Shells Chats with author John M. Whalen

What's your background with writing?

I been writing stories from the time I was 10 years old. Some were Tarzan-like jungle stories. Others were private eye tales, based more on TV detectives that were popular in the fifties and sixties, than on any pulp fiction characters. I did some writing in college but after a hitch in the Army and marriage I stopped writing fiction and got a job as a reporter in Washington, D.C, and did some freelance stuff on the side for the Washington Post and Filmfax magazine. They were essays and commentaries on film and TV, including pieces on the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bruce Lee, Flash Gordon. I had a lot of fun doing them. It wasn’t until the end of my journalism career that I returned to writing fiction. Sold my first story to the Flashing Swords webzine in 2006.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

I don’t have many science fiction and fantasy influences. I’d say Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Leigh Brackett are the biggest. But I read them as a kid. I saw what Michael Moorcock said in your interview with him. I agree. If you want to write science fiction, read everything else. The problem with the SF and Fantasy market today is that it’s filled with imitators trying to copy books they’ve read or TV shows like Firefly.

As authors, we tend to put our emotions into our writings, do you ever feel at times drained from writing one of your stories because of the emotional impact it may have?

Writing a good story that tells the truth about a particular subject or theme, is about the hardest work there is. I write a lot and spend long hours at the keyboard. And maybe because a lot of what I wrote has a lot of action in it, I wind up totally drained. It’s as though I’m there watching some humongous battle taking place on another planet or in some prehistoric time, and I’m not only fighting along with the characters, but trying to write it all down as its happening at the same time.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?

Writing the Jack Brand book was an accomplishment. But getting it published was even more of a challenge. I wrote it as a serial for the Raygun Revival zine. Double Edged Publishing, which backed Raygun, was going to publish it as a book. They’d already published a couple of Raygun serials. But when it came to mine, something happened. The book sat for 18 months. Bill Snodgrass, the man who founded the company eventually left it and my book was left in the dust. The folks at Raygun made an attempt to get the book out, but after more months of waiting and more lame excuses, I took the book away from them. I sent it to Pill Hill Press, and they gave it the ok in nine days. Three weeks later the book was printed and being sold on I’m happy to say the book has been very well received. My advice to new writers, if you aren’t happy with the way you’re being treated, shop around.

How do you feel being an editor and reporter has helped your fiction writing?

It helped and it hurt. Non-fiction writing, reporting, is totally opposite of what a fiction writer does. Journalists learn the inverted pyramid style. You give all the facts and important points right up front in the lead paragraph. And the details follow. In fiction it’s the opposite. You feed out information just a little at a time, and save your big guns for the finish.

You work with astrology, has that ever impacted your writing stories?

No. I can’t say it has. It’s something I’ve thought about though. Astrology is like applied psychology carried one step further, as a teacher of mine once told me. The twelve astrological signs represent 12 different personality types. You could use those as the basis for characters, I suppose, but I’ve never really done it. For some reason, astrology and writing fiction shouldn’t be mixed. One is a science and the other art. But you never know. The idea of something called “Riders of the Zodiac” keeps popping in my head wanting to be written. Or maybe a detective of the future who uses astrology to solve crimes.

Do you often do research for your fiction writing?

You can’t write a good story without doing some research. Even space opera and sword and sorcery require some research. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to find out the facts you’re looking for. I wrote a story set in the 10th Century based on an historical event. I had to find out a lot about that period. History is not my best subject, but thankfully there are a lot of experts out there on the Internet or in the library. But here’s a tip to new writers. Keep your research limited only to what you need. You can get lost in details. Just look for and find the few telling details you need to make your story have the authenticity required to make it believable. Don’t go overboard on it.

Can you tell us a little bit about "Jack Brand?"

Jack Brand takes place in the 22nd century on Tulon, one of the planets Earth exploited for its oil resources in order to fight the Great Terror War. At the end of the war an alternative fuel resource was finally invented and oil became an unneeded commodity. As the oil wells were shut down Tulon became a dying planet. Against this backdrop we find Jack Brand, an ex-Army Ranger and a former member of The Tulon Security Force. Brand first appears to be a bounty hunter, but we soon learn that he’s actually a man in search of redemption. Brand lost his sister in an ambush by a group of Tulon Nomads. His unit was wiped out, he was left for dead and his sister kidnapped. Brand spends seven years searching for her, trying to find out if she’s even still alive, and to find the Nomads so he can bring them to justice. Armed with an Electro Pistol and a Plasma rifle he sets out across the vast wasteland of the planet following leads to Terry’s whereabouts.

Along the way he passes through a number of exotic locations: a city under a glass dome run by Kazuli gangsters, an undersea kingdom called Nemuria ruled by a beautiful queen, and terrorized by a monstrous Octo-Pod, and various hell-holes where the dregs of Tulon society create a number of problems for Brand. In his travels Brand meets Christy Jones, a beautiful, adventurous young woman, who seems to have as many twists in her character as her body has curves. The love interest. There’s a lot more in the book, enough plot and characters for several novels really, or a TV series, if any producers are reading this. It’s all there in one book.

Where can we find "Jack Brand "?

Right now it’s available on, Barnes&, and at the Pill Hill Press book store at

Who was responsible for the cover/book design of your book?

A very talented guy by the name of Greg Smallwood. The publisher found him and since Jack Brand he’s done quite a few of their covers. He hadn’t read the book as far as I know, but he got it just right. I sent him a few paragraphs of description of what I wanted and he more than exceeded expectations. I hope he’ll do the cover for my next one.

How was it to work with Pill Hill Press?

It was a very good experience. They have a lot of respect for their writers. Jessy Marie Roberts is a top notch editor. She makes the proper grammatical and syntactical changes that are needed without trying to change the author’s voice. I’ve run into some editors who seem to think they can write the story better than you. That can be very frustrating and if you’re insecure about your writing can do a lot of damage. But Jessy hits just the right balance and she knows what she’s doing. She works fast too. Her husband Alva also edits and designs the covers. Pill Hill Press is a small, independent publisher, and they’re growing. I hope they really make it big in the publishing world. I’ve got a feeling they will.

Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.?

You want a story about a signing? I went to one out in the boonies of Maryland that a friend thought I should go to. What a disaster. It turned out to be a ladies’ reading group, mostly grandmothers who read romance novels and cozy mysteries. There I am with Jack Brand and his Electro Pistol blazing away on the cover, amidst all these smiling, silver haired ladies. One came up and asked me what my book was about? I gave her a brief summary. I told her about the jack-yenas that live in the Tulon desert and eat people, the giant octo-pod that terrorizes the inhabitants of an underwater city, the lizard men who control an entire town under a glass dome, and when I finally got to the giant sand worms, she started to turn pale. “Well, I’m sure that’s very interesting,” she said shakily and wondered off to get some lemonade. Didn’t sell a single book.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

Any day now, if it isn’t out before this interview, Pill Hill Press will be releasing an anthology: Shadows & Light II. I have a story in there called “The King of Sorango.” It features two characters, Tragon and Yusef, who first appeared in “Flashing Swords.” I’m working on a novel featuring these guys. The inspiration for the characters comes from the old Brothers of the Spear comic written by Gaylord Dubois that appeared in the back of the Dell Tarzan comics in the 1950s.

Next is an historical fiction piece called “The Hostage of Maldon” which I was happy to write for Rob Santa for his “Through Blood and Iron” anthology, scheduled to come out this Spring. It’s about a famous battle that took place in England in the Dark Ages. There are Vikings! It’s going to be a hell of an antho, with some really ace writers.

I was supposed to return to the revamped Raygun Revival, I thought, as a contributor and slush reader. But that’s not going to happen. The publication folded up when Double Edged Publishing went bust, but Jordan Lapp of Everyday Fiction seems to have bought Raygun, or is at least funding it with the hope of turning into a “semi-pro” zine. Johne Cook the editor asked me to come back to the staff as a sort of slush reader in-chief. I read the first batch of submissions and even submitted one of my stories to help out. The story was accepted but then next thing I know I get an email saying they can’t publish it because the new Raygun doesn’t allow submissions by staff members. When I offered to quit the staff, so he could run the story, the only response I got back was sorry to see you go, if you ever want to read slush for us again, let me know. So I said sayonara. I wish them luck, but it doesn’t seem logical to put a writer, who wrote about 16 stories for them in three years, and helped give the zine the rep it has, in a position where he can no longer contribute. But I guess maybe that’s what being “semi-pro” means.

Any events or book signings for the future?

Nothing lined up at the moment. I’m hoping that the good reviews Jack Brand has gotten will help get the word out. You can sell a few books at signing and conventions but to really get a book moving you need advertising and word of mouth. I think the word on Brand is beginning to spread.

Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?

Just write and write and write and send and send and send. As you can see from my experience, you’ve got to be hard-nosed. Keep going and don’t give up until somebody likes what you do. Roll with the punches. Endure the setbacks. Believe in yourself. If you have talent, it will eventually happen, if you are persistent. Don’t think you have to come up with the most original, fantastic thing that’s ever been written. But you have to write every day, if you possibly can. Write a story, any story, but write it your way.

Shells Chats with author Piers Anthony

Has technology hindered or helped the writing community today?

I think technology has helped, with pen and paper, then the typewriter, and now word processing on the computer. It makes it easier to do, and harder to lose.

There is a lot of work you have done to help new authors get their footing. What is the one thing based on your experience is the most important thing authors should know?

That publishers are not interested in the writer's welfare of his art. They are in it for the money.

For yourself as an author, what has been the most challenging aspect of the process?

Marketing my books. I can write what I choose to write, but if I don't cater to the publishers I won't get it published. Now however, self publishing is coming into its own, and that should help.

You have had a long career as an author. Has there ever been a time where you thought about giving it up or have just 'had enough?'

No. I wanted to be a writer ever since college, and I never wanted to stop. I am still writing, and will until I die.

Some readers might not know you write Erotica and where can adult readers find that work?

I don't liker censorship, and erotica can get censored. Now that there's a market for it, I write it. But it's hardly all I write, just one type. It can be found at Mundania Press, Phaze, Cobblestone, eXcessica, and soon my erotic romance novel Eroma should be published online in all electronic formats including Kindle.

How do you keep motivated to write the long running series of Xanth?

Readers keep begging me to keep Xanth going.

Can you tell us a bit about the latest in the Xanth series Knot Gneiss?

Knot Gneiss is Xanth #34. I have written two more after it, and am planning the next. It's a sort of half-sequel to Jumper Cable, where Jumper Spider was the main character. This time it is his closest friend Wenda Woodwife. She speaks the forest dialect, saying things like "I wood knot dew that to yew." I love her accent. She has to transport a 150 pound lump of petrified reverse wood that naturally terrifies everyone else; she can handle it because she understands wood of any kind.

If you had to pick one moment out of your writing career that was your favorite, what would it be?

When I made my first sale. It was only a story, paid only $20. But it was the confirmation that I could do it, and all else followed, in due course.

You can find out more about Piers Anthony at his website:

Shells Chats with author Darin Kennedy

What's your background with writing?

Let's see. I took all the same courses that everybody took in high school and college, your basic English and composition classes/courses, a few literature courses, wrote more term papers than I can bear to remember, but for many years through med school and residency, any writing or creativity took a back seat to learning how to be a physician. There was an occasional song or poem that came out of those years, but as far as short stories or anything longer, not so much. My big "break" was my deployment to Iraq in 2003 as an Army physician during OIF 1. After things settled down, I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I started writing a story that had been kicking around in my head since I was in high school. I got home with about half a novel written, worked on it off and on over the intervening years, but have gotten really serious over the last couple of years trying to edit it into good enough shape for publication. For me, writing this book has been like a second education. I've read books, blogs, websites, you name it, to try to get my writing chops up to snuff.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

Like anyone who writes fantasy, I have to give big credit to Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien. That being said, I avoid trying to do anything like his work. I fully believe, however, that Tolkien DNA is an integral part of most fantasy being written today. It's hard to escape him. I also owe a lot to Piers Anthony, and if you read Pawn's Gambit, you will see influences from his work on me. I am a huge fan of Stephen King and hope that my characters and dialogue leap off the page with at least a tenth of the strength that his do. I also have a long history of reading comics and am well versed in all things Marvel, DC, Comico (yes, I said Comico), among others. I owe Matt Wagner a lot, as his two series, Mage and Grendel were huge influences on me in multiple ways. Lastly, Mr. George Lucas for bringing us at least three fantastic archetypal movies along with the Wachowski Brothers for bringing me the Matrix. As far as the classics, I dig Thomas Hardy.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?

I would have to say completing Pawn's Gambit, and being reasonably satisfied with the (almost) final product. I am still doing brain surgery on a few chapters close to the beginning to have them match the rest of the book in action, suspense, and pace, but otherwise it's done. Also, I have been quite pleased to have gone from having no short story publications (or publications in general) as of June 2010, to now having eight different short stories accepted at three publishers with six of them available for purchase this year. Not bad for six months work.

Has being a doctor influenced your writing at all?

I'm sure that some of the things I've experienced in my practice has come through in the writing, particularly the time in Iraq as an Army physician. I'm curious when I write hospital scenes, if the doctor thing helps or hurts. I know what doctors sound like. I talk to them every day. The rest of the world thinks they talk like McDreamy or McSteamy or McRib or whatever the Grey's Anatomy stud muffin du jour is being called this week. I think some of my experiences in the Army come through as well, though I tend to steer clear of writing about medicine or the military just on general principle.

You have written several short stories, which is your favorite?

I've heard that's like asking a mom which one is her favorite kid. I have a couple of favorites. I'm really proud of my first story, "Necrodance", from Pill Hill Press's "Flesh and Bone" anthology. I had never written much in first person before that, and have been told by many people that I really nailed the voice of the sociopath main character (is that a good thing?) I'm especially proud, however, of "Nightmare at 200 Feet" from Pill Hill Press's "Bloody Carnival" Anthology. Jessy Marie Roberts, the editor, gave me the honor of first story in that one along with an incredibly positive e-mail about that story and actually put that one in their Anthology Sampler to showcase the kind of stories they put out. After all the sleepless nights it took the week prior to submission to get that story just right, I give it my number one spot for now.

Can you tell us a little bit about "The Pawn Stratagem?"

The Pawn Stratagem is a story that has been kicking around in my head since around the mid 80's when I was still in Junior High/High School. Like a good wine, it has slowly fermented over time. I tried to start it a couple of times before, but never got more than a few pages before I became distracted. Iraq in 2003 changed all that, and after working on it over the last couple of years, it has grown from a single novel idea into a trilogy. In short, it's the story of Steven Bauer, a man who discovers he is an integral part of a mystical chess game that occurs every few centuries. As the White Pawn, his role is to seek out and gather the other five pieces of the White, help them discover their powers/abilities, all the while keeping both himself and his new friends alive, as the forces of darkness are already fully gathered and are on the hunt.

Where did the idea of "The Pawn Stratagem" come from?

Like I said before, it's been slowly cooking in my head for over twenty years and has been through so many permutations over the years, I'm glad to finally have it all down and almost completed. I think there's a little "Mage" in there, a little "Matrix", a little "Incarnations of Immortality", a little "Dark Tower" - all stuff that I loved to read and watch over the years. Plus, I grew up playing chess with my dad just like Steven, and there's a lot of me, my family and friends in there as well.

Where or when will "The Pawn Stratagem" be available?

That's an excellent question. I've seen some interest from both agents and publishers over the last year, but nothing firm. Once I am done with the Chapter 4-8 brain surgery, I plan to start submitting again, both to literary agents and to the few publishers who still accept unagented manuscripts. It's far from a done deal, but I am confident that 2011 is going to be the year. "Pawn's Gambit", the first book is otherwise complete while "Four Corners", the second part, is about 50% done (first draft). The third part is roughly planned out, but will get moved to the front burner if and when "Pawn's Gambit" is accepted.

Who was responsible for the cover/book design of your book?

I was at DragonCon in 2009 and came upon the fantasy chess art of one Roy Mauritsen. Since the art coincided well with my story, I contacted him via e-mail, and over the last year or so, we have become good friends. As for the cover mock up on my website, Roy took a cover idea I had and ran with it just so I could see what he could do. Believe it or not, the picture on my website is just a quick one afternoon mock up he threw together. If Roy gets to do my cover for real, that will be AWESOME, as his artwork is BEAUTIFUL. If you don't believe me, see what he is capable of on his website -

How was it to work with that particular artist?

Roy is a consummate professional, an awesome graphic artist, and quite possibly one of the nicest human beings on the planet.

How do you handle marketing your book and what suggestions would you have for others for marketing their work?

I am marketing both my short stories and my novel on Facebook, Twitter, and via normal agent and publisher channels. Honestly, not much to market till the book has an ISBN number. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for the interview. This is my first one, and I have really enjoyed answering your wonderful questions.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

I plan to complete the remainder of "The Pawn Stratagem" over the next couple of years and also have another novel or two in the works. As for short stories, will probably continue to keep my feet wet at Pill Hill, along with Wicked East and Blood Bound Books. May also try to get into a Static Movement anthology this year.

Any events or
book signings for the future?

Had two successful book signings in Charlotte, NC back in October 2010. No more scheduled for right now, but if anything new gets published, that could change in a hot second.

Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?

As far as publishing goes, I'm clearly still learning as "Pawn's Gambit" still exists mainly on my hard drive. I would recommend that you read, read, read. In a few weeks, you can learn so much. Go through Nathan Bransford's blog history and read all you can from his old blog posts along with all the comments. (Until recently, Nathan was one of the most blog-prolific literary agents out there, though he has recently changed jobs and now works for CNET) Numerous other agents also have blogs full of good advice. Use websites such as QueryTracker to help you find/keep track of your submissions. When you are submitting, follow the instruction for THAT agent. Don't get canned just because you didn't format something right.

As for short stories, I've had some success there and am pretty new at it. Try websites like Duotrope to find markets for your short fiction. Definitely proofread the heck out of your stuff before you send it in. (You'd be surprised what makes it through sometimes) Biggest thing here: decide what's important for you. If you just want to see it in print, there are many non paying markets that will publish your stuff as long as it's good. If you want to get paid, get ready for some competition and some waiting.

Most importantly, don't ever give up.

Where can people know more about you?

Check out my website, for all the latest and links where you can check out the various anthologies with my short stories. If you are interested in Pawn's Gambit, I definitely want to hear from you.

Shells Chats with author Mark Taylor

What's your background with writing?

I only started writing about fifteen months ago; I’m a late bloomer I guess. I’ve always wanted to write, I just never got around to it, but now, you can’t stop me. I started with short fiction and flash, but am now working on a mixture of shorts and novellas, whilst still banging my head on a novel.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

Growing up I was always a fan of King – like most kids – and then moved towards less mainstream authors, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Clive Barker’s shorts. I’m also a massive fan of horror cinema, so it looks like that may have been something to do with my genre of choice now.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?

Seeing your own work in print is a massive accomplishment in itself, but having a positive response from fellow authors is always way up the list. I suppose that biggest accomplishment was finding out that other people thought I was good enough at it to publish me.

What genre do you feel the most comfortable writing in?

Without a doubt, horror. After the books that I’ve read and the films that I’ve seen and the way that they make me feel – that shiver down the spine. I want that to happen to those reading my work.

You have written many short stories, which is your favorite and where can we find some of them?

My favorite? That’s a tough one. I did enjoy writing “Time Protects the Innocent” which was published in the anthology “Cedar Chest” by Static Movement. You can find my work in many a press’ anthology, but predominantly Wicked East Press, Pill Hill Press and Static Movement. All of my work to date is listed on my blog, including links to Amazon and the likes.

You have conducted some interviews yourself, do you feel that has helped your writing in any regards?

It’s always great to see into the minds of other authors. It can be such a solitary business – writing – that sometimes you forget that there are other people out there, doing the same as you; and of course, when they highlight their struggles, it always helps me with mine.

Can you tell us a little bit about "Redemption?"

“Redemption” is a novella collection that I have written with Charles Day. We got together a few months ago and decided to create a different experience for the reader. Most novella collections have an underlying theme to hold them together, whether it is zombies, holocausts or whatever. Ours is story of a single event that occurs to two people, a road traffic accident, and the fallout of their actions after the event, making the two stories flow more like a novel.

Who did the artwork for "Redemption?"

*laughs* I did. I shopped it together whilst the collection was still in its embryonic state. I doubt that the artwork will still look like that after publication.

How was it to work with Charles Day?

Charles is not only a great author, he’s also eager, hardworking and fun, and I’ve learned a lot from the experience. It was difficult at first, as I’m in the U.K. and he’s in N.Y. so the time delay on our conversations was sometimes limiting, but after we crossed the hurdle, it was a rewarding experience.

When will "Redemption" be available?

It’s currently under consideration with a publisher, so fingers crossed, but we hope that it’ll be out next year some time.

What do you find the most challenging when working with another author on a combined project?

Keeping up with each other’s progress was tough, but honestly, we really didn’t have too many problems. I guess we’re both old enough to organize ourselves properly.

Based on previous experiences, would you work with another author on a book?

Most definitely. The ability to bounce ideas about and to have someone ‘on the same page’ as you’re working is amazing.

How do you or have handled marketing your own work and what suggestions would you have for others for marketing their work?

Marketing’s tough, especially for anthologies of shorts. Even setting up an Amazon Authors page is difficult for anthology work.

Get about on the forums and blogs. Get your name known, even if it’s only by other authors to start with. Get a website or blog – and remember to update it!

The more your peers know you, the easier it is.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

I’m just finishing off a couple of things at the moment – things I’ve already committed myself to do and then it’s back to plowing through a novel, and maybe some shorts. I’ve already broached the subject of working with Charles again, and possibly a second author as well, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Any events planned for the future?

Not at the moment, but as soon as we get the go ahead on “Redemption” I’m sure that things will hot up.

Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?

I found that starting with the smaller presses is the easiest way to get started. Some have well populated forums, full of likeminded authors who are more than happy to take five minutes to give you some help and advice.

Where can people know more about you?

I can usually be found trawling the forums under the inventive username “mark”, but you’ll always find me and my ponderings at my blog:

Shells Chats with author Michael Moorcock

What do you feel is the most important thing about writing fiction?

That it should confront, in some way, the contemporary world.

What do you feel is your greatest achievement as an author?

Probably just the number of ideas, terms and analyses I've put out there.

The Elric series is considered a cult classic and a favorite amongst readers still today, how do you feel about the series now compared to when you first started it?

Elric always reflected the person I was and still does. When I started it was all new and I had no idea how it would go down with the public. Now I see so many clones it's a bit weird. I doubt very much I would be writing fantasy if I was, say, 20 today. I wouldn't change anything, though. I still like Elric, still enjoy writing Elric stories, especially since I found a way to bring him into conflict with my real world. Some of my own ways of plotting and so on have become such standard tropes, even cliches, in modern fantasy that it's a lot harder to do something new, which is why I write comparatively few new stories, these days. I found one solution by collaborating, in France, with a friend there, and the first of those novels will be appearing this year -- Les Buveurs D'Ames -- from my regular Elric publisher Fleuve Noir in Paris -- with Fabrice Colin.

Elric: Swords and Roses was recently released, can you tell us a bit about that?

It's the final volume in a series which not only collects the 'classic' series and arranges them in the order in which they were written but includes all kinds of uncollected material, fiction and non-fiction, including artwork from the very first magazine stories and so on. This last version includes a film script and, among other things, a tribute to Jim Cawthorn, who was the first Elric illustrator. The core of the book is the long (for Elric books) novel The Revenge of the Rose. The Rose is a character who has appeared in other novels, including my War Amongst the Angels sequence, the Multiverse comic and others.

Are there any projects you are working on now that you can tell us a bit about?

I'm working on the first of a new sequence about a mysterious, enduring part of London known as Alsatia or The Sactuary, using a great deal of material which is pretty straightforward autobiography. I have various short stories in the works, including a new Jerry Cornelius story Walking the Hog, another Elric novella, a novella featuring M. Zenith (who is a sort of Elric in the 20th century) called Curare! set in the 1930s, various autobiographical pieces like the one which appeared recently in the Stories anthology, an album of Cajun/Zydaco influenced music called Live from the Terminal Cafe (with Martin Stone, Pete Pavli and others) and a few reviews and introductions for various newspapers, books etc.

I'm chronically short of time!

What advice based on your experience would you tell a person just starting to write?

If you want to write detective fiction, read everything BUT detective fiction. If you want to write fantasy -- the same -- stop reading fantasy and read everything else, especially literary fiction.

What is the one thing you would want readers to remember the most about you?

Maybe that I started a lot of stuff that's so familiar they think it's always been there. If it's my books, Mother London and the Pyat sequence are the books I'm proudest of.

You can find out more about Michael Moorcock at his website:

Shells Chats with author Matt Nord

What's your background with writing?

Actually, I don’t really have much of a background in writing. I started reading when I was very young, mostly Stephen King and also those old Chose-Your-Own-Adventure books, and enjoyed the writing assignments I used to get in school, but never really got too much into it. In fact, I wrote a pretty sweet werewolf story that, thinking back, I may have to revisit...

Anyway, I really got into writing a little over a year ago, after I started listening to the Library of the Living Dead podcast by Dr. Pus. I enjoyed it so much that I joined the forum and ended up submitting a Letter from the Dead. That was actually the first story I had get accepted into an anthology. It was only about 500 words, but when I got the acceptance email I was thrilled. Since then, I’ve gotten over 10 more stories published, as well as several more accepted into future anthologies.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

I would say that a lot of my inspiration comes from King, Clive Barker and Anne Rice, simply because those were the writers I read growing up. My major influence would be Romero movies, for subject matter and whatnot, and again King and Barker and maybe a touch of Lovecraft.

I would also same that Rhiannon Frater’s As the World Dies books have had some influence, as well.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?

At this point in my career (for lack of a better word), I’d have to say that my biggest accomplishment as a writer is just getting published at all! That’s huge for me!

You have a liking for Zombies, why that particular subject compared to many others?

While zombies are definitely my favorite subject to write about, I enjoy writing on many topics. Most still involve horror, of course.

Anyway, on the subject of zombies, it’s a funny story actually. My first introduction into the realm of the undead was watching Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video over at my aunt’s house. She had it on VHS and I remember being enthralled by it and watching it over and over, all the way through, including the kick-ass making of documentary afterward. That was the biggest influence that got me into zombies. Then, there was ‘Return of the Living Dead,’ which was my first zombie movie. Come on, Tar-man was the coolest freaking zombie ever!

On a more serious not, I just think that the scenario of a zombie outbreak/zompocalypse is really about the survivors and how they interact. The zombies are just a catalyst for the human conflict that really makes the story.

As a writer, why pick the Horror genre and how do you feel this genre has changed over the years?

I picked the horror genre because it’s who I am! I was watching Child’s Play and A Nightmare of Elm Street when I was 10! I did a book report on Thinner, for crying out loud! I love horror! I don’t think that I’d be interested in writing if I weren’t writing horror.

I see that horror has become a lot more mainstream, which has its good and bad points. It gives horror writers a much bigger potential audience, but it also opens up the potential for... shall we say “soft core” horror? Can anyone say “Twilight”?

You have written many short stories, which is your favorite and where can we find some of them?

I would have to say that the favorite story I’ve written hasn’t even seen print, yet, and it’s not even a zombie or horror story. It’s actually a story named “The Rebirth of Farmer”, a super-hero story that will be in the upcoming anthology No More Heroes. It’s a sad story with a happier ending and there’s a real connection I feel to it.

NorGus Press is a small press you work with, can you tell us about this and where can we learn more about NorGus Press?

NorGus Press started out as an idea that a guy I work with and I had. The name is the first part of my last name and the last part of his. We decided that we wanted to try our hand at putting out anthologies filled with stories that we thought people would want to read. I know it sounds a little elementary, but it is what it is. Our first anthology, Strange Tales of Horror, will be released early 2011.

How does working as an editor for a small press compared to being a writer, are there more challenges, does it help with your writing in any regards?

Editing is like... getting a tooth drilled without anesthetic. Actually, it’s not that bad. It just takes a long time. The problem is that I love to read for pleasure, and when you’re editing you are reading to find mistakes. After doing that for a while, it makes it hard to go back to reading for the fun of it because you are constantly looking for mistakes, grammar and spelling errors and such.

But the end product is worth the work!

Can you tell us a little bit about "Eat or Be Eaten?"

I was approached about this project earlier this year, and was immediately intrigued. The premise is that we’re telling one story in three novellas through the eyes of vampires (Shells Walter), zombies (yours truly) and the unfortunate humans that are in the book (Jessica A. Weiss). I’m currently in the progress of writing my (middle) section of the book. It’s coming along very well. I’m really excited about the ideas I have in place and can’t wait to get it on to Jessica.

Who did the artwork for "Eat or Be Eaten?"

The cover for the book was done by Robert Elrod. He’s done several other covers for horror novels and anthologies, including Dead: The Ugly Beginning by T.W. Brown. Check out some of his work at

When will "Eat or Be Eaten" be available?

I’m not sure about that, as it’s not even completed, yet.

How has it been to work with Wicked East Press?

Jessica is really great to work with. I love that most of the small presses that I’ve worked with really seem to get along. It’s like we’re all networked together and everyone is very friendly. Jessica is one of the people that I feel like I’ve really bounded with as far as working together goes. We participated in a couple of writer’s shootouts together, and then put one on in collaboration.

You have collaborated with other authors before on a project, putting you on the spot here, how has this particular project been different?

Well, the other collaborative project that I’m currently involved with is different because whereas Eat or Be Eaten has three authors all writing a (roughly) 20,000 word novella, Collaboration of the Dead has 19 writers each writing two short story length chapters. It’s similar, though, in that it’s basically like one writer finishes there section and then it’s “Tag, you’re it!” to the next one. It’s been a really cool experience and the story has really evolved. I’m really excited about it and can’t wait until it’s finished!

Based on previous experiences, would you work with another author on a book?

Absolutely! I talked to Mike Gardner a while back about a really cool idea he had for a project and we brainstormed a bit. It’s been a while, and we’ve both been super busy, but I’m hoping that we’ll be able to pick it up again at some point.

I’d also love to do something with Patrick D’Orazio some day. He’s one of my favorite new authors and I’m proud to call him a friend, too.

It’s been really cool to work with other writers on one project and try to integrate everything into one story, while still being able to use your own voice.

How do you or have handled marketing your own work and what suggestions would you have for others for marketing their work?

I don’t really do a lot of marketing or promotion. Most of it I just do through networking and word of mouth. I guess I have a decent Internet presence and have made lots of friends. It turns into kind of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of thing. My suggestion to others would be to make a lot of friends, join all of the writing forums you can, and pimp the crap out of your stuff!

What projects do you have planned for the future?

I have a novel in the works that has kind of been put on hiatus. Hopefully, once I clear my plate, I’ll be able to get down to that and get a lot of work done. The idea is there, it’s just a matter of getting it out the page!

NorGus Press also has several anthologies in the process. We got so many stories sent in that we had to put a hold on them so we can sort through them all. Also, we’re in the process of getting our first anthology finished. Once that one is out, I think things will move along pretty quickly!

Any events planned for the future?

We will be doing a release party in Auburn, NY, but the location and date haven’t been set, yet. Stay tuned!

Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?

Where can people know more about you?

Check out my blog, which doesn’t get undated as much as it should:

Check out my forum, which has been a little dead (pardon the pun) lately:

Shells Chats with author Ken Goldman

What's your background with writing?

I was a high school English teacher, so teaching creative writing was my “thing.” But if you want to get technical, I was writing BEFORE I even learned to write. Before entering school I was drawing pictures and later telling stories at camp that I made up on the spot, and through grades K-12 I wrote a cartoon strip that I used to sell to gullible classmates. I edited my high school newspaper and won a writing contest, yada yada yada. Eventually I realized my artwork sucked so I deep sixed the cartooning. I majored in English in college and took a load of literature courses. But the Horror genre would have to wait another 30 years before I got to it. When I came in second in The Rod Serling Memorial Foundation’s 2nd Writing Contest in 1992 I thought ‘Hey, I can do this.’ Turned out, I could.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

It’s required by law for a horror writer to mention Stephen King, right? Okay, him. I pretty much devour everything the man writes. But I have to mention my obsession with Hitchcock, especially after seeing “Psycho.” And I loved the original Twilight Zone with Rod Serling’s “Submitted for your approval . . .” introductions. I read books based on his screenplays and admired the way he managed to sneak in contemporary messages wrapped inside surreal plots. As a teacher I discovered Ray Bradbury, another writer whose deceptively simple plots revealed layers of meaning. I hooked countless students on his books, so he owes me big time.

What is it about writing you feel is the most challenging?

I only have a paragraph for this? I think getting the idea for a new story is more difficult than writing the story itself. A teacher once told me that all the ideas for stories have already been taken, that a writer has to find a new slant on an old idea. So Melville’s “Moby Dick” becomes “Jaws”; the boy-and-his dog story becomes “E.T.”; the old haunted house tale becomes “The Shining” . . . and on and on. So I get my ideas from just about everywhere : the news, classic literary tales, the writing on bathroom walls -- ANYTHING that gets the muse off her butt.

You have written several short stories, where can they be found and how does it compare to writing longer works?

Several? Okay, horn tooting time. I’ve written over 160 short stories since 1992, and (loud toot here) almost all of them have seen publication somewhere, most of them more than once. If you go online to your trusty search engine and tap “Ken Goldman, Horror” you’ll find a few stories either online or available in print. My book of short stories, “You Had Me At ARRGH!!” is available at The Genre Mall online in the All-Time Best Sellers section. (Okay, end of toot.)

I find writing short stories much easier than the longer works. I like the instant gratification of being published shortly after I’ve written a story. It feeds the ego much faster, and I must have a very hungry ego because I keep churning the suckers out.

When it comes to the Horror genre, how do you feel about gore/slasher stories compared to the more psychological Horror out there?

I’m not a big fan of gore, either on the screen or on the printed page. Disgust does not equal horror. Not that I haven’t occasionally gone that route to make my point, but it’s not as easy to ‘scare’ a reader with blood and guts as it is to have that effect on a viewer. Blood-and-guts horror is obviously visual and may work to some extent on film. No writer can make his reader jump out of his seat. But psychological horror can take a reader out of his comfort zone and that can be very effective.

How important do you feel it is to be an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association and what do you suggest for new writers about this organization?

I’ve been an affiliate member for about ten years and I’m just about ready for active membership if I can get my butt in gear to send the organization the paperwork. I like reading the HWA bulletin boards and recently found someone there who recommended my novella “Desiree” for a 2010 Stoker. It’s not quite a final nomintion, but it’s a step in the right direction. New writers can find sections of the HWA bulletin board that will answer important questions about the craft and the markets, so I think anyone serious about horror writing should ante up the $65 for dues.

Can you tell us a bit about your book "Desiree?"

Sure thing. We’re talking about a femme fatale who gives her lovers a literal kiss of death. Here’s the back cover blurb :


Yes, DesirĂ©e is beyond beautiful. Seductive even as a child, she seems every man’s erotic dream, a fantasy woman possessing charms that no man can resist. And therein lies the problem.

Because if you are a young man with bubbling testosterone you had better resist her. In fact, you should run like hell.

Whether it’s an innocent kids’ game of Spin The Bottle or a grope fest in the back of an old van, you would be wise to keep repeating... DON’T KISS DESIREE CHAPPELLE!

But someone is wise to Desirée. Someone who knows her secrets and who has a very personal reason to uncover the truth no matter what it will take, no matter what it will cost.

Someone who knows she has to destroy her...

Where did the idea for "Desiree" come from and why did you pick that title for the book?

In my other life as an English teacher I used to assign Nathanial Hawthorne’s short story “Rappacini’s Daughter.” The idea of a girl whose very nearness can kill fascinated me, so I built my story around a young woman’s killer kiss. The title plays on the word “Desire” which every male in the story has for the main character. And it’s that desire that does them in.

How was it to work with Damnation Books?

Editor Heather Williams has been easy to work with and I was very pleased with the finished product. The book is professionally done and well edited, but also impressive is the promotion of the book. It’s advertised on a load of sites. If you search online for “Ken Goldman, Desiree” you can see for yourself.

Who did the cover art for "Desiree?"

Julie D’Arcy did the cover. I was blown away when I saw it! Here’s what she says about her work on her Facebook page :

I am an artist, wife, step-Mom, dog-Mom, proofreader/editor-for-hire and housewife with a Ph.D. in biochemistry. My artwork is a bit of science, a bit surreal, a bit of humor, and a skosh of actual talent. I rarely create two pieces that look as if they were created by the same person.

Where can I find "Desiree?"

Print and Kindle copies can be found at (“Ken Goldman, Desiree” will get you there); .pdf download copies can be found at Damnation Books’ web site at : Go to the Horror section and bring money.

What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity?

I’m doing everything but stopping traffic. I’ve written some active HWA members for reviews and/or recommendations, and I’ve tried to get some mention of the book in my biographies included with my stories in whatever publcations have come out this year.

Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.?

I haven’t done any book signings, but that’s not out of the question. Can’t say there has been anything out of the ordinary with interviews I’ve given. Maybe I’ll show up for the next one in my underwear.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

One project has been on the fire for over two years, so I don’t know if it’s happening any time soon. Australia’s Precision Pictures has contracted the film rights to one of my short stories, “The Keeper.” Simon Smithers, who runs the production there, tells me the project is a ‘go’ so I’m hopeful that maybe I’ll see some movement on the film during 2011. Meanwhile, I currently have over 20 short stories awaiting publication in 2011 including the anthologies Fearology : Terrifying Tales of Phobias (Library of The Living Dead Press), Seahorse Review (UK/Black Seahorse Press), Strange Tales of Horror (NorGus Press), The Psyche Corrupted (Shade City Press), and eight stories due in Static Movement Imprint publications.

What is one thing you would tell new writers about getting into the publishing world?

Don’t expect to get rich. But it’s great seeing your first byline.

Where can people find out more about you?

I have a Facebook page, and I’m a member of Masters of Horror which you can find online at : Of course you can also ask any woman I’m dating to tell you something about me . . . but that’s a whole other story.

Shells Chats with author Jim Cherry

What's your background with writing?

The best! I’ve read just about everything that ever interested me just tons of subjects and genres. To be a good writer I think you need a vast amount of resources to draw in creating, and those resources should create a synthesis in the writer and when you’re ready to write that synthesis will create something novel. I’ve been writing since I was about 13, everything from journals, to stories, to philosophy, poetry, just about everything I’ve ever read I’ve tried to write in that style or discipline.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

My biggest influence would have to be Kerouac. He taught me to just write, let the words flow, not to worry about meaning but more of getting the feeling down. Kerouac was also good for showing me that poetry can be incorporated into fiction. Poetry was my first impetus and my first novel “Becoming Angel” is rife with the poems I had written up until that time and I was able to incorporate them. “The Last Stage” also has some nice poetic images and I think the use of poetic images in “The Last Stage” is a little more nuanced.

How has music influenced your writing?

A lot. As a subject it has given me a lot of experience and insight into people because of the dramatic, raw experience of rock ‘n’ roll. I wrote in The Last Stage rock ‘n’ roll is a stark theatre. In my writing I’ve used themes I found in music and tried to recreate them in stories. And in the very utilitarian sense I usually write while listening to music, it helps with the rhythms and flow of the writing.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?

I think the biggest accomplishment is writing the books, and then getting them to come out as I’ve pictured them in my mind.

Do you often do research for your fiction writing?

Life is my research. For any writer experience is the raw material. I’m not just talking about using your life experiences as a roman a clef, but in finding out how people react in certain situations, what they think about, their characteristics, and of course you can find yourself in a situation that is a take off point for a story. The more you experience the more you can bring to the writing, the more real and less contrived the situations in your writing will seem.

Jim Morrison was often thought of as a magical poet, what are your thoughts on that?

I kind of don’t understand it. I think Morrison is underestimated as a poet his “An American Prayer” is just about at the same level as Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.” Morrison created some of his most stunning images in poetry when he was only 21 it’s amazing that he could write something like “the car all stuffed with eyes” I wish I could have had that kind of versatility with words at 21. I think Morrison also had a philosophy or a mythos worked out in his approach to writing and he followed it. At that age I was still struggling to find that in my writing.

You write a column for the Examiner about The Doors, where can we find it and can you tell us a bit more about it?

The Doors Examiner ( are articles that keep people abreast of things that are happening with The Doors such as Jim Morrison’s recent pardon in Florida. I also do articles on Doors history. I’ve also delved into The Doors as a social phenomena with articles on the use of Doors music in film. There have also been a lot of books and CD’s coming out about The Doors or include sections of a book on The Doors so I do a lot of reviews and articles on them. In short I write articles on any aspect of the band that I think is of interest to fans. As kind of a supplement I’ve recently started a The Doors Examiner blog ( that looks back over old articles that still are relevant or I think are interesting and readers will like.

You also conduct reviews on books, how do you feel that is different compared to the writing experience?

Writing is writing to me. Writing no matter what type it is just finding the right word or combination of words to convey an idea or feeling. When I write reviews besides giving the basic facts of what’s being reviewed I try to give the reader a feeling for what’s being reviewed.

Can you tell us a little bit about "The Last Stage?"
“The Last Stage” is about a loner Michael Desmond, who has not been able to find life after college, so he never left the college town but he finds himself adrift, but he also knows that there’s something in him that was meant for something greater and that urge pushes him to seek out a destiny. Throughout his life people have remarked on his resemblance to Jim Morrison and that provides him with some direction and he starts a Doors tribute band and they go out on tour becoming some what successful but Michael starts discovering things about himself some of which are on the dark side as he lets ambition be his guide. Since The Doors and Jim Morrison is Michael’s model there is a lot of Doors history and lore in it. All The Doors make fictional cameo’s in the book including Jim Morrison.

What made you want to write a fiction book based on The Doors?

It started basically with the image I use in the first chapter of the book, a guy sitting in front of a mirror thinking back on his life and trying to figure out how he got to where he is. I had a lot of ideas of what was going to happen in the book and The Doors seemed an ideal group to frame those ideas and themes around.

Where can we find "The Last Stage "?

Rumor has it there is a comic being created based on "The Last Stage", is the rumor true and if so can you tell us about it?

Yes, right now I’m working with an artist (Daniel Gise, some of Daniel‘s drawings are on The Last Stage Facebook fanpage to turn The Last Stage into a graphic novel. Right now we have the book with an editor and we’re hoping to hear from him before the end of the month or early in the new year.

Who was responsible for the cover/book design of your book?

Rickey Mallory, she’s a talented artist that has a real feel for book covers. I think if I saw the cover of “The Last Stage” in a book store I would buy it just for that.

Why did you decide to self publish instead?

The mainstream publishing industry decided that for me. I tried many agents and publishers and while I had some nibbles and near misses nothing panned out. So, I decided that if I could show the agents and publishers that there was an audience for writing they would see the possibilities for the mass audience and would want to publish my books.

Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.?

I enjoy doing them, and talking to people about my work. I think the most unusual one was a radio interviewer who was also a stand-up comic and he had an idea of a time traveling clown who goes back to Woodstock. The deal was that I would write the whole novel and we would split the money 50-50.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

I want to release a book of my reviews. I’ve been working on reviewing for about 2 years and have become a top rated reviewer on Amazon, and I think the reviews are pretty good so I’d like to bring them together in a book. I’m also working on a screenplay and when I finish in early 2011 I’d like to put it in a book with the other 2 screenplays I have written, I’m thinking of the title My Movie Mind.

Any events or book signings for the future?

Not the immediate future, no. But if anybody out there would like to do have an event or book signing I’d be glad to participate. I’ve done had traditional book signings and I’ve even participated in a Karaoke Night book signing so I’m game for anything!

Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?

I don’t know, I think if I had the answer to that I would be right up in sales with Stephen King or John Grisham. The best thing to do is write the best you can and do your research about an agent or publisher before you approach them, make sure they handle your kind of writing.

Where can people know more about you?

There are a lot of places I’m at online Twitter (, The Last Stage Facebook fanpage (, you can subscribe to my newsletter at Jymsbooks (, those are the best places to find me.

Shells Chats with author Pembroke Sinclair

What's your background with writing?

I started writing back in high school. I had an English teacher who really enjoyed my writing style and encouraged me to pursue the art. My fiction writing started as a competition between me and some others on the swim team. We never actually had our writing judged by anyone. I was also a writer (under my real name) for Western Farmer-Stockman for 3 years, and I have some articles in Serial Killer Magazine (again, under my real name). I’ve also had several short stories published in various places.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

I draw a lot of inspiration from Piers Anthony and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I also really enjoy Christopher Pike, both his adult and YA novels, and Max Brooks. I’m a member of a book club that meets once a month, and I find myself reading a lot of books and genres that I wouldn’t typically read. I find that some of those books inspire/influence my writing. In particular, one book I hated (which I won’t name by name, but was about vampires) had a huge influence on how I portray teenage characters in my latest novel. I am also influenced by TV and movies, which you can see in my first novel, which was influenced by Star Wars and Blade Runner.

As authors, we tend to put our emotions into our writings, do you ever feel at times drained from writing one of your stories because of the emotional impact it may have?

To be honest, no. Even though emotion does play a huge role in my writing, I tend to focus on science fiction or fantasy or horror, so there is a perceived distance between what I write and how I feel. I do find that I sometimes leave out details or emotions in characters because they might hit a little too close to home, but I usually try to fix the omission when I revise. Most of the time, I try to portray my characters as humans, and since I don’t always have the right or noble reaction to a situation, I try to give that same reaction to my character. It can be difficult, but, again, I try to distance myself through genre and it doesn’t leave me drained.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?

Oh, gosh. That’s a hard one. Really, I just think that getting anything I’ve written published is a big accomplishment.

You're a freelance editor for Sonar4 Publications, how does that different from writing stories for you and which one do you find harder?

I definitely find writing harder than editing. The nice thing about editing is that the rules have already been created, so I just have to apply them to the piece I’m working on. I don’t have to flex my creative muscle quite as much. Plus, I really enjoy reading and fixing other people’s work.

There was a time when all I wanted to do was edit. It was a dark time when I believed that the only thing I could create was crap, but I still wanted to be involved in writing in some form. I figured the best way to do that was to use my grammar skills and help other writers. I’m a nerd. I’m one of those people who gets excited when the new version of the Chicago Manual of Style comes out.

I have found that writing and editing compliment each other. While it’s possible to be very successful at either, I think that combining the two gives me a unique perspective when editing works. Not only can I fix the grammatical/mechanical part of the story, I can offer suggestions to make the story better, assuming it needs it. I also feel privileged and honored to be able to see the works before the rest of the world. Makes me feel special!

You wrote some non-fiction, how do you compare that to fiction writing?

I’m not sure that you can compare nonfiction to fiction. The work I do requires interviews and research or working with movies. You can do the same in fiction, but there’s not as much pressure to make sure you get your facts right. The big thing with nonfiction is that people want to know you’re an expert. They want to know that you’ve researched every angle and know exactly what you’re talking about. In fiction, you don’t have to be that good. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done research for fiction before, but I don’t have to showcase that research as much as I do in nonfiction. I actually really enjoy writing both, and I think both genres help my writing skills.

You also are doing audio segments of your fiction work. What is the fiction you are reading and where can people listen to this?

The fiction I am podcasting is my new Young Adult zombie novel, “Life After the Undead.” You can listen to the chapters on my blog at

Can you tell us a little bit about "Coming from Nowhere?"

“Coming From Nowhere” is my first novel. I started working on it when I was in high school. It has gone through several different rewrites before it got to its final stage. It is the story of JD, who wakes from a coma to find herself on Mars. She remembers nothing of her past, and her only desire is to figure out who she is. Through the course of the novel, she finds herself as a pawn between a rebel group and the government they are trying to overthrow. The story is an action/adventure sci fi story. Like I mentioned before, it’s Star Wars and Blade Runner combined, as they were the inspiration for the story.

What was it like working with the publisher you have and where can we find out more information on them?

It was actually very interesting working with my current publisher. When I first submitted to eTreasures, it had a different owner, but she had to sell the company due to health problems. I tell you, it was a wild, weird ride. A few weeks after submitting my story, I received a rejection. Nothing new, so I moved on with my life. Then, a few weeks later, I received another email that they wanted to publish the story. As you can imagine, it was a little confusing. I sent an email, asking what was going on, and she told me that the first email I received was from a new reader who wasn’t supposed to say anything without a second read. Apparently, it had gone through a second read and they liked it. The only stipulation of publication was that I had to remove the passive writing.

I sent the book off to an editor, who removed my passive writing, then sent it back to the publisher. I waited another few weeks, then received an email that said the reader thought the story read like a newspaper article and needed to be rewritten. The publisher told me that she would like to see the new version. I flipped. By this point in time, I had received close to 100 rejections, and I had already signed a contract, which specifically stated that I only had to fix the passive writing. I sent an email, not-so-delicately explaining my position, and the publisher sent a not-so-delicate reply saying she’d look into the matter. Needless to say, the book still came out. However, I’m pretty sure the old publisher thought I was one of those hard to work with and demanding authors, which I’m not. I think I’m actually pretty easy going and flexible.

The new publisher has been better to work with. Currently, we are discussing my YA zombie novel, but things seem to be on hold for the moment because of the holiday season, which is completely understandable given how busy everyone is. I will keep you updated on any developments.

You can find information about eTreasures Publishing at

Who was responsible for the cover/book design of your book?

I don’t really know who was responsible for the book cover. The old publisher sent me an email one day with 3 choices and I picked one.

Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.?

Not really. I did one book signing that was pretty much a flop, and one radio interview that was just a blast. You can listen to it here:

I was actually really, really nervous before the interview. I had been scheduled to do one months before, but due to technical issues, no one could call in. I had rescheduled and was supposed to be on the show in 3 months, but things got messed up again, so I had to wait until June, which was 5 months after the first scheduled interview. By this time, I thought for sure the stars were aligning against me and I wasn’t supposed to do the interview. That was only compounded when I called into the show and couldn’t hear the host on the other end. It was awful. My heart jumped into my throat and I was about to burst into tears, but things worked out. It turned out to be a ton of fun.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

As I mentioned, I’m talking to the publisher about my YA novel, and I am currently working on a nonfiction book about slasher films. My goal is to have it done by March, but at the rate I’m going, I don’t know if I’ll be able to reach that deadline!

Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?

Make sure you research each and every publisher you plan on submitting to. There are a lot of shysters out there, and they will take advantage if they can. Also, persistence, persistence, persistence. You will receive rejections; it’s part of the game, but don’t let them get you down. It only takes one yes.

Where can people know more about you?

You can read my blog at and I have a Facebook page.