Today’s Featured Author – Mick Williams

Today, I welcome author Mick Williams to my blog. After completing several other books (comedies, children’s books and a fantasy), Mick tried his hand at horror with the release of Horrifics 1, a collection of short horror stories, in February of this year.

Interview

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

There comes a time when reading one’s own writing no longer makes him cringe. At that point, you’ve found your voice. It happens after several false starts before confidence sets in.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Not much of myself is there, but experiences play a huge part, especially people I know or used to know.

So did you base any of your characters on real people?

Practically all of them. Real people come with instant mannerisms and vocabulary, which makes them stand out from each other. They have to be changed a little, though, since the disclaimer says there’s no similarity to actual people.

Please tell us about your current release.

Horrifics 1 is nine short stories which feature original takes on familiar folklore characters, with unexpected endings. Two of the tales use my own creations in scifi or legend.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I’m doing Horrifics 2, a second collection of horror tales. The first story is a scary yet poignant tale of a high school student who inherits the family vampire.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

For short stories, I start with a memorable scene from fiction, film, or real life, which becomes the anchor point. The story takes shape around it. It may be central to the plot, or characters simply pass through on their way to the story climax.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I always outline, to prevent writing into a dead end. That once happened two-thirds of the way through a book.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I have a broad research library on hand for mythology, folklore, and ancient languages. There’s also a picture reference file for inspiration on backgrounds.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

My favorite in this outing is the 85-year old succubus, who is zany enough to make such an unlikely thing plausible. I avoid making any of them unlikable, which would mean unreadable.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

The one where an office salesman, who is guilty of sexual harassment, finds an occult way to take advantage of a co-worker. Does he make the right choice? It’s important in drama scenes not to get maudlin. The scene ends with a touch of humor.

 

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I’d be Lord Falco, the wealthy playboy who led a mission into an alternate dimension, commanding a group of fighters and spell casters.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

I’d definitely want to live in the Outworld, the scene of an epic fantasy, where magic and monsters are the norm.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Coffee and walnut brownie. In winter, the spirit-filled chocolate is available.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

I thought The Warded Man was good, with its nightly struggle to survive when demons arose.

What book are you reading right now?

Skeletons at the Feast, by Chris Bohjalian. It’s about refugees in World War 2.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Joyce Carol Oates, for her poetry, and Terry Brooks for fantasy.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I also do portraits and comic books, landscapes and T shirt designs.

Book Blurb

Horrifics 2By turns scary, poignant, and amusing, these horror shorts feature both familiar haunts of legend and modern urban fantasy. From the former comes a tech-savvy gorgon and an obscure relation of Dracula, who demands from van Helsing an accounting for killing the vampire lord. From the latter comes a boy’s crush on a most unusual teacher; a ghost who reaches out through a video game to atone for a mistake; and a horror aficionado. When an enigmatic photo falls out of a library book, he becomes embroiled in a battle for survival with a succubus. These 8-12 page entries serve up a sinister snack for those with time to kill.

About the Author

Mick Williams is a self-taught writer and artist since the age of twelve. He recently left the fields of medical lab work and an RN position to focus full time on the craft. His titles include three comedy satires, two illustrated children’s books, and one fantasy. This is his first entry in the horror field.

You can buy Horrifics 1 on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Tabitha Baumander

Today I welcome author Tabitha Baumander. Her book, The Fourth Wall, a collection of short stories, will be out soon.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m fifty five years old divorced with thirty year old twins. Toronto is a hyper expensive place to call home so my son and I share an apartment. My daughter lives elsewhere and visits often. I don’t have a lot of practical skills so I work in telephone sales/customer service. Yes I’m one of THOSE people.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

Toronto , Ontario, Canada

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I have a brain that just generates plot. It would do it if I didn’t write it down and in fact did it before I had the ability to write. When I was very young I drew pictures in sequence and for a time thought I would be a cartoonist. Then I got older and realized the pictures would never be up to standard and it was really the plot that interested me.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m one of those people that say if you write on a regular basis you are a writer however I think it probably took a good ten years of constant writing to get to a professional level. I’m still improving with every new project.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

Technically speaking my current project isn’t a single story it’s a process. I use twitter and have begun doing stories –so far one original and one from one of my published novellas- in serialized form. I’m doing it in the interests of gaining followers and hopefully publicizing and reading my books.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

Job or no job if you want to do something you need to find the time to do it even if its ten minutes at the beginning of the day as in the time I’m spending doing this interview. I wrote the first draft of my first book when my twins were three years old and learned a sentence written or even rewritten is a step closer to writing THE END.

What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

I think one should think of any kind of advice as a guideline and use your common sense. What worked for one generation simply doesn’t for the next because the market and the whole nature of the business has in the mean time changed.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

No matter how crap life can get at least I have that and it makes me a bit special. Oddly enough it also makes me SPECIAL as in thought of as a bit odd. Not to mention the fact that everyone thinks that all you have to do is “just go on breakfast television and plug it” to become successful. Someone literally said that to me yesterday and I almost exploded. People just don’t understand.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

Things come to me in a lot of different ways then my brain chews them up and spits them out.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I generally have an outline in my head and know where I want to end up but sometimes there’s that big gap in the middle I have to mechanically crawl through using common sense and asking myself ok so how do we do this. Once or twice I have outlined in detail and a couple of times that outline took the form of a screen play (film script) which would give me a 100 page outline.

the foruth wallPlease tell us about your current release.

THE FOURTH WALL is my current release. It’s a book with short stories and two novellas. This is a volume many years in the making as I really don’t write very short that often. I have several slightly undersized books but actual short stories are rare.

What inspired you to write this book?

I think in this case pragmatic reasons come out on top. I don’t read them myself but I’m told people like short stories. SO I looked for a theme in my short stuff realized there was one and put the bits together to form a whole.

How did you come up with the title?

The fourth wall is a theatrical term that means the line between the reality the actors create on stage and the reality of the audience. In each of the stories there is a point where actual reality changes and becomes something else.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

In general I try and stay away from doing that people can get a bit touchy.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

The novella THE TROLL takes place in a real location in Toronto problem being it is envisioned as I remember it when I was a kid. The location itself is completely different now.

About the Author 

IMG_5226I am a novelist screenwriter and playwright with five books published and a lot more to come. At this point in my life I am divorced with adult twins. I live in Toronto Canada which I am currently populating with aliens, monsters and fairies. Because, well, why not.

You find more about Tabitha on her Facebook page. Her books can be found on Amazon.

#NewRelease – THE DATING GAME

Just out last month – The Dating Game: Short Stories About the Search for Mr. Right. 

Book Blurb

tha dating game coverFrom fairytale romances to dating disasters and everything in between, The Dating Game chronicles the stories of hopefuls on their journey toward happily ever after.

In this compilation of dating stories, sixteen writers share tales of adventures and experiences while on the quest toward finding Mr. Right. From Tania Renee Zayid’s story of what happens when one woman becomes determined to keep the perfect man that she met online . . . to Natalie Leffall’s hilarious look into the dating world of a plus-size girl . . . to Keleigh and Gina’s rib-tickling and surprisingly dangerous, speed dating fiasco. . . and Gina Torres’ tale of love, heartache, and the power of letting go . . . these diverse stories will make you laugh, cry, and root for the characters to land Mr. Right.

Here are just a few of the included stories…

Open by Victoria Kennedy

Karim is stiff and formal. Deanna is saucy and down to earth. The come from different cultures, religions and pasts. When they answer the call of attraction, will they be able to bridge what separates them and submit to the desire they can no longer deny?

Victoria Kennedy is a writer and singer. She is currently pursing an MFA in Creative Writing and the Publishing Arts. To find out more about her, check out her website

Mixing Business with Pleasure by Richelle Denise

Kennedi Tyler is a businesswoman who finds love in the most unlikely place…the arms of her boss. But when she makes a shocking discovery, she realizes everything isn’t always as great as it seems.

Richelle Denise is an aspiring author who has always had a passion for reading. When she is not writing, she is most likely spending time with her two sons. 

A Beautiful Letter by Cheryl Ashford Daniels

Elle all but gives up on love after her husband dies. Especially since dating proves worse than being alone. When she receives a mysterious letter inviting her on a blind date, she almost throws the letter away. Who would dare invite her, the ice queen of the century, on a date? After receiving another letter from the same incredulous author, she opens herself up to the possibility of love again.

Cheryl Ashford Daniels is an aspiring writer what has a passionate love for reading and writing. She woke up one morning and decided that instead of reading another book, she wanted to write one. You can find out more about her on her website

You can purchase The Dating Game on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author: Lela E. Buis

Today I welcome author Lela E. Buis to my blog. Her latest is a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories featuring women who love women.

Interview

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Actually, this sort of crept up on me. I did fine on writing assignments in elementary and high school, which included short fiction. I’ve got high verbal ability, and I exempted most of college writing classes in the placement exams, so I got very little education on writing in college. After I graduated, I felt a need for the arts, so I signed up for creative writing classes at Brevard Community College through adult education. Well, lo and behold, the school had a literary magazine, and I ended up with my first poetry and short story publications. I was suddenly a published writer. I took that for granted, even though I had no time for serious writing for a long time. Life happens. In the late eighties, I got a computer to help with graduate school and suddenly I had an important tool. I started writing and publishing science fiction and fantasy stories. I also started some novels during this period. I got busy again and was down to writing just poetry for a while, but I’m back to writing longer pieces now. I’m working on those novels again, too. I’ve recently submitted one to Tor, and hopefully I’ll be a published novelist soon.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I don’t outline. However, I do need to have an idea about where I’m going before I start. That means I need to have the main characters and a general plot before I start on anything. Everything else develops as the characters try to get what they want and where they want to go.  Now and then I’ll run into a major glitch while doing this. I was working on a novel last year that was going along perfectly well, and introduced a character that suddenly changed the whole resonance of what was going on. I had to stop and regroup. I’ll have to look at the backstory for my characters and come up with a way to integrate this character. She’s very strong and totally took over what I was doing. Oops.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

Imagination and the idea that someone out there might like to read what I’ve written. There’s nothing like a little encouragement from editors, fans, or even random readers to keep the writing process going. Recent changes in the publishing world have opened up new opportunities to reach readers, and that has fired a real period of creativity for me. When I first started marketing the short stories, writers were confined to sending out submissions to a limited list of print magazines, waiting for months for each depressing rejection slip. Now there are all kinds of innovations, from crowd funding to cover costs to Web-only magazines and anthologies that can cut down overhead for editors. The market has exploded. I’ve had a pool of old short stories, both published and unpublished that I need to get working for me, so I’ve been looking to get these out in the form of collections. Hopefully it will help create a readership for my newer stuff.

What inspired you to write this book?

An opportunity for a sure sale. I had sold several stories to an editor in the early nineties and one day he sent me an email saying, “Could you write me a lesbian story? I need one for an anthology I’m doing.” How could I turn down a commission? The story was a success, which led to a few more. I ended up with a stock of stories with lesbian characters—enough to make a short collection. That’s what Competitive Fauna is about. It’s a collection of fantasy and science fiction stories about women with ordinary needs, concerns and desires—and troubles, too. It’s been very well received. It’s gotten five star reviews so far, and I’ve got to thank the fans for being so positive about it. I’m glad people are enjoying the stories.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Roger Zelazny. Of course, that won’t work for me because he’s been dead for a while. The man had such a way with metaphor. I’ve always loved literary writing and subtexts that blossom into second and third layer meanings as you read. His work was an inspiration for my early writing efforts, and I miss having new work from him.

C.J. Cherryh. Okay, I’ve got a taste for action-adventure. Is that juvenile? Maybe so, but if I ever grow out of it, I’ll figure I’ve really gotten old. Besides that, you can’t beat her development of cultural details and alien environments. It all just feels so real…

Thanks for the interview!

Book Blurb

competitive FaunaLela Buis present a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories featuring women who love women. These stories vary from the sensual to erotic, and include characters who face life’s problems with strength and intelligence. Includes mild violence and sexual situations.

About the Author

LelaRight now, I’m mainly a speculative fiction short story writer. I was born in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and lived in Florida for a long time, where I worked at Kennedy Space Center and at different teaching jobs. I’ve been publishing in magazines and anthologies for a long time, and besides the Knoxville Writer’s Guild, I’m also a member of the SFWA and SFPA. I’ve recently had four collections of short stories and poetry published by That Ridge press that you can find online. Watch for me to publish some novels in the near future!

You can find out more about Lela on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Competitive Fauna on Amazon.