Author Interview – Tim Meyer

authorphoto1 (1)Getting to know Tim Meyer started on Twitter a couple years ago. Since then, I’ve discovered his warped wit with a crazy bunch of Horror Cvlt Live Chat members and enjoyed a little Fun In The Sun time with him just off the Mexican coast via his novel Sharkwater Beach. After reading that, I knew I just had to get an interview. Thankfully, Tim thought it was a good idea, too!

1. Stephen King is quoted as saying, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write.” Every writer I know also spends a great amount of time reading. What was your favorite book as a kid and how have the books you read back then influenced you as a writer today?

Great question! Hard to pick just one, but Jurassic Park was a book I read a lot when it first came out. I was around eight at the time and I remember reading it over and over again. Still have that paperback copy and it has pretty much fallen apart since then. Also the GOOSEBUMPS series by R.L. Stine. I had every single book and read them constantly. Those really influenced me as a writer and were also my “gateway” into horror fiction – authors like Stephen King and Robert McCammon. I fell in love with the genre, hard. I think when you read my stuff today, you can definitely see the impression GOOSEBUMPS left. I always enjoyed how Stine took your average kid with real-life issues and threw them into these crazy situations – much like King does too. I think you can see a lot of that in my work.

2. For some writers quiet and solitude are paramount to a successful writing session. Others seem perfectly capable of writing in crowded and noisy coffee houses. Describe your writing space and what works best for you when it comes to writing productively.

I have my own office. It’s surrounded by horror movies, toys, and a giant bookcase with way too many books! I do most of my writing there. I try to wake up at 5 every morning, before my wife and three-year-old. Doesn’t always happen, but usually I can do that five days of the week. I’m most productive during those early hours. I listen to music and drink about 40oz of coffee an hour. Okay, maybe not that much. But, coffee. A good amount of that. I’ll also try to steal moments here and there. If my wife is working late, I’ll try to squeeze in 1,000 words before bed. I’m not opposed to writing in a coffee shop or in loud places. I’ve gotten pretty good at writing with Mickey Mouse on in the background. I also enjoy a good writing session at the local library, but that doesn’t happen too often.

khccover3. Earlier I asked about your favorite book growing up. When did you actually start writing stories for yourself? Was it something you’ve always been interested in or did it happen later in life? What was the very first story you can remember writing?

I’ve been interested in writing as early as the fourth grade. My fourth-grade teacher made us write a novel for a class project. It had to be ten pages or so with pictures. I, of course, wrote about me and my friends crash-landing on a deserted island populated by carnivorous dinosaurs. After that, I guess you can say I had been bitten by the story bug. I started writing stories, doodling comics, and making movies with friends. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, no matter the medium.

4. “A writer never takes a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing,” or so once said playwright Eugene Ionesco. I couldn’t agree with him more, but there are times when I’m not writing and pursuing other interests. What others activities or hobbies do you have that are totally unrelated to being an author?

Well, I love spending time with my wife and kid. That’s the best. I’m a big sports fan, so I enjoy watching and playing sports. Big into fantasy football. I enjoy craft beer, exploring different breweries and sampling their various concoctions. I’m a movie buff, so I watch a lot of them. I podcast, co-host the Aperture Hour Podcast on The Project Entertainment Network. We talk about movies and TV shows and have weekly trivia. It’s a lot of fun. I buy way too many horror t-shirts.

switchhouse2225. Tell us a bit about your latest release and what can we expect next? I know you must have something in the works! Where can readers learn more about what you already have available and keep up-to-date on all things Tim Meyer?

I recently had two books come out. The first is called THE SWITCH HOUSE. It’s about a husband and wife who come back home after going on a house-swapping reality television program, only to find their house not the way they left it – in the spiritual sense. They think it might be haunted or cursed, and that’s when the crazy stuff happens. It’s getting a lot of good reviews and I’m really proud of how it’s being received by readers. The other is a nasty novel titled KILL HILL CARNAGE. You can probably tell by the title that it’s about puppies and rainbows and happiness. Nah, it’s basically EVIL DEAD meets FROM BEYOND meets LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL. It’s my love letter to late 80s/early 90s horror.

I have a bunch of stuff in the works. Currently shopping a novel called DEAD DAUGHTERS. Just finished the first draft on a lost world/adventure horror novel involving inter-dimensional time travel and lots of dinosaurs. Recently wrapped up a novel I’m co-authoring – that one is about pirate ghosts and ancient sea monsters. Oh, and I’m also in the middle of plotting out the final two books of the SUNFALL series, which I co-author with Chad Scanlon and Pete Draper. Might have a new short story collection available next year. So, all that and a bunch of other projects that I can’t talk about yet. Best way to keep up with me is probably Twitter (@timmmeyer11) or over on Timmeyerwrites.com and sign up for the newsletter.

 

Author Interview – Isobel Blackthorn

As a female author of Horror, you quickly come to realize the genre is very much dominated by male writers. I find that odd as women have been in the business of writing Gothic Horror since the 18th century and that a woman, Mary Shelley, penned one of the great masterpieces of horror with her novel Frankenstein.

With that in mind, I am always thrilled to land an interview with a fellow female writer of the genre and this month that woman is Isobel Blackthorn!

  1. Setting a mood for a story is one of the most important parts of writing, but what about setting the mood for yourself as you sit down to write? Do you have a special time and place, or maybe some music you like to put on to get your creative juices flowing for a good session?

CABIN SESSIONS FRONT COVER 4 800x500 For years I thought I needed to set the mood for myself in order to write. When all I really needed was to have pen and paper, my sofa and solitude. I have to be alone. Living alone means I am always in the mood for writing and I dip in and out all day long from the moment I wake up until I stop to make dinner. I write at a leisurely pace. I try not to care about output and I don’t mind occasional interruptions. I cannot write anywhere other than my home, which means wherever I happen to be living as I move a lot. Two things put me off writing. Music and barking dogs. Silence is king.

 

 

  1. Every writer started somewhere. Can you tell us a little bit about what prompted you to become a writer? Was it childhood dream or something you fell into more recently? Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I have always wanted to be a writer but it was a secret desire, even secret from me for many decades. In my late-teens I toyed with song lyrics. Then it was little bits of poetry. Friends and others encouraged me, told me I had talent but I didn’t believe them. In my mid-twenties something reared up in me, an urge, a surge of creative impulse. It was the 1980s and I was living in Oxford surrounded by literature. I began to talk to my friends about wanting to write fiction and I did make a half-hearted attempt at a novel. I had no idea what I was doing or how to go about it. None at all. Back then, there were no creative writing degrees. If there had been, I would have been the first to enroll. Lacking a mentor or any sort of guidance, I gave up. Life took me in other directions.

A few years later, I was living in the Canary Islands, Spain. I was living in the grand old house of my boyfriend, and he was the first to really believe in me as a writer. He was about to travel to Indonesia to buy an old wooden boat and sail it back to Spain to sell for a fortune. He wanted me to travel with him and write the memoir. What an adventure! What an opportunity! Only, I still had no idea how to write creatively. Even though I yearned to do it, I had no confidence, no self belief. I did go with my beau to Bali, but finding myself in an awfully dangerous situation there, I fled to Australia. The next time I felt an impulse to write was in the mid-1990s. Again, I had a go at writing a novel. Three chapters in, I gave up. Every now and then the impulse would rise up in me, only to die back down deflated.

Finally, in 2007, I was employed by a literary agent as her PA. My luck had changed. Suddenly I had someone who truly believed I could write. By then I had a PhD so damn straight I could write! But there is an ocean of difference between academic and creative writing. Another stroke of luck, the best, was I made friends with an author who agreed to be my mentor. His belief in my writing was transformational. It was incredibly affirming and validating and by then I was in my late forties and oh so hungry to learn. Now, I feel I am making up for lost time.

  1. Taking breaks from the intensity of work is important to everyone. What sorts of activities do you enjoy doing that aren’t related to writing. Hobbies? Travel? Maybe jumping out of airplanes?

I knit. I have my cat for company. I go for walks and have coffee with friends. I visit family, friends, sometimes travel. You can imagine from my answer to your last question that I don’t have a big desire to do anything other than write, but people are important to me.

  1. As a Horror writer myself I am often asked how I can write such things and doesn’t it keep me up at night. (It doesn’t.) What sorts of things scare you?

Gran ParksTons of things scare me. I cannot watch most horror movies. Even the music puts me on edge. Although I love Tarantino. I am not so easily spooked as I used to be. I used to be terrified of the dark and being alone in a house at night. I’ve lived in haunted houses and managed to eliminate the ghosts through my own force of will, but it was unnerving having things switch themselves on right beside you. I come from a long line of occultists, Spiritualists, healers. I stay away from horror because I do not want to invite that sort of energy into my life. Which might make anyone reading this ask what kind of self-respecting horror writer am I? I write dark psychological thrillers and satire. I like the line between horror and comedy. The British movie, Sightseers, for example. I like my horror twisted. I don’t want to be terrified. I want my mind bent out of shape a little, the way it is when you find yourself siding with the killer. I’m going to plug Gerri Gray’s Amnesia Girl, as a great example of the horror I like. And I love gothic horror of the No Rest for the Wicked kind, too! HellBound Books is a comfortable place for me to be because they publish a diverse range of quality horror and there is something for all horror tastes.

  1. I’ve always got a work in progress. Do you have anything in the works that you can give us a hint about and where can people find out more about your already published works and about you?

I have another two works of dark fiction in the pipeline. One is a gothic mystery set in the Canary Islands. The other is a Noir thriller, erotic romance style. I am very excited about this one. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but it sizzles! I am always pushing the boundaries, exploring new styles and genres. To date, I have five novels published by small presses, along with a short-story collection and my memoir.

They are all on Amazon and you can read excerpts, reviews and more on my website. https://isobelblackthorn.com/ All my fiction packs a punch and most contains occult themes. I can be found on:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768657.Isobel_Blackthorn

Twitter @IBlackthorn

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/isobelblackthorn/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com.au/isobelblackthor/

Tumblr http://isobelblackthorn.tumblr.com/

Author Interview – Jason Brant

  1. For me, writing has been a life-long passion. When did you first get the writing bug and what were some of the earliest stories you wrote about?

I never even considered writing fiction until I was 30. No shorts or abandoned novels or anything. I was miserable working a government job and I just up and quit one day. While sitting around my house, enjoying unemployment, I stumbled across JA Konrath’s blog and read up on self-publishing. A few weeks later, I was typing away every day. It sure beats working for the government.

Ash1-ebook-webThe first piece of fiction I ever worked on was a novella titled Echoes, which centered around a man who gained telepathic abilities from a traumatic brain injury. It sucked. But I published it anyway, because I didn’t realize how bad it was at the time. A year or two later, I took it down and rewrote it into a novel titled Ash which is now the most popular work I have.

The second story I attempted was my West of Hell series. I haven’t gone back to them since I finished them, so I can’t imagine they’re any good either. (Note from Pamela – I’ve read the first two books in the West of Hell series and really enjoyed them. Need to get Book 3 one of these days.)

 

  1. You frequently mention your Asher Benson series and it seems these books are the ones people are most familiar with, but what about your three standalone novels? Could you tell me a bit more about those?

The Gate is a sort of Lovecraftian story that pokes fun at ghost hunters. It was my first novel and a total blast to write. Monsters and douchebags. My kinda story.

The Dark is set in the same universe as The Gate, but isn’t a sequel. It revolves around a living darkness that descends upon the city of Aberdeen, MD. Anyone caught without a light source dies a horrible and nearly instantaneous death. This book is the one that kind of put me on the map for a lot of people and allowed me to pay my mortgage.

Aces High is a novel co-written with romance and fantasy author Elle Casey. She’s brilliant and a NYT bestselling author, so who knows why she agreed to write a book with me. I imagine she regrets that decision to this day. The book is very different from my other stuff and is more of a young adult novel than anything else. Elle is hilarious and her humor runs rampant throughout.

  1. Not only are you a writer, but you have several podcasts. How did Drinking With Jason, So Bad It’s Good, and most recently Final Guys come into being.

I initially started Drinking with Jason to meet other authors. Typically, I don’t do book signings or conventions, so I’m a bit on the outside when it comes to knowing others in the community. The podcast was a good way to spend an hour talking to my peers. Unfortunately, I don’t do the show as often as I should because scheduling artists for interviews is akin to herding cats.

So Bad It’s Good is just to express my love for bad movies. It’s an enormous amount of work with no return, but we have a blast doing it. It also suffers from painfully bad production quality, just like the movies we’re enjoying.

Final Guys is an idea I’ve had for a few years now, but finally decided to pounce on in 2017. I consume an enormous amount of horror and haven’t had an avenue to talk about it. Jack and Hunter suffer from the same horror obsession, which made them perfect for co-hosts. We have a lot of fun doing it and between the three of us, we’re able to curate a ton of movies, shows, and books which is hopefully useful to our listeners.

  1. Rumor has it you’re working on some new material. Can you give us a hint at what this is and when it might be ready for the public?

Devoured1-ebook-web I’m close to finishing the fourth book in my series, The Hunger. It’s actually the beginning of a new three-book arc that I’m hoping to finish by the end of the summer. After that, I have more to write in the Asher Benson series and have several ideas for standalone novels.

  1. Where can people find out more about all things Jason Brant?

www.authorjasonbrant.com is the best place. You can find my books and social media links there, along with my stupid side projects. And www.finalguys.com for the podcast and a bunch of horror movie and book reviews.

 

Author Interview – K.T. Katzmann

K.T. Katzmann, a fan of Lovecraft, Dr. Who, and Columbo, writes about monsters! How could I NOT want to delve deeper and find out more about this already interesting fellow author?!

Pamela: I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been able to string letters into words and words into sentences. When did your writing bug bite and what was the first story you can remember creating?

K.T.Katzmann K.T.: An elementary school creative writing class gave me the infection, and by eight I was binding comic books out of printer paper and staples. Imagine really trashy derivative Goonies/Monster Squad pastiches. I tried writing prose, but my Mom would read them to her friends over the phone in silly voices, so I stopped for about half my life. I threw all my creative juices into role-playing games, which left no evidence behind with which my mom could embarrass me.

It was years later, at one of these sessions, that writing dug its claws in again. During one exceptionally, mind-bendingly boring game I found my mind searching for any form of entertainment possible. I’d been thinking of a fan fiction premise on and off that week, so I just started typing in the middle of the game.

I’m told I had a disquieting grin on my face the whole time.

By the end of the session, I’d written a full chapter. I learned how to post it online, made it big on a major fan blog, and attracted fans who taught me by critiquing my writing. I was eventually getting ready for my next fiction, laptop out in an IHOP, when I had a revelation.

I was preparing to write about two popular background characters who never even had speaking lines. I’d created their entire relationship and personalities in my head. I suddenly wondered: why the hell didn’t I start making up my own things and just publish it for real?

And, I swear, one day I’ll come out about my fan fiction account name. People are still posting comments about that last one needing an ending…

Murder with Monsters Pamela : I see you are a fan of Lovecraft as well as Dr. Who. Monster detectives seems a far cry from either of those. What inspired you to write “Murders With Monsters”?

K.T.: I grew up loving detectives. I may have been the only nine-year old in my class devouring Murder, She Wrote and Columbo. My parents got a little worried when I got my hands on a Barbie Dreamhouse and immediately had Barbie throw Ken off the roof for the insurance money.

I also love monsters, including all the really obscure ones. Almost every urban fantasy book, however, translates into “That One Kind of Stuff is Real AND NOBODY KNOWS.” I started to wonder what life would be like if everything was real and everyone knew.

Laurel K. Hamilton set the last ball rolling. There’s a line in one of the Anita Blake books where the hero’s partner comments about a dragon being around. “That’s ridiculous,” she says. “Dragons were never native to the North American continent.”

That’s a brilliant line. And all that stuff was churning around one day when, in a role-playing game, my friend said I could make any type of character and design their entire world with no limitations.

Within five minutes, I had a Jewish vampire detective stuck for eternity with a horrible name and late teenage looks. Mildred Heavewater had sprang fully formed from my head as she appears on the pages now. Another five minutes, and I’d sketched out a world where Cthulhu could address the UN and the Jersey Devil was a reality show star.

Pamela: Many writers I’ve interviewed find they write best to a certain type of music and even create playlists for their current work in progress. Is this sort of thing true for you as well or are you more a “I need silence” kind of writer?

K.T.: I have ADHD, so I get distracted really easily. I can’t listen to Pandora or the radio; figuring out new lyrics distract me. Sometimes even familiar old lyrics get me; I start thinking up new interpretations of whatever the hell Ronnie James Dio is screaming about between the “Yeah” and the “Look Out!”

Instrumentals are great. They occupy the wandering part of my mind. There’s an experimental instrumental prog rock band called Ozric Tentacles, and they do wonders. Almost all of “Murder With Monsters” was written to their album “The Yum Yum Tree.” I’m listening to it as I type this.

Pamela: Beyond “Murders With Monsters”, what other publication have you been part of? Can we look forward to another novel soon?

K.T.: Sequel time! The second Night Shift Files mystery should be out by the end of the year. Mildred has to catch an inhuman spree killer of unknown species she put away decades ago. The only catch is, he’s somehow still sitting in an asylum as the bodies carved up to his old M.O. pile up! I get to flesh out different monster types in this one, like New York’s faerie population and the shoggoth refugees. Turns out shoggies are huge fans of Mr. Rogers. Who knew?

book 2  In the meantime, Mildred also appeared in the anthology “Candlesticks and Daggers,” where I experienced the joy of writing a Columbo episode with vampires as both the sleuth and the victim.

I’m also going to appear in “1816 – The Year Without a Summer,” an anthology of historic Cthulhu fiction. I’m gleefully cooking up one of the nastier things I’ve ever written. I even get to briefly rescue from obscurity a beastie from Lovecraft so unknown, my editor originally thought I’d made him up! Check out the Kickstarter campaign! 1816 – The Year Without A Summer

 

Pamela: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

K.T.: I tweet at @iwritemonsters about monster fandom, teaching in Florida, and geek parenthood. My as-yet irregularly updated website is www.iwritemonsters.com. It has a current list of all the anthologies I’ve appeared in, as well as essays like using “The Babadook” as grief therapy and reviews old 70’s Bigfoot shows.

Thanks so much K.T. for taking part! Learning more about you was great fun! Folks – be sure and check out K.T.s website, seek him out on Twitter, and heck, while you’re at it – buy a copy of his work!

Author Interview – Stephen Helmes

For some authors, being a writer was something they felt they were born wanting to do. For others, it was a certain event in their lives that made them want to write. What is your Genesis story? When did the writing bug hit you and what was the first story you wrote”?

The writing bug hit me for the first time in 1981, but I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Halloween II had just hit the theaters and I went to see it. It was an instant hit with me, but I could not stand the thought of the movie ending, not then, not that way. I bought a new 40-sheet notebook and a pack of Bic pens and started writing Halloween III. That’s right John Carpenter. It’s time to move over.
I took up where the movie left off, Michael Myers chasing Laurie Strode deeper into the hospital. Before I knew it, the notebook was full. I had totally zoned out for a couple of days. That was the first time I’d ever had my mind leave my body, so to speak.

The writings in that notebook are gone forever. I have no idea what happened to it and I can’t remember anything I wrote in it. I’m sure that if I found that story today it would make a good script for an Abbott and Costello film.

Helms_NightlyVisitsIt took twenty years before that writing bug returned, and this time, I hung on for the ride. It came to me in a nightmare back in 2001. I shot straight up in sweat soaked sheets, eyes darting around the darkness until I realized that I was safe in my own room. This was the worst and best nightmare I’d ever had, and being a horror lover, I couldn’t risk going back to sleep and allowing those horrific images to escape my mind in a fog of dreamy forgetfulness. It was 4:30am. I got up, went to my computer and begin typing it all out in full detail while it was still fresh in my mind.

After reading through my draft of the nightmare the next day, I realized that this dream was scarier than most of the stuff I had been seeing in most of the recent films. The notion hit me to create a foundation of characters and a plot to pull the broken images together.

Once the writing started, the words flowed like a river. I based the plot and characters around the band I was playing with, and the story took off. It took me a few weeks to complete the story. It was my first original piece. I titled it Glasswalker.

After Glasswalker, I was hooked. I immediately started writing Little Red Socks, The Witches’ Post, then another, and another. These are the stories that you will find within the covers of my first book, Nightly Visits.

You run a page on Facebook called “Author’s Bus Depot”. Can you tell us a little more about what the page is about and what gave you the idea for it?

Author’s Bus Depot is a group designed to help indie authors to promote their books without the high cost of hiring a mainstream promotion company to do it for them.

When I released my first book, I had stars in my eyes. The book was available around the globe, so of course there would be sells. There would be so many sells I would be a big-time author within a year. Well, it didn’t take very long for reality to show me otherwise. New authors need help pushing their books to the public, and unfortunately, promoting doesn’t come cheap. So what do you do if you don’t have a stack of money to invest in promoting your book?

Facebook is the first free means. Place your book on your timeline so all your family and friends can see that you have published a book. You will sell a few copies, but then what? Your friends who are interested have already bought your book, and now you are back at the drawing board. How do you get out there where the numbers are, those people who would love your book if they only knew it existed? How do you introduce yourself as an author when you are trapped behind a wall of open palms, promising you the world, but at a cost you can’t afford to pay?

Author’s bus Depot uses the Facebook timeline to promote, not only your book, but also all of our books, not only for your personal friends and following, but all of our friends and followings combined together. We are simply sharing our timelines with each other so that rather than only having your small private group to offer your book to, you have all of our followings to offer to as well. Author’s Bus Depot is designed to get your book seen by thousands of people across Facebook without having to spend one cent on a promotion company.

I understand you are also a musician. Tell us a little bit about the music you love to play and are there any songs or bands that inspire or help you while you’re in author mode?

Glasswalker, a story from Nightly Visits, was based all around my band, House of Flies. Things that have happened over our years together, venues that we’ve played, and even the members, though their names have been changed to protect my skin, much of that story is true. Each character in Glasswalker is characterized after a musician that is either in the band, or has been in our band in the past. The things they say and do as a band, are things that we’ve said and done.

As for the music I enjoy playing, that depends on the audience in front of me. If I am with our band, House of Flies, Hard Rock is my favorite to play, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc. There are no rules in Hard Rock. You do what you want, when you feel like doing it. I love looking out and seeing our crowd having a good time. When their blood starts flowing, it makes our adrenaline start pumping, and when they getting into it, screaming and jumping to the music, the top of our heads go, BOOM! Then it’s game on! No one knows what’s going to happen after that. There is nothing like doing a great show and waking the next morning with your ears still ringing and a hangover from Hell. And the best part about that is that I don’t drink!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a pure head-banger, no, not at all. I am an all-around lover of the art. I listen to anything and everything: heavy, soft, good dance beat or no beat at all. If it makes me feel good, then it must be good. Give me an acoustic and a small audience that loves to sing along and I will go on for hours playing classics from artists like America, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Nash, Bob Seger, Sammy Johns, and the list goes on forever. Music always has been, is, and always will be in my soul.

You have two books under your belt already. Could you tell us a little bit about Nightly Visits and 12 to 6 and if you have any other works in progress you’d like to share info on.?

Nightly Visits was my first release, and the second, From 12 to 6 (More Nightly Visits) is the sequel).

Helms_12to6 Both of these books are loaded with short stories and novellas, each one coming from a completely different direction from the last. The thing about the Nightly Visits series is that most of the ideas come from dreams, which is where the title, Nightly Visits, comes from. Because the stories in these books are dream-based, they go where they want to go, do what they want to do, and show you what they want you to see. All I do is sit and watch these characters interact in my head, and write it all down. I didn’t create most of the stories in my book. The characters did it for me. I am the writer, but they are the authors. I am not the pilot. I’m just the plane that takes you into these worlds of the imagination. When I am writing these stories, I can’t wait to get to the end so I can see what happens.
You can expect a lot more from me in the near future.

At the moment, I am working on two new projects. My editor and friend, Lisa Binion and I are teaming up for my first full-length novel, which has not been titled yet. The foundation is complete and the story is well under way, however, the release date is still too far away to predict.

As for the other project, you guessed it. Nightly Visits III (The Trail of Dreams) is coming. I am planning to release it late in the year or perhaps early next year, depending on the characters. They are the ones in charge. It’s going to be a wild ride, so keep an eye out for that.

Where can people learn more about Stephen Helmes and how can we get a hold of your books?

At the moment, I have no actual website, but you can find me on Facebook at the following link… https://tinyurl.com/StephenH-Author Drop in and say hello.

You can find both of the Nightly Visits books at Amazon.

Nightly Visits – myBook.to/NightlyVisits

From 12 to 6 (More Nightly Visits) – myBook.to/From-12-To-6

If you would like to get a taste of From 12 To 6 (More Nightly Visits) you can read two of the stories in their entirety by clicking the links below.

The Longest Day in the World: https://tinyurl.com/LngDayWrld

Ashlyn came to me in a dream Christmas Eve 2013. She wanted me to tell her story. I woke on Christmas morning with this little girl in my head and tears in my eyes. This little girl won my heart that night, and I couldn’t wait to get this story started so I could share her with all of you.

Spots: https://tinyurl.com/ztotnss

Jacob is only one of many who suffer from Mysophobia, (fear of germs) and those around him will never truly understand why he is so obsessive with cleaning his apartment and staying closed up inside. But they don’t see what Jacob sees. The germs are not only everywhere, on everything, and transferred by everybody. They are actually coming to get him!

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!

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.

Author Interview – I.E. Lester

This month I’m happy to bring you all an interview with sci-fi and horror author I.E. Lester (aka Edmund Lester). Edmund’s YA supernatural novel “The Stairs Lead Down” is scheduled for release on Oct. 31st.

  1. Let’s start at the beginning. When did the writing bug bite you? Was it something that you aspired to as a youngster or is it a more recent interest?

The thought of writing fiction never occurred to my teenage or twenty-something self. I was a voracious reader in those days, mostly of science fiction, fantasy and horror, although some other fiction would occasionally sneak in. In my youth the reading bug was absolute; as was the collecting bug. As a result forty years after reading my first science fiction book, a short story collection by Isaac Asimov, I have a collection containing more than 16,000 books and magazines.

The first time the idea of writing science fiction appeared was when I created a science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction website called the Eternal Night. On this site I reviewed books, conducted author interviews, wrote articles about science fiction and science fact. I ran the site for the best part of ten years until the age of social media started and people moved away from web 1.0 sites.

During this period I was fortunate to meet many, many authors for the interviews section but also socially; including one particular group called the Terror Scribes. One or two of them wondered why I had never tried my hand at writing fiction. They encouraged me to give it a try although I was very hesitant. My background is in mathematics and physics. My day job was coding software systems. I was used to writing technical documents, an easy switch to the science articles, but I didn’t think I had any chance of adapting my writing style to fiction.

When I hit forty my wife told me to give it a try. Well, how could I disappoint her. So I tried writing some short stories and several of them sold, mostly to webzines but also to some small press magazines and anthologies. I continued with the short form for three years until an opportunity to set up a side line business selling superhero comics, toys, and merchandise presented itself which consumed all of the spare time I had.

When I sold the company after four years I decided to give writing another try only this time I wanted to see if I could write a novel. I did. And then I wrote another. Neither of them was any good but they proved to me I could stick with it all the way to typing those two glorious words, “The End”.

I wrote a third, a huge science fiction alternate history book that was intended to be the first in a series. It was the first novel I’d written where I felt it was actually a novel someone might read. I sent it out to every agent and publisher I could find who might consider it. None of them went for it; although a couple did request a full manuscript so that was encouraging. I wrote a fourth, a horror book based in part on my own childhood growing up just south of Birmingham in the 1970s. It too failed to find a home. I kept trying.

This was followed by a handful of weird novellas featuring a middle-aged, middle-class, middle-Englander whom I torment in strange ways; another horror novel, this one a claustrophobic tale of people stuck in a village store; a ya fantasy novel; a bawdy comedic space opera; two surreal novels on company culture and the fame game; and the YA supernatural, The Stairs Lead Down coming out on Hallowe’en 2017.

  1. I saw you had an article in Darker Matter some time ago called Generation Spaceships. Your other work has centered around the Horror genre, so I’m curious about a piece that is so very much Sci-Fi. It was quite a detailed piece of work.

My background is in science. I studied mathematics and physics at University and trained to be a teacher. I have maintained an interest in science ever since. Before the idea of writing fiction I had written and sold dozens of articles on science, history, horror, linguistics, plus a number of mini-biographies of people I admire.

When the online magazine Darker Matter started the editor was kind enough to consider my suggestion of including a non-fiction article in its first issue. I write a piece on Exoplanets, a topic I’d studied at University albeit it only in theory as it was 5 years after I left that the first one was discovered. The article seemed to go down well with his readers so we turned it into a series of articles on astrophysics. I enjoyed researching and writing these articles and was disappointed when the magazine ended.

You are right about the horror focus on my other published work. When I first started writing short stories the majority of the stories were horror. I couldn’t see the point of trying to write fantasy short stories. Fantasy to me is long form. Science fiction is a very friendly genre to the short form and I did write a number of sf shorts but I found horror much easier. There’s something satisfying about getting a little scare in, in just a few words. I had a particular fondness for writing horror drabbles (100 word stories), especially comedic ones.

For interest here is one I wrote six years ago. It was accepted by a magazine that unfortunately folded before it was published.

Don’t Blame Me

“Don’t blame me, you made this,” he repeated

I looked at him, really looked at him.  His eyes glowed red; his forehead was bumpy; behind him something flickered. A tail?

“Satan?” I asked uncertainly.

“Who were you expecting, Mother Theresa?”

“What do you mean, ‘I made this’?”

“Our policy is to make each hell fit the individual.  Kind of a personal service eternal suffering you might say.”

“But a neon-lit karaoke bar, who would create something like this?”

“You! It’s your idea of the worst possible night out. Eternity here should be complete hell.

Then Satan vanished.

  1. I’m sure you’ve seen the memes that want to give writers a verbal beating because we’re not sitting at our computers writing 24/7, 365. I simply can’t do that. What sort of writing work schedule and routine do you try to keep?

I do not have a very good writing schedule. Routines do not work for me. I go through peaks and troughs with it. Sometimes I can sit and write for hours on end and it all comes naturally; other times it is a struggle. Of late it’s been a trough time so I’m not writing all that often and when I do it becomes a chore.

In contrast when I’m on a peak the words just flow and I never want to leave the keyboard. To give you an example of what these times can be like. I had the idea for my sf alternate history novel walking down a road in the Netherlands whilst on holiday in May 2015. I started writing the novel on my return, with one week of the month to go. I finished the first draft by the start of August; 122,000 words long. In that time I’d also written a 30,000 words novella, the Intersection due out next year. In two months and all while maintaining a day job (I do have to keep paying the mortgage) I’d written more than 150,000 words of fiction. The revision of them both was done in another month.

This year’s been much more of a struggle. I’ve fought through writing a surreal satire around the entertainment industry and a full rewrite of my YA fantasy as requested by the publisher interested in it. They were not easy though. It really did feel like work for much of it.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to get out of the funk soon. I have so many stories I want to tell.

  1. Your first novel, The Stairs Lead Down, is scheduled to be released on Halloween of this year! Can you tell us a bit of the back story, what inspired it, and maybe share a little sneak-peak excerpt?

The Stairs Lead Down was one of a couple of the stories I’ve written that have come around because of films I’ve watched; only for all the wrong reasons. If I watch a good film or a good TV series I will walk away with happy but with a clear head. I am satisfied with how it was told. If however, I watch a film I find terrible it is quite the opposite. I start wondering how I would have written it; what I could have done to make it better.

These thought processes always end up with nothing of the original story remaining. My brain swaps out literally every single part of the film, its setting, its plot, its characters, its time period; everything. Then I sit down with a notebook and start scribbling down my idea. I keep an A5 notebook for every story idea large enough in scope to potentially become a novel or a series. If at the end of this scribbling I have enough I construct a framework plot, flesh it out with characters and scenes, all still in the notebook. Then when I’m happy I start typing.

The Stairs Lead Down, is set in my hometown, Ashby de la Zouch (rather than the big city in the USA in the film that started me thinking). There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly it makes research really easy. I know we live in the age of Google Maps but actually walking up and down the streets where the story is set is so much more valuable to me. But the main reason I picked Ashby is its history. It’s existed for more than a thousand years and everywhere you look there is history. When you’re writing a ghost story this is invaluable. I can have ghosts from any point in history just drop in as needed.

Having the two main characters as twins is possibly the only holdover from when I started thinking of the story. Twins are simultaneously freaky to non-twins but common enough that having them in a story isn’t unrealistic. (There were no twins in the film the idea started from.)

The twins in my story share a power that allows them to see the ghost realms (also non-existent in the film) hidden to everyone else. It also exposes them to danger as there are people in the world who want to rip this power from them for their own, obviously nefarious, purposes.

The house where the majority of the action takes place is based on the one where an old friend of mine grew up. It has a history almost as old as Ashby, albeit was rebuilt by the Victorians. My friend’s house was actually older, or at least part of its basement was. The foundation of his house was thought to be Roman, some 1,700 years old. The twins house has a later origin being originally built a mere thousand years ago.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Chapter One of The Stairs Lead Down:

Lizzie twisted herself almost entirely around so she could see through the rear window of Dad’s car. Standing outside the gate of her, now old, home was Michelle. There were tears running down Lizzie’s face as she waved to her friend, growing smaller as Dad drove away. It wasn’t fair. Just because Mum and he wanted to move to the country, why did she have to? Her whole life was here. What did she want with Leicestershire?

The car turned the corner. Michelle was now out of sight. A few seconds later she turned back around. Looking back was depressing; and not a little uncomfortable. Dad drove the route she had walked each morning since she’d moved to high school. Within a minute they would be passing the gate she would never walk through again.

Lizzie wasn’t interested in taking one last look though. She fished her iPhone from her pocket and started tapping in a message to Michelle. It was her intention to spend the whole journey like this. She certainly had no intention of saying anything to her father. Five minutes later she’d run out of things to write. She could tell from her messages Michelle was feeling as uninspired as her. She said a quick goodbye to her friend, promising to talk later.

She looked out of the window. She didn’t recognise the road Dad was driving along. It wasn’t somewhere she’d been before; or if she had she hadn’t cared enough to remember it. It was a London street like any other; rows of houses and shops, bus stops and bollards. It wasn’t as nice as Twickenham; but when she thought about it, nowhere was. And she was sure this Ashby de la Zouch, the nearest town to their new house, wasn’t going to be either.

What kind of name was Ashby de la Zouch anyway? It sounded French. What was a town in England doing with a French name? It was stupid. She’d seen pictures of it on the internet. It looked boring; boring and stupid. And it was her new home. She felt miserable.

Lizzie glanced at the Satnav screen. There was still more than two and a half hours to go before they’d arrive; two and a half hours of misery and the weather looked like it agreed with her. Rain started to fall as Dad turned onto the M25. Two hours; it felt horrible. That’s how far she would be from everything she liked about her life; two and a half hours from anything civilised.

She wondered where Noah and Mum were. They’d set out half an hour or so before Dad. He’d agreed to stay to the end; handle the handover of the keys to the estate agent and take care of any last minute paperwork. Lizzie had been glad he had waited. That extra half an hour with Michelle, in civilisation, was precious to her.

For once the traffic on the M25 was free from queues. Every time she’d been on this road (usually for days out or holidays) they’d been held up. Dad would usually start to grow angry and begin cursing. Mum would always tut and remind him of Lizzie and Noah. Mum needn’t have bothered. His language was nothing she hadn’t heard in school; and not even close to the screams of the girls on the hockey pitch. There was nothing she could learn from him.

Her attention was caught by the clicking of the indicator. She looked through the windscreen to see where they were. The sign indicated he was turning onto the M40 and headed for Oxford and Birmingham. Oxford was as far north as Lizzie had ever been before. Her school had organised a trip there last year to visit the Ashmolean Museum. She’d found the museum boring but had enjoyed walking around Oxford itself. The college buildings were pretty.

Birmingham though was something else. She’d never been. From everything she’d heard she never wanted to. She’d met one or two people from the city and they sounded awful. She could hardly understand them. She also couldn’t understand why they allowed themselves to sound like that. She knew if she’d been born there she would have done everything possible to not have that accent.

A horrible thought passed through her head. Would the people in Ashby sound like that? Was she going to be surrounded by people who talked…wrong? Could anything else make this worse?

~*~

Noah was glad Lizzie had opted not to join him and Mum on the drive up. It meant he wouldn’t have to listen to her whining or suffer through the inevitable argument with Mum it would lead to. It also meant he would get to see the house first, explore it and stake his claim on the best bedroom. Lizzie had had the largest, other than Mum and Dad’s, in their house in Twickenham and now it was his turn.

Mum announced a detour. She was going to drive along the high street in Ashby de la Zouch before they headed for the house. Noah was happy when she’d suggested that. It was something else he was going to get to do before his sister. She usually insisted on being first at everything and would always remind him of being born first whenever he questioned it; as if twelve minutes made any difference, beyond their having different birthdays anyway. He’d always liked that. He got his special day and didn’t have to share it with her.

High Street, no Market Street he corrected himself, looked normal. Okay it was a little smaller than Twickenham’s centre but it seemed okay. There were plenty of places where he could hang out with the new friends he was sure he would make. It would be different but he reckoned he would get used to it; and so would Lizzie. She would just be insufferable until she did.

Mum pulled the car into the drive of their new house just behind the first of the removals vans. The drive way was enormous; just like the house. Back in Twickenham one van like the one ahead of them would have filled their driveway. Mum and Dad had had to park carefully if they wanted to get two cars on the drive. Here you could probably fit more than a dozen.

As the removals van turned around ahead of them Noah saw another vehicle was already there; a car he didn’t recognise. The man leaning against it was also unknown to him. Mum did seem to recognise him though. She waved as she pulled on the handbrake and switched off the engine. That was it. Their journey was over. They were here.

Noah unclipped his seatbelt and got out of the car. The gravel of the driveway crunched under his feet. He stared at the house. It looked weird. The stones, wet from the recent rain, gleamed in the sunlight. It looked wrong. This house was so old he thought it would look far better through mist than in bright sunshine.

Mum had crossed the distance to man she’d waved at seconds before. They were talking warmly. When the two of them moved to the front of the house and he unlocked the front door, Noah realised who he must be. He was the estate agent his parents had bought the house from. Mum stepped inside. That confirmed it. It was real. This was his new home.

He had this uncontrollable urge to rush inside and explore but wasn’t sure if he should. Would he just be getting in the way of the removals men? His restraint was never going to last. There was no way anything was going to keep him from seeing where they would be living. He virtually ran across the driveway; wanting to get a closer look at his new home.

A few feet short of the door he pulled up to a halt. There was a name carved into the stone about the door. It was weathered but still just about readable. His new home was called Clemency House. It was an odd name. He wondered what it meant. He shook his head. That was a matter for later. Right now he had more important things to do.  He jumped through the large oak front door into the entrance hall beyond. He was in his new home.

5. What other things have you got going on in the writing arena? Now that you’ve written one novel, and have another one in the works, do you think that will be your preferred method of story-telling or do you have some more short stories in mind?

I have aforementioned finished novels I will be submitting out at some point in the future once they’ve been revised and polished. I’ve been a little remiss on doing this so at least six are sitting there at first draft only. I like to convince myself it’s because I have had to concentrate on the revisions of the books publishers want but it’s not entirely true. Writing new fiction is much more fun than revising a previously written story; especially once you get to drafts 3 and above.

The draft of The Patternmaker’s Daughter I sent in to the publisher at the end of August was draft 5 (plus a final polish so you might almost call it draft 6). All I know is by the time I had gone through it that many times, I was finding it hard to keep liking the world and its characters as much as I had when I was inventing them. I can’t complain too much as I can see how much these reworking have improved the story. I’m just hoping the publisher believes it sufficiently improved to be worthy of publication.

I do have a number of possible projects. I have written the first 3 chapters of the sequel to The Stairs Lead Down. This second book, called Breath of Imagined Dead, a title which will make sense to anyone who reads it, is set a few months after the end of the first book. The characters are having to deal with the consequences of the events in book one and getting used to having powers and wondering what perils are likely to come their way in future. These chapters, when I’ve polished them, will be available as a taster with the release of book one. I’ve left them with a bit of a cliffhanger. I hope people aren’t too annoyed by me for where I’ve left the story.

Away from that I have a number of other novel ideas in preparation, all adult level rather than ya. There are two fantasy stories, both of which will take a number of books to tell, one set in a roughly Industrial Revolution period world and the other in an alternate 21st Century, having diverted away from our history in the 1930s. I’m a little hesitant to pick either of these two as if Patternmaker’s sells it will start its own series and maintaining two fantasy series simultaneously does not seem a good idea.

The main science fiction idea I have is also a multiple book story. It would probably take three books to tell. It’s a post nuclear war Earth recovering tale set in Africa and Australia, the two areas least affected by the war and involves the fast rise of a new religion.

Then of course there are the weird novellas. I have scribbled down nearly twenty ways in which I could make the life of my middle-aged, middle-class, middle-Englander go to hell in a handcart. These are so much fun to write. I base a lot of this character on me, although with characteristics from some of the people I’ve known over the years to blur it a little. For one thing he’s not as tall as I am. I didn’t want him to be anything other in average in any way. Making him 6’8” wouldn’t fit with this. Also he has a child, whereas I don’t. Most people do have children so he needed to if he was going to be ordinary. I made him an accountant too, as one of my former colleagues was an accountant and I felt having a boring character being an accountant might annoy him.

As far as short stories go, none of the ideas I’ve had for fiction since returning to writing have fitted the short form. I’m not dismissing the idea of writing any in future but when you have a world encompassing idea that needs dozens of characters in various different countries to tell you just need more words than a short story can contain. Let’s see what the future brings though. I might get a slew of short fiction ideas. That would be fun.

  1. Where can people learn more about you and your work? Website? Twitter? Facebook?

My main social media presence is Twitter. I like the 140 character limit. You can find me at https://twitter.com/ielester/

I tweet most days. I tweet most often on writing days, usually giving progress reports and announcing the music I’m using for inspiration. I always write listening to music – I’m doing this interview with my foot tapping along to Ian Dury and the Blockheads. A band I’ve loved for more than 30 years. I have an eclectic taste in music and use many different genres to keep me going. As a result you’ll see mentions of bands and artists like Rush, the Who, It Bites, Lou Reed, Metallica, Kate Bush, Suzanne Vega, Springsteen, Tanita Tikaram, Marillion and Ultravox. I don’t see the point sticking to a particular type of music. I go where the mood takes me and will even admit to listening to my guilty pleasures.

I tend to interact with people a lot on twitter and will always reply if someone tweets at me. I don’t reply to the automatic DMs that get fired off when you follow some people. They annoy me. Obviously personal DMs have a much better chance. I reply to most of those.

Twitter will also be the place where I make any announcements regarding my writing.

I do have a blog although I have to admit to being terrible at maintaining it. I’ve just noticed it’s been seven months since I last posted. I will have to change that. In fact I’m going to post once I’ve finished this interview.

Here’s the link – http://ielester.blogspot.co.uk/

In the past I’ve been a lot better, posting much more regularly. This seems to go in the same phases as my writing with the peaks and troughs. I’m hoping typing up the answers to this interview might inspire. For some reason I’ve found it easy to type (hence the huge amount of words). This could be a turning point.

I have got a Facebook page. My wife set it up for me last year but I keep forgetting to update it. I must get better at this. As for a website. For someone who maintained a sffh website that ended up with 22,000 pages I have been completely terrible at getting around to creating an author website. I must make time for this.

Thanks, Edmund! What a great interview! I wish you all the best on your new book and may it lead to many more.

Folks, if you want to look further into Edmund’s novel The Stairs Lead Down – check out Writer’s Sanctum Publishing for all the details.

http://www.writerssanctumpublishing.co.uk/the-stairs-lead-down/4593890758

 

 

 

 

Book Review – The Shadow Fabric by Mark Cassell

On the second day of his new job, Leo is witness to a murder. His boss, Victor, stabs his own brother, Stanley, with a mysterious dagger known as the Witchblade. But Stanley suffers from no normal stab wound. Instead he is drawn into what appears to be a black piece of fabric and is consumed. No body is left behind and Leo can’t rid himself of the final, terrifying image of Stanley before he completely vanishes. What madness has Leo gotten himself into by taking a simple job as a chauffeur?

The more questions Leo asks, the deeper he finds himself as part of the insanity. Soon, there is no escape. He must see this through to the bitter end. He wants answers, not the least of which what his friend Richard Goodwin has to do with it all. It was Richard who got him the job with Victor and also Richard who seems to know much more about Leo’s forgotten life than he’s willing to say.

The Shadow Fabric is an action-packed and fast-paced run through the underbelly of a realm of darkness, insanity, and a secret mythos that all but the very few are aware of.  Leo took my hand, gripped it tight, and yanked me along through it all right along with him. His fears became my fears. His desire to find the answers, were mine. The feelings of betrayal and hopelessness that he felt made me cling to each page, urging him to continue to fight and find the truth.

I’ve not been held so tight by a novel in a long time and am looking forward to reading more of Mark’s work in as near the future as possible. The mythology he’s created around the Witchblade and Shadow Fabric is rich and deep and there’s no doubt the depth will be plumbed even further in the other stories related to it. He left me knowing enough to end the story, but with the promise that theres more to this telling than a single novel can hold.

Check out the Book Trailer Here.

5 out of 5 Ravens.