Showing posts with label author guest post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author guest post. Show all posts

Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday the 13th 3D: 36 Years in the Making - Guest Blog by Thomas S. Flowers

Friday the 13th 3D: 36 Years in the Making
Guest Blog by Thomas S. Flowers

As a horror fan I feel rather fortunate that so many of my favorite thrillers released on the year of my birth. A quick Google re-search will reveal a VHS candy store of goody gore and lovable murderers, from The Thing to Poltergeist to Halloween III (the one without Myers) to Amityville II: The Possession (the one that was like The Exorcist but with incest) to The New York Ripper to Pieces, Parasite, The Slumber Party Massacre, and... Friday the 13th...PART 3D (cue groovy disco music). And among the other entries in the franchise, PART 3D is I would say my second favorite. There are many factors that play into my rating but unless you've seen it you probably won't understand. So, do me a solid and go pop in that flayed VHS cause this review will be chopped full of SPOILERS. have been warned!

Directed by: Steve Miner
Writing Credits:  Martin Kitrosser, Carol Watson, and Sean S. Cunningham.
Music by: Harry Manfredini
Special effects: Martin Becker
Release Date: 13 August 1982 (USA)

"Having revived from his wound, Jason Voorhees takes refuge at a cabin near Crystal Lake. As a group of co-eds arrive for their vacation, Jason continues his killing spree."

Among many reasons why I love Friday the 13th part III, one would be that it is the first true Jason Voorhees slasher. Yup. Obviously part 1 was really about mommy Voorhees, a character who wasn't even given a first name until...what, part 2? And while fantastic in its own right, it was not a "Jason" movie, not yet anyway. Now some would say, "But hey, Tommy, what about part 2? Isn't that considered a Jason Voorhees movie, it does have Jason in it after all?" And I would of course nod my head knowledgeably. Yes, part 2 does have Jason...but not the Jason. What we got was a backwoods deranged potato sack wearing weirdo who at times certainly had classic Jason mannerisms, but in the end still just an inbred acting mongoloid. Now that said, part 2 has its charm and some really excellent kills, but if you want Jason as we love him today (hockey mask and all), you gotta start with part 3.

Part 3 is also really awesome because it has what every good indie horror movie should, a cast a unrecognizable actors and actresses. While still young, parts 1 and 2 had some fairly recognizable cast members, including Kevin Bacon, John Furey (a known TV actor), Harry Crosby (son if Bing Crosby), and not to mention the late great Betsy Palmer who was one of the most veteran and highly respected actors on set. Part 3? Nadda. They didn't even have Chong, of the Cheech and Chong variety, star as the lead stoner, instead they dressed some dude named Chuck in a blue bandanna, green button down, and red pants with not quite as much weed as Up In Smoke.

I'd be amiss not to comment on what PART 3 has no other addition does. Shelly. Shelly is the best part of this movie. From humble awkward to cartoonish to a astonishingly flamboyant runner, Shelly is still by far my favorite character in the film. Sure, he fails to get the girl Vera and he's socially immature, who isn't?!? Shelly does have a few things going for him. Sweet yo-yo skills and a magic box that is literally "his entire world" full of tricks and gags to annoy the entire gang of friends, and the largest white-boy fro ever shot on a 3D film.  On a low par, I wasn't all that thrilled with leading lady Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell).  She seemed too annoyed at times. Bored. And too drawl. The best part about her, I thought, was her really strange back story of a previous "unfilmed" encounter with Jason Voorhees. An encounter that sounded almost as if it were some kind of sexual assault. Going back to the amazing documentary
Crystal Lake Memories, actress Dana Kimmell confirms this backstory, but she says that producers did not want to pursue it in any kind of depth. This revelation is kinda dark for a Friday the 13th film as they typically follow a blood, guts, and gags methodology.

So, we've covered the more manly killing machine Jason. We got the actors. Next is the music. Harry Manfredini, who scored most of the Friday the 13's, including the original, crafted one hell of a soundtrack for this third installment. Part disco, part horror, 100% awesomeness. It is also one of the few, if not only, horror sound track to garner its own cover band by the name of Nilbog. Check them out on YouTube. Link provided below.

But like any horror slasher flick, there's gotta be a seemingly solid foundational plot. In PART 3, Chris Higgins invites a gang of friends to include a pregnant bestie (who gets slaughtered later btw...also a very dark moment for a Friday the 13th movie), two stoners, a Mexican chick, and Shelly. They met up later with lurch looking boytoy Rick (Paul Kratka). Events escalate into a series of weed smoking, beer drinking, skinny dipping, practical jokes, and heartfelt life lessons until Shelly and Vera end up pissing off a low-level biker gang. After Shelly runs over some of their motorcycles, the b-squad gang vows revenge that never really materializes. Instead, after following Shelly and Vera back to the cabin, they are quickly dispatched by Jason.

After Chris goes off with Rick to blow off some steam, the night consummates in more weed smoking and beer drinking, a sexual encounter, and Shelly in a wet suit. I know, sounds amazing doesn't it? Where does all this debauchery go? To one of the coolest kills. Once Shelly is dispatched, Jason finally obtains his moniker look by putting on the hockey mask that Shelly was so kind enough to bring along. Jeez, imagine if he brought a faded Captain Kirk mask? Talk about a lawsuit! Anyways, with Jason now complete, he causally strolls out on to the deck where a waiting Vera is fishing for Shelly's dropped wallet on the edge of the lake. He aims at her, much to her confusion, as she thinks he's Shelly. Just as she says, "Wait...who are you?" Jason pulls the trigger on the speargun popping her eye out the back of her head. Simply amazing. Its the small things folks.

More killings ensue until finally Rick and Morty...oops, Rick and Chris arrive back at the cabin. With everyone gone and blood everywhere, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together. During the attack, ole handsome lurch Rick gets his eyeball popped out his socket, which must have been a real thrill for kids who matched this back in 1982 in 3D. And finally, Chris and Jason go toe to toe. During the struggle, one of the surviving bikers revives just to be killed again, but distracting Jason long enough for Chris to throw a noose around Jason's neck and shove him out the barn. When that proves useless, she plants an ax deep in his skull. That seems to have done the trick and as the credits roll, the cabin is surrounded by police and paramedics.

For me, my horror appetites are not hard to please. And PART 3D, given some of its flaws, is a groovy good time for a slasher flick, and especially a Friday the 13th slasher flick.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Guarding Our Writing Time by David-Matthew Barnes

Today, I was cleaning up my email inbox and came across the guest post for author David-Matthew Barnes that was supposed to be posted back on December 14th. I guess I had overlook the email, as I had went ahead and posted a book spotlight for the author's novel Riding with James Dean on that date. Anyway, here I am posting the author's guest post a few weeks late.

Guarding Our Writing Time

by David-Matthew Barnes

Time. It is the most elusive thing. It is a luxury of which some of us are willing to beg, borrow, and steal for. People wish for more of it, convinced if they had just a few minutes more the results could be life-changing. 

It's true. We are busy people. Our schedules leave us exhausted, delirious, overwhelmed. To survive, we are constantly juggling, balancing, shifting, always dangling just above the edge of a looming deadline.

I loose count of how many times I hear the words, "There's just not enough time in the day to get everything done." It pains me most when it's my voice saying them.
We are a breed of our own: the busy.

To achieve this livable state of sleep deprivation, we make caffeine our favorite food group, existing in a jittery existence of the fear and consequences of nodding off. We are masters of the to-do list, the weekly calendar, the span of 24-hours.

This constant battle against the clock must be universal. Surely, others feel the tremble of the ticking constantly beating beneath every step they take through their mine field of a day. We constantly avert any possible social scenario that can pose a threat to our down-to-the-second agenda, knowing if we stop long enough to smell those ridiculous flowers the less-busy always talk about it, we're doomed. 

They say the early bird catches the worm, time waits for no one, time is money, and there's no time like the present. We are constantly bombarded by the 
insistence to do more, be more, live more. This is our fuel.

And then there's writing.

I recently had an online discussion with two fellow writers in which time was our topic, specifically how to find more of it. As creative people with unconventional lives and schedules, we are often time-shamed. Example A: "When you're done with your little writing thing, do you think you can actually spend time with your friends and family? We miss you."

To ask someone who is not a writer to understand how we work and why time is everything to us is asking for the impossible. Non-writers can view our desire for writing time as selfish; our writing – and the time we need for it – can inconvenience many people. We are expected to keep a more world-friendly schedule by only tapping into and channeling our creativity during business hours - and never on weekends.

Finding the time to write can become the most challenging aspect of a writer's life. It certainly is for mine. We can tape as many Do Not Disturb signs on our home office doors we want, but that tiny flicker of guilt still remains each time we sit down at our laptops and the world continues to happen without us, hopefully missing us. It is indeed a high price to pay.

Yet, the results can be life-changing - or, more specifically, career-changing. Many of us dream of one day writing for a living, of reaching a point in which our talent and creativity sustains us. But we cannot get there without time.

The discussion with my writer friends ended with the conclusion that each of us need to be more protective of our schedules, that we collectively have to guard our writing time. We are soldiers, protecting our own very precious turf. Because every second really does count, as much as every word we write. 

The struggle against the clock, our own lives, and the demands we must meet can be a difficult one to endure. Yet, in the end, those few moments in which the world around us slips away and nothing else matters but the words on the page - they make the pace worth it. It's usually then we feel like we won. And, as they say, even the smallest victory counts.

About the Author

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

“I’ll Be Your Huckleberry” by Dawn Luedecke

One thing I love doing in my book is putting in different foods that would have been popular in the time and setting in which I’m writing. Montana is filled with huckleberries, cherries, and asparagus. So I must confess that these often make appearances in my books. In book 2 of the Montana Mountain Romance series, WILD PASSION, the heroine is a camp cook.

I once had a friend ask me if huckleberries were real. She thought it was nothing more than a famous phrase uttered by the ever so sexy Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday in Tombstone. But what does “I’m your huckleberry” or “I’ll be your huckleberry” mean? According to urban dictionary, it was a popular nineteenth century slang phrase meaning “I’m the man you’re looking for.” It’s such fun phrase that it has become a popular answer in my own family (as my husband is a huge Tombstone fan…both the movie and the actual town).

But I digress.

Huckleberries are one of the most delicious berries I have ever tasted, and they are a Montana staple. Many Montanan’s wait all year for huckleberry season so they can go up to the mountain slopes and pick gallons upon gallons of berries. Jam, syrup, honey, even huckleberry pies and shakes are a popular guilty pleasure in the Big Sky State.

I am currently working on putting together a free downloadable cookbook which will feature recipes featured in all three Montana Mountain Romance books. For you, I’m going to give you a preview of one of my favorite Wild Passion recipes. And guess what…it’s huckleberry. 

About the Author

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Guest Post by Denise Marques Leitao, author of Karina's Silver Shoes

What’s a strong female character?

So... strong female characters. As opposite to what? Female characters? As if “weak” is implied in “female”?

Well, the truth is that female characters have not had great treatment in our storytelling tradition. And then came the “strong female characters” (SFC), and things kind of changed. Kind of, because many of these SFC fit in stories that were modeled after stories with male protagonists in patriarchal societies. Sometimes these characters are written as different from other women and this differentiation makes them unique and sometimes even special and better than other women, as if being less “feminine”, whatever that means, were a plus point to a character.

So I’m confused here. What’s the point of writing strong women if the main characteristic of these characters is to be unlike other women? I mean, doesn’t that undermine all women? And I’m perfectly fine with stories of women who cannot fit-in with standards imposed on women, but what I don’t really appreciate is when these women are made to appear superior to other women.

Something else that bothers me with SFC is that they often want to belong in a world of men, and have mainly male characters as friends. Again, it seems that these female characters are written as “better” than their female counterparts for not spending time with other women.

One final problem with “strong female characters” is the idea that a love story somehow undermines these characters. This is a lot less common than the other points, but it happens. Of course, there’s the other way around too, some female characters who are awesome, only to be reduced when finding love. There needs to be a balance there. Male characters, especially in adventure and fantasy, usually “get the girl” without any judgment on the character.

So, with all that, there comes my novel, Karina’s Silver Shoes, which is aimed mainly at girls aged 12 to 15. I don’t think it’s perfect, but I did my best to write female characters that are normal girls who enjoy being girls and enjoy being friends with girls. I think it’s important for girls to read about characters that are cool being who they are. Of course, friendships are not perfect. There are challenges. But the idea was to have a large cast of female characters dominating the story, in the same way a lot of traditional fantasy have a large cast of male characters. In fact, my original plan was to have very few male characters; they wouldn’t even talk to each other, but I ended up expanding their role, because it’s silly to do to male characters what authors have done to female characters for millennia. So there are some male characters, and I hope the readers like them.

Some readers have noted that Karina’s Silver Shoes has “strong female characters”, and it’s cool, but I was really aiming at something different and unlike most of the SFC we have seen in popular culture lately. Did I succeed? Let me know! 

About the Author

Denise Marques Leitao was born and raised in Brazil. When she’s not creating worlds and characters, she’s discussing the meaning of the Universe with her son, writing unintellectual poetry, podcasting about popular culture, or teaching. She lives in Montreal, Canada, and has a Master’s in English Literature.

To learn more about Denise, get news, bonus materials and preview chapters, visit

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Author Guest Post: Sheri S. Levy

During my early childhood, I was addicted to books. When I started teaching special needs children, ages six- nine years old, I wanted to influence their desire to read. I read aloud every day and left them hanging on the next conflict in the story until the following morning. During the day, we sang songs, and I required them to follow each word with a finger. I played word games on the chalkboard and kept their inattentive brains engaged in learning. Now that I know the value of a therapy dog, I would have had one in my room. In my day, I had set up a reading center for the students sit on the floor and read to stuffed animals.

After I retired from teaching, the desire to write about service dogs went to the top of my to-do-list. I called service dog organizations around the U.S. to ask questions and do research. One day while in a grocery store, I met a young boy with a dog wearing a vest. I assumed he was a puppy raiser since I had learned about them for other dog organizations.

When I spoke to him, he clarified. “No, Mam. This is my diabetic alert service dog.” His mother gave me permission to interview him and I wrote my first magazine article. It was published in Club House Magazine in 2010. The story, Scent with Love, won in the Dog Writers Association, 2011. It also was nominated for a Maxwell Medallion Award. I received a monetary award and a trophy for the boy involved and myself. It was a thrill and certainly gave me some confidence to continue writing.

After writing Scent with Love, I started writing Seven Days to Goodbye. My characters and setting came from experiences and memories. I used our first Aussie, our favorite beach, and I had interviewed another mother about her son with autism and discovered how his service dog changed his life. I became involved with PAALS and they helped me write my stories correctly. I am proud to be involved with their expertise and share my book and author visits proceeds with them. They always have a waiting list for people needing a special companion.

My favorite parts of Seven Days to Goodbye are the interactions with Logan, a seven-year-old boy with autism, and Sydney, the service dog who has been trained to help children with autism.

“Syd-ney, Syd-ney,” Logan screamed in a high-pitched voice, flinging his hands in the air.
Sydney looked to me for permission. I, of course, said, “Okay!” And he darted to Logan.
Not wanting to interrupt their greeting, I walked slowly towards them. “Hi, Logan. You’re awake early.”
He jumped up and down, repeating, “Syd-ney, Syd-ney, Syd-ney.”

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Guest Post by Amanda Jones, author of Broken Angel

Portal travel! The ultimate form of environmentally friendly transportation!

Sick and tired of destroying the environment with toxic emissions from your vehicle? Want to arrive at your destination in mere seconds? Feel like travelling to alternate dimensions at the snap of a finger? Then Portal travel may be the solution for you!

Our mystically powered Portals are engineered locally in Outer-Sheol by only the most powerful of demonic sorcerers. Beautifully designed by our award-winning team of goblin craftsmen, our Portals will truly be an artistic conversation piece in any Sheolic home.

If you desire to keep those pesky humans out of your demonic lair, our Portals will tear them apart at the sub-atomic level – no fuss, no muss!

Own your very own Portal today! For a limited time and only 0% APR and 5000 Sheolic ducats down you can haul one off the lot today! Be the first in YOUR neighbourhood to travel in style like the overlords!

Do your part to keep our Underworld beautiful! Make the change to Portal travel today!

Some side effects of Portal travel may include: dizziness, nausea, unintended travel to unfriendly dimensions, death, dismemberment, reversal of organ placement, destruction at the cellular level, headaches.

About the Book

Monday, May 8, 2017

Author S. K. Gregory Talks About Her New Novella/Short Story Collection "Twisted Princess"

Now available from SKGregory is the fantasy novella/short story collection Twisted Princess, featuring the stories The Beast Within by S. K. Gregory, Sleepless Beauty by Erin Hayes, Spectral Velocity by Margo Bond Collins, The Origin of Snow by M. L. Sparrow, and Wonderland Casino by Kat Gracey.

Author S. K. Gregory has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule to talk about her short story The Beast Within, which is featured in the new novella/short story collection Twisted Princess.

The idea for Twisted Princess came from my love of the classic fairytales and how much darker they are than the Disney versions. As a child I remember reading about Blue Beard and the Little Matchstick Girl. For Twisted Princess we wanted to come up with stories featuring Disney Princesses without the happy ending.

My story, The Beast Within, features Izzy, a young woman who works as a security expert for supernatural beings. I tried to turn the story of Beauty and the Beast on its head. In my story, Izzy wants the normal life and to marry Gavin, a male model. The beast is Adam, a werewolf who was cursed by a witch to fell terrible pain when he turns.

Adam comes across as mild mannered but he becomes obsessed with Izzy.

I think there was a good range of stories from some very talented authors. I would like to do a future boxset maybe on the origins of some of the Disney villains.

The boxset is only 99c on Amazon and is available on KU.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Oh, the Places You’ll Wish You Could Go" by Wendy Sparrow

While I love writing, my primary reason for being an author will always be to create stories and worlds that I want to read. Reading is my passion. Getting outside of reality and adventuring in a world inside a book is the purest form of escape I’ve found. I could live in books. I’ve wanted to live in books—especially when I stumble into a setting that is magical on its own.

The lodge in all three of the Servants of Fate books is like that. It’s a mountain lodge with all sorts of winter and holiday festivities. It’s cozy and yet has an energy of its own. The characters can retreat to their room for a quiet night or get involved in the events the lodge provides. There’s a restaurant onsite, but also they provide amazing room service. No way in a million years could I afford to stay in this place, but it’s not posh and fancy. It’s also not outside the realm of possibility.

In order to create everything from the menu to the events, I surfed the internet looking for similar places. Admittedly, the end result is an amalgamation of many places, but it’s not unheard of for similar locations to exist. And I want to go there. Possibly more than I’ve wanted to visit any of the places I’ve invented. It’s a blend of magic and reality, and it’s why there’s three books—I kept wanting to return.

This isn’t the first time I’ve made up places—though admittedly usually I peg down a state and often a city. My lycan/werewolf series takes place in the Glacier Peak area in Washington. The city itself is made up, but the location isn’t. (Taming the Pack series) In a recently released anthology, I have a romance horror novella that takes place in a completely made-up area—but I can’t say I’d want to visit, especially Parson Point and the spooky woods where a woman in white ghost lurks. (She Wore White, Legendary Anthology)

I read and enjoy books set in both locations I’d love to visit and locations that would be impossible to visit. I’d love to visit Hogwarts. *sighs* I’d also love to visit Regency England. *double sigh* Admittedly, on the second, I’d like to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I have a strong passionate need for modern conveniences—especially plumbing. I love plumbing. On the other hand, I snatch up books about New Orleans in my hot, greedy hands. If it takes place in New Orleans, a book gets a one star bump in rating automatically. I’m not familiar enough with the city to set a whole book there myself, but I will happily visit it again and again in other authors’ books—and in real life.

Luckily, I had the opportunity to live a lot of different places when I was younger as my family was in the military so I have a lot of experience in various cities to draw from when creating my own settings. Then, there is the blessing that is our technological ability to study the crap out of other places via Google. I’ve used Google Earth to “walk” down streets I might want to borrow many times.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Author Guest Post: C.J. Lake

Hmm, a reading from a mysterious fortune-teller on Halloween...what can go wrong?

This is how my new book, Impulse, begins... Cady and her roommate Torie leave their Boston apartment one night to head to a fortune-teller's shop in Salem. Cady goes only as a favor to Torie, never imagining she will hear more than a few prepackaged, sunny cliches. Instead, what she hears is enough to drive her straight to the nearest bar...

Buy Link: Amazon

This is where she meets Mick Croft and their stormy, intense, and at times, comical journey to love begins. Without a doubt, I love Halloween and the days, even weeks, leading up to it represent my favorite time of the year. Not only is New England gorgeous in October, but it's enveloped in the kind of festive Halloween ambiance that I include in my rustling trees and scattering leaves, wind-chimes and thunder, shadowy nightfall and fog. Halloween brings with it what I call a fun-eeriness, which I hope I convey in the setting, as Mick and Cady try to stay apart (well, are they really trying? Hmm...doubtful.)

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Interior Art for the In the Time of the Dead Trilogy

The Interior Art for the In the Time of the Dead Trilogy
By David Monette

Greetings! I’m the author and illustrator for the “In the Time of the Dead Trilogy.” What holding these titles means is that I not only had the chance to write the books, but I was also able to do the covers and the interior artwork for them. For someone like me, a person who has always loved everything about books, it was kind of a dream come true. So what I’d like to do in this guest post is to show you the three different styles I used to do the interior work that is sprinkled through each of the books.

We’ll start with the first book in the series, “The Zombie Axiom.”

For all the books, I completed the illustrations digitally, using Photoshop. But as you can see in this book, I tried doing a bit of a pen and ink, crosshatching technique, where the darker values are built up with lines drawn upon lines. Like this:

And this:

Now, I really like working with this technique, and I was very satisfied with the finished pieces. However, for the next book I was interested in a look that wasn’t so hard-edged. I wanted something a bit more rough and dirty-feeling. This brings me to the images in the second book in the series, “The Warring Dead.”

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Behind The Horror: The True Terror of Theme Park Halloweens by Rootie Smith


The True Terror of
Theme Park Halloweens


Rootie Simms

First American publication rights
copyright ©2015

           Can you stay in a room filled with hundreds of giant hissing cockroaches? Would you enjoy lying in a glass coffin while dozens of live rats crawled on you? Do you have screws surgically implanted in your head to support metal spikes? If you have any of these or similar qualifications, there’s a job for you at one of the country’s largest Halloween events.

As a writer who likes to pick up odd jobs (literally) I’ve worked for some of the biggest Halloween celebrations in Florida. Okay, maybe I don’t work with cockroaches and rats or wear spikes in my head, but I once held a much more terrifying job—entertainment coordinator.

Several years ago I worked for the largest Halloween event in the country. I can’t name the theme park because I had to sign a nondisclosure agreement, and while it seemed odd at the time, after spending 28 nights immersed in complete madness, I quickly came to understand the need for protection. Oddly enough, it wasn’t the guests who needed protection from the park, it was the park who needed protection from the guests.

As an entertainment coordinator I was in charge of an area filled with bikers-of-the-damned which included chainsaw-wielding bikers, dancing biker chicks in cages and an assortment of bloody ghouls whose job was to terrorize people as they walked through the area. All of the actors were in makeup and costumes to make them look like a dead gang of bikers who’d just escaped from hell. A very professional and scary looking bunch!

My job description stated that I was to keep the actors on schedule, monitor their performances, keep morale high, and attend to emergency situations. I assumed this meant simple things like costume malfunctions or actors breaking character. I would soon learn that it wasn’t the actors I had to worry about, it was the guests.

My first clue came on opening night as I walked backstage to get to my area. Along the way I discovered a new section under construction. It was odd—rows of metal chairs being set up, several large desks, a photo booth with lights and cameras, and several big vans with police logos on the side. It was strange because the setup was in an area off-limits to the public.

I stopped a veteran manager and pointed to the setup. “What’s that?”

He looked up from his clipboard. “It’s a booking station.”

“What’s the theme? Arresting zombies or demons?”

“Nope. Guests. The police arrest anywhere from 50 to 100 a night during Halloween nights and it’s more convenient to book them here at the park than at the police station. After they’re booked, they’re loaded into paddy wagons and hauled to jail.”


“You’ll see.”

“What’re they arrested for?”

“Mostly drunk and disorderly.”

“I know a lot of our guests get drunk, but what constitutes disorderly?”

“You’ll see.”

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How Do Authors Deal With Writers Block?

I’m often asked, “How do authors deal with writers block?”

There are two types of writers block; difficulty figuring out how to make a scene or plot line work, and the inability to write anything. The answer to one type is “get up,” while the answer to the other is “sit down.”

If you are having trouble making some aspect of your story work, go put on a load of laundry or let the dog out. Better yet, walk the dog around the block. If that doesn’t work, sleep on it. Sometimes the answer will magically present itself when you awake.

Critique partners or writing buddies are another solution. Give a synopsis of your story and then explain your dilemma. You might be surprised what another set of eyes (or ears) can come up with. One thing is sure, if you let indecision go on for too long, it will turn into the more severe type of block, the total incapacity to write at all. Stress, depression, and fear are other reasons a writer stops writing. The only cure for this is to make a change.

Try writing on your laptop instead of your desktop. Listen to music while you write, or pick a different style of music, or stop listening to music at all. Write at a coffee shop or on your back patio. Take a class on writing, especially one with homework.

If you are still having trouble, but your book aside and try writing a short story. Do you have a blog? Write something for it, or post on a friend’s blog.

If you have to start small, that’s fine. Just start. Write something. And write every day. The only true way to get over writer’s block is to sit down and write.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"What's Your Darkness?"

The light of the full moon barely penetrates the rolling clouds and scarcely illuminates the yearly ritual taking place among the trees. A multitude of unwholesome and supernatural creatures abound on this most powerful evening, wreaking their mischief as they sneak from house to house attempting to steal away the contents hoarded therein, be it food or small children. Food is always ravenously consumed with great glee - for some of these creatures have not feasted since last year's eve of celebration. Whereas small children are always sought for corruption and transformation, if the mysterious incantations are uttered successfully the hordes will once again multiply next year on this very eve.

Zealously, the residents of the village guard against the coming of the night and all that it brings. It is, however, a self-defeating and fruitless endeavor as the very lights used to illuminate the night to frighten the creatures only serve as a beacon to the souls ready for harvest. In those homes where transformations afflict the children who have succumbed to the magic, adults try in vain to prevent their beloved darlings from joining the spirits and effecting permanence of the incantations - few rarely succeed. With the gift of evasion granted by goblins, the fledgling haunters flee the house to perpetuate the ritual and hoard their share of provisions to stock until next year's coming. To save their children, parents will brave the night and chase their devilish offspring and attempt to rescue them. But this only means there are fewer family members at home to defend against the onslaught of perpetuating rituals in which it will once again be chanted, "Trick-or-Treat".


There is something about the human condition that makes us want things to be nice and ordered; a new home, a fancy car, safe neighborhoods, or a decent job. We even desire the same in our quest for intangibles like hope, peace, and love. All is right with the world while we look at our clean and sterile creation, but that is only a part of our existence. There is something more to us, something darker. In a dying breath we set it aside for a short while; to pretend that life is gory and frightening. White picket fences deteriorate into haunted houses, our safe havens collapse into chaos and horror, and grandma no longer pinches your cheek with a smile – she wants to rip off your face, and gum to death the grey matter hiding inside your naked skull.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Character Interview with Sebastian Kess

Hello! Today I am pleased to interview Sebastian Kess. Sebastian is a magical humanoid from the parallel dimension of Coursodon and has recently been restored to his own body after being trapped in a Kindle.

What an interesting story. So, Mr. Kess, how did you get caught in an eBook reader?

Please, call me Sebastian. I never let a beautiful woman call me anything but. Back to your question, my job is to hunt those from my dimension who use their magical abilities to harm humans. While pursuing a particularly diabolical criminal, I was mortally wounded. I used the opportunity to test one of my many theories of spiritual convergence and converted myself to binary code. I planned to transfer myself to my laptop, but through a series of mishaps, I ended up in an electronic reading device.

Interesting, Sebastian. But, I see that you, or rather, your spiritual essence, somehow ended up inside a human woman. How did that come about?

The Kindle in which I was trapped was purchased and sent to Hailey Parrish. She unwittingly released me and I took refuge in her when she first powered up the device. Lovely girl, by the way, she took the entire co-habitation dilemma quite well. 
Oh my! What was it like being inside a woman?

Well, my dear, I’ve been inside many women, but this was the first time I’ve been able to feel what they feel and experience the world through their eyes. Very enlightening indeed.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Three Sides to the Story By Scott R. Caseley

Isosceles begins with nineteen-year-old Sean McIntyre finding his longtime best friend Trey Goodsby dead in the bathroom either intentionally or accidentally by his own hand. On the back of the toilet, a cell phone display reads, Missed Call From Madeline Edwards. Before determining the immediate circumstances that would bring the three of them to this scene, the pertinent question became where did they meet? I floated a few ideas around, but none of them seemed natural. One concrete thing was it needed to be a place where on the outset they could be equals. Ironically, the answer came to me as the first day of school. When many of us think of our school days, we think of struggling to fit in, to climb our way up the social ladder. Then I posited, that whatever lasting impressions these three had on each other should be seeded in this environment.

On a sunny autumn day, Sean walks into the classroom with a sea of children before him as an ironic homage to a scene in one of my favorite films, “Goodfellas”. There’s a famous tracking shot where the camera follows Ray Liotta’s character Henry Hill taking his girlfriend Karen played by Lorraine Bracco to the Copacabana through the back entrance. You see all the various people doing their thing, and Hill walks through like he belongs, almost like he’s royalty. However though Hill felt all that confidence, I wanted Sean to feel small and insignificant.

After that moment, I knew the next place to go was to introduce Madeline into his world in a surreal way. It had to contrast with the faces of his classmates whom he cannot put a name to, yet I knew it had to keep with the notion of his insecurity. When he sees Madeline in the sunlight and is completely transfixed, it was important to state she has an ethereal glow. This served a dual purpose, not just his attraction, but to establish her as someone whom Sean sees as above him.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Madness by Melissa Stagi-Zepeda

Pumpkin Madness 

by Melissa Stagi-Zepeda

Year after year,

the pumpkins lived in fear.

Slicing, maiming, wrenching their guts,

I never considered them while I made cuts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Writer’s Muse Wears Different Shoes by Maggie Lyons

The writer’s muse sports a variety of footwear. Sometimes she leaps out of nowhere in spring-heeled running shoes. Sometimes she shuffles along in flip-flops that make a soft flapping noise heard long before she actually shows up.

And she comes from an endless variety of directions.

For A. A. Milne, she trotted out of his son’s collection of toy animals and gently prodded him to pen Winnie-the-Pooh. The muse who inspired Jerry Spinelli’s Wringer screamed up to him from a Pennsylvania pigeon shoot she couldn’t get away from fast enough. J. K. Rowling’s muse materialized after the legendary author took a train journey and the idea of a boy wizard named Harry Potter—to quote Rowling—“fell into my head.” Maurice Sendak’s muse for Where the Wild Things Are raced out of a gathering of Sendak’s unsavory relatives who had scared him when he was very young. Judy Blume’s muse marched in from a story Blume’s daughter told about a school bully and demanded that Blume write Blubber. Jeff Kinney’s muse is reluctant to show her face—a common occurrence even among the best of writers—but when she does, she’s positively quirky because of where she shows it. In Kinney’s words, she arrives as he’s “stepping into the shower or walking out the door or crossing in some sort of threshold”—and another Diary of a Wimpy Kid episode is spawned.

Kinney’s inspiration comes from everyday life, as it does for so many writers. “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day,” Orson Scott Card once said. “The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any.” Anton Chekhov put it another way: “If you look at anything long enough—say, just that wall in front of you—it will come out of that wall.”

And when the muse urges, how does a writer meet the command?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Guest Spot with author Jana Richards

Canadian War Brides 

My novella ‘Home Fires’ tells the story of Anne Wakefield, a young British woman who travels to Canada after World War Two to marry her fiancé. Though Anne and her story are fictional, the phenomena of War Brides is not. Some 48,000 women married Canadian servicemen during the war. The majority of war brides were British, but some came from France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany. Between 1942 and 1947, these women, along with their 22,000 children, traveled to Canada to begin their new lives.

 Canadian servicemen arrived in Britain in 1939, shortly after war was declared, and remained until after the end of the war. Because they were there so long, the inevitable happened – they met and fell in love with local girls. Almost every British man of marriageable age had been called up for service, leaving a huge gap that Canadian troops gladly filled. Their funny accents and the extra cash in their pockets probably made them exceedingly attractive.

Some were married after quick, whirlwind romances. Others had the luxury of getting to know each other before they tied the knot. But for all these couples, marriage was the only answer. The customs of the day demanded that if they wanted to sleep together, they had to be married. And so they did. The times were perilous with no guarantee of a tomorrow. A sense of urgency compelled them to grab all the happiness they could while they were able.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guest Spot with Author Marsha A. Moore

The Paired Lovers’ Jadestones 
by Marsha A. Moore 

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications.

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guest Post with Linda Wood Rondeau

PTSD and the Christian 

In my thirty-year career in human services, I often counseled people experiencing PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). These issues are explored in my writings. The Other Side of Darkness is more than a romantic suspense. It is the story of believers who struggle to overcome significant past pain interfering with a full and satisfying spiritual life in the present.

Samantha Knowles is a victim of child abuse. She has trouble sleeping and is an overachiever. She strives to find purpose in her pain through her career as a Special Victims Prosecutor. However, she fails to recognize how she uses her position to exact revenge rather than the positive change she desires. In order to move from darkness to light, Sam must confront her post traumatic stress. Only when she surrenders her past to God is she able, with His help, to move from darkness to Light.