State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II – Herika R. Raymer

State of Horror Louisiana Volume II feature author Herika R Raymer

State of Horor: Louisiana Volume II feature Author Herika R RaymerFeatured Author: Herika R. Raymer
Story: Couseuse
State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II

Herika R. Raymer grew up consuming books – first by eating them, later by reading them. Her mother taught her the value of focus and hard work while her father encouraged her love literature and art; so she has been writing and doodling off and on for over 30 years. After much encouragement, Mrs. Raymer finally published a few short stories and has developed a taste for it. She continues to send submissions, sometimes with success, and currently has a collection of stories in the works. She was the Assistant Editor for a science fiction magazine and Lead Editor for a horror magazine, so has a healthy respect for proofing and editing. A participant of the voluntary writer/artist/musician cooperative known as Imagicopter, Herika R. Raymer is married with two children and a dog in West Tennessee, USA.

Synopsis: “Couseuse” from State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II
Karyl, who works as a seamstress in a fashion factory, finds an antique Couseuse sewing machine at a storage sale. She brings the sewing machine back to her work and wins the competition with her unpleasant co-workers to impress the elderly owner.  The owner is not only impressed, but insists on keeping the machine close in the factory.  The bitchy co-workers use the machine and will not allow Karyl to use it.  It begins to change and not look so old or beat up.  It works beautifully and soon the co-workers become obsessed with it.  What no one knows is the history of the Couseuse and the significance of its siren’s call.

Now was her chance to finally sit with the machine and be part of its magic. She sat down carefully and breathed in the smoky perfume.

Time to Meet Herika R. Raymer

Charon Coin Press: What inspired your story in State of Horror?
Herika R. Raymer: I really enjoyed writing for State Of Horror: Illinois and wanted to try for another anthology. It was a challenge to try and write about something that was not already going to be written about for Louisiana, but I was able to use a familiar custom of the stat – the Mardi Gras – and weave it into a story. Though I did not use the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, I was delighted to find there were other cities in Louisiana which celebrated it in their own way. So it was fun learning about the other cities there which participated in Mardi Gras. Although, that is only part of the story. For the other, I invite readers to check out my tale.
CCP: Is there a reason this particular state appealed to you?
HRR: To be honest I am trying for each anthology. For the last five (NJ, IL, LA, TN, CA), in the research I have found something new and wonderful about each state. For that I am thankful for the Open Call. It is always fun to learn something new about a neighboring state. I have learned some interesting tidbits about those five states. Some others might already know, but it is new to me. I look forward to what I learn about new states. In fact, I already have some fun stuff for Arizona, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Florida.
CCP: What do you look for in a horror story as a reader?
HRR: Something that frightens me, and this does not necessarily mean gore. There are too many horror stories that put a heavy emphasis on gore. I look more for psychological frightening.
CCP: What is your favorite writing snack food?
HRR: That is a good question, not sure really. I guess I would have to say vegetable tray. Something that is quick but that I can get my teeth into. Since I am overweight, I figure I can make an effort to have the snack be healthy.
CCP: What other works do you have out there?
HRR: Please see my website or my Facebook page for titles of short stories and where they can be found. I am still working on some longer work, and actually hope to have one done by the end of the year. I keep saying that every year, and I am bound and determined one year to be finished!
CCP: What is one important thing the readers need to know about you?
HRR: I love animals in general. Cannot say I am bit on insects, but most mammals I adore. I am fascinated by the animals of the Deep. In fact, recent discoveries of the Deep have been filling my screen a lot. I especially like the new jelly fish species or the colony-creature of the lower depths.
CCP: Who are your favorite authors?
HRR: Hard to choose just one: John Brunner, Robert Heinlein, Eric Wilson, Spider Robinson, Ann Rule, Kathryn Sullivan, Anne McCaffrey are among them.
CCP: What drew you to State of Horror?
HRR: I had the honor of meeting editor Jerry Benns at a Mid South Convention. He complimented me on a few of my stories and invited me to try out for State of Horror. I was excited at the invitation and, of course, gave it a try. Imagine my joy at being selected!
CCP:  Do you have a favorite state or state you are waiting to open?
HRR: New Mexico! I want to write a story about Toas and its Hum.
CCP: Music or no music when writing?
HRR: Music! Preferably tones I already know so that they can play in the background. Lately I have been listening to The Planets and Dark Sanctuary.
CCP: If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would you go and why?
HRR: I would go to Venezuela’s Catatumbo River to see the Lightning Gate.
CCP: What was the hardest part about writing your story?
HRR: Getting the middle written. The beginning is usually not tough, nor the ending, but connecting the two with the middle is the most challenging.
CCP: Do you have any writing rituals?
HRR: Not yet, though I probably should. Right now I just sit down at either the computer or a notebook and pen and let the story emerge. If my muse decides to abandon me, I just put it away until the next inspiration hits.

Want to learn more about Herika R. Raymer? Time to visit her at her other haunts such as her website, or her Facebook at


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