Sally Bosco

Author of Dark Fiction

Tag Archives: Sally Bosco

Cover Reveal for Al Wendland’s Novel, The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes

I first met Al Wendland in 2001 when I attended Seton Hill University in pursuit of a Master of Arts Degree in Writing Popular Fiction. Al was one of the co-creators of the program, which focused solely on genre fiction. His enthusiasm for the program was infectious, and I grew to love the program. I’ve been an avid Seton Hill supporter ever since. In fact, I loved the program so much that when they offered an MFA in 2011, I returned to Seton Hill U and earned that degree as well.
Al is now Program Director for the Seton Hill U Writing Popular Fiction MFA program. He first opened my eyes to the Sublime in writing. A concept I’d never heard of. The sublime is a term used in regard to the features present in a Gothic or Romantic piece of literature. It is concerned with the spiritual wonderment experienced by an individual after he or she is emotionally affected by an awe-inspiring situation that is almost always related to a scene of natural grandeur. For that reason I’m really looking forward to reading his novel. I’m pleased to take part in the cover reveal for The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes!

What could draw poet, explorer, loner and paranoid Mykol Ranglen away from the relative peace of his own ring-in-space habitat?He has no choice in the matter as one by one acquaintances are murdered or disappear altogether. Propelled by ever changing and deepening mysteries Mykol embarks to uncover secrets which could make people rich beyond their wildest dreams…or tear apart human civilization.

The escalating quest takes him through worlds of many dangerous extremes, leading him to confront the deadly alien Fist of Thorns, extinct species refusing to give up their power over the future, and those racing against him to uncover the secret first. But in the course of his pursuit, he must also face his own secrets. And some of these are even more dangerous.

The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes by Albert Wendland

Cover Art by Bradley Sharp

Foreword by William H. Keith

Space Opera Paperback coming from Dog Star Books in June 2014

~~~

What They’re Saying About The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes

“Mystery, heart-pounding adventure, and the dazzling wonders of far-flung space play significant roles in Wendland’s breakout novel, all while gifting us with a mesmerizing tour of alien landscapes destined to get under your skin and remind you of the very reason science fiction exists: Not to escape to other worlds, but to find ourselves within them.”
–Diana Dru Botsford, author of THE DRIFT and FOUR DRAGONS

Inside are alien worlds and titanic space habitats and a brilliant and paranoid hero, all skillfully blended together with long-vanished galactic secrets. Science fiction… good science fiction, by a college professor of literature who loves good SF.”
–From the foreword by William H. Keith, New York Times Bestselling Science Fiction Author

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Jared Leto Wins Oscar for Best Supporting Actor!

“For those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you.”

These were the closing world of Jared Leto’s acceptance speech for having won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing HIV-positive transgendered woman, Rayon, in the film The Dallas Buyers Club. This is very exciting for transgendered people everywhere. It signals a level of acceptance by society that is gradually becoming mainstream.

The Dallas Buyers Club is based on true events of Ron Woodroof, a Texas man who was diagnosed with AIDS, sought alternative medicine, and eventually started the Dallas Buyers Club, selling medicine that hadn’t been approved by the FDA to other patients. Woodruff is played by Matthew McConaughey. Rayon and Woodreff become friends, and Rayon eventually (and reluctantly) becomes Woodroof’s business partner.

Jared Leto Dallas Buyers ClubJared Leto displayed a tremendous amount of sensitivity in playing the transgendered Rayon. In interviews he said that he had only two weeks’ notice before starting the role of Rayon. In that time he completely starved himself, and that act f starvation put him in touch with his character’s vulnerable condition. He needed to stay in character during the entire shoot in order to maintain his focus.

The Dallas Buyers Club was nominated in several categories: best picture, best actor, best supporting actor, costumes, editing, makeup and hairstyling, and original screenplay. The Dallas Buyers Club did win the Oscar for best costumes, and Matthew McConaughey won for Best Actor.

In his acceptance speech, Leto gave special thanks to his mother Constance. She’d been a single, teenage mom, but still she found the resources and courage to raise her children to be hardworking, creative people who weren’t afraid to pursue their dreams. Leto further said, “To all the dreamers out there watching this, in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, we are here, and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight.”

Marketing Tip #1: Deconstruct the Marketing Approach of a Similar Novel

This blog post will be the first in a series of marketing tips for writers. In promoting my book, Cevin’s Deadly Sin, I wanted to hone in on what works in our digital age for reaching the widest audience. Out with the book signings where you might reach a couple of people. In with trying to get reviewed by an online journal that has the potential to reach thousands of people.

First of all, we’re no longer “marketing,” we’re finding our target audience and providing content that interests those people. It’s the idea of providing value and building a community, rather than hard-selling your book.

Marketing Tip #1: Deconstruct the Marketing Approach of a Similar Novel:

Choose a book that is similar to yours and do a search to see how the publisher marketed the book. First of all, choose a successful, well-known book, then take a look at the following:

  • Who reviewed this book? Send review requests to those reviewers. “Since you enjoyed X book, I thought you might like to read and review mine.” Don’t ignore the power of the book bloggers. They have helped to boost the careers of many indie authors.
  • Where do interviews for the book’s author appear? Send interview requests to those sites.
  • Did the author write any blog posts? Generate a list of possible topics and send a relevant one to that blog. Blogs and journals are always looking for content.
  • Do a search for articles about books that share your target audience. Write to the article’s author and ask her if she’d be interested in reading your book. This has worked very well for me and actually generated some recommendations for other reviews.
  • Make note of web pages that appeal to your target audience and interact with them by offering to write articles, join chat groups, etc.
  • Keep a simple spreadsheet of your contacts. That’s the only way of keeping it all straight.

These steps seem simple, yet they accomplish a wonderful goal—finding your target audience. I’ve found that by performing these steps, I’m connecting with people who want to read what I’ve written. And I’m building a base of readers for my future books.

Do you have any marketing tips you’d like to share?

Happy Promo-ing!

Sally

Happy Valentine’s Day, Johnny Weir!

Johnny WeirHappy Valentine’s Day, Johnny Weir! Johnny Weir is an award-winning Olympic figure skater who is known for his fierce style sense and reputation for being outspoken. I’ve admired his fashion for quite some time now, but I especially admire him for flying in the face of Russia’s anti-gay stance by dressing in his Chanel + Hunger Games fashion for his Olympic commentary at Sochi.

According to a recent Huffington Post article, Johnny’s inspiration for his Olympic fashions is Stanley Tucci’s flamboyant character from The Hunger Games. (In fact, some say that Tucci trumped Jennifer Lawrence in the famous dystopian epic.)

Johnny has been posting his fabulous outfits on his Instagram account all week. I’ve posted a few here. Also below is a video of his flawless  short skating program from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Since Cevin’s Deadly Sin has been published, I’ve been noticing articles about trans and gender questioning people everywhere–from Facebook adding a new “trans” category to their gender classification choices to trans models being in major fashion shows. The world is gradually opening up to accept people in all of their varieties. There are still some who disapprove, but, to quote Victor Hugo, “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” The time has come for inclusion of all shades of gender.

Yes, Johnny Weir is a true American hero, standing up for what he believes in and furthering the cause of gay and gender queer people everywhere.

JW instagram

Today’s look. Thank you @ericksonbeamon, RAI LA, @RICKOWENSONLINE, and @BPCM. by @johnnygweir

JW instagram

Today’s Look: Blazer Vintage @Chanel, Jewels @joomilim, Leathers @GPugh_Studio, Wedges @RICKOWENSONLINE by @johnnygweir

JW instagram

Today’s look and two flames: Billy Reid NYC jacket, @joomilim necklace, RAI LA leather leggings and @RICKOWENSONLINE wedges. by @johnnygweir

This is Johnny’s short figure skating program from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. (tweeted by Johnny himself yesterday) It’s a great example of artistry, talent and hard work combining to transcend the the physical medium and lift the performance into the realm of the divine.

Cevin’s Deadly Sin is Live Today!

Cevins_Deadly_Sin_72dpi3inWriting Cevin’s Deadly Sin has been a wild ride for me. Literally six years in the making, seeing the culmination of my work published is a huge thrill for me. First, this is a departure for me, before I’ve always written horror and paranormal. For this project that didn’t fit. At first I toyed with the idea of having a cross-dresser vampire or cross-dresser werecat, then I decided, no. This story needs to be told in a realistic fashion.

Cevin’s Deadly Sin is the story of a closeted hetero teen cross-dresser. In most ways he’s a normal kid, yet has that one difference he has to hide. It makes him feel that no one will accept him for his true self. It’s the story of feeling like an outsider, and who hasn’t felt that way at one time or another?

This was my thesis novel for an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. I struggled with the plot tremendously and ended up scrapping and rewriting the entire book after graduation. Then once I had it finished, it was difficult finding a publisher. Publishers told me they liked it, but they didn’t know how to market it. Cevin is hetero so he didn’t fit into the LGBT category, strictly speaking. He doesn’t want to have surgery to become a woman, so he doesn’t fall into the transgender category.

My present publisher, Queer Teen Press, is a little more broad in its content, so they seemed like a good fit to me. I was so happy when they accepted it for publication.

Why did I write this book? I’m fascinated with gender. How much of it is inherent and how much is from upbringing? Why do people in our culture react so violently against someone who defies gender?

I have cross-dresser friends, and I’ve interviewed a lot of cross-dressers, and I know that they had no support groups they could access during their school years. I’m writing Cevin to help them out—to bring awareness to the public about cross-dressing and help CD kids to realize that they’re not alone.

Also, how do we treat those who are different in some way? Tessa is totally taken with Cevin, but when he tries to tell her about how he’s different, she doesn’t want to listen. She becomes afraid and pulls away from him.

In many ways, this is a universal story. Has there ever been a time when you felt like an outsider?

Link to purchase Cevin’s Deadly Sin:

Queer Teen Press logo small

The Cellar Door Anthology and My Fascination with Weird Architecture

I’m just realizing that I’ve never written a post about the “Cellar Door Anthology” in which one of my stories is published. Edited by Shawna L. Bernard, the book is a compilation of tales of beauty and terror about what may lie beyond the cellar door.

Cellar DoorI have a fascination with weird architecture that started when I read The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, and it grew when I read the stories of H.P. Lovecraft.

I wanted to write something involving weird architecture for this anthology. My result was my short story, “What Grows In Between.”

My inspiration for this story came from doing research on the Dupli House, which is located in Marbach, Germany. It was in disrepair and had to be torn down. Here’s a photo of the original house.

Dupli house orig

The architectural firm of J. Mayer Arquitectos took on the task of building a new modern house in the footprint of the old house. Actually, they came up with a new footprint by duplication and rotation of the out line of the old house:

Rotation

The result is breathtaking:

cellar door house

I thought, what if the spirit of the old house wanted to come through the framework of the new. That idea gave birth to my story, “What Grows In Between.”

Here’s the synopsis: Emily and Daniel have ditched high-powered jobs for a more low-key life. Though Daniel actually prefers more traditional architecture, Emily falls in love with an ultra-modern house that is situated out in the woods in Massachusetts. They’ve been waiting all their lives for this. He’s going to start painting and she’s going to do freelance architecture from home. That was the plan, but when the house grows an old-style cellar door, they start to realize that it has motives of its own.

The following is an excerpt from a review written by Dr. Robert Curran, psychologist and author of several works on folklore and the paranormal:

“There are some places in my mind where I seldom go. They are rooms of imagination, impression and memory that are often better left undisturbed because they are full of old fears and terrors which still have the power to grip me. They are better off left to moulder behind locked doors. This anthology tells me that I’m not alone in this respect.

“There are too many stories and poems within this anthology to review comprehensively–and I’m not going to try–but each one reflects the horror of some dark world, lying around the foot of the descending cellar steps or up in that shuttered attic. And they are brilliantly illustrated in paintings and drawings which are evocative of each tale.

“This is definitely a book for the winter, when the nights are dark and the wind makes strange houses through the house. It is a book to be savoured and shuddered at. It will take you to places in your mind where you really shouldn’t go.”

Cellar Door Anthology – Link to Kindle

Cellar Door Anthology – Link to paperback

Flash Fiction: Moon Boy

This is an exploratory short story that I might turn into a novel. What do you think?

Moon Boy

I made my way back to my room. Barely. My head pounded and my blood felt like it was about to spurt from my veins. Though I was able to take the stairs two at a time up to my dorm room, my body felt like it had been hijacked by aliens.

Just as I hit the mattress in hopes of having a good rest and letting my blood pressure settle, Mason slammed into the room. Bull in a china shop was an understatement when it came to him.

“Gawd, Mason! Can you hold it down? I have a headache.”

True to his tyrannical form, he got right into my face and yelled, “What did you say?”

“I said, could you please shut the fuck up and stop slamming things around?”

“Well, sure. If you put it that way.”

One thing you could say about Mason. Even though he was a loud, obnoxious big bruiser, he knew when to back down.

“Thank you.” I pulled a sleep mask from my nightstand and put it over my eyes. I wished I had one of those cool ones you stick in the refrigerator.

“Hey, Julian,” Mason said in a volume that nearly shook me off the bed.

I pulled up my sleep mask. “For God’s sake, what?”

“You’re not going to die or nothing, are you?”

“No. Just leave me alone, please?”

“I’m going out. Bye.” He slammed the door behind him.

I got some ice out of the ancient refrigerator in the hallway, and put it in a washcloth to place on my head. This building was air-conditioned. Why did I feel so hot?

I must have drifted off to sleep. When I woke, moonlight was streaming in through my window. It had a calming yet exciting effect on me. I needed to go out into the night and feel the cool breeze.

I hurried down the stairs and walked out toward the student green. Rumsey Hall was a well-cared for school. Golf-course-like grass was edged with neat rows of impatiens, and marigolds and roses. The extensive rose garden called to me. With its rows and rows of fragrant flowers, it was one of my favorite places on campus.

There walking toward me was Zoe. Tall, with straight black hair just below chin-length, she had an indie vibe. She wore strange clothes from the Himalayas and was always working for activist causes. Zoe was the coolest girl I knew.

When it seemed like she would walk right past me, I said, “Zoe.”

She stopped and thought for a minute. “Julian. How’s your paper on the social conditions in Batswana coming?”

I’d used that paper as an excuse to talk with her, because I knew she was an expert. “Wonderful. I got an A, thanks to your help.”

“Awesome. Were you just walking back to the Onion?”

That was our student restaurant. “Yeah, as a matter of fact.”

“Want to walk together?”

“Sure.” As I said that, I felt massive changes going on inside of me, like there were bubbles in my blood. I thought of a scuba diver getting the bends. Now, impressing Zoe was less of a concern for me than dying. I stopped to get my bearings.

“Are you okay?” She turned to me and put a cool hand on my forearm.

“No. I think I need to get to the infirmary.”

“Let me go with you.”

Even though it was my dream for her to go with me anywhere, I had to say no. “No. I think I’ll be all right. Let me go back to my room.”

“Julian, no. You look really weird, like maybe you’re having a stroke or something.”

I tried to fain normalcy, even when I felt like my body was going to blow apart at any moment. “You know what? I’m feeling better. I’m going to go up to my room.”

“You’re sure.”

“Yea.”

“Okay, but do me a favor and text me later to let me know you’re all right.” She scribbled her number on a piece of paper and handed it to me.

“Thanks, Zoe. I will.” I headed off.

“Isn’t your dorm in that direction?” She pointed the other way.

“Yeah. I’m just…going to get some water.”

She shrugged. “Okay.”

Now it really felt like my brain was going to blow apart. I rushed past the rose garden into a wooded area and dropped down to my knees. I pressed my hands against my head to keep it from popping off. All of my sinews moved and rumbled. I felt myself compressing, like I was growing smaller. How could that be?

Obviously I was losing my mind while, hallucinating as my body died. I’d never felt such pain in my life. I curled up into a fetal position and would have welcomed death, rather than the horrible agony that split my body.

Then just like that, it was over. The full moon shone through the trees. I looked at my hand. It was smaller and smoother than I was used to. My waist felt smaller. I had an odd swelling in my chest area. I looked down at my body.

Oh my God!

I was a girl!

Day 9 of the Flash Fiction 10 for 10 Challenge: Cemetery Dance

Cemetery Dance:

Since Jack dumped her, Lilly had found solace in an odd pursuit—attending funerals. Cemeteries were such peaceful places. She has several local favorites, Rosewood with its large lacey trees and Pleasant Hill with its finely manicured lawns.

Today she decided to visit Tatum Ridge, which had tombstones dating back to the 1800’s, with a more recent section that accepted new arrivals. Here she marveled at the beautiful headstones carved into angels and stone benches set out for rest and reflection.

Lilly started noticing a young man at the funerals. He was pale with dark hair and always wore a tasteful black jacket and dark jeans, just the outfit for blending in. She noticed him noticing her, so she got up the nerve to talk with him. “I see you at a lot of these things.”

He brightened up. “I find them peaceful and reassuring, and it’s kind of my job to go to them.”

“Your job?”

“I work for the funeral home—making sure everything goes off without a hitch.” He held out his hand. “I’m Sariel.”

She took it. “Lilly. Pleased to meet you.” These burials were from all different funeral homes, but his eyes burned into hers, drawing her in, so she didn’t question him.

Soon they were meeting for coffee, and their favorite pursuit was haunting the vintage cemeteries at night. They’d sit on the stone benches and talk, sometimes pretending they saw a ghost so they’d get scared enough to hold hands.

One night he suggested entering a crypt.

“I don’t know. That’s vandalizing, isn’t it?”

“It isn’t vandalizing when you have a key.” He held up an ornate skeleton key and gave a mischievous laugh.

“How did you get that?”

“I told you. It’s part of my job.”

Lilly went along with it, just because he was so delightful. Since she’d met Sariel she hadn’t given a thought to Jack.

He put the lock in the key and turned it. She was afraid there would be dead bodies lying around, but instead there were the carved figures of a man and woman resting on their backs in eternal peace. It reminded her of the tombs of Abelard and Heloise she’d seen in Paris. So romantic.

“Look at the workmanship on these.” He took her hand and guided it over the delicate face of the woman. So intense were her feelings that she turned around and kissed him. It was the most exquisite kiss she’d ever known in her life.

“You don’t really work for a funeral home, do you?”

“No, I’m an independent contractor you might say. I like to check up on my work.”

Suddenly she knew exactly what he was. “You help people over to the other side, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

She grew more and more excited at hearing this. They sunk down onto the cold stone floor and made intense, passionate love.

Lilly was happy at last. What could be cooler than having a boyfriend who’s the Angel of Death?

Day 7 of the Flash Fiction 10 for 10 Challenge: Girlfriend

Girlfriend:

His girlfriend hung over the shower door like a deflated weather balloon. Now he wished he’d gotten the extended warrantee.

 

 

 

Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

You can view the rest of the entries here.

 

 

Day 6 of the Flash Fiction 10 for 10 Challenge: Intruders

I’ve found this challenge to be very inspiring. Not only that my fellow 10 for 10 challengers are turning out some kick-ass flash fic, but I seem to have gotten over my short story mental block. I felt like I absolutely couldn’t write a short story. The idea of deadlines and constraints did spur me on to come up with some stories that surprised me.

Here’s today’s story.

Intruders:

The boy slid down the banister of his majestic home, just as he had for so many years. He loved the scent of the wood and all of the wide-open rooms that allowed him free space for playing—tossing a football, running races; the place was so big he could even ride his bicycle around. Sure, he was lonely since his family had left him, but he could live with it. He thought of them a lot, though.

He remembered when the house sparkled with fresh paint and smelled of that lemon oil they used to polish the wood floors. But now, the grimy walls stood all alone and the furniture had transformed into linen-covered ghosts.

Lately, disturbing occurrences jangled his peace of mind. People came in at odd hours, banging around and piercing the dark with their torches. When that happened, he hid in a small room on the third floor. He did not want them to find him and take him off to some foster home. This was his home.

One night he was in the living room and before he could run away, he saw a flash of light in the driveway. A shiver of fear passed through him as he heard someone insert the key into the lock and rattle the doorknob. Since he didn’t have time to run, he cowered in a corner of the massive living room. He’d be fine, he told himself. People had tried to get him from time to time, but he’d been shrewd in avoiding them, like a feral cat that loved its freedom.

The invaders poured in through his front door. Terror overtook him as he watched them gather into a circle. He feared it was some kind of satanic cult, come to pollute his home. He smelled incense and heard chanting. “Exorcizámos te, ómnis immúnde spíritus.” But he cowered behind the old couch, afraid to raise his head.

Then he felt something very strange, a sensation of pressure that pulled on his skin and caused a loud noise in his ears. He started kicking and yelling, trying to fight the demonic force, but gradually the pull started to feel soothing and the din changed into the sound of the ocean.

A force sucked him down a long, dark tunnel, illuminated at the far end by a blazing light. A feeling of love so big he’d never known such a thing existed filled his body and mind. He let himself be pulled along now, until he ended up in an open expanse of perfectly manicured lawn that had flowers and pools and fountains.

Then he saw them, his parents. They looked young and healthy. And his little sister. His mom was the first to hug him. “You’ve gotten here at last. We’ve missed you so much.” An elation so strong he thought it would make him float, filled his being. When the others joined in, a whirling, illuminated vortex sucked them up into the pure light.

Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

You can view the rest of the entries here.

 

flash fiction, Seton Hill University, Writing Popular Fiction, Sally Bosco, 10 for 10 flash fiction, #FlashFic10for10

 

 

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