Books

Pending Updates, New Covers

Some titles may be temporarily unavailable pending updates.

As often said, all this is a “learn as you go” process. While trying to make some new design elements/memes/thingys/etc., one of the websites/tools I use frequently, quit working the way it should. Necessity is the mother of invention. I don’t know how I didn’t know about Canva before, but I know about it now. I’m only using the “free” tools that I find here and there, as ever the idea is to make money (I keep telling myself this).  So now, in addition to continuing with some edits, I’m updating book covers. I’m a sentimental gal, I don’t want to get too far away from the original ideas I had for these first book covers. That said, I’m having some fun with it. ( My hand is cramping, however, from all the cropping and intricate/delicate moving of spaces/cutting/pasting/etc.) While updates are pending, some titles may be temporarily unavailable.

 

New paperback cover for The Slick Furies in black, new cover for the Kindle version in red.

    

 

New cover for Loralee

 

 

 

I feel a lot better about these covers. The Slick Furies, while bordering on parody in places, is also a serious horror novel. Filled with multifaceted, conflicted, characters, there are no “saints” in The Slick Furies. (It’s about to get a major editing overhaul as well.) Loralee, while intended as something of a “weekly serial” when it was written, is a decent little bit of business about the hypocrisy of appearances, and the intrigues among the haves and have-nots. I thought of “Loralee” as the kind of novel used to be you could buy at the dime-store to read by the pool or under a shady tree on a hot summer afternoon. The Slick Furies is, to me, a classic vampire story set in the modern age. It is purposely cliché and yet not at all without heart. I think these covers are closer to what I had in mind when I made the originals. Now those few uncorrected proofs with the old covers get to become rarities, the prototypes.

Until next time.

TS

 

 

 

Undone

The other day, in promoting my vampire novel, I posted links to chapter excerpts. In reading through those excerpts again myself, I noticed places where the sentences could use tightening. I noticed places where I want to replace commas with periods. In reading one of my own stories earlier today, I found an instance where I’d changed the name of a character and missed one of the corrections of that name. These are some of the perils of doing everything myself. I am writer, editor, proofreader. I am a one woman show. Is that an excuse for mistakes? No. There are books on my bookshelf by big time authors published by big publishing houses, that have mistakes in them. Is that an excuse for me? No. The truth of the matter is that I’ve needed to slow my roll, as it were, for a while. There’s a balance between letting go of perfection so that the work gets out there at all, and doing the best job I can do. This is also why it is important to let the work sit (rest) for long enough that you can look at it with “new eyes.” So, while I am working on re-writing a novella, I’m not going to publish anything else until I make some of these corrections to previous work. The good news is, there isn’t anything overwhelming in that, the stories are good, ( I say humbly) I like them, and for the most part, pretty clean. But, I want them to be better. I can do that. Was a time when I was far more ruthless about editing my work. I’d go through a piece removing every “and”, for starters, as a way of determining if I needed to use it. I need to get back to those editing habits. Like I said, I’ve needed to slow down some things for a while. I’ve known that. I’ve learned so much in the last few years about the creative part of writing. I’ve written things I never would have attempted before. Creatively, it’s been a wildly expansive time, one that I am grateful and thankful for. Now it’s time to really try to put all that learning together. I’m thinking of it as taking some time to hone my editing skills. Writing is a learn as you go endeavor. Always be learning.

Giving up Pinterest and tumblr has been a good thing. I’ve been tempted to get back on both of those sites but they are a distraction. ( I’m still on the tumblr. Eh. but I have deleted facebook forever.) I realized, I’ve always been trying to do too many things at once because there’s just so much I want to do. I have so much writing work to do, so many things I want to accomplish. Every minute on Pinterest or tumblr is time away from writing, or reading ( my tbr list is endless), or editing, or a multitude of other more productive things. I have, however, come up with a plan for marketing at least the vampire novel, kind of a fun one. Every time I see a post on social media to do with vampires, I’m going to take as a cue to remind me to be about the business of selling the books too and promote the vampire novel along with one other book. (I can tell you here that Season 11, Episode 10, of The X-Files, spoke to many of my concerns regarding modern technology.)

This brings me to the subject of Marilyn Munster. What started this train of thought was Joan Jett. In the early eighties, Joan Jett couldn’t get a record deal. She had twenty-three major label rejections. So, she formed Blackheart Records with producer/songwriter Kenny Laguna, and the rest, as they say, is rock and roll history. “We didn’t start the label on purpose. We started it because we couldn’t find a record deal.” ~ Kenny Laguna.  Can you imagine rock and roll without Joan Jett? It’s an incredibly powerful and empowering, inspiring story. I was thinking about that, how she wouldn’t be stopped from making her music her way. I had a novella that I wanted to see out in the world and it was getting rejected, so I published it myself. What does that have to do with Marilyn Munster?

I was thinking about what we deem to be rebellious, or “different,” or a misfit or an outcast. Who would argue that Joan Jett is a rebel? Was she an outcast? Different? A metaphorical “black sheep” or “lone wolf”, and etc. ad-infinitum? Do you think that was easy, back in the day? But if everyone was, say, a “punk rocker,” if the vast majority of people were “punk rockers,” then being “preppy” could be seen as being rebellious. If you’re from a family of hippies and you go conservative, that could be viewed as rebelling, and vice versa. I was thinking about how Marilyn Munster is the oddball, in a family of monster Munsters, she’s “normal,” and that is seen as being abnormal. Which reminds me of a line from the film “Smokey and the Bandit.”  “When you tell someone something, it depends on what part of the country you’re standing in, as to just how dumb you are.” There are a multitude of variations in perspective as to what is normal, what is rebellious, and so on, depending on who you are, and where you are at. When I first started publishing my work traditionally, I had no idea what I was doing. Without rehashing it, or whatever circumstances were at the time, (years ago now), I felt like no matter what I was doing or how I was doing it, the message was that I was doing it wrong. As for my end of that, I didn’t have it together. I do now.( I hope, I think, maybe, anyway, anyway…) Whatever the case, however it went, at some point I made up my mind not to quit. I made up my mind to teach myself whatever I could, to learn whatever I could, whatever I can. Ultimately, for a variety or reasons, I made up my mind to go my own way. But what I realized is, I was always going my own way. Sometimes, I was doing it wrong. Sometimes, I was just doing it my way because that’s what I wanted to do or thought was best, including things like writing a serial novella on my webpage one chapter at a time and letting people read it for free, along with some stories, poems, etc.  Sometimes, yes, I so wish it had all gone differently, that I’d had it together, made tons of real-true friends, been everyone’s darling, landed the big mainstream book deal, and, hey, life isn’t over. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a cheerleader too. But, things went this other way. I realized, it’s always kind of worked out like that. It has occurred to me that perhaps there is more room in that, more freedom. I’ve decided that I’m no longer sad about it.

The Munsters

One of the definitions of the word “rebellion” is simply the process or action of resisting control, tradition, authority, or convention. “Conventionality belongs to yesterday.” (from Grease by Frankie Valli) Sitting calmly, can be an act of rebellion. These days I tend to think of it (rebellion) in terms of, thinking for myself. My sobriety is an act or rebellion.  What does all that have to do with anything? It has to do with not giving up on your dreams, whether you’re Joan Jett, or Marilyn Munster, not fitting in however, wherever. It has to do with pressing onward despite rejections, mistakes ( we all make those), nay-sayers, and all else. I’m not starting a publishing company, just dealing with my own work is quite enough work, all I can manage, but if I were, I’d call it “Undone Hem,” in reference to something that Joan Didion wrote as she observed a woman who was out of sorts, her hem coming unsewn. To me, that represents everywhere that I was when I set out to do this in 2011. I was a woman out of sorts, out and about with an undone hem. It means something to me. It’s something that I don’t want to forget. I also think that until you’re finished, well, you’re not done. “Undone Hem” is my “Blackheart Records.” I wanted to share that. Find your inspirations where you can. Keep on keeping on.

It is my sincere hope that I’ve many more books to write, to publish, that I am just getting started.

TS

 

“Do not cringe and make yourself small if you are called the black sheep, the maverick, the lone wolf. Those with slow seeing say a nonconformist is a blight on society. But it has been proven over the centuries, that being different means standing at the edge, means one is practically guaranteed to make an original contribution, a useful and stunning contribution to her culture. When seeking guidance, don’t ever listen to the tiny-hearted. Be kind to them, heap them with blessings, cajole them, but do not follow their advice. If you have ever been called defiant, incorrigible, forward, cunning, insurgent, unruly, rebellious, you’re on the right track. Wild Woman is close by. If you have never been called these things, there is yet time. Practice your Wild Woman.”
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Thelxiepeia, Poems 2009 -2012, Available Now!

Thelxiepeia, poems 2009-2012, Now available on Amazon in paperback.

 

 

Basquiat…………………………………………………. 6
Thelxiepeia………………………………………………. 7
Manifest…………………………………………………. 8
Repairs…………………………………………………… 9
The Willow Tree…………………………………………12
Real Myths………………………………………………14
Private Hours……………………………………………15
The Talk Is Savage……………………………………. 17
Miss UnHoly……………………………………………. 19
If We Had These Roses………………………………. 21
Look, Pretty, Stand Still………………………………. 23
Care Full……………………………………………….. 25
Temple Within………………………………………… 27
The Devil Wore Red………………………………… 28
Sherbet…………………………………………………. 29
Dorothy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore…………….. 30
Thump, Thump………………………………………… 34
If Love Hates Me……………………………………… 35
Ichabod Marries……………………………………… 36
Some Obsession………………………………………. 37
Strange Ode to Levon Helm……………………….. 39
This Now………………………………………………… 40
The Ball Jars……………………………………………. 42
The Reincarnation of a Wax-Winged Bird……….. 44
Dirty Knees…………………………………………….. 46
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea…….. 48
Loved As Is…………………………………………….. 50
The Howling Dame…………………………………… 51
Scheherazade………………………………………… 53
Sacred Breath………………………………………… 55
The Fragile Veil……………………………………….. 57

One November, I Published Two Books

I’ve worked hard the last couple of years to get some books published, I’m thinking of them as there were “the first five,” and now there is “the magnificent seven.” I also have stories in three print anthologies, and I’m going to get those linked up with cover pictures, as well as having been published thirteen times various places online during the last six years. In the spring of 2018, I hope to release another collection of poetry, tentatively titled “Thelxiepeia”. After that, well I wouldn’t say what was next even if I had figured that out. I am a prolific writer, and that has always been the case.  Even when I think I’m not really writing much, I’m always really writing something. I had a tremendous back catalogue of manuscripts, books, to publish. “Thelxiepeia” is work that was composed from 2011 to 2012 or thereabouts, so I’m getting closer to being caught up.

The books I’ve released in the last week, “Gold Mine” and “Maybelline Raven and The Wolf”, both came out of a nervous breakdown that began in 2008.  Fact is, I’ve gotten a lot of writing, stories, out of that breakdown though I’d just as soon not got through anything like that again.  “Gold Mine” is really, I think, something that was written, compiled, jammed together, like a panic attack during a panic attack in 2009. That book was very much the moment at the beginning of an avalanche. The title “Gold Mine” came out of some remembered fragment that life experiences are a writer’s gold mine, to which I thought “go mine your own business,” and then thinking that I might have thrown a gold mine worth of writing into a fire. “Maybelline Raven and The Wolf” was written during the first months of 2014, when I was recovering from the worst of it all and really at the beginning of sorting things out. Most people cannot put their house back in order in the middle of the storm. I’ve said before that much of my work is catharsis in that it is something of a coping mechanism, as much as it is a way to dream, it is also a way to understand things, to reason things out in some way, and sometimes, it’s very much a way to get rid of the poison. I’ve written some horror stories that aren’t anything I want to read, writing horror was way outside of my comfort zone as a writer, so if someone tells me they don’t like horror, I can respond honestly that I understand that completely. I’ve also used the “input/output” analogy on that one, the world isn’t always a nice place, all my experiences in this life haven’t been good, sometimes the writing is way to git rid of bad emotions or baggage, we’ve all got stuff. I’ve written some super hopeful, sappy, in love and in love with life stuff too. We learn to appreciate the balance between the “good” and the “bad,” to understand that sometimes those things change, and to sift the wheat from the chaff.

“Maybelline Raven and The Wolf” began as I started to sort out my own ancestry, to research my own family tree. One of the biggest lessons to come out of that has been not to jump the gun. I started out with family stories, finally got to the 100% bottom of some things, researched the actual genealogy and family tree, did a DNA test only to then further read that such a test might not tell you what you want to know or even reveal the truth of your lineage because with each generation the bloodline thins, so to speak, and people migrated and mixed and so on. I learned that the descendants a person can verify and trace are generally the best indicator. I am of English, Irish, and Cherokee descent. It was ultimately easier for me than some as my parents are no mystery to me and I did grow up with a grandparents who were interested in the family history though there were discrepancies and oddities to be sorted out. For example, I grew up with a story that we were related to George Washington, as well as to an “Indian Princess,” to which my grandfather would say, “She wasn’t a princess. That wasn’t her real name.” When you hear stories like that as a kid, it’s ridiculous. Yeah right, sure. In researching the family tree, I found a George Washington, not thee George Washington, but a George Washington. From there I thought, “Okay, what other of these stories are true, and what have I had wrong?”

On my mother’s side of the family, I am able to trace back to the 1500’s in England, to Scotland and to 1800’s Ireland and a young man named Joseph Creighton, aged thirteen years, traveling alone, who arrived in New Orleans in 1847 aboard The Berlin, to Reverend David Caldwell and the Revolutionary War, and to Civil War soldiers who fought on both sides of the conflict. On my father’s side of the family, I am able to trace my ancestry to 1500’s England to Sir Robert Bell, Speaker of the House of Commons, to 1600’s Colonial England to Thomas Burgess whose affair with Lydia Gaunt led to the first ever divorce in Plymouth and to Cherokee Chief Doublehead ( a sixth great-grand-father), whose daughter, Cornblossum (Princess) Doublehead married Big Jake  Troxell and  their  daughter, Margaret Troxell married James Bell in 1809, whose great-grandson, William, a great-grandfather, who married Lena Burgess, one of my great-grandmothers, and the sixth great-grandaughter of Thomas Burgess and Lydia Gaunt. There were also family stories of a relation to The Younger Brothers, of the James- Younger Gang by the marriage of a cousin, connected through the Carson family, though I was unable to verify those stories.

I went on my first cross-country trip to Mississippi and Louisiana before I was quite two years old, and I remember the highlights, including getting bit by a dog. These stories were swimming around in my head as I wrote the story of Maybelline. Maybelline Raven is a woman who has witnessed and experienced something horrific. As a result, her mind has found a way to compartmentalize and deal with the trauma as she remains terrified and trying to protect her children. Set in 1762 in a fictional village along the banks of the Mississippi River, this story was an important turning point for me, it is a story about courage, about strength, about the incredible power of the mind and the heart to heal, it is a story about resilience, survival, and love. Maybelline Raven is also a story that I believed in so much that I was will to roll the dice on publishing my own books, though it wasn’t the first book that I published. Creating “Maybelline” helped me understand my own processes of coping and healing.

I’m going to be taking a bit of a rest ( I already am, caught a bug, needed to sleep, etc.) and hopefully enjoying the holidays, sober,while trying to avoid eating too many delicious baked goods. I’ll probably be working on something. I’ll probably post again before the year is out, or not. Until then, “Gold Mine” and “Maybelline Raven and The Wolf”are  available on Amazon. The paperback of Maybelline should be available any day now.

Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

Teri

Coming soon…Red Line Wine

 

I’m working on the final poems in a collection or poetry and prose titled, Red Line Wine, that I first put together in 1996. These are the poems and prose of my youth, of first love, of heartbreak, of dreams, homesickness, longing, of hope, and believing that anything is possible. I’ll have a little more to say about this work when the time comes, for now, I put together a book trailer for Red Line Wine, using one of poems from the collection, “The Knights of Stolen Roses.”

I hope that you enjoy it!

Teri Skultety

 


THE KNIGHTS OF STOLEN ROSES

Locked within the walls of the past, 
The shadows and secrets of living too fast,
the memories bond the quiet heart,
to the moments when the Knights did part...

From the Top of the World the sun slid down,
Darkness descended on the Court Jester Clown,
Tinker Town in silence, forever fog bound,
Distant trains and the haunted sound,

The souls of seventeenth Summers,
the beats of distant drummers,
the heroes of war, or simply romance,
for those who dared to take a chance,

The midnight moon and shooting star,
knowing when to push it too far,
armored machines of lightning speed,
testing the limit when feeling the need,

Heart beating fast, living to tell,
the days when Knights were raising Hell,
A sweet little princess, and maybe, she might,
Roses you steal in becoming a Knight.

Trust was shared and rarely spoken,
A promise made was rarely broken,
Reaching for that shining brass,
Good and Evil, through the looking glass.

Dreaming of their future days,
When Knights must go their separate ways,
Only to dream of going home again,
For boyhood Knights, make the strongest men.

...A shade, or two, will always remain,
By which to know a loss, or count a gain,
Fiery Red and Forever Blue,
In everything you say and do.

Much more than medieval fantasy,
they wrote their own codes of nobility,
Knighted, by their own free will.
Is the Knight within you living still?

Teri Skultety
Originally composed, March 25, 1987

 

2016 In Books

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These are the books that I read this year, though I am still reading from the Carson McCullers and the Delia Sherman book at random, I’m just about finished with them both.65179-12308646_943269849098749_3838291769538950591_n I’d previously read “Mornings in Mexico” and finished “Etruscan Places” over the summer. “Cheyenne Madonna” was what I was reading back in January, here’s my review. I read “Mongrels” in the spring, everyone’s favorite werewolf novel. I’ve got slightly more than a handful of Jones’s work on my shelf, I’d recommend any of his books that I’ve read. “The Painted Drum”, by Louise Erdrich, is a deeply moving story that I’m still absorbing. I’ve become a fan of Louise Erdrich these last few years, wonderful writing and stories. Shawn Colvin’s memoir, “Diamond in the Rough“, is poignantly honest and funny, while she tells of serious battles with depression and overcoming alcoholism, and looking for a place to call home after a life on the road. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Currently reading Laird Barron’s “Occultation and Other Stories” and I’m finding it to be surprisingly funny in places while being completely scary. I’ve also been randomly reading poems from Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s book of poetry, “Streaming”, and finding it to be stunningly beautiful, inspiring, and haunting.

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I’ll finish reading “Occultation“, and the other story collections, before the year is out. I’ve started thumbing through “Vuckovic’s Horror Miscellany”, which has some interesting items in it, and I’ve begun reading at random from “The Portable Dorothy Parker”,  a book that I’ve had for years now and I’m glad to finally be getting into the thick of.  Quite a few more books than I read last year, still not quite as much as I hope to read next year, but, there wasn’t a bad book in the bunch.

Teri Skultety

Grain, Some Stories 2011-2016

While I was taking a break from all things vampire, I put together a collection of eighteen short stories that I hope to make available for purchase in January of 2017.

Of the eighteen, six have been previously published or have appeared on my web page. You may have noticed when I did the change over to wordpress that I removed some of the links to featured posts, stories. I am re-writing, editing, and sprucing things up. Some of the stories will return as wonderful samples for your reading enjoyment. I will post links, as applicable, when the book is published.

grain-toc

I want my stories to be available in print form, even if they were previously published online. I recently updated my own technological awareness in a variety of ways. I’ve got reading apps on my phone and despite my laments to the contrary, I’ve accepted the modern mobile phone as a multi-functional-computeriffic device. Not only that, I’ve decided to roll with it. Why heck, I’ve decided to embrace it! However, the fact remains that I love to collect old books, and have in my possession several that are over one hundred years old. I’ve yet to have a computer last longer than five years. We take digital pictures, we publish online, and technology moves so quickly that much of it is disposable. Zines, online magazines, sometimes come and go, as do print publications, for that matter. I want my stories, poems, printed up in books so that they might last longer.

To that end, if you’ve followed along for any length of time, you may have noticed that I have also removed, unpublished, all of the chapters of the novella that I composed entirely online titled, “Loralee.” I always wanted to do something more with it and so it is on my list of books to publish, projects to complete.

list-im-working

The checked off numbers/titles are Winsome Vein, The Slick Furies, and Grain, respectively. Some of those numbers are merely ideas, complete ideas, some of them are outlines with substantial work already completed, the majority are completed manuscripts in need of editing or re-writes/re-writing. After selecting the stories for Grain, I’ve got probably another twenty short stories of varying lengths, from flash fiction up to novelette length, for another collection. The final word count for Grain came in at just over thirty-two thousand words, one hundred and forty-three pages. That puts me at over one hundred thousand words for the year, easily. If I rushed it, I could get this book out before the first of the year but I don’t want to do that. When I publish it, and re-introduce those links to the stories that have already been published, I will offer up something of a synopsis for each story.

One of the other things on that list of books to get done is the sequel to The Slick Furies.  That will be a job, one requiring some research. I’ve been thinking about ways to promote this series of vampire hunter novels, which are something of a parody, a send-up, and right now, I’m just thinking about some of those things because that itself could easily eat up all of my focus, or it could try to, and there are so many other things that I want to write and get done. I could probably spend a couple of years working on nothing other than my backlog of poetry as well, I don’t want to do just that either. There’s a time frame for starting the sequel beginning to develop itself in my head. I know that when I get into that, it’ll be all killing vampires for a while which is all to say, that’s why I’m not working on it yet.

I don’t know what the next book is, what I want to work on next. Right now, I’m organizing and sorting. I need another file cabinet. I’m out of printer paper. As I’m taking some time to organize and sort, I’m finding other things that I wrote and/or started to write. My desk is cleared off again, temporarily.

Teri Skultety

The Slick Furies, and Winsome Vein, Available Now!

Available Now! In time for Halloween! 
Get The Slick Furies!

The vampire novel.

Talessia Sinclair works for The Aeternus Fidei Research and Development Center in the quiet City of New Faith, as a criminal profiler. Her last case left her sitting behind a desk, filing papers, for the mysterious Tom Lassiter. Now she must return to the hunt, with her new partner, the no-nonsense, Agent Finn Treadwell, to catch a vicious serial killer. However, this serial killer, is different. This serial killer, is a Vampire!

The Slick Furies is a pulp-horror roller coaster ride firmly anchored in the modern world with roots trailing back to Sixteenth Century France and beyond. Call it Vampire Noir, with a sense of humor, this book never pretends to be something it isn’t. With deeper themes of transformation and love, The Slick Furies will leave you hoping for another bite!


The Slick Furies is available now on Kindle Direct at Amazon.

The Slick Furies, now available in paperback!


Winsome Vein   

In the fall of 2008, after years of cumulative stress and battling illness, author Teri Skultety suffered  a catastrophic nervous breakdown, one that would take the better part of a decade to recover from.

From 2005 to 2008, fearing that she was once again being stalked , not only online by her abusive father ( he is since deceased), but by a former acquaintance, while coping with tremendous grief after the deaths of her beloved grandparents, she wrote thirty-nine poems.

Fear. Illness. Betrayal. Death. Resurrection. Survival. Love. Salvation.
These are the courageous poems of Winsome Vein.

You can read these here…

Sorrow’s Mistress
Will She Burn?
Cure: The Female Animal
Slipshod Paradise
Decorated Reflections
Stone
With All Fine Corpses
Supernova
The Scream

Winsome Vein, the complete selection, is available on Amazon.  



Available Now! Get The Slick Furies!

Available Now! In time for Halloween! 
Get The Slick Furies!

The vampire novel.

Talessia Sinclair works for The Aeternus Fidei Research and Development Center in the quiet City of New Faith, as a criminal profiler. Her last case left her sitting behind a desk, filing papers, for the mysterious Tom Lassiter. Now she must return to the hunt, with her new partner, the no-nonsense, Agent Finn Treadwell, to catch a vicious serial killer. However, this serial killer, is different. This serial killer, is a Vampire!

The Slick Furies is a pulp-horror roller coaster ride firmly anchored in the modern world with roots trailing back to Sixteenth Century France and beyond. Call it Vampire Noir, with a sense of humor, this book never pretends to be something it isn’t. With deeper themes of transformation and love, The Slick Furies will leave you hoping for another bite!


The Slick Furies is available now on Kindle Direct at Amazon.

Paperback coming soon!