A sneak peek at Liz McAdams – behind the scenes
A little more about me as a writer
The old adage ‘show, don’t tell’ doesn’t quite apply here because my work is literally spattered across the globe in various forms, most buried under pseudonyms or NDAs. I’m a freelance writer and editor with a focus on creating engaging copy for a web audience rather than maintaining uptight grammatical correctness. Yep, you know what I’m talking about.
I’m currently working on four (yes, FOUR) novels, two finished and just needing final touches, and two others nearing completion (one with only 15K to go before I call the first draft done – the other still has a long, long way to go). For an indication of my obsessive-single-mindedness, I started the first novel 12 months ago, this month. Everything else came after.
I love to go to writing workshops, and think there’s something to be learned from every genre and the folks who write in them (and yes, you’ll see me sitting in those ‘memoir’ workshops along with octogenarians trying to pen their family history).
Although, truth be told, I think I scared them a little. But it’s all good.
My fiction spills across the page in all kinds of places, and here’s a small sampling of stuff published by kind folks like Gary over at Spelk, Cindy Rosmus at Yellow Mama and the killer folks at Near to the Knuckle. Twisted Sister lit mag is like my new second home, you can find my work splattered all over the place over there. I’ve got essays and ramblings galore — you can find a monstrously huge essay about monsters right here. You can find longer or more experimental pieces of fiction over on the Deep Space page (right now I have classic scifi and magic realism, but not together ; -)
And be sure to stay tuned for my work over at Shotgun Honey this fall – I can’t wait.
Here’s a short, sharp, sampling of some of my wares. Enjoy.
Stories and short excerpts follow below:
A high school misfit gets her revenge on prom night in BLOW JOB.
Sure, it’s not like she had a lot of friends. Or was even remotely popular. Goth artist brandishing a sketchbook, you could say she was kinda cool. But not at this school, social pariah hanging out with other misfits was more like it.
Still, she had friends. Or used to.
Read the rest over at Yellow Mama archives (scroll down to the bottom of the page).
A teenager poisons her mother in order to grab some money to go to the mall in BOOM, BUST.
“Where the hell do you think you’re goin?” Mom was just warming up. Perched in her bed, surrounded by empty glasses and pill bottles, she was queen and a steel grey man’s haircut was her crown.
Mom wagged her head at Charlyn’s t-shirt. “And you sure as hell aren’t going out looking like that.”
Read the rest over at Yellow Mama archives (scroll down to the middle of the page).
In CHICKEN BONE SUNDAY, a mother brings her son a chicken dinner, and a prison riot follows — inmates shot dead, guard stabbed — suspected weapon, a chicken bone.
Tatie Wilson opened the envelope and smiled at jumbled printing. Her boy was never much of a writer, but his words warmed his momma’s heart. Phone calls were things that were hard to come by, long line ups and all. Poor boy was having a rough go of it now, ever since they transferred him to general population.
In FULL SERVICE take a ride along for some sexy fun — it’ll have you rethinking driving stick shift.
Marjorie Jones was a woman of money, of a certain age and distinguished taste, quite refined, she thought as she pulled the Jaguar into the service station; but she did have certain proclivities. Little quirks, as it were.
Easing the car into park, her well-manicured hand glided over the gear shifter and she looked around expectantly. Marjorie smoothed her skirt, a bit short for work, but this was an afternoon meeting, and she’d already called her assistant to say she’d be late.
In an essay on horror, WE INVITE THEM IN, I talk about how the truth in horror tells more about ourselves than we’d dare to believe.
We invite them in – with our stories
This was supposed to be a brief review of Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, a book that some critics have called “one of the most frightening novels you will ever read.” I think most readers are familiar with the story (it’s been out since 1979, and still feels remarkably fresh and modern to today’s reader, although perhaps the lack of cell phones might be a sore point. I never even noticed it, but I’m from that generation, BC – before cells.)
In HOW TO MAKE AN OMELETTE Margo gets away with murder — or does she? Is a carton of eggs considering incriminating evidence?
Margo studied the frying pan in her hand — heavy cast iron with an ergonomic handle, a gift from her mother-in-law, and now spattered with blood and white flecks. Her husband sprawled across the kitchen floor, a gaping hole where the left side of his head used to be.
Read the rest at Spelk.
I get up close and personal with the thing that goes bump in the night — and you better be careful heading up those basement stairs — in INTERVIEW WITH THE BOOGEY MAN.
First off, I go by Bow-gee, not Boo-gee. Boo-gee sounds too much like boogers and dance moves, which, although I dig them both, isn’t what I’m all about.
What’s my deal then?
Scaring folks, mostly.
Sometimes I do some side jobs with property damage; you know when things fall apart for no real reason, you can thank me. I like pipes – bursting them’s fun, flooding basements and overflowing toilets are a real laugh. Maybe some electrical problems here and there, but I like the messy stuff, mostly.
Is an elderly serial killer still considered dangerous? Is it really so bad if he escapes in I’VE DONE MY TIME?
Three square meals a day, luxurious heating and air conditioning comfort, fresh linens, hot showers – what more can a man ask for?
But I’ve done my time here.
Blue-shirt staff slams my door shut, metal clanging and keys rattling. Blue-shirt waves good night, and I smile like a good patient should.
Once his back is turned I surreptitiously spit my pills onto the ground. Grind them to a fine powder with my foot, and sweep it into the dust on the floor. All they see on camera is a crazy old guy sliding his feet on the floor.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
This is an EXCERPT from Lot 149, a paranormal story about Keira, a recently divorced woman who purchases a decaying old farmhouse with a truly spectacular history. Her furniture and belongings have yet to arrive, she suspects her ex is holding her up. To help repair the house, she calls in Frank, a local handyman and pest control guy. Several unnerving things have already happened and Keira has become aware of the some of the history behind the house. In this excerpt they go into the basement.
“There’s more of them,” Keira stood, balancing on a step halfway down the basement stairs, struggling to hold a flashlight and sledgehammer in one hand while gripping the railing with the other.
“You’re sure?” Frank’s voice came from behind her.
“Lots more – Fr-ANK,” his name twisted as her voice rose in panic. Bugs, like gigantic cockroaches; thousands of bugs – bugs, that’s just what they are – she told herself, only bugs – covered the entire dirt floor, forming a glistening carpet of hard shells and waving antenna.
The internet is a source of many things. YouTube instructional videos and online shopping come together in horrific ways in MAIL ORDER.
“Goddamnit, not again.” I looked up from the kitchen table over at the YouTube video playing on my laptop. Reaching out, I hit pause, then backed it up a little.
The blonde stretched out on the table started to move, so I shoved the chloroform rag up against her face one more time. Blondie just wouldn’t quit.
After a few seconds of the ol’ chloroform she stopped moving, and I turned back to the video. “Goddamned motherfucker,” I moved the little slider back, and picked up my knife, trying to follow along.
A bunch of psychopaths and serial killers are locked up in a maximum security facility in ON THE RIDGE — what can go wrong?
The metal door clanged shut, concrete walls and iron bars surrounded me. I smiled. Home, sweet home.
“Working overtime tonight, Ted?” the guard nodded.
“Yep, they called me in. Short or something.”
“You know the drill, sign here,” keys jingling, the guard pointed at the roster list. All the names going in, and out of the Ridge. The oldest and largest maximum security psychiatric facility in the country. Only staff get to leave. The patients stay indefinitely.
Romance gone bad and buggy in RESTITUTION or payback’s a bitch.
She held the bouquet of orchids above the trash; of course he sent flowers, probably something rare. From South America. Big. Whoop.
Didn’t matter, it was over anyway. Guy was a bore, said he was an entomologist; major creepo, always going on about bugs all the time.
Sibling rivalry and child abduction come together in SATURDAY MORNING.
It was a Saturday morning that my sister disappeared. She was wearing her yellow sundress and I had on my green one. People said we looked like twins. I said we didn’t, because I was five and she was only three, but they just laughed.
In SOAP the voices in your head just became real; and the consequences can be pretty messy.
“Now don’t open the door for anybody,” Mama turned in the doorway, her winter coat on and a bucket of cleaning supplies tucked under her arm. “Liza’ll be here soon as she gets in from work. Just sit tight ‘til then, OK, sugar?”
In SOFTBALL a victim of abuse gets her final revenge, just before softball practice.
He said it was only a game – a secret between you and me.
It was a game he played after her mom left for work, a game of too much tickling, reaching in and touching – all wrong, she thought as she tried to twist away. He held her wrist and they laughed, he laughed too loudly, she laughed because she was scared not too.
In SPARE CHANGE panhandling just became a full contact sport, but it’s all in a day’s work for these two.
“Spare change?” I held out my cup and smiled at the guy, hoping buddy’d think I looked like his daughter or something.
Skinny-assed businessman ignored me.
Walking past, cell phone pressed to his ear, gold watch peeked out from beneath his suit cuff.
I nodded at Em; she was sitting on the sidewalk about half a block away.
A murderous cat is on the rampage in TLC.
“What the hell is that?”
“You said we could get a cat, this poor guy was left at the shelter.” Mel cradled the grey cat in her arms; shiny skin covered half his head, and one ear appeared to be chewed off.
“No wonder, he looks half-dead,” Ryan wasn’t really surprised to see the cat; it was just uglier than he’d ever thought possible; the patchy coat reminded him of a worn shag carpet.