•August 25, 2015 • 3 Comments

63-songsIn the movie “Say Anything,” there’s a character played byLili Taylor named Corey Flood. She’s a talented singer/songwriter who is in love with a shallow guy named Joe, and even though their relationship is fail, she writes excellent songs about him.

Now, Corey is not the star of this movie. She’s a supporting actress, and she’s comic relief. A lot of times, I feel like that girl. Maybe I’m not in bad company, really. Because Billie Holiday was that girl, and Janis Joplin was that girl. Girls like that usually die of a drug overdose and a broken heart, but I’ve stubbornly insisted on continuing to live.

And I can be very happy at times. I’m happy most of the time.

But there’s always someone around who can’t let that happen. There’s always someone who feels a deep seated urge to let you know that you’re really not pretty enough to be allowed to play the romantic lead in your own life. You’re too fat – or maybe you’re too skinny. Perhaps you’re too short, or too tall. You might be too nerdy. Maybe you’re too ethnic. Maybe you wear glasses. Maybe you’re to serious. Maybe you’re not serious enough.

But whatever it is, you’re not good enough.

Your love is not real. Real love occurs between two pretty people in a Hollywood movie. You’re not Ione Skye. You’re a character actress. Character actors may be able to “pull that off” but come on now… you’re not a man. You can’t do what Dustin Hoffman or Peter Dinklage can do.

You’re the comic relief, Corey. You’re the comic relief, Rizzo. If this is Stella Got Her Groove Back, you’re whoever the hell Whoopi Goldberg is playing. And anyway, you’re not a real person. You’re a body.

A not pretty enough body.

Oh, but I am so angry, and I am so over you, Joe. I’ll be writing fictional stories to my imaginary lover, because I’m in too much pain to imagine ever having anything that’s real.

The Teenage Crush That Happens Every Month. (from Musings & Confusings Blahg Excerpts 7/25/05)

•August 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This is a pretty awesome description of ovulation. Is ovulation useful for writing erotica? Oh hell ya.

The Teenage Crush That Happens Every Month. (from Musings & Confusings Blahg Excerpts 7/25/05).

Ghosts In Bones: Release party and Book Signing

•August 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Sumiko Saulson:

I am so excited to be a part of this reading on Sunday with Serena at The Dark Entry in Berkeley, and I hope some of you can make it.

Originally posted on

Ghosts in Bones Release Party:

Sunday, August 16
4:00pm – 7:00pm at The Dark Entry:
2589 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, California 94704
Come celebrate the release of Ghosts in Bones, There WILL be cupcakes.
Sumiko Saulson, deTraci Regula, and Elva Nelson-Hayes will be reading from their books as well.



The main theater of crime in Ghosts in Bones is a forsaken kitchen. It’s where most of the attacks on the body take place. (The body itself is no longer our protagonist, Pallas’s, true home.) It’s complicated because, while our clever and intuitive Pallas may want some mysteries solved, she doesn’t want The Beast, her internal captor, sentenced and gone. She is a possibly- perimenopausal ciswoman, and people wonder why she isn’t over her anorexia yet. It is a misunderstood, stigmatized, and lethal disease against which she has no insurance, so obtaining treatment seems unlikely. The ever-sabotaging beast—her eating disorder personified—is happy about that.

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An Exploration of Zombies in Literature and Film (by Maria Ramos)

•August 9, 2015 • 1 Comment

Guest Blog by Maria Ramos

Prof Pic 1Maria is a writer interested in comic books, cycling, and horror films. Her hobbies include cooking, doodling, and finding local shops around the city. She currently lives in Chicago with her two pet turtles, Franklin and Roy.

You can follow her on Twitter @MariaRamos1889

Find her earlier guest blog about Bram Stoker’s Dracula here..

An Exploration of Zombies in Literature and Film

Cinsearae zombie 3Following the success of AMC’s runaway hit The Walking Dead comes Fear the Walking Dead, the network’s spinoff series set to premier later this summer. The Walking Dead is based on the comic book series of the same name created by Robert Kirkman, and now the prequel series will also fall under the same universe, with a rumored timeline meet up later on in the series. But these tv series aren’t the only popular zombie fiction to have been adapted from a literary medium – or vice versa.

The term “zombie” can be traced all the way back to its Haitian roots growing from the religious practice of voodoo. The first use of the term in popular culture is pinpointed in Western literature in  William Seabrook’s 1929 novel The Magic Island. This concept was used again in the 1932 Bela Lugosi film White Zombie, and was the general perception of the zombie until George Romero’s seminal 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, which posited zombies as harbingers of the apocalypse, reanimated by unknown forces and in thrall to nothing but a hunger for living flesh.

Following Romero’s resurgence of the zombie, the genre continued to expand, including several adaptations. Not only haveCinsearae zombie 4 zombies taken on various appearances throughout the years, their speed, intelligence, and the way the virus is transmitted varies greatly. Tony Burgess’ 1995 novel Pontypool Changes Everything, about a virus spread via the use of language that drives victims into a rage, was adapted into the 2008 film Pontypool. This fast moving, low budget horror films success is due in large part to Burgess adapting the material for the screen himself.

Warm Bodies, the 2011 novel by Isaac Marion and a modern zombie romance making reference to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, takes place in a world where zombies retain some of their sentience. Save some minor changes, most of Marion’s novel successfully made it to the screen intact in the 2013 film adaptation – a charming and lively experience that stands out against the grisly nature of most zombie stories.

Cinsearae zombie 1As some of the adaptations remained similar to their counterparts, others altered aspects of the storyline or elements of the zombies resulting in dramatically different movies. World War Z, a novel by Max Brooks, delves into the themes of isolationism, survivalism, politics, and the ineptitude of world governments in the face of a rapidly escalating crisis. Unfortunately, a screenplay rewrite for the 2013 film adaptation left behind much of the book’s premise turning it into an action movie and resulting in the title being the only thing the movie had in common with the novel.

Alternatively, some movies have merely been loosely based on zombie lit, as is the case with H.P. Lovecraft’s novella Herbert West – Reanimator as the inspiration for the horror comedy Re-Animator. Lovecraft’s themes of misanthropy and insanity, and his preoccupation with visceral imagery are all present in the film. The popularity of Re-Animator and the huge cult following Lovecraft’s work resulted in a recent release of a comic adaptation of the film. Likewise, Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and 28 Days Later all spawned graphic novels, and a novel based on Dawn of the Dead by George A. Romero was subsequently written by Romero himself.Cinsearae zombie 2

Similar to The Walking Dead series, at times it is necessary to change plot specifics, as some of the book’s developments would not work well on the screen. Many argue that this enhances the viewing experience for fans of the book, as plenty of surprises still lie in wait for them. With Fear the Walking Dead (premiering on AMC through DTV and Hulu) being a prequel series to both the comic book and tv series The Walking Dead, viewers truly have no idea what they’re in for.

Zombie fiction continues to be a template onto which authors and directors can project fears and attitudes that reflect modern culture. This has led to the acceptance of the genre even by those who aren’t into horror, which in turn has led to the proliferation of more zombie stories, a trend not likely to stop anytime soon.

Zombie Doll Images By Mistress Rae
Specializing in handmade one of a kind zombie babies, steampunk-inspired jewelry and accessories, anthropomorphic oddities and more. Now taking custom orders.

60 Black Women in Horror Writing

•August 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

60 Black Women in Horror Writing.

I’ll be at Convolution with hot copies of the 3rd “Happiness and Other Diseases” book

•July 31, 2015 • 3 Comments

Lori Titus​, Bret Alexander Sweet​, Emerian Rich​, and MOI will be panelists at Con-Volution which is October 2-4 at Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport​. Honored guests and featured guests include actual famous people, like Balogun Ojetade. This year’s Con-Volution is “Legion of Fandom” and it’s all about diversity in fandom. Which is awesome!

So say, you’re a fan of ME, Sumiko Saulson, author​.

You can get a $5 discount on a ticket to Con-Volution if you use the code: SumikoS15

And you purchase your badge between August 1st through August 17th. That’s going to cost you $50 for an ALL WEEKEND PASS. Totally worth it. For real.

Also, the THIRD BOOK in the “Happiness Happiness and Other Diseases​” trilogy, “Insatiable”, is coming out October 1, 2015 which means copies of it WILL BE AVAILABLE for $10 mass market, $15 standard paperback, $25 hardcover.

But if you should happen to be so danged hardcore in your Sumiko Saulson fandom that you’d show up in a Sumiko Saulson character cosplay, I will totally sign and give you a $15 book for free. Like on the spot. And take a gazillion photos with you. And possibly love you forever and ever.

Characters You Might Want To Be

You don’t know what my characters look like, you say. Well fine. Here are some.


Warmth4Sera is a 600 year old pregnant ghoul. She’s a Spanish Moor and in case you didn’t know it, she’s of African and Middle Eastern ethnic heritage, but it’s cosplay so you can totally dress like her no matter what race you are, or if you are a dude, I don’t care, just please don’t wear black face when you do it, Sumiko don’t like that. She carries two scythes. She wears a long black cloak. A zombie chewed her eye out, so she has facial scars and a bad ass eyepatch. She got a few tats on her face to minimize the appearance of her scars, but they aren’t very prominent. She’s got further scars from back when she had small pox – kinda looks like acne. She sharpened her teeth like a shark, to make it easier to eat human flesh. She looks about nineteen. She’s hella cool. You should totally read the book, Warmth, so you can be just like her when you grow up.

Charlotte Metaxas



Charlotte is a demigoddess, the daughter of one of the Greco-Roman dream deities called the Oneiroi. Morpheus is the most famous of the Oneiroi, but that’s not her father. Her dad’s name is Brash, and he totally pretended to be Morpheus to seduce Charlotte’s mother Maribelle back in the 80s, because Maribelle was a big Neil Gaiman fan. Like the Oneiroi, Charlotte presents in the dream world as a human with big, black wings. She’s a goth chick. She loves purple and black stripped stockings. She has purple or partially purple hair. Is she Greek? Yeah, she’s Greek and Persian, duh, she’s a Greco-Roman demigoddess. She has facial piercings: an eyebrow ring, a lip ring, and a nose ring. You should probably just buy the book Happiness and Other Diseases.



This would be especially challenging since (SPOILER ALERT)

X’ahsia is not human. In fact, X’ahsia is not even a single organism, but a collection of microscopic alien beings that have gathered together to form a single hive-mind entity. Although physically agender, X’ahsia eventually decides to identify as male, but is at various and sundry points genderfluid. He’s color-adaptive, more like a mood ring than a chameleon, and is variously purple, green or blue. He made his body sort of vaguely stereotypically Grey Alien like, but not entirely. Yeah, that’s him on the cover. He can shape shift – he was a rat once. He can possess people’s bodies. His eyes are described (in the unpublished sequel) as large, ovular orbs that tip up on the exterior edges, pure gold in color with flecks of bright shining metallic particles. Anyway, you should probably just read the book Solitude.

“Red” Montgomery

Ashes and Coffee, a horror tale with a gritty look at homelessness in modern day California.  But is Death any better?

Red is a nineteen year old African American punk rock girl who sports a red mohawk and favors short, plaid skirts, combat boots, fishnets, and t-shirts with snarky sayings that have something to do with death. She’s being stalked by death, we’re not sure why yet. I mean I can’t be spoilering my own book. At some points in this story, she’s homeless, so her look may be a bit grungy. She’s totally Berkeley and she’s also a lesbian in case you didn’t know. Anyway you should totally buy this book Ashes and Coffee. So you can get it right!

Nomi, or Nolan


Nomi and Nolan are both characters from “Insatiable,” which is Book Three in the series. I called it the Somnalia series, but I’m rethinking that since Somnalia is the second book. Happiness and Other Diseases was the first. Nomi is a werepig or akmani – that’s her on the cover. She is a short person – a bit under 5 feet tall in her akmani form. In her akmani form, she has short, black fur, and jet black eyes. Yes, she does have a long, black ponytail. Here’s another picture of her that Josh Bisher made:

Nomi Josh Bisher

Nolan is a tall, very thin, very pale guy with completely silver eyes (not irises, the entire eyeball) who is variously, completely hairless, or with very short, white hair. He no longer looks entirely human. Also, he’s blind. And perverted. If you’ve read the book (which, only my editor and beta readers have) you know that when this character is introduced, he’s being used as a pincushion by the arch villain, so he may or may not be covered in straight pins at some point. If you were feeling really gung-ho.

Phobetor (or perhaps, Flynn Keahi)

somnalia christoper anthony

Phobetor is an actual Greco-Roman god, the god of nightmares. He has many forms, one of which looks like a scary ass mangled dead tree, and several of which are animals, since he is also the god of the werebeasts for some reason. He is being portrayed by my hunky cousin Christopher in this photo. In Book 2 of the Somnalia/Happiness and Other Diseases series, Phobetor is a very tall, muscular but on the slimmer side, incredibly ectomorphic black guy who has big, black Oneiroi wings, is built, well… like a god, and doesn’t wear very much clothing. He is whatever age he feels like being, because he’s a god.

Now, that’s actually Flynn on the book cover he’s holding. I don’t want to spoiler alert my own book, but that thing that looks like a big snake tattoo on his chest is in fact, ALIVE. You know, just to make sure there are no spoilers, maybe you should READ THE BOOK, Somnalia

The Anatomy of a Writer’s Block

•July 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

screaming mikiThe last time my dad saw Joe, it was the eve of Thanksgiving 2012. He was waking him up from the couch over on Ellis Street for the final time.

“Get up, Joe,” Daddy said, shaking him. “Wake up. Miki has to go home.”

I can see it now, in a round portal viewing window of distant memory. I can see it, sitting at the computer, listening to that Incubus song, “Drive.” I don’t have a Chevy Impala like Sam and Dean Winchester. I don’t have a little red Saturn with Hello Kitty floor mats yet, either. I still have a big green Crown Victoria. It looks like a cop car, or a taxicab, and it’s built like a tank.

I flip over to Youtube and make the Incubus video repeat, because I need it to write with.

“Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, with open arms and open eyes,” the refrain repeats. Brandon Boyd isn’t wearing a shirt, because men were allergic to shirts in late 90s and early 2000s music videos. This is something having to do with men, and little girls who miss their fathers.


“Lately, I’m beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel…”

“Get up,” Dad tells Joe. “Miki has to drive.”

I can see it all going backwards and forward, everything that has to do with little girls and how we love our fathers. My daddy didn’t teach me to drive until he took me to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Vallejo, California when I was thirty-eight years old. Once, when I was twelve, he tried to, but I messed up and backed his baby blue Lincoln Continental into a ditch.

Joe was always sleeping, like a cat. Me, I’m usually channeling Anthony Kiedis, or Martin Gore. Who is this Brandon Boyd, anyway?

“I thought I was the one who was channeling Anthony Kiedis,” Flynn said.  He had a point. According to Somnalia, Red Hot Chili Peppers was Flynn’s favorite band.

I turned around and took a look at him. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m stuck here until you finish going through whatever it is you’re going through,” he answered. “I know what you’re thinking, I should be in books. You should be writing me. But no, you have me running around holding your hand. No wonder we have writer’s block.”

“We?” I asked, incredulous.

“Oh yeah,” he sighed. “I’m you. Duh.” He started laughing uncontrollably, like it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard, and he as perhaps, a bit tipsy. “Well, a part of you, at any rate. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You writers are always talking to yourselves.”

“Whatever, dude,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“You need to go back to 2012 and get your ex off the couch,” he said sternly.

Joe got up off the couch, and I gave my dad an awkward hug. Dad was so fragile lately, and in so much pain that I was afraid to squeeze him very hard. I would regret not hugging him more, after he died. My brother was always touching Dad in those final days. We would be sitting by his bedside, and Scott would be closest. He would be rubbing his back. Scott and Dad were always the closest to each other. On January 3, 2013, my father died in my brother’s arms. Scott bought him back to life for a little while. He was giving him CPR. He restarted his heart. But it couldn’t last. My daddy died anyway.

“It’s going to be okay,” my dad says. He’s dead, but he believes he’s still living somewhere in my molecules and, frankly, I have so many voices in my head already that I’m sure it’s true.

“How the hell it’s going to be okay?” I asked him. “Joe’s ass is out in the streets getting high. He’s been doing meth. No wonder his teeth are rotten.”

“Well I can’t see how you’re supposed to write fiction with all of this fact going on,” my father admonished me, looking simultaneously bored and distressed. “Hey! I heard Franchesca is writing these days.”

“Yeah, she is, dad,” I said with a little grin.

“You got this, Miki,” Dad said, but he didn’t really sound like himself. He sounded like me. “You got this, Miki,” he said. “You’re a pimp.”

I laughed. “Really, now?”

“Yeah, a pimp,” I said. “Stop crying, girl, you know you run this.”

But I knew I was full of it. I wasn’t running shit. I should have been writing. I had three quarters of a novel. I had several requests for short fiction that I was completely unable to write. I wasn’t at home writing, I was out at karaoke bars screaming angry music along with the voices in my head.

It was the Foo Fighters this time, “The Pretender.”

“It’s true,” dad somberly confirmed. “We are temporary, but what are you going to do about it, right? Be angry? I practice radical acceptance here. I’m dead, and I accept that. Now, maybe you should try and relax. Your acid reflux is acting up.”

I relaxed a little, because Flynn was rubbing my back again. I would calm down soon, and all of us could go back to bed. We needed to go to bed. It was almost five in the morning. What were we doing up again, anyway?

“You were mad,” Flynn explained. “You were trying to set boundaries with Joe or something, and your friend couldn’t understand.”

I nodded. “My name is Sumiko Saulson. I’m the adult child of an addict.”

Flynn frowned. “You know you can’t save them, right?”

“I know,” I mumbled under my breath, folding up my cape and putting it away.

Anticipatory grief is what they called it when I began to mourn before my father died. Anticipatory grief is what I felt when Joe called me up two months ago, to let me know he checked himself out of his program. It’s what I felt when he let me know he was out running the streets, not taking care of his health. If you met someone when he was twenty-two, and you dated until he was almost twenty-nine, could you feel nothing about it? I can’t feel nothing about it.

But he needs to stay on his cocktail, and I can’t make him.  I can’t fix him. I can’t fix anyone. I’m doing good to take care of myself, out here on my own.

“You don’t have to fix everything, little girl,” he said, giving me a hug. “It’s not your fault.”

“But what if he dies?” I ask. “Norman’s been on chat freaking out about this – what if he dies? As if me ending up in the hospital is going to really help Joe. As if I can’t or won’t end up in the hospital. As if I don’t know that Joe’s guilt tripping the fuck out of me, hoping I’ll feel so bad I’ll let him do what the hell ever.

“He’s not going to die,” Flynn insisted. “At least not today, and I know you’re upset, because your dad wanted to die, and you couldn’t stop him.”

“He wanted to,” I mumbled numbly. “You’re right, I couldn’t stop it.”

“You can’t make people want to live,” he cautioned.

I got really quiet all of the sudden. “Do you think he really wants to die?”

“Hell no,” Flynn scowled, “He wants to punish you. He doesn’t want to die. He wants to punish you for leaving him.”


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