Tuesday, April 2, 2013



“Everyone has a darkness inside them that, at some point in their life, they touch and must decide how to embrace it. I chose to release mine in a creative, mostly non-violent way.” Melissa Stevens

Melissa Stevens is my Woman In Horror today! She certainly qualifies for this honor and any other accolades which might come her way. Not only does she write great horror, but she is a super artist, and I might say, she has one great website. I usually add a lot of Amazon pictures, links, and such with my Women In horror posts, but why do that when the artist who wrote some great tales and did the artwork for them and others gave me the thumbs up to grab anything from off her blog that I wished to. Believe me, I grabbed a lot.

I have been fortunate to be in a couple of great anthologies with Melissa, I Believe In Werewolves, published by Netbound Publishing, and in the Vicious Spirits anthology. Everything she touches is gold in my eyes. 

Let Melissa take us along on a journey through her delightful website, her lovely art and words, and the wonderful person that is Melissa Stevens.

I present the incomparable Melissa Stevens, in word and visual splendor.


"Need a book cover for that novel? Perhaps a birthday gift for that special someone who has it all. Or maybe you are just starting a business and need an eye-catching logo." Melissa Stevens

From Melissa's home page:



Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Never have I seen a more true quote, spoken directly from a writer.  To create a story, you must first immerse yourself in your character. Their world, their life, their reality.  For me, the hard part is not the story itself, but to find the correct way to tell it. Small nuances, tiny gestures, an extra apostrophe to give the reader a feeling that they are there, that they have been transported into your character's life and when the reader is ripped away from that world, they are left breathless. That is what it means to be a writer.
Truthfully, the author is always the first reader.  That first read through is the toughest, with criticisms thrown casually through the air and mistakes screamed across paper in permanent red ink.  The story that has taken so long to write, so carefully constructed, is ripped to shreds in a matter of days.  And then, it is rebuilt, stronger, more weathered and better from experience.  To be an author you must be willing to become another person, to pull your character's skin tight around you and see life through their eyes...and then destroy it, intent on creating something even better.


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.   ~Abraham Maslow

I am lucky.  I am able to create with words and with graphite.  For many years I attempted to ignore such a powerful message, but in truth I have never been happier than now.  Many days I want to pinch myself.  This cannot be work, if you love it so much?  But at the same time, I am critical, I am hard and I am a perfectionist.  I want my best work out in the public, and I want to make you want more.


Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.  ~Pablo Picasso

I watch my daughter pick up crayons and draw with an abandonment I once carried with me.  It isn't about the right way, or how someone else will perceive the end product.  It is simply about what she wants to do.  I cannot help but wonder if one day she will become an artist, or a writer, or an architect, as these were my dreams as well.

My earliest memories of drawing were in elementary school, for I cared more about my accompanied drawing of the character than I did of the book report I was forced to finish.  I continued through school, always certain I had an art class for the semester, until I entered college.  There, I assumed, I should do something more 'productive' with my life than attempt to continue the one thing I truly loved.

Through circumstance I am able to once again pick up the pencil, though this time I have become a little more high-tech with the procedure.  Don't get me wrong though, there is nothing like holding up a sharpened pencil to a blank sheet of stock paper.

Melissa Stevens


“Everyone has a darkness inside them that, at some point in their life, they touch and must decide how to embrace it. I chose to release mine in a creative, mostly non-violent way.”

Here is a more formal bio:

Melissa Stevens is a self-taught author and illustrator.

She has several published works in the now-out-of-print Vicious Horror Anthologies and one short story in The Corner Club Press' debut issue. Two of her shorts were included in I Believe in Werewolves, published by NetBound Publishing, 'The Lake' included in Dangers Untold anthology, and another short story to be published in Spirits of the Night, an anthology of ghost stories.

The Evolution of a Conceptual God was her first introduction into the world of creating book covers, and since that day she has been hooked. Quickly following, she created several illustrations for a poetry book, drawing inspiration from the words of the page and her surroundings. She is NetBound Publishing's in-house cover artist, while also creating works for self publishing authors seeking quality covers.

Her first published work was 'Rage', accepted in an online magazine. In the following years, she published 'Subliminal Zombification', 'Wrong Kind of Hero', 'Janie Moss and the Other Point-oh-Two', 'The Desk', 'A Shadow in Time', all in the Vicious Horror Trilogy, 'The Reunion', and 'The Seventh Son' in I Believe in Werewolves: An Anthology of Wolfen Terror and 'Screams of Death' in the debut issue of The Corner Club Press magazine. 'The Lake' was published last year in Untold Dangers anthology. Her shorts 'On Evil Ground' and 'Anna' will be published in the coming months.

She lives with her husband, daughter and two unruly cats in rural East Tennessee.

And here is a bit more of the personal side of me:

I do most of my creative outlets late at night, after my husband and daughter have fallen asleep. I prefer to work quietly, because I have a problem with distractions. If I do listen to music, I most likely will listen to the same song over and over again while working.

If I'm honest, I can't say which I prefer more: writing or drawing. Both have such a large impact in my life in their own ways. Growing up, I'd rather have had a book in my hand, or a pencil and paper … sometimes both, than play with other kids. I'd guess you would say I was a loner, but I never truly felt that way.

In middle school, I was introduced to Dean Koontz and Stephen King, who are still my two favorites. I sucked up anything horror I could get my hands on, be it books or movies. But, and it's still true now, I would rather read a horror novel than watch a scary movie. My imagination is so much worse than special effects.

After high school, where I lived to draw, I went to college for Civil Engineering. Truthfully, I wanted to go to art school, but the family budget was too tight for such thoughts, and art was not really considered a 'job' by my family. More, a hobby. I stayed with Civil Engineering until my junior year, when I dropped out and attempted to find a more 'suitable' career path. I could never pick a true major, so after a year or so, I dropped out completely.

Around the time I quit college, I began writing more, but never really pushed myself. 'Rage' was my first real short story, a thriller, and it was published in an online magazine when I finally got the nerve up to send it in, some six years later.

In 2006, I had a major surgery on my knee, and while I was housebound, I quit playing with the idea of writing a novel, and finally took the plunge, writing a romance. I finished it in about a month, and was so utterly, completely proud of it. Let me just say, it was bad. Bad, bad. Full of every single mistake a young writer could make, and more. But I was fueled with kind words from family, and decided to write another, this time adding a bit of supernatural to the mix. And it was, happily, better. And the next one was even better, and more focused on the supernatural. I found a writer's website and pasted that puppy up there, and received a fair amount of feedback, both bad and good. I think it was then, that I actually believed I might be able to hone the craft of writing.

While involved with a writer's group that was helping me develop my skills, I rediscovered my passion for Photoshop and set about dividing my time between my loves. Writing, and drawing. I scoured the internet for tutorials and worked diligently to become better with each drawing I created—and am still working hard.

I searched for years, looking for what 'fit' me, career-wise. I can without a doubt say, art—through drawings or writings, is that fit.

I like to think that every day I grow in some way. Whether it be in my art, my writing, as a mother or a wife, I want to believe that each day I get a bit better, or I learn a little more. 

Amazon Author page:


The Pious Kitchen Lady Presents Vicious Recipes: a literary cookbook

The Vicious Trilogy

 The Vicious Trilogy is a collection of all things dead.  Zombies, Vampires and Ghosts gather for this macabre collection.  'Subliminal Zombification' is printed in The Vicious Dead, 'Wrong Kind of Hero' is included in Vicious Bites and 'The Desk', 'Janie Moss and the Other Point-oh-Two' and 'A Shadow in Time' were published in Vicious Spirits.  Unfortunately, these books are now out-of-print.


The Corner Club Press


The Corner Club Press is a free online magazine dedicated to quality works of fiction and poetry.  My short story, 'Screams of Death', was published in their debut issue.

I Believe in Werewolves


 Teeth, fangs and claws, rent flesh, and howls in the night send fear as the creatures that were once men bring terror and death to those they encounter. Werewolves, vicious demons of the night, hunt for prey as their hell curse drives them to a destiny undreamed by them as men. Netbound Publishing is pleased to announce what will be the first in a series of horror collections that will become an integral part of their “Night Terrors” imprint. I Believe In Werewolves will make a believer out of you. We've gathered together the best in independent horror authors to create a fresh and exciting anthology that will leave you wanting to howl at the moon. Your screams will fill the night as you read from one story to the next, each more terrifying than the last, as Werewolves feast on your nerves.

'The Reunion' and 'The Seventh Son' are included in this collection of horror. Click on each for an excerpt of my work!



Dangers Untold

“We think a monster can at least be killed; it’s flesh and blood.
Therefore it can die.
If it doesn’t die, it will always be there—lurking in our shadows.” ~The Lake, Melissa Stevens

Dangers Untold isn’t your normal horror anthology; not a vampire, zombie or werewolf to be found. Filled with unusual monsters and unexpected terror, Dangers Untold is a series of seventeen short stories from horror industry professionals who have a different take on what makes for good horror. From a legend come true to hidden artifacts in the ice to a child’s playmate, these tales will creep in through the cracks when you aren’t looking to linger in your mind long after you have closed the book. Keep the lights on because you’re about to read Dangers Untold.

This anthology, presented by The Horror Society and edited by award-winning editor Jennifer Brozek, Dangers Untold features stories by Gary Braunbeck, Erik Scott de Bie, Jason V Brock, Lillian Cohen-Moore, Nathan Crowder, and Ryan Macklin. Cover art by Shane Tyree.

'The Lake' is my contribution to this unique anthology. To be released October 1, 2012

Spirits of the Night


NetBound Publishing's second anthology in the Night Terrors imprint. These fictional ghost stories are based on actual legends. Release date to be announced.
My short, 'On Evil Ground', will be included.

Sideshow: An Anthology of Freakish Horror

Bringing back the Sideshows of old, this anthology delves into the freakish side of humans ... but not always monstrous. My short, 'Anna' is included in the lineup.


 'Janie Moss and the Other Point-oh-Two' was originally published in Vicious Spirits, but is now available through Smashwords.  'Rage' was my first  short story, and is only available through Smashwords.

Melissa's Amazon Bio:

Melissa Stevens is a self-taught author and illustrator.
She has several published works in the Vicious Horror Anthologies and one short story in The Corner Club Press' debut issue. Two of her shorts were included in I Believe in Werewolves, published by NetBound Publishing, and 'The Lake' was accepted into Dangers Untold, with another short story published in Spirits of the Night, an anthology of ghost stories.
Her first cover was The Evolution of a Conceptual God: Navigating the Landmines, by Jim Vires. Illustrations to Phibby Venable's book, The Wind is my Wine, was her next artistic accomplishment. Since breaking into the art business, she has managed to create several book covers, and plans to keep making more.
She lives with her husband, daughter and two unruly cats in rural East Tennessee.
If you would like to contact her, please visit www.theillustratedauthor.net

The cover art of Melissa Stevens:

Melissa Stevens is a Woman In Horror!



  1. Thank you Blaze! I am truly, truly honored to be included!

  2. You certainly deserve to be included, Melissa! Your words and art both speak to me. And they speak in volumes of magnificence.