An Early Peek at La Femme en Rouge

Welcome to this leg of the Filles Vertes Publishing MASKS blog hop!

If you somehow landed on this page and haven’t heard about the blog hop, click here!

If you haven’t already, add MASKS to your Goodreads TBR

Also, pre-orders are available at FVPub.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, or your fave bookseller. Convenient links are listed below:

Enjoy this entertaining glimpse of one of the intriguing stories awaiting you in MASKS. Remember to look for the keyword/phrase and take a note of it!

Happy Hopping!

We are only a little over a month away from the release of Masks, an anthology featuring a slice of the darker side of Mardi Gras. Judging from the list of authors alone, I can already tell it’s going to be an incredible read!

My short story, “La Femme en Rouge”, or French for The Woman in Red, will be part of this piece. It follows a trans woman named Josie who struggles to embrace herself despite an abusive home life. When she encounters a strange woman in red one night, she’s drawn into a mystery and a discover she never expected. As Mardi Gras looms ever closer, Josie finds more questions rather than answers.

<keyword: Masks>

See below for a sneak peek at “La Femme en Rouge” coming March 31st in Masks from Filles Vertes Publishing!

Frosted pink lipstick, sweet summer sunset eyeshadow, and blushing rose rouge: my hands trembled so bad that the eyeliner went on crooked.

“Shit,” I muttered under my breath, arching my face up to the light and dabbing at my eye with my pinky finger, trying to smooth out the line, trying to make it perfect. The false lashes were next, and I swallowed down the dryness in my throat. The lash glue squeezed out slow and smooth, a white strip on the back of the lash. Then the door to the bathroom opened with a loud clacking of heels and I nearly dropped the lash onto the grimy floor.

I turned to look, blowing lightly on the lash, waiting for the white to go clear. A woman with dark hair and spray-tanned skin slipped into one of the stalls. Hopefully she didn’t notice me. No questions, no comments, no wondering why I had a whole makeup bag dumped out on the countertop. I leaned forward over the sink and tried to place the lash on my eyelid, shaking so badly I was afraid I was going to poke myself in the eye.

The toilet flushed and I froze, breathing so close to the mirror that it fogged up. I tried to avoid her gaze as she walked up beside me to wash her hands.

Sidelong glances. Unreadable features. I tried to focus on the lash instead.

“La Femme en Rouge” by Marlena Frank

Next up!

M. Dalto talks about her story, “Epiphany”!

Go check out Blog Stop #4!

Cover Reveal for Masks!

For some, Mardi Gras is a celebration
For others, it’s a dangerous game

I visited New Orleans once in 2000 with several online friends. I was a senior in high school at the time and it was stressful meeting people who I had never really seen in real life. This was the age of anonymity on the internet, and all I had was a picture of them.

This was before 9/11 happened, so the flight over was completely different than it is today. It was also before Katrina hit and I remember us driving over bridges and seeing all the buildings underneath, all the homes that in a few years would be seen on TV underwater.

For me, it was a special moment, a way of letting go of the stress of my academics and visiting someplace new. At the time, I was stressed out from applying to colleges and I didn’t know where I would be the following year. It was a period of transition and a period of reflection.

When I was asked by the wonderful editors of Filles Vertes Publishing if I wanted to participate in an anthology about New Orleans, I jumped at the opportunity. You see one of those online friends of mine passed away a year ago, and she was absolutely in love with the place. She was also a big supporter of my work. I wanted to honor her with a story about the city she always wanted to move to.

I am thrilled to share the cover reveal for Masks an anthology about Mardi Gras and the themes that surround it. My story, “La Femme en Rouge”, is a tale of transformation and of reflection. I associate New Orleans with a place to help me make big decisions in life, and I think my story reflects that. I wanted to capture the lights, the smells, the sounds, the moods, the mixture of perspectives, and the economic struggles.

I hope you’ll dare to explore the fantastic tales within, and maybe you’ll also find yourself transformed. After all, Mardi Gras is all about shedding your skin. Coming 3/31/2020.

A Cute Short Story and 2019 Plans

It’s been a heck of a week so far! I wrote a lovely little short story featuring Mawr from my novel, Stolen, and the Lady Sphinx. It’s a cute little piece that talks about his live before the events that take place in the book. Seeing as how many people love reading about him, I thought it would be cute to do a little Valentine’s Day special for the adorable guy.

You can read the full piece here at the Parliament House Press website!

Today is also the kick-off day for my YouTube channel! Each Friday I’ll be releasing videos about writing books, author life, and documenting events that inspire my work. My first video chronicles all the events I’ll be at this year and where you can find me. If you want to chat with me about any of my work, that’s a good time to do it! I hope to see some of you this year, especially since I’ll be doing a couple of out-of-state cons!

It’s gonna be a busy year!

Looking back and charging forward

Every January I make a To-Do list of all my major works in progress and figure out which ones I want to prioritize. Here’s the 2017 edition.

Looking back over last year, I’m super proud of all the work I’ve done. So many short stories got finished up, published, and I’m hoping that more get picked up soon. Here’s a quick rundown of everything I published this year.

  • January 2016 – A Slippery Customer
    • Hit top 10 on Amazon’s Horror anthology list multiple times
  • February 2016 – Tiny Necks
    • Almost entirely 5-star reviews and more keep rolling in
  • May 2016 – Curse of Beauty
    • Received several excellent reviews!  ❤
  • October 2016 – Dead Man’s Hill
    • A Halloween tale with a dash of dark humor

However I did notice that I hadn’t made much progress on my novels. Outside of Beyond the Treehouse, I didn’t do that much work on the WIP novels I had. There’s a good reason for that actually.

At the beginning of the year I got a publication offer from a small publishing company, one that I had worked with before. Their communications were a little sporadic, but I was excited to get my book published. However the contract they sent me gave me major concerns. It took me a bit to find some legal advice, but once I did I felt like I had a grounded ability to negotiate and listed out my requests. Unfortunately a big request on my list was not available to negotiate, and I had to reject the offer. A few months later I found out that the publisher was closing shop after being in the business since 2012.

I was upset to hear what had happened to them, and to the amazing authors who worked with them. It was also hard for me to get back into working on my books after that. Short stories I could dive into easily, but books were harder. Books take a lot of commitment, and after having plans fall through like that, it’s been hard to get motivated again.

I’m hoping to change that in 2017. This year I’m planning on focusing a lot more on my novels, and hopefully knock out book 2 for one of my series on the list. I also have a standalone horror novel that I’ve been itching to start too. Here’s my list of WIP novels and short stories for 2017. Look at how complete that short story listing is too!  ❤

If you want to see my 2016 WIP to-do list, check out my post:

Hooray for To-Do Lists!

Coming soon: Hallowe’en Hell

Some excellent news this lovely October day! My Halloween-themed short story, “Dead Man’s Hill”, has been accepted into Sirens Call Publication’s eZine, issue 29: Hallowe’en Hell! Every issue of their eZine is free to read, so you’ll get a whole issue chock full of Halloween tales. How’s that for getting you in the Halloween spirit? Once it’s out, I’ll be sure to post a link here for everyone to enjoy!

dancingskeletons

This story was originally written in a response to the following prompt: A zombie apocalypse occurs in a society which has been ready for it for over a century.

So YES, there will be zombies. And YES, there will be gore. It wouldn’t quite be Halloween without it, right?

Also a big thanks to everyone who visited and posted comments on the HWA book giveaway last week! I haven’t gotten the notification on who won yet, but once I do, I’ve got the anthology right beside me ready to go.