Posts Tagged ‘reviewers’

Women in Horror Fiction: Michele Lee

Published by Kirsten on February 23rd, 2014 - in Uncategorized

Image of Michele Lee Michele Lee, one of our own book reviewers and the mind behind our teen-focused blog Reading Bites, is the author of such books as Wolf Heart (2012 Violet Ivy Press), the heartbreaking zombie novella Rot (2013 Skullvines Press), the self-published ebooks The List  (2013)  and On Halloween (a choose-your-own-path book co-written with Mini Lee). Her latest work, Last Brother, Last Sister (2014 Skullvines Press), was published earlier this month.  Michele’s short stories can be found in anthologies including Dark Futures: Tales of Dystopian SF (2011 Dark Quest) and Horror Library, Volume 4 (2012 Cutting Block Press). Michele also writes erotic fiction under the name M. Lush.


1. Can you give our readers a brief introduction?

My name is Michele Lee. I’m a multi-genre writer (Horror, SF/F and erotic romance), a reviewer and a vet tech by day.


2. Why do you write horror?  What draws you to the genre?

Way back when I was a teenager, horror was the only place you could find stories of the paranormal. Now we have urban fantasy and paranormal romance, both of which I also like, but sometimes you just want that spooky story. Also, I think a lot of the setups in horror, especially the monsters, are a powerful thematic way to deal with the darker stuff in our real lives. Violence, rape, fear of the true nature of human evil; the nameless thing that might be waiting to devour us in the dark is a perfect allegory for facing cancer, abuse, fiscal devastation and more. We can, as either writers or readers, work through and face our feelings on some Really Big Issues ™ without freezing up when the boogie man has the face of our abuser or looks like that shadow on the radiogram. And maybe, for a little bit, we can fantasize that beating cancer or a recession is as easy as staking that vampire or stopping that serial killer.

3. Can you describe your writing style or the tone you prefer to set for your stories?

The tone of my stories, I hope, is different because I really like to let characterization come through in how things are set up and described and how the characters react to things. I seem to be drawn to people working through things, maybe outside discoveries, but often things about themselves that are exposed because of things happening around them.

In my novella Rot, for example I wanted to take a typical rough/bad ass male character (stoic, former military man, zero illusions about life) and make him incredibly emotional without making him any less of a strong male lead. I also wanted to take on the “flamboyant gay” stereotype and the “damsel in distress” that you see in horror a lot and do something meaningful with them.


4. Who are some of your influences?  Are there any women authors who have particularly inspired you to write?

Anna Sewell, actually. My mom was really restrictive with me when it came to…everything, but she encouraged me to read Black Beauty. Maybe because it was about horses, or was a classic. But honestly it’s very brutal. You see horses die in war combat, serious cruelty to dogs, cats and horses and real world events like illnesses and alcoholism which leads to disaster for Beauty. It was the darkest book I had ever read.

An Anne Rice phase led me to the far more amazing authors Poppy Z. Brite and Nancy A. Collins, the latter of which not just writes fairly hardcore horror, but also wedged her way into comics. What geek girl doesn’t admire that?

On the male side of the spectrum, Roald Dahl, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are all glorious masters among us plebs.

5. What authors do you like to read?  Any recommendations?

I read a lot, over many genres. If you’re comfortable being seen in the urban fantasy section, Ann Aguirre is doing great things with demons and zombies (her zombie books are YA). Stacia Kane is a favorite for sure. Ilona Andrews is an auto-buy.

As for Authors You’re Probably Missing; Sara M. Harvey and Jennifer Pelland write dark speculative fiction, K.H. Koehler, Lucy Snyder and Chesya Burke are all amazing horror authors.


6. Where can readers find your work?

I’m mostly in ebooks these days, so all the usually places, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, OmniLit and iBooks. I have a werewolf book out (Wolf Heart), two zombie novellas (Rot and The List) and a zombie novel that just came out (Last Brother, Last Sister). I have short stories here and there, and my erotic romance stuff is published under the pen name M. Lush.

Interested in learning more ? Check out Michele Lee’s Amazon page, this interview, her blog, or Reading Bites.

“I’d Like To Submit A Request For Review”

Published by Kirsten on January 15th, 2014 - in Uncategorized

Monster Librarian receives a lot of requests for review. In addition to mainstream and independent publishers, there are many teeny tiny small presses and self-published authors who request reviews. I’m sharing this information especially for them.

Everyone who works on the site is a volunteer. They all have busy lives and they donate their valuable free time to reading and reviewing.  We can’t review everything we are requested to review. Even when we do plan to review a book, it can be awhile before the book is read, reviewed, edited, and posted. To those of you patiently waiting for reviews, thank you for your patience.

Here’s how we handle review requests. When someone requests a review, I send the request on to our reviewers, and if any of them are interested, then they tell me and I let the person who contacted me know who to send it to.

So if you want to get your book reviewed, you’ve got to hook them with your request, and you have to do it fast. I don’t know about you, but in my personal email account I am overwhelmed with email, most of which isn’t very important. I don’t read every one that I get, and many of those I do get I just take a few seconds to look at, to see if they’re a.) important or b.) interesting. So there isn’t much time to get my attention, and if someone wants me to read what they’ve sent, they have to do it pretty fast. I think most people handle the clutter in their inboxes like that. There isn’t time for more without having your life consumed by email.

I bring this up because I have received a number of requests in the past few weeks for “an anthology of horror short stories”. Occasionally that’s expanded to something along the lines of  ”a collection of unique/original/chilling/entertaining/frightening short stories”.  Describing a book this way is pretty generic.  Describing the contents in detail isn’t necessary, just tell us what makes your book stand out enough that we should take time out of our lives to read and review it. If you can’t get it across in a brief paragraph, your request isn’t going to stand out and it probably isn’t going to provoke a reviewer’s interest.  There are plenty of people who DO write requests that tell us what makes their book unique who still don’t get reviewed because of the limited time and energy our reviewers have available, or because it doesn’t fit their interests.

I love to be able to write someone who has requested a review and tell them that we have a reviewer who is interested in reviewing the book. If you would like to be one of those people, please keep in mind that providing us with information about the book that will hook a reviewer makes that much more likely.

We do have a FAQ for authors, located here, which tells you, among other things, what information we need from you to forward a request. Thanks for taking a minute to consider how best to structure a review request, and have a great day!



A Note on Review Requests

Published by Kirsten on October 13th, 2013 - in Uncategorized

There seems to have been some confusion lately about our process for handling review requests, mainly from self-published authors, so I’m going to take this opportunity to clarify things.

MonsterLibrarian is a volunteer organization. None of us are paid for the work we do to make the site successful. The people who participate do so because they love the horror genre and horror fiction, and they want to share it with others.

Our reviewers contribute their time and energy to review books for us. Like you, they have busy lives, and reviewing for us is just one of many things they do. That they contribute reviews is a gift from them to you, to, and to the genre.

We get many more review requests than we have people who can review them. When someone sends a review request to me, I look to see if it contains this essential information:

Title of the book

Author’s name

Description of the book

Yes, people do send review requests that do not include that information. If the request includes that information, I forward that on to our reviewers. Usually I will let the person know when I have done that. If the review request interests or intrigues a reviewer, and they have the time and energy to do so, they tell me they would like to review the book, and I write the author back with that information.

Note those words “interests and intrigues”.  The description of the book included in the review request can make a difference. If I send out a request for review describing a book as  ”a collection of  horror short stories”,  it’s probably not going to grab anyone.  Try to be more specific.

I will also note that a polite and professionally written request is much more likely to snag someone’s interest, although I can’t make any guarantees.

I’d love to see every book get reviewed, but it’s just not possible. We do our best.

Just in case I missed something here, I have a special page just for authors with a Q&A about the site. Here’s a link.