Zombie Queen: Stacy Kingsley talks Zombies!

What better way to end my Halloween Blog Tour (I need to come up with a better name) than with the Zombie Queen herself, Author Stacy Kingsley! I met Stacy at one of the many conventions us local authors frequent here in Alabama. I was able to sit on a panel with her and I was glad that someone else in my state shared my love of the zombie genre. We also had a great discussion of how the modern media has romanticized the classic movie monsters. We won’t get into that in this blog post, but maybe another time. 🙂 Until then, get to know more about Stacy!

 

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Stacy grew up loving the horror genre. When she first saw the movie CUJO she learned that you have to wait because even in those last five minutes something will happen. Stacy loves horror so much she wrote her Master’s thesis on the decline of horror in popular culture and loves to watch every horror movie she can get her hands on, no matter how bad it might be. Her love of zombies stems from her desire to find true monsters, not sparkling vampires, loving werewolves, or ghosts who help you solve cases. Zombies have one thing on their mind, eating people. She loves zombies so much she has done zombie makeup for an ice skating exhibition, played a zombie in a short independent film, done several zombie themed runs and is working on her zombie series. ZOMBIES ARE PEOPLE TOO! is the first book in her “Do Zombies Win?” series. Her second book ZOMBIES BITE! was released 2014, followed by the third book in the series ZOMBIE WASTELAND in 2016. She has several stories available as part of the series and is currently working on ZOMBIMERICA, the last book in her zombie series. She is always willing to discuss horror with other fans, authors and those who just enjoy the genre.

 

Author Questions

 

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

S. When I was 9 I wrote my first book. It was about my favorite toy, a stuffed tiger named Jake, as a detective. I never realized I wanted to be an author, I just was one, starting at age 9.

A. In what genre do you write?

S. I mostly write horror, but right now specifically apocalyptic zombie horror. I am trying to figure out what to write next, but I don’t know what scares people anymore.

A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

S. Monetarily I would love to be able to write Erotica, just because it does seem to be so lucrative, but if I were going to try something new I’d like to write either YA paranormal or a mystery suspense novel

A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

S. I write everything longhand, just me and the paper, at first. Then I type things into the computer, which also takes care of my first round of edits. I often listen to music, usually depending on the character. Still trying to work out where to write, back home (Southern California) there was a great coffee shop near a college, but there doesn’t seem to be a place like that here in Alabama.

A. Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

S. I write short chapters because of James Patterson. Every book of his has pretty short chapters, which makes me want to keep reading because I always think, “Well I can just do one more chapter,” and before I know it I am halfway through the book. Also, I have looked up to both Stephen King and Dean Koontz because they have written several great books in the horror genre. Mostly though I like looking at all books for inspiration.

A. Dean Koontz! Yes!

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

S. I do tons of research, mostly on methods of death and murder, which makes me believe that the NSA is totally already watching me. I mean you can only look up the different uses and how to create cyanide so many times before someone is watching you.

A. The author search history is a deep and dangerous place.

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

S. I do listen to music, but not a certain type since I let my characters choose what they want to listen to.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

S. I am also an artist. I paint on both canvases and shoes, I cross stitch bookmarks, I crochet baby clothes and scarves to give as gifts, I sew a little, and well, lots of other stuff. I sell some of this stuff on my Etsy shop Little Bit O Zombie. I also love being outside, being from Southern California means I love, love, love being outdoors, even if it isn’t super sunny.

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

S. The most exciting things have been meeting fans and other zombie lovers, and meeting other amazing authors. I have made so many amazing author friends and have started really feeling like I am part of a community, which for an Indie Author is a very important thing.

A. Yes, the Indie Author community is amazing. We are definitely cheerleaders for each other!

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

S. I did actually. I drew them and played with them in photoshop. The backgrounds for all of my books are infectious viruses like Ebola and the Plague.

A. Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

S. I’d love to say thanks to my amazing editor Michelle Hylton, and I’d love to thank the writer’s group I am part of here for accepting me, so thanks Writer’s Group at Lowe Mill and thanks to Jennifer Pinkley for starting it!

A. Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

S. I am currently working on the last novel in my zombie series titles ZOMBIMERICA. It is about the end of the zombie apocalypse. I didn’t want my series to be one of those that kept going and going and going without a final conclusion (which seems to happen a lot in apocalyptic books as people/survivors rebuild their lives). This last book follows my serial killer named, Marcus, a smart zombie, and a young girl who has almost nothing to lose.

A. This sounds so awesome. I like final resolutions of stories that have been going on for a long time. It’s bittersweet, but I get why it needs to happen.

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Patient Zero on Amazon

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

S. I enjoy Halloween so much it is ridiculous. I love the scary side of life and celebrating ghosts, black cat, goblins, zombies, mummies, and all the dark side of life fascinates me. Halloween is the one time where I don’t feel like I have to pretend to be someone else and I can rock my weird self out in the open.

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

S. The only tradition I have is watching as many scary movies as I can, and buying either candy corn or those pumpkins which are like candy corn. I used to take my nieces and nephew out, and younger siblings, but the kids have grown up.

A. Do you believe in the spiritual realm?

S. Yes, and I have to do a lot of research on this for the books I write. Even though I don’t have ghosts, zombies themselves are supernatural. There are so many people out there who have claimed to experienced something, that it’s hard to say the spiritual realm doesn’t exist.

A. I have to agree with you on that one.

A. Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost or something happen that you just explain?

S. Yes, but that is another story for another day.

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

S. Honestly I can’t say that I have just one. For a long time my favorite book was THE STAND by Stephen King, but then I discovered other authors, and I just don’t have a favorite. This is the same way I feel about movies, I can watch THIRTEEN GHOSTS over and over and over, but it isn’t a great horror film, it’s just fun. Although, SESSION 9 is one of the best horror films I have ever watched. It is scary but not in your face, an excellent movie.

A. The Stand freaked me out. It’s such a good story.

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

S. Candy Corn and those candy pumpkins, I love love love these, and one bag lasts me the entire month.

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Zombie Wasteland on Amazon

Reader Questions

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

S. BLACK BEAUTY by Anna Sewell, it is a beautiful book told from the point-of-view of a horse, and it is so heartfelt. This was the first book which made me cry. I loved Ginger so much and wish life could have been different for her.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

S. I think most books should be left alone, but I would love to see a good movie adaptation of the THE RISING series by Brian Keene. It is a great series of zombie books and I think it would make a great movie series, or even television adaptation, because the characters evolve and the ending was fabulous.

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

S. In these days of anything can be self-published (and I say this as a self-published author) I hate when an author have spelling and grammatical mistakes in their novels. Also. if a book has been overdone (one reason I don’t read a lot of romance is that they often seem the same), I just can’t finish it.

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

S. I almost always try to finish, and there really haven’t been many books I didn’t finish. Although, because I can’t not finish a book I have read several bookS that I really hated.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

S. I will read anything, as long as it is interesting.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

S. Oh, I am absolutely a book-in-hand reader. I spend so much time on the computer for my day job and writing that I just feel like reading on an e-reader is just me continuing to be on a computer.

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Zombies Are People Too! on Amazon

 

Random Questions

 

A. Favorite movie?

S. My favorite movie has been and will always be FIELD OF DREAMS. It was just such a beautiful movie and it said so much about life and family, plus it was one of the first movies to make me cry.

 

A. What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

S. My favorite dessert is cheesecake, all kinds of cheesecake.

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

S. There are so many bands and musicians, I love, Metallica, Pink Floyd, George Michael, right now Twenty One Pilots has been on a good rotation, Black Keys, there are a lot more, but I don’t think this section alone needs to be twenty pages.

A. Rock on, girl!

A. What’s your hidden talent?

S. I am very handy, I can lay tile, hardwood flooring, laminate, build cabinets, furniture, I love using the miter and table saws, and have gutted and remodeled an entire house with only a little help.

A. Hmm, now I know who to hire to remodel my house!

A. What is your dream vacation?

S. It changes, but right now I have been dying to go to Japan to see the suicide forest and visit the haunted places there. I’d also love to go to Pripyat, Russia and take a tour of the Chernobyl area, well as close as one can get without getting radiation poisoning.

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Zombies Bite on Amazon

Contact Information:

Author Name: Stacy Kingsley

Blog: www.stacykingsley.com/oh-the-horror

Facebook: www.facebook.com/author.stacy.kingsley

Twitter: twitter.com/StacyKingsleyZH

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/3466767.Stacy_Kingsley

Book Links: www.amazon.com/Stacy-Kingsley/e/B00JEQVR30/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1476901229&sr=8-1

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/zombieauthor

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The Origin Key: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Collide

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I’m thrilled to feature another Alabama author on my blog this month. Susan is such a sweet spirit and has always been so kind to me. Sometimes when you meet people you automatically think, “I like her. We’re going to get along just fine.” Believe me when I say those types of people are in short supply.

With that being said, it doesn’t mean she’s too sweet to write a nail-biting fantasy book with a dash of science fiction because she did the thing. Are you intrigued? Good! Keep reading.

Susan McPhail spent years writing technical documentation and developing marketing materials for high-tech engineering firms. She is now a fantasy/science fiction author living in Huntsville, Alabama (aka the Rocket City) with her husband. When she’s not writing or catching the latest movie, Susan enjoys handcrafts like crocheting and quilting because it looks like she’s doing something useful while in fact she is pondering how to work out tricky plot points.

The Origin Key is her first novel, and is the first book in the Treasures of Dodrazeb series. You can find her online at www.sdmcphail.com and on Twitter @susan_mcphail.

 

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The Origin Key on Amazon

Author Questions

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

S. I’ve always been a voracious reader and welcomed opportunities to get creative with words in my work life. A few years ago when I transitioned out of a full-time job, I decided to challenge myself and see if I could write fiction. About halfway into the first draft of my first novel, I realized that I had also always wanted to be an author—I had just not taken the time to acknowledge that passion.

A. In what genre do you write?

S. My first published novel is Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key. It’s historical fantasy adventure, a heroic quest that I describe as “sword-and-science” because there is an element of sci-fi in it as well.

A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

S. I have plans for a humorous cozy mystery series featuring a smart wife/mom/working woman who reluctantly gets drawn into murder investigations. It’s set in a small, rural southern town filled with marvelously eccentric characters.

A.Oooo! This sounds so fun!

A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

S. My process tends to be less outline-oriented and more seat-of-the-pants. I start out by jotting down notes about major plot points that turn into a somewhat vague synopsis. Then when I start working on a first draft, I develop new and better ideas as I go, so the story starts to diverge from my original notes. The basic story I had in mind remains the same, but taking my characters from the beginning to the end is a very satisfying creative endeavor.

I’m always jotting down notes about different ideas for different stories, so much of that is done with pen and paper (or notebook or napkin or whatever is handy when an idea strikes). But when I have big chunks of writing time, I like to be on my computer. I can type faster than I can write legibly!

A. Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

S. Stephen King has been a favorite author of mine for decades. I don’t like every book he’s ever written, but he is a master story teller. I love J.K. Rowling’s imagination and world-building skills. I was also influenced by lots of science fiction writers from H.G. Wells to Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury. One of my all-time favorites is Anne McCaffrey’s science fantasy series Dragonriders of Pern.

A. YES! Rowling is an artist!

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

S. Since my series Treasures of Dodrazeb is grounded in real human history, I have to do quite a bit of research. The hero is a third-century Persian warrior-prince, so I’ve done extensive reading about ancient Persia and that region of the world. In addition to historical research, it’s also necessary to get the details right on a hefty amount of science. While on a quest to bring a criminal to justice, the Persian warrior-prince discovers a hidden kingdom using what we consider to be modern technology in everyday life. That means I have to understand their technology and then be able to describe how an ancient warrior would react to it.

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

S. No, I’m not usually listening to music while I write—I listen to the TV. It’s an old habit from when I was in school. I would do my homework in the living room with the TV on. Apparently, that works for me just like listening to music works for others.

A. Interesting. I’ve never heard that before.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

S. What’s more fun than reading? I read a lot. I like going to the movies, too. Touring historical sites is fun. I recently got to tour the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta. Her novel, Gone with the Wind, was an incredibly successful historical novel with vivid, unforgettable characters. I was able to celebrate a love of history, movies, reading, and writing all at once in one afternoon!

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

S. Receiving the first print copy of my first novel was too awesome for words. Being able to hold an actual copy of a book that I had written made it real for me. I wasn’t just an aspiring writer any more—I was a published author!

A. There is no greater feeling!

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

S. I did! We tried working with a cover artist, but he just never could quite capture the look I wanted. So I put my years of marketing experience and working with graphics to good use.

A. That’s awesome. Maybe I’ll be hitting you up for some tips on that. 😉

A. Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

S. Absolutely! The Rocket City Lit Fest in 2015 was a major catalyst in spurring me to take the final steps and get my first novel published. Thanks to Ashley Chappell-Peeples and A.G. Porter, both wonderful writers themselves, for all your hard work on that event.

I also want to thank my amazing editor Molly Felder. With her help I was able to polish my pretty good story into a true gem of a first novel. I appreciate her patience, eye for detail, and willingness to teach me how to be a better writer.

A. The Lit Fest was amazing! Thanks for the shot out!

A. Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

S. Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key, is a historical sword-and-science fantasy adventure set in the third century. While on a quest to avenge a horrific attack on his father the king, a Persian warrior discovers a strange kingdom isolated from the rest of the world. He thinks the villain is hiding there, but a sly princess is determined to sabotage the Persians to protect her kingdom’s ancient secrets. What is she so desperate to keep hidden?

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

S. I do enjoy Halloween. I like seeing children donning costumes and exploring the idea of becoming someone or something else for a little while. I like seeing the older kids and adults freeing themselves of their conventional identities for a time and getting creative. I like the idea of costume parties. Perhaps most of all, I like CHOCOLATE!

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

S. I like to watch favorite old spooky movies or fun ones like Hocus Pocus or Nightmare Before Christmas leading up to trick-or-treat night. Then we usually order in pizza and have fun answering the door to shower neighborhood kids with candy on Halloween night.

A. Do you believe in the spiritual realm?

S. Yes.

A. Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost or something happen that you just explain?

S. Yes.

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

S. Donnie Darko. Not necessarily scary, probably because I’ve seen it so many times, but that’s the kind of movie that haunts me.

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

S. Tootsie Rolls. Hershey minis. M&Ms. Milk Duds. Chocolate!

Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

J.K. Rowling. She is my idol!

A. Yes! She’s on my list. I would probably faint. Haha!

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

S. It used to be Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Reading it as a teenager introduced me to so many questions about so many things, I began to develop the ability to think independently, examining issues from many sides.

If you consider an entire series as a single story, it might now be Harry Potter. That story is just magical in so many ways with layers upon layers of meaning.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

S. Other than my own book? 😉 I think, if done correctly, any good book can be a good movie if filmmakers respect the source material. The book will always be better, but sometimes it takes a movie to get a person interested in a book. The Harry Potter series was done well as movies and I was also impressed with The Hunger Games films.

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

S. I don’t care too much for whiny, one-dimensional characters.

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

S. When I start a book, I’m usually committed to finishing it. I keep thinking that if I stick with it, the book will eventually get better. This is not always the case.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

S. My personal preference tends toward speculative fiction, but I’m game for lots of other genres. The one I tend to avoid is Romance, unless there is a strong element of mystery, suspense, humor, horror, or some other kind of genre mash-up.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

S. I like to acquire autographed books, and there’s something about turning pages and never worrying about battery life that is appealing. But I also read e-books for their convenience, portability, and affordability.

Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

S. Donnie Darko

A. Favorite TV show?

S. All time: Star Trek (every one of them). Currently: Game of Thrones, Westworld, Big Bang Theory

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

S. That’s a tough one! If I could or if I had to? What keeps popping into my head as I ponder this question is pizza, so I guess that’s my answer.

A. You can’t go wrong with pizza!

A. What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

S. Did I mention chocolate already? Warm brownies with a scoop of ice cream!

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

S. Beatles. Styx. Michael Jackson. Adele. Is my age showing yet?

A. What’s your hidden talent?

S. Sarcasm. No, wait—that one shows up pretty frequently. My hidden talent is appearing confident in public when I’m ready to shrivel up and die inside.

A. I know what you mean!

A. What is your dream vacation?

S. Leisurely touring Great Britain and Ireland, staying in castles that have been converted into 5-star luxury hotels.

Contact Information:

Author Name: S.D. McPhail

Blog: www.sdmcphail.com

Facebook: S.D. McPhail, Author

Twitter: susan_mcphail

Goodreads: S.D. McPhail

Book Links: https://www.amazon.com/Origin-Key-Treasures-Dodrazeb/dp/1533454116/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476817108&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Origin+Key

 

              

Rhiannon Frater: Zombies, Vampires, and Ghosts, Oh My!

Asking Rhiannon Frater to be a part of this Halloween themed Author feature was a no-brainer. Her book, The Living Dead Boy, has stuck with me from the moment I turned that last page. The world(s) and characters she creatures is evidence of her immense talent. I have been a fan of the zombie genre for so long that it’s hard to surprise me, much less, impress me. When a friend (thanks Elyse) suggested this book I went into it with an open mind, but still not expecting much. I was so wrong! The story was fresh and mature despite the young age of the main character. I became an instant fan. There is much more to her writing credits than zombies. What else does she write? You’ll just have to find out!

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor) as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog). She was born and raised in Texas where she currently resides with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes. She’s the co-host of the ZCast, a Z Nation Fan Podcast.

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Here are some free books by Rhiannon. Thanks for sharing these with us!
The Tale of the Vampire Bride – http://bit.ly/talevb1
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In Darkness We Must Abide- http://bit.ly/RFindarkness1

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Author Questions

 

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

R. From the moment I understood what a book was. So…toddler age? As soon as I learned to talk I was telling stories. As soon as I learned to write, I was writing stories. I was born to do this.

A. In what genre do you write?

R. I write under the umbrella of speculative fiction. I used to classify myself as more of a horror writer, but the genre, as defined now, leans more toward the slasher/gore type stuff. That isn’t my style. I don’t like writing for shock value. I love writing about people facing horrific situations, and fighting back.
So which genre do my books fit into? I’ve had long discussions with readers, and have discovered that they slot my books it different genres. Urban Fantasy, paranormal fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and even paranormal romance. I honestly think the only series I’ve written that fits paranormal romance is In Darkness We Must Abide, but people interpret the books as they see fit.

So I wave the speculative fiction flag and let readers decide for themselves.

A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

R. Well, I used to say science fiction, but I’ve now written a few books that fit into that genre. It is my first love, and I have a soft spot for it. I love writing stories with something otherworldly in the mix. I’m not really interested in genres outside of the ones I’ve already explored. I’ve had requests for erotica and romances, but those are just not my thing.

A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

R. I dream a story. I write down the details I remember in Workflowy. I let the idea germinate. When the time is right, I flip on the movie screen in my mind, watch the action, and type it out in yWriter. I don’t outline, I don’t plot. Whenever I hit a snag, I ruminate while playing Guild Wars 2. I try to write every day when working on a book because that’s the best way to keep the story flowing. I now keep Pinterest boards for my works in progress, and I noticed that really helps anchor me solidly to the world of my imagination.

Long, long ago, I wrote by hand, and destroyed my wrists and my basal thumb joints. I can barely write by hand anymore, so I’m strictly an ergonomic keyboard girl.

A. Writing can do a number on your wrists! 

A. Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

R. The Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Agatha Christie, and Neil Gaiman.

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

R. It depends on the book. If they take place in the modern world and in Texas, it’s pretty easy to just bang that out on the keyboard. The Pretty When She Dies trilogy and As The World Dies trilogy were a lot easier to craft because they both fit that criteria. The Mesmerized was inspired by my honeymoon in Las Vegas, so I kept images of the strip and a map on my screen while writing. The Vampire Bride Dark Rebirth trilogy was a lot more demanding because it takes place in Eastern Europe during the Regency Era. I did probably a year of research before I even started the first book. My husband often helps me with weaponry and tech. Though my science fiction books are pure speculation of the future, I do try to base it off of stuff in development now.

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

R. It really depends on the book. For Pretty When She Dies it was a lot of PJ Harvey, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and music like that. For my recent book, The Lament of the Vampire Bride, it was the Jane Eyre soundtrack. It’s always changing, book to book.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

R. I binge-watch television shows with my hubby, read, play lots of video games, and hang out with loved ones. I was really ill last year and still recovering, so I’ve been a homebody. I do hope to get out more and do some traveling when I’m back to normal. I miss the convention circuit.

A. Conventions are so much fun! I hope you get back to it soon. 

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

R. I was invited to the South Dakota Book Festival, and that was just an amazing experience. I was interviewed on television about my books for the first time, sat on some panels, did my own presentation, and did a mass book signing. For some reason, that weekend made me feel like a “real” writer.

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

R. Claudia McKinney of PhatPuppyArt has done a lot of my covers, including the ones from Permuted Press. My Tor covers are done in-house by their art department. My foreign editions are also done by my publishers’ art departments.

Recently, my husband has been creating covers for my indie books.

A. Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

R. Well, I love Felicia Sullivan. She’s an amazing editor. And Kody Boye always makes my indie books look amazing. He’s an awesome formatter.

A. Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

My newest release (as of October 25th) is Lost in Texas: The Living Dead Boy 2. It’s the sequel to The Living Dead Boy. It’s a zombie book geared at all ages. I would describe it as the Goonies versus the zombies. I wrote the first book for the youngest zombie fans, but adults really love it, too. The books are about Josh, a twelve-year-old zombie fanatic, and his friends. They’re part of the Zombie Hunters Club, and love all things zombie. When the undead invade their school, the kids have to rely on their knowledge of zombies to survive. Though the books are not as gory as my adult zombie series (As The World Dies trilogy, The Last Bastion series), they’re pretty scary. I’m currently working on the third book in the Living Dead Boy trilogy, Journey Across Zombie Texas, to round out the series. After that, I may take a break from zombies, and write a gothic horror novel.

A. I’m so pumped for book 2 for The Living Dead Boy!

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The Living Dead Boy on Amazon

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

R. Halloween is a way of life for me. I love it. I’m Goth so it’s basically Christmas for me. Furthermore, I was married on Halloween so it has additional importance.

A. Married on Halloween!? That’s awesome! 

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

R. My hubby and I usually go to a nice dinner together, and if it’s on the weekend, we hit the local goth club. If it’s a weekday, we usually watch a Halloween themed movie like The Nightmare Before Christmas.

A. Do you believe in the spiritual realm?

R. Absolutely. I have zero doubts about that.

A. Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost or something happen that you just explain?

R. Yes. More times than I can relate. I lived in two haunted houses. After a while, the paranormal stuff became normal. I remember we had guests over one day and were chatting in our living room. From the kitchen came the sound of every single dish, pan, glass, silverware, etc., falling out of the cabinets. It was deafening. But to my family, it was the same old, same old. We ignored it because we knew if we went into the kitchen nothing would be out of place. Our guests were surprised when we shrugged off the noise. They ignored us when we said it was nothing, and ran to the kitchen. When they saw that not one plate was out of place, they freaked out and fled. And never came back.

We just carried on as usual.

A. That’s freaky! 

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

R. I have too many favorite scary movies to pick from, but the scariest book I read was Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I couldn’t sleep with the lights off for a few days after finishing it.

A. I’ve never read the book, but the 1979 movie really freaked me out! 

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

R. I avoid sugar, but I used to love candy corn.

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Pretty When She Dies on Amazon

Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

R. Anne Rice. Without a doubt.

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

R. Jane Eyre because of Jane Eyre. Jane is just an amazing woman, and one of the first feminist characters I read about. She’s wonderfully complicated and smart. I just adore her.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

R. I regard films as alternative universes to books. In a way, they’re fan fiction films. The one book I really wanted to see as a film is now in production. That’s The Gunslinger by Stephen King.

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

R. I have a long list. LOL. I really hate when author’s make a woman angry all the time with a chip on her shoulder to make her appear “strong.” No, that just makes her an asshole. I hate when a plot depends on a misunderstanding that would be resolved in a one minute conversation. I also don’t enjoy books that depend on violence for shock value, or use rape of a woman as a plot device so the male character can get revenge.
A. I agree. I don’t think like senseless, unnecessary violence. 

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

R. Life is too short. I have learned to walk away. As a writer, I’m aware that a book is not for all readers. Each one has its own audience.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

R. The books I read for enjoyment have a supernatural or science fiction element. When I research, I cast a wider net.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

R. Since I wrecked my hands by handwriting my first books in my teens, I use a Kindle. It’s a lot easier to hold. The last time I read a regular book, I was in so much pain I had to buy the Kindle version to finish.

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Pretty When She Kills on Amazon

Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

R. Night of the Living Dead, Aliens, Rear Window, That Touch of Mink, Mad Max Fury Road, and so many more.

A. Favorite TV show?

R. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

R. My mom’s spaghetti and meatballs.

A. There’s no cooking like mom’s cooking.

A. What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

R. Chocolate gelato served in Italy. Nothing compares.

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

R. Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and PJ Harvey are default.

A. What’s your hidden talent?

R. I’m a damn good shot with a pistol.

A. What is your dream vacation?

R. Venice in October. I can’t wait to go back.

A. Me too! 

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Pretty When She Destroys on Amazon

Contact Information:

You can find her online at:

Website: rhiannonfrater.com

Twitter: twitter.com/rhiannonfrater

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rhiannon.frater

Tumblr: http://rhiannonfrater.tumblr.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=340109912&trk=spm_pic

Google+: https://plus.google.com/113336058823746385572/posts

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rhiannon-Frater/e/B0027DLFL6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2310121.Rhiannon_Frater

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rhiannonfrater/

Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com

 

 

Lords of Vengeance: Bart Hamilton

I can’t tell you how excited I am to introduce you to Bart Hamilton. I met Bart at the Athens Catfish Literary Festival this past summer. His book covers looked pretty stinking awesome (yes, I judge books by their covers) so I had to walk over and check them out. I was glad I did because not only did I find some really well written YA books, I made a new author friend! It doesn’t hurt that Bart is one of the nicest people on the planet.

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Bart’s books, the Lords of Vengeance series, are action/adventure tales for young adults, but they’re those types of books that even adults can enjoy. Personally, I like books that focus on teens who are thrown into dire circumstances and, as the reader, we get to watch how they handle it.

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Lords of Vengeance: The Alpha

Author Questions

A. When you realize you wanted to be an author?

B. I used to tell stories as a kid. My mom, sister, and I would drive to Decatur every Monday to see my Ma-maw and Pap-Paw and I would be just talking away the whole time. Eventually, my mother was like “You know, you should write this stuff down on paper.” It was a nice way of telling me to shut up. That’s when the seed was planted, I suppose.

A. In what genre do you write?

B. Young adult. Action/Adventure

A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

B. I’ve always wanted to try Fantasy or Science Fiction. Maybe one day I will.

A. What is your writing process? Such as outlining, freehand, and computer vs. pen?

B. I don’t do outlines. I feel really restricted when I try them. I like to change plans and if you don’t stick to the outline then there’s no point in having it anyway. I do everything on the computer.

A. Who are your writing inspirations, famous or not?

B. I grew up reading Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, and other Christian Fiction authors.

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novels?

B. A little bit. You always need to get your facts straight before you put it on a page. For instance, I researched the effects of a gunshot on the human body. For this next book, I’m going to be writing a scene about the Stock Exchange so I’m going to do some research on that.

A. Do you ever find the research tedious? It is for your novels, but is there any time you’re like, “Oh gosh, why did I chose this topic?”

B. Some topics are harder to research than others. For instance, one character in my next novel will have cancer resulting from radiation poisoning. That…is going to be a pain to research. So, the answer is yes.

A. Do you listen to music as you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

B. Yes! All the time! I listen to a lot of instrumental music. Movie composers like Hans Zimmer and John Williams. Lindsey Stirling. I also love a group call Two Steps from Hell.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

B. I enjoy playing video games, reading books, and going running. I’m also into Theater. I’m a member of the Athenian Players.

A. You have to tell us more about being an actor. What is about theater that draws you? 

B. I’m a bit of introvert and theater gives me a chance to be the exact opposite. When you’re onstage, everyone is there to see you. Shyness melts away and someone else comes out. It’s fun.

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

B. I’ve been on TV multiple times. That never gets old.

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

B. The spectacular Lisa Buijteweg! She is on Twitter under the handle @Zolaiida if you want to contact her.

A. Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

B. Angie Paule is my editor and I love her so much. I wouldn’t be able to do this without her.

A. Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

B. My newest novel is the third of the series. It’s titled “Lords of Vengeance: The Giant”. To use Stephen King’s what if advice when describing a novel…What if a secret, wealthy organization began training kids (prodigies) at 16 years of age for the next five years to be spies, assassins, computer hackers, or scientists? What if that organization came under attack by people it had made into enemies?

A. That’s a really good blurb for your book! Are they easy to write for you? Some authors dread having to condense their novel into a single paragraph. 

B. Not hard, really. You just need to stop and think about it for a while. Try doing it for your favorite TV show or Movie for practice.

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Lords of Vengeance: The Ascension

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

B. –I do like Halloween! It’s the one time of the year where it’s socially acceptable to be someone other than yourself.

 

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

B. For the past few years. I’ve dressed up in a costume, got several bags of candy, and gave it out to people I know. And to a few I don’t.

A. Do you believe in the spiritual realm?

B. Yes, I do. I am a Christian, after all.

A. Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost or something happen that you just can’t explain?

B. I have. After my grandmother passed away, I “dreamed” she came to me. We talked. She told me she loved me and then told me about some personal things that were headed my way. They have come true. It wasn’t scary. I think God gave her special permission to do it. She could sweet talk anyone. LOL.

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

B. Amanda Porter’s Darkness Trilogy. That chick can write!

A. Oh, stop it! 😉 

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

B. KIT KATS!

 Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

B. J.K. Rowling, obviously.

A. SAME!

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

B. Star Wars: Episode III. It was just so brilliantly written. The movie didn’t do it justice. It really inspired me to examine the duality of my characters when I started writing. The darkness that resides in all humans, the capability of doing good or evil, is something that makes for good characterization.

A. Oooo! You must tell us your opinion of the new Star Wars era. Did you enjoy the new movie? 

B. I loved the new movie! Took me back to my childhood. I like the new continuity, but I really miss the characters in the old one. Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin were Han and Leia’s kids. Mara Jade was Luke’s wife and Ben was his son. Now it’s all gone…

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

B. I’m all for books being made into films if it gets people to want to read more. As for which book I’d like to see be made into a film…MINE. 😀

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

B. The lack of plot movement and character development. You might as well be reading a textbook if it doesn’t have either of those. Not that there’s anything wrong with reading a textbook.

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

B. I wish I could say that I always finish it, but I don’t. If I’m not enjoying it, I’ll put it down.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

B. I read around. I like Mysteries, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Christian Fiction.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

B. I like it in my hands. E-books are easier, true, but they’re odorless. I love the smell of books, old and new. Smell triggers memory and I want to remember what I read.

A. There is nothing better than that new book smell!

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Lords of Vengeance: The Giant

Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

B. Superman. The Richard Donner film.

A. Favorite TV show?

B. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

A. Yes! Buffy Summers is my girl crush! 

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

B. Papa John’s Pizza!

A. And what topping(s) would be on this pizza?

B. Supreme! Olives, pepperoni, sausage, and anything else they can throw on there. LOL!

A. What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

B. Chocolate Oreo Truffles!

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

Two Steps from Hell, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Lindsey Stirling, and The Piano Guys.

A. What’s your hidden talent?

B. Martial Arts

A. How long have you been training?

B. Since high school. I’m not saying I’m Batman or anything, but then again, you’ll never see us both in the same place.

A. What is your dream vacation?

B. Venice, Italy

Contact Information:

Author Name: Bart H. Hamilton

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorbart/?fref=ts

Twitter: @bartavious

 

Call For Submissions-What Lurks in the Dark Anthology

What Lurks in the Dark

Halloween Anthology

 

Authors A.G. Porter and E.A. Kelso are compiling a Halloween themed anthology and we want to add your story to our collection!

You’ve heard the stories, read the books, and watched the movies, but we want to know which classic monsters keep you up at night.

Is it vampires, werewolves, zombies, or maybe even ghosts?

Whatever it maybe, we want your take on these classic ghouls. Tell us what monsters lurk in your darkest fears!

But, here’s the deal, it has to have a modern twist or a new spin.

Meaning, it can range from having your monsters set in the modern world or something we’ve never seen before.

Submission Open: February 1, 2016
Submission Close: June 30, 2016

Release Date (Estimation): October 1, 2016

 Payment: $10

Length: Max 15,000 words

*Will accept Horror, Supernatural, Science Fiction, Fantasy, or anything relating to a classic monster theme.
NO EROTICA
PG-13 Rating

 Submission Guidelines:

1. Word document submission
2. Times New Roman
3. Font Size 12
4. Double spaced
5. In subject line: E&A’s Halloween Anthology, Title of your story, Your name
6. Email to: whatlurksinthedarkanthology@gmail.com

*Any manuscripts submitted incorrectly will be rejected
*We reserve the right to refuse any story submitted without explanation

What Lurks in the Dark

Migraines and Life: It SUCKS, but You Got This!

To say it has been a while since I have blogged is a major understand statement! That may sound cliche, but it is as true a statement as there can be. I have had a lot on my plate. I’m sure many of you can relate. Life gets busy and out of control; it takes so much out of us. I’ve been busy, sure, but there are other reasons that have kept me from my blog. I’ve debated with myself about posting this, but I’ve always said that I’d be transparent with my readers and anyone else who cared to read my blog so, there are a few things I’d like to share. Hopefully, in the end, it will help someone else and possibly myself.

For over a year I have been dealing with migraines. It isn’t something that I thought would ever happen to me. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, but I’m definitely not old. I’m going to be 31 on July 23rd and to me, that is still young! When I started to not feel quite myself I thought maybe I was finally pregnant! It turns out that wasn’t true. It took several months for me to finally realize that over-the-counter medicine wasn’t cutting it and I took my butt to the doctor.

Wounds

My migraine journey has been long, too long in my opinion. I was having pain in my neck and arm. My doctor thought I might have a pinched nerve in my neck. After an MRI, it was duly noted that there was nothing wrong with my neck. Still my doctor thought that maybe physical therapy would help. He was right, it did help my neck and arm, but did absolutely noting for my head. In fact, it made my head hurt worse.

That was when my therapist suggested I get an MRI on my brain and see a neurologist. Needless to say, that was a bit scary. No one wants to get an MRI on their head. Brain tumors run in my family so of course I was having terrible, pointless thoughts. My brother was actually diagnosed with a brain tumor nearly 7 years ago. Thankfully he is still in remission and we are blessed with many more days with him. I’m happy to say that MRI came back clear. According to my neurologist I have a very healthy brain. But, what did that mean?

Here I was, nearly 8 or so months into dealing with migraines, trying to write and trying to work, but will still no answers. That is when my neurologist diagnosed me with migraines. I had already had speculations that was what was going on with me. Believe me, you know when you have a migraine. It sucks! Now that I had a “reason” as to why I was feeling like my body was turning against me, it didn’t mean it was over. It was only the beginning.

I am thankful that God has blessed our world with so many bright people. I’m a firm believer that if a medication can help you then you should take it. Here is my dilemma, the medicine and I have not been friends. They would either make me sick or not work. At first they would knock me flat on my rear. I would come home at 6:00 PM and sleep until the next day. I would be walking around in a haze, but still have this intense pressure in my head. My doctor tried everything.

Now, I’m at the point where I’m going to try Botox injections. When I heard about Botox treating migraines, I was skeptical. I’m still skeptical. However, I’m at the point that I will try anything as long as it’s not immoral or illegal. I’ll be honest, there are days when even that is up in the air. I’ve told my husband on many occasions that I’d take a horse tranquilizer if I knew it would help. There have been so many times where I have stayed curled up in my bed, holding my head, praying that God would just take the pain away.

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I can say that if it weren’t for God, I would have lost my mind ages ago. He has blessed me with health professionals who are trying different methods of treatments. I have had amazing co-workers, both writing buddies and others, who are at the ready with words of encouragement. My family and friends have been a huge blessing so I know that He knew that I would be in this situation one day. He put those people in my life for a reason and I can’t thank him enough. You really start to realize who your true friends are when your health gets turned upside down.

That’s the bones of the experience I’ve had so far. You have probably heard a similar story from people you know that have migraines. What you probably haven’t heard is the other part, the part that people like me try to keep ourselves. What could that be? Well, the darkness that creeps in on you when your body is in constant pain on a daily basis. Migraines aren’t an illness that many people can sympathize with, if you don’t have it, because it’s not something you can see. It’s a silent sickness that a lot of people still can’t view as a true disease.

I don’t blame these people at all. There are still a lot of things the health community doesn’t understand about migraines. Treatments are a shot in the dark. It’s almost like you’re a guinea pig with the medicine and other treatment options. You literally go through phases of “let’s see if this works.” More times than not it doesn’t work and you’re back to square one.

There are so many people who can’t wrap their heads around this. I’ve heard it from so many of them, “Why haven’t they fixed you yet?” or “Well when I have a headache I do this, this, and this.” or “Have you tried blah, blah, blah, works for me every time.” Sweet Lord, baby Jesus, I wish it were that simple! I say that in a not taking the Lord’s name in vain sort of way. I ask Him a lot to let it be that easy. The truth is, as meaningful as people are with their suggestions, migraine (NOT headaches) sufferers will try anything, but you can’t just “fix” us. It’s a constant battle to find something that works.

Then you have your triggers. These triggers are different for everyone, but there are some that seem to affect the majority. It could be weather (Yes! The darn weather!), food (Chocolate…what a world!), scents, lights, heat, sounds…you name it, just about anything can trigger a migraine. It can seem like there isn’t a hope in the world. Your life is never the same. You can’t do things that you used to. Work, on a daily basis, is nearly impossible, you can’t hang out with friends, or go to family gatherings without looking like you’re about to pass out. You will spend many, many beautiful days locked inside a dark room with an ice pack on the back of your neck. It is a life changer for the worse.

Let me tell you, as with many chronic illnesses, if you aren’t careful, it can consume you. I have always been the type of person that would hold in problems with pain and emotions. Sure, I love easily and if I love you, you’ll know it. But, when it came to me, something that I thought made me look weak, I kept it to myself. This has really hit me where it hurts, my pride. I’m a control freak and a fixer. I want to fix all of the problems with myself and have always been foolish enough to think that I can do it on my own. Ha!

I got so down, further than I had ever been in my life. Saying that my head hurt got old to even me so I just stopped saying it. I held it all in and would only talk to those who were closest to me. Even then I’d say, “I’m fine.” when they asked me how I was feeling. I was lying to them and myself. I wasn’t fine. I was hurting and not just physically, but in my soul. This illness had taken not only my strength, but my spark, my joy. Holding in how I felt and denying myself the release of saying, “I hurt.”had stripped me of an outlet that I so desperately needed.

It took a simple spat with my husband about where we should move books to unhinge me. I realized that I was so angry and hurt that the slightest things would set me off. It hurt me that I had hurt him and then I broke down. It was the most disgusting, snotty cry of my life. It was a “Boo-Hoo” cry, as my mother calls it. Even though it was my fault, my husband held me the entire time, just letting me get it all out. That cry saved my sanity. It made me realize that I couldn’t hold this in and that it was OK to admit that I live with a pain that had uprooted my entire life.

To be honest, it does kick my butt most days. It hurts; I will never deny that. There are still going to be days when I feel down in the dumps. I’m not going to want to get out of bed or wash my hair or make dinner or clean the house. I will be irritable and grumpy; heck, I’m sure I’ll be down right miserable to be around. There is one thing I won’t be, afraid. I know I have a long battle ahead of me. Boy, will it suck, but I will not be ashamed to admit that I need help or that I am in pain.

Psalms 147

I will cling to God, to my family, to friends, to my supporters. I will hold on to the fact that this pain is only temporary and there are wonderful and jubilant days ahead for me. If you are where I am, I am praying for you and I send you all of my love, all of my positive thoughts. You will get through this. I am here for you. I am your sister in God; I am your sister in arms. We will fight this war together. No man or woman or child gets left behind.

If you have found your way out of this battle, remember those who still need your support. God bless you. Never take your pain free days for granted. If your loved is going through this, be kind, be understanding when they cancel plans at the last minute. Believe me, if they could be there they would. This doesn’t just go for those who have migraines, but anyone who is suffering, be it physically, mentally, or spiritually. Reach out with love in your heart and a warm hug.

Rowling