Thursday, October 29, 2015


What makes a legend but the stories told about him? Interviewing Gorias La Gaul, the biggest legend of them all, is a dream come true for young scribe Jessica. Where other girls her age would swoon beneath the steely gaze of the warrior, Jessica only has eyes for his mouth, and the tales that come from it...when he takes a break from cursing or drinking. Unfortunately for Jessica, Gorias doesn't really have time to babysit. She's found him in the midst of an annual pilgrimage of sorts, and though he agrees to let her come along, it's not without a warning: You may not like what you see and hear. Just don't come crying afterward. Whether viewing past visions with magical gemstones or jumping into the fray alongside the barbarian, Jessica's about to get firsthand accounts she won't soon forget...and discover legends are far from reality, and just as far from being pretty. You wouldn't expect a youth of love and friendship from the greatest killer to walk the Earth, would you? These are tales of some of Gorias' earliest days, back before he'd found his swords, to a time when a dragon needed killing. Tales back before his heart had hardened. Maybe. For most men, the future is not certain and the past is prologue. For a legend like Gorias La Gaul, even the past is up for debate. One thing is for certain about these tales. They will be bloody.
Such is always the way for a man...
Born of Swords
CREATIVE HELP BOARD: How did you come up with the character GORIAS LA GAUL?
SHREWSBURY:  After I’d written GODFORSAKEN, I had a number of ideas brewing for a fantasy novel. While drinking beer and listening to Johnny Cash and some bluegrass music with my brother Mark one Sunday afternoon, a few tunes brought this persona to life in my head. An ancient ballad about a Lord with two very sharp swords…mated to another song…a rather odd cover of Cash doing IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND LOVE where he says, “…but heroes often fail…” and there stepped the 700 year old merc. His first name comes from the spear wielded by Celtic god Lugh (seen in GODFORSAKEN). And La Gaul? Just flowed well. He isn’t a French or Gaulish barbarian.
CHB: BORN OF SWORDS seems to me as kind of a Gorias origins story, did you begin writing the La Gaul novels and stories in order and figured in this latest one it was time to detail out some of his back story? (Or am I wrong in my observation of BORN?)
SHREWSBURY: Each tale or novel comes to me out of sequence. Frankly, the idea of the flashback to his youth I thought could be a really great way to show us what makes him tick. I have many more stories set across his lifetime. This just happened to proceed after OVERKILL in a way, but before THRALL. The portion near the end is a flashback when he was over twenty and still finding himself. Kids do stupid things, of course, and Gorias is no different.
CHB: There has to be some personal enjoyment in writing books and characters like these. What do you like or enjoy the most about writing the adventures of Gorias La Gaul?
SHREWSBURY: Anything is possible, pretty much. I enjoy being in the skin of Gorias. He’s easy for me to write. Is he the darker side of my id, ego or whatever? Maybe, maybe not, but he’s funny, crass and a joy to spin yarns about. Sometimes, I surprise myself. All the folks about him and events spin on their own accord.
CHB: Your La Gaul material is probably best described as dark epic fantasy. In this genre, what makes the La Gaul stories unique from the genre material out there?
SHREWSBURY: Some slap the sword & sorcery label on him, but epic dark fantasy fits it fine, I reckon. I place him in an era really on the Earth, not a world pretending to be the Earth. But this way I get to do the history my own way. I think my stuff is raw to the core and frank, perhaps with a tinge of (Robert E) Howard & (Karl) Wagner's downcast attitude.
CHB: As La Gaul’s history takes place in pre-biblical times, how much research do you do or have you done to flesh out those times?
SHREWSBURY: I do plenty of research, but there is only so much info about that era, though they keep digging up new stuff that the historians are confused about. Jessica makes a comment about the stone markers seen in BORN as similar to a place in Turkey unearthed in the past decade. Kemet in BORN is Egypt, as that is what is was called long ago. I’m a smarty pants at times, like Albion is England, Transalpinia is France, etc. I’ve read much on that time, theory and other wild speculation, so it is a time just as good as setting my world elsewhere.
CHB: What do you like most about being a writer?
SHREWSBURY: The freedom to create, but I don’t revel in the God-complex we all have. I’m not full of myself. I enjoy seeing folks react in person to things I’ve created and that it made them act, laugh or feel anything. I love telling a story.
CHB: What do you like the least about being a writer?
SHREWSBURY: The voices in my head. Hah. Naw. The pay. The idiots one meets that need to be punched in the mouth. When I was writing on a manual typewriter snail mailing things, I thought a lot less about killing smart-assed, self-absorbed pricks that I see online who try to tell me how to live my life.
CHB: What is in La Gaul’s future as far as books and short stories? (without giving away any major spoilers)
SHREWSBURY: I have a number of epic novels in line for Gorias, one thundering into existence is a very broad, huge work that is surprising me as it is created. I’ll be exploring more of his life while chronicling more of his adventures…and possibly those of his daughter.
CHB: And final words on BORN OF SWORDS and Gorias La Gaul?
SHREWSBURY: Get it and read it. It has more balls than the World Series. It also has a twist at the end that would make Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling give out mocking applause. Read, laugh and enjoy. But don’t be too shocked in places. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. Cheers.


Steven L. Shrewsbury lives, works and writes in rural Central Illinois. Over 365 of his short stories have been published in print or digital media since the late 80s. His novels include WITHIN, PHILISTINE, OVERKILL, HELL BILLY, BLOOD & STEEL, THRALL, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR and GODFORSAKEN.
He has collaborated with other writers, like Brian Keene with KING OF THE BASTARDS, Peter Welmerink in BEDLAM UNLEASHED, Nate Southard in BAD MAGICK, Maurice Broaddus in the forthcoming BLACK SON RISING and Eric S. Brown in an untitled project.

He continues to search for brightness in this world, no matter where it chooses to hide.

Author Links


Print Version
Kindle Version

B&N Link for Born of Swords

Shrewsbury BORN OF SWORDS Tour Schedule and Activities
10/26 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author   Guest Post
Man's Midnight Garden    Review
Sapphyria's Book Reviews   Guest Post
Azure Dwarf    Review
Book in the Bag    Interview
Creatives Help Board.How may I direct your call?   Interview
WebbWeaver Reviews   Guest Post
Sheila's Blog   Guest Post
Dice Upon A Time   Top-Tens List

Tour Page URL:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Stephen Zimmer regarding his new short story collection: HELLSCAPES Volume 2

Return to the nightmarish, shadowy realms of Hell in the latest installment of the Hellscapes series by Stephen Zimmer. Six brand new, macabre tales of the infernal await you … but be that you only visit these realms, you do not want to share the fates of the inhabitants you will encounter!


CREATIVE HELP BOARD: HELLSCAPES 2 is obviously the second book in this particular short story series. What was your initial idea behind the HELLSCAPES short story series?

ZIMMER: I wanted to write tales in the horror genre that were connected with a theme, and have something to say in them, while also having something that would give me unlimited range in the kinds of environments, characters, themes, and creatures that could be encountered within them. 

The idea of doing stories set in Hell gives you every option.  You can go bizarre or brutal  You can have something more rooted in stark realism or depict something wildly fantastical.  You can have a tone that is visceral in nature or more psychological in nature. 

There are no boundaries that are off-limits, as Hell is the ultimate horror, an unending, eternal nightmare for those condemned to dwell within it.   Writing a series of short tales that have a connecting theme to them, while allowing for great variance in the types of stories and settings, gives me a good challenge as a writer. 

Intellectually it allows me to explore conceptions of evil in all its forms, the subtle and not-so-subtle. The way in which I reveal what brought the character to their area of Hell can be a real exposition of a given type of evil.

For me, the kinds of stories in the Hellscapes collection offered that opportunity and that's why I embarked on the path of writing them.

CHB: Do you see yourself more a Horror writer or an Epic Fantasy writer delving in realms of Horror?

ZIMMER: I just see myself as a writer exploring another horizon.  I don't want to ever limit myself, and the truth is that elements of various genres are used often in other genres  I have horror elements in my Fires in Eden Series, Rising Dawn Saga, and Rayden Valkyrie Tales.  This is simply going full-throttle in the genre, without inhibition.  There are things intrinsic to each genre, but at the end of the day you still have to have plot and characters that appeal to, and engage, the reader.  

CHB: What do you think makes the HELLSCAPE series unique?

ZIMMER: Truly, there really is nothing new under the sun, but I do like to think that this series has its own twist on the kinds of themes that originated as far back as Dante's Inferno.  The various characters find themselves in different realms of hell that are suited toward the kinds of evils the characters committed in their physical lives. 

It is an exploration of evil in all of its guises, the things more direct and those things like so many like to gloss over, such as what transpires when a community is gutted because of the closing of a main factory or business as a result of a hostile takeover in the financial sector.  All too often, the kinds of suffering and evils spawned in the aftermath of something like that are never factored into the thinking of the powerful sitting in high rise offices far away. 

That can make for a seemingly dry concept of evil, but in tales like the Hellscapes I can draw upon all kinds of imagery to represent that kind of evil and show just how malignant it is.  I think in many ways the Hellscapes have value because they do explore all kinds of evil and not just the obvious ones.

The wide variance in the stories combined with a cohesive overall theme make this a collection that I feel has its place among the horror genre offerings out there.

CHB: Do you have a favorite short story in one or both of the series? Can you say a little bit about WHY without giving too much of the storyline away?

ZIMMER: It is hard to pick favorites in the two volumes.  In the first, I would probably lean toward “The Smallest Fish”, as it brings together zombie elements and Lovecraftian elements into an exploration of a more subtle, but all too common type of evil.  It has horrors on an epic scale but doesn't lose the personal connection to the principle character.  The Stranger, who appears in this one to the main character, is also one of my more favorite guides among the denizens of the infernal realms. 

With the second book, I lean toward “Spots Do Not Change” as it is a story that depicts a kind of evil that I find to be among the worst, a kind of evil that destroys a path that could have brought tremendous good to many, and all for mere physical indulgence.   The liar, cheater, and deceiver does not just harm the person they have ensnared, but they also cause great damage to those around that person and others who could have been a shining light in that person's life.  In this story, I have hopefully shown that kind of evil for what it is and how it is an evil that gives rise to further evils.  Personally, this was  a very gratifying story to write. 

CHB: What do you like most about being a writer?

ZIMMER: I love the creative exploration and personal growth that it brings.  Writing gives you the ability to bring worlds to life, but you also must live a real life in order to breath life into characters, emotions, and situations.  For me, the writing life calls you to get out in the world and try things out and experience things, travel to new places, meet different kinds of people, from all walks of life.   Life experience truly helps you grow as a writer, and this call to live and bring worlds of the imagination to life co-exist in a wonderful way for me.

CHB: What do you like the least about being a writer?

ZIMMER: The maelstrom of it all.  In today's writing climate, there is simply so much out there and coming out that you have to do all you can to raise awareness and make sure you don't fall off the radar.  This demands a lot of time to do properly. 

That can be a bit onerous sometimes and the things done to promote and raise awareness can lead to some issues in the area of perception of value.  Of course illegal downloading is hurtful, but there is also the fact that with many titles being legally given away for free or 99 cents, I think a skewed perception of value has resulted.  People that think nothing of spending seven bucks on a drink at a bar or five dollars on a Taco Bell combo meal hesitate on an eBook that is over 99 cents, when the value in that eBook is longer-lasting and much better than those aforementioned things (not even counting all the work, research, writing, rewriting, editing, etc that goes into a book project).  That can be a little frustrating and wasn't so much of an issue with tangible formats.  I know the musicians and filmmakers can relate strongly to writers in this area.  The digital world, while it offers such convenience, has also opened up a lot of difficult issues for artists who still need to pay bills and are trying to have a career.

CHB: Do you have plans to continue this series into possibly a HELLSCAPES 3?

ZIMMER: Of course! Without a doubt. I have loads of ideas for more stories and there are so many other kinds of evil that can be depicted.  These stories give me a different area to explore artistically from the other series and projects that I have, and that gives me a nice change of pace from time to time.  I certainly hope to do a Hellscapes 3, 4, and so on!

CHB: And final words on the HELLSCAPES series?

ZIMMER: The Hellscapes tales have delivered to me as a writer everything that I saw them as offering, and I hope readers, especially those of the horror genre, give them a try.  They will find a diverse range of characters and settings, yet also see a connection between them all.  With what these stories are and what they have to say, I also believe they demonstrate some of the strengths of horror in what the genre offers to literature.


Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based in Lexington Kentucky.  His work includes the cross-genre Rising Dawn Saga, the epic fantasy Fires in Eden series, the sword and sorcery Dark Sun Sawn Trilogy, featuring Rayden Valkyrie, the Harvey and Solomon Steampunk tales and the Hellscapes and Chronicles of Ave short story collections.

Twitter: @sgzimmer
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7


Amazon (Kindle)


HELLSCAPES Vol. 2 Virtual Tour

Tour Schedule and Activities
10/26 Anasazi Dreams Review
Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
Shells Interviews Guest Post
Sinister Scribblings Guest Post
Kentucky Geek Girl Author Interview
Pulp Reports Review
10/28 Creatives Help Board. How may I direct your call? Guest Post
Bee's Knees Reviews Review
Sheila's Blog Guest Post
L. Andrew Cooper's Horrific Scribblings Review
10/31 SwillBlog Review/Interview
I Smell Sheep Review
11/1 Sapphyria's Book Reviews Top-Tens List
Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post

Tour Page URL:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lawrence Heibel discusses FIVE THINGS LEARNED WRITING

Writer/author Lawrence Heibel discusses the five things he learned writing REUNION.
Pam Mondy witnesses her abusive husband’s death as she prepares to leave him for her college professor Ron Candleson.  Five years later, Steve Thorndyk, a young medium, unwittingly helps Ray, Pam’s dead husband, to return to life by possessing a living body.  Six months later, Ron and Pam Candleson are camping at Bay Haven State Park where Ron is reunited with his teenage children.  Disguised in a living body, Ray strikes up a reunion with Pam which includes a seduction and a reign of terror.
1. I wrote the novel in the early 80s and made little effort to publish.  I got it back out in 2013 and read it and discovered that after 30 years the novel still held up.  It was a solid story.

2. It’s okay to write dark, violent material.  I was afraid when younger that if I wrote violence and sex scenes that readers, namely friends and family, would chastise me.  They didn’t because I didn’t write them gratuitously.  The sex and violence were important to the story.

3. It took me 30 years to “finish” this book.  All the revision in the world won’t make it perfect.  When a story is done you need to turn it over to a professional editor, take their comments and suggestions to the story and make necessary changes. 

4. Writing is an intregal part of my life.  I was an avid reader because I loved get involved in other stories.  Now I write those other stories and there is nothing more gratifying than spending time with imaginary people (except spending time with real people).

5. Once a story is told, it’s time to move onto another story.  I don’t define myself in any genre.  I have five books published,  New Blood is a photographic novel that is a vampire story told with 100 pictures and 100 pages of text.  Overture to Rain is a novella suspense story that takes place in a stone prison cell.  Termination Notice is a collection of early short stories mixing horror, literary, sci-fi and humor.  Reunion is a horror thriller and Will You Please Listen, Please Is a collection of short stories that look at how we talk or don’t talk, listen or don’t listen to each other and ourselves.  In progress are a fantasy trilogy and a contemporary drama.  Novels pending are a criminal perspective and a spiritual toned book.  You don’t have to confine your writing to any one genre.  Just write what you enjoy be it one genre or 10.
About the Author
Lawrence Heibel is a professional writer with five books published by his company, Heibel Media.  Lawrence has been writing since elementary school.  He worked 13 years writing news and features for the Grand Rapids Press.  Writing is his passion, but his career path veered from writing to photography in 2006 as he anticipated the change in the newspaper industry.  While writing for the newspaper, he developed skills as a photojournalist and in 2006 transitioned from newspaper correspondent and photojournalist to portrait, event and wedding photographer.  Since 2010, Lawrence has split his time between writing novels and short stories and helping photographers from hobbyists to professionals improve their photography through classes, workshops and photography studio rental at WorkShoots in Grand Rapids.   His first novel, Reunion was published in November 2014 and a collection of short stories titled Will You Please Listen, Please was published in March 2015.  He has four novels in various stages of production including a fantasy trilogy and a contemporary drama.   He lives in Cutlerville with his wife, Kim, who has put up with him for 30 years.  They have two sons, Andrew 26 and Alex 20.
Author Links
Heibel Media LLC on Facebook
Lawrence Heibel on Facebook
Other Books by Lawrence R. Heibel
(For further information and purchasing info, please go to Heibel Media, LLC)
A lonely young vampire waits for the sun to rise and put him out of his miserable existence.  A young woman comes along looking for a vampire and can’t bear losing him to the sun.  As the night rolls on, the vampire tells the story of the vampires who came before him and how he is doomed to follow their deadly desire for New Blood.  Will his story convince her that he should die?  Or can she give him a reason to live?
In a land where it rains once every 19 years, when the rains come, life is renewed.  However, for a prisoner in a stone cell at the bottom of a valley, the rains will bring his death.  On the day the rain comes, another prisoner is dropped into the cell next to him.  As the rains fall, the two prisoners exchange stories with an ending you won’t see coming.

An eclectic collection of short stories that give insight to a young writer.  Included are a handful of stories from Lawrence's elementary and high school years. The main stories are from Lawrence’s 20s.   Stories range from the humorous supernatural story Door to Door which pits a working Mom against an inept demon trying to buy souls.  Test Duty is a sci-fi story that stirs memories of the Vietnam conflict.  Turning to Golf is a contemporary drama about a young father struggling with his daughter’s coming of age.
A collection of contemporary short stories that have a central theme of communication between oneself and others.  The title story goes back and forth between a married couple as they think about what they want to tell their spouse but can’t bring themselves to say what they need.  In The Squashing of a Toad, a middle aged man faces his child self and teenage self as two opposing forces in his life that kept him from living the life he wanted.  In At the Intersection three peoples’ lives are changed by a lack of communication.
For further information and purchasing info, please go to Heibel Media, LLC
Come visit Lawrence and five other West Michigan authors at Grand Rapids Comic Con, October 16-18, 2015



Russell Slater is a writer and author AND small press publisher located in West Michigan.
Here, he talks about FIVE THINGS LEARNED WRITING his Classic Monster (in my words) novella, ACIPENSER.

Something in the lake… 4th of July Weekend!
Time for flags, barbeques and late night fireworks. For the residents of a sleepy West Michigan community, the carefree days of sun-soaked bliss are about to be interrupted by a deadly abomination of nature…lurking in the depths of a local lake. ACIPENSER
Vietnam veteran Silas Sobel loves Green Lake. He watches over the water – protects it. When he witnesses a mysterious attack on a pontoon of partiers, his claims are dismissed as wild stories. Setting out on a lone mission, he utilizes unconventional methods to capture the proof he needs. As the town slowly realizes the truth, they find themselves woefully unprepared to combat the hideously mutated monsters of Green Lake.
FYS – Finish Your Shit.  Don’t look backward (until the end). 
1. FYS

This is the most important acronym for a writer.  Put simply: Finish your shit.  Great words of advice.  Twenty half-written stories are useless, whereas a terrible yet fully-written rough draft has a future.  Get it done, maintain momentum, and don’t stop until you write “THE END.”  I’m still working on this.   
2. ACIPENSERS don’t have teeth – wait, yes they do! 
When I chose the Lake Sturgeon as my “Green Lake Monster,” I soon was disappointed to learn that these fish don’t even have teeth!  Somehow a giant mutant fish that gummed people to death didn’t seem as frightening as rows upon rows of serrated steak-knife teeth.  So we gave him chompers – deadly, pointy ones.  Coincidently, I did learn later on that certain species of Acipensers in Eastern Asia are predatory fish, and do in fact have teeth. 
3. We’re famous!  (not really)

People aren’t like cockroaches – in fact, they like the spotlight.  I love writing stories based locally, and I knew by creating a fictional lake monster in a community near where I live, I would be scaring my friends and neighbors.  Knowing there are many “Green Lakes” out there, I specifically had my cover artist (Jordan Richardson) put an outline of “our” Green Lake as a glare in the monster’s eyeball.  It’s just something small, and discrete – not something you’d normally notice, but when locals say, “Is this about our Green Lake,” I can point to that small detail, and they instantly smile.  Some area readers like to guess which characters resemble actual people.  
4. Great art will sell your book

Yes, people do judge a book by its cover.  An awful story with a great cover will outsell an awesome story with a terrible cover.  We are visual creatures, and we buy visual entertainment (whose actual content is mostly unseen –movies, books, magazines) based on the package it comes in (or cover).  Work with talented artists who can convey your story through a great cover.  The reader should have some idea what the book is about based on the cover – when readers pick up a copy of Acipenser to thumb through, they have a pretty good notion that the story involves some type of terrifying monster with sharp teeth.  Too many covers on the market today, whether through independent or traditional publishing houses, appear too generic.    
It took Jordan and I several months to develop the final look of Acipenser.  He went through many variations, and after several sit-down meetings and dozens of emails exchanged, we finally got it right.  I love the final look of the monster – so much so, I got him tattooed on my left shoulder. 
5. It’s all good: Feedback

Feedback is our emotional payment for our work (physical payment in the form of cash, checks, and credit are nice too).  After pouring heart and soul into a project, hearing the response from readers can be satisfying, encouraging, or maybe disheartening.  Even if a reader gives you blunt, at times rude, feedback – it’s all good.  Our first reaction when receiving negative feedback may be to snatch the nearest solid object and thump them over the head with it, but resist the urge.  Bite your tongue.  Smile.  Say, “thank you for taking the time to read it.”  Think about their feedback – does it have merit?  Yes, the truth can sting sometimes.   Use negative feedback as a learning experience. 
Toughen thy skin until it becomes an armor shell that can absorb whatever a reader throws at you. 
Positive feedback makes us writer-types puuuuurrrr.  “I liked it,” or “it was an enjoyable read” are nice to hear, but what really gets me purring is the feedback with details.  Stories of readers’ reaction to your material are great.  I recently had a woman who lives on Green Lake tell me how her teenage daughter bought a copy of Acipenser, and then invited her girlfriends for a sleep over.  They took turns reading it aloud to one another and then went swimming in the lake at night. 
Russell Slater is a Michigan author and head of Peninsulam Publishing (Publishing stories Made in Michigan). In addition to his published novels, his work has been featured in the (Wayland) Penasee Globe, Allegan County News, Flavor 616 Magazine, Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, Engraver's Journal and the Volunteer: Civil Air Patrol Magazine. He enjoys creative writing in multiple genres, from alternate history political thrillers, to sci-fi/horror, and children's books. He lives in a rural community with his wife and son.
Peninsulam Publishing and Book Links


Monday, October 12, 2015

The "Great Lakes Authors" Sixlet talks briefly on why they write

who will be attending 
the GRAND RAPIDS COMIC CON this October.

1. Why do you write? I have always loved to write and find that I am much more comfortable with the written word versus the spoken word. I don't get as much time to write as I would like, so when I do write it is because I truly believe that I have something to say and want to share it with people.

2. When do you find is the best time to write? I like writing at night or in the evenings. I like to have the whole day to process what I want to say, or a whole day's worth of experiences to explore. Plus, I am absolutely not a morning person (even though I try to be).

3. What is your end goal as a writer/author? My end goal as a writer/author would be to share my thoughts, experiences, and passions with the world in the way I feel most comfortable. I have always written about topics that deeply matter to me, so my goal would be to try to bring awareness or discussion to some of those topics. And I would like to do so for as long as I continue to enjoy it.

Ingar Rudholm

1. Why do you write? As single parent, my mom worked odd jobs (retail stores, painting, traveling sales, etc) to support her kids. But her real passion was painting and art.  She always said, "When I retire, I'm going to paint and make arts and crafts."  Unfortunately, before she retired, she was diagnosed with dementia and she never pursued her passion.  So, I thought before I die, I want a few books.

2. When do you find is the best time to write? Between the hours of 11pm and 1 am.  Any time after that, I end up falling asleep hunched over my laptop.

3. What is your end goal as a writer/author? Inspire people to never lose their imagination.

Lawrence Heibel
1. Why do you write?   I have a pathological need to express myself in written words.  Like eating and breathing I have a need to write that must be exercised.

2. When do you find is the best time to write?  I can write any time any where but prefer the dead of night when the house is quiet.

3. What is your end goal as a writer/author?  I write for myself, but I do want to be heard.  My goal as a writer is to entertain myself.  My goal as an author is to entertain others.

Melanie Swiftney
1. Why do you write? I love telling stories. Always have. As a teenager I loved sharing my short stories with friends and that yearning to see people's reactions when they read something I wrote is intoxicating. Since publishing my first novel in 2012, it's been even more addictive. I just love entertaining people.

2. When do you find is the best time to write? My preferred time is first thing in the morning, before I've checked email or Facebook or turned on the TV.

3. What is your end goal as a writer/author? TO RULE THE WORLD! Well, to sell lots of books and be a full-time author. Isn't that every writer's goal?

Deanna J Compton
1. Why do you write?  Writing is a way to express myself that I find fulfilling.  It is my voice and I can't be silenced or interrupted or argued with during the process.

2. When do you find is the best time to write? I like to write in the morning before my other responsibilities take over and sometimes in the evening if I have any energy left at the end of the day.

3. What is your end goal as a writer/author? My end goal as a writer is to produce an entertaining story.

Peter Welmerink
1. Why do you write?  My therapist says it is therapeutic, then charges by $120 and sends me on my way. I wish she’d loosen the straightjacket though.

2. When do you find is the best time to write? I typically get up before the bird and the worm to catch some words, and place them in some form of order on the blank sheet.

3. What is your end goal as a writer/author? First, to get these stories out of my head. There’s a reason for them being here and wanting to be let out. Second, hopefully I can share with others, and hopefully they get a little form of entertainment from my ramblings.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Tommy B Smith - Five Things Learned

Tommy B Smith talks

I met Tommy at IMAGINARIUM 2015, stopped by his table, said hello. I'd seen and heard his name before, and it was good putting a name to a face. He is a writer of Horror, and from what I'm seeing from his list of material...a damn good and creepy writer of Horror.
Here he talks about the craft of writing and being an author.
1. Being an effective author is far more than simply writing a book. It is more than polishing a book to a sharp shine or signing a contract with a publisher. It is more than merely making others aware that your book exists. All of these steps are important, but the process is not this simple unless you are incredibly lucky. It is work, and that work can be time-consuming. As such, be prepared.
2. Even in doing what we do best, authors—people—possess strengths and weaknesses. Parts of my journey as an author have brought a better understanding of these, for my own case, and methods of addressing them.
3. The lenses through which a work’s author and its reader perceive can be quite different. It is important to distinguish constructive criticism from destructive criticism. Beware of misleading advice, but be aware that, when utilized properly, constructive criticism can be an author’s valuable tool.
4. Life isn’t apt to be fair, nor is every person, company, or organization within the world of writing, editing, and publishing. Be aware of who you are dealing with, and read the fine print.
5. I write dark fiction. For some time, I had no classification for what I wrote. Some of it was horror, but not all of it. I also wrote tales of fantasy, one science fiction story, and some dark borderline-literary stories. “Dark fiction” seems the most accurate description of what I do in general. 
About the Author
Tommy B. Smith is a writer of dark fiction and the author of Poisonous and Pieces of Chaos. His work has appeared in numerous publications over the years to include Every Day Fiction, Night to Dawn, Black Petals, Blood Moon Rising, and a variety of other magazines and anthologies. He has previously worked with Morpheus Tales as editor of the magazine's Dark Sorcery and Urban Horror special issues. His presence infests Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he resides with his wife and cats. More information can be found on his website at

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His work

Following the Quake of ’79, a terrible force came to the city of St. Charles. This was the Living Poison. In Lilac Chambers, it may have found the perfect host. As she finds herself changing, becoming increasingly dangerous to everyone around her, it becomes apparent that her state of being is no accident of nature. She is becoming a prime vehicle for the Living Poison’s destructive swath through the streets of St. Charles. Detective Brandt McCullough has seen the Living Poison’s brutality. John Sutterfield, ringmaster of Sutterfield’s Circus of the Fantastic, is discovering its malignancy festering within the very circus he founded. These two are the only ones who might stand in the way of a force greater than anything they have ever known, one which threatens to wash the streets in red and swallow the city into chaos, but the stakes may be higher than either of them can imagine. St. Charles—indeed, the world—may tremble.

Link to Poisonous on Amazon

This book is a collision of ink and paper and an awakening of possibilities. Captured within are fragments of glass, metal, bone, ice, dreams, visions, and lives. Inside its pages, you will read of a lost village and the burning affliction of its people. You will share in an engineer’s unveiling of a hidden conspiracy. You will visit with a child confined to a tiny rectangular world on the brink of dissolution, and you will follow a girl on her trek from a home of crime and poverty across barren fields of ice to where an unspeakable force dwells. These are but a few of the works you will find among this collection of fourteen tales which blends the cosmic, the psychological, the human, and the inhuman in bringing together the essential dark fiction from author Tommy B. Smith’s pen of chaos.
Link to Pieces of Chaos on Amazon

What some people are saying about Smith's work

"His prose is tight and drives the story so the reader keeps flipping the pages."

"...features great writing, edge of your seat drama and the kind of gothic horror you can really sink your teeth into. A huge adrenaline rush for serious horror junkies!"

"...his stories are delightfully twisted, with sharp prose and unexpected turns..."