Rie Sheridan Rose, a Featured Spotlight


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If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Rie Sheridan Rose.

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What are the genre(s) of the stories you write and why?

Fantasy, Steampunk, Horror, a little Science Fiction…these are the things I like to read, and I like to explore outside the box.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Making myself sit down and concentrate. I am very bad at that, and—especially if there is research involved—very easily distracted.

Do you use beta readers, and if so, roughly how many?

Yes. I always use my best friend, who is also a writer and gives me a male perspective on how the story works or doesn’t. Usually, I try to have at least two or three other sets of eyes go through a full-length project. For a shorter work, that isn’t always feasible, but I always try to at least get Jim to read something.


From “Fira Dances” by Rie Sheridan Rose:

By the time I reached him, I was famous throughout his land—perhaps all the known lands. I was Udia, and Ignacia, and Rekka, and Calida. Every land called me by their own version of Fire.

To him, I was Fira.

I loved it because it was closest to the truth.

He had the smallest wisp of me to start—merely a kiss. Low man in the village, a cripple good for nothing except begging from strangers. But to me, his soul blazed as bright as my own.

From the moment I saw him, he was my world.

Only by accident did he have any of me at all. Someone threw away a smoldering stick—or perhaps, threw it at him as they were not kind to him when we met—and he nurtured me back to life with bits of bark and prayer in his poor corner behind the kennels.

In gratitude, and because he was so beautiful to me, I whispered to him my secrets and kept him warm and safe. Each night, he pulled a coverlet of ash about me so that I might sleep, and I gave him all the warmth I could spare throughout the hours of darkness. Whether truly his, or just self-mockery, he gave me his name as Asher.

Happy, Asher and I nurtured each other. We drew strength and power from the other. The seasons cycled as they had always done, but gradually, Asher earned a respect he had never been given before.

My presence insured that the entire village prospered, and—as my companion—he became one of the elders of the tribe, despite his infirmity. The people came to know the man himself. His wisdom. His grace.

The children gathered around us, and he told them the stories he glimpsed within my dances. Shy young couples brought their first born to ask what the future held. Their elders came to ask advice about crops and seek blessings for their endeavors. Asher had not changed—the villagers had grown.

Our home no longer a hollow behind the kennels but a sturdy hut with a stone hearth protecting my bed. I easily kept it warm and dry.

After decades, I grew lazy and comfortable, caring for Asher in a world all our own.

When I danced, I danced for joy.

We were not the only ones to prosper. The village grew in renown. It grew in wealth. It grew…and word of its wonders spread. Too far.



Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2, and Killing It Softly. She has authored nine novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. Check out her tweets here.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and our press store.


The Woes of Retitling Works-in-Progress


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So, I still don’t have an official title for my new novel—the one I’m almost done writing, the one that is separate from my other series, the one that reeks of parody and satire.

When I started the Lily Graves Series, I was ripe with references to other paranormal high school books, tv shows, movies…Buffy, Twilight, Harry Potter…and mixed them with other fantasy, mythological, and religious references, like Snow White, Supernatural, Adam & Eve, Lucifer, and the War in Heaven.

This book is choking on lore and creatures. I’ve grouped them into thirteen general categories: Angels, Demons, Gods, Chimera, Shifters, Elementals, Fey, Ghosts, Muses, Reapers, Vampires, Witches, and The Law. They all break down further, and that’s part of the fun. Lily Graves is the new REP-agent-in-training, and she’s only fourteen. Product of Lucifer and a top-notch geneticist, she’s tasked herself with learning the intricacies of the new social hierarchy she’s been dumped into.

Cue the snark and teenage angst. Lily is witty and can throw a quip as well as she can kick her soccer ball, but she has no idea how to control the arch angel power eager to escape her. Then pair her with a power-tripping demon mentor, Adam, who’s made sarcasm and punishing students an Olympic sport. Add her two besties: the teenage version of my husband, Evan—a leather-clad, evil genius with a pet dragon and a strange sense of moral and intellectual superiority; and Starr, the glamourous Snow White whose desperate to be taken seriously as a smart young woman rather than a bombshell with breeding.

I have so many other fun characters, like Thorn—*coughs* Spike.

See, we’re all just having fun here.

Now, I should really figure out what to name this thing. I might need some help…


The Officially Almost Completed Back Cover Blurb

Lily is the daughter of Lucifer, a mother she’s never met.

When she’s laughed off the soccer field, Lily’s delivered to her FBI uncle and a new, paranormal, high school where she’ll be trained to keep other creatures in line.

Gaining few allies under the thumb of her obsessive mentor, she struggles to prove that something more is going on in their little town than the anyone wants to admit.

If you like the innocence of Twilight, the snark from Buffy, and the wit of the Lunar Chronicles, you’ll be engrossed by Alisha Costanzo’s new dark and satirical YA series.

Read Lucifer’s Daughter and fall into a world worse than hell—welcome back to high school.


As you can see at first, I was thinking Lucifer’s Daughter, but other authors have published that book in the time since I announced its name, so I’m brainstorming again…

The Amateur Sleuth


The Girl with the Glowing Hair

Want to help me decide? Comment below or vote on my facebook poll.

Shaun Avery, a Featured Spotlight


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If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Shaun.

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What are the genre(s) of the stories you write and why?

Horror and satire – because they’re the things I love the most.  Plus, the more TV I see, the more it seems there is to satirise, so, you know…that urge never goes away.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Just keep stubborn and keep on writing – even if you’re doing something just for fun that you know is never going to see the light of day, it’s still writing.  And sometimes you find gold there, even if it takes a while to see it.

What motivates you to write?

As a satirist at heart, normally something I see in the paper or on TV that irritates me.  Like this time, I read that some ‘celebrities’ were hiring themselves out for the day to turn up at people’s weddings.  What’s the only thing more ridiculous than that?  The idea of hiring them to come to your funeral.  Which became a pretty fun story I wrote called “Grave Diggers.”


From “The Conception Artist” by Shaun Avery:

I back away from the main room, unable to believe what I am seeing.

The music plays.

Still Mike Magnusson.

And amazingly, Satan and this man—this Bubba-Joe character—close their eyes and nod and sing along to the music.

I go to turn away, convinced I must be going mad.

That’s when Satan opens an eye. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Then a clammy hand grips my ankle.

I scream.

Dean’s hand grabbing me.

His face still purple from the throttling.

“Brad,” he says. “Hi.”

I pull away from his grasp, and that’s when someone licks my ear.

“No going back, lover.” Sheryl pushes me back into the room. “Only forward.”

“Yeah. I told you to sit.” Bubba-Joe’s eyes meet mine, peering out beneath an unruly fringe. “Brother.”

“Why do you keep calling me that?” I reluctantly take the seat across from him. “I’ve never even met you before.”

“Sort of true.” Satan stands behind him still. “Sort of not. Hey, can we turn this up?”

“Sure thing.” Bubba-Joe heads off to do just that.

It’s not my high-tech, state-of-the-art stereo propelling the music into the room. Rather, some shitty, retro 80’s thing, one of those huge ghetto blasters people in urban areas used to sit with. And just like my unwanted visitor Bubba-Joe’s face, it is covered in blood.

“Guy on the street wouldn’t give it up. Had to get a little…physical with him.” He does a little jig to the music, saying, “Hey, Moonlight Smooch. Love this one.”

I’m in the presence of psychos here, and one of them might just be me.

And what the hell is Satan doing, listening to this schmaltz?

So much for heavy metal being the devil’s music.

“Look,” I say to them both, “can you please just tell me why you’re here?”

But by the time they do…

I wish I’d never asked.


Shaun Avery writes horror and crime fiction in a number of mediums, often with a satirical approach to fame and media obsession.  He thinks his cynicism is healthy.  Though perhaps “The Conception Artist” takes it to extremes.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and our press store.

Tatiana’s Diary: Her first letter.


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Dear Little One,

I know that this is all a bit much. After all, I’m not even a memory to you, and although these entries will be filled with sappy reflection and gushy love, we do have some serious things to talk about.

Like your father.

There’s a lot that should be said about him, and probably more that shouldn’t, but the basic facts are…he’s the reason you’re different. Special.

You’re going to go through some changes…you’re going to learn to harness the raw energy of the universe in its purist form—fire. You’ll have the power to create and destroy. Never do either without purpose.

Here’s hoping your hormones aren’t anything like mine. The destruction I’ve caused…more on that later.

So, the balance of the universe relies on the phoenix—you. She has to save as much as she has to kill. And rebirth means chaos, close to two decades that tips toward evil, selfishness, and violence. Putting it right will be up to you. And it won’t be easy, especially since you’ll be half me, too.

Again, the hormones. Sweetie, I cannot stress this enough, keep your wits about you.

But if everything goes to plan, Mom and Dad should keep you under the radar and raise you well. I did hell all, but that wasn’t their fault. I’ve always seen the world as something to taste while you have the chance.

You’ll meet a realm of magical creatures and oddities that you’ve only dreamed of. And they will tempt you with wickedness. The worst things are guised in beauty and familiarity, and not everyone who says they’re good, or bad, are.

I wish I could offer you a list, but your father warned me against knowing them more than necessary. I only hope that a friendly face is there to help you, like he promised.

Your father and I want you to stay strong and remember that it is not enough to live safely. You have a duty to purify the world without consuming it.

Neither of us know how you will be able to do this. Just that you must.

I wish I had happier things to say. For now, know that I love you.

Your Proud Momma,


Ali Abbas, a Featured Spotlight


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If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Ali Abbas.

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What motivates you to write?

For the most part, it is a compulsion. Stories rattle around in my head, taking up all my mental capacity. The only to deal with it is to get the damn thing down on paper. Once that is done I can get on with things like making coffee or tying my shoelaces.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Getting the first draft down. As I write I can usually hear that the words are not as clear or beautiful as they were in my head. The key is to quash the doubts and keep writing. But that first moment of fingers on keyboard: terrifying.

Do you use beta readers, and if so, roughly how many?

Oh yes. I’m part of an online writing group. They are fellow story writers, and lovers of words. Over the years they have also become dear friends. We tend to enter the same competitions, submit to the same markets, but there is a never a hint of needle or envy – if one succeeds we all rejoice. Alongside getting published it is the best thing about my writing life. What’s great is that they all bring different things to the table, be it grammar, structure, specialist topic knowledge and so on. A short piece may get half a dozen reviewers, more if we’re in the midst of a competition, longer works typically get fewer. And sorry, membership is very tightly controlled.


From “Désolé Habibti” by Ali Abbas

He let the tears take their course. When she looked up, she saw the passing shoppers pretending not to look into the car, voyeurs to her tragedy. “Take me away from here.”

She sensed no motion. A grey void replaced the car but lasted no more than a second. Her eyes burned with the brightness of the moon reflected in water and the taste of salt in the air. Her legs were still in the sitting position from the car. She fell into the sea, her hands sinking wrist-deep in soft sand. Surf rustled up the beach behind her. The water was night cold, shocking and reviving. He held out a cotton-sleeved hand to haul her up, and she took it, laughing with abandon.

The moon caught against his white teeth when he smiled.

This was a seduction. Not planned, but he had lived among humans for a thousand years, and no doubt, he had perfected the art. It was a seduction, and she did not care. After almost a year of withdrawal and worry, and the knowledge of sorrow to come, this was something she would have for herself. But she wanted something first.

She pushed away gently. “Show me your true form.”

He took two more steps back, surefooted in the waves that lapped up to his knees and soaked the linen of his trousers. Then the clothes and the long hair and the perfect teeth were gone, and before her stood a figure of fire, a lean man caught in an inferno. The water hissed and steamed; the sea around her thighs grew warm.

She reached out a hand towards him, feeling the heat radiating. The fire drew back from his hand, red and smooth. He led her to the beach, leaving a trail of glass footprints in the sand. They cracked and shattered with the cold water, the shards dragged out to sea with the tide.


Ali Abbas is a writer, carpenter and photographer born and bred in London. He is the author of Like Clockwork, a steampunk mystery published by Transmundane Press; Image and Other Stories, a collection of seven short stories that examine themes of love, loss and the haunting nature of bad decisions; and Hajj – My Pilgrimage, a light-hearted and secular look at the pilgrimage to Mecca that is at the heart of the Islamic faith.

His short story / love letter to London, “An Absolute Amount of Sadness,” was published by Mad Scientist Journal in their Fitting In anthology, and his ghost story “The Girl Who Gives Me Sunsets” will be published in their forthcoming Utter Fabrication anthology.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and our press store.

Ed Ahern, a Featured Spotlight

If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Ed Ahern.

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How do you deal with writer’s block?

Type the crap out of it until it runs clear.

How long does it usually take you to write a story?

First draft: Four to six days depending on life interferences.

How do you research your stories?

Online, mostly. I also write retold folk tales, so I buy very old folk tale books, find a story I like, and then research it a bit on line.

What are you doing to market yourself?

I’m the heretic in the room. I dabble in Facebook and Twitter, but suspect that much of social media is just posturing for one another. I write about writing on Twitter, and that seems to attract more followers than pimping my latest pub cred. I also make a dedicated effort to get stories and poems reprinted on the unproven theory that the more readers encounter (and hopefully like) my stuff, the more likely they are to read more of it.


“The Birthing” by Ed Ahern

Matt shuffled closer. As his shock abated the anguish of his cauterized finger drummed against his throbbing collarbone.

Still screwed. This whatever-it-is is bigger than me, and I’m too crippled to fight. Find a branch or a rock? Meanwhile, kiss Girra’s ass.

The fire burned in a shallow pit, but Matt couldn’t see any wood or charcoal, just burning dirt. “Please, sir, how did you get that to keep burning? And how did you do this to my finger?”

Girra’s belly swayed as she stepped toward him. “Another nattering chimp. My names mean nothing to you?”


“So stupid. They are the names your kind gave to fire gods. Elementals. The fire burns because I will it so. Just as your finger burned. Just as you will burn.”

“But you appear human.”

Sort of.

“Ah. We are the essence of flame, eternal, never seen except as candle or conflagration. But your kind creates billions more and different kinds of fires, forcing us to breed. And to breed we must appear to take animal shape. For my Birthed to best acclimate to your fire, I have taken your shape. But we are hermaphroditic. I procreated with myself.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Witless. Do you know of Plato’s cave?


“In a cave much like this one, an ignorant man—that is you—sees fire-cast shadows and thinks the shadows are beings. But they are not. What you think you are looking at is shifting shadows of an entity you will never comprehend. Be resigned to ignorance.”

Something shifted in Girra’s belly, and fire light seeped through the skin. “But if I am ignorant and cannot harm you, why must I die?”

“So that your kind remains blind to us. Your race hasn’t believed in elementals for two millennia. We prefer it.”


Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had a hundred seventy stories and poems published so far. His collected fairy and folk tales, The Witch Made Me Do It was published by Gypsy Shadow Press. His novella The Witches’ Bane was published by World Castle Publishing, and his collected fantasy and horror stories, Capricious Visions was published by Gnome on Pig Press. Ed’s currently working on a paranormal/thriller novel tentatively titled The Rule of Chaos. He works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of five review editors.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.

Did You Know…About the Leprechaun?


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Traditionally, the leprechaun is depicted as the dwarf-like man, dressed in green with buckles on their shoes, an apron, and a high-crowned hat. They bury their gold and treasure and are quick, so if you catch one, you’d better keep him in your sight if you want him to hand over his riches. But careful, he’s a trickster and will do everything in his power to keep his gold for himself.


As the “national elf” of Ireland, he often represents Irish hospitality, telling stories over a roasting fire and sharing his poteen, but he is anything but innocent and nice. A dark and gloomy creature and not very good company at that, the woes of the world have soaked into him. Selfish little creatures, they’re not much for sharing and kindness. In fact, they’re rather spiteful. Because of this, Irish households left offerings of milk, cheese, and twists of tobacco on their doorsteps to keep them from wreaking havoc on their homes. An offering of whiskey often had the reverse effect, however.

Further back, leprechauns were thought to be descendants of fallen angels, and they maintain their Irish origins from words such as: luch (mouse), lúth (agility), and lurga (ankle), thus creating the myth that they were tiny and fast, like the mouse, with rather large feet.

More interestingly, lore depicts several types of leprechauns, like the grogochs, pechts, tallas, cluricauns, Sheela-na-gigs, or dwarves in Norse mythology. The grogochs were opposite what many think of leprechauns today, slow, dim-witted, and dirty with no desire for riches. Instead, they sought gratitude for their labors and had good hearts, but more on them in a different post.


Most often invisible, leprechauns were noted by clouds of smoke or dust, creating the tradition of throwing one’s shoe into it. This would force the leprechaun to drop what he held, like a load of gold or a human—most often unbaptized babies—being carried off to the faerie world.

This relates to their profession—the cobbler or shoemaker. They were known to create new shoes for faerie balls or were merely those who repaired and restored old shoes worn from frivolous dancing. This stems from a time when shoes and boots were expensive and seen as highly-prized pieces of clothing. Thus, the leprechaun was seen as an artisan, a central and much-beloved figure in the faerie world, for they loved to dance.


However, shoemaking was not the only occupation the leprechaun took, like builders and stonemasons—sometimes credited for building the ancient Irish mounds—metalworkers or smiths, distillers or musicians, and bankers.

Leprechauns adapt well to their surroundings, finding places to hide and live, like old churches, ruined castles, and ancient fortresses, or they might dwell in human artefacts, abandoned beehives, the eaves of barns, old boxes, or discarded kettles.  Essentially, they seek shelter from the elements in already constructed places rather than forming their own.

Often seen as solitary creatures, they actually formed clans—the four best known represented the four provinces of Ireland, Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connaught—each with their own special skills and talents. Other than some sweeping generalizations about the groupings, not much is known about the way they classified themselves, but what we do know is that the leprechaun courts often held judgements against humans, especially those who slighted a faerie, and there were no appeals to sentences, such as absolute bankruptcy, twisted limbs or spine, illness, and occasionally, a long and painful death.

It might surprise some, but there is a wealth of knowledge about leprechauns, their origins, and their society beyond the gimmick we see on St. Patty’s Day. If you want to know more, let me know in the comments below.

Until then, look forward to further peeks into my shelf of mythological books…okay three shelves. Shh, don’t judge me.


Want to know more about my take on the leprechaun? Sign-up to be get your ARC copy of “The Shoemaker’s Apprentice,” my short story about Boden’s journey home.


Long ago, the death of his little sister broke his family apart.

After a close call left him blind in one eye, Boden must return to the home he fled as a young leprechaun.

For hundreds of years, he has feared facing his family and punishment for his sister’s death.

Boden needs to make up for his mistakes before he can fight a war for the woman he loves.

Find out what secrets are unleashed in THE SHOEMAKER’S APPRENTICE.




Curran, Bob. “The Truth About the Leprechaun.” Wolfhound Press, 2000.


Rohit Sawant, a Featured Spotlight


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If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Rohit Sawant.

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What are the genre(s)of the stories you write and why?

I’m all over the map in that department and don’t really confine myself to genre, although majority of what I write has a dark slant. I can hardly tell you why that is, but it’s just what I’m drawn to. I’m over-imaginative by nature, which feeds my work as a writer and can be a good thing, but not-so-good in other areas of life, and I end up nursing these paranoid notions, and tales of horror and suspense act as a release valve by creating a cocoon where I can explore the nagging what-ifs that would otherwise wind up my nerves like guitar strings.

I also enjoy scaring people.

What is the title of your next story and what will it be about?

I have two stories coming out in late 2017. One of them is a Sherlock Holmes piece titled “The Clash of the Miracle Men” for an anthology by Belanger Books, which will be released as a two-volume set, called Sherlock Holmes in the realms of H.G. Wells. It blends the Holmesian universe with Wells’s short story “The Man Who Could Work Miracles.” The other story is “The Pack” and will be featured in Franklin/Kerr Press’s post-apocalyptic horror anthology Down with the Fallen.

How do you research your stories?

I avoid research until I’m done with the first draft, the only exception being if it’s a story element without which I absolutely can’t move forward and even, then I do it minimally, and just make things up as I go along, even if it’s complete BS. Research forces me to take a step back and think, and thinking is the last thing I want to do while getting the story down, because all that accomplishes, for me anyway, is opening the door to self-doubt, and I don’t want that. When I’m revising, however, I’m in a space where I can approach it objectively, so swapping out some of the stuff you made up with researched material is much easier in consequent drafts.


From “Bunsen Burn and Beaker Bubble” by Rohit Sawant

The dregs of vinegar in a beaker held Anette in a trance. Part of her self-debate from last night bubbled over in the back of her mind.

Throughout class, she avoided Don. As the students left, she heard him say, “Who the fuck writes with an ink pen?”

And someone saying to leave him alone.

She wished she could knock his head against the wall, repeatedly.

A plan came to her like a soft whisper sung in a serpentine tongue. She went to the staff room, fetched a book of stories by Edgar Allan Poe from her bag, and returned to the lab, locking the door behind her.

With the next period off, she had to act before she changed her mind.

In a medium-sized beaker, she added one part spit, two parts water, and placed it on a low flame. A solution of potassium chloride filled the beaker next.

Riffling through some assignments, she found Don’s. She ripped a string of paper from it lengthwise, and fashioning it into a knot, dropped it into the simmering mix.

Her online book club had planned a reread of Poe for his death anniversary. Viewing the table of contents, she flipped through the book, tore a page, and set it to the flame. She held it over the beaker to catch the ashes and repeated until an entire short story burnt. Her skin grew clammy as she recited incantations, her heart beat thrice as fast.

She finished less than fifteen minutes later, the beaker’s contents displaced.



Also, be sure to check out an excerpt from Rohit’s story, professionally-read by Zach Brewster-Geisz!


Rohit Sawant’s fiction has been published in a Kill Those Damn Cats – a Lovecraftian anthology, After the Happily Ever After, Flash Fiction Magazine, and is set to appear in forthcoming anthologies by Belanger Books and Franklin/Kerr Press. He lives in Mumbai, India, enjoys sketching, films, and his favorite Batman is Kevin Conroy. You can find him at his blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.

Misconceptions of Satire


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I don’t know how many times I’ve heard: “That’s not satire. It’s not even funny,” and I want to know where the hell this belief came from. No one mistakes Bradbury as funny, Wells as funny, Swift as funny…okay, maybe Vonnegut is a bit humorous.

I like to think that satire includes humor, but to say that it’s all inclusive is ridiculous. Satire’s intent is to comment on society and exaggerate it to make a point or facilitate an argument. We’re meant to question ourselves, our behaviors, and our world.

Granted, after a discussion with my husband, I concede that all satire does have a sense of dark humor—as in, that tickling moment when you know exactly what the author is referring to—but that’s not to mistake the story or content as funny.

Most satire creates moral outrage through this level of awareness, using various literary elements, such as irony, paradox, colloquialism, anticlimax, obscenity, and violence. But the most essential is creating vividly painful and absurd people and situations to prod readers to see the truth that many habitually ignore.


We often see this used in narrative and parody. Like my favorites: South Park, Archer, The Simpsons, and the majority of adult cartoons, and maybe cartoons all together, but I’ll refrain from declaring that as an absolute truth. And dystopic fiction, like The Hunger Games, Divergent, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Giver, I could go on, and on, and on…

Satire is essentially sarcasm. It’s funny to those who get it, so it cannot make us laugh every time. Cognitive dissonance aside, we don’t often like to watch others tap into our faults.

Well, those are the broad strokes. Good thing I’m a sarcastic asshole because satire is most certainly my thing.

Think you know enough about vampires and pop-culture monsters to laugh at my books? Get the prequel for free on Kobo, Nook, or the Transmundane Press Store (in .mobi, .epub, and .pdf).

It’s up on Amazon, too, but for 99 cents since they don’t like me giving things away for free. But if you want to donate the dollar, I suppose you could do that, too. Or report their greedy need to control the market…you know, either way.

Want to know something more about satire? Want me to examine a specific text or technique, feel free to drop suggestions in the comments below.

Jean Roberta, a Featured Spotlight


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If you haven’t heard of my new project, the On Fire anthology over at Transmundane Press, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Jean Roberta.

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Are you a full-time author? If you have another job, what is it and would you like to become a full-time author if you could?

I teach English full-time in a university. I plan to become a full-time writer after I retire in a few years. I’m grateful that instructors of a certain age are no longer forced out.

What is the title of your next story and what will it be about?

In 1998, I wrote an erotic lesbian novel, Prairie Gothic, set in the local queer community before the internet became part of dating culture. It was briefly available as an e-book from a British publisher that went bust in 2006, then collected virtual dust in my “Documents” for ten years.

During my sabbatical year (2016-2017), I completely revised the novel, while keeping the time-frame. The new version has 22 chapters, and has been accepted by Lethe Press for print publication in 2018. It will have cover art for the first time!

Prairie Gothic traces the developing sexual relationship between Kelly, a newly “out” university student, fresh from her home on a farm, and Vivienne, an older woman with a past. Vivienne’s unfinished relationship with Ruth, her first female lover, complicates things, as does Kelly’s resistance to hearing Vivienne’s life-story. Eventually, the complications are resolved as a web of political corruption involving Vivienne’s father is brought to light in the wake of a spectacular murder trial. The novel shows that there has always been a queer, and specifically lesbian culture, even in past eras and places far from any large coastal city.

What are you doing to market yourself?

I belong to the ten-writer blog “Oh Get a Grip,” where I post something on the topic of the moment every other Friday. I also post something about writing or sex once a month in the blog section of the Erotic Readers and Writers Association. I also write reviews and post news about my latest publications on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.



From “Mysteries of the Dragon” by Jean Roberta

Would an actual dragon be more intimidating than wildfire? The young man doubted it. He spent years searching for an intelligence, a human-like will, in the earth, the trees, the water, the air, the sky, and most of all, in fire, the greatest enemy he knew. The most violent human could be bargained with, but as far as the young man could tell, fire was deaf to such tactics.

Perhaps, the whole world consisted of opposites, including substances that could neutralize each other. Enough water could quench a fire, but without a nearby river, could other substances suffice?

In a small chamber of his mentor’s house, the young man tried setting fires in metal containers intended for such experiments and dumped quantities of dirt on them. The results were interesting, since the quantity of earth seemed less relevant than the composition of it. Certain fibrous crystals and shiny metallic flakes in the soil cooled the fire, but soil composed mostly of dead leaves had no such effect.

Could a wall of the right material stop a fire?

“Could we not gather the Block-Stone and the Dragon’s-Coat to build a wall? And even work them into a suit of clothes, with gauntlets to protect the hands? Fire does more harm than an invading army, so why shouldn’t we prepare for war?”

“My son,” said Doctor Peak, “your plan is ambitious. You know we cannot gather a crew of helpers for the work because it would be too dangerous for anyone else to know you’re here. These blessed materials alone are not enough to conquer fire. They can only give us more time to fight or escape. Worst of all, most of our countrymen are too priest-ridden to think for themselves. They have set themselves to accept the worst of what the Dragon inflicts on them, thinking it just punishment for the evil in their hearts.”

The young man glowed with hope. “You don’t believe in Fireheart, do you?”

“I do not.” The scholar’s solemn tone was matched by his gaze. “At least, not as others do. Does fire have a will? That could be argued. It prefers certain foods and shuns others, and it breathes oxygen, as do we. Does it hate us for our sinfulness? I see no reason to believe so. It simply wants to thrive, as do we all. If we can protect ourselves from it, we have every right to use whatever we can find for that purpose.”

The student felt the relief of an orphan who has found his home. “You have wisdom, Sir, but I have youth and strength. Will you help me?”

“Gladly, my son.”


Jean Roberta lives on the Canadian prairies, where the vastness of land and sky encourage daydreaming. She teaches literature, composition and creative writing in the local university. Her diverse fiction (mostly erotic) has appeared in many print anthologies, and in the single-author collection Obsession (Renaissance). Her gothic fantasies include “The Water-Harp” in Underwater (Transmundane), and “Roots” (in the “Treasure Chest”). Follow her on her website, blog, or Facebook page.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.