Ann Wuehler is a native of Oregon with ambitions and apparently a need to see more of the planet than a few feet beyond her back yard. Ann received her BA in Theatre from Eastern Oregon University and her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Nevada/Las Vegas. Anne has had plays done from as far as field as Iceland to Australia and has been published, in Ten, Ten Minute Plays Volume 2 and 3 the Next Mrs. Jacob Anderson and the Care and Feeding of Baby Birds.
Her world travels have so far included Thailand and China, where she spent two years teaching in the Yucai School, International Section, Shenyang, in the Liaoning Province. Lately, she has had an ' interesting ' stint in Lithuania as a teacher. All these travels and experiences gets funnelled into plays and prose.
Ann's short play, Traces of Memory, has been adapted into many short films, most notably by Joseph Culp, under the name Traces and yet another version, directed by Jody Jaress, under Traces of Memory. Another short play of hers, the Next Mrs. Jacob Andersen, also got the fancy film adaptation and a fancy Los Angeles premier, directed by Dennis LaValle. And pleased to add her first full-length play, Beatrice and the Puppies, will be produced at the Overtime Theatre in San Antonio, Texas, this September.
Also Ann has just had a poem, On Leaving Maryland, included in an autumn in the UK and is supper excited to be a member of the Kensington Gore Publishing family.
Oregon Gothic is a collection of eight scary, gothic tales from up and coming horror writer Ann Wuehler.
Ann is a native of Oregon and feels the place and it's people moulds and heavily influences her writing.
Oregon is a strange and mysterious place and these Gothic tales will scare and terrify you in equal measure.
Ann Wuehler is another great horror writer form the Kensington Gore Publishing stable and it's only a matter of time before her chilling stories are turned into films.
To read her scray short story collection go to:
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1. Ann lived in Shenyang City, China, for two years, teaching. She answered an ad she saw on the Boise Craigslist and...yep, went to China. Ann's actually been all over China, including Beijing, Xian, Harbin, Dangdong and Macao.
2. Ann learned how to swim, while yet quite young, in the Columbia River. Finding it much better than drowning.
3.Ann has a costume jewelry fetish, to go along with her rock-collecting fetish.
4. Vale, Oregon is actually Ann's home town, though she was born just down the road in Ontario.
5. Ann helped her mother castrate pigs when she was little. She also took a pig's eye to school for a science lesson the teacher was giving on eyes-- I took it in a small Tupperware container on the school bus, feeling very important and proud.
6. Ann is also a playwright, with a fancy MFA in Playwriting degree.
7. Ann once flipped her vehicle 360 degrees, [ thanks, deer, coming out of nowhere!], and walked away from it with little more than bruises and some scratches but sadly the vehicle was totaled!
Bailey came out of the women’s bathroom at the A-Street Tavern Bar and Grill, adjusting the strap of her purse over her shoulder. She could hear voices and the clink of glasses, people drinking and having fun still. But she was done. Her mood was flat, her need to mingle completely gone. Her vodka tonics, all three of them, sloshed about sullenly in her blood, starting to add a steady little pound to her temples. She had just needed out tonight, out! and had made herself drive here. She could walk back to her apartment, get her truck the next day, why chance a DUI on three lousy vodka tonics? Wait, driving under the influence of intoxicants, yes, DUII, might as well get it right. This visit to the local watering hole had promised to be a treat.
And like most looked-for treats, it was a total let-down.
She pushed the bar’s back door open, the night air a little chilly for May. But it had taken to raining too much lately. Bailey glanced upward at a streak of lightning. Just a flicker, nothing more than God striking a match across the heavens. Nothing more than that. God having fun with cosmic matches! A man and a woman leaned, leaned as in practically having sex or more crudely, leaned as in fucking away right there on the street, against an old half-ton Chevy truck. Except the woman seemed a little limp and not enjoying it so much. And there seemed something wrong with her head. Something with how her hair fell or how it was fixed maybe. The faint light. It glanced off the woman's dyed hair, Bailey saw clearly that skunk coloring of the mouse brown and the brassy yellow. That woman, helping herself to some slut pie, needed to touch up her roots. Or just cut off the fried yellow ends.
Bailey stopped, not sure what to do. Help her. Hey, help her, say something, something’s not right, her ballsy inner voice chided her. So before she could tamp down that drunken little bitch’s instincts, she heard her own rather too-loud voice go out into the universe. “Hey.” Nothing more than that. The man jerked, a big, tall man with dark hair who turned his head abruptly, sniffing, it seemed as if he sniffed the air like a Labrador after a pheasant. What light there was caught and shadowed his face, splashed across the too-sharp ridges of his cheekbones, tried to make his eyes seem human. Cause he’s not human at all, that drunken, suddenly cautious little bitch in her head whispered. The woman, long dirty dyed blonde hair falling over her face and shoulders in an unattractive river, staggered and fell, hands and knees hitting the pavement at almost the same time. The woman dropped behind the Chevy, then collapsed into a human puddle. Oh dear, she would feel that tomorrow, thought Bailey, who was retreating without even realizing it, back into the A-Street. As her hand was fumbling for the handle, for a barrier against whatever this was, against whatever this man was or was not. As if the A-Street provided sanctuary against everything but drunken cowboys, hangovers and small town blues. As if anything else would be driven back, forced to retreat, unable to work a door handle.
“Hey,” the man answered back, his voice low and insinuating and oddly compelling. And there was some dark stain on his lips, which his fingers wiped away even as she watched. A deliberate wiping away, like something out of a chocolate bar commercial. He moved toward Bailey, a step, barely a step, the light from street lamps finding him, letting her see him…hard awful merciless face, beautiful and terrible as the face of a lion, no, nothing that natural, no; the face of some fabled fallen angel, its true face peeking out from beneath the misty covering of skin and bone and hair. Pale eyes, common here, everyone was German. Or Norwegian or English or Dutch. And she was inside, in the sanctuary of the little dive bar, which the newish owners had fixed up, oh yes! The interior reflected new management!, her heart beating so hard, so hard. The little dimly lit hallway, people sitting at the stools watching ESPN, two men playing pool, laughing; an elderly woman wearing gray sweatpants sitting at the video poker machine, solemnly pitting her luck against the house. House always wins, she wanted to tell the solemn old lady, House always wins. Everything in Bailey came up, everything she had ever eaten or had had to drink in the span of her lifetime. She barely made it to the mop bucket someone had tucked into the little corner. Someone was patting her back, Lisa the bartender. Tall, a real blonde, skinny in a way no diet could sculpt anyone, a natural skinny, her grandmothers had been skinny tall sorts, yes, had Lisa's feminine ancestors. From the steppes of hungry Russia or the bony fjords of Norway they had come, oh the thoughts one had, oh the thoughts one had while recovering from throwing up in public, for everyone to see and hear. Another milestone for Bailey! No, she'd thrown up at that one bonfire, out by Bullycreek, at just sixteen, her first drinking party. People were turning, looking her way, oh yes, the great and amazing vomiting Bailey at your service! The solemn old lady punched buttons, picking poker hands, hoping to hit the jackpot.
“At least you got it in the bucket,” Lisa said, who had to be used to people puking all the time. Poor Lisa, what a job.
Bailey straightened, wiped at her mouth with the napkins Lisa handed her. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I must have, oh…too much, going home, had too much, going home now. Hey, Lisa, are you Russian?”
“I think I'm Irish. I never got into all that. You sure you can make it home?” Lisa played the kindly bartender to the hilt, whatever her real impressions and feelings of the drunks in her care kept to herself. “My mom's from Montana, if that helps. ” A big friendly horse-toothed smile, a distant kindness toward one and all.
Oh so wrong about everything all the time, oh yes.
“Yeah. The air will do me good. I'm so sorry. Montana? Huh. I'm sorry. I never throw up.”
“It's nothing. You want some water or a Coke, maybe a Ginger ale?”
“No, I'm okay now. Maybe I got a touch of the flu. Was there a man in here, with a weird messed up face and dark hair? And he left with somebody? A fake blond?”
Lisa gave a shrug of her bare, tanned shoulders, her sharp, hard face so very Nordic. Irish? Really? "It's been pretty steady all night. Messed up face? Like a scar or a tattoo?”
Like a demon right out of some bad movie with lots of screaming virgins! “Never mind. I had a weird guy come through my line today at work. He must have just been passing through. Strangers! You notice everyone.”
“Maybe you’d better sit, have some water. You look shaky,” Lisa said this as if Bailey had problems of the mental variety. “Probably the flu. It's going around like wild fire at the high school.”
“No. I’m fine. I’m okay.” Bailey took the bucket she’d be spoiled to the bathroom and cleaned it out as best she could, then she left. That man…of course he had been a man, duh, was gone.
Vale had no movement this time of night. No stoplights blinking as there were none to blink. Just that grumbly sky, the occasional slit of light that usually meant brushfire in the dry, dry hills. But it had been raining on and off, so enough green to ward off a real fire threat. For now. A dog barked, long and hard, then abruptly fell silent. The little banners someone had hung, emblazoned with Oregon Trail motifs. The murals splashed everywhere, hardy Caucasion-mostly pioneers doing pioneer activities. The prairie schooners, the horses, the long dresses and bonnets, the apple-cheeked children of a bygone era...and of course, no murals of the death, disease, broken dreams, not reaching the end of the Trail. Because hope sold things to tourists, not reality. If she kept walking, following the highway, she would eventually come to what had been called Cairo Junction, where a little store had once stood. One could go left to Ontario, or right to Nyssa, the Thunder egg capital of the world. Highway 20/26, which split when it got to Vale-- one could go to Burns, to Bend, on Highway 20 or to John Day, and yes, to Bend as well, and beyond on 26. If she kept walking, toward either Nyssa or Ontario, she could get to the freeway, to I-84, and either head off west to Portland or go east to Boise. It would save so much on gas, oil and pickup parts if she just walked everywhere, oh yes. Though going toward Nyssa, one would not get to the freeway until Caldwell. It would not make sense to go west, then, would it. No sense, none!
THIS SHORT STORY CONTINUES & IS THE FIRST OF EIGHT... TO READ MORE GORE TO:
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What made you want to sign for Kensington Gore Publishing?
Well, I was offered a contract. No, but seriously, I do write about the absurd, dark, gory and twisted...so it seemed a good fit.
How do you see this changing your writing career?
I'm also a playwright, so MORE EXPOSURE TO MY STUFF, always a plus. It's also a good opportunity to spend a lot more time actually doing what I love. Which is, of course, writing.
What inspired you to write in the first place?
I was about ten years old or so and my teacher, Miss MacGregor, called me up to her desk. Oh!! So thought I was in big trouble, just dreading whatever she was about to unleash on my head. Instead, this lovely woman placed a poem I'd written for a class assignment in front of me. And told me I should keep writing, that it was a very good poem and she hoped to see more of my writing in the future. Bang. I started scribbling away-- poems, short stories, little bits of scenes and impressions. It wasn't until my undergrad days that I got into playwriting. Which rather took over my life. And it's only lately I've waded again into the prose waters, so...Thank you, Miss MacGregor.
What made you write your latest book?
Being home again, travelling the world...plain old compulsion. The first story in Oregon Gothic, Bailey, was written just for me, for my own amusement and enjoyment. This was a story I never even thought of sharing with anyone. I just wrote it...got stuck for an ending, left it awhile, came back to it, added this ending, that one, as you do at times. The Mermaid of Bangkok came out of my spending a week in Thailand. I was actually sitting at the little French bakery and coffee shop I mentioned in the story, and had a weird little hallucination of a mermaid swimming to and fro in the river not ten feet away. Why a mermaid? Is it a real mermaid? A tourist gimmick? The Ghost of Bird has a companion piece in my short play, Care and Feeding of Baby Birds, cross-promotion, yes, very shameless. The Prince Charming piece, again, written years ago, just for me, never thought I'd let anyone peek at it, let alone read it. The Green Man story came out of riding about in the Idaho and Oregon forests and high deserts on a machine called a Gator. We were out in Keithly Creek area-- a real place, by the way-- and that little muse in my head went, hey, what if a green man were sitting across that little stream? Tiny Rooms was my reaction to too many sugar-sweet Christmas movies. Come for the Pie, Stay For The Dragon, it just kind of wrote itself. Idaho City is a small, I mean small, town dependent on tourist dollars, for the most part. What if this woman had a dragon in her Idaho-centric restaurant? A small dragon and...! Three Years From Now stems from my stint in Shenyang City, China, riding those city buses to and fro. So mostly, my travels, and just amusing myself siphoning off some of the visions in my head into fun, sometimes funny, often times where did that come from? prose.
Who is your favourite writer?
I honestly don't know. I have several favorites, including L.M. Montgomery [ yes, Anne of Green Gables fame! ], Isabel Allende, Tennessee Williams, Neil Gaiman, Sam Shepherd, Cormac McCarthy...so many writers yet to discover as well. Molly Ivins!
What's your favourite book?
Ugh! I have to pick just one???!!! I love books. Mmm...lately, it's been High Tide in Tucson, a collection of essays by Barbara Kingsolver. I've read it many times, found that it hit the spot, if that makes sense. I've also read Watership Down, Richard Addams, so many times I practically had it memorized at one point. Little Women, when I was a young whippersnapper-- which led me to pretty much all the Alcott books. The Blue Castle, L. M. Montgomery's tale of a suppressed, snubbed little nobody who gets to blossom, sly and funny and sweet! I could continue this list for days, so I'll leave it there. Oh!! It and The Stand, two of my fave King books. Re-read them multiple times instead of going to the Prom or whatever other people do with their time.
Do you read a lot? If so what are you reading right now?
Oh my, yes. Right now, have been on a non-fiction kick, reading lots of travel books, essays, political leanings. I just read The Sex Lives of Cannibals, by Troost, and have also read his book on travelling through China. There was also The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell. A little Jane Austin foray, Pride and Prejudice. I actually picked up Eight Cousins, Alcott, as something light and frothy and fun to peruse until I can find something more Grand Guignol and heavy, of course.
What writing projects are you working on at the moment?
Well. I started a play called The Adventures of Sexy Jesus and Grumpy Odin. And then restarted it and restarted that and then scrapped it and restarted it yet again. And had that light bulb go on in the middle of my head. Maybe this is a novel. So! Sat down with my story, mapped it out, outlined it, tried a chapter or two, scrapped that...and am currently amusing myself just letting the story go where it wants to. I also have another novel, The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane, on a backburner, a few chapters shy of actually being finished-- cannibal biker gangs, feisty elderly sisters, Nevada, so it's a lovely gentle story, of course. Need to rewrite my Mermaids play and rework the first part of my Cue the Violins novel and...! There's also...yeah, there's many, many projects just waiting for me to open that gate and let em buck.
Where do you see yourself and your writing in five years time?
That I'll have improved as a writer, that I'll have a wider audience for my writing and I'll be more savvy about the business end of writing.
What do you like most about writing?
I don't like it; it's rather like liking air. I can't live without writing. It's been a giant ogre in my peaceful little village, terrorizing and wreaking havoc. It won't let me rest or move onward. It's an obsession, a craving, an addiction, a child that never leaves my side, always demanding cookies and blood and my soul. And I hate it and love it and wish it would un-sink its teeth in my hide and yet wish those teeth would sink past the bones into some other plane altogether.
What one writing tip would you share?
Write it down. Get it out of your head and onto paper, onto a computer, a scrap of envelope, anything at all. Get it out of your head and out into the world in some form or another. And then go from there.
What would you say to inspire young writers?
Develop a tough skin. Don't get precious about your writing. Develop a sense of humor. A trust fund will come in handy, too, if we're being honest. Persevere. Keep slogging. A friend of mine said being a writer is more like a marathon than a sprint. Expect to be jogging a long, long time.
Click below to read Ann's 12 Q's of Christmas. Warning if you like Christmas look away now.