.

In effect this means a self-published work will qualify an author if the work earns the same as a non self-published work.

Those earning levels are $200 for Affiliate Status (semi-pro) and $2000 for Active Status (professional).

Note:  To qualify for Active status as a self-published author, you must have proven earnings of $2000 from a single work within two years of publication.  To qualify for Affiliate status, you must have proven earnings of $200.00.

HWA’s President Rocky Wood said, “We are pleased to be leading the way in recognizing self-published authors who earn the same as mainstream, independent and specialty press authors. Self-published authors are an important part of the very vibrant horror and dark fiction community and we welcome them at all levels of the Horror Writers Association.”

Questions to: membership@horror.org.

 Section 2:  HWA Virginia Chapter created the Beta Reader Program

An invaluable tool for many authors is an experienced Beta Reader.  The job of a Beta Reader is to read a manuscript, then provide feedback in areas like structure and content.

Expect the Betas to find the inconsistencies within the pages: “Hey, Bobby’s eyes are blue on page 50, but they were brown on page 4”.

The members of the Virginia Chapter have agreed to act as Beta Readers for each other.  Imagine a group of horror writers reading a manuscript without negatively judging the content.  Heck, our Beta Reader’s may suggest scenarios to make your manuscript ‘just a wee bit creepier’.  “Hey, Why not take out BOTH of Bobby eyes?”

This program is on a trial basis to shake out the wobbly gears.  First drafts are prohibited and the word count is limited to 5,000 words.  We hope to expand the word count around the beginning of the New Year. Baby steps people…wobbly, zombie-infected baby steps.

We’re Done!!!

That’s all for today: short, sweet and informative.  If you’d like to join the Horror Writers Association, please visit horror.org.  Once your application is confirmed, contact Dee Southerland at deesouth35@msn.com.

Until next time,

HWA Virginia

HWA Virginia Chapter Approved

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That’s right!!!  There’s a new organization in town.  HWA-Virginia is a network of horror lovers who reside in the state.  (I know…duh!)

Now that we are ‘official’, let’s get down to business and grow this puppy.

Our #1 goal:   Spread the word.

–  Tell your mother, friends, enemies, lovers & strangers that HWA-Va exist.  Heck, start with the people in the room with you.   Inform everyone you know that HWA-Virginia is available and looking for members.

Our #2 goal:  Get members.

–  Seriously, we need members.  HWA-VA is comprised of dues-paying members.  You must apply at horror.org.

Other goals exist, but the first two (above) are the most important issues at this juncture.   Later, we can focus on convention attendance, community outreach and network opportunities with local businesses.

Don’t forget to visit our facebook page:  Horror Writers Association Virginia.    There’s also a group page, but it’s exclusive for HWA members.

Until next time,

HWA