Friday, 15 March 2013

Interview with Angeline Trevena- Horror Writer and Enthusiast, and Author of "Being Superhuman"

Angelic Knight Press have published an anthology of erotica- oh what a surprise, eh? In the wake of the success of E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey, everyone is jumping on that bandwagon at the moment after all!  Oh...but I forgot to mention though...this is no ordinary erotica.  This, my friends, is zombie erotica.

I'll just give you a moment to get your heads around that.  The anthology is called "Fifty Shades of Decay" (I see what you did there!) and features 51 different authors, and their tales of undead pleasure and decadence; certainly not one for the faint of heart.  One of those authors is writer Angeline Trevena; you maybe more familiar with her works of spine-chilling horror fiction. This is her first erotica story- and my first author interview! I caught up with Angeline to find out more about her short story "Being Superhuman".

- Although very well acquainted with the world of horror, erotica is a newer genre for you as a writer. What sort of challenges did this present for you?
It is such an unfamiliar territory for me, as I'm not even a reader of erotica. At first it did worry me, and my biggest issue was how graphic I should be. I follow a few erotica writers on Twitter, and know another in my local writing group. I appealed to them for help, and received a lot of advice and encouragement in reply. As long as I avoided all those comical and awkward euphemisms, I knew I could give it a good go!

- What was it about the Fifty Shades of Decay submission that appealed to you in the first place?
Just how unusual it was. Who would have ever thought of mashing zombie stories with erotica? It's so deliciously and disturbingly wrong that I simply couldn't resist it!

- You’ve said that you initially struggled to write zombie erotica, but was suddenly struck with inspiration, leading to the creation of Being Superhuman. What was the difference in your approach that lead to your success?
After a lot of false starts, I reverted to that good old piece of advice 'write what you know'. So I wrote a horror story which included sex, rather than attempting to write erotica and add horror to it. Once I got that distinction into my head, the story just flowed from there.

- The word limit was very tight, itself presenting a challenge. How did you overcome that particular obstacle?
It was tough. I ended up cutting about half of the first draft to fit the limit of 2,000 words. My story involved a lot of travelling across country, so all of that disappeared. I also cut the whole of the opening, beginning the story at the start of the action rather than spending time setting the scene. It certainly does teach you a lesson about word economy and cutting out the waffle.

- What is the significance behind the title “Being Superhuman”? It intrigued me, but didn’t allude to the sinister twist that took me by surprise!
Without giving too much away, the zombies in my story are stronger than they were as humans, they have more energy and more stamina. They are, in essence, superhuman.

- Despite the limited word count, Being Superhuman seems to hint at something deeper and larger. What message does Being Superhuman share, and do you think you’ll revisit this theme?
2,000 words doesn't give a lot of scope for character, world, or plot development, and when you're writing about something your reader doesn't have any real life experience of, you are left leaving suggestions of things, letting your reader fill in some of the gaps themselves.
For me, Being Superhuman is a story about unconditional love, and the power of lust within a committed relationship. It's about saving that relationship against extreme odds. This is certainly a theme I'll revisit, although not with the same setting and characters.

- Erotica is open to a lot more criticism than other fiction genres; why do you think this is, and how do you think these perceptions can be changed?
Erotica is mainly written by women for women, and we live in a society that is highly suspicious, scared even, of women's sexuality, and women being in control of their sexuality. While men have an unspoken freedom to explore theirs, women are subject to slut shaming, victim blaming, and an unrealistic expectation of virginity and abstinence.
It's sad that, even in the 21st Century, society reacts to sexually open women with either disdain or ridicule. Women spend their lives fighting against this cultural attitude, and I suppose we'll continue until we can find some sort of sexual equality.

- Do you think you’ll return to the erotica genre at some point in the future?
At the moment, I can't see it, but I'll never say never. Relationships are an integral part of any story, so there is sure to be sex popping up in my writing in the future.
I really enjoyed writing this story because of the unique mashup of genres, so if another chance to write horror erotica comes up, I'm sure I'll jump at it.


Fifty Shades of Decay is currently available in ebook format, and due for paperback release soon.  To find out more about the anthology, and about Angeline Trevena and her work, please follow the links below! :)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

March Blog Post- Bereavements, Difficulties and Developments...

Hello everyone! So we've made it to March!

I want to start by thanking those of you who have left me messages of condolence regarding the passing of my beloved cat, Puffin.  Its been a hugely difficult week, made worse by other factors, and I'm sure there are many more tears to be shed yet. However, the kindness of so many has genuinely been appreciated, and has made this hard time a little more bearable.  So thank you.

Despite the fact I was singing February's praises, it turned out to be a real sucky one in the end after all! March so far is determined to carry on in that vein! Oh well!  It hasn't all been bad, and I have a lot of developments and projects to report!  And while I certainly needed some days to veg, I have found that sometimes, keeping busy and getting on with work is a great way to battle through struggles and hard times.  So here I go!

Science Fiction
Ok, so I've actually already ventured into the realm of science fiction before with my soon-to-be-published short story, "Skin", but I recently submitted another sci-fi short!  Its a very futuristic twist on the fairytale classic, Sleeping Beauty.  I don't know if this submission will be picked, but I don't think it was a bad effort, and it was certainly good fun to write.  I absolutely love twists on old fairy tales (Neil Gaiman's short story, "Snow, Glass, Apples," is one of my favourites!), and I love the creativity involved in picking back through a classic and finding little twists and openings to reinterpret.  I'm actually working on another right now (not sci-fi this time) based on Red Riding Hood.  While I'm a big fan of The Company of Wolves, I am trying to steer clear of that sort of angle.

Amusingly enough, I was cutting it very fine on the deadline! I have improved in this, but sometimes you just still run out of time!  But what was funny was that while I was finishing the story, my dad and I were watching Iron Maiden, Live at Long Beach 1985...and I submitted the piece at 2 minutes to midnight! ;)

(Cookies, if you get that.  If you don't, you really need to get Edward the Great and brush up on some 'Maiden ;) ).

Other Fiction Projects
I'm working on two other short stories at the moment, with the intention of submitting them at the end of this month.  One is the aforementioned reinterpretation of Red Riding Hood, as I mentioned.  The other is an "urban mythic" submission I'm working on.  I think I may have a very different idea going, but one of the fun parts of it is that I get to do one of my favourite things- brush up on my world mythology!  Mythology of various cultures is a subject I love, and never get bored of.  I'm really into a strange mix of Egyptian, Mesopotamian/Sumerian and Norse at the moment, but my research leads me into other pantheons also.  I think I'm going to really enjoy this particular piece!

On a slightly unrelated note, I'm going to an alternative/fetish club event at the end of the month dressed as the Goddess Inanna ;) (theme is angels and demons, gods and comic book heroes).

Art Projects
I have various art projects ongoing, or about to begin presently.  One is a cute little idea I'm pursuing as a present for a friend- I've managed to get her hooked onto my own guilty pleasure, Monster High, and am currently rendering our group of friends as freaky-fabulous monster dolls! XD  Another thing I'm working on is a tattoo design; I have been itching for more ink for months, and it just seemed natural to me that, with Puffin's passing, I should have her portrait tattooed on my skin.  So I'm currently sifting through various old photos of my old dear, and also drafting up a design which also incorporates an ankh, and the Egyptian cat goddess, Bast.

I'm also going to work on a full-colour piece very soon...its a bit embarrassing to admit, but one of my favourite musicians is coming to the UK in May, and I'm going to one of his gigs, and I thought it might be nice, very fan-girly and not at ALL creepy to bring him a present :3 Its going to be a drawing of three belly dancers, inspired by one of his musical pieces.

(Speaking of belly-dance, I really need to get back into that this week...)

Other Developments and Upcoming Stuff!
Very soon, I shall be hosting my very first blog-post interview, so please stay tuned! I am also currently working on an interview for EGL Magazine.  I feel have neglected my work for EGL in recent months so I need to devote a little more attention to that.  I am also considering setting up an artist/writer's page on Facebook (one separate from my personal account), although I may put that off for a month or two.  I'm currently having some social-media issues that maybe affected by it, so I figure I might just put that back.  But it should make it easier for people to keep up to date with new projects etc, and spread da word!  Not to mention, I can share artwork a little more easily.  I may, possibly, think about reviving my old, abandoned DeviantArt account also.

Its been a hard couple of weeks, but its not been all bad.  I'm determined to knuckle down with more work at the moment.  Sometimes the distraction is a good thing, when times are tough.  My current mantra has been "haters gonna hate, bunnies gonna bun" XD.  But yes, things have been tough, but I have been surrounded by some amazingly lovely people, at home, in my social life and even in my working life, and it has made me very grateful, and helped me to cope.  I now hope that throwing myself into work will help me get myself back to...reality.

Right, back to work, still have loads to do.  But stay tuned, things are a-happening!
(And I will be back for April's IWSG.)

Thank you everyone for your continued support- wish you all well :)

In loving memory of Puffin

Monday, 4 March 2013

RIP Puffin

This morning, my 18-year-old cat, Puffin,  peacefully passed away in her little house.  We had suspected the end was near due to some very worrying and unusual behaviour last night.  However, despite how torn up we all are about it, I am pleased to say that the last time I held Puffin alive, just before I put her to bed last night, she was enjoying the attention and purring like a kitten.  I would like to think she just went to sleep happily and didn't wake up.

In light of this, I feel I need to put some of my writing endeavours on hold at the moment.  I can be a little flaky at the best of times, but I'm sure its understandable that at least for a few days I need a break.  I had a topic planned for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group, but I think I may put that on hold till next month, for obvious reasons.  I had some other things I was meant to be working on, but the person involved with those, I'm sure will understand.  I just need a week or so to get myself together.

So my March Blog Post will be a bit late this month.  I don't know if anyone is particularly bothered, I don't think anyone is going to be actually affected by my quietness online for the next week or so, but I just wanted to let people know why I'm so quiet, and also not let Puffin's passing go on unmentioned, being as she was given a mention in one of my earlier blog posts, and of course, was a dearly beloved member of the family.

I just would like to thank my friends, so many of them, who have left a kind word of condolence or support- it has meant a lot, and made this very difficult day a lot easier.

RIP Puffin.  Lady Bast has taken you where you need to be.  Love you.