Happy October! To kick off my seasonal blog fun, I’m reprinting one of my poems here.

“Fiend” was first published last year in the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume II by the Horror Writers Association. I always enjoy the broad range of poetic styles and topics in these anthologies, and am honored to be included. I hope you enjoy!


When the dreams begin,
I slip in and crouch on your chest,
compressing relaxation
into something tighter, heavier.
The soft little moan of protest you give?
My cocktail.
I sip it from your lips
like fine brandy.
You try to shift; I settle in.
The slick dew that blooms
on your forehead tastes salty and sour –
an exquisite appetizer.
My darling,
you are one of my favorites.

Once the nightmare takes hold,
your eyeballs roam fiercely behind your lids.
I want to pluck them out
and pierce them with my teeth,
but I resist
for now.
I content myself with swallowing whole
your cry of fear.
The frantic beats of your heart,
my main course,
rising and rising, faster, faster,
heightened by those delicious shouts.
Your thrashing arm brushes my cheek,
and I nuzzle the fine hairs that stand on end there,
breathing in the aroma.
My dinner music:
the grinding of your teeth,
the convulsive rhythm of your swallow.

The longer I stay with you,
the further you descend
into the twisted world of sleep.
I could make a glutton of myself.
I could devour you and, perhaps,
finally feel satiated –
fill the chasm within –
for once, know what it is
to not be hollow.
But not this time, darling.
This time I will slip away
and give you time to recover,
for another night will come
when I will need you again.
Someday, though.
Someday I will take my fill.

© Annie Neugebauer, 2015

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Winners! Plus What’s To Come

We have winners!! Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway. The three names I drew at random are:

1. Carie Juettner
2. Lisa Bubert
3. Jay Lemming

I’ll be emailing you all, in order, to get your book selections and mailing addresses. Congrats, and I hope you enjoy the reads!

And if you didn’t win but wanted to read some of my latest, you can always buy your own! Purchase links are included in this list. 🙂

Now, what’s to come?

So far, 2016 has been a fantastic year for me. I’d like to take a moment today to share some of my acceptances and forthcoming releases so you know what to keep an eye out for.

I’m looking forward to the audio performance of my flash horror piece “Hide” at Pseudopod October 7 – just in time for Halloween. “Hide” was first published in Black Static and listed in Ellen Datlow’s recommended list for Best Horror of the Year Volume 7. (Speaking of Pseudopod and Halloween: to tide you over, why not listen to my Halloween story “Jack and the Bad Man” by Pseudopod 2 years ago?)

28627395On November 1 the Writer Unboxed team is coming out with our first book: Author-in-Progress, a nonfiction guide by Writers Digest Books, which includes my essay about getting the most out of critique. (You can pre-order that one now for $18.42!) Writer Unboxed mama Therese Walsh has worked so hard on this. I have no doubt it will become a must-have reference for writers, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

I’m SO excited to have my personal dark fantasy/horror story “Dealing in Shadows” forthcoming in Suspended in Dusk 2. This anthology is edited by Simon Dewar, published by Books of the Dead Press. The table of contents is here; cover to come. I’m beyond honored to have taken one of the only two open spots on this one! Look for it sometime this fall/winter.

Killing It SoftlyI absolutely love when one of my previously-published stories is reprinted, especially if the first publication was expensive, limited, or otherwise difficult for people to get their hands on. So I’m really stoked that my homage to Poe, “The Call of the House of Usher,” will appear in Killing It Softly, an all-women horror anthology by Digital Fiction Publishing Corp. Pre-order now for $5.99 and get it on October 12.

In the realm of reprints, another story of mine, “Pièce de Résistance,” which was a bit on the pricey side in its first publication, will soon come out as an affordable stand-alone digital reprint, which is a fun new thing for me. Digital Fiction Publishing Corp. will be putting this out through their Digital Horror Fiction line sometime next year. (My very first solo) cover to come!

Memento MoriOne more reprint for the road! I’m delighted that my story “The Cottage of Curiosities” will appear in Digital Fiction Publishing Corp.’s horror anthology Memento Mori. This one first appeared in Strange Little Girls, which I absolutely love, but it’s always exciting to have a piece in more than one venue. Hopefully it will reach more people this way! Look for Memento Mori sometimes this fall/winter.

Last but certainly not least, my story “The Devil Take the Hindmost” will be published in Dark Hallows II by Scarlet Galleon Publications, edited by Mark Parker. I’m ecstatic to be included in this collection, and I can’t wait for you to read my story. It’s a period piece set in Scotland, involving the most research I’ve ever done for a short story. But I think it was worth it, and I hope you’ll agree. This anthology will be out in time for Halloween! Pre-order now for $8.99 and get it on October 25.

Those are all of the publications I’m looking forward to. (Well, I have one more anthology story that I can’t share yet.) I hope you’ll keep your eye out for them! Of course I’ll announce them each as they come out, some here (have you subscribed to my blog yet?), but also on Facebook and Twitter. PS- You can always visit my publications page to see what’s out, where to get it, and go to the bottom to see what’s coming soon. 🙂

Thanks, congrats to my winners, and have a great week!

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All the Pretty Copies (Giveaway!)

[Quick note for writers: be sure to check out my latest post at LitReactor, “When Writers Do It Wrong: The Top 10 Ways To Annoy Your Twitter Followers,” and the third and final part to my query series at Writer Unboxed, “Query Letters Part 2: The Extras.”]

Anyone who’s a writer or lives with or loves a writer knows what a hard road this is. It’s full of dropped hopes and rejections and failure and disappointments. It really is. It’s a lot (a lot a lot) of hard work for very little pay. It’s big dreams and usually small realities.

The best way I’ve found to not just survive, but keep the love, is to celebrate! It’s too easy to let the happy little things fly past without stopping to savor them, much less announce them. There’s always the next submission, the next big goal, the next deadline, but if we don’t pause to appreciate how far we’ve come, we burn out fast. I do, anyway.

So I’m celebrating. And what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway?

My absolute favorite thing to celebrate (besides maybe initial acceptances, which I usually can’t share) are contributor copies. It is so much fun to get my very own copy of a publication I have work in. There’s something extra special about holding a print copy in my hands, but even digital release days are thrilling.

Lately I’ve been lucky enough to get a handful of contributor copies in the mail all around the same time. It’s made me stop to savor even more. Big or small, all of these lovely books contain my writing in them, and I’m awfully proud and grateful. Just look at all the pretty copies:

book bouqet 1

What’s in the bouquet?

51NQqb4oP+L._SX360_BO1,204,203,200_The Beauty of Death includes my sci-fi horror story “Vestige.” This one is more on the graphic side. Cool tidbit: this story was accidentally accepted at two different markets. (Market error; not mine, thank goodness.) I’m very happy with where it ended up. This anthology has tons of great horror by authors both famous and new. You can buy the ebook for $9.99.


TPC17-FrontCover-REV-web-190The Texas Poetry Calendar is an annual favorite for many here in my home state. It’s packed with talent every year, and the upcoming weekly calendar is no exception. 2017’s edition includes my poem “Rocking” – sort of a free verse love poem to my husband. Texan yourself or just a poetry-lover: You can order your calendar from Dos Gatos for $14.95.


Poetry Showcase 3HWA Poetry Showcase Volume III includes my poem “The Shed.” This is one of my favorite creepy poems, and I’m happy to be included in the Horror Writers Association’s annual anthology for the third year running. It’s always a nice array of styles and content. You can buy the ebook for $2.99. And for the first time you can order a print version for $7.99 at Amazon.


26831954Blurring the Line includes my weird short story “Honey.” I don’t know what to say about this one, honestly. It’s some of my craziest work, but so far several reviews have listed it as a stand-out. You can get a paperback for $14.81 or an ebook for $3.99 – now that’s a steal.


29402680Strange Little Girls includes my short story “The Cottage of Curiosities,” which is – you guessed it – a strange little story about a girl in an eerie situation. This one is horror-ish but not too steep for most scaredy cats. You can get the gorgeous paperback for $16.95 or an ebook for $6.99.


2015EncoreAnd finally, it is always an honor to have work in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ annual prize anthology Encore. 2015’s includes my poem “Strolling in Iambic Pentameter.” Ordering Encore is a bit of a chore, but for the determined, you can find the order form and information on this page and get yourself a copy for $15.


Back to that celebratory giveaway! I’m giving out three copies: one paperback each of Blurring the Line, Strange Little Girls, and HWA Poetry Showcase Volume III. To enter, simply leave a comment below. Since I’m shipping these, you must be in the US to be eligible. I’ll choose three names at random; the first person drawn will get to pick their first preference, etc. If you’d like to comment but don’t want to be entered, just make that note. You have until 11:59pm (CST) September 18 to enter. That’s one week, so please do spread the word! I’ll announce the winners on the 19th.

Good luck, and thank you so much for celebrating with me. And to anyone and everyone who buys and/or reads any of my work: thank you, thank you! It means more than you know.

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The Nine-Year Novel

photo by Phil Dolby

“End of the Day” by Phil Dolby

I’ve just finished drafting a novel that’s been nine years in the making.

Man, that felt good to type.

Nine and a half years ago, shortly after graduating from college, I had a realization that felt so profound it knocked me on my metaphorical ass. It was a literal wake-up-with-a-jolt-and-write-a-poem moment. That poem, to this day, is one that I think of as some of my very best work, and it came out in near-perfect final form. It was the seed of a novel that would not come out anywhere near quickly, confidently, or in its final form.

After graduating two years early, I had decided that I would take a year “off” (ha, ha) after college and try to write a novel. Now, the logical decision would’ve been to write the novel centered on the idea that had struck me so powerfully, but that’s not what I did. I didn’t know a lot about what it was like to be a full-time writer or how hard it would be to write a book, but I did know enough to guess that I had a lot to learn. My idea felt so profound to me that I was terrified of starting with it. I didn’t feel ready, or skilled enough. I wanted an idea that I still loved but that wouldn’t break my heart if I butchered it. I wanted a practice book.

I wrote a practice book, which served its purpose and is now permanently trunked. I didn’t know it at the time, but saving that special idea was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made, because my gut was right; I was absolutely not ready to write that book yet.

I spent the next nine years wondering if I was ready and when I would be ready and how I would know. I wrote about a short story’s worth of prose on the idea and stalled out. Over the years I would randomly be struck by more inspiration and additions to the story and its characters, and I’d write a section here or there, make notes on plotting or themes. Once I decided that I must be ready and tried to force myself through. I gave up. (And if you know me, you know I’m a finisher.) I resisted the gentle and loving pressure of my writing friends and loved ones who told me I was ready, not to be scared, to just go for it.

This was a lesson in trusting my gut. No one knew when I was ready but me. No one knew when it was the right time but me. No one was writing this book but me.

This book has always been a summer book. It spans the length of one summer and sort of epitomizes summer for me, so I always imagined I would write it during the summer. I tried a few times to write it at other times of year and it just didn’t feel right. And until this year, the summer timing just never worked out for me. I was either already mid-project on something else, swamped by life, totally burned out, or what have you. In the meantime, I wrote five different novels, a couple of poetry manuscripts, several picture books, and a few books’ worth of short stories, but I never felt quite ready to tackle what was (and is) an incredibly ambitious project.

Suddenly, this year, everything fell into place. I had several more epiphanies that felt profound and tied in with my book’s themes. I finally felt ready skill-wise. I had the time. I had the energy.

I started this new WIP from scratch (I’d grown too much to want to salvage any of my old sections) on my annual writing retreat with one of my writing besties in mid-March, which, thanks to an unseasonably warm winter, felt exactly like the beginning of summer – and kind of was. (The day after I got back from that retreat and starting my WIP was the day I got an offer of representation from my agent, by the way, so talk about timing.)

I never stopped from there, drafting the slowest I’ve ever gone at roughly 1,000 words a workday (with the exception of my retreat head-start). Occasionally I’d go over, but not by much. I wanted it to be well-thought and intentional, so I resisted my natural inclination to fast-draft. It was still rough, but it wasn’t rushed. I wasn’t sure how long the draft would be, but it ended up timing out almost perfectly with the end of summer. Here I am about to head into September, which is my official start to fall, with everything all wrapped up.

Oh, and did I mention that my ‘lucky’ (read: favorite) number is 9? Nine years in the making and 99,000 words on the nose, finished on a Friday afternoon at the end of a season. Yeah, that’s satisfying.

If it seems like I’m intentionally keeping details about the project itself from you, it’s because I am. What can I say? It’s a writer’s prerogative, and it’ll be years before this thing sees public eyes. This is a decade-long baby, and I’m very protective of it. This, too, is a lesson I’m learning. I don’t have to tweet about the subject matter, or send this to my beta readers right now, or let anyone read it, or even read it myself. It waited nine years, and it can wait one or two more in the incubator until I feel ready to revise all of that heart and guts I spilled onto the page. All I’m really willing to say about it is that it’s literary fiction with a hint of magical realism and not a drop of horror (yeah, I do that every once in a while 😉 ), and it’s the ballsyiest thing I’ve ever written.

The biggest lesson I learned from this WIP is to trust my artistic instinct. I’m so, so glad I waited nine years to write this book. And I’m so, so glad I didn’t wait ten.

So where do I go from here? First, I celebrate. Then I take a week or two off from drafting fiction. (I’ll still be doing other work.) Then I start on something new.

Something new? Hmmm… after a nine-year-in-the-making project and three huge WIP overhauls in a row, that sounds pretty damn good right now. Blank slate, here I come.

How about you all? Writers and artists, do you have a Big Project you’ve been waiting to make? Is it fear or is it incubation, and how do you know? I’d love to hear about it!

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