Shells Chats with author Eric S. Brown

Some people say that authors have to sacrifice a lot for their craft. Do you feel this is the case?

Yes. I know I work every minute I can. It's like an addiction. It's caused problems for my family, cost me a social life, makes it nearly impossible for me to read for pleasure as I can't read something and write at the same time, and even put me in the hospital for pushing myself too hard. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears is put into my work and I hope it shows in my books like Bigfoot War.

What is the most important thing you have learned as an author?

Two things actually. Never give up, success could be just around the corner and don't let other folks get you down whether they're talking crap about your work or you're comparing yourself to them and saying "I must suck if whoever is doing so well and I'm not at the moment".

It has been rumored that you write out your stories on a notebook, then type it into the computer. Is this true and how has it helped you with the writing process?

It's true. I write everything out by hand first. It's better for me creatively. And yes, it helps as it allows me to proof and make changes as I type it up like I was doing a second draft.

Zombies have become more popular than ever in the Horror genre. Do you feel that zombies are being overdone?

I love zombies but personally I am in Bigfoot and southern horror mode these days. I am still writing some Z shorts but the books I am working on are all part of the Bigfoot War trilogy. I just started part 3 recently.

How has comics influenced your life and writing?

You could say that. I have a closet full of "Flash" shirts and so many comics, they have an entire room to themselves but other storage places. I love them and talk about them all time. Not to mention, spend way too much money on them sometimes.

Can you tell us a bit about The Human Experiment and Anti-Heros?

Both of those books feature my original hero Agent Robert Death. He's a very dark character struggling with a lot of inner issues but somehow ends up being a good guy at the end of the day despite being a jerk. In his origin book, The Human Experiment, he literally takes on a man made god and in Anti-Heroes he heads to the south to fight zombies. He's a very fun character to write.

Why do you think people have an obsession with sasquatch?

I think there's some truth to all the stories and legends. I grew up in the south so I know I was terrified one of them was waiting outside my bedroom window to break in and tear me limb from limb in the middle of the night. I have always loved Bigfoot horror films just like I have zombies. Bigfoot War was a dream project for me and likely my most personal book to date. All I can tell you is, for me, I am obsessed with Bigfoot currently because he's cool and scary.

Can you tell us about Bigfoot war?

The first book in the trilogy, Bigfoot War, is my fanboy love song to all those Bigfoot horror films I watched as a kid and still watch only crazier. It's the tale of one little town of eight hundred people who make a mistake and end facing an entire tribe of Bigfoot creatures who come out of the woods looking for vengeance. I can't say much about the rest of the trilogy yet but book II is coming soon and things get more and more insane as the story goes.

Rumors have it that a squeal is in the works for Bigfoot War. Is that true and if so can you share a bit about it with us?

Yep, there's Bigfoot War II: Dead in the Woods which is in edits with Coscom Entertainment as I type this and I have begun work on the 3rd book. It's working title is Bigfoot War III: Food Chain.

Marketing is a big thing for authors these days. How do you handle the stress of marketing and can you share any tips to new authors?

Not really. I just try to make sure I answer all my fan mail, do as many interviews as I can, and stay active on social networks like Facebook.

Any current projects you are working on that you can share with us?

I just finished a new novella featuring apocalyptic monsters of my own creation entitled "Into the Light". As of now, I am backing away from longer works other than Bigfoot War III for a bit and going back to my roots writing a lot of short fiction.

Where can people find out more about you?

I am on Facebook and you can find almost all of my books on There's a rough author's page there too.

Shells Chats with author Wayne Simmons

How has David Moody influenced you as an author?

Very much. If it wasn't for David Moody, I probably wouldn't be writing today. Dave has given me endless support and encouragement since I first talked with him back in 2005. I'm delighted to call Dave a friend today and continue to both enjoy and be inspired by his writing.

Are the tattoos you have based on any stories you have written or vice versa?

Not really, although I have a couple of scary ladies that I would see as a nod to my debut novel, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (on re-release now through Snowbooks). Most of my tattoos are inspired by my lifelong love of the horror genre so you'll find skulls, medusas, cobwebs and a hell of a lot of flames. I like bold, colourful work - tattoos you can see from across the street. A lot of my tattoos are inspired by graffiti.

When writing a story, do you ever allow your emotions to play a part or just go from a straight forward outline?

I write emotionally-charged stories that are largely driven by the characters. I would sometimes work from an outline, but often allow myself to free-write. I do a lot of rewriting as I go along, constantly working and reworking scenes and dialogue, refining the characters until I feel like I know them as real people.

How has working as a contributor to Revenant: The Premier Zombie Magazine helped you as an author?

I really enjoyed my time with Geoff at Revenant - it enabled me to read widely within the zombie horror genre before having a go at writing something myself. I was able to read a lot of good material for Revenant, from folks such as David Moody (of course), Bowie Ibarra, Scott Johnston etc. I gave up reviewing once I became published as I thought it might seem a little arrogant to deconstruct other folks' writing while putting my own stuff out. But I often drop by Revenant to see what's new.

Where can we find Revenant: The Premier Zombie Magazine?

Right here:

What do you find most interesting to write when it comes to the 'end of the world' type scenarios?

I think playing with how ordinary people react in extraordinary situations is what I find most interesting. Often the threat in a zombie apocalypse/ end-of-the-world scenario can come from the people around you, as opposed to any supernatural entity. Fear and desperation can make people do the most heinous of things to each other, and that - for me - can offer the most vibrant of horror to write.

Do you feel zombies have become more popular than any other creature in Horror stories today?

I think they've become elevated to the same status of other staples within horror, such as the vampire, werewolf and mummy. All of these creatures enjoy constant waves of popularity and I feel the zombie is enjoying a particular high at the moment - they've gone mainstream.

Can you tell us a bit about Drop Dead Gorgeous?

Ultimately, DDG's a story about damaged people in a damaged world. It's a character-driven story set in Belfast, but unlike FLU, the focus is less on the zombie hordes and more on the people who are dealing with the loss and grief and fear that any apocalpyse would present. I was watching (and reading) a lot of Asian horror while writing DDG and I feel such has lent the book a feeling of suspense and mystery that isn't always associated with this sub-genre. I'm very proud of DDG and am very glad it's being received so well.

How has book signings helped you as an author and what would you suggest to an author doing a book signing for the first time?

Book signings are great for engaging with readers and getting your book into the hands of folks who may not have heard about it otherwise. It's one of the many ways for writers to self-promote and in today's climate, writers need to be doing more to get the word out. My advice? Don't expect there to be a queue at the door when you rock up to a signing and be prepared to sell yourself - most of the business from a signing will be picked up from customers traveling through.

Any upcoming projects you wish to share with us?

I'm working on several projects at the moment: FLU 2, DDG 2 and a brand new dark fantasy series. Meanwhile, my agent is selling my latest complete manuscript, a sci-fi book.

Where can people find out more about you?

At my website (, at Dark Central Station ( - where I blog with various other genre writers) and facebook, twitter etc.

Words with Kevin Villegas, author of "The Sunwright Chronicles"

Can you tell us a little bit about "The Sunwright Chronicles – Empire at War?"

Of course, The Sunwright Chronicles – Empire at War starts at a dire time in the History of Kirmar. The past three Emperors of Kirmar have been weak, corrupted, or just psychotic. The story picks up after the death of Theodore II, an invasion from the East by a barbarian supertribe known as the Nords has been more than successful. The armies of Kirmar are floundering as the Nords pour into central Kirmar. To make matters worse Paris and Suadela Sunwright mages of incredible power have suddenly vanished, leaving their children Tobias, Calia and Pershing to face the immediate crisis alone.

The Invasion is not the only crisis Kirmar faces. Agents from the nation of Wuttenburg a bitter rival of Kirmar have flooded the land trying to destabilize the government further. The Southern Empire of Imaldris (Once a part of Kirmar) faces the powerful nation of Nazzir as it builds its army in preparation of an invasion. The Elven nation of Garion is in debate as to whether they should aide Kirmar in its time of need, and the next heir of throne of Kirmar ponders if he has the strength to bring together an Empire that is falling apart.

While there is a good amount of action in my book, I balance it with strong character development. I like to show all my characters at their highs and lows. Even in the dark times in which Empire at War takes place, love and relationships blossom as people come together. The end of the book will remind a nation that while war is often considered glorious it is at its core horrible and ugly.

What's your background with writing?

I have been writing stories pertaining to the world of Tera (the world in which my series takes place) for well over fifteen years. These stories have sharpened the world, created the nations and characters in which I plan to use for many novels in the future. I have enjoyed creative writing from a young age and plan to keep on writing as time permits.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

First and foremost would be J.R.R. Tolkien. Not for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, or the Hobbit. The book I most enjoyed from Tolkien was the Simarillion. What I enjoyed the most about the Simarillion is the reality of the book, The Elven Kings of the Noldor while powerful and immortal fell in battle just as often as their soldiers. While the Kings of the Noldor fell in battle their people still rallied together and in dark times there was always hope. The tone of the Simarrilion always reflected heavily with me, and inspires me to this day.

Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series was also a major influence. Though I’ve only read it through to book five, I read the first four books of the series over and over again. The rich characterization of the series and the mystery of the world of Roland the Gunslinger has always intrigued me.

Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories are gripping to say the least. The brutal action and gore has influenced me when it comes to writing my action sequences. Thanks to R.E. Howard I’ve learned not to hold anything back when writing battle sequences.

What was it like working with "Outskirts Press"

Working with Outskirts press was great. The whole publishing process including editing of the book took a little under three months. Their customer service was prompt and helpful when I had a question. I will go with Outskirts Press when my second novel is complete.

Who was responsible for the cover/book design?

My book cover was actually a picture I had in mind to start with, Outskirts press offered a custom cover option and they worked with my picture to create what I think is a great cover.

What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity?

Right now I’m concentrating on social networking. I have a virtual book tour in the works; I am advertising my blog, networking in communities such as the Amazon Fantasy community. My wife is my publicist/agent; she is currently working on setting up book signings at local bookstores, interviews with local newspapers. We are starting with a local campaign of awareness for my book.

What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?

My blog is the Sunwright Chronicles.

Readers can expect to find interesting tid-bits and back stories about the world of Tera. Information you would not find in the current novel. I also update on the progress of the second book, and post about my views on the various parts of writing. I update my blog on a daily basis.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

The second novel in my series “The Sunwright Chronicles” looms large in the future. Empire at War was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is happening in the world of Tera. The second novel will expand on other nations that have been mentioned in the first novel such as Wuttenburg. It will also delve into the structure of the Nords and the other tribes that make up that particular super tribe, internal strife in the Imperial Capital of Kirmar, and the continuing espionage war.

Is there anything else about you we should know?

I like to play computer games most notably: Age of Empires III

I also enjoy hanging out with my family, enjoying time with my wife and kids.

Shells Chats with author Anthony Cowin

What has been the most challenging for you as an author?

Besides this interview you mean? Connecting with people in the industry I guess. It’s a big old lonely world out there but thankfully social media is opening that up for creative people of all types. I can’t really say what is difficult about the actual process of writing though, because all the frustrating things, all the obstacles and hurdles are the same things that make it exciting. It’s the mystery and the puzzle that makes writing so rewarding. Now having that work find a home can be the challenging part though.

What attracts you to the Horror genre?

In simple terms I like the idea of anything being possible. I fell in love with horror after sneaking downstairs to watch the classic TV movies of the 1970’s. Films like, ‘Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and of course all the Hammer films that made the dark seem so glamorous and bright. We’re all scared of something so I guess horror lends itself perfectly to fiction. I mean fiction is about looking for answers and what greater questions do we have than those concerning our fears of death, illness, poverty, loneliness and all other aspects of life that keep people awake at night. The great thing about horror though is that it offers a light in that darkness. It’s about fear and rewards. Once we confront the monsters in the shadows we feel empowered and stronger. I think that’s a great achievement for some made up little stories to have such an effect on people.

The Horror genre often involves things that are strange, feared and a lot more. What is the strangest and scariest story you have ever written?

I’m not sure if the writer can really answer that question. I expect we are too close to the levers and pulleys behind the story to really frighten ourselves. There are a few examples in The Futurist where I found it difficult to write with the lights low. I can only assume that’s a good thing for a horror novel though. Without giving too much away one involves a child being eaten by a very popular 1970’s toy. Another is a story about an old couple who find strange things in their eggs when they crack them into the frying pan. I’ve not had an omelet since I had the idea.

I also like to explore why we believe in ghosts and monsters. Why we not only create them but perpetuate the myths and folklore. I’d like to have a style that was along the lines of Richard Yates with monsters, if you could imagine such a thing. Tales of terror that examines the human condition or the monster condition to be more precise.

What do you find most appealing about the short story format?

The speed of completion I guess. It’s nice to have an idea, write a draft, edit and then print off the finished product in a matter of hours. When I have an idea for a short story it usually arrives fully formed as though some twisted UPS guy has delivered it directly to my brain. Of course I’ve had short stories that have taken me months or longer to complete, but generally they are quick. It’s also the way we can cut directly to the core of the subject. Short stories hardly need much setup before we are into the conflict and back out again with a resolution. I like that. I’m a great fan of the portmanteau film format, especially Amicus and Hammer’s 1970’s stuff. To have a three or four short tales put together in the space of a normal feature length always seemed very gratifying to me. In fact it was my big brother’s love for things like The Twilight Zone and Stephen King’s short story collections that made me appreciate the power of the short form at a very early age. Then films like the Ealing classic, ‘Dead of Night’ and TV shows like Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected, Nigel Kneale’s ‘Beasts’ and the brilliant Brian Clemens series ‘Thriller’ really sealed the deal when I was growing up.

Where can some of your short stories be found?

I have several stories printed in Static Movement anthologies. ‘An Apple for Teacher’ in Something Dark in the Doorway. ‘The Beautiful Noise’ in Ghosts and Demons and a couple of flash pieces in the voluminous 365 Days of Flash. I have some work on Every Day Fiction and various other e-zines and sites. I also contribute to a great site called Spook City. Incidentally a story I had published on there last year called, ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’, reached the top ten on the Preditors and Editors ‘Best Horror Short Story Published 2010’ poll at this February.

In writing poetry, what do you find is the most difficult?

The short answer to that is writing poetry. It’s not a form I’ll ever be fully in charge of but it is one I truly love. I read and write poetry because I admire how each word needs to earn its place more than in any other discipline. Because of this words often have to have several meanings or link to other thoughts and ideas. If we can transfer that to prose writing then we have a leaner, sparser body of work that also has richer layers and depth. That’s the theory anyway.

Where can we find some of these poems?

You can find some on my blog site and I have a new one coming up on Every Day Poetry quite soon called, ‘The Machine That Makes You Dream’.

Can you tell us a bit about The Futurist?

The Futurist is the name of my blog where you can find news, updates and other goodies connected with my writing. I also write unique stories for the site that my followers can read.

I took the name from the title of the novel I’m working on at the moment. It’s my debut novel, in the sense it’s the first one I’ve haven’t locked in some deep drawer and then swallowed the key. I chose the title because it deals with the ideas of modernization and how that affects the world we live in and the people who inhabit that environment. We build shiny new cities and fill them with great new products and think it makes us immune to the past. Only time and again we discover the past is a place that’s impossible to escape from, as the abducted children in the novel discover, quite literally.

It’s a story about a boy who was murdered in the long hot summer of 1976 and his brother who escaped. We pick up the story when the brother is an adult and his own daughter goes missing. During his search he discovers his brother was abducted and taken to a darker place behind the screen of an old cinema. He needs to find a way through to rescue his daughter, but the projectionist has already started the countdown and time is running out to rescue his child and himself from the past.

When dealing with Marketing your own work, what do you find is the best way?

As mentioned the rise of social media has brought great resources to spread the word. Blogs and forums are also perfect, not only for reaching people with your work but interacting and learning from others too.

Where can people find out more about you?

At my blog called The Futurist the address is or email me at You can also follow my Twitter feed @LordCowin or look check me out on Facebook if you want to be scared and see my pictures! Now that’s true horror right there.

Game of Thrones--And Other Fantasy News

Hello All,

Well, the big news is probably that "Game of Thrones" is now showing on HBO. I've been hearing good reviews but I haven't seen an episode yet. For those who have yet to pick up George R. R. Martin's epic work, you're in for a treat (although in my opinion, the guy starts to lose focus a little bit...I had a hard time getting into book 4).

As most of you are authors who are constantly on the lookout for new methods for book promotion, I thought I'd suggest doing some Facebook ads. I've just started experimenting with them and I like the fact that they allow you to set a budget (I couldn't find that option on Google ads...although I may have just not looked hard enough).

My other recent tactic is to be a lurking beast on the Amazon fantasy forum. There seem to be a lot of fantasy writers on there who are willing, at least, to give your book a "like" (hey, everything helps).

That's about it for now, good luck writing, marketing and selling. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to write me at:

Here are the interviews for this month, there's some great stuff in these!

Shells Chats with author A.P. Fuchs

When did you get the urge to start writing?

It was in 1999. Though I did the occasional short story as a kid, it was in ’99 that I needed an outlet for the stories and ideas that would pop into my head and, since at the time, the animation school I was attending wasn’t delivering on their curriculum, writing seemed a natural alternative. My first aim was to make comics for a living, but the school I attended stopped teaching us about four months in and really through me for a loop.

I grew embittered toward the art industry due to what happened at the school and so devoted all my creative energies into crafting stories.

It’s only been in recent years where I’ve let go what happened and am now balancing my creative output between writing and art.

What do you find is the most important thing about being an author?

Out of all the stuff I’ve learned over the years, I think the most important part is perseverance. Back in the day, I found there were a lot of politics in this industry and they started to take their toll on me. It was when I decided to just keep my head down and do my own thing did progress really get made in terms of turning writing and publishing into a full-time career.

I agree with listening to advice and constructive criticism, by all means, but I don’t agree with someone else running your career. That tends to happen all too often in this business, at least from what I’ve seen.

Can you tell us a bit about your online serial, Zomtropolis, and where the idea came for it?

Sure. Zomtropolis is a free serial zombie novel I run on my blog at every Friday. There are 38 chapters posted as of this writing, and it’s the story of a guy stuck in a futuristic city where zombies have taken over. It’s written in journal form, and chronicles the protagonist—Marty’s—struggle with his circumstance, his wild mood fluctuations over not just the undead, but losing the love of his life, Selena, and the madness that comes with both. To make matters worse for him, Selena shows up at his apartment, only die sometime later, yet returns again . . . over and over.

What I’m hoping to do with the book is to be very real in terms of raw emotion, and try and tell the story as realistically as possible via the journal format.

Can you tell us a bit about the Axiom-man Saga and where people can find it?

As mentioned, I went to animation school, my first goal for a career being a comic book artist. My thought was, “If I could draw things in motion, drawing them standing still would be easy.” Though comics is a different artform, there are parallels to animation. That said, superheroes have always been my thing, ever since I was a kid. Still are. Axiom-man is a character I came up with in high school (grade eleven). Originally I was going to do comics about him under my company, Coscom Entertainment (also invented in high school), and that would be my job.

Things didn’t go as planned and my career path changed, so in late 2005 I really began thinking about showcasing my superhero to anyone who would listen and thus, in 2006, I began writing the first installment of the series. So far there are four books, one short story and one comic: Axiom-man, First Night Out, Doorway of Darkness, The Dead Land, Black Water, and Of Magic and Men.

I’m working on a comic series right now, writing and drawing it. I hope to release the first issue late March.

In short, the Axiom-man Saga is about Gabriel Garrison, a 24-year-old who, during one night of insomnia, is visited by a nameless messenger who grants him superpowers, but then disappears without revealing why, even how. It’s then up to Gabriel to decide what to do with those powers and, after a few select events, he decides to become a “self-evident truth” to the city he lives in and dons the guise of Axiom-man to carry out his crusade.

Complicating things, another being with superpowers arises. His name is Redsaw and every time Axiom-man gets close to him, it’s like his powers are being drained. The two are deeply connected, but as to what that connection is, I’ll let the reader find out.

The entire Axiom-man Saga is available in paperback and eBook at, or your favourite online retailer. You can also get copies ordered in through bookstores, too.

For the person just starting out writing comic strips, what suggestions can you give them based on your experience?

Step one is don’t talk about it, do it. I’ve met way too many artists and writers who are always talking about their craft but are rarely—if ever—practicing it. I’m actually being nice calling them a writer or artist here. Writers write. Artists draw/paint/etc.

Step two is the standard write a lot and read a lot. If writing novels, take note of how the novels you read are structured, how they’re written, what the author includes and what they don’t. If you want to do comics, you can view many samples of comic book scripts on the Internet, so I’d look those up plus, when reading comics, pay attention to how the story is presented, the flow of the panels, which actions are shown and their pacing, how mood is set. A good book on this is Making Comics by Scott McCloud. Though that book is about writing and drawing comics, it does get into detail about what makes good comics and, personally, it’s changed my view on the artform for the better.

If you had to pick a favorite comic series what would it be?

Right now I’m really enjoying DC’s monthly Batgirl book. I’ve always been a fan of Stephanie Brown (aka The Spoiler) and to see her don the cape and cowl as Batgirl has really brought that character into her own.

You write a lot of non-fiction articles. How do you feel that has helped you as an author and in the writing community?

Those are part of my effort to post new content on my blog every day. Sometimes they’re actual articles/opinion pieces. Other times it’s just me rambling about something.

It’s helped me as an author in that it helps me keep my focus. By dumping these things out onto the screen, it gets them out of my head so I can focus more on my stories.

Has it helped the writing community? I’d like to think so, especially the articles I’ve written about self-publishing, which is something I’m very passionate about. There seems to be a lot of misinformation about self-publishing out there nowadays and my articles are meant to be a kind of counter to that information. I have 7 years experience going it alone so I’d like to think my opinion carries at least some weight.

Where can we find some of these articles?

The easiest place would be at my blog at

How did Coscom Entertainment come about?

Coscom Entertainment was born when I was in high school, its goal to one day be a publishing house through which I could publish my own comics. As my career goals changed, it just simply ended up being an outlet for publishing my books.

It then became a traditional publisher when friend and fellow author Keith Gouveia asked me if Coscom Entertainment would be willing to put out a benefit short story anthology for the late Charles Grant called Small Bites. I accepted, and as one thing led to another, Coscom Entertainment took on other authors and projects and just grew.

Has being an author as well helped in understanding the publishing business?

Back in the beginning, yeah. Back when I was researching (albeit limitedly) publishing and how things worked. When I got suckered into subsidy publishing my first book, despite the whole ordeal being a nightmare, I ended up falling in love with the book production process. Then instead of using a service provider, I became my own and began to truly self-publish and be a publisher.

I’m also a do-it-yourselfer by nature and am very stubborn in terms of seeing my goals through. This, I believe, has helped me duke it out in this business for so long.

You have published a number of Eric S. Brown's books. How was it to work with him?

We have fun. He’s easygoing, easy to talk to, easy to work with guy when going through the book production process.

Plus we have a lot of things in common so when not talking about work, we hit it off over things like comics.

Where can people find Coscom Entertainment?

Easiest place is on the Web at and follow us on Twitter at

All of our books are also available through the usual channels like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, through your favorite bookstore, Kindle, iBookstore and more. Please see our website for a complete listing of available titles.

Where can people learn more about you?

The best place is my daily blog, Canister X, at, and to follow me on Twitter at

Shells Chats with author Shaun Jeffrey

Horror authors get inspiration from several things. How did growing up at a house in a cemetery inspire you with your stories?

Well I guess not many people can lay claim to growing up in a house in a cemetery, and having the first name, ‘Shaun’, it must mean I’m the real Shaun of the Dead. Okay, you can groan, but I’m keeping that one. Lol.

Strange as it is, some of my earliest reading material would have been gravestones, mainly because the graveyard was my playground. Whether this shaped me as a person or writer I’ll never know, but unlike preconceived perceptions, graveyards are actually very peaceful, serene places, and nothing exciting happens in them – at least not until the dead arise.

How often do you place yourself into the story as one of the characters or an experience you may have had?

To be honest, lots of times. I only have my own experiences to go on, and I have my own values, which often filter through into my fiction. It’s the old adage ‘write what you know’ and although I may not have ever killed anyone such as the characters in my novel, The Kult, I can instil my own thoughts and fears into the characters, even though a lot of the time they want to do their own thing anyway.

With everything that can go on in one's life, how do you find time to write?

Like anyone with a family and a full time job, it’s hard. I have to just squeeze it into my spare time where I can, somewhere between keeping fit at the gym and my Tae Kwon Do. I’m not a very committed writer, in that I can’t sit down and write uninterrupted as I’m forever checking emails or Facebook or any other of the hundreds of myriad websites. While technology is great in many respects, making life easier, it also provides more distractions to cope with.

What do you feel is the scariest short story you have ever written?

That’s a tough question. What may scare one person may not scare another, but a couple that I think are quite chilling are ‘The Watchers’, which is about a couple that get involved in the dogging scene, where people meet in designated places to watch others have sex, but in my story there’s something more sinister behind it, and ‘In Darkness’ that appeared in the last issue of Cemetery Dance, and which is about a blind woman who reads the things around her like Braille, but her interpretation is how shall I say, warped.

Where can people find some of your short stories?

Most of my stories have been published in magazines or anthologies, but I did have a collection published entitled, Voyeurs of Death. That collection has now been republished with extra stories as a lettered edition hardback by Dark Regions Press. It should also soon be available as a trade paperback and hopefully eventually in ebook too:

Can you tell us about your book Deadfall?

Deadfall is about a team of mercenaries lead by a woman called Amber Redgrave that are duped into a rescue mission, but their real purpose is to field test a zombie horde with the intent of being able to use zombies as a military application.

Where can people find Deadfall?

It’s available to order from any bookshop and most online venues in either print or ebook. It’s also available direct from the publisher:

How do you feel about your book The Kult being made into a movie?

It’s been an amazing experience. The Kult is in the vein of Saw and Se7en, and it involves a group of friends who kill someone, but to get away with the murder, they blame it on a serial killer who then tracks them down one by one. It’s part horror, part mystery, part thriller. I was lucky enough that the production company flew me out from the UK to the US to see some of the shoot and it was a surreal experience to see characters I’d essentially created speaking my words. The film is currently in post-production and so I‘m hoping to hear release details in the not too distant future.

Where can people find out more about The Kult the movie?

For anyone interested there’s a website and a Facebook site:

Where can people find out more about you?

I have an online presence where people can find me at: and I can be found lurking around places such as Facebook: and then there’s my blog:

Shells Chats with author Sean T. Page

What do you find most challenging about writing a horror short story?

Two things for me really–getting a powerful story, then being able to get it down and formatted on paper. Some people have brilliant ideas but don’t have the technical and the editing skills to make it work. I try to get ideas from all over the place, from work, films – and always have a note book handy to jot down those twisted visions.

Where can we find some of these stories?

You can read a good one about flying corpses (always a good thing) in Dead Worlds 7 – an anthology. I’ve got a few coming out with Norgus Press in the months ahead. Also, there are plenty a short case studies in the Official Zombie Handbook that you might like.

How has the horror community helped with your writing?

I have built up a great network within small presses so both editors and other writers have been immensely helpful to me. This ranges from a curt rejection but one in which the editor has given me tips on way something didn’t work – hard to take but invaluable feedback. To other writers who I exchange stories with and we swap views and suggestions. I should also mention all of the dedicated reviewers who really support the whole horror genre.

What made you want to write about zombies?

I did start a formal writing course – doing all sorts of projects as part of the course. I hated it. I just wasn’t enjoying it. Someone told me to write what I enjoy – I love zombies and the whole horror genre so I went from there. I love HP Lovecraft and many of older ghost story writers – such as May Sinclair. However, I’m also addicted to games like Left4Dead and the Romero films – all things for me lead to the way of the zombie!

What would be the most important thing for you to have during a zombie outbreak?

For the unprepared, it is going to be a testing time – that’s for sure. So, I would say the important thing is a plan. Emergency planning is all about preparation, whether its zombies or major power cuts.

However, to really answer the question – my approach is to find a secure location and stay put. Don’t try to rush on the freeway or get to your local hospital – many people will just get eaten in the chaos that develops. So, keep a ‘bug out’ bag at home, in the car, at work etc. Always be ready to take shelter. The first few weeks will be the most dangerous.

Can you tell us about the Official Zombie Handbook?

Well, there obviously some great titles already out there, including Max Brook’s fantastic book but survival book take was more from a survival point of view. So, the Official Zombie Handbook includes a complete 90 day survival plan with details around water, food etc etc.

I’d say you have to be into zombie survival to enjoy it but it’s make a real hit over here in the UK – particularly as I don’t cover guns.

I think the bottom line is if you watched the Walking Dead or loved Dawn of the Dead and ever wondered – how would I survive and even started making plans, then you’ll enjoy it. It will certainly get you thinking. There’s a dry sort of British humor in it but it’s not a joke book.

How much research and time was spent on writing the Official Zombie Handbook?

I have to say it was a labor of love for over two years. I looked at everything from emergency food preparation and home water storage all the way to disused nuclear bunkers and microlight aircraft. I wanted everything to be authentic and tested. This is not a web-researched book – it’s practical – I learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Can you tell us a bit about War against the Walking Dead?

The first book was based on surviving an outbreak of the living dead in the UK but loads of the lessons were equally applicable to the US and Europe. However, the scope was the first 90 days of the outbreak – very much the survival piece.

War against the Walking Dead is completely different. I looked at how a band of survivors can fight back against the zombies dominating their country. The whole driver of the book was people saying ‘What happens after day 90?’….

It covers the latest science on zombies, how to hook up with other survivors, guidelines for dealing with other survival groups including the hostile ones and then everything you need to know about waging war against the walking dead, from developing your armed forces to bombing tests using microlights. (You may have noticed that I love microlights.)

It’s a bit of an epic, there’ll be some great illustrations and I hope it’s something that every zombie fan/survival nut will love.

What advice can you give an author who may want to start writing about zombies?

My first, as you’ll probably guess from my comments above, is to write about what you enjoy and know. Don’t try to go for vampires just because they are fashionable. You have to know your subject.

Also, you have to keep at it. A novel takes a lot of work and much of it the dull editing stuff.

A final point would be, don’t go in it for the money. Like many authors, I work a full-time job. Few people make living out of it without doing some other job and the writers that are full-time work really hard. That’s what I’ve learnt so far – I’m sure there’s loads more.

Where can people find out more about you?

The Official Zombie Handbook is on Amazon – there are loads of reviews on the US & UK site so you can check them out.

There is also a funny trailer on YouTube – just search for The Official Zombie Handbook UK.

I love facebook so folks can find me there to under ‘ministry of zombies’ or ‘seantpage’

Finally, there’s the website –

I love getting feedback and ideas so please do come and find me.

Shells Chats with author Michael Hanson

What influences you to write?

Anything and everything, and no, I’m not being trite. But, to give you a more pointed and detailed answer, I often get a major jolt of creative inspiration from new writing, which can be anything from finding a great poet whose works I’ve never read before, or discovering a new fiction author and burning through their first short story collection and first breakthrough novel. I find inspiration in entertaining movies and TV shows. I find inspiration in music and new hit songs. I find inspiration from hilarious standup comedians. I find inspiration in silent meditation, or in fun coffee house discussions with good friends. I find inspiration while reviewing my own history and past, as if it were an archived motion picture reel, and am amazed at all the ideas that pop up from instances that I had long forgotten. I find inspiration in the smile of a beautiful woman, the laughter of a good friend, the twinkle in a small child’s eyes…

As for specific authors and poets, my influences are legion. But, to offer up a short list: Roger Zelazny, A.E. van Vogt, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip Jose Farmer, Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin, Andre Norton, F. Paul Wilson, Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Frank Herbert, e.e. cummings, Edgar Allen Poe, Jay Leeming, Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, and Robert Frost.

Which do you find more challenging to do, being a Technical Editor or writing stories?

Writing fictional stories and mainstream poetry is definitely much more creatively challenging. Technical Editing, though, with it’s real-time demands of quick turnover time and rock solid deadlines is definitely the more stressful challenge, LOL.

How important do you feel it is for author's to express themselves in their writing?

I can only speak for myself, and for me, expressing my inner feelings, convictions, beliefs, and philosophy is Key! My poetry and my fiction often directly reflect my own world view.

What is your favorite thing about creating a story?

That calm, inner confidence that wells up when you find yourself doing something that you feel confident about, and totally “alive” when engaging in. Writing fiction is one of the few activities left to the creative control freak in all of us.

Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse was a project of several authors, can you tell us about that experience and what books are part of it?

A good question, hmmmm... the project has evolved so much over the years. Well, to try to make a long story short, it started out as a series of short stories I wrote and published in various e-zines and webzines on the net. Next, I was inspired to create a universal theme after having read books in the “Thieve's World” series, the “Wild Card” series, and the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, F. Paul Wilson, and many other classic horror authors. Once I got the basic parameters of my idea down on paper, I came to the realization that The Sha'Daa could eventually become pretty darned diverse, complicated, and BIG, and it hit me that rather than treat this as a lifetime writing project, I could invite other authors on board thus making it a true Shared-World Series. The only problem was that I had a pretty unspectacular bibliography at the time, and no real credentials or reputation that would allow me to attract the attention of successful published authors.

So I did my homework. I spent several months reading every single horror, sci fi, and fantasy story I could that was published online, at all of the e-zines and webzines that existed back in 2003. Out of the hundreds of stories and authors I read, I narrowed down a list of 33 authors who were talented, but had not yet quite crossed over into the paying markets. I sent them all a VERY long e-mail, showing my bibliography, examples of my Sha'Daa short stories, as well as a full explanation of the idea. 18 authors decided to take a chance on me, and the ball started rolling there. From that point it took five full years until the publication of the first book. The second book was published a year later. At present we have attracted the positive attention of several well-known writers in the field (garnering us excellent Forewords and Introductions by Mike Resnick and Catherine Asara) as well as positive interest from prospective writing professionals for future Sha'Daa books. It has been quite an adventure.

The first two books in the series (and currently in print) are SHA’DAA: TALES OF THE APOCALYPSE and SHA’DAA: LAST CALL (both published by Altered Dimensions Press). Ed McKeown (the official “Editor” of the Sha’Daa series) and I have just started work on compiling the next two Sha’Daa anthologies, SHA’DAA: PAWNS and SHA’DAA: CATECHISM, which will be developed and written simultaneously.

Can you tell us a bit about Space Force Adventures?

My sister Helen Harrison is an avid collector of Dollfies (realistic looking ball-jointed dolls that are roughly one-third scale human size). Two of the dolls were offered up to buyers in cute little uniforms that advertised them as being part of a space force fleet. So to make a long story short, Helen had the idea of creating a comic book style series of adventures for these two alien humanoids. She invited me on board to write all the scripts, and then, acting as director, she would pose and photograph the figures in front of a green screen, and through the use of computer magic and her own fantastic graphic arts skills, render up a bunch of panel images that comprise the outrageous antics of this duo.

We created several chapters, and saw them printed in the magazine HAUTEDOLL over the course of two years, until budget constraints eventually forced them to drop our series. Helen and I will be publishing all of the chapters online over the next year or so (which can be viewed at the Space Force Adventures website).
So, for the uninitiated, Space Force Adventures are the cliffhanger tales of Captain Neojouet Narae and Lieutenant Consilium Narin, officers of The Galactic Confederation’s vaunted Space Force Fleet.
Crewing the Space Force reconnaissance ship, The Lockerlick, Capt. Narae and Lt. Narin are on a top-secret retrieval mission on the out-of-the way and rather technologically primitive planet of Terra, aka, Earth. Their subsequent misadventures, mishaps, and interactions with humanity will leave you rolling on the floor with laughter, and cheering in anticipation of the next exciting chapter.

Space Force Adventures premiered in Chapter One: Footfall, in the December 2007 issue of HAUTEDOLL Magazine.

You can view the first online archived chapter of Space Force Adventures at:

Many people say poetry is a reflection of something that happened in the poet's life. Do you find that true as well with your poetry?

Absolutely! I would say that over half of my poems are very autobiographical. Sure, I write my share of pure fantasy poems, but, in the long run, every one of my poems touches upon an aspect of my mood, my dreads, my loves, my inspirations, and thus, my life.

Can you tell us a bit about Jubilant Whispers and where we can find it?

My second book of poetry. Wow. How could such a thing come to pass? I find myself momentarily nonplussed at this unexpected milestone in my life. Not quite two years ago (though it feels like yesterday) I put the final touches on a collection of sixty poems (fifty-nine rhyming and one free verse) that comprise the limited print run, hardcover edition titled Autumn Blush. It didn’t exactly jump off the shelves. Yes, this is an old story in the world of literature, and one that I humbly embrace as part and parcel of the journey all writers find themselves on. Still, I had my doubts in late 2008 that I would ever get another such batch of my hopes, dreams, fears, and epiphanies into print again.

Not that I was short on material with which to fill a second collection! On the contrary, by the end of 2008 I found myself near the culmination of an unusual and ultimately uplifting six-month adventure at the writer supportive website of Created by famed film director Francis Ford Coppola, this website is a nexus for writers of all disciplines (poets, short story writers, novelists, playwrights, scriptwriters, you name it) and offers up the free opportunity to workshop one’s written work amidst large groups of like-minded creative minds from all over the world. Upon discovering this wonderful place, I quickly found myself embracing the challenge and opportunity that such an entity offered. A fire was lit inside me, and I fanned the flames.

In the course of just half of a calendar year I wrote, from scratch, seventy-five poems that I threw out in the ring to do battle with harsh criticism, insightful reviews, viii and quite often, good advice. Some days I was jumping with joy, on others, punching the walls with frustration. I found myself re-conceiving, rewriting, and polishing my work to an extent I had never experienced before, and I believe I am a better poet for it. I certainly hope that the work contained in this anthology is proof of that. I leave it to you, the reader, to make that judgment. Roughly forty poems from that creative flood have found their way into this book. I am very proud of them.

So what separates “Jubilant Whispers” from my first collection of poems? What, if anything, marks it as a separate, breathing, living, entity in its own right and not just a sequel to “Autumn Blush?”

This time around, I decided to take chances. I decided to expand my output to embrace free verse as much as I did the loose, technically sloppy rhyming verse that had comprised the majority of my last collection. I decided to examine some of the more painful and emotionally traumatic moments in my childhood; events that I only
recently realized had left deep scars in my psyche. I have looked back upon the length and breadth of my life to date (I’m in my 40’s) and tried to give it some kind of
insightful perspective, in poetry form. I impetuously wrote a tribute to one of the most famous love poems ever penned by an English-speaking poet. Heck, I even wrote a Villanelle and a Rondelet, as well as a couple of nineteenth century American sonnets, daring myself to remain within the tight constraints of such maddening forms.

On a whim, I submitted this hastily thrown together manuscript to Diminuendo Press mere months ago. The rest has been a whirlwind. Embrace your dreams.

JUBILANT WHISPERS can be purchased from, Barnes and, and many other online venues. Also, you can walk into and order a copy of the collection from any of the major bookstore chains.

Can you please tell us a bit about the Fictioneers, why you created the group and how authors can be a part of it?

The Fictioneers is a non-profit, international Writer's Club for folks who write science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It is loosely modeled after those fun children's clubs of mid-20th century Radio fame (Little Orphan Annie, Captain Midnight, etc.) and is intended to be an enjoyable nexus for budding writers and experienced writers to break intellectual bread and crack jokes, so far mostly on the world wide web (though our first in-person meeting, a Fictioneers Launch Party, will be held Saturday Night at BALTICON 2011 over Memorial Day Weekend, in Baltimore, MD). To find out about the club (whose unofficial motto is no dues, no fees, no hassles) just check out our official website, read the charter, and if we look like we're the writer's club for you, please consider joining:

How has working with film helped you as an author?

Well, the only actual films and videos I ever produced were in College. It was after graduation that I spent 12 years writing a large stack of un-produced teleplays and screenplays (all “On Spec,” and no, I neither sold nor optioned any of them). To answer your question, though, I’d say authoring all of those screenplays helped me a great deal with polishing my ability to write good dialogue, and also taught me a lot about economy of language. Scripts are, by nature, lean, mean, fighting machines. The same can be said about a well-written short story. And there you have it.

You have written some screenplays. For those just starting out in writing screenplays, what advice would you give them based on your experience?

Read the following two books from cover to cover: “Adventures in The Screen Trade” by William Goldman and “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting” by Syd Field. Then open your eyes REALLY wide and understand that the famously nepotistic Hollywood film industry is flooded with tens of thousands of spec screenplays every year. According to Screen Digest, 453 films were produced in the U.S. in 2007. Do the math. It’s lottery odds. Keep your day job and write your brilliant screenplays in the evenings and over the weekends, and pray that your spouse/partner/lover is patient and understanding (because they are going to have to be to put up with your depressions and lack of free time).

Where can people find more out about you?

My home page:
My YouTube Channel: NorthCountryPoet
My FaceBook Account: Michael H. Hanson
The Fictioneers:
Space Force Adventures: