Toni Lesatz: On Being an Award-Winning Blogger, Author, and Her Love/Hate Relationship with Halloween

There was no way I could do this annual post without including Toni. Not only is she a fellow author and blogger, award winning I might add, she’s also my Internet friend. We all have them; that friend you met online and wished they lived next door.

When I was starting out as an Indie Author, Toni one of the first Bloggers to take a chance on reading my book and leaving me a review. That might not sound like a big deal to some, but for a fledging author, it’s big news! Especially when that blog is My Book Addiction.

My Book Addiction started 4 years ago this week! Happy Blog-iversary, Toni! Tired of food blogging, Toni started a book blog and the rest is history. I think it was the right decision considering how many followers she has and winning, not one but two, awards at UtopYA. Just like with anything an artist creates, her blog is her “baby.”

toni

Toni Lesatz is a wife, mother, author, reader, blogger, gamer, coffee addict, and lover of the culinary arts. Her short stories, Ashes to Ashes and Dead World, published in fall 2014. She is currently writing full-length novels to continue both stories, as well as a YA dark fantasy book.

Toni lives in Michigan with her husband, children, and her dogs – Lucy (Chihuahua) and Harley (GSD). If she’s not writing or curled up with a book, you’ll most likely find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.

ata

After Tomorrow Anthology on Goodreads

Author Questions

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

T. I knew I wanted to be an author when I was about twelve years old. I carried a notebook around with me, always jotting down short stories and writing poetry.

 A. In what genre do you write?

T. Horror, post-apocalyptic, and paranormal

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

T. Science Fiction, but I’m too afraid I’ll screw it up. Ha!

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

T. My writing process is a mess. 🙂 I’ve tried outlining, and sometimes manage to do it successfully, but I’m more of a just-start-writing kind of girl. I hate writing by hand now, which I wouldn’t have guessed when I first started writing. All of my writing must be done on a computer.

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

T. Jonathan Maberry, Melanie Karsak, Claire C. Riley, Colleen Hoover

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

T. Sometimes I don’t do any research. Some stories just pour out effortlessly. I was, however, writing a YA dark fantasy novel that is now gone forever because my computer died and I didn’t back it up. *queue the ugly cry* That book included a great deal of research. More than I’ve ever done for any project. I get a bit weepy whenever I hear about the area my story was set in, or get Facebook notifications from the gallery I handpicked from Google maps. I’d love to write it all over again, but I’m not quite ready to climb that mountain just yet.

A. Oh man, that sucks! I too have lost a good bit of writing due to technology (or maybe it was me) failing. It will make you cry!

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

T. I do not listen to music. I write in absolute silence. While I love music and find it very uplifting, it distracts me when I’m writing.

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

T. Spending time with my husband and kids doing just about anything is fun for me. We spend a lot of time at church, and love to spend the day shopping – even if it’s just window shopping.

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

T. The most exciting experience was being published. There’s no feeling more intense than the adrenaline rush mixed with nausea that washes over you in huge waves the night before a release. It may be a tie between that and attending UtopYA in Nashville for the first time and winning two awards for my book review blog.

A. I remember that! You do have an amazing blog so it was well deserved!

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

T. I had nothing to do with the covers for either anthology, but my next cover will be created by Lori Parker at Contagious Covers.

A. I love Lori’s covers! She’s the best!

Halloween Questions

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

T. I love Halloween and hate Halloween. Ha! I love the idea of Halloween, but hate that it’s usually cold and raining here in the Metro Detroit area. It also upsets me that stores sell kids Halloween costumes for $50 each (minimum) for two hours of use, and it’s usually something that’s inappropriate or it’s too cold to wear without a coat over it anyway. But I love baking pumpkin seeds (hate carving pumpkins) and I enjoy handing candy out and checking out the costumes.

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

T. Baking pumpkin seeds happens every year at my house.

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

T. The most current movie to scare me was The Conjuring. An older movie that scared me is the first Nightmare on Elm Street.

Books? Wow, there are just too many to start listing them. I love the horror genre, so I spend a lot of time with my nose in horror books.

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

T. Hmm. I don’t know. My daughter’s can’t eat peanuts so, as parents, we have to eat the Reese’s cups and Snickers bars for them. Hehe. I love candy corn, but can only tolerate a handful before nausea sets in.

A. Reese’s rocks! 🙂

hlh

Happy Little Horrors Anthology on Amazon

Reader Questions

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

T. Jonathan Maberry and Isaac Marion

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

T. I don’t understand the question. Ha! There’s no way I can pick just one book. One book that comes to mind is We are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt. It has nothing to do with horror or Halloween, but it has stuck with me since reading it in 2014. As an author, I wish I could write something like that.

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

T. I would LOVE to see Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming made into a movie. I’d also love to see The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak and Odium by Claire C Riley. Oh, and Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle.

I’ll stop now. So sorry. 🙂

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

T. Sex, for no reason at all. I’m not a fan of adult books, honestly. I love middle grade and YA books. I realize there is sex in YA, but it’s not over-the-top sex just to have sex on a page.

A. I agree! Why does it have to be over the top anyway? *shrugs*

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

T. I used to try to be a trooper, but I have so many books that if I tried to finish every book that didn’t interest me, I wouldn’t only have to leave my TBR list to my children in my will, I’d have to leave it to their children as well. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 😉 Ok, I never say that. I don’t know why that just came out.

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

T. I read a lot of different genres. Horror, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, romance. I have to mix it up now and then or it gets stale.

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

T. I used to be a book-in-my-hands reader, but now if I have the hard copy it sits on my shelf to look pretty next to all of my other books and I will buy the Kindle version to read.

 Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

T. Star Wars (most of them)

A. Favorite TV show?

T. The Walking Dead

A. Love this show. Even when it rips my heart out, I love this show.

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

T. Hummus and garlic paste with fresh, warm pita bread.

A. What’s your favorite dessert?

T. Lemon anything and Crème Brule

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

T. John Mark McMillan, Bethel, Twenty One Pilots

A. What’s your hidden talent?

T. It must be hidden really well. I have no idea. Sleeping for long periods of time? Binge-watching shows on Netflix? Oh, I can paint my nails on both hands without issue!

A. You can paint your nails on both hands without a problem?! Tell me your secret!

A. What is your dream vacation?

T. Anything that doesn’t involve camping! Lol. I’d love to travel to overseas. I’ve never left the states.

 

Contact Information:

Author Name: Toni Lesatz

Blog: My Book Addiction http://mybookaddiction.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonibookaddict/

Twitter https://twitter.com/Toni_BookAddict

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8936634.Toni_Lesatz

Book Links:

Happy Little Horror: Freak Show – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23381058-happy-little-horrors

After Tomorrow Anthology – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23718387-after-tomorrow-anthology

 

Advertisements

The Origin Key: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Collide

s-d-mcphail

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.

 

the-origin-key

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

 

              

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.

14813630_1808006862791233_1704398812_n

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.

lords-of-vengence-books-1

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.

lov-book-2

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!

lov-book-3

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

Friday Favorites-Author Ashley Chappell

Hello everyone!

Has it really been that long since I’ve been on my blog? Um, maybe. However, I’m back and that’s all that matters, right? Besides, I’m back with something I hope you all will enjoy.

I’m launching my Friday Favorites! What is Friday Favorites? Well, it will mostly consist of books and authors. It won’t always be traditionally published authors either or massively popular books. Sometimes it will, but be on the look out for books and authors from the Indie world and small press.

Also, I might even throw in some movies, food, local restaurants, etc. The point is, you’ll never know what you’ll find here!

Not only is this a way for me to train myself to work on my blog, it’s also a fun way to showcase some books, people, and places you might not know about.

Today we’re talking about Author Ashley Chappell and her book, Of War and Taters. I met Ashley a little over a year ago and now I’m blessed to call her a friend.

Ash

Ashley Chappell

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up a copy Of War and Taters. I mean, you can like a person, but not like a book, right? What can you really, I mean truly, expect from a book called Of War and Taters with a giant potato sitting inside a circus tent on the cover?

Of War & Taters

 

Having met Ashley, I was pretty sure this book was going to be a lot of fun. Guess what? I was right!

I’ll backtrack just a little bit here. With an exception to a few genres, I’ll pretty much read anything. I normally stick to the Paranormal and Fantasy type books, but if it’s a good read, I don’t care what genre it is. Still, I’m apprehensive to a fault at times. Let me say that I am glad I convinced myself to read a genre that I normally don’t read all that much.

Of War & Taters is satire with Southern flair. Oh it has flair! It has ghosts, circus performers, children lead “gangs”, murder, mystery, romance, and, you guessed it, taters. Take all that, throw in some misinterpreted statements and you have the national media swooping down on a small down, claiming there’s a problem with racism. Never mind the fact that the “gangs” are kids who get along just great.

There are honestly too many things I love about this book to say, “My favorite part was…” However, I will say this for Chappell, she created characters and a world, not too unlike our own. We get caught up in what someone says, but never stop to ask what they meant. Sometimes we say things without thinking about the other person too. We assume a lot about people based on their appearance and not their soul. And that’s how you get the media taking a situation, an innocent or perhaps, localized, situation and blow it completely out of proportion.

Of War & Taters is a fun read, it truly is, but it is much more than that. Sure, there’s a ghost that people can see and they think nothing of it. There’s a very eccentric heiress who is trying her best to kill her husband, the sheriff. Did I mention that a circus set up shop on a potato farm and the ring leader is trying to capitalize on the craziness that has settled on the town? Oh, there is a murderer on the loose too.

Like I said, there is so much more to this fun story set in a small southern town where the days are hot and slow and the most exciting thing there is usually to talk about is the weather. I feel like it could be one of those books that we want to pass down to the next generation and then the next because of it’s underlying message.  What message is that? I think you have to find out for yourself.

My review: So what happens in a small Southern town when a false claim of racism, amongst children no less, reaches the national news outlets? Chaos! Not only does Sheriff Stanley Grace have to deal with his quiet town being invaded with news vans, including the smart and attractive Dana “the I is silent” Perki, but the circus has decided to set up shop on Mad Mother Hinkle’s potato farm. On top of that, the recently deceased actor, Monty, has come back from the dead, ghost form style. As if it couldn’t get any worse, there is a someone loose in the town who is a real danger. Stanley knows it’s up to him to keep his town safe, that is if he can avoid an untimely death by his wife.

I haven’t read a book that has made me laugh, touched my heart, and creeped me out at the same time until I read Ashley Chappell’s Of War & Taters. This satire novel is full colorful characters, strong female characters, who have their own individual stories taking place, but those stories are so entertaining you don’t get lost and they tie back to the main plot. Even the dog, Cud, had his moment in the spotlight! My favorite character, though she didn’t get a lot of word count, was Mother Hinkle. She was fierce!
I can’t get over how amazing this book was. I know that Ashley will continue to write amazing novels for us to read. I am officially a fan!

Amazon link: Of War & Taters
Ashley’s website: http://www.ashleychappellbooks.com/ 
Ashley’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AshleyChappellAuthor

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.

Psalms 61

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

Books for Cindy Fundraiser

~Books for Cindy Fundraiser~

Do you want 19+ books AND help someone in need at the same time? Of course you do!

Books for Hope is fundraising for Cindy Wilson, who is need for several surgeries to alleviate pain due to many Women’s Health issues. Let’s help Cindy, who is an avid reader herself, with the financial burden so she can heal with a little less stress!

Each entry is $5. Every $5 gains you an additional chance of winning all the fabulous books bellow.

1 Grand Prize Winner will win every single paperback listed!

1 additional winner will win all ebooks!

P.S. We’re adding more books everyday!

1. The Shadow by A.G. Porter
2. The Forsaken by A.G. Porter
3. Of War & Taters by Ashley Chappell
4. Book 1 Of the Genie Chronicles: Heir to The Lamp by Michelle Lowrey Combs
5. Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers by Jeremy Hicks
6. Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers by Jeremy Hicks 2nd Edition Cover
7. Profiled by Renee Andrews
8. Nexus by Brian Weimer
9. Birthright by B.J. Keeton
10. The Queen’s Yeoman by T.D. Raufson
11. Legacy of Dragon: Emergence (Legacy of Magic Volume 1)
12. The Truth About Mud by Christina L. Rozelle
13. The Treemakers by Christina L Rozelle
14. Feels Like Rain by Janae Mitchell, Author
15. Task Force: Gaea: Finding Balance
16. Wait For Me by T.s. McKinney
17. Wake Up! Based on a true story of abuse and betrayal” by: Hunter Marshall by Jenn Wright
18. Mythology by Helen Boswell
19. Reborn and Eternal and an awesome tote by C.C. Hunter

E-books:

1. The Elsker Saga by S.T. Bende (4 books total)
2. Two ebooks chosen by winner by John Tucker
3. Legal Shifter by Jane Danger
4. The Shadow by A.G. Porter
5. The Forsaken by A.G. Porter
6. Fallen Souls: The Darkness Trilogy Novella by A.G. Porter

Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5c01ba8216/?

YOU MUST FOLLOW THESE RULES OR YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE

1. Donate $5 to Cindy’s GoFundMe Campaign here:http://www.gofundme.com/ozjk34

2. Leave a comment on the GoFundMe Campaign saying you’re donating for Books for Cindy

*Every $5 you donate will count for an additional entry and there is no limit
*Be sure to leave your name when you make your donation

Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5c01ba8216/?

Femnista~A Family Affair and Beyond Blood with The Winchesters

In December I was able to contribute an article to the wonderful online magazine Femnista about my favorite TV show Supernatural! I can’t thank Charity Bishop enough for letting me sneak in at the last minute on this issue. There was no way I was going to miss out on the chance to write about the Winchesters!

Before you get in the to wonderful magazine, please take a moment to check out more of Charity’s work. She is also an author who is beyond talented!

http://www.charitysplace.com/

To see the full magazine that is full of articles that are focused on this month’s theme, “A Family Affair”, go here:

http://issuu.com/femnista/docs/nov_dec_femnista_2014/0

Beyond Blood

S14

For some, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our families. Without a doubt we’d walk through fire for them, take a bullet them, or walk through hell and back. If you’re a Winchester then you’ve probably done all of the above and more than once. That’s because The Winchesters aren’t your average family. They come from a long line of Hunters, people who make it the family business to hunt things (monsters and demons) and save people.

S6

The dynamics of the Winchester family can seem to be all over the place. John, father of Dean and Sam, is more or less a absent parent after his wife, Mary, is killed. He is so consumed with finding the demon (you read that correctly) that killed Mary that at times he leaves his young sons to fend for themselves. While this forms an unbreakable bond between the boys it also creates a strain that same relationship.

S1

Dean sees his father as the man who did what he had to do to find justice for his mother’s killer even if that meant leaving him to take care of Sam from time to time; at least for a while. Sam can’t seem to see past the fact that his dad was gone most of the time. Their relationship is rocky from the start, but regardless of that, Sam loves his father.

S11

S5

Dean, who is several years older, starts looking out for his younger brother Sam (Sammy) at such a young age that it is pretty much ingrained in him. When his mother is killed, it takes place in their home; Dean must take Sam, a baby at the time, outside to safety. From that moment on, Dean feels that he must take Sam under his wing and keep him safe. In any situation that the boys are in Dean is always looking out for his brother. That is why he sacrificed so much, even his own soul for him.

S10

For Sam, he wanted to get out of the monster hunting business and live as normal a life as possible. For a while, he was able to, but he’s a Winchester and a Hunter and happiness just isn’t in their cards. Sam, as goodhearted as he is, is marked from a child to do bad things and be a dark person, but he chooses the light and overcomes his fate. While he is the baby brother he is smart, selfless and brave; Sam works just hard to prove himself as a worthy Hunter as well a human being.

S9

As opposite as Dean and Sam are, there is one thing that both of have in common, it is the love they have for their family. Here’s the thing about the brothers, family is more than blood to them. They’ve adopted family members along the way and those same people have adopted them. From a surrogate father in Bobby Singer, brothers like Kevin and Cas, to a kid sister like Charlie, the brothers give love and love in return. So, yes, Supernatural is about brothers who fighter the forces of evil and happens to look fantastic while doing it, but it is also about brothers who have given their all in every way imaginable.

S13

*I do not own the rights to these photos

Horror Author P.G. Harvey Closes out the October Blog Fest

1379516_10151885921535901_857335483_nP.G. Harvey is a retired Army sergeant, a world traveler, a motorcycle enthusiast, a musician, artist, and of course a writer. He lives in Pearcy, Arkansas with his beautiful wife and a great many critters and varmints where he spends his days weaving tales of the macabre.

P.G. Harvey Giveaway! A signed copy of Covington and a signed copy of the The Best of Dark Moon Digest that features his story Hope.

Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5c01ba8213/

Author Questions

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

            I discovered both reading and writing when I was about eleven years old and it has always been present in one way or another. It wasn’t until a few years ago, during a tour in Iraq, that I began writing in earnest. I finished the first draft of my novel Covington there and have been plowing ahead ever since. (Thank you for your service, sir!)

In what genre do you write?

I write mostly horror. Though I do branch out into other things from time to time, it generally has a dark theme to it.

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

I’m a big history buff and have thought about trying my hand at that. Non-fiction I mean. Though that is more than just a leap between genres. (What period in history?!?)

10012075_10152072436411312_1877343765_o

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

I write mostly on the computer. For me, the main thing is setting goals and being disciplined to write. Editing is not writing. Research is not writing. Only writing counts as writing. As far as developing the story, it’s different with every project. I’ve done some that start with nothing more than a cool first sentence. Other times it is a general story line that I have in mind. But it comes back to sitting down and writing. I find that if I keep putting words on the page I will discover the story.

Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

More than anyone, I would say Ray Bradbury. His were the first real books I read when I was a kid. He had a passion for writing that still inspires me today.

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

That usually falls into the editing process for me. I may look up a detail if it’s intricate to the story, but the main point is to get the story out. Once that’s done, I will go back and see if there need to be changes based on how things actually are or how they actually work. But you know, the truth should never get in the way of a good story.

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

The thing is, I love music. But when I listen to music that is where my attention is. So no, when I am writing I have it quiet. (Ssh!)

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

I have ten million things, from music to art, to my woodshop, to my critters and the list goes on. But my biggest passion is motorcycles. I have a Harley-Davidson and am involved with a Club and all the things that bikers do. Motorcycles are medicine for the soul. (You are a creative soul) 

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

That would be between writing “The End” on my first novel and holding that novel in my hands, published. (Smell those fresh pages!)

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

I just finished the first draft of a book called The Witch At Five Corners. I kind of use the Ray Bradbury template on this one, meaning each chapter is a complete story, all wound together to form a larger story. Obviously, the book is about a type of witch. I’ve always liked stories that explore the origins of an archetype, and that’s what I’ve done here. Aside from the events that are taking place now, I flash back to the formative and significant events in her life to see how she became what she is.

One of the stories, “Two Roads”, appears in the current issue of Dark Moon Digest. In takes place in the gangster world of 1929. Great story! You should definitely read it!

DMD17

Reader Questions

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

I don’t know if I would “Geek out” over anyone, but I wouldn’t mind having a few drinks and maybe a bar fight with Ernest Hemmingway. (This seriously made me laugh!)

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

I can’t think of any way to answer that. There are just so many great books in the world. (Understood)

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

Not a huge fan. I’m not opposed to the idea, and a lot of books have become great movies. They just seldom do them justice. Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist are great exceptions to that. Those followed the book to the letter and were really good. But those two also demonstrate a bigger problem with film adaptations… and this is particularly true with kids’ books… that once a movie is made of a good book, people stop reading the book.

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

Unrealistic characters. If the people in the story are just caricatures or have the quippy type dialogue you see on TV, it really turns me off. I think written characters should be more like real people. Another thing is when the author uses the name of a famous actor when describing a character. I think that’s just lazy writing. (I agree with this 100%!)

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

Nope. Had to do that in high school.

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

I read so many things. My wife laughs because I generally am reading three or four books at a time. I try to keep it to only one novel though. But I read everything from classic literature to history to horror to how-to books.

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

I like real books. I’ve only ever read two whole e-books: The Evolutionist by Rena Mason and Moby Dick. So Rena is in good company.

IMG_1082

Random Questions

Favorite movie?

Can’t say I have a single favorite, but my guilty pleasure is Quentin Tarantino flicks.

Favorite TV show?

I don’t really watch TV (It’ll melt your brain!)

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

Beer, I suppose

What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

Well, we have ice cream almost every night. My wife also makes a pretty amazing apple pie

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

Easy… Led Zeppelin. Hands down, the greatest rock & roll band ever.

What’s your hidden talent?

Well, it just so happens I play a pretty mean banjo! (Nice!)

What is your dream vacation?

A motorcycle trip around Europe. I lived in Europe for a few years and did a lot of travelling, but not on a bike. Sure would like to.

IMG_0359

Contact Information:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/petergadharvey

Book Links: www.pgharvey.com

Futuristic Horror by Lucian Barnes

Author Photo

 

I spent most of my youth in rural Ohio and began writing stories at an early age. Many of these early attempts at story-telling were inspired by mysteries, such as those found in the old Hardy Boys books and the cartoon antics of Scooby Doo. As I entered my teenage years I began to drift away from writing stories, instead picking up my pencil to compose lyrics for heavy metal songs because my new dream was to become a musician. That vision remained hopeful for many years after my high school graduation, but like most dreams of this nature it died out as I became older.

After working several menial jobs through the years that followed, my thoughts again began to turn toward writing books. Inspired by my favorite author, Stephen King, I took an online creative writing course and slowly began to develop my skills. In late 2010 I was given a violent shove, both by the job market (which was horrible to say the least, and still is) and by the persistent encouragement of close friends, to pick up my pen and begin writing again.

In early 2012, I gave birth (that’s almost what it felt like) to my very first published book, Desolace. Finally having a completed novel in my hand was the best feeling in the world for me, giving me a sense of accomplishment I had waited a lifetime for. Things have grown easier for me with each book I have published. Since the initial release of Desolace, I have released four more novels in the series. My latest work is a futuristic horror book titled, EL-204.

 

EL-204 Full Wrap

 

Lucian has 10, that’s right, 10 ebook copies of EL-240 up for grabs! Enter here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5c01ba8212/

 

Author Questions

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I would have to say, very early in life. Although, I was writing stories before I was even a teenager, I had trouble sticking to it because I was more interested in writing song lyrics at the time. Eventually, the whole rock star fantasy diminished and story writing began to surface once more. It wasn’t until 2010 that I decided to make a career of it, at which point I buckled down and started writing full time.  (I loved writing song lyrics too when I was a misunderstood teen…those were the days!)

In what genre do you write?

Mainly, I write horror stories. However, most are laced with other genres as well; fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal/supernatural aspects can be found in nearly every book I have written.

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

Not really. I’ve always had an affinity for horror, and it feels the most natural for me to write what I personally would love to read. (You write what you know.)

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

Generally, I write using a computer. This isn’t to say if I was deprived of the technology that I wouldn’t resort to pen and paper, because I would. Any means necessary to quiet the voices in my head. As for the process itself, I have a tendency to “wing it”, and don’t normally use outlines. I sit down to write with a clear idea of what direction I want my story to take, then the characters take over and steer me from there; although, usually in a direction I hadn’t anticipated. As crazy as it may sound, they have a life of their own. (I like this approach!)

Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

Initially, it was Stephen King who inspired me, but over time I have found myself influenced by others as well. Indie Author JH Glaze has been the most recent. Not only does he inspire me, but he is also a great friend.

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

It really depends on the book. Most of the novels I’ve written to date have been a blend of fantasy and horror, and these stories often require little in the way of research. However, the same can’t be said of all of my books. Two of these novels, which are primarily horror, I found myself researching different things almost as much as I was writing. Most times it was for a silly detail that many readers might overlook, but I did so to add an authenticity to the books. Even though they are completely fictional, I want the reader to be able to associate with things and places they might have experienced in their lifetime.

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

Personally, I need complete silence to write. I am easily distracted, so I avoid outside noise like the plague.

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

This can probably be summed up by a phrase I’ve often heard about writers, and it holds true for me as well. “A writer never takes a vacation. He is either writing, or thinking about writing.” (I like it! We, our brains at least, never rest)

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

It might sound boring to most, but what I find to be the most exciting experience is watching a story develop, the characters coming to life as I write, and finally…seeing the end of a novel in sight.

Who created your amazing cover art?

Katie Cowan at KC Designs has created most of my covers.

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

My editor, Melissa Ringsted, has suffered through every book I’ve published, so in all fairness, she deserves my highest praise. Her attention to detail and commitment to excellence makes my work shine. Sorry about all the nightmares I’ve given you with my stories, Melissa! (Poor Melissa!)

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

I will have two novels coming out before the end of the year, one of which will be released on October 24th and the other will follow in December. The October novel, EL-204, is significantly different than anything else I’ve written. To briefly describe it, I felt it to be like a blending of Fatal Attraction and Frankenstein, though it also has end-of-the-world overtones. It deals with genetic experimentation, and the government’s greedy involvement in the research as they hope to create an army that can’t be reckoned with.

The second project is a continuation of the fantasy/horror Desolace Series that I’m most known for. The Tree of Life is the sixth book of the series, in which a wizard from the parallel world of Desolace races against time to thwart an evil entity from taking over his world. With each book of the series, I’ve tried to incorporate new developments to keep my readers guessing. This one will be no different than what they’ve come to expect, and will likely have readers excited to see how things will play out in the end. There will be one more novel in the series before it reaches its epic conclusion. (My reading list just keeps growing!)

Outpost13FrontCover

 

 

Reader Questions

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

The same two authors who have inspired me the most, Stephen King and JH Glaze. (I must check out JH Glaze *goes to amazon*)

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

I can’t say that I have just one favorite, as every book in the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King is exceptional. As for why this series is my favorite, the way King blends the fantasy aspects of each book with his special brand of horror made the story come to life in my mind like no other books have ever done.

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

As an author, I realize that no matter how good a book is, Hollywood rarely duplicates the intensity of the original work. Even so, I believe converting books to movies is something that will cater to the individual who is more stimulated by visual cues, thus making films a necessary evil. Though it will sound biased, I must admit that I would love to see a film adaptation of any of the stories I’ve written. I think they are far different than the usual slush and remakes that seem to be flooding the market lately. (Doesn’t sound biased to me! I think that would be awesome!)

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

I have several quirks when I’m reading a book, but will only list a couple of examples here. Each of these things has caused me to close a book without finishing: overusage of character names (several times in the same paragraph), repeatedly starting sentences with “And” or “But” drives me crazy, and poor editing. I can’t count the number of books I’ve read where I found myself asking, “Did this author even bother with an editor?”

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

If the book doesn’t contain many of my above quirks, oftentimes I will be a trooper and try to finish it. Although, another thing that will sway my opinion is romance/erotica. If a book is too heavy with squishy, sentimental crap, I normally don’t finish. (“squishy, sentimental crap” Bahaha!)

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

I will experiment with new authors and genres from time to time, but prefer to stick to horror.

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

Both. I would much rather have an actual book in my hands, though. On my budget, however, I believe that I read more ebooks nowadays. Although, this is only because they are cheaper to purchase.

 

Destined for Darkness Front Cover

Random Questions

Favorite movie?

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Leatherface is super creepy!)

Favorite TV show?

Dexter (Gah! Love Dexter though I am NOT happy about that last season)

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

Crab legs

What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

Cheesecake (plain or with strawberries?)

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

Cannibal Corpse, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Slipknot, Metallica

What’s your hidden talent?

It wouldn’t be hidden if I told you, now would it? (touché) 

What is your dream vacation?

Visiting the Carpathian mountains (Nice)

Cemetery Hill - Front

 

Contact Information:

Author Name: Lucian Barnes

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lucianbarnesauthor

Twitter http://twitter.com/LucianBarnes

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5761611.Lucian_Barnes

Book Links: http://lucianbarnes.wix.com/author