Tuesday, September 25, 2018

September News

Happy Autumn, readers! Here are some new places you can check out my work:

Whale Road Review published my poem, "Without," about the refugee crisis. Editor Katie Manning called it both powerful and timely. Read it here.

trampset published my poem, "Requiem for a Robot Dog," which they called "a strangely beautiful poem." Read it here.

Peinate: Hair Battles Between Latina Mothers & Daughters, a new anthology by La Pluma y La Tinta, included my poems, "Abuela" and "Piojos." It's a subject very near and dear to my heart, and I'm thrilled to be included. Copies are available for purchase here.

And last but certainly not least, if you've been watching this blog, then you know that Necropolis, The Order of the Four Sons, Book V released this month. It's available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. If you're an O4S fan, I hope you've already got your copy. As always, reviews are welcome and appreciated. If you have yet to discover the O4S universe, what are you waiting for? There's a helluva good universe next door. Let's go.

Next month, I will have-- well, not a horror story, exactly. A supernatural tale that doesn't fit neatly into any genre category. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks, as always, for reading. Till next month!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Book V is here!

Friends, I am pleased to share that Necropolis: The Order of the Four Sons, Book V, is now available as an ebook.

Kindle users can download it on Amazon.

It is also available on Smashwords, which offers a variety of formats for different devices.

It will be available soon on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and other ebook retailers.

Here's the synopsis for Book V:

“Kill the old gods, and become a god yourself.”

In the wake of their defeat, Starry Wisdom has retreated to their home world of Cerulean, a seemingly idyllic society they have engineered for their own dark purposes. There, Joan Metz; her son, General Michael Anglicus; and the rest of Starry Wisdom proceed with their plans to assemble the Staff of Solomon, even as they prepare for the inevitable reprisal from the Order and Corbenic. Already plagued by doubts and in-fighting, further conflict arises when Countess Elizabeth Bathory is brought into their inner circle, with Nathan DePriest as her apprentice.

The surviving members of the Order, along with a team of Corbenese soldiers and geomancers, have succeeded in infiltrating Cerulean. As they launch a series of attacks, they, too, struggle to overcome their differences.

Meanwhile, in Cerulean’s central city, Bill Welsh is posing as a citizen. Still in thrall to the creature Akhenaton, he wages a fight for his very soul.

Already, heavy losses have been sustained on all sides, driving everyone to increasingly desperate actions. Despite Cerulean’s modern exterior, ghosts, spirits, fearsome beasts and demons still lurk. Worlds hang in the balance as enemies clash. With the end game fast-approaching, anything is possible, and no one is safe. 

Read an excerpt here

Thank you all for waiting so patiently for this installment. Five books down, only one left. I'll keep you posted on its progress.

Enjoy, and please let us know what you think of Necropolis.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August News

Hey, folks! Here are the places you can check out my latest work:

"Large-Breasted Woman" and "Day of the Dead" appear in the Flint Hills Review.

"Rootstock" and "Cicada" appear in the BLOOM edition of Brenda Magazine. You can also read "The Tattoo Artist" on their website here.

O4S update: I finalized the manuscript for Book V this morning and have started formatting. Cover art is in the works. Check out an excerpt here.

Thank you for reading! I'm always thrilled to hear from you, so don't hesitate to leave comments, feedback or reviews.

Monday, July 30, 2018

July News

Hey there, friends! I have new publications I wanted to share with you:

"The Tattoo Artist" was published in Brenda Magazine online as a preview for their upcoming BLOOM edition. It was inspired by a tattoo artist who inks beautiful botanical designs for women who have had mastectomies. Read it here.

"Papaya" appeared in the latest issue of Gambling the Aisle. I wrote this one because some dear friends of mine were expecting, and they referred to their little baby bump as "the papaya," which I thought was the most adorable thing I'd ever heard. The editors remarked that the poem "embodies the risk-taking spirit that our magazine treasures." Read it here.

"Achilles' Fetish," which could be considered either a flash fiction piece or a prose-poem, appeared in Io Literary Journal online, in their Refraction section. It's the testimony of a prostitute who serviced Achilles during the Trojan War. Read it here.

Three poems appeared in the Warriors with Wings, "I Dreamt James Baldwin Was My Father," "The Peanut Festival," and "Unused." This anthology was edited by imminent poets Michael Lee Johnson and Ken Allan Dronsfield, and I am thrilled to be included. It's available on Amazon here.

Finally, I just want to share with everyone that it looks like I'm track to release Necropolis, (The Order of the Four Sons, Book V) in September. I am working with artist Erin Kelso on the cover design. As usual, I can't wait to see what she comes up with. In case you missed it, there's an excerpt available here.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

New O4S Cover Art!

I'm pleased to share with everyone that Necropolis (The Order of the Four Sons, Book V) is on schedule to release in either August or September.

A new book calls for a new look, right? Check out the new cover art for the series. I will share the Book V cover as we get closer to the release date. All four books are available on Amazon and in paperback.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

June News

Happy Summer everyone!

Two poems, "Fondant" and "Sidekick" appeared in Sheila-Na-Gig's summer edition. "Fondant" is about my mother's old cake-baking side business. "Sidekick" is a poem I wrote after someone once said to me that I could never be the hot girl in a movie, but only the sidekick. At the time, it really hurt my feelings, but I think there's something to be said for the Willow Rosenbergs of the world, yeah?

You can read both poems here.

I also wanted to share that I got a lovely review on Our Miss Engel, my vampire novella:

Thanks, Debra! I'm always thrilled to get feedback of any kind. Our Miss Engel is very near and dear to my heart, and I still toy with the idea of writing a sequel to it. With the impending conclusion of the O4S series, who knows?

As always, thanks to all of you for reading! Stay cool out there.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Sacred Heart Soundtrack

It’s been almost two years since I posted the Book III soundtrack. Man, how time flies. I had promised that I would do Book IV’s sometime after it was published. (Technically, I have held to that.) But then I thought I’d wait until after Book V was done. That took longer than anticipated.

But we’re here now—Book V is basically done! Which means cover art in the works! And The Sacred Heart soundtrack. Hooray!

This part of the story is even more character-driven than the previous entries. As such, I didn’t really focus on soundtracking individual scenes as much as I did assigning the various characters a song.

Without further ado… thar be spoilers! Proceed with caution.

1. Christophe - Non, je ne regrette rien, Edith Piaf

Christophe is probably our favorite character in the whole series. Among his many virtues, he lives life at full throttle. Even as an eight-year-old kid, he says, of his exploits, “No regrets.” I can’t think of anything more Christophe than that.

2. Madeline– Lady Marmalade, Patti LaBelle

Murphy and Bill jokingly refer to Christophe as “Lady Marmalade,” but the song itself is more fitting for his lady love, Madeline, an ex-courtesan who has managed to emerge from her poor start in life to become a woman of refinement, grace, courage and wisdom.

3. Jack – I Will Possess Your Heart, Deathcab for Cutie

“You gotta spend some time, love
You gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you'll find love
I will possess your heart.”

This song is actually really creepy, which means it is totally Jack. He is determined to possess hearts… and other organs.

4. Janus – Bad Businessman, Squirrel Nut Zippers

“…every time he deals a round 
It's just a bad hand 
What a bad man. 
Beware of what he sells 
Surely go straight to hell. 
T' ain't no bottom in that wishing well
Bad businessman…”

Janus is one of those characters that we feel very sorry for—he was born to two people trapped in a loveless marriage, and it pretty much goes downhill from there. We hope reincarnation exists for his sake because he has the potential to be a very fine human being. But not in this timeline.

5. Nicole – Missing, Evanescence

“Please, please forgive me,
But I won't be home again.
Maybe someday you'll have woke up,
And, barely conscious, you'll say to no one:
‘Isn't something missing?’”

Janus’ misery spills over and drowns his poor wife, Nicole. She’s not a major character, but the ripples caused by her life and death factor heavily into the story’s events.

6. Leto – Off to the Races, Lana del Rey

“My old man is a bad man
But I can't deny the way he holds my hand
And he grabs me, he has me by my heart
He doesn't mind I have a Las Vegas past
He doesn't mind I have a L.A. crass way about me
He loves me with every beat of his cocaine heart…”

Let’s just say, Leto’s dad is the grossest. Thank God she takes after her mother.

7. The Blue Room– Black Black Heart, David Usher

Oh, God, this song. This scene. Leo and Alyssa bonding the way they do best: over sex and trauma.

8. Dreamfast – Goodnight, Irene

Kate finds out who she is. It’s a lot to unpack. Homegirl’s gonna need some time, is what I’m sayin’.

9. Riots/Mauvais Sang – Get Free, Whissell

I’m cheating a bit here. I didn’t hear this song until about a year ago, well after Book IV was done. But the minute I heard it, it took me right to Lady Lamprise sitting astride her horse. And of course, the whole damn planet is under occupation, so there's that too.  

10. The Proposal - Time is Running Out, Muse

Leo proposes, with predictable results.

11. Liberation – Club Foot, Kasabian

This is one of those songs where it’s not so much about the lyrics for me, but the way the song sounds. It’s a frantic song, and an uprising is definitely a frantic time.

12. The King – Follow the Sun, Xavier Rudd

I mean, it was either this, or “Here Comes the Sun.” 

13. 1,000 – Trigger-Happy Jack, Poe

Jack again, playing his dirtiest trick of all.

14. The Funeral - The Sisters of Mercy, Leonard Cohen

There’s nothing to say here but *sniff.*

15. Exeunt - There’s No Home for You Here, The White Stripes

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Goodbye, Corbenic. Hello, Cerulean. Our last stop in the O4S-verse. 

Like my jam? Check out the rest of the series soundtracks here:

Thursday, May 31, 2018

May News

Hello, hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! May has been another terrifically busy month.

Over on Poets.Media, Laura DiNovis reviewed my poetry collection, West Side Girl & Other Poems: “West Side Girl is Lauren Scharhag's only book of poems as of yet, but lovers of new and exciting poetry will find themselves hoping that she will feel compelled to assemble another collection, one that is filled with equally visceral language that will continue to send chills down their spines.” 

On Amazon, I also received a new five-star review on The Winter Prince. "Outrageous fun... Within this one magical tale, I reflected on other magical tales that I’d read as a child: Little Red Riding Hood with the woodcutter, Rip Van Winkle, the Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Like these old tales, this one is lovely and fresh, magical and deep."

Big thanks to both these reviewers! I am always so humbled to know someone out there is reading and enjoying my work.

In case you missed it, I have completed a first draft of Necropolis (The Order of the Four Sons, Book V). I am hoping for an August or September release. I have posted a new excerpt for your delectation here

And last, but certainly not lease, my work appeared in a few more publications this month:

My poem, "eDreams" was on Duane's PoeTree Blog, which marks my third appearance on his site. I'm pleased to be a regular. 

My Lovecraftian short story, “The Seven Wives of Richard Copeland," was released in Schlock's Quarterly anthology, a compendium of the prior months' best work. It's available for purchase on Lulu here. Or you can read it on their webzine archives here.

And finally, my poem, "Whale Songs at 52 Hertz," appeared on Dying Dahlia Review. This poem was inspired by an article I read about the world's loneliest whale

Thank you to all the lovely editors and reviewers out there who believe in me. As some writer or other has said, there's no money in writing, and even when there is, there's not much money, so I find so much joy in all of these little victories. Thank you for letting me share them with you. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Necropolis Excerpt

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a working first draft of The Order of the Four Sons, Book V. I'm hoping for a release in August or September.  

If you've read Book IV, you've read the excerpt we included at the end. Here's a brand-spankin' new one, in which Lady Bathory and Nathan DePriest are up to their usual mischief.  


3_love of Elizabeth Bathory, by b-lackdante

Excerpt from Necropolis 

Millie had done what Lady Bathory had asked of her—she’d dropped what she was doing and hastened to get the candidates from Earth brought over. (With the General’s permission, of course, though he had told Millie that she was not beholden to Bathory’s unreasonable timeframe.) Millie had only just done it the night before for the General—six associates from Earth had been summoned to meet with him. So Lady Bathory’s request should be a piece of cake. Transdimensional communiques had to be sent out. Usually, technicians were dispatched to open the gate, but with new security measures, only Esfir Taghvaei, one of the Matriarch’s high priestesses, was allowed to do so.
To Millie’s satisfaction, it all went off without a hitch. The gate to Earth was in a field outside the city of Omoroca, its boundaries marked by granite standing stones. Millie almost always went to the gate to greet the arrivals, and soldiers always escorted her. She assumed this was a ceremonial duty demanded by the General.
The eight people Bathory had requested began arriving at 1:30, four men and four women. By 2:30, they had loaded their luggage into the vehicle and were speeding back to Evangelium. As they drove, the candidates inquired about the position, about Lady Bathory, and about Cerulean itself. Millie pointed out landmarks as they rolled past and their visitors were suitably impressed. It should have been a pleasant enough journey, but a few times, Millie caught the people from Earth looking at her in a way that made her uncomfortable. Even the soldiers seated on either side of her, usually so impassive, seemed more alert than usual. Millie arranged such travel for people who served the Matriarch several times a year, at least, and while some of them were a bit distant, or even cold, she couldn’t remember a group that had made her so distinctly nervous.
By 4:00, Millie escorted the group to Lady Bathory’s door. As always, Mr. DePriest let them in.
After Millie introduced the guests individually to Lady Bathory, the Countess gave her an appreciative nod. “Thank you very much, Miss Kincaid,” she said. “Would you be so good as to wait downstairs while Nathan and I conduct the interviews?”
“Of course, Lady Bathory.” To the visitors, Millie smiled and said, “Good luck.”
Millie had brought her tablet and mobile with her. She checked in with the General to make sure his meeting had gone well (it had), and to see if he needed her for anything else today (he didn’t), then settled down in the lobby to get some projects knocked out.
An hour went by. Then two.
Late again? Donald sent.
Yeah, sorry.
He sent her an image of Phoebe and Daisy at the dinner table, making extravagantly silly faces over steaming bowls of chicken and dumplings. Millie’s favorite meal. Millie sighed. He’d gotten a bit short with her last week when she’d forgotten to pick the girls up from school. Apparently, all was forgiven.
She decided to take a walk—first just around the block. Then down to the park and back. She browsed some nearby shops. Throughout, Donald sent her more photos of the girls: bent over their homework, playing outside, getting ready for bed.
They had reached the four-hour mark. Perhaps Lady Bathory had forgotten she was here?
She tried calling Lady Bathory’s mobile, but there was no answer. At last, Millie returned to the apartment building.
With a soft ding and a swish of doors, the elevator delivered her to the top floor. Immediately, Millie felt the skin along her scalp begin to prickle and her heart sped up. Something was wrong here. What was it?
Stepping into the hallway, the first thing she noticed was that the air smelled funny, like something had burned, mixed with another, fainter smell, almost metallic. There was a wet streak along the marble floor, too thick to be water or tea. Could it be blood? But how? What could have possibly happened? Structurally, the building looked fine, though there were long gouges and burn marks in the walls. The door to Lady Bathory’s flat hung askew, partially torn from its hinges. Its wooden surface was also marred by scorched-looking holes. Voices came from within. Millie couldn’t make them out, but the metallic smell was stronger here, damp and rank. At her feet was a larger streak of blood that ran the length of the foyer and rounded the corner into the living room. Carefully, quietly, Millie followed it, the voices growing louder. And there was another sound now, a sound like something scraping and tearing…
In the living room, Millie froze.
The flat, previously so serene and tidy with its creams and beiges, was now almost entirely coated in a lurid red. It dripped thickly from the walls and the windows. The floor was coated in it. Standing pools made a swamp of the furnishings and the throw rugs, darkened clots squelching in the fibers. It seemed no surface had been spared, everything soaked and smeared and spattered...

New to the O4S-verse? Check out the rest of the series on Kindle Unlimited

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April News

Hey folks! I have big news to share this month. First, the usual publication roundup:

My poem, "The Invention of Blue," was published in Isacoustic, first on their online magazine, and then again in their quarterly anthology, available through Lulu. The poem is about the theory that primitive humans couldn't perceive the color blue.

"Blood Orange" appeared in Minute Magazine, a free online zine dedicated to poems about little things. I think this one's fairly self-explanatory.

I saved the biggest news for last-- I just completed a first draft of The Order of the Four Sons, Book V. It only took five years, right? I promise Book VI will not take nearly so long. As you'll recall, Book IV left off with our heroes landing in Cerulean, intending to take the fight to Starry Wisdom.

Now I have to go through the process of re-writes, edits, formatting and all that behind-the-scenes stuff. I'm hoping for an August or September release date, but I'll keep you posted. Look for some O4S-related posts and giveaways between now and then.

As always, thank you for reading!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

March News

Hi, folks! This month, my work appeared in three publications.

First, my poem, "Days of Bread and Razors" was one of six featured on the UK website, Two Lungs Publication for their International Women's Day Special Edition. It's a poem based on the experience of a woman I knew who had gone through a terrible marriage and an equally terrible divorce. Read it here.

Willawaw Journal included my poem, "Montego Bay." This poem was inspired partially by the lovely poetry prompt they put out with their submission call, written by Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen, and in part from an actual trip to Jamaica my husband and I took. If you're new to this blog, you may not know that my husband is a kidney transplant patient. Read it here.

And finally, my work has made its second appearance over on Duane's PoeTree Blog. This time, he published "Retconning," which was previously published in the magazine, Ramingo's Porch. Read it here.

Also, I'm always pleased to share reviews. Here's one I got on West Side Girl & Other Poems over on Amazon:

Thank you, dear reader! And thanks to all of you who stop by my blog every now and then.

Next month, I'll be doing a review of Pat Durmon's new poetry book, Women, Resilient Women. If you haven't checked out her work yet, she's a wonderful poet with several titles available on Amazon.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February News

Guys, February was something of a deluge. Ten poems in four magazines! I'm so pleased to share this with you.

In Turnip Truck(s), two short poems appeared. One was "Pisces," which I wrote for fellow poet Eve Brackenbury to wish her a happy birthday a few years back. The other was "Nests."

Five : 2 : One Magazine's #sideshow featured five short poems, "The Bus Ride," "Asphalt Fruit," "Looks Back Into You," "Running Barefoot" and "The God Sieve." You can not only read them, but you can listen to me read them! I notice that, more and more, lit mags are looking for multimedia submissions. I don't think I'll ever be cool enough to create short videos, or to properly perform my work like a real spoken-word artist would. All the same, I hope you enjoy my dulcet tones, along with the words.

Ramingo's Porch included not only my poem, "Retconning," but an interview as well. You can read the latter on Ramingo's Blog here.

And finally, in Mermaid Mirror, an anthology of all women and women-identified writers, I had two poems appear, "Scenes From a Women's Bathroom Stall" and "Mi Pelo."

If you enjoy my poetry, swing on over to Instagram and check out my poetry account, @laurenscharhag. A lovely person there named Luke Saint Hill read and reviewed the edition of Into the Void in which my work appeared. He said, it "contains a range of edgy and hard-won poems. I especially enjoyed Lauren Scharhag's 'Nuestra Señora de Ogilvie,' about a family hair washing ritual... There is tenderness and humour but it ends with a sting, navigating towards the 'price women pay' for beauty and acceptance." Cheers, Luke!

Follow him @lukesainthill for more lit mag musings.

Thank you, as always, for reading!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

January News

Hey, folks! 2018 is off and running. I had three publications this month I'm excited to share with you.

The first was my poem, "Migraine," which appeared on Duane's PoeTree Blog. This is one I wrote many moons ago. I've been a migraine sufferer since I was about seven years old, so it's a subject that I know a lot about. But I had never submitted it before because I didn't think it was good enough.

Back in November, I created an Instagram poetry account. (I'm @laurenscharhag, if you're interested.) I've been relying a lot on old writings for content, which means it's been a great opportunity to revisit my old stuff. Some of it is just as bad as I thought it was, but there were a few gems. I'm sure other writers can relate. In the course of looking for stuff I could post on my IG account, I found "Migraine," and decided to send it out. I am continuously learning that I am the worst judge of my own work. Don't be like me. Believe in yourself, and send the work out. You're bound to connect with somebody.

The second publication this month was, "That One I Wrote During the Eclipse," which appeared in The Broke Bohemian. The folks at TBB liked the poem so much, they made it this edition's Editor's Choice. I'm astonished and humbled that this meandering, stream-of-consciousness piece has been recognized in such a way. The title is, uh, self-explanatory? I've been trying to provide a bit of background on my poems in this blog. I guess I've been thinking it's important to show people something of a working poet's process. In this case, let's just say, it was a true story.

And finally, the third piece that saw print this month was a short story! I don't write nearly as many as I want to-- I'm still working on some novels, so when I do write prose, I tend to focus my energy on those. I'm hoping that when they're done, I can take some time to up my short story game. In the meantime, "The Seven Wives of Richard Copeland" appeared in Schlock! Magazine (UK). Do you love the old-school pulp cover art as much as I do?

"Seven Wives" is a riff on Lovecraft's story, "Pickman's Model." In my piece, a black market arts dealer named Eva is hired to hunt down some of Pickman's work for a collector. She finds it, and since this is a Lovecraftian tale, terrible things happen. Obviously.

One more bit of news before I sign off-- a friend from high school tagged me on IG. She wanted me to know that her son was reading and loving The Ice Dragon. She said, "I love that you have become the writer you dreamed of being all those years ago, and I love that I can share your words with my children." You guys, I teared up. This is the greatest reward a writer can ever hope to achieve. Thank you, friend, for sharing this moment with me. 

I feel like a broken record sometimes because I say, "Thank you," so much, and it's just the tiniest fraction of the gratitude that I feel. Thanks to all these lovely editors for believing in me. And, as always, thank you, kind readers. You're the whole reason I'm here.

Monday, January 1, 2018

December News

Happy 2018! I hope you've all had a terrific holiday season and are looking forward to the New Year/blank slate as much as I am. 

I closed out 2017 on an exceptionally high note. I am thrilled to share with everyone that my poem, "Meteor," received the 2017 Door is a Jar AwardI wrote "Meteor" shortly after David Bowie passed away. I had just watched The Man Who Fell to Earth, and had all that in mind when I wrote it. Truly, it's such an honor to have my work recognized. Getting published anywhere is always so rewarding-- to go beyond that really bowls me over. 

My work also made its third appearance in Darrell Laurant's Snowflakes in a Blizzard. I did an interview regarding The Ice Dragon-- apropos for the holidays. Every time I mention Snowflakes in a Blizzard on this blog, I encourage everyone to really spend some time browsing it. Laurant does a phenomenal job of sifting through the millions of indie authors out there and spotlighting unique voices. It's like the coolest little virtual book store. 

ICYMI, all of my titles are now available on Kindle Unlimited. This month, Our Miss Engel received a five-star review:

"Interesting and well-written. No goofy sparkly guys here! Frances Hodgson Burnett with a twist."

"The poet holds nothing back. She puts it all out there... This book takes me to the multidimensional sides of a person. Many poems in the book have an irreverent wildness. The persona engages in and is highly aware of the culture, the joys and horrors of it. She makes the reader think. Scharhag leaps and embraces vulnerability. There is a toughness, sexuality, and good vs evil in her poems. Her poems are honest, raw and dramatic. She speaks both of faith and of the uncles who turn stolen goods into coke, crack, hash and cash..."

Thanks very much to these kind readers! 

I've already got several publications lined up for 2018. I can't wait to see where the creative journey will lead next. 

Thanks, as always, for reading! Best wishes to all.