Saturday, March 22, 2014


Melissa Stevens is my Woman In Horror today! While Melissa is primarily an artist, she writes some bone-chilling horror as well. In fact, some of the anthologies she's in have cover art done by Melissa. Melissa, like many horror authors, finds that releasing terrors from within the soul  in non-violent ways, such as writing and her art, works rather nicely.

I have been fortunate to be in a great anthology with Melissa, I Believe In Werewolves, published by Netbound Publishing. We will also share the pages of the Vicious Spirits anthology, a vision from the mind of the great Mikel Classen and soon to be published by Visionary Press Collaborative. Everything she touches is gold in my eyes. 

The picture above is not Melissa, by the way. It is her daughter. Thought I'd set the record straight.

Melissa and I have been friends for some time now. We were members of a group where we all helped push each other to writing better poetry, prose, and such. There was a true communal feeling there with no big egos.Some of my other Women In Horror were members as well, and it makes me happy to see how many of them have come so far with their skills in the craft.

Like last year, instead of grabbing stuff off of Amazon, I went to Melissa's website  and retrieved some of her gorgeous artwork for everyone to see. She said I could do it last year, so I'm doing it again. Amazon does not display the art as nicely as Melissa does on her website.

In Melissa's words:


Melissa Stevens is a self-taught illustrator and designer.
Since breaking into the writerly world several years ago, she has rediscovered her love for creating--whether it be through words or art. For the past three years she has been focusing more as a cover designer and building her reputation for quality work.

Her first cover was The Evolution of a Conceptual God: Navigating the Landmines, by Jim Vires. Illustrations to Phibby Venable's book, The Wind...See More
The Illustrated Author was founded in 2011. Slowly the business has been building a reputation for cover art and design. Melissa Stevens, the founder, is self-taught and strives to learn new industry techniques to help create a bestselling cover for you, the author.

Without a doubt, my friend Melissa Stevens is a Woman In Horror!

Blaze McRob



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

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