Nine Questions with… Allison Dickson

Boy, oh boy! Do I have a treat for you all today! You’ll never guess who my guest is… Allison Dickson!! If you’re not acquainted with Allison or her work, it’s about time you join those in the know.

Hello everyone! I’m Allison M. Dickson, and I am an author. Er… Okay, maybe I’ll just share my bio from my publisher’s website:

Allison M. Dickson lives in southwest Ohio and has been writing since she could hold pencil to paper. It’s only in recent years that she started treating the craft as a career. After earning a few small publishing credits, she started selling her stories online, where she gained a decent following with such dark tales as “Dust” and “Vermin.” She soon caught the attention of author and visionary Vincent Hobbes, and her relationship with Hobbes End Publishing solidified with her two contributions to the second volume of The Endlands, and finally with their recent acceptance of her upcoming science-fiction novel, The Last Supper. Her other obsessions include food, movies, cracking bad jokes with her family over dinner, taking pictures of her giant cat, and harboring secret fantasies of being a Bond girl/sword-wielding martial arts master.

I also love cake.

I feel like we are kindred spirits – not only do I also have a giant cat, but I also love cake! Mmmm cake… Time for a subject change – what is your writing process, Allison?

My process is not to have too much of a process. I crave flexibility in my life. If an idea pops into my head and it’s a good one, I think on it for a bit to see if it sticks. It can be as little as a couple days or several months. I don’t like outlines and I don’t plan too much ahead of time. Sometimes I’ll brainstorm aloud with some friends of mine, and that inspires me a lot, but usually I just start writing and see what happens. I prefer to write my stories in chronological order, and I do most everything on my laptop. Sometimes I’m inspired to write during the day or late at night. All in all, I’m not the most regimented writer.

Sometimes the best ideas come out of not planning every last detail; it allows you to go n the direction that the story decides to take you. Tell us Allison, is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I would love to write an awesome crime thriller or suspense novel. Something very gritty and haunting, with an oft-quoted character that becomes part of the cultural fabric, like a Hannibal Lecter or Tyler Durden. That seems easy enough!

(Cleaning up the tea that I just spat everywhere…) Yes, it’s amazing how easy that is… *wink* I’m definitely going to get on that later today! I do know what you mean however, you can have a great story, but it’s even better with great characters. If you had to choose 5 books that have influenced you the most, what would they be and why?

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King (I consider the series as a single work) because I think it demonstrates the kind of fiction I most aspire to write.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, because Heinlein’s characters are so quotable, and I credit this book for really getting me interested in science fiction.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy, because it shows so much while saying so little, and I really admire that.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, because it’s a gorgeous and haunting example of speculative literature.

1984 by George Orwell, because of how it shows how much truth exists in fiction.

Speaking of books, have you taken a look at Allison’s latest offering, The Good Girls?

For the last five years, Nina has been turning tricks at a mob-run brothel to pay off her debt, but the Madame is willing to let her go free if she sees one last client, a mysterious recluse with a chilling reputation.It was an offer she couldn’t refuse. One more client, one more trick, and all her troubles would finally be over. Or would it be the beginning of a new unspeakable horror that could obliterate Nina’s mind for good?

Click on the cover to be taken to The Good Girls on Amazon. No worries, it’ll open in a new window so you don’t miss the rest of the interview.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

If I could cast my book Scarlet Letters, I’d want Lee Pace in the role of Louis Cross, the main character. The role of his buddy Stan would go to Sam Rockwell. The love interest, Sera, would be Emma Stone. The villain, Dr. Marx, would be Jason Isaacs, and his cohort Casper Van Morris would be Nick Nolte. Finally, the longest living vampire, Dexter Bloodgood, would be Jeff Bridges in a sort of undead version of Jeffrey Lebowski.

But it’s not like I’ve thought of this or anything.

As we all know, one of the best ways to turn your book into a movie is to get it on one of those pesky best-seller lists. What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Go back to bed, because I would be taking that entire day off.

Great plan! Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

I’m the rare author that doesn’t drink coffee, because I don’t like feeling “jacked up” on anything when I write. I used to smoke, but I quit because I need to be able to breathe when I write. Drinking and writing don’t mix very well, because there is a very fine line between “just buzzed enough to feel super creative” and “stupid.”  I also don’t have much access to “other” stuff that may or may not be beneficial to my creative process. So no, vices aren’t really a part of my process. I need to be in a very clean frame of mind when I write, and I need to be pretty well-rested and not angry or sad. Serenity. I just need serenity.

I’m not a coffee drinker either, though I will admit to consuming more than enough peppermint tea. Delicious stuff and very refreshing! How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

Goofing off online far too much. But movies, cooking, gaming, and reading are big parts of my life. I also have two kids and a great husband that I truly love being around.

Now it’s time for the fun stuff! Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

Sure! This is from my futuristic science fiction novel, The Shiva Paradox. There is a lot going on in this book, but I’ll boil it down to the broad points. Bravo is part of a program whose chief function is killing off other planetary natives in order to make room for incoming colonists from Earth. After his space station is attacked by a rival corporation, Bravo flees the wreckage with the help of a mysterious woman who claims to know him. Only after his space craft passes through a time rift, he winds up on Earth, two hundred centuries prior to his birth, where he finds this woman again, in a timeline that occurred before she knew him. With the virus he carries in his body, he poses a dire risk not only to his home planet, but also to the woman he’s come to love. At some point, these two timelines will collide. Or will they?

A short story “prequel” of this book called “The Shiva Apparatus” will be appearing in volume two of The Endlands anthology, presented by Vincent Hobbes and the awesome people at Hobbes End Publishing. Hopefully the novel will be finished sometime in the fall.

ADAM Bravo stumbled out of the compound as the alarm brayed into the silent turquoise morning. His hands and face were sticky with purple blood and black sweat that didn’t belong to him, but to the planet’s natives who now lay dead all around him. The spooks had kept him prisoner for two days before the virus in his chest cavity finally deployed. He blamed the stress of the interrogation, but the dispersal was inevitable. It’s why he and his team were here.

These natives had been hardier than most, but they’d succumbed just like all the rest across the galaxy, regardless of their chemical makeup. The virus had no equal. Lawtram’s pathogen could adapt itself to nearly every variable of amino acid and nucleotide, except of course for the ones belonging to an Advance Deployment and Asset Manager, of which there were currently a dozen on this planet, that is if they hadn’t abandoned him after he went M.I.A.

A quick sweep of the facility did not uncover his Orca craft, but he had found his sidearm and his coms unit in an unlocked lab cabinet, and he just hoped he’d have a way off of this rock, or he might be stuck until the first colonists arrived in three years.

Awesome, awesome, awesome! The Shiva Paradox sounds like my kind of read and I cannot wait for The Endlands: Volume 2 in order to check out The Shiva Apparatus! Thank you for the wonderful interview, Allison. If you’re interested in connecting with Allison or in any of her other works, you can check out her Amazon Author Page, her website, her page on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Join me next week when I have the pleasure of talking with Eric S. Brown.

Now I Lay Me Down To Reap – New from Sirens Call Publications

Have I got a treat for everyone today! I’m going to be showcasing Sirens Call Publications newest anthology! It’s called Now I Lay Me Down to Reap and it’s chock full of stories that will give new meaning to the phrase you reap what you sow. Shall we delve inside?

The eighth commandment; thou shalt not steal.
But everyone covets something that isn’t theirs…

Wander down the darker paths of the minds of twelve brilliantly talented authors as they conjure stories of retribution, deceit and betrayal.

Would you chance your family’s fate to the gods in return for a favor? Are the finer things in life worth having once you know the cost someone else had to pay for you to indulge in them? Would you give up your most addictive passion so that others might reap the benefits, regardless of the reward? Or perhaps, the chance at a fresh start and a new life appeals to you? Are you prepared to reap what you have sown?

Within this collection, you’ll find tales all too believable and beyond your oddest imaginings. But there is one thing you will not find… In this anthology, there are no happy endings.

Featuring the talents of:

Ryan C. Anderson, Thomas James Brown, Aspen deLainey, John H. Dromey, Amber Keller, Christian A. Larsen, Jeffery X Martin, Lori Michelle, Sergio Palumbo, J. Marie Ravenshaw, Bill Read, and Adrian Tchaikovsky

***

Available at:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon IT

Amazon DE

Amazon FR

Amazon ES

Amazon Print

CreateSpace

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

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Interested in something to whet your appetite? Check out these excerpts from each of the stories in Now I Lay Me Down To Reap

Fugue State – Christian A. Larsen

It was Tuesday, August 5th, and now that he knew it, he didn’t know if that information helped him or not. His eyes drifted downward over the text of the top story; something about how one of the candidates was promising tax breaks to gay couples. Was he for that or against it? Was he a Republican? A Democrat? A Libertarian? Constitution? Green? These were the kinds of issues that made people run to their ideological bunkers. He had an inkling that he might have come down hard one way or the other before… well, before he came to in the alley, an alien in his own skin.

His eyes refocused on the glass of the newspaper box, and he saw his own reflection. There was nothing familiar in the face staring back at him, and he was a little distressed to find that he was thinning and graying up top, either prematurely (which he hoped) or right on time for a man in his mid-40s. Either way, he didn’t really feel old, at least until he tried to stand up and his knees crackled like a bowl of Rice Krispies. Did he have bad knees? Some injury from his past (assuming he had a past)…

Gable’s Leatherworks – J. Marie Ravenshaw

A shrill scream rang out across the pasture.

Abigail snapped her head up upon hearing the jarring sound. A brisk evening breeze filtered into the room, sending a chill up her spine. She glanced up at the fluttering curtains, pushed out her chair, and stood. As she walked over to the open window, she rubbed her arms trying to stave off the goose bumps.

With her palms resting on the window jambs, she gazed out over the pasture. There was nothing out there that she could see, but she had an unnerving feeling that she was being watched. She knitted her brow and allowed her eyes to scan the field one last time before closing the window and drawing the curtain. Like every other night, the scream had come from the direction of Mrs. Gable’s barn…

Me and the Monster – Ryan C. Anderson

There was something sinister about Phil Winikoff, and even though his skin was sun-kissed and he smelled of expensive, French cologne, I could see the darkness that festered deep below.

“Dr. Skidmore, your two o’clock.” My receptionist protracted his neck around the door.

“Send him in,” I said.

Phil passed through the threshold of my office like a wounded creature, being mindful of his steps and careful of his surroundings, fearful of some far off thing beyond the boundaries of my spackled walls. He reached for my hand and thanked me for seeing him on such short notice. “It’s really hard to find good people these days,” he said in shallow utter. His fingers wrapped around mine like tentacles, and I could feel the sweat of his palms mash together with mine. His eyes were beady bloodshot balls of sleepless jelly. We stood there, our hands entangled in a strange, sweaty chimera, until finally he released and I was able to skulk back to the safety of my imported, Carpathian Elm desk…

Sweet Addiction – Aspen deLainey

Aeryn peered cautiously around the corner of the schoolyard. Although dusk had fallen, that didn’t necessarily mean they’d be gone. He just had to ensure guardians weren’t nearby.

Standing silently, he considered prancing towards the swings. Two, he counted. Two of the precious things. Just waiting for him!

He shook his mane and tail free of any tangles. He rubbed his hooves on a convenient bush. He licked his lips. He so wanted to look enticing.

A snarl came from directly behind him.

Aeryn didn’t even chance a look. Better safe than sorry. He galloped off, down some alleys, hoping he’d evaded pursuit. Damn he was getting hungrier and hungrier. Finally, he stopped in a shadowy alley, panting…

Good Taste – Adrian Tchaikovsky

The instructions said not to eat for 24 hours beforehand, but, seriously? There are articles in the Geneva Convention about that sort of thing. I had a light breakfast; that was all. The appointment was 11.30am and I read somewhere that bacon gets digested faster than most foods anyway. Or maybe I dreamt that.

And if I had a Twix on the tube, well, I have blood sugar issues. A man of certain dimensions needs a bit of an energy boost when he’s out and about. I can’t think that I was setting back medical science a hundred years or anything, not just a few mouthfuls of chocolate…

The Game – Amber Keller

Stephanie sang the song on the radio like an angel. Her ice blue eyes closed, her head tilted back, the sun glowing off of her cheeks and shoulders, she had her knees tucked up into her chest. Her golden hair spilled down her shoulders in soft waves.

David reached into his pocket and rubbed the small, velvet box. This was the moment he had been anticipating for weeks. He would ask her when they got to the lake.

The winding road was starting to become covered lightly by leaves. With fall almost here, the late afternoon sun warmed the breeze that swirled through the trees, bringing the smells of summer’s last moments. A golden glow cast across the hood of his car as he crested a small hill, reflecting into his vision and temporarily blinding him.

David’s eyes filled with tears and he rubbed at them vigorously to try and clear his vision. White spots danced before his eyes, and he let off the gas, not able to see the road.

Stephanie’s piercing scream suddenly filled the car.

“DAVID! LOOK OUT!”

You Should Have – Lori Michelle

“Henry Jones liked order. His clothes had to hang in his closet a certain way. His coffee had to be made just right. Anything that disrupted his schedule was immediately loathed. This OCD-esque perfection drove everyone crazy and it wasn’t surprising that Henry lived alone. So when he found out that his secretary had to take leave for personal reasons, he wandered through the bank in a haze.

That’s when she walked into his life.

He saw her across the room and tried not to stare. She had an air about her that he hadn’t seen in a woman in a long time. She looked over at him and smiled; he was taken aback by how confident she was. He smiled back and walked over to her.

“Can I help you miss…”

A False Odor of Sanctity – John H. Dromey

Financial arrangements had been made in advance, so there was no need for conversation. By the flickering light of a lantern, the two men worked in a grim silence, broken only by the susurrus of twin shovels slicing through the packed earth and an occasional grunt of exertion as the loosened clods were tossed high in the air to land outside the pit.

Farther up in the sky, a gibbous moon played hide and seek with slow-moving clouds. Although more than half of the lunar orb he called home was open intermittently to earthly view on this particular evening, the Man in the Moon could bear witness with only one eye. No one else was watching.

When a new sound emerged from the surrounding shadowy darkness—a faint metallic clinking of chains—the diggers were too absorbed in their work to notice…

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! – Jeffery X Martin

One time, when you were little, we were in the car. All of us. You, me and your mommy. Your mommy was messing around with the radio in the car, trying to find some music to listen to. She landed on this one station, far right on the dial, and there was an old preacher, rattling on about the End of Days. I made a face. Your mother giggled a little and reached down to change the station.

You were in back, in your car seat, and you said, “Who’s that man talking?”

Your mommy said, “Just some guy telling stories.”

You laughed and clapped your hands. “He’s funny! He talks funny,” you said. “He says funny things!”

And the guy did have that cadence going on, that deep Southern rhythm, adding extra syllables onto his words. “Jesus-ah! He is-ah coming back-ah! He is coming-ah! To retrieve his people-ah! To take his people-ah! Into the sky-ah! Up to his holy kingdom-ah! The holy kingdom of heaven-ah!”

Beasts of Burden – Thomas James Brown

Four months ago we could barely afford to eat and now this… By the Seven Courts of the Seven Sins, the land itself would not satisfy you, Frederick!”

For three generations, Hanker Farm had endured in the Dorsetshire region. When just a boy, Coll had watched studiously from the fields as his father managed the land. The lessons in those days were many, and taught the merits of diligence, hard work and glistening sweat, in favour of parchment or prayers.

“As you reap, so shall you sow,” his father used to say, “sow bad seeds and happen you’ll have a bad harvest.” Even in those early days, he had realized his father was imparting more than agricultural wisdom; he was a moral man with just beliefs, which did not indulge slovenliness or ill manners…

The Fairies in the Wood – Bill Read

Even from a distance, Edward Carter had no problem spotting her. Every other arriving passenger was garbed in suits, anoraks or tee-shirts – but not his daughter. Even though he hadn’t seen her for six months, there was no mistaking the figure in the dress standing next to an out of date poster advertising a talk at the village library on local superstitions. She was even wearing a straw hat – she looked like a character out of a Pollyanna book.

“Sorry I wasn’t here to meet you off the train,” he apologised giving her a hug. “I took the wrong turning on the way to the station – I don’t know the roads around here yet.”

“That’s all right dad,” replied Maribel pecking him on the cheek. “The train got in at 10.30 and I’ve hardly been waiting at all. A few seconds is hardly a matter of life and death…

The Eater – Sergio Palumbo

    Only a few people really know the true story of Jenő De Carignano. In fact, he was a peculiar nobleman living in an ancient and windy European seaport. He was born in a northern Italian town in 1800, long ago, but nowadays he doesn’t think much about that city. It has been a very long time since the man was back there and, with the passing of the years, he has almost forgotten its name.

But, the name of the place wasn’t important anyway.

Dark haired, with a bristly, curly beard, and two wild eyes on a  face glowing with health, Jenő was 32 years old when he got married for the first time. The birth of his son, Flavio, soon followed. The wedding was expensive and ostentatious, but as he wasn’t from one of the most famous noble families in town, it was nothing like the wonderful marriages of the richest families in that community. Anyway, the man was very relieved about that, as he was mainly an introvert, and very mean in general. He had a lot of reasons to behave that way: Jenő was an alchemist and had discovered something very important while busy with his other studies, something he didn’t want to share with anyone else…

Go to Sirens Call Publications to download a longer glimpse into each of the stories!

Nine Questions with… John Paul Allen

Today I am joined by John Paul Allen, author of such works as Monkey Love and House Guest. Welcome John, why don’t you introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

I’m John Paul Allen – call me John. I use the middle name, because it sounds like a writer … or a serial killer. Also it’s easier to Google me. It can’t be proven that I’ve killed anyone, so you may assume I write stuff. This wasn’t planned. Unlike many of my friends who dreamed of writing, I fell into it. I wrote a short story for a college class and people liked it. A year later signed with a publisher.

I’m from Michigan, but left home via the navy upon graduating from high school and in the last forty years I’ve done my best to remain in the southern states (Florida, South Carolina, Texas and now Tennessee). Right now I’m with my girlfriend, two cats (Sixx and Stella), and a sun conure (Tika) living not far from Nashville.

As for writing, my first (and newest) work was/is Gifted Trust. That was followed with some shorts – Hello Neighbor, Weeping Mary, Prader-Willi, House Guest and a couple of novellas – Monkey Love and Marquee (which is actually a short, but the publisher called it a novella). I’ve also got a collection of shorts, Dark Blessings, out there that appears to be getting some attention. That brings us back to Gifted Trust. About five years after the release I convinced Biting Dog Pubs that it needed some fixing. Great story/terrible writing – I learned to write after it’s 2003 release. So over the last five years, between real life events and other projects, I did some revising … cut 10,000 words … added chapters … changed a few things to fit where I wanted it to go. That’ll be released soon. Also I’ve got a story coming out in the Fresh Blood and Old Bones anthology edited by Kasey Lansdale with some pretty cool writers.

Now that the readers are more acquainted with you John, tell us about your writing process?

I write best in the morning, waking between 4:30 and 5:00am. I stagger into the kitchen, make coffee and after checking email and the net (giving me time to wake) I’ll write. The television is always on with the volume low or mute. This works better than music.

I’m not an outline type, beyond knowing the general idea of a story. Sometimes that means a sentence or two in my head. Very little is preplanned and I never know an ending until I type it. The best ideas come at traffic lights or in the shower.

You’re the second author to mention that the best ideas come in the shower – perhaps I’m missing some sort of secret? Moving on… Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

Dave Dinsmore of Biting Dog Publications once told me I had a romance novel in me – maybe. If I wrote one it would still have a horror connection, because my concept of the genre is broader than most. Pretty much anything dealing with life can be horror related: life, love, Taylor Swift, people – anything.

Oh Erotic Horror is growing genre, that’s for sure. Perhaps you do have a romance novel in you somewhere… Speaking of books, what are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

There’s more than five, so I’m just pulling out the ones that come to mind first:

On Writing by Stephen King – the first half more so than the writing tips. We share many life adventures.

Suffer the Flesh by Monica O’Rourke – one of the first horror books I read and I learned that boundaries are not necessary if one writes well.

Bambi by Felix Salta – great story for studying the development of characters.

 Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumble – it changed me at an early point of my life. I grew up during the Viet Nam War and my political views altered after reading it.

The Book of Job (Bible) – Lesson learned: Bad things happen so deal with it.

Great choices John. I haven’t had another author choose anything from the Bible yet, but it is fitting. If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

I’d love to see Monkey Love with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Snookie would be a second choice for the female role.

Having read Monkey Love, that would be a great pairing! What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

I’d make coffee – then call Dave Dinsmore and ask WTF?

Again, I must be missing something as I don’t drink coffee, ever… Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Lots of coffee – I drink it all day long.

What do you do when you’re not writing, John?

Anything Lisa wants me to do – lots of babysitting.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

Possible beginning to the Gifted Trust sequel:

 They were not children, by societal standards they never were. It was role play. Hidden among peers, they waited their moment. The Lucky Ones, as Steve Butcher called them, were discovered. Through him they became human again. He met the new arrivals weekly, and though success was low it was enough to make him stay.

     Monday during orientation Steve studied files, hunting unshared nuggets within affidavits and trial testimonies. He looked over notes and made decisions about therapy. In the afternoon, staff discussed older clients.

I would like to thank John for being my guest today. If you would like to pick up any of John’s books, you can find links to them on his Amazon Author’s Page. As a special treat for you right now however, here’s something to whet your appetite.

Dark Blessings is a collection of stories that takes the reader down paths only author John Paul Allen could imagine…Sinister notes from a secret neighbor…a soul gets a second chance…a road trip to hell…a child with an unusual appetite…death cries on an answering machine…a child’s reluctant salvation…and a closet lover with deadly intentions…A look beyond reason and sanity and into the mind of madness.

Interested in purchasing John’s most recent collection? Just click on the photo and it will take you to Amazon’s listing for Dark Blessings: A Collection. If you’d like to connect with John, you can join him on Twitter and Google +.

Join me next week when I talk to Allison Dickson, authoress of many things creepy!

Nine Questions with… K. Trap Jones

Today I’m joined by K. Trap Jones, award winning author. As an introduction, let’s get to know K. Trap a little better before we move on with the interview.

K. Trap, would you like to introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you?

My name is K. Trap Jones and I am an award winning author of literary horror novels and short stories. I have a passion for folklore, classic literary fiction and obscure segments within society which leads to my creative writing style of “filling in the gaps” and walking the line between reality and fiction. With a strong inspiration from Dante Alighieri and Edgar Allan Poe, my stories involve topics and situations where very little is known, which provides an open canvas to explore. I am also a member of the Horror Writers Association.

Tell us about your writing process?

My writing process is to imagine the whole story before I even write a single word. It’s important to me that all of the pieces fall into place, especially the ending. I could have a complete story ready to go in my head, but if I don’t like the ending I won’t begin to write. Having the ending in mind, helps me create all the twists and turns along the way.

That’s a very interesting process; I sometimes write that way, especially when I’ve planned something out, but more often than not, I’m a pantser. Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

Although I think Crime plays a big part in Horror, I always wanted to write a Crime novel involving detectives, police, etc. Unfortunately, I always tend to write towards the dark side of life, so even though a story may start out as a Crime, it always ends up being classified as Horror.

That may not be the worst of things as many genres tend to overlap in the works that are written these days. Nothing is merely a singular genre anymore. I think that’s what makes books so appealing over other forms of media. Speaking of books, what are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Let’s see, the 5 books that have influenced me the most? Some are going to be short stories, but here we go.

1. Dante’s Inferno – This one has just had such an impact in my life from the moment I first read it. The stanza formatting and the narrative writing within that classical period of literature is just so beautifully done.

2. The Tell-Tale Heart – Poe is just a master in my mind. When you read his works, you can tell that he is simply writing how he wants to write with no mainstream intentions. The first line of this story just hooked me in. With the narrator starting out by saying “I am not a madman”, is just an awesome hook that captures the reader.

3. Jaws – This book is just so well-done and backed with the horrific imagery of the movie makes it a keeper. Lingering fear is the best!

4. Pet Semetary – What a great story this is. It starts out innocent enough with the pets, but then completely twists you when a person dies.

5. Amityville Horror – Creepy. Creepy. Creepy. Did I mention this was creepy?

Great choices! And I will admit that I found Amityville Horror to be one of the creepiest books I have ever read. If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

If The Sinner ever became a movie, I would like to see Christian Bale play the lead role of the farmer. In fact, as I was writing the two books, I kept imaging him as the character. He adds darkness to his roles that really comes out on the screen and that is needed if you are going to portray one of the darkest characters of all time.

Christian Bale is an excellent choice – he certainly handles the dark roles with a level of skill that many cannot match. Let’s hope The Sinner does get the cinematic treatment, and the best way for that to happen would be to have it top one of the Bestsellers Lists. What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

I’d first check to see if it was a typo. Just kidding, I would be extremely humbled. Writing novels and short stories is a long process. The industry can be cruel at times, but I believe that if you always continue to write no matter what is thrown your way, then everything will work out.

In light of the industry’s cruelty, do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Music for me is a passageway to creative. So much of my inspiration comes from music. Every story I have written has a particular song that jarred my creativity. IF you’re a heavy metal fan, The Sinner is jam packed with inspiration. At some point, I am going to take a copy of it and highlight all the different inspirations from the bands and songs.

Well K. Trap, what do you do when you’re not writing?

When I am not writing, I am usually hanging out with my wife and three sons at theme parks. Also, watching my sons play baseball is not only a passion of mine, but it’s a relief from the daily grind of life.

If you would be so kind as to share the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress with us, we’d be delighted to read them.

Wow, unedited, unscripted…I like it.  Ok here it goes, this is from my latest 2-book novel set “One Bad Fur Day”, which is a horrific tale within the animal population after they are dispersed by a hurricane and their struggle to regain their lands:

     Everything had to be perfect.  The reservations were made well in advance. I waited for her outside at the base of tree with a dry throat and shaky legs. She was everything to me and I wanted to prove that to her. I was never the dress up type and the self-made knot of my tie, if that’s what it was intended to be, felt like an abnormal growth on my neck. I started to doubt my appearance and bullied every aspect of my own self, but that all went away when I saw her. She exited our tree and stood on the porch limb for a brief moment. It felt like eternity for me. The way the setting sun twisted between the swaying leaves and caressed her fur was mind blowing. In that moment, I drifted away from reality until our eyes met and she smiled.  I watched her every movement as she scampered down the tree bark towards me. She was mine and I was hers.

Sounds like a great premise K. Trap and one I would certainly love to delve into – please keep us up to date on your progress!

I would like to thank K. Trap Jones for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’re interested in The Sinner, here’s a sneak peek. Should you wish to buy a copy of K. Trap’s award winning book, all you need to do is click on the cover to be taken directly to Amazon.

Wrath – Greed – Sloth – Gluttony – Lust – Envy – Pride

A lone farmer is chosen by God to test the boundaries of sin. Isolated in a cave with only a candle, quill and parchment, the farmer is burdened by awakening each day within a predetermined encounter with one of the seven deadly sins and their associated demons. This chilling novel is the translation of those encounters written in a classical narrative format, and the ending will leave you shocked!

Join me next week as I talk to John Paul Allen, author of numerous books including Monkey Love and House Guest.

Nine Questions with… Matthew C. Wood

Today, I’m joined by Matthew C. Wood, talent author and all around nice guy. Well, Matt introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

Hi! I’m Matthew Wood, Science-Fiction writer and all around fun crazy guy from the small but mighty island of Britain. As one of those guys who had that clichéd passion for writing since an early age, I’ve always dreamed of breaking into the ranks of the published authors and rubbing shoulders of with likes of Stephen King one day. In the meantime, while I’m not writing or working in various Children’s Programs, I enjoy the company of my beautiful wife and two children – as well as life in British Columbia, Canada.

So now that you’re more acquainted with Matt, let’s ask him some questions. First up, what is your writing process?

Walking, driving places and sitting around to start with. My best ideas percolate when I’m doing something other than deliberately trying to have ideas, then I quickly scribble them down in one of my many notebooks or take a voice note on my phone, come home and meticulously plot and plan the story out. Once that is all done, I’ll start writing using those plans as the framework to really flesh out those ideas.

Ahh so you’re like me, notebooks everywhere, all with indecipherable snippets in them… Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I would love to write a real nail-biting suspense novel one day.

I love suspense stories and I like them even better when I get to the end without a clue as to what’s really going on! Tell us Matt, what are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Sharpe’s Trafalgar and Sharpe’s Waterloo both by Bernard Cornwell. I appreciate character, I also appreciate good technical detail in my works – especially when introducing a new technology or political event. My five all struck me in some way, made me really think hard about how I should present my stories and their protagonists. These books have really influenced me to search for that extra dimension, not just in my characters or dialogue, but in the way I describe the things they use and inhabit as well.

For an author that appreciates character – if you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

I gave this a lot of thought for my first project, The Fallen. One of the main characters, Carrie-Anne Hunter, is this intelligent, resourceful, strong and determined young woman who clearly has an agenda she’s not too willing to talk about. If I could cast anyone to play this powerful redhead it would have to be Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame. I look at her and just see the character coming to life on the screen.

Well we all know the best way to get our works transformed into movies is to have it appear on a bestsellers list…What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Hand over whatever device I saw that on and ask my wife to tell me I’m not hallucinating. Once it had sunk in? I’d call up all of my friends and arrange a gathering to celebrate.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Coca-Cola – something I like to call ‘Go Go Juice’  because that artificial energy is something I feel I need at times.

Finally! Another author that doesn’t drink coffee while writing!! Yeah! Heck, I’m hyper enough without all of the extra caffeine. Well Matt, when you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

Well, I tend to keep myself very busy by leading kid’s groups at my local church Living Way, coaching Soccer in the spring times, spending time with my own family and just enjoying life.

Thank you Matt, for answering all of my questions. If you’d like, please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

It’d be my pleasure! This is the opening few lines from my current Work in Progress, The Day the Sun Stopped Shining.

The animal kingdom has a way of knowing when trouble is afoot. Birds fall silent in the presence of danger and insects fail to make noise. In city areas this would be less noticeable to the human passer-by, but in the woodlands that filled the great uninhabited voids between settlements in rural Montana – the silence was deafening. What would normally be a sunny summer afternoon had turned to night. The sky was clear, filled with tiny flickering pinpricks of light burning from distant corners of the cosmos. What caused such widespread alarm was not the change in light cycle but what was missing.

There was no moon in the night sky. Animals have a way of knowing this is not the way it should be. So in silence all the Earth’s creatures waited for a dawn that would never come

      In a clearing carved out of the shadowy woodland surrounding Highway 200 stood a mobile home, mounted on pillars of bricks as a testament to how long it had been since it last had seen the open road. Two long strands of copper wiring had been illegally thrown over the power lines above, providing electricity to a plethora of cheap strip lights and lamps which helped stave off the night with their dull glow. As their power was stolen, not one member of the occupying Johnson family was inclined to shut off those lights when it was time to sleep – a fact for which a lone, frightened man was deeply grateful as he carefully sneaked out of the trailer’s mesh front door. The pressure was immense. He had no doubt they would kill him if he were caught.

      Mouth open wide, Cory Wilson licked dry, cracked lips whilst struggling to control his ragged breathing. His wrists were sore and bruised from the rope the Johnsons had used to tie him to their fridge, a discomfort he now tried to ignore as he squinted into the gloom in search of a vehicle he could use to affect an escape.

      His choices were limited. Apart from a small electric dirt bike, the Johnsons owned nothing but a dirty, beaten old pickup truck which had obviously seen better days. Moving slowly at a crouch, Wilson crept up to the truck and looked in through the driver’s window. Tossed upon the dashboard was the small, plastic ‘smart key’ that was needed to start the truck’s powerful engine.

      A noise from the trailer made Wilson glance nervously over his shoulder. He cursed under his breath as he realized he’d forgotten to close one eye before staring back at the light – an oversight which would cost him his night vision for several precious minutes. 

      It took Wilson a moment of fumbling to find the door latch, which he was thankful to find, had been left unlocked. The Johnsons were as slovenly as they were twisted, Wilson decided as he quickly climbed inside.  Starting the truck was as simple as plugging the smart key into its slot on the dashboard and hitting the red ‘engine start’ button nearby. An idiot proof system, designed for idiots like those inside the trailer. 

      Everything was going as he’d hoped. The truck’s electric engine whirred into life, a check of the rear view mirror revealed nothing was in his way and there were still no signs of life from the trailer. Freedom was little more than a safe reversal down the dirt track that led back onto the Highway. The thought felt good, making him forget his fears for a moment to silently gloat at the people who thought they could use him as some kind of end-times slave labor. He would have left them a note – if he had thought they could read.

      He glanced down at the power readout, assuring himself that there were enough batteries to get him to the town of Stanford. It could not have been more than a dozen miles away by his estimate. Those thoughts faded as a feeling of unease swept over him, urging him to look up from the dashboard toward the trailer.

      His fears were justified, for standing in the open doorway was a great hulk of a man. In his right hand was a pistol, which was aimed at Wilson’s head.

Okay so slightly more than nine lines but we can certainly forgive him! Thank you very much to Matthew C. Wood for giving us a little insight into his world of writing. As a dedicated reader of ‘The Day the Sun Stopped Shining‘, I cannot wait for ‘Swansong: The Fallen’ to hit shelves. Please make sure to keep us updated!

Join me next Wednesday for my interview with K. Trap Jones!

Open Submission – He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Open Submission – He Loves Me, he Loves Me Not.

Check out the new Romance and Erotica Imprint from Sirens Call Publications – and they have an open submissions call for an anthology! I’m feeling the ‘love’ come out of me already!!