It’s October, which means many creative minds are starting to turn toward the spooky, fanged, clawed, and winged.
To celebrate, a small coven of writers has emerged from the darkness to share their harrowing delights with you. Each week, we will tour each other’s blogs and answer questions about our favorite spooky shenanigans.
This week, may I introduce you to K. Bird Lincoln?
K. Bird Lincoln is an ESL professional and writer living on the windswept Minnesota Prairie with family and a huge addiction to frou-frou coffee. Also dark chocolate– without which, the world is a howling void. Originally from Cleveland, she has spent more years living on the edges of the Pacific Ocean than in the Midwest.
Her speculative short stories are published in various online & paper publications such as Strange Horizons. Her medieval Japanese fantasy series, Tiger Lily, is available from Amazon. In 2017 World Weaver Press released Dream Eater, the first novel in an exciting, multi-cultural Urban Fantasy trilogy set in Portland and Japan. It happens to be on sale for 99 cents the month of October 2018 to celebrate the release of the sequel, Black Pearl Dreaming.
Koi Pierce dreams other peoples’ dreams.
Her whole life she’s avoided other people. Any skin-to-skin contact—a hug from her sister, the hand of a barista at Stumptown coffee—transfers flashes of that person’s most intense dreams. It’s enough to make anyone a hermit.
But Koi’s getting her act together. No matter what, this time she’s going to finish her degree at Portland Community College and get a real life. Of course it’s not going to be that easy. Her father, increasingly disturbed from Alzheimer’s disease, a dream fragment of a dead girl from the casual brush of a creepy PCC professor’s hand, and a mysterious stranger who speaks the same rare Northern Japanese dialect as Koi’s father will force Koi to learn to trust in the help of others, as well as face the truth about herself.
“Lincoln successfully mixes Japanese, Native American, and Middle Eastern mythologies in her modern setting, and Koi’s wry voice gives a new perspective on the problems of paranormal gifts.”Publishers Weekly
“DREAM EATER brings much-needed freshness to the urban fantasy genre with its inspired use of Japanese culture and mythology and its fully-realized setting of Portland, Oregon. I’m eager to follow Koi on more adventures!”Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger and Breath of Earth
She also writes tasty speculative fiction reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Check her out on Facebook, join her newsletter for chocolate and free stories, or stalk her online at kblincoln.wordpress.com.
How do you handle frightening elements in your writing?
With tongs and silicone gloves? Just kidding. I’m a wimp. Freddie Krueger scarred me for life. I can barely handle watching tv characters walk into an unlit room.
In my own stories, I think I often let characters off the hook a bit quickly. I’ll set up a scary sequence. For instance, a heroine gets kidnapped in a van and brought to a remote village in Japan where kidnappers force her down a darkened, chilly hidden staircase underneath the Grave of Christ (true story—there is a Grave of Christ in Aomori, Japan complete with museum I feature in my new Urban Fantasy release, Black Pearl Dreaming. You should totally Google it) to confront the mysterious Black Pearl….and then she’ll be snarky about the cold or someone else will make a quip and suddenly the tension becomes bearable.
What can I say, fear gives me a headache.
I tap into slightly off-mainstream collective myths for scary elements. Vampires, wolves, swamp monsters are all scary. However, Chupacabras, La Llorona, and Rusalka are scarier to me because while I’ve seen the names before, the specifics of how they commit harm are fuzzy. How do you know not to go pet the cute goat in the field at night if you’ve never heard of Chupacabra?
That’s one reason I mine Japanese and First People’s myths for my scary creatures: like Dzunukwa (eater of children of Kwakwaka’wakw mythology) and Kappa (river creatures of Japanese myth). The other reason for the Kappa, Kitsune, and Baku in my books is that I might be slightly obsessed with Japan.
The other other reason is that like many of you, I am utterly fascinated with the various tales we tell ourselves about fear, death, and pain just to survive our daily lives on a scary, scary planet.
How do you define Horror?
Horror for me has always been a word I apply to books or movies where something irrevocably awful happens producing simultaneous bursts of fear and awe.
Ye olde Law & Order murder of the week episode doesn’t cut it. Those murders are terrible, and produce grief and fear, but there’s no irrevocable shattering of my world that accompanies the murder. Those perpetrators are arrested and tried and often go to jail. My world is safe.
Horror is when your world is left a little more precarious. If I may go back to Freddie Krueger, (he’s on my brain lately because I was at a local con last weekend and a dude dressed as Freddie passed by my table a zillion times) before watching Nightmare on Elm street I considered my bed the safest place in my house. Watching Tina get slashed by Freddie—when the potential happy ever after is completely obliterated—was a moment of pure horror. I couldn’t look away, but I slept on the couch for a week afterwards.
Thanks to Rekka for hosting me! I’m K. Bird Lincoln, an author of Historical and Urban Fantasy who may or may not be too obsessed with Japan, chocolate, and coffee.
Thanks K. Bird Lincoln for stopping by! All through the rest of the month you’ll get to meet a few more writer pals of mine as we continue the 2 Questions With… Halloween guest series!