Tag Archives: interview

Three Questions For Ed Talbot

I’ve enjoyed Ed’s writing ever since I listened to New World Order. I’m not ordinarily into political thrillers, but I dig these. Today I want to bring the thriller novel “Alive From America,” book two in the Terrorist Chronicles series to your attention. Then we’ll get into the questions.

Forget bin Laden and Sadaam. Forget the Taliban and al Qaida. The real battle against terrorism is in the shadows, fought in places you’d never expect. The most dangerous terrorist in the world is the one you’ve never heard of.

FBI agent James Robb has learned that all too well. After evading capture in the mountains of upstate New York, the terrorist known to the government as The Warrior has disappeared. Then a series of attacks rocks the nation, attacks not on symbols or the government, but on the basic activities of American life. Politicians scramble for positioning, the media looks for an angle, and ordinary Americans just try to protect their own.

The only solution is to catch the Warrior. But every potential ally has an agenda, and Robb has no idea who to trust. His worst fear is that when the time comes to finally pull the trigger, he will be aiming at a familiar face.

1) I’ve read some of what you’ve written and enjoyed it. One of the keys to writing a good thriller is to keep the tension ratcheting up. How do you accomplish that as a writer?

There are a lot of ways to keep tension building, and in fact most genres have tension. Like most thriller authors,
we use several different methods of creating tension. These include:
-High stakes. As the story proceeds, the reader needs to feel like the characters are engaged in something which could have a significant impact. Some thrillers, such as psychological thrillers, make this impact very personal. In our thrillers, we’re focused more on the general. In New World Orders and 2012, the protagonists were attempting to stop the antagonists from bringing about the end of the world.
-Uncertainty. This is where mysteries have significant overlap with thrillers. In a mystery the uncertainly about the clues and the perpetrator(s) is the defining characteristic of the genre. In a thriller, the uncertainty is specifically used to ratchet up the tension. Will the fireman be able to save the baby in the burning building? Many of our books specifically use the concept of “long odds.” to keep the uncertainty high. If all the world’s governments are conspiring to do something, what hope could any one protagonist have to stop them?
-Uniquely positioned protagonist. No one except the protagonist is able or willing to do what needs to be done to stop the destruction from happening. The tension is higher if the reader knows that the characters jumping off the page are the only hope.
-Conspiracy and blending fact/fiction. Our thrillers have a lot of conspiracies in them. A conspiracy done right adds to both the uncertainty and the long odds. Adding events or ideas the reader knows about outside of the story – for example the Kennedy assassination – makes the reader identify more with the story and wonder how the reality will tie into the fiction.
-Kill off important characters. Most standard thrillers don’t actually do this, but horror thrillers do. In our books, we want the reader NEVER gets comfortable with the idea that a character is sure to survive. It is a difficult balance, and we don’t usually kill of the main character. But it keeps the reader guessing.
-How the story unfolds. Bringing about the end of the world and preventing a terrorist strike are both common themes. Uncertainty exists in every book. A book could have all of the elements we just mentioned and not be a good story. The glue that all binds it together is HOW the author uses these devices. This is where the talent of the individual author comes out. Robert Ludlum, the father of the modern conspiracy thriller, did it with a sledgehammer. His characters are constantly reacting with exaggerated drama. And it works. We take somewhat the opposite approach. While the actual events may happen quickly or be violent, we try to keep the language we use to describe them and the vehemence of the internal dialogue of the characters relatively subdued. The contrast, when done right, can cause the reader to feel tension at a deeper level than the “in your face” approach.

2) You deal with some very real life situations in your stories. Do you draw inspiration from what’s happening in the world now, or do you try and stay away from that? Why?

Absolutely we draw inspiration from what’s happening in the world now. Climate Change, Terrorism, etc. Current events interest us and they interest readers. We particularly like drawing on conspiracy theories, either directly or by implication. However, one thing we do not try to do is send a message through our stories. We’re not trying to state political opinions or change minds. If messages come through – and of course they do – they are a side effect of the story, not something done with intention. We believe that a good story takes care of itself in that regard.

Which is not to say we’re not aware of the messages. When we write about terrorists attacking soft targets and show how the politicians and the population react, we’re obviously making observations which could be construed as political. But our sole purpose is to tell a good story.

Our answer is has strayed from your original question a bit. To bring it back and summarize, using real life situations can make the reader feel more like a stakeholder in the story, and that is always a good thing.

3) What are the unique difficulties in writing fiction that relies to a degree on current events and real world problems?

Heh, that is an interesting one. One difficulty is that the story may become dated. The original version of Alive From New York was written before Osama bin Laden was killed. Without giving away plot points, let’s just say that a little bit of tweaking of the story needed to occur once he was. That’s one of the beauties of self-publishing, as we were able to get revisions published within a couple weeks. These weren’t really fundamental plot changes, and actually the changes wound up improving the story.

Another difficulty is in making things plausible. If we’re making something up out of whole cloth, we have a lot more freedom than if we’re incorporating real events. If it is known that a real world character was in a certain place on a certain date, we can’t put that character somewhere else on that date in our book unless we come up with an explanation for why the official record might be wrong. We’ll have a book coming out later this spring which we can’t reveal quite yet, and that book has quite a few historical references which we had to check and adjust so they couldn’t be immediately disproven. Improbable is fine, but completely impossible is not when it comes to real people and events.

These are non-trivial difficulties, but they are more than balanced by how much we enjoy the stories which are a blend of fact and fiction. And basically our stories are fiction, with the real references only used as milestones and jumping off points for the fiction. Plus, including George H.W. Bush gave us the opportunity to do an impression of him in the podiobook recording.

I want to thank Ed for answering these questions. You can find out more at http://www.edwardgtalbot.com

Edward G. Talbot is the pen name for a collaboration of two American authors:

Ed Parrot lives in Massachusetts and has long been fascinated with turning ideas into written words. Jason Derrig lives in Maine and likes to tell stories, especially about conspiracies. The two authors have collaborated to create a brand of thriller that keeps the stakes high while not taking itself too seriously. Works include:

Killer Ride (coming in 2014)
Alive From America
2012: The Fifth World
Alive From New York
New World Orders
A Funny Pair of Shorts
A Horrifying Pair of Shorts

Callsign: Rook (with Jeremy Robinson)

Interview With Mike Stewart (Three Questions)

I read both of Mike Stewart’s Assured Destruction e-books towards the end of last year and thoroughly enjoyed them. You can read the reviews of Assured Destruction and Script Kiddie for my detailed thoughts on them, but suffice to say words like “excellent” and “well written” apply. When he told me he was doing a Kickstarter for the third book, I was excited. So, like I do, I wanted to find out more. I’ve asked him three questions and I hope you enjoy the answers.

1) Being a geek, I’m a big fan of cyberpunk and stories involving tech. I’m not too sensitive to mistakes, depending on the story, but in a story like these getting the details right is very important. So far as I can tell you have done a very good job in the first two. Do you geek for a living and are thus able to avoid those pitfalls, is there a lot of research involved, or is it a bit of both?

If I could do life over, I’d be a coder. Why? Because it’s the closest you can get to being a real wizard. In what other field can the lines you write come alive on the screen, or in a robot’s actions? In what other field can you attack another system with programs/spells or protect yourself by putting up a firewall? Technology is moving into the realm of fantasy. That’s why I’m into it. So, do I geek for a living? No. I do however geekout. 🙂

I also have a deep interest in new media literacy and that includes new media risk (content, conduct, and contact). Kids need to understand the distributability and permanence of content. And they need to learn about how awesome technology is (let’s especially get more girls coding!). I’ve read hundreds of whitepapers on these issues and even presented to senate committee on the issues and opportunity of new media. With Jan I wanted to present a balanced view of those risks and opportunities.

2) One of the things I enjoyed about the first two novels is how “real” Jan’s life is. In addition to her mom’s health issues and the troubles of growing up in this wonderful modern age, she’s got her own unique problems. You don’t whitewash the world for the sake of a YA label. What limitations (if any) do you put on your works in this genre to keep it age appropriate and why did you opt to go as gritty as you did?

Sex and swearing. That’s about all I’ll keep out. Kids are reading far up in terms of age group. Oh, I also won’t write about kids committing suicide. There are studies that suggest suicide rates increase if kids read about their peers committing suicide.

All my writing is a little dark; I’m not sure I could keep that out of it, but Jan’s sense of humor helps me lighten the tone a bit (I hope—book three is intense).

3) You’re doing a Kickstarter for the release of the third book in the series. Have you crowd-funded before and what challenges are you facing with this campaign?

This is my first campaign, but I’ve released an app before and there are similarities in terms of trying to generate interest. That’s the big challenge; how do you get eyeballs to the campaign and once there, how do you convince them to make a pledge?

Some articles I’ve read have suggested that the keys are scarcity (i.e. be the first to get, or get one of a hundred XYZ), social proof (show people that others think your project has merit), and authority (why you? why am I the one to create this project).

But then it’s the same challenge with releasing a book too, isn’t it? You have to write the best hook you can, develop a brand around yourself, and spread the word.

In this case, I didn’t feel I had a choice. There’s a Kickstarter campaign IN the book, how could I not have one in real life?

Really appreciate the chance to post on your blog, Scott, and for your staunch support. 🙂

It’s a pleasure finding and supporting new writers. So, go to his kickstarter page and pledge whatever you can!

Interview With Matt Wallace (Three Questions)

I’ve had the pleasure of reading the first book in Matt Wallace’s Slinger series and I’ll be reviewing that later this week. Until then, I wanted to share three questions that I asked him. (This may become a new thing “Three Questions With Xxxx”. If you enjoy these let me know.)

The book is available here. He’s using his expertise as a combat trainer, pro-wrestler, and sharp writer to weave an action packed narrative.

Meet Nico. He’s currently falling 30,000 feet above the city of Hanoi to his death while the entire world watches.

And they can’t wait to see him hit the ground.

Welcome to Sling City, an arena in space where Judokas, sumo wrestlers, football stars, and stick fighters compete in the global combat sport of the future. Sling City is more than a stadium, it’s an entire microcosmic world filled with its own cultures, traditions, wars, and secrets. Some of those secrets are about to get out, and while all eyes watch the action-packed struggle of The Games take place, the men and women who compete in those games will have to unravel a disturbing mystery that’s cropped up at the heart of the home where they live, work, play… and die.

SLINGERS is the beginning of an exciting new five-part ebook series from the author of THE FAILED CITIES and SUNDAE.

1) There are book series, tv shows, and a ton of other serialized fiction out there. Some of them are obviously tightly plotted beginning to end. Others are clearly “pantsed”. Of the books that you have scheduled to release for this series, are they all already written/edited?

Oh, hell no. I had most of the first and second parts written when I decided to do the series, but beyond that I knew I’d write and evolve the story as this thing went along. It’s the same way I did THE FAILED CITIES years back, and I hadn’t attempted anything like it since then.

2) I love serialized fiction. If its well done then no matter whether it’s a week, a month, or even a year or more in the case of some movies, I don’t mind waiting. What made you decide to release these books as multiple parts and how do you are you planning to “keep” your audience in between releases? (Also if you have a release schedule beyond the next one coming out on April 2nd)

I started reading about “product funneling” last year. It’s a model that’s been very successful in the video game industry, but no one is really doing it with books yet (I stress “yet”). I’m trying to build each book so it leads the reader/consumer directly to the next one. Scott Pond and I design ads and previews for the next installment that go into each book. Between releases I use my social media and any podcast, website, or blog I can get on to pump the audience. The main hope is that the audience builds as the series builds.

After April I’ll be dropping a new book each month ’til June, when the series concludes.

3) Clearly you’ve drawn on your experience as a wrestler and martial arts trainer for this book. There’s a large part of this that’s science fiction. What sort of research did you do for the science fiction end of this piece?

I’m playing it fast and loose with wormhole theory in this one, but I’m comfortable with that. A lot of the science is just an extrapolation of technology we’re using today in drones and combat sports. The stuff I’m not as well-read on I intentionally choose to be vague about, which I prefer anyway. I’m trying to convey the experience of the characters, not the technology they use.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview With JC Hutchins

I had the pleasure of reviewing The 33 by JC Hutchins recently. I quite enjoyed it, but had a couple of questions for Hutch. He was king enough to answer them.

What made you decide to release The 33 as a serialized audio/e-book, rather than doing it all at once?

I wish I had a satisfying, entrepreneurially-sound answer for you! Honestly, The 33’s release model is the way it is because that’s how I’ve always envisioned it. Since 2008, I’ve wanted to create something that plucked some of the most interesting storytelling models from episodic TV and serialized comic books, and mash them together: a combination of standalone “monster of the week” stories and cliffhanger-driven multi-episode adventures. The 33’s 12-episode “TV season” approach provided a good umbrella to unify these stories, and gave me the flexibility to weave in a mythology and meta-arc — a bigger picture narrative — that can conceivably span several seasons of The 33, and numerous spinoffs.

Also, I can’t release the episodes all at once because they haven’t all been written yet! This was deliberate, for a few reasons … but these reasons ultimately hail back to TV and comics.

Firstly, as adventures of The 33 are released month to month, I’ll be able to watch the online conversation about them ebb and flow. I’ll get a sense of my audience’s expectations, what it likes (and doesn’t), fan-favorite characters, that sort of thing. That information will help inform the world of The 33 and its characters. I couldn’t make those diagnoses and directional changes if a full season of The 33 had already been written.

Secondly, the model embraces a bit of unpredictability and “controlled chaos” for my creative process. If I’m fascinated by an emerging social trend or technology that I’ve read about, I can immediately get to work on a standalone The 33 story, using it as inspiration. That flexibility is very cool, and impossible with traditional prose fiction models. While I have no ambition to craft a “ripped from the headlines” series ala Law & Order, there’s something to be said for timeliness and cultural relevance, especially when the release schedule is designed to permit it.

Thirdly, the month-to-month writing and release of The 33 gives me a chance to watch sales figures, and adjust my own expectations. If it becomes obvious to everyone, especially me, that the series is an entrepreneurial failure and no one’s buying the episodes, then — speaking plainly — there’s little reason to invest the effort in writing and promoting it. TV, comic books and novel series face this scenario all the time, especially in their formative days. If the series doesn’t get traction in the marketplace and the revenue generated doesn’t justify the expense incurred to create it, more episodes won’t be “ordered” by “the network.”

Now, to be clear: I’m nowhere near making that decision right now, and won’t be for many months. If the sales of The 33’s first episode are any indication, the series is in great shape, and will thrive for months to come. I’m committed to pursuing my passion for this series, and will write as many The 33 stories as the audience is willing to meaningfully support.

What are the unique challenges that you face in writing something like this as opposed to a novel?

The most intriguing challenge so far has been being thoughtful about how and when to reveal certain secrets of The 33’s mythology, world and characters. In some respects, I’m playing a longer game now than I ever was, writing a standalone novel. I need characters who don’t just have problems — they’ve got BIG problems. Heck, their problems have problems! This approach ensures a long-term (and heaven willing, multi-season) road of growth for my characters.

Same goes for the weird “day to day” world seen in the series. The 33 is set in a present-day America where science and sorcery coexist — where the world is threatened by ruthless criminals, malicious technologies, hostile supernatural beings, giant killer robots, you name it. I’ve developed a few “rules” for The 33’s world; these are creative cornerstones that permit even the most outlandish technologies and mythologies to exist, all together. But those explanations need not be dumped into The 33’s first episode. An episodic approach empowers me to shift that worldbuilding to future adventures, if needed. It allows me to tease some of the mythologies and tech — and heroes and villains — of The 33 and pay off those teases later. This requires some creative restraint, which is definitely a challenge for me!

Finally, there’s a much larger meta-mythology powering universe of The 33, and a superthreat looming over it that defies imagination — or at least, the imaginations of the characters occupying that universe. If the series is successful enough to support multiple seasons (and even multiple prequels, or spinoff series), that narrative “marrow” will slowly be revealed. I’m being very judicious in my approach with that. I want to weave hints of this meta-mythology into the DNA of The 33, and glance upon them occasionally in ongoing episodes … but make them “hide in plain sight,” if that makes sense.

If this is a success do you think you’ll make it available as a paper book?

That’s a great question, and my answer hinges greatly on the definition of “success” — a definition I haven’t yet settled on, and one that will likely shift in the weeks and months ahead. A paper-based product is probably a ways off, though if the sales of The 33 radically exceed my expectations — and if there’s vocal demand for a paper-based product — I’ll certainly consider it!

The “need to know” about The 33’s unconventional storytelling model: The 33 is J.C. Hutchins’ latest fiction project, released as monthly ebooks and digital audiobooks. The 33 isn’t a novel — it’s a short story series with recurring characters, told over TV season-like arcs. The 33: Season 1 is currently planned for a 12-episode release.

More information about The 33 is available at http://The33.net.

Bio: J.C. Hutchins crafts award-winning transmedia narratives, screenplays and novels for companies such as 20th Century Fox, A&E, Cinemax, Discovery, FOX, Infiniti, Macmillan Publishers and Harebrained Schemes. He has been profiled by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR’s Weekend Edition, ABC Radio and the BBC.

Barnes & Noble

Interview – Kickstarting Horror With Zen Davis

Zen sent me an email a few days ago to let me know about his new Kickstarter which can be found here – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zendavis/asylum-33d. I love supporting up and comers in the horror genre so I thought I’d ask him a few questions.

1) Tell us a little bit about your background as a writer,

The majority of my writing has been private. The writing that hasn’t has been submitted been submitted on a regular basis to Francis Ford Coppola’s screenwriting website Zoetrope. I wrote and submitted many screenplays for peer review including Chloroform Kids, Pele, Ringtone, and Biohazard. I met a lot of interesting and creative writers there that helped me develop into the writer I am today. I suggest if anyone is looking for a site where people actually read your work and get back to you with great feedback, go to Zoetrope. Some members are bitterer than others due to a lack of success, but that can be said of any creative community really.

When college rolled around, my writing became more academic in nature. It was a whole new way of drafting content, and it took some time to grasp. I was particularly proud of my final paper for college when I graduated. Although I was docked a full letter grade for being a night late, my professor proclaimed that I had turned in the best final paper of any student that semester. I was ecstatic with the comment because the professor graded like a son of a bitch, and I’d worked my ass off to make him happy.

With school out of the way, I finally got back into creative writing. I wrote monster and item descriptions for a small Kickstarter game called EvoCreo and earned my first $100 in the game industry doing so. The project creator just rehired me to do more work since he liked what I did the first time around.

I also purchased an amazing program called Articy;Draft that I suggest any writer purchase. It’s available on Steam and it makes the process of outlining and developing your story a breeze. Now I’m working every waking hour try to get the word out about the Asylum 33D.

2) Why did you choose to crowdsource your project and what made you choose KS specifically?

I’m currently paying every cent to my name back towards my college loans. Once I get into law school, I will incur at least an additional $35,000 worth of debt per year. Over three years, that’s $105,000. With interest, I have no clue how I’d be able to afford printing the novel. Crowdsourcing my project is the only way to get it out inside of the next four years. Still if I have to wait four years to get this out, I have to wait four years. Eventually I intended to release Asylum 33D. Crowdsourcing lets me get to it a lot sooner however.

Kickstarter itself was an easy choice. It’s the most visible of all crowdsourcing sites.

3) You’ve set a very attainable goal at $3000. You’ve got some amazing stretch goals. Provided you make them what are the challenges you face in overcoming them and how do you plan to overcome them?

A building is only as strong as its foundation, and for Asylum 33D that foundation is the novel. It sets up our ghosts, our characters, our locations, and our story. Once we have that, everything else will line up quite nicely.

One of the ways I’ve mitigated issues with the stretch goals is that I’ve made everything digital. The art book, graphic novel, visual novel, and game will all be distributed digitally. No box copies. This will take out a lot of production guesswork that other projects face. When something is completed, it gets added to a server and mailed to the backer. Easy, easy-peasy, japanesey.

The art book will be the easiest of the stretch goals. It will be mostly in-bulk black and white art drawn quickly on a daily basis. Artists will be assigned portions of the books to read and once they finish, they will draw out story boards and concepts from the sections they covered. These images will be put together in a PDF and mailed to backers. No hassle, no haggle.

The graphic novel will be compiled in a similar way. The art direction will need to be dealt with in a more disciplined way so that everything remains consistent. The page count will need to be looked after since our budget can only cover so many pages of colored art. Luckily, the art book will have acted as rough draft for us. We will know exactly how many pages we need to tell our story and exactly what we need to cut to keep to our page count.

Now things get tricky with visual novel. The deal-breaking issue that needs to be dealt with here is the voice acting. It can’t suck. If it does, the entire thing is a wash. A misstep could ruin the entire tone of the visual novel. I intend to fully cooperate with the community in choosing our cast and show restraint and caution when deciding parts. Together we will make the best informed choice we can.

The game will be the hardest thing to get right. The gameplay is something that needs to feel right. Once again we’ll be cooperating with the Asylum 33D community to see what works, what doesn’t. Every backer will be involved from the pre-alpha stage. Their feedback will take seriously and be implemented at every opportunity. However, the limitations of the budget will also need to be made clear to them. Although $375,000 is a significant amount of money, there will have to be an understanding that we probably won’t be able to implement every request they have.

4) The art that you have on the KS page is amazing. What’s your relationship with the artists? Have you worked with them before?

Our relationship is pretty much a business relationship. We met when I decided to place an ad on Deviant Art. I usually use references to show the artists what I’m looking for and let them do their thing on a first draft. When they get back to me, I use MS Paint to make changes, if necessary, to let the artists know what aspects I’d like done differently.

The clown, for example, isn’t how Nicolas originally intended him to be. I was involved and drew out rough examples of the changes I wanted. He took care of the rest. I work similarly with the rest of the crew.

5) You and I share a love of horror. What are your influences?

“It” pretty much scarred me. I was 7 when I saw the film on TV and Tim Curry kind of violated my soul. That’s not hyperbole either. For the entire week after I saw the film, I was terrified of a clown popping out of the drain, ready to eat me whole. It was phobia bad. Just a constant everlasting sense of dread going to school, walking around sewer drains, and going to the toilet.

The book wasn’t much better. There was a small part where Mike Hanlon goes over various cases of children being killed. One I remember in particular was of a small child, about five or six, who was getting ready to potty train himself. Pennywise came up the toilet drain, hit the kid like a locomotive, and smashed the poor kid’s skull open. It’s been about ten years since I read the book, though I’m pretty certain that was in there. The first time I read the novel though was when I was ten… I needed better guardians.

6) What books are you reading now?

Barack Obama – The Audacity of Hope – I read a chapter a day while I study for law school.

The Walking Dead – Humanity sucks. The graphic novel. (guest starring: Zombies.)

One Piece – No currently running graphic novel series has made me weep more consistently.

7) What are your top 3 favorite horror movies?

01. Jaws – Changed the way people look at the ocean forever.

02. The Thing – The creature effects are amongst the best ever.

03. It – The second half isn’t as good. But the first half is breathtakingly horrifying.

8) What do you drink when you’re creating?

I’m usually dehydrated.

9) What’s your favorite swear word?

The same as Samuel L. Jackson.

10) If you could wield any weapon in combat what would it be and who would it be against?

A) Aerosol golden poison frog spray can. Dead before you know it hit you.

B) The Shark. I wanted Quint to live so bad. Right in those doll eyes… I miss Robert Shaw.

You can contact Zen through his website @ZenDavis.com or follow him on Twitter @ZenDavis

Dead Ends Author Intro – JR Murdock

I’ve been a fan of and friends with JR Murdock for longer than seems sane. WHen I asked him to join this project I was excited that he said yes. His horror, like his sense of humor, brings something different to the table. Once you read through his interview, go to the end of the post for a nice little freebie!

Despite what you may think, J.R. Murdock did have a normal childhood. If you consider swimming in lakes, playing hide and seek in the woods, and spending more time with his imagination than a television, then yes, it was normal. There are those times when little voices will talk to him inside his head. This was never a frequent occurrence and he learned to ignore them. Most of the time.

His first book was attempted over several years (probably closer to a dozen) and somehow that book about Dungeon and Dragons characters just never really worked out the way he wanted it to. Someday it might! Just you wait and see. Those characters will not stay down. They will have their story told! I’m telling you here and now…

Shhh, calm. Relaxed. Don’t scare away the nice people that have come to this page and might want to buy a book (or three).

Where were we? Oh, yes, the voices inside his head. They like to talk to at inappropriate times. Fortunately they also talk to at appropriate times and that’s when books happen. Yes, the voices must have their story told or they just keep talking over one another and it’s just a big old jumbled mess and nobody will want to read anything like that, right? So it’s good that they get their chance to come out so that you’ll have something to read and enjoy.

When not listening to the voices inside his head, J.R. Murdock spends time with his wife and his favorite daughter (yes, there is only one daughter that’s why she’s his favorite). They reside in sunny San Diego which is about as close to paradise as you can get and still be in a big city.

You can find out more about him at http://jrmurdock.com & http://ofgnomesanddwarves.com

Why do you write/like horror? I dabble in most genres, but most of my short stories tend to have a darker element regardless of genre. I love to get into a character’s head, reveal their hopes and dreams, then crush them and make the character squirm!

What inspired this particular story? A picture on http://everyphototells.com. I just saw a picture of an outdoor restaurant with a bunch of people sitting outside and thought “That’s a great place to break it off with a person, but what if they don’t want to break it off as well? Hmmm….

What’s the best horror movie you watched recently? I recently re-watched Pitch Black. There’s a new Riddick movie coming out and I’m getting caught up and ready for the new movie. There are a lot of your basic horror elements in that movie. Isolation, an unknown danger, and almost no way to fight your way out.

What scares you? Scott Sigler. And my own imagination when writing in a dark room while the house is quiet…well, except for those creaks and groans it makes.

What are you working on now? Currently I have 6 books with edits from two different editors. I need to apply those edits, get covers, and get those books out the door (one of which is V&A Shipping II!) I also need to re-write a short story for a market that would like to see some changes as well as write three requested short stories. Once I have all that done, I can complete Golden West Season II (I’m about 3/4th done with that one) and I can take a breath and see what is next on my plate. I like to keep myself busy.

What’s your favorite beverage while writing? Water. Lots and Lots of water. I find the need to pee causes me to write faster before I have to just up and relieve myself. I don’t want to stop! So this pushes me to work faster. Sometimes 🙂

Now for the freebies! We’re generating some wallpaper for you to use to show your love for these stories. This one’s based on In The Deep Dark by Justin R. Macumber. Download and share to your heart’s content!

1920×1440 Wallpaper

1680×1050 Wallpaper

Dead Ends is available at Smashwords and Amazon
All proceeds go to the Office of Letters and Light. Please spread the word!

Stories include:
“In The Deep Dark” by Justin R. Macumber
“Morning Dew” by Edward Lorn
“Power in the Blood” by Scott Roche
“Getting Even” by Philip Carroll
“Breakers” by Paul E. Cooley
“Breakup” by J.R. Murdock
“Blister” by Jake Bible
Edited by Sue Baiman
Cover by Scott E. Pond

Dead Ends Author Intro – Justin Macumber

Today I want to introduce you to another of the authors who participated in Dead Ends, the charity anthology I put out earlier this month (available at Smashwords and Amazon).

DeadEnds-002-sm Justin Macumber wrote the story “In The Deep Dark”. He is the author of HAYWIRE and A MINOR MAGIC. When not hard at work on his next story he hosts the popular Dead Robots’ Society podcast. He and his lovely wife live in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex along with their motley pack of dogs and cats that they think of as their children. Visit him online at justinmacumber.com and deadrobotssociety.com.

Why do you write/like horror? Horror, next to romance, is the genre most dependant on creating an emotional connection with the reader, and I like the idea of being that deep in a reader’s head. Yes, that’s me in the shadows sporting the Cheshire cat’s grin and giggling softly.

What inspired this particular story? A couple years ago there was a reality TV show called COAL about coal miners, and every episode gave me the creeps because of how dark and lonely the insides of the mines seemed. I had to work through that somehow!

What’s the best horror movie you watched recently? THE CONJURING. Creepy!

What scares you? Ghosts and other evil supernatural entities. I’m not a religious person at all, with very little belief in the afterlife, yet I’m a total sucker for possession and haunting stories.

What are you working on now? A short story titled THAT OLD HELL MAGIC for another anthology. I love anthologies!

What’s your favorite beverage while writing? Green tea

Dead Ends is available at Smashwords and Amazon
All proceeds go to the Office of Letters and Light. Please spread the word!

Stories include:
“In The Deep Dark” by Justin R. Macumber
“Morning Dew” by Edward Lorn
“Power in the Blood” by Scott Roche
“Getting Even” by Philip Carroll
“Breakers” by Paul E. Cooley
“Breakup” by J.R. Murdock
“Blister” by Jake Bible
Edited by Sue Baiman
Cover by Scott E. Pond.

Gettin' Paid

So one of the things that makes its rounds in my circles is how difficult it is to make a living as a writer of fiction. I once bemoaned that fate to Mr. Sawyer and he, once again, called bullshit on it. It can be done. It takes dedication, hard work, and a few other things (not to mention a dash of luck) and we talk all about it in this conversation.

Let us know what you think, particularly if you disagree and why.

PS – Here’s part one.

Moving Ass – Literarily Speaking

Dan Sawyer laid down a challenge back in June of this year. He called it The Great Ass-Moving Experiment. He wanted to get off his backside and send his written works out to publishers and he wanted to take some people with him, make it interesting.

Here’s the proposition:

We’ll go from now till the end of the year (or perhaps we should go to next Balticon?). Everyone bets $10. Every story we submit gets 3 points. Every novel proposal we send in gets 4 points. Every nonfiction submission/query gets 1 point. Every sale – of any fiction – gets 8 points. Every sale of nonfiction gets 3 points. Any sale that pays money and has a contract counts. Non-paying and/or clickthru and/or under-the-table markets do not count.

At the end of the year, the person with the most points wins the pool (which will operate on the honor system – those of us that lose will paypal our $10 to the winner).

I, and several other authors, took him up on it. Recently he skipped way ahead and I wanted to know how he did it, since it looked like he was bending “the rules”. (Not the rules of his game, the rules of the publishers’ game.) I wanted to know why and this conversation resulted.

If you want to know how to move your ass, give it a listen. You should also check out the Association’s website too.

Interview with Jenny Hudock

This interview is a stop on the blog tour Jenny Hudock is doing to promote her short story collection Dark Journeys.

We also talk about podcasting criticism per this discussion on Twitter.

Links to sites mentioned in the show –
The Inner Bean – Jenny’s official website
The Creative Alliance
Jenny’s Smashwords Page