Category Archives: Poetry

Interesting Title Here

I am not having a good title day – my brain does not want to find one, so, yeah. I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately which is good. I’m not working through Christmas in Bear Ridge the way I normally do as I’ve written the ending before I’m done with the middle. My memory hasn’t been that great lately and, if I don’t write things down when I think of them, no matter how interesting, important, or neat it is, I’ll forget it when I’m ready to use it. Writing is nothing if not flexible! I’ve also been working on poetry again. Poetry is where I started and where I’ll end most likely. Most of my poetry will never see the light of day – not everything a person writes should be seen anyway. I’ve neglected my poetry for a very long time but a thing happened.

I’ve had a lot of poetry published over the years but only recently started submitting a particular collection – it’s currently out and I’ve got fingers and toes crossed as I adore it. I’ve been in some pretty widely distributed publications with my poetry including the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Chronogram. I’m still a nobody where that’s concerned as it’s not a thing I do enough of to be noticed but you would think the people around me would know it’s a thing I’ve done but nope. My son started writing poetry and instead of asking me about submissions and the process (a thing I know an enormous amount about), he went to a girl from school who’s had a poem published. He didn’t realize. He didn’t know. And that’s mostly because I haven’t been doing any of it. So I’m working on my poetry again because he didn’t know because I haven’t been.

I always figured I’d be further along in my career by this point. I’ve been doing this dance for better than 20 years now. Part of that problem is me also – every time I reach a goal, it’s not the end, it’s just a step and the next goal has to be met. I don’t know if I have a top of this staircase if I’ll ever feel like I’ve reached the top or will be happy with what I’ve done versus what I have left to do. My new goal is to send out at least two submissions a week and just by virtue of length and time constraints, the majority of that will be poetry again and I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.

I’m also working on another thing but that’s six months away and deals with two of my current crafty, artsy fiddlings and twiddlings.


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Monsters and Mayhem


Fall 1997's Threshold containing my first ever published story.

Fall 1997’s Threshold containing my first ever published story.

I love writing about myths, monsters, and the mayhem they leave in their wake. Which, if you’ve read Hunter’s Crossing, Guardian of the Gods or Eldercynne Rising, should be pretty clear. All the main characters are monster hunters in their own way.


I’ve been writing about monsters from the very beginning.

My first few non-school lit-mag publications were all in the same local zine. And technically, the first fiction in that school lit-mag was monster related too – she was a Scottish death goddess, yes, but very much a monster. Apart from her, I started with vampires like any good Poppy Z Brite and Anne Rice fan. A tragic, miserable vampire in his last moments before committing suicide by sunrise because his love is dead.

At the time of its publication, I hadn’t even met my husband yet so it is under my maiden name but, I think there are only a handful of publications under McBride. I was young and the writing definitely shows it. It’s all very purple and flowery and very different from the style I’ve grown into in the last two decades.

My first fiction publication (1997).

My first fiction publication (1997).

I have always been a mythology junkie. I’ve read up on the mythology from all over the world. Mythology speaks to the primal part of me, the stories still waiting to be told that live in my brain. I cut my literary teeth on the old Grimm fairy tales and all the books I could get my hands on about Greek, Roman, Scottish, Irish, and Native American mythology. Later I’d find Japanese, Chinese, and Mongolian myths.

Not all of my monsters are actually monsters – Leilani’s BFF is a very old vampire after all – but I do love a good monster. I like to find more obscure creatures or, on occasion, create my own entirely.

We all know vampires, werewolves, fairies, elves, and djinn but what about Kitsune or an aswang (and yes, that one is just super fun to say)? Old school sirens, harpies, and Russian style mermaids. There are so many neat mythological critters out there that sometimes I  wonder what it is about the vampires and werewolves that draw us all in so. Probably because, at least on the most basic level, nearly all cultures have something similar to a vampire or a werewolf.

Do you have a favorite underused monster? Something you’d like to see in a future story?


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Filed under Life, Poetry, Publications, Writing

Passion Projects

Some projects have good sales potential and broad appeal, others, not so much. I’ve found it is most hit and miss with poetry. I’ve had a fairly decent number of poems published by various publications over the years and it’s something I write that I don’t necessarily share with everyone.

A few months ago, I got a bug under my skin about a particular project, a linked progression poetry chapbook mostly dealing with anxiety, depression, and letting go of the toxic stuff in life. I don’t know if there is much call for it but I feel like there might be, like maybe there are others who would find it interesting.

I’ve played around all day with formatting, binding options, cover options, and all that jazz. I’m probably going to offer the chapbook in a few formats but initially, it’ll be hand-stitched with a glossy cover. Release day will be soon but I want to make a fair number of copies to have on hand.

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Filed under Books, Poetry, Publications, WIP, Writing

A little hiatus

Watercolor of a fox for a card. (Image: Sarah Wagner)

Watercolor of a fox for a card. (Image: Sarah Wagner)

I took a little break from the social part of the internet for a bit because I needed a bit of a refueling. Sometimes that happens. I took the time to day dream, to paint, to garden, to binge some really bad movies and some good ones, and otherwise be a useless lump of me. Sometimes I need that. Deep down, I’m really a hermit – I very much value my alone time. I know it’s weird, I’m told so often, but I do my best creating after these sorts of breaks.

As for the little fox there – I did a card for a baby shower several weeks ago. He’s a little disproportionate but he’s cute anyway! I’m trying to practice more, to get better at the more visual artsy stuff. I’m crafty but my artistic skill is lacking a bit (or a lot, depending). I figure if I keep trying for the next ten – fifteen years, maybe I’ll get good enough to draw some of the things I see in my head when I’m writing. A girl can dream anyway.

I’m working on several things (as usual) but I’m most pleased with the poetry thing. It has been a really long time for me and poetry but I enjoy it – reading it, listening to it, and creating it and I’m having fun with it. But – I’m not talking too much about it until I finish it and find it a home.  There are some very interesting things coming up over the next few weeks though – a special guest, a special event, a giveaway, and maybe an announcement or two. A very exciting time indeed.


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Filed under Crafts, Life, Poetry, Writing

Grumble grumble

I had to scrap the story I was working on because it was really awful. Eh, it happens but it’s irksome when it does. I’ve got a band (Twenty One Pilots) and a singer (Elle King) in my head. I’m really impressed with them both – especially lyrically. As someone with anxiety, Car Radio becomes quite profound and true for me. His lyrics would be great spoken word. And then my brain goes off on a tangent because what is the difference between a rapper and a spoken word artist? Waits is found in spoken word but he has music and even sometimes puts that gravelly voice to real music. Is it just the background feel of a song that makes the difference? It would depress me greatly if the only difference is the origin of the artist.

Anyway, listening to them makes me think of Waits and Kerouac and then I want to write poetry but my work just does not compare so I do other things. Like make clothes. Certainly, I can’t do something useful like housework because that would be too logical.

Today ended up being another lost day as I got sucked into the music (and the fact that I have some really beautiful red fabric that needed to be made into something). I’ve got some edits I should be doing, some submissions I should be sending out but some of those include poetry and I’m feeling woefully inadequate today! Fortunately, the only deadlines I have right now are those I’m imposing on myself so a few lost days here and there don’t make much difference.

I forgot – technically, not a total lost day as I did get my Face Off recap posted!

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Filed under music, Poetry

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween – it is one of my all time favorite days of every year. Today, I have a present for you that is based on a nightmare I had when I was pregnant with my youngest son. It originally appeared in Aoiffe’s Kiss several years ago – in 2008.


Image: Morgue File

Image: Morgue File

The Crow Queen
By Sarah Wagner
She is perched on the middle oak of three,
the one with the view into my window,
holding court amidst the crows,
her reptilian eyes boring into me from afar.

The sickly green of her featherless skin,
dull in the dim light of early dusk,
taut membrane wings stretch to threaten flight.
The cackling murder with their demon leader
plotting something wicked – I can tell.

The Crow Queen cocks her head to focus
that amber-gold eye the size of my fist
on me – on my swelling belly –
pinning me to the wall.
there is madness there, malevolence.

What brings her to my home
to stare at me through windows,
laugh at me through walls,
mock me as I hide behind sheer curtains.

I live in fear of her deadly claws,
her sharp beak ripping open the roof,
skinning me to reach the innocent.

What offering will she have to fly away
never to darken my window again?

There will be no battle between us
no weapon have I sufficient for the task
no demon hunter at my disposal.

I lay a circle of salt
melt down my silver for .22 shells
learn to believe in every God
draw down the moon and genuflect.

Tin can scarecrows to rid the trees
of Her jesters, knights, and maidens.
Bless the oaks with holy water
chant the rites of exorcism.

And suddenly she is gone.

Her absence, her silence
is as weighty as her presence.
Suspicion leaving me panicked,
searching for clues, rhyme and reason
but it is a nest I find cast to the ground
lined with broken shells of the same
sallow green color as the Queen.

I bend to inspect the shattered calcium plating,
so fresh there is still fluid clinging
to the paperwhite innershell,
and the first pangs or labor strike deep and low.


Happy Halloween!

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Filed under Poetry, Writing