Saturday, 31 December 2011

My Top Ten Favouite Reviewed Books of 2011

It's the end of the year, and time to reflect.  So I compiled a list of exceptional books that I read and reviewed on this blog in 2011:

 My Top Ten
  1. On Dark Shores: The Lady by JA Clement:  A lyrical fantasy novel and a brilliant read.
  2. Doodling by Jonathan Gould:  A quirky, charming bit of sci-fi and a finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards.
  3. Refracted by Sheila Deeth: A sci-fi treasure of a read.
  4. Act of Will by M. Darusha Wehm:  The second in a series, this is a fantastic cyber crime thriller (I also got my hands on an ARC copy of the third book in this series, to be reviewed in March.  Yeah!)
  5. The Egyptian by Layton Green:  A wonderful and engrossing thriller
  6. Joe is Online by Chris Wimpress:  A fascinating and controversial apocalyptic book about the digital age.
  7. EboCloud by Rick Moss:  Another digital age book, this one a cyber mystery.
  8. The Empire by Elizabeth Lang:  An intriguing sci-fi novel, with a sprinkling of romance.  
  9. Die Laughing by Louis K. Lowy:  Another sci-fi book, this one with satire, comedians and aliens.
  10. Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean:  Yet another cyber crime novel, witha heck of a twist ending.

Hmmm, after reading the list I think there may be a pattern in my reading habits.


And here are some honourable mentions:
  • Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze: A Christian vampire novel 
  • Symphony of Blood by Adam Pepper:  A horror mystery 
  • End of Mae by Angela Yuriko Smith:  A fun paranormal  book
  • In My Mind’s Eye by Justin Marciano:  A wonderful memoir  

Monday, 19 December 2011

Interview with author Robert Lamb

Today the blog is going from geek to chic, with a visit from literary author Robert Lamb as he chats about his books and writing...


Interview with Robert Lamb


1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a bit about yourself and your writing?

I teach writing and American literature at the University of South Carolina, to which I came after a 20-year career in journalism, last with The Atlanta Constitution. I joined USC as a publications writer/editor, but was invited to teach after my first novel (Striking Out) was published and was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Been teaching ever since as an adjunct professor. I've been writing fiction since I was 10 years old, beginning when I was inspired by the movie "Gentlemen's Agreement," starring Gregory Peck as a magazine writer doing undercover expose on anti-semitism.


2. Would you please describe your latest books, A Majority of One and Six of One, Half Dozen of Another (Stories & Poems +1), for the readers?

A Majority of One is about a clash between religion and the Constitution. A high school English teacher in a small Southern town gets into trouble when she resists the efforts of local preachers to ban some classic American novels from the classroom. Six of One, Half Dozen of Another contains stories and poems from a lifetime of writing, with an afterword on the origins of the pieces. Over the years, I've much enjoyed reading what authors said about their works and about writing in general. W. Somerset Maugham, among the best of storytellers, had a great deal to say about his works. Stephen King is the only modern writer I know who does it, but the Paris Review's author interviews are well-known for such discussions.


3. You’ve written several books and stories, some of which have nominated for awards. Is there any accolade that you find particularly memorable? Do you have a favourite among your books?

With my first novel, I had the same agent as Pat Conroy, Julian Bach. When Mr. Bach called me one day and said, "I loved your novel; it is a marvelous tale wondrously wrought," I nearly swooned. (In retrospect, though I believe that Striking Out was a very good first novel, I don't think it was that good; still that phone call meant a lot to me.) Among other accolades, I'm proud of being a winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project and of being named to the South Carolina Literary Map. But most of all, I like comments from readers -- the phone call or email from out of the blue that says, in effect, "Your work really moved me." As to a favorite among my books, I don't have one. Besides, one's books are in a way like one's children; even if you have a favorite child, it's unwise to let it be known. Your readers might find this interesting, though: when I reflect on what I've written, I think mostly in terms of scenes I've written, rather than complete stories or novels. I'm a tough critic of my writing, but here and there I've turned out a scene about which I was pleased to think: I can't write any better than that. That's particularly gratifying when I think of the scene here or there that I just never got right in spite of many rewrites.


4. As well as fiction, you also write non-fiction and poetry. Do you find it difficult to switch between these types of writing? And is there a different mindset for you when switching between them?

Perhaps oddly, I don't find writing fiction to require a very different mindset from non-fiction. In each, I'm trying to get it right, trying to make language do what I want it to do, which, among other things, is not only to be understood, but to be so clear that it can't be misunderstood. Poetry is a different animal altogether, too. After "teaching" poetry courses a few times, I concluded that poetry couldn't be taught, that I could only hold classes in it. Writing poetry is for me equally recondite. I rarely see a poem of mine coming, and even after it gets here I rarely know where it came from.


5. Do you have a particular process or a writing routine?

Besides the three novels I've published, I've written two others and am in the homestretch on the sixth. For my first published novel, I wrote every day from 8 a.m. to noon. I haven't been that disciplined on the others, but by nature I'm the kind of person who persists until a job is finished. For aspiring writers who read this, however, I recommend a book titled Structuring Your Novel, by Meredith and Fitzpatrick. It helped me enormously the first time around.


6. Why did you gravitate to writing in a more literary manner as opposed to choosing a niche genre such as mystery or science fiction?

Genres like mystery and science fiction are generally intended as diversionary reading, entertainment. The literary genre concerns itself with what is called the Human Condition: birth, youth, adolescence, courtship, marriage, procreation, old age, death – in other words, the real stuff of life. The two forms sometimes overlap, of course; The Wizard of Oz, though fantasy, obviously was written with a purpose more serious than merely entertainment. Same for Animal Farm. And for Fahrenheit 451 and for 1984. I've had a lifelong interest in human behavior and I've pursued a lifelong quest for meaning and understanding; these interests incline me toward serious fiction, though "serious" should not be construed as omitting humor. I guess basically I want to learn rather than be entertained – but since I enjoy learning I guess you could say I'm entertained by it. Bottom line: different strokes for different folks (but I've actually considered advertising my work as "guaranteed vampire-free.")


7. Are there any authors that profoundly influenced the way you write?

Who knows where influence begins and leaves off? But I'm conscious of trying only to get the best out of myself, which precludes imitating others. We learn from all, however, and I particularly like Hemingway's style, Maugham's storytelling, Hardy's novels.


8. You are also a book reviewer. Do you find being a writer gives you a helpful perspective in reviewing or makes it harder to be objective?

It definitely helps. The old adage "walk a mile in my shoes" comes in very handy in appraising, say, the adroitness of something that another writer has written. Having done both also gives me a heightened awareness, I think, of what another writer was trying to achieve. As an author, I've been positively floored by how bad a reviewer can be, and the badness is almost always rooted in ignorance and/or poor understanding of the craft of writing. I'd be tempted to vote for a law requiring all reviewers to have written at least 100 pages of their own work. A writer whose reviewer reviews the novel the writer actually wrote, instead of what the reviewer thinks he wrote, is a lucky author.


9. Do you have any upcoming projects?

Yes. In the spring I'll being out either of two novels: one that's finished or the one that's nearly finished. Then I will begin rewriting my very first novel, the one that wasn't good enough to find a publisher the first time around.

For more about Robert, you can visit his blog: http://bit.ly/rpQqht

And you can check out Robert's books here:

A Majority of One: A clash between religion and the Constitution in a small Southern town
http://amzn.to/tzBNcI

Six of One, Half Dozen of Another: Award-winning and groundbreaking short stories and poems
http://amzn.to/u4NEoo

Atlanta Blues: A reporter and two cops search for a missing coed; the search leads through the underbelly of urban Atlanta to murder and heartbreak
http://amzn.to/tx6NfY

Striking Out: A coming-of-age novel
http://amzn.to/t3sqU2

Ghosts: A longish short story about a teenage ghost hunt
http://bit.ly/oAIexY

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Pages of War and Love: A Review of The Art of War: a Novel

My Book Review of The Art of War: a Novel by Angela Panayotopulos:


The Art of War: a Novel by Angela Panayotopulos is an extraordinarily compelling novel, written with an almost surreal style. It is a panoramic mosaic of vignettes erupting in shades of love, war and family

The novel is set on the small Greek island of Mythaki, over a period of years before and during WWII. We see events unfold mostly through the eyes of a brother and sister, Kalli and Gabe, first their idyllic simple island life and then the bitter and tragic transformations wrought by the war.

The author paints her canvas of words vividly, her backdrop of war palpable and stark. But it is her characters, the atmosphere and the small details that breathe a subtle and pulsating life into the book. It is a poignant, warm, amusing and sometimes brutal portrait of a piece of history frozen in time. I also like the unusual feel of the book, that the structure and ambience gives a slightly unreal touch to the story. I think it adds to both the portrayal of Greek island culture and the hollow reality of a warzone. By the end of the book I felt as if I knew both the island of Mythaki and its people personally.

I did notice that the author left a few characters dangling in oblivion, but in a way it also reflected the unpredictability of warfare, so I didn’t find it distracted excessively from the storyline. Overall I enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Tardy with an Award

A few weeks ago, (almost a month ago actually), my blog had another award bestowed upon it, the Liebster Blog Award given by the talented Angela Yuriko Smith and her wonderful blog Dandilyon Fluff.  Between writing, reviewing and general forgetfulness, I neglected to post about it until now. But better late than never I suppose.

So here it is:

“The Liebster Blog Award started in Germany and was intended to drive traffic to hidden gems.” Liebster is German for “friend”. The rules are simple:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top blogger friends and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

My top blogger friends (besides Angela) are:

Pat Bertram (who has so many blogs I’ve lost count). Check out her main one at: http://ptbertram.wordpress.com/

Joylene Nowell Butler, a wonderful writer with an insightful and helpful blog: http://cluculzwriter.blogspot.com/

Sheila Deeth, an exquisite writer who also does great book reviews: http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com/

Rhetta Akamatsu, who writes about blues music, ghosts and the paranormal and steampunk: http://rhetta.wordpress.com/

And all the bloggers over at Murder by 4. There is always something interesting brewing at that blog: http://murderby4.blogspot.com/

Check them out, you won’t be sorry.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Interview wth author Ray Wallace

Another guest today, as author Ray Wallace stops by to chat about horror, zombies and writing:


Interview with Ray Wallace


1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I grew up in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Moved to the Tampa, FL area after my junior year in high school. Developed a passion for reading all things fantastic (fantasy, SF, horror) when I was in my early teens. Was in a few metal bands and industrial music projects throughout my twenties. And, now, here I am dedicating most of my free time to writing my crazy little dark fiction stories.


2. Can you tell us about your latest book, Escape From Zombie City?

I actually wrote a big chunk of it for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a couple years ago. Lots of Zombies. Lots of insanity. Lots of dying. The perfect stocking stuffer, really.


3. Escape From Zombie City is written in the style of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Can you tell us why you decided to write it in that format?

I really enjoyed those books when I was a kid. I think it’s always been in the back of my mind to write a CYOA book at some point. But I wanted to do something a little different with it. Thus, the One Way Out idea, where only one pathway leads to your survival. Placing the reader in the midst of a zombie outbreak just seemed like a natural fit. I really enjoyed writing it and have been developing a few other One Way Out ideas.


4. Why did you decide to write in the horror genre?

Well, of course, I enjoy the horror genre a great deal. A lot of my favorite writers are horror writers--King, Barker, Lansdale, etc. I think horror writing is the most liberating form of writing. You can do pretty much anything in a horror story. Let all those nasty little thoughts always bumping around inside your skull loose on the world. It’s a lot of fun, really. And a lot cheaper than therapy. Everyone should try it.


5. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

Whenever I have some free time and the urge hits me, that’s usually when I get my writing done. There’s no real process or routine. I’ve always been terribly unorganized. I keep telling myself that I’ll get better at managing my time some day but I’ve been telling myself that for a long time so we’ll see. As far as where I get my ideas... I think when you read enough, write enough, immerse yourself in what you’re doing enough, the ideas just seem to happen. And it’s always cool when it does happen, when a particularly interesting idea pops into your head. That’s the magic moment of doing anything artistic.


6. What is your greatest challenge as a horror writer?

Trying to do something a little different. Trying to not fall into all the old cliches. Because there is definitely no shortage of cliches in the horror field.


7. What sort of research do you do for your books?

Any research required for my stories is usually done on the internet. And it usually involves the small things, getting the details right. If a character’s wielding a gun it means reading up on makes and models of handguns, what sorts of ammunition they use. Looking up floor plans for different types of buildings. Checking out maps of cities or towns to get a better sense of the fictional city or town in which my characters interact. That sort of thing. Haven’t had to do the levels of research it would take to write a historical thriller although I’d like to give it a whirl one day.


8. What advice would you give writers thinking of writing horror or paranormal fiction?

The usual, I suppose. Read a lot of horror fiction but also read a lot of other types of fiction. You never know where that great idea will come from or what style might influence you. And write a lot. That should go without saying.


9. Who has inspired you as an author?

Wow, there are just too many to name. King and Barker, of course. And I love Joe Lansdale’s writing. Chuck Palahniuk. Skipp and Spector. Ed Lee. Poppy Z. Brite. Charlee Jacob. I could go on and on. There are a number of sci-fi and fantasy authors who have inspired me too: China Mieville. Stephen R. Donaldson. Frank Herbert. William Gibson. It’s a terribly long list. There are a number of bizarro writers I enjoy reading too.


10. What’s next for you?

THE HELL SEASON will be released by Severed Press here in the near future. I’m also editing a collection of my short fiction which I hope to have out in the next month or two. Putting the finishing touches on a novel called A MAN POSSESSED and hopping around between a few other projects. The fun just never ends.



Ray Wallace hails from the Tampa, FL area and is the author of THE NAMELESS (Black Death Books), ESCAPE FROM ZOMBIE CITY: A ONE WAY OUT NOVEL (The Zombie Feed Press), and THE HELL SEASON (coming soon from Severed Press). More than two dozen of his short stories have appeared in such magazines and anthologies as THE ZOMBIE FEED: VOL. 1, THE BLACKEST DEATH: VOL. 1 & 2, and EROTIC FANTASY: TALES OF THE PARANORMAL. A few of his other stories have appeared at THE CHIAROSCURO website where he took first place in their second annual fiction contest. He also wrote a long running book review column for THE TWILIGHT SHOWCASE webzine and now writes reviews for CHIZINE and SFREADER.COM.


Monday, 5 December 2011

An Internet Future: A Review of Joe is Online

My Book Review of Joe is Online:



Joe is Online by Chris Wimpress is a clever and adroit book, at times cynical and disturbing (by design), but always intriguing and absorbing. The novel is a cyber-thriller, an unsettling dissection of today’s society and technology.

The book is written as a series of online emails, chats and personal electronic documents from the point of view of several people, all of whom eventually tie together in a terrorist/conspiracy scenario. It is an attention-grabbing book that utilizes today’s reliance on technology as its backdrop.

I loved how this novel plays out, slowly and in pieces, through these bits of electronic correspondence. It is an intriguing way to build the narrative and gives the reader both an intimate and limited point of view into the characters. It also gives the novel a nice backbone of tension and suspense as the shadowy manipulations of one of the characters unfolds.

The contemporary, everyday tone of the book does turn with the revelations of the plotline, taking on a more sinister aspect, and a post-apocalyptic quality which splits the flow of the book. I found this slightly jarring, but it was an effective method of conveying the sudden societal shift from events depicted. Also, for a short time I was wondering where one of the subplots was going, but the author manages to tie all the disparate threads together into an unexpected ending. The book’s denouement is unusual and I found it very interpretive. I enjoyed the speculative finish, but it might not be to all tastes.

I recommended Joe is Online as a great book and a fascinating techno-thriller.

You can find Joe is Online at Smashwords and Amazon Kindle and on the AmazonUK Kindle.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Interview with Author Doug Simpson

Guest time again, with author Doug Simpson stopping by for an interview.  He chats about his debut novel, Soul Awakening,  his writing and a little bit about himself:


Interview with Doug Simpson



1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?

I am a retired high school teacher who always wanted to be a writer but never seemed to find the time and inspiration to accomplish much while teaching full time and raising a family. Retirement blessed me with a retirement income and a bucket full of free time, so after forty years of dreaming and procrastinating, I finally sat down and achieved my dream.


2. Can you tell us about your debut novel, Soul Awakening?

Soul Awakening is the story of three strangers, who are brought together by accident, or so it appears initially, but who ultimately discover that their unorthodox introductions were arranged by Divine Intervention. Dacque LaRose, the senior member of the trio, is the learned teacher who commenced an educational journey, ten years earlier, a month after the unfortunate passing of his wife, when her spirit appeared in their living room one evening with some inspirational advice for him. Already a casual believer in life after death of the body, Dacque eagerly researched the notion of survival of the soul and spirit after death, and his acquired knowledge led him to the possibility of reincarnation.

Dacque joined the snowbird migration, within a year after the death of his wife, and sold the family home in Ohio and landed in the south in the small retiree’s-dominated city of Anywhere. His research after his move to Anywhere introduced him to a local group called the Reincarnation Enlightenment Group, and he joined up. One of the founding members of the Group is a certified regression therapist who, as part of her research in the area of reincarnation, offers Group members past life regression sessions for free, in her spare time. Dacque requested three regression sessions and discovered ten of his previous incarnations, as well as learning that significant individuals in this lifetime had played primary roles in his earlier incarnations.

With Dacque’s elevated understanding of souls, spirits and life on the-other-side, there grew the realization that he was receiving communications from God, or more likely one of God’s messengers. It was messages from God that led him, in two separate incidents, to the younger members of the aforementioned trio of strangers. God first leads Dacque to befriend Dani Christian, an unemployed and depressed legal secretary who is not destitute but effectively alone in the city. Only days later, through a Divinely-orchestrated nose-dive into the sidewalk on his morning walk, Dacque is introduced to his rescuer, a Good Samaritan named Max Winston.

Over time, Dacque enlightens Dani and Max on his beliefs in the survival of the soul after death and reincarnation. Max and Dani obtain past-life regression sessions and they discover that their souls experienced a previous lifetime together that also included Dacque’s soul. Later Dani, Max and his parents uncover a series of earlier intertwined incarnations where they are descendants of their soul’s earlier incarnations, and also discover some historical previous incarnations that they never could have imagined.


3. Why did you decide to write a spiritual mystery with a reincarnation theme?

I had been familiar with the archived readings of the legendary American mystic Edgar Cayce, for a few decades, and after I retired I found lots of time to undertake a more thorough investigation of the secrets they possessed. Edgar Cayce gave over 15,000 psychic readings in a deep, self-induced, trance-like state. Unfortunately, copies of the earliest readings were not made, and the original was given or sent to the reading recipient. Fortunately, there are copies, tucked away in a vault in Virginia Beach, Virginia, of over fourteen thousand of the later readings. More than ten thousand of the readings are medical readings where the unconscious Edgar diagnosed medical problems the physicians could not pin down, as well as prescribing treatments and prescriptions for the recipients. The second-largest group of readings is life or reincarnation readings, for approximately two thousand different individuals. These life readings revealed only a few of the individual’s previous incarnations, specifically those which were particularly significant for the understanding of the reasons why the individual’s soul had selected this particular body to spend a lifetime in. The reincarnation readings fascinated me the most and I spent many hundreds of hours studying them. That is where the idea for Soul Awakening was hatched.


4. What type of research did you do for your book?

My research and understanding of the Edgar Cayce readings was the primary source of the material I incorporated into Soul Awakening.


5. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

Believe it or not, the primary source for much of the manuscript which became Soul Awakening was inspiration. It was not ‘automatic writing’ but many times, when writing a chapter, words and events would pour out of my fingers which I had never anticipated before I sat down in front of the keyboard. There were times when I completed a chapter and had absolutely no idea what was going to unfold in the very next chapter, but when I arose the next morning I knew exactly what was going to be revealed.


6. You were a high school teacher. Which profession do you find more challenging: being a writer or being a teacher?

Teaching was more of a challenge because you had to know your material and your students, as well as how to bring the two together. For me, writing with unseen inspiration, is much, much easier.


7. How and why did you make the transition from teacher to author?

Retirement on full pension was an easy choice.


8. Who has inspired you as an author?

I never tried to imitate any famous author. My main inspiration had to Edgar Cayce and his amazing material.


9. What’s next for you?

I have already completed two other manuscripts incorporating the three main characters from Soul Awakening, and I am currently working on the fourth installment.


You can check out Doug's website here: http://dousimp.mnsi.net/ or his blog here: http://doug-simpson-author.blogspot.com/    And find Soul Awakening at http://booklocker.com/books/5754.html

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Poetry in Emotions: A Review of "A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World"

My Book Review of A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World:

A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World by Kimberly LaRocca is a thoroughly enjoyable book.  The poetry in the book is emotive and expressive, delving into tangled subjects and the author has separated her verse into two themed sections, Love and Life.

The poems in the first half, Love, are a diverse, frank and raw examination of affection, sex, commitment, and love gone sour and they run a gamut of emotional depth. The author doesn’t shy away from a candid message in her poetry, while still delivering visceral, authentic beauty in verse.

The second part, Life, is a mix of some lovely faith based poetry, shining insight on the power and shape of belief, with affecting musings on emotional pain, tragic circumstance, inner strength, the complexity of relationships and the meaning in life.

The book is full of intriguing poems and some of my favourites are Thanks to You, Terminal Love and The Long Road Home, all rich in depth and word craft. A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World is a wonderful volume of poetry both communal and personal, an intimate glimpse into a poet’s soul.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A Slightly Crazy Memoir: A Book Review of In My Mind’s Eye

My Review of In My Mind’s Eye by Justin Marciano:


In My Mind’s Eye by Justin Marciano is an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek memoir that is amusing, emotional, while at the same time might make you flinch and wonder at the folly of people.

The book is a collection of anecdotes culled from the author’s rather disordered childhood, reminisces of his family and his boyhood/teenage tomfoolery. It is a wonderful hodgepodge of dysfunctional family dynamic and dodgy shenanigans that somehow comes across as congenial and affectionate, despite the eyebrow-raising antics depicted.

The author’s style is informal, irreverent at times and very engaging. The book bounces through random and pivotal events in his life, using comparison stories and flashbacks to interrupt the narrative flow, but still manages to weave it all together into an entertaining delight. The narrative does get a bit maze-like at times, lacking a little in the where and when department of the events described, but if you go with the flow it’s a great read.

I wholly recommend In My Mind’s Eye.


In My Mind’s Eye available on:  Smashwords and Amazon.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

An interview with author Terra Harmony

Today on the blog I'm doing another guest interview, this time with fantasy writer, Terra Harmony.


An Interview with Terra Harmony


1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I am a Colorado native, where I lived through high school. Since then I have lived in California, Texas, Utah, and North Carolina thanks in part to my days in the Marine Corps. Right now I reside in Virginia, in the suburbs of DC. I love to write, read, play piano and snowboard – all of which I have very little time for. Oh – and I have three kids running around here somewhere.


2. Can you tell us about your book, Water.

Water is a contemporary eco-fantasy. Not to throw too many buzz words at you, but it does have a little paranormal romance mixed in. The main character, Kaitlyn, finds herself involuntarily introduced to a life of magic. After she learns of her powers to control natural elements, an organization hell-bent on saving the earth discovers her. She falls in love with the man in charge, Micah, before she even knows if she can trust him. Micah's best friend and partner goes rogue and kidnaps Kaitly, and the most terrifying man the human race has to offer now stands between her and Earth's survival.


3. You describe Water as a contemporary eco-fantasy. Could you elaborate on that?

It's the 'eco' part that caught your attention, isn't it? Don't worry, my book isn't one big long lecture about how to do the planet good. It is above all a fantasy novel, with just a few short lectures on how to do the planet good sprinkled throughout. I hope eco-fantasy becomes a thing, or at least a bigger thing. I have petitioned Goodreads and Amazon to add the genre to their lists. It is not totally self-serving. I like our planet; and I like fantasy books. I'm assuming Amazon does too?


4. What appeals to you most about writing in the fantasy genre?

The creation part of it. With fantasy, anything goes. For example, I am currently writing the sequel to 'Water'. After a four month-long separation, Micah meets Kaitlyn coming off a plane. She had just been airsick, and has vomit on her shirt. Next to them, the fuel truck is gassing up the plane and another truck is emptying the bathrooms. You can imagine what the air smells like around them. I thought, 'what would shock Kaitlyn the most right now'? So Micah proposes to her. When I started the chapter, or even the book, I hadn't planned it. But it felt perfect in a not so perfect way – if you know what I mean, so I went with it. I just hope everyone else loves these creations as much as I do.


5. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

Well, it's November. Which means NaNoWriMo time. I have a full time job and three kids, so currently my writing schedule consists of an hour before the kids wake up and an hour after they go to bed. I can get about 2,000 words per day done. This is do-able; I just might be able to keep this up on a permanent basis. That is, until I make enough money off my books to quit my day job.


6. As an indie author, what challenges have you faced in publishing your work?

Indie authors have to be so much more than just writers. They have to be salesmen, technology geeks, creative marketers, and the list goes on and on. Each day, I learn something new about how to self-publish and market books all on my own. But the community has been great; everyone is so willing to share their tips, tricks, and hints for everything that has or hasn't worked.


7. Do you write exclusively in the fantasy genre or have you branched out into other areas? And if so why?

Just fantasy for now. I love the genre. However, I do have ideas running around my head in the form of a biography about my dad who has dementia, and also a new blog about the 'motherhood' portion of my life (this would be an outlet that allows me to keep 'cute things my kids said' separate from my publishing career). But those will all come much, much later. For now, I am working hard on finishing all five books in the Akasha Series and all five short stories in the Kindred Curse Anthology.


8. What advice would you give to other writers?

Build a support system; fellow writers, motivators, editors, cover artists, critiquers (ßand case in point, grammar/spelling experts). You can't go it alone, and neither can your spell check.


9. Who has been the biggest inspiration to you as an author?

The 1% - I want to be one of them. Just kidding, just kidding. As far as other authors go, it has to be Diana Gabaldon. Her historical romances are so well written, planned, and researched; I am in awe every time I go back to another one of her books.


10. What’s next for you?

An ice cream sandwich. And then maybe just a few more hundred words before bedtime…


You can find Terra on:
Facebook- www.facebook.com/terraharmony
Her Blog- http://www.twainwannabe.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @harmonygirlit

You can find her book, Water, on: Amazon, Smashwords, and B&N.



Friday, 11 November 2011

A Remembrance Day Poem

In honour of Remembrance Day, one of my poems:



Soldier Boy

Play me a tune for Death;
he has passed this way.
A sad lament, for those
who shed their final blood
on this forlorn battlefield.

Play a song of sorrow
for your fallen friends.
Each and every soul
who shall never grace
again, this vibrant earth.





Thursday, 10 November 2011

Interview with author Irene Pynn

Interview with Irene Pynn:


1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

When I read and write in the same day, I have extremely vivid dreams. Some of these dreams I use in my plots. I’ve been called “aDORKable” by several people who were likely just being nice about how nerdy I really am. My husband and I live in Florida, where we spend way too much of our free time playing our PS3 and Xbox next to each other, or watching Doctor Who.


2. Can you tell us about your latest book?

I originally had the idea for From Light to Dark when I went to a Cirque du Soleil performance of Varekai. That is a fantastic show. It begins with an Icarus-like fall, but, instead of dying, the Icarus character ends up in a magical world below where he encounters strange creatures. My idea was to blend this new journey of Icarus with a Romeo and Juliet theme, and so I created the star-crossed Eref and Caer in From Light to Dark.


3. How did you come to write in the YA fantasy genre?

Young adult offers a great range of potential when it comes to plots. For some reason, teen and early adult readers seem to be quite open to stories of magic and technological advancements. This is not to say, of course, that older readers can’t enjoy the same thing, but YA is a very fertile ground for speculative ideas. I love YA, and it makes up a good percentage of my free-time reading.


4. What is your greatest challenge in writing for the Young Adult market?

There are many amazing authors who have set the bar so high! It’s a great inspiration and challenge to read the best of today’s YA and to aim for the kind of connection that these writers are able to create with their readers.


5. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate?

Anywhere. If you say something odd or send me a crazy headline, that’s likely to spark some idea in my head. It may amount to nothing, but I’ll give it a shot in a story. Sometimes I begin with a theme. Other times I have an opening line. And other stories begin with a character I’d like to get to know. I just keep exploring the ideas to see whether they’re taking me somewhere interesting. If they are, I plot them out and tell the whole story!


6. You’ve stated you like to “throw your characters into alternate worlds”. What appeals to you about alternate world fantasy and sci-fi?

I’ve always been this kind of reader. If the back of the book doesn’t promise me something “off” about the world, then I’m not likely to keep reading. Tell me we’re working with magic or something supernatural or another planet or some interesting twist on technology, however, and I’m so there. It’s just my favorite flavor.


7. You write both fantasy and science fiction. Which speculative genre do you enjoy writing most?

It really depends on my mood. Right now I’m working on a play about androids and a mid-grade novel about zombies. Lately I’ve been reading science fiction, though. My favorite books of recent months have been a dystopian YA, a time travel novel, and… another time travel novel. I blame Doctor Who.


8. You have written a variety of novels, plays, etc. Do you have a favourite written work?

It was a lot of fun to work on the Creepy Luny Inn Radio Adventure Show. That was a radio play that explored the world of From Light to Dark prior to the events of the book.


9. Who has inspired you as an author?

My parents. They’re both writers – my mother is a romance novelist, and my father is a journalist. Growing up with them taught me the value of clear, interesting communication. Other writers I truly admire include Neil Gaiman, Mervyn Peake, Charlaine Harris, JK Rowling, and, of course, Billy Shakespeare.


10. What’s next for you?

NaNoWriMo! I’m currently telling the story of a young boy and his hunt for zombie brains. Warms the heart.

 
You can find out more about this author and her books at her website:  http://www.irenelpynn.com/
or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irenelpynnwriter
 
Author Bio:
Irene writes fantasy and light science fiction for adults, young adults, and children. Her work spans novels, plays, transmedia events, and more. Most of her work focuses on internal conflicts told through speculative metaphors: From Light to Dark is a high fantasy that features a Romeo and Juliet theme. For the most part, Irene writes what she likes to read, which are character-driven stories of alternate realities. She likes to throw her characters into alternate worlds to see how they live their "normal" lives in the midst of magical or technological changes.

From Light to Dark:

Eref is about to die. He sits at the End of Light World, accepting his stoning execution one rock at a time, until the impossible happens: the ground opens up beneath him, and he drops down into the unknown.
There, he meets Caer, a kind-hearted girl from Dark World who saves his life. Together, the pair forms an unlikely and illegal bond that not even the strongest hatred can break. But can their connection bring down the evil institution that has kept Light World and Dark World at odds for hundreds of years?

Excerpt:

Getting stoned to death wasn’t the worst thing that could happen—or so Eref told himself when the first rock cracked over his head.
But it hurt. Blood trickled down his forehead and into his eyes, blocking the sharp rays of the sun overhead.
All around him, forty or fifty men dressed in long tunics shouted curses and flung stones at his naked body.
“Blasphemer!”
“Devil!”
“Treasoner!”
The bright power of the Governors’ Moonstone from its hidden place in Light World made certain each rock hit its target.
So many people had come to this hidden corner to watch him die. Far from the rigid roads of Light World’s city, each face glared at him. Each mouth snarled. Eref blinked the blood away. He thought for a minute that he saw Balor among the crowd. No…it couldn’t be. But it was true. His best friend pushed his way to the front, holding several large stones in his fist.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Coffin Hop Contests Winners!

Halloween is over and the Coffin Hop Web Tour has ended, so it is time to announce the winners of my contests:

The Winners of a Three Ebook Prize Pack (Ruined City, Killers and Demons, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...) are:
Carole Gill
Paul Dail
Red Tash

The Winner of an Ebook of Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...
Kim Koning

The awarding of the prize of the Amazon gift card is being handled by Gordon Kessler and Goddess Fish Tours, (as the prize was part of his blog tour) so any notifications of winners are pending.

Monday, 31 October 2011

My Guest for a Coffin Hop Halloween: Author Gordon A Kessler

Today is Halloween and the last day of the Coffin Hop Web Tour.  For an extra special treat, author Gordon A Kessler joins the blog as the last stop on the blog tour for his new horror thriller, Jezebel.  He'll be talking about writing horror and giving us a sneak peek at Jezebel.  In addition, there is a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, so be sure to leave a comment!

First a look at Jezebel:

Sleep lightly tonight…


A madman has come to town seeking a diabolical revenge and large dogs begin attacking their masters for no apparent reason and with heinous results.
Animal Control Director Tony Parker must find out why and stop the murderous attacks. Meanwhile, Jezebel, a huge black Great Dane has killed her master and is loose, terrorizing the city and stalking Parker and his family. Parker and Sarah Hill, his beautiful and seductive young assistant, attempt to unravel the mystery and stop the terrible carnage while dealing with their own demons and lusty desires.
The attacks must be stopped. Jezebel must be found-and soon, you see--there is one other complication. Parker seems to have come down with an annoying little virus. No, it's not one of those irritating summer colds. It's certain death.
She's a murderess, huge and black as a hell-bound night.
Beware. Jezebel is on the loose!


Quick Excerpt from Jezebel:

In the grayish soup, a dark vision appeared. Floating down the middle of the street, it slowly formed into a recognizable shape.

An animal. A large black animal. A huge Great Dane. It walked with confidence. Long, thin legs. Mouth closed, head and eyes fixed straight ahead. Occasionally, its feet splashed one of the pools. Light from the streetlights caused a sparkle from underneath its neck with every step of its left forefoot. A large diamond, set on a gold tag, captured the light and shot it out like a laser. The dog maintained its pace for what seemed like minutes.
Finally, it stopped. With its body still pointing down the street, it slowly turned its head to the right and looked up a sidewalk leading to the front door of a house. It stared, still emotionless, at the door. At Tony Parker’s door.

Here’s how to find out more about his thriller novels Jezebel, Brainstorm and Dead Reckoning:
The book trailers on YouTube for Jezebel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zHD9pmHOzk&feature=related
And Brainstorm at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eDjWJFbRdI


Now introducing my guest, Gordon A Kessler...


On Writing Horror

You’ve probably heard that writing horror is a lot like humor; to really work, the horrific or “scare” scenes have to be set up. One way to set up a horror scene entails placing or “planting” information early on that will be used later. This set up can be made by mentioning a quirk that will be revisited, a door that hasn’t been opened for twenty years, a scary house or a dark and frightening alley that must be passed. Perhaps that alley is passed every night without incident, until that faithful night when…. The plant can even be a radio report that a murderer is loose (or a huge, black Great Dane—like in Jezebel).
 
After the setup, suspense is key to a successful scare. The most common mistake many beginning writers make is to rush through the “boo”—taking the wind out of any good fright. Suspense must be drawn out to be successful in creating and building the maximum amount of tension and fear in a story. The doorknob must be turned slowly, the creaking outside the room should start and stop, then start again. The face outside the window must not appear just as the heroine glances out, but pop up when she draws closer to better see what is caught on the tree limb outside and blowing in the wind.

Another key to a high score on the scare meter is that the reader needs to somehow identify with the character(s) in jeopardy. If the reader in some way relates to the character, and especially if she sees that the soon-to-be victim(s) is sympathetic at least in some way to the world around them, the reader will begin to feel the same fear of danger, will actually empathize with the character(s) in jeopardy.

One last concern for a good horror writer is body count. Depending on the audience, a high body count—especially of characters that the reader identifies with or feels for—may be important to keep the reader on the edge of her seat. That said, with some horror sub genres, especially with young audiences, perhaps a story with no body count will work just fine. In these stories, the suspense is created just by the fear the character(s) have and the knowledge that the risk they are involved with is extremely high.

I think Jezebel is the perfect Halloween novel—and there’s actually a Halloween scene in it that I think will give readers a chill up their spine and a pause to consider.

Jezebel is my only horror novel. But with my thrillers Brainstorm and Dead Reckoning, setting up the suspense and drawing it out is critical. A good thriller is packed with not only action, but suspense as well.

Bloggers, how about giving me your comments; what makes a good scare for you?

Thanks again for hosting me on your wonderful blog! I hope you and all your bloggers have a really frightening but fun Halloween!


Author Bio:
Gordon A Kessler is a former US Marine parachutist, recon scout, and Super Squad team leader, with a bachelor's degree in creative writing. He is a Master Instructor for Johnson County Community College, National Academy of Railroad Sciences, and the BNSF Railway. He has taught novel writing for Butler County Community College, English Composition for Hutchinson Junior College and has previously indie-published the thriller novels Brainstorm and Dead Reckoning, and a book about the novel-writing craft, Novel Writing Made Simple.
He is a founder and current president of the Kansas Writers Association and tries to stay connected to writers and the writing industry by doing speaking engagements at writers conferences and for writers organizations, and does his own "The Storyteller" seminar in Wichita, Lincoln (Nebraska), Kansas City, and other Midwestern cities based on his Novel Writing Made Simple book.
His websites, http://www.writersmatrix.com/ and http://www.indiewritersalliance.com/ are landing pages for writers to help them in their writing endeavors. His author website is http://www.gordonkessler.com/
Other links:
http://www.readersmatrix.com/
http://www.Twitter.com/GordonKessler
http://www.Facebook.com/GordonKessler1
http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/GordonKessler
http://www.wmxblog.com/

You can find his books at any online bookstore, including Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Nook, etc. All three of his thrillers are currently on sale in eBook formats for only $.99.  You can also find them in traditional paperback and hardcover at reasonable prices. His book, Novel Writing Made Simple is an excellent resource for both the beginning and seasoned novelist and you can find the spiral bound and paperback on Amazon, or the ebook version from iBooks.

Check out the rest of the stops on Gordon's book tour here:
http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2011/09/virtual-book-tour-jezebel-by-gordon.html

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Coffin Hop Book Review: Symphony of Blood

Today for Coffin Hop I offer up a delcious book review of the dark and deadly...


My Review of Symphony of Blood: A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case


The novel Symphony of Blood by Adam Pepper is a fascinating mix of hard-boiled detective novel and paranormal thriller. It melds two genres in an excellent fast paced style that keeps you turning the page.

Hank Mondale is a down-on-his-luck private investigator who drinks too much and gambles too much. In need of some quick cash he takes a new case where the rich client has an unusual problem: a monster is trying to kill his daughter. Hank doesn’t believe in monsters, but takes the case anyway, only to find the facts leading him into the unknown.

Symphony of Blood was a chilling delight to read. The book is basically divided into three parts, with parts one and three telling the story from Hank’s point of view. These sections are an old school, hard-boiled mystery story, unfolding Hank’s investigation slowly, and playing out the tension before we return to his voice for the conclusion. Both parts are well told, have nice flow with gritty atmosphere and substance, engaging characters, and I enjoyed what I read. But it was the second part of the novel that truly excelled for me, when the author unexpectedly switched points of view and told the story through the killer/monster’s eyes. Here, the story is woven from an alien perspective and draws the reader in with fascination, repulsion and even sympathy. Secrets hinted at are now revealed and the subtle contrasts and truths give depth to the plot. I adored this section of the novel and the sudden change between characters was seamless.

I did have some small disappointment with the ending, though. It wasn’t that it was badly written or a cheat, and it wrapped up all the threads conclusively, but it just felt a bit detached to me. I think I would have liked something a bit less restrained. Still, I can happily recommend Symphony of Blood as a great book.

Where you can find Symphony of Blood:
Smashwords
Kindle

Friday, 28 October 2011

Coffin Hop Part Three: Halloween in Prose and Poetry


To start off the hauntingly good weekend leading into Halloween (and for another excuse to post for Coffin Hop) I'm sharing a few dark Halloween themed poems and a short excerpt from my Gothic horror mishmash WIP, Gothic Cavalcade.

All commenters will have a chance to win an free copy (via Smashwords) of my ebook, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie... 
And don't forget to check out the rest of the hoppers by scrolling down to the List at the end of this blog or popping over to the Author List at the Coffin Hop main page.



The Poems:


Night of the Hunter’s Moon 

They come by the moonlight
off the mountain, from the mist,
riding in the darkened night.
They come by the moonlight,
for their eve of haunting flight.
Hear the horn, by Death be kissed
They come by the moonlight
off the mountain from the mist



Darkness, under a full moon 

Once, under a full moon
a shadow grew.
Just a spot by the yew tree
where blood soiled the ground.
Where anger ended a soul
and bones still lie unmourned.
The earth fed on flesh and fury,
haunted screams and marrow,
until unholy life was born.

Once, under a full moon
a shadow hated.
From its grave by the yew tree,
it waits, it seethes, it hungers.
Drawn from this earth too soon,
it wants to come back, to roam.
To spew its venom and revenge
to shriek its pain and horror,
until blood is spilled for blood.

Once, under a full moon
Darkness,
Death,
clawed into the world.


Celestial Season

Blood Moon, Hunter’s Moon.
Ghosts wail to you in the night,
Queen of the Harvest.

The moon of white turns to red
with the coming of the frost.

Through the barren trees
voices beyond call to you,
Sovereign of the Wood.

Luminous fingers entwine
that first and last icy breath.



Halloween

Dark is the night of fear, still of all sound.
This haunted eve, the silver Moon is queen;
in the shadows, the undead ghouls come ’round.
They dance, they play, with souls on Halloween.

You can hear them whisper behind your ear;
shiver when the cold chills run down your spine.
Aren’t you thankful it comes but once a year,
this time to hunt, to roam, so they can dine?

Close tight your doors when the goblins do creep
and the knocking shall echo through the dim hall.
Eerie ghosts stray, know there’s plunder to reap,
alarming chills, bats, howls and things that crawl.

So fill your bowls high with candy to eat
For those scary children that trick or treat.



Excerpt from Gothic Cavalcade:


Althea stood in the center of the circle. The family surrounded her, those strange denizens of the carnival she trusted in blind faith. The palpitating tin sound of the calliope electrified her skin and pushed through her pores to infest her flesh and bones. The notes snaked their way into her mind, twining around her will until the pulsing rhythm controlled her rational thought.

Her consciousness drifted, suspended in the melodic spell and her body swayed with the tune. She tumbled in mental freefall -a lingering pawn aimless in focus and influence- as her sanity danced with the song of the calliope and a feeling of euphoria engulfed her senses. But somewhere, locked away in a deep recess of her brain, fear crawled.

The music grew louder, more insistent, opposing other sound from reaching her ears. Every vibration of the melody shredded into her body unravelling her being. Althea cried out as the notes of the song coursed through her nerves and pain sang its way through her body to consume the essence of her inner self. She screamed, defiant, as she felt hands touch her, pull at her, the family’s voices mingling with the sound of the music...

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Coffin Hop Part Two: Interview with Coral Russell

Here's my second post for the week long Coffin Hop Web Tour, an interview with fellow Coffin Hopper and horror author, Coral Russell.  As with the first post all people who comment on the post get a shot at a three ebook prize pack of my books, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie..., Killers and Demons, and Ruined City.
Also when you're done here, to continue the Hop, just scroll down to the Author Linky List at the end of my blog and click on a link or pop over to the Author List on the main Coffin Hop page.


An Interview with Horror Author, Coral Russell.



1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I always say I'm a nobody. I like to think I'm fairly normal. I'm married to a wonderful husband and have one daughter, three step-children, and three grandbabies. I have a little dynasty going on here. I live in the SW which is a strange place to write horror/paranormal because it is always so freakin' sunny and bright here.


2. Could you tell us about your latest book, Amador Lockdown.

It's inspired by a real lockdown at the real Amador Hotel that I went to with my step-son. He and a friend helped with a rap that I used in the book. The pictures in the book trailer are real and were taken at the Amador. It is about a paranormal case gone wrong and also a father who tries to save his son. It has a twist ending that everyone whose read the story so far said they never saw coming.


3. What attracted you to write in the paranormal/horror genre?

It's the one genre that I feel I know pretty darn well and when it came time to start writing, the story just naturally leaned in that direction.


4. What is the hardest part of writing horror fiction?

Nothing. That was the first genre I cut my teeth on as a teenager. Not only in books but also movies. I guess I just like to be scared. Not grossed out mind you. I like the anticipation and tension that you get from a good horror story.


5. You started out writing non-fiction. Was it hard to make the transition to fiction?

Terribly hard! Horribly hard! Fiction is such a different animal. My poor crit partners have been so supportive and patiently corrected every wordy sentence and awkward phrasing that I churn out in a draft. I love them for taking the time to teach and support me. They understand what my background is and I'm learning... Slowly... BUT, I can say that I'm one of those freaks that loves research and I still do a lot of research (physical, books, Internet, movies) for every fiction story that I write because I like how it fleshes out the story and makes it seem 'real'.


6. Where do your ideas originate and what is your greatest challenge as a writer?

I've done a lot of living and I always wondered what I was going to do with all those experiences. I ended up moving back to the Southwest to be closer to family and went to my 25th High School reunion. My friend Chef Ruli at Rulis International Kitchen said that in the end 'our stories' were the only thing we're left with. That made sense to me and I had the idea that I could write those down in the form of fiction. Also I have strong opinions and voicing them through characters seemed like an ideal way to get that out without getting into trouble. My biggest challenges as a writer are those darn passive and awkward sentences I seem to love.


7. Do you have any favourite authors of paranormal or horror fiction, and did they inspire you as a writer?

Stephen King is the grand-daddy of them all and I've read everything by Laurel K. Hamilton as well. I loved Frank Herbert, John Saul, Peter Straub, but the one writer that had a whole section on her website about writing advice was Emma Holly, an erotica writer. That's where I got my first resources about writing fiction. I've learned that writers that selflessly share their information, are the best people on the planet. I try to do that myself in that anything I learn I'm more than happy to pass on to whoever wants to listen about my experience.


8. What advice would you give writers thinking about writing in the paranormal/horror genre?

I took Lawrence Block's advice in that you should know and be very well read in the genre that you chose to write in. I believe that's what has made it so easy for me to start with the horror genre. So take his excellent, expert advice. If you plan to write in a certain genre, read all the books you can in that genre so you know what readers expect.


9. What’s next for you?

I thought I would want to take a break after Amador Lockdown, but a detective anthology offer came up. When I went to outline the story, it turned out to be a novella or full-length novel, not a short story, so now I'm excited about working on that for maybe NaNoWriMo. Then I happened across an email and that gave me a great idea for a follow-up story to the Paranormal Posse in Amador Lockdown. I hope to finish both these stories in 2012.


Author Bio:

Coral Russell won the 2003 McCaleb Peace Initiative which produced the non-fiction articles Peace on the Peninsula about South Korean's view on reunification. You can also find various articles written by her on Technorati and BlogCritics. After winning a fiction writing contest (a fluke), she caught the fiction bug. An encounter with something paranormal on a local ghost tour inspired her to start writing the ghost hunter series.
Her titles include Peace on the Peninsula, Twelve Worlds, Playing with Fire, The DIY Guide to Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing, and Amador Lockdown.
Ms. Russell runs the blog alchemyofscrawl.wordpress.com
You can also stalk the author on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Google+

And check out my spotlight of her book Amador Lockdownhttp://afstewartpromotion.blogspot.com/2011/10/book-spotlight-amador-lockdown.html


And be sure to pop back in on Halloween as I welcome a guest, author Gordon A. Kessler, who talks about his new scary thriller, Jezebel and getting that scare right when writing horror.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Coffin Hop Begins: An Interview with Balthazar, Demon Bounty Hunter


It's official, the Coffin Hop Web Tour starts today!
As part of the Coffin Hop Web Tour, and in the spirit of Halloween, my demon character from the story Victorian Shadows (as seen in the ebook, Killers and Demons) has kindly consented to be interviewed.

Plus one lucky commentator will win a three ebook prize pack (via free Smashwords download coupons) of my books Once Upon a Dark and Eerie..., Killers and Demons, and Ruined City.
All you need to do for a chance to win is leave a comment!



Interview with Balthazar, Demon Bounty Hunter:


Welcome Balthazar. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I would be delighted to regale your readers with a small sample of my life.
I am an ancient Hell-spawned demon living on Earth, engaged primarily in returning escaped fugitives to Hell where they belong. I occasionally do a few side jobs, such as soul reaping or corrupting innocents.
For enjoyment, I kill random people and read quality literature, or partake in a dinner of rare steak and a glass of fine red wine. I find very few creatures can live up to my standards, so I rarely socialize with you pitiable humans or my fellow, lesser demons.


Could you please describe your physical appearance for the readers?

In human form, I am tall and svelte, with dark eyes and straight black hair. I have a wicked smile and a lean build. I believe one should always look one’s best, and cut a dashing figure, so I don the latest styles, whatever the century. I prefer dressing in basic black, for the maximum intimidating effect. As a demon, I expect you would find me rather gruesome, all scales, fangs, claws and red eyes.


How did you end up as Hell’s bounty hunter?

The previous demon that held my position met an untimely end. It seems he was double-dealing favours to the escapees. When this was brought to the attention of the powers-that-be in Hell, he was removed from his post, in pieces. I was adroit enough to obtain his place.


There was a great deal of interest in Victorian Shadows, the story of your hunt of the thief Sally. Can you tell us a bit of the back-story?

No. I would prefer not to talk of that nasty, annoying woman. That little low-class waif gave me no end of trouble. If I could, I would roast her flesh over Hellfire on a spit.


Obviously some issues there, so on to the next question.  What would you consider your best feature?

There are so many, I would be hard-pressed to choose, but I suppose my exceptional intelligence would be my most astounding trait.


Interesting choice.  And what would be your worst feature?

I deem myself quite flawless, but some others have commented that I do have a temper. Personally I believe that’s an asset in my line of work.


Okay then.  Do you have any family?

I was one of several demons spawned by my father, but alas they were all killed in a rather nasty family feud. I personally dispatched six of them, and Father slaughtered the rest. Then I betrayed and murdered him, so I am now happily without family.


I can see how that might be preferable for you.  Do you have any hobbies?

I used to collect skulls, but I tired of that in the 1920’s. These days I tend to stick to hunting. There is a lovely array of humans living on the streets that make excellent prey.


Well, that's disturbing.  Are you afraid of anything?

My Master, the grand and feared ruler of Hell. But every denizen in Hell is afraid of Him.


You have lived a very long time. Care to relate any of your more exciting adventures?

My early life was spent mostly in Hell, and your readers might get a bit squeamish about my escapades there. I find humans don’t usually enjoy stories about brimstone, torture and damned souls. Your species is very odd that way.
After leaving Hell, I had many fascinating exploits. In between my duties as a bounty hunter, I have been a medieval assassin, worked for the Royal Court of Spain during the Inquisition, and I sailed the seas as a pirate. I enjoyed the pirate life; I once turned a double-crossing scoundrel of a shipmate into the ship’s figurehead. When the ship sunk in a storm a year later, he went down to the bottom with it. Such good memories.


Thank you Balthazar, for joining us today. Now I’ll leave the readers with a quick peek at your activities from Killers and Demons.


An excerpt of the story Victorian Shadows (from the book Killers and Demons):

He waited, hidden by familiar darkness. An hour had passed already, but he was patient. He sniffed the air and grinned. The unmistakable scent of his quarry wafted sweetly on the air.

Balthazar twisted the top of his cane, muscles tense, as footsteps grew closer. A shadow passed his vision, and in one strike he buried the knife housed in his cane deep in the back of a man. Balthazar stood quietly and watched his victim’s lifeblood slowly pool on the cobblestones.

He sighed. “Too easy. He didn’t even scream.”

Balthazar removed his knife, admiring the line of the steel. He brought the knife to his mouth.

“Now, to find out what I want.” He casually licked the blood off the blade, his tongue lapping every drop. As the warm liquid flowed down his throat, the memories of his victim slid into Balthazar’s mind, the blood feeding him the facts he needed.

Balthazar grinned. “I am coming for you, my darling Sally.”

He slid the knife into the cane and walked away, back into the night.


Now if you please, scroll way, way down to the end of my blog, find the Linky List, close your eyes, make a wish and click on a link to continue the Coffin Hop Web Tour.

You can also check out my side hop, a quiz about the TV show Supernatural, at my other blog, In the Spotlight.  

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Celebrate the Villains

Every writer has their favourite characters, the ones they adored creating. For me it is not the heroes to whom I loathe to say farewell, but the villains. Here’s a few of my favourite wicked creations:




Henri Forain: One of the vampires from Chronicles of the Undead, he is an unrepentant killer. He is handsome, charming and sophisticated Frenchman, willing to suck the blood out of your veins until you are dead. He fits easily into 17th century English society, spreading death and corruption where his whims take him.





Balthazar: The rakish and ruthless demon bounty hunter from Victorian Shadows, Balthazar is a centuries old killer with a fierce temper who holds a grudge. He has no problem killing enemies, friends of his enemies or innocent bystanders if it gets him what he wants. He will be back for more adventures, including his brief escapade as a pirate.





Fluffy the Clown: Some sort of demonic spirit (he hasn’t told me what type yet, and I’m not about to ask) that has a penchant for children’s books and toys. A disembodied phantom with a mile long murderous streak, he haunts the Fluffy the Clown storybooks and dolls (hence his name; I’m sure he has another, but again he’s not talking). He uses mind manipulation when possessing the books to corrupt others into doing his killing (as seen in Fluffy the Clown and the Mystery Writer) and seems to possess the dolls directly for hands-on mayhem (as in Dear Mom).

Emily Langley: A nasty killer of children who was executed for being a witch. But she didn’t let a little thing like death stop her from pursuing her hobby of murder and mayhem. Existing across the ages as a ghostly legend, her spirit, accompanied by her ghost dogs, comes back to wreak bloody vengeance. She was last seen in The Legend of the Haunted Tree killing off a bunch of hapless teenagers on Halloween.



Rjsh the Night Wraith: This supernatural creature makes his appearance in Ruined City (although not by name) and is an unrepentant killer. He is a carnivore by nature, and his chosen meat is human. He is a hunter and loves to play with his food before devouring it at his leisure (quite often while the food is still alive).



Stories and Books:

Victorian Shadows can be found in the ebook Killers and Demons

Fluffy the Clown and the Mystery Writer can be found in the ebook, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...

Dear Mom can be found for free on my Goodreads Profile

The Legend of the Haunted Tree can be found in the ebook, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...


Chronicles of the Undead is my vampire novella

Ruined City is my dark fantasy book

 
And don't forget to check out the Coffin Hop Web Tour, Monday Oct. 24th.

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