Author Interview – Xtina Marie

This month we switch it up and instead of a novelist, I’ve coerced a writer of dark poetry to answer a few questions. Read on as we catch up with Xtina Marie, the Dark Poet Princess.

Xtina, thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions.

  1. Though I’ve written a lot of poetry, I haven’t shared it with many people. For me, it’s a lot more personal than working with fiction. How long have you been writing poetry and what inspired you to share it so publicly with the rest of the world?

28191326_2035996173351588_1643383694_n Poetry is a lot more personal! While I’ve been sharing my stories since I was in middle school, it took a lot longer to share my poetry. I remember my first poem, when I was about 17. I was sitting in a dark room, candles lit, and heartbroken over some boy. I wrote often, after that. It seemed a good way for me to purge my demons. A few years ago, I had this author buddy. While we were chatting one day, she mentioned that she was proofreading a poetry book. I decided to share my work with her. And she loved my words. Encouraged me to publish.

 

 

  1. You’re known as the Dark Poet Princess. There’s got to be a story behind that. Could you share the origins of that title with us?

Man, that’s a tough one. I remember who I got the name from, but not necessarily how. Let’s see. My first book of poetry, Dark Musings, was published with a new small publishing house. The founder of the company was a guest on a podcast, and it was on the air where he made mention of The Dark Poet Princess, Xtina Marie. And it just kinda stuck.

  1. You co-host a weekly podcast with the owner of Hellbound Books Publishing, James H. Longmore called The New Panic Room Radio Show. How did you and James meet and what inspired the two of you to do the show? And, where on earth did that name come from?

30180295_2067340520217153_1936629352_nThese are some good questions! The Panic Room was the idea of the former publisher I mentioned in the previous answer. We were all in a group chat on Facebook minutes before the first episode, when the boss says, “You ready, Xtina?” I about had a heart attack. Ready for what?? And no, I most certainly was not ready! But, I am a trooper. I called in and co-hosted that first episode. It was a train wreck, and I think we had 8 listeners. It was filled with embarrassing dead air, and my co-host would occasionally burst into song. We did a two hour show for a few weeks, and James Longmore was a guest on one of them. I was a tiny bit familiar with his work but had never spoken to him before. That show was great! After, the former publisher asked James if he wanted to co-host the show with the other woman and I. That company fell apart and James and I changed the name to The New Panic Room Radio Show, and we are now almost 100 episodes in.

  1. You’ve already released a few books of poetry. What’s next for Xtina? Have you ever considered writing short stories or maybe even a novel?

30180602_2067340550217150_1628519275_n I have a book of poetry set to release in the fall, I am very excited about it. In my opinion, it’s my best poetry to date. And I am in the early stages of both a horror novel and a erotic romance.

  1. Where can people get your books and find out all there is to know about the Dark Poet Princess? My website has links to my books, as well as the HellBound website, and Amazon.

Website: The World of Xtina Marie

Publisher Author Page: HellBound Books Publishing

Amazon Author Page: Author – Xtina Marie

 

 

A Few Weekend Happenings

Got a few things going on this weekend.

COVER-WARS

On SUNDAY APRIL 15th, voting for my entry in Cover Wars begins. Voting runs for a week and you can vote every 24 hours. Can’t emphasis enough how important it is that you vote for Dark Hollow Road each and every day. The winner receives a week’s worth of free publicity and will be the featured author of the week. There’s a lot of potential there to get my work known better and to boost sales. So, come Sunday morning, go to COVER WARS and VOTE FOR ME – or rather – VOTE FOR DARK HOLLOW ROAD HERE and help me win the coveted prize.

Screenshot-2018-4-13 Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews

I was recently interviewed by Curtis Freeman over at Cedar Hollow Horror. I haven’t done an interview in a while so am super excited to get another one out there. We talk about my favorite books and movies, totem animals, works in progress, and most importantly, beer!

I was recently made aware that a friend of my son is also a poet! She’s a wonderful young woman and I hope you’ll take some time to hop over to Amazon to check out her first book of poetry WELL OF MIDNIGHT.

Last but not least, The Witch’s Backbone Part 2: The Murder has finally made its way to Draft 3 status. It will soon be handed off to a select few beta readers who will tell me what they really think and from there I’ll either take their advice or say, “Are you kidding me? I am NOT changing that!” LOL. But, seriously – it’s getting closer and closer to being done with, so all of you that have already read TWB1: The Curse can at last find out the fate of remaining characters! And for those of you you haven't - you still have time to catch up.

Until next time – Write On!

I’m Gonna Ride On, Ride On, Ride On…

As I was driving home tonight, glancing in the rear view mirror every now and then as one does – I had a bit of an epiphany. We don’t drive down the highway looking in the rear view mirror all the time. There’s a reason for that. It’s not in the least bit safe. We can see where we’re going briefly, but doing it all the time won’t work. Our main focus needs to be on the vehicles on either side as well as what’s ahead.

That’s how we should also be living life. Yes, check out what’s back there, in the past, every now and then. Remember what you saw, what you did, what you may have learned going through all that, but don’t make it your main focus. What was, was. It’s all behind you.

Pay attention to what’s going on around you in the moment, the present, just like you would the cars around you in traffic. Work with that, do what you need to do in the now to make it through one block, one mile at a time.

Look ahead. Pay attention to what’s coming up and how you can get there in the most efficient, safest way possible. Adjust your speed and prepare to change your route – detours happen – but that’s all they are. If you are truly intent on getting to your destination, a detour is only a temporary slowing down of the traffic, annoying, but in the grand scheme of the journey, a minor incident. It’s not the end of the journey. Work with it – do what you have to do, but there’s no reason to pull over and stop because of one setback.

Life is full of detours. Sometimes traffic barely moves at all and we feel like we’re going nowhere fast. It’s maddening.  We have to adjust and change our plans. Sometimes it takes a lot longer to get there than we hoped, but as long as we look ahead, focus on the destination not the rear view mirror, we’ll get there. We’ll find our way eventually. No one has been stuck in traffic so long that they’ve died – well, not that I know of anyway. Eventually, things get moving again and we can get on our way.

I’ve been a published author since 2006. I’m still not doing it fulltime. I’m still not even close to making a living at it, but I’m still behind the wheel and on the road. Sometimes it feels like I’m getting nowhere and I wonder why I ever even started up the car to begin with. There are times I feel like shutting off the engine and chucking the keys into a fast-moving river.

But then, I take a glance in the rear view mirror and realize how far I’ve come in the past dozen years. I look around me at the wonderful friends and mentors I’ve made in the writing business. I’ve grown. I’ve hit a couple of detours and a pot hole or two, but I keep on going. The road still stretches out in front of me and my journey isn’t even close to being over with yet.

No matter what your dream is, just keep your eyes focused on that road ahead. You’ve already made it through some traffic jams and detours. They are done and over with and there’s no sense in dwelling on them anymore. You’ll get through any of the others that are headed your way, too, I guarantee.

Write on! Or in this case, Ride on!

Battle of the Books!

Dark Hollow Road has been out and about in the world for a couple weeks now. She’s slowly finding her way and has gotten some top notch reviews over on Amazon. Check them out! Thank you to everyone who’s posted one so far! You’re awesome.

I gotta say that the cover for this book has got to be my favorite! With that in mind, I’ve taken the plunge and entered her into Cover Wars over at Author Shout. The cover with the most votes becomes their Book Of The Week which they’ll will promote for one week on their website, shout outs, and newsletter. It’s a great opportunity for free publicity, which I could really use!

In lesser news, I’m going to be firing up the old editing brain soon and dive back into edits for  The Witch’s Backbone Part 2 : The Murder. It’ll be out and about before you know it, sometime in the fall. In the meantime, you’re going to want to read The Witch’s Backbone Part 1 : The Curse so you’re up to speed on what’s going on. Unlike the other books in the Barnesville Chronicles, The Witch’s Backbone is a real series. You’ll need to read the first one to make sense of the second.

New projects are happening very quietly in the background, but I’m holding off on revealing the subject matter to anyone until I’m further into it. Even The Hubby hasn’t been made privy to what’s going on yet! Maybe soon. Maybe.

 

 

Movie Review – WAX (2014)

Movie Review – Wax (2014) Directed by Victor Matellano. Starring Jimmy Shaw, Jack Taylor, and Geraldine Chaplin.

Part Vincent Price’s “House of Wax”, part Hannibal Lecter, WAX invites the viewer to spend a single night inside an alleged haunted wax museum in Barcelona, Spain with journalist Mike through surveillance cameras, some strategically-placed cameras that Mike sets up, along with Mike’s personal hand-held. Mike agrees to be locked in for the night with no method of communication with the outside world other than a one-way telephone. The producer can call in, but he can’t call out.

What makes this museum just a little different is that one of the main displays depicts a still-living serial killer, Dr. Knox. But, don’t worry. He’s been caught and imprisoned. Along with his wax effigy, are a series of videos recorded by the killer himself, showing in rather gruesome details how he bound, gagged, and ate his victims while they were still alive. As the night progresses, odd things start to happen, items go missing and wax effigies have moved. But, his greatest horror comes when Mike looks at the surveillance camera focused on the Dr. Knox display – and the doctor’s figure is gone.

Mike has no way of getting out of the museum or calling for help. Fortunately, the producer calls periodically and he reports what’s going on to her. She assures him she’ll notify the authorities and get him out soon. In the meantime, just sit tight. Help is on the way! I promise!

I was rather enjoying WAX until about twenty minutes from the ending, then it kind of went South and became a little too predictable. The medical torture scenes were done reasonably well without being too utterly disgusting and there are a few decent T&A shots for those who like that in their Horror movies.  For a moment, it even felt a little Freddie Kruger-ish for some reason. The ending left me feeling somewhat disappointed, but it wasn’t the most horrible thing I’ve watched by a long shot.

There are enough mannequin\wax figure scenes to be kind of creepy, enough surgical gore to make you go ‘eww’ a few times, and a very suspenseful score that keeps you wondering what bit of weirdness was going to happen next. If you’re desperate to watch some Horror and nothing else seems worth the trouble, this will do in a pinch.

2 out of 5 Ravens.

The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!

Review – Amazon’s KDP Help Desk

Let’s face it, we like to joke and yes, mostly complain, about all the many customer service jobs that have gone overseas, mainly to India. They aren’t helpful. We can’t understand their accents. All they do is repeat verbatim what we’ve already read on the initial Help Screen of whatever company we are dealing with. This leaves us angry and frustrated and vowing never to do business with those people ever again!

This review is no such thing!

A couple months ago I decided to move a couple of my paperbacks from CreateSpace to Kindle Direct Publishing. There’s been rumor that CreateSpace is on the way out and, though nothing firm has yet to be released, it may not be a terrible idea to make the switch sooner rather than later. It’s all the same company, Amazon, and the directions appeared easy enough, so off I went.

The first title made the transition with no problems whatsoever. I waited a couple days to make sure all was well before setting out to move the second title. That’s when a roadblock smacked me in the face. I got the error message that the ISBN-13 number I was trying to use was already assigned to by another title. What the what? I looked back through everything and couldn’t see where this was happening. Desperate, I sent a message to KDP’s Help and crossed my fingers.

Archana got back to me a couple days later. He (or she) told me I needed to remove the ISBN-13 from a previously created version of the book in question. After that was done, I should be able to delete that version and move on with putting the ISBN to the new one. Off I went, following directions, finding the error and happily deleting, then waiting the needed 72 hours before trying again.

And … it didn’t work.

The same error message was still there. I wrote back to KDP to let them know it still wasn’t working.

Someone named Karthikeyan replied to my message and said she (or he) would look further into the matter and get back to me and could I send screen shots of what I was seeing so they could be passed on to the IT guys. I did, crossed my fingers, and waited.

A couple days passed when I heard back from the next person to handle my difficult case, Nithinesh. Nithinesh let me know their tech support people had restored three other versions of the title that I’d apparently created in error and that they also needed deleting. This in mind, I logged into KDP yet again, found the titles and deleted those as well. After another 72 hours, I tried to move the new version and lo … it still didn’t work. Ugh!

I’d pretty much given up on this whole process. I then heard back from Nithinesh who asked if I’d had any luck. I told him (or her) that I had not. It still refused to accept the ISBN-13. He said he’d have a look at it and get back to me. I waited. A couple days later, Nithinesh let me know that it looked like I’d only deleted the errant titles but had NOT removed the ISBN-13s first. Okay, my error in misreading the directions. She (or he) said they’d ask the IT Team to restore the old ones again (if possible) and that this time, to be sure I deleted the ISBNs before going all delete crazy. (My wording there.)

On Tuesday, word arrived from my fourth KDP Helpful Assistant, Siyam. Siyam informed me that they had restored the other versions again and reposted my directions. He (or she) also said to not delete the others entirely until AFTER I’d been able to convert (or not) the ISBN-13 to the latest paperback version. Good thinking there, Siyam!

I’ve gone in and deleted the ISBN-13s from the three older version. ((What puzzles me is why was I allowed to create these three others version at all? Shouldn’t I have gotten an error message when foolishly attempting to create this thing a second time? Let alone a third!))  This morning I took the next step and entered the ISBN-13 for the version I want used. And LO!!!! IT WORKED! The process when through smooth as buttah!

I am SO grateful to Siyam, Nithinesh, Karthikeyan, Archana, and all the KDP IT people who helped get me through this issue. Super, super happy and yes, very surprised that this story has a happy ending. Thanks KDP Help Desk … you’ve gotten a great big gold star from me!

FIVE STAR RAVEN RATING!

Author Interview – Joshua Palmatier

  1. Josh, thanks so much more agreeing to this interview. I’ve admired your work for a long time. It’s so well-written and though you don’t skimp word count, your work isn’t wordy in a bad way at all, for which I am truly thankful. What first inspired you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write stories?

BenTate I was always an avid reader, of course, but in the eighth grade I had an English teacher who gave us an assignment: write a Twilight Zone story, 500 words.  I’d never had a teacher assign anything creative like this—it has always been three-paragraph arguments or essays—so this assignment was a pleasant surprise.  But 500 words!  *grin*  I managed to write a story called “Aquantico” about a man watching his world be destroyed by water as his spaceship escaped the cataclysm.  Basically, a rip-off of Atlantis.  The teacher loved it and wrote, “You should write more,” on top of the paper.  That lit a supernova in my head: someone was writing these stories that I loved to read … and that someone could be me.  I began writing short stories immediately, moving on to novels fairly quickly.

  1. Writers also tend to be big readers. Who are some of the authors that you enjoy reading or ones that have inspired your own work?

Early inspiration came from Terry Brooks and Katherine Kurtz and Andre Norton.  They were the ones who shaped my writing while I was teaching myself how to write.  Later inspiration came from authors such as Tad Williams and Guy Gavriel Kay.  For all of them, I loved the worlds they created, the characters that lived there, and the sense of awe they inspired.  I wanted to duplicate that with my own worlds, my own characters.

  1. You’ve also write as Benjamin Tate (or does he write as Joshua Palmatier?) who is the author listed on my copy of Well of Sorrows. Can we look forward to more from this alter ego and what inspired you to write as him when you were already well-established using your own name?

Benjamin Tate is the pseudonym of Joshua Palmatier and he was created solely as a marketing strategy.  Essentially, DAW Books—my publisher—wanted to use a pseudonym for the second series in an attempt to increase my audience.  It was an open secret, meaning that I could tell anyone I wanted that it was really me, Joshua Palmatier, but the bookstores wouldn’t know that it was me and so they would treat the Benjamin Tate releases as a debut author.  The hope was that everyone who loved Joshua Palmatier would hear that Ben Tate was really me and buy the books, while customers at the bookstore would see the books and try out a new author.  The strategy didn’t really work, so at this point, Benjamin Tate is dead.  The “Well of Sorrows” series has been re-released under the Joshua Palmatier name and all books since then have been released under my real name.

  1. You’ve started your own imprint recently, Zombies Need Brains. Would you tell us more about this project, how it started, and where you hope for it to go?

Well, way back when, Patricia Bray and I had this idea for a themed anthology—a bar that represented the epitome of all bars at any one moment, and as soon as it went out of style, the bar would shift to a new location and be popular once again.  We decided that Gilgamesh would be the bartender—his solution to finding immortality.  We pitched the idea to Tekno, who pitched it to DAW, and so AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR-BAR was released by DAW.  We enjoyed the editing experience so much, we pitched another idea and THE MODERN FAE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY came into existence.  But then the publishing world went through a major shake-up and DAW ended up cutting their anthology line down to just a few anthologies per year (if that).  I waited to see if they’d bring the anthology line back once things settled down, but after a few years I gave up and decided I’d just create my own small press and release the anthologies on my own.  Thus Zombies Need Brains was born, a small press focused on releasing themed SF&F anthologies.  We fund the anthologies using Kickstarters (usually running around mid-August to mid-September) and we open up the anthologies to an open call, meaning anyone can submit their stories to the anthologies during a certain window.  So far, we’ve produced seven anthologies, with three more funded and expected to be released in September.  We’re hoping to run another Kickstarter this August sometime for at least two more anthologies, possibly three.  I’d like to continue doing anthologies, but hope to eventually expand the small press into other projects, such as original novels, mosaic novels, etc.  But right now, we’re focusing on the anthologies.

  1. With the Erenthrall books behind you, what can we look forward to next from you as far as novels or short stories are concerned?

ReapingCover I’m currently working on the first book in a new series, set in an entirely new world from that used for the “Throne of Amenkor,” “Well of Sorrows,” and “Ley” series.  So of course it’s taking me a longer to write.  Hopefully I’ll have that done this summer (which means it wouldn’t be released until 2019 at the earliest).  I’m also continuing with the anthologies for Zombies Need Brains, with three new releases this year and the new Kickstarter to run in August/September.  Assuming that’s a success, I’ll be working on the new anthologies for 2019 as well.  So lots of projects either finishing up or coming up in the near future.

  1. Thanks for taking part, Josh. Where are all the best places to find out more about you and your work?

I have webpages at www.joshuapalmatier.com and www.zombiesneedbrains.com.  You can also find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/joshua.b.palmatier and https://www.facebook.com/zombiesneedbrainsllc/) and Twitter (@bentateauthor and @ZNBLLC).  I also have an Instragram account:  https://www.instagram.com/joshuab.palmatier/.

JOSHUA PALMATIER is a fantasy author with a PhD in mathematics.  He currently teaches at SUNY Oneonta in upstate New York, while writing in his “spare” time, editing anthologies, and running the anthology-producing small press Zombies Need Brains LLC.  His most recent fantasy novel, Reaping the Aurora, concludes the fantasy series begun in Shattering the Ley and Threading the Needle, although you can also find his “Throne of Amenkor” series and the “Well of Sorrows” series still on the shelves.  He is currently hard at work writing his next novel and designing the kickstarter for the next Zombies Need Brains anthology project.  You can find out more at www.joshuapalmatier.com or at the small press’ site www.zombiesneedbrains.com.  Or follow him on Twitter as @bentateauthor or @ZNBLLC.

Tales Beyond The Hollow

Now that Dark Hollow Road is reaching the finish line of being out and about in the world, I thought I’d step back and recap on the other titles I have out there for those who may have missed something along the way.

Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon is a Murder-Mystery full of paranormal elements.
A mysterious death sends one investigator deep into her hometown’s dark and bloody past. It’s a past the local coven of witches would rather keep buried. Can justice be served or will the witches succeed in keeping their centuries-old secrets intact?
Available on Kindle and in paperback here: Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon

That’s What Shadows Are Made Of continues the paranormal Murder-Mystery theme.
Everyone thought the local undertaker was such a nice guy, until someone murdered him.
As the police look for a flesh and blood killer, a witches’ coven discovers dark magic may be the culprit. Is the shadowy figure being seen around town stalking for its next victim real or something much more diabolical?
Available on Kindle and in paperback here: That’s What Shadows Are Made Of

No Rest For The Wicked takes a sharp turn away from the previous two releases. Oh, there’s murder, but the mystery isn’t who did it, but the dark reasons behind the violent deaths.
Every ghost has a story. Not all of them want it told.
A sadistic doctor hell bent on controlling both the living and the dead, would rather keep his final year of life a closed book. It’s a classic ghost story with a twist; it’s told, in part, by the ghosts themselves.
Available on Kindle and in paperback here: No Rest For The Wicked

The Witch’s Backbone Part 1: The Curse is a creepy coming-of-age tale.
It’s 1980 and five friends take it upon themselves to prove there’s nothing to their local urban legend and its deadly curse. That legend has other ideas.
After one of their number believes she’s seen the local urban legend, five young friends head deep into the woods to prove it’s just a story. Except in trying to do so, they may have discovered this old wives tale isn’t quite so fictional. And if the subject of the legend is real, does that mean her deadly curse is, too?
Available on Kindle and in paperback here: The Witch’s Backbone Part 1: The Curse.

Dark Hollow Road is all that the name implies, a journey into the darkest hollows of the human condition, where the real monsters of this world are made.
In the quiet Pennsylvania countryside, on a dead end road, she waits.
What does the 1948 rape of an eight-year-old girl have to do with the disappearance of a six-year-old boy seventy years later? They have one thing in common, a house on Dark Hollow Road. Empty now, the house stands as a warning to all who dare enter and take from it what isn’t theirs.
Kindle pre-orders happening now. Paperback release Mar. 23: Dark Hollow Road 

Tonight’s The Night!

This is it, folks. We’re down to the wire.

Kindle pre-orders of my psychological horror novel DARK HOLLOW ROAD begin TONIGHT at midnight. (Alright, probably a few hours before that because I’m not going to stay up that late to hit the magic button.)

Check out the trailer then buy the book!

DARK HOLLOW ROAD – BOOK TRAILER

Don’t read eBooks – no worries. The FULL RELEASE happens MARCH 23rd. Between now and then I’m hoping to do something I’ve never done before … stay tuned!