Release: The Sirens Call Issue #08 – Men in Horror!

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The Sirens Song

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The Sirens Call Issue #08 – Men in Horror

Featuring 98 pages of Short Stories, Flash Fiction, Poetry, Artwork, Book Ads, an interview with artist Mariusz ‘Noistromo’ Siergiejew, and an interview with Lane Kareska, author of the upcoming novella North Dark.

Because we featured an all female issue in February for WiHM, in the interest of being fair, this is our guys only issue!

www.SirensCallPublications.com

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Nine Questions with… K.J. Wolf

Today I interview author K.J. Wolf to the FlipSide. Welcome K.J., why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience you now have before you.

I’m K.J. Wolf from upstate N.Y. and I’m thrilled to be able to call myself a writer!  My days are filled with home schooling and working with the animals on our small hobby farm while my evenings are spent playing matchmaker for fictional characters.
I love to hear from fans.  Feel free to follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@writergirl72)

What is your writing process?

I’m a total pantser.  I have lists with character names, traits and any relevant information I might need to reference at a later point, but that’s it.  The story plays kind of like a movie in my mind.  I need to find my place, focus and get out of the way to let the characters do their thing.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

It’s not too far out of my comfort zone, but I’d love to do romance with paranormal elements.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

This is impossible to answer!  I remember reading my first romance novel when I was a young teen.  It was cheesy, sweet and so innocent.  I fell in love with the genre immediately.
Erotica just seems like a natural progression with age.  The older you get, the innocence can still be in tact but sex just becomes a natural part of life.

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

Christian Bale as Matt Day in Change of the Heart.

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?

The first contract letter I got resulted in bad dancing for hours around the house.  Something like the N.Y. Times Bestseller List would probably make me pass out.

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

Not really.  Some people like music but I can only handle classical.  I end up singing along and falling into my Grammy acceptance speech instead of writing.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Cook, hike, read and watch my guilty pleasures on TV.

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

Dara North fell on her butt. One minute she was trudging through the snow while stinging snow pellets whipped against her cheeks walking her dog, Max, and the next her butt ached like the devil. At least no one had been around to see it happen.

“Are you okay?”

She blushed at the sound of the deep, concerned voice coming from the doorway of the café she’d passed just a few seconds ago. Someone had seen her less than graceful slide onto her fanny.

Strong hands anchored themselves under her arms and hoisted her onto her feet with ease. Max circled her feet while yapping getting the leash wrapped around her legs.

“Well that’s not helping.  Let me get that for you.”

If you would like to connect with K.J., you can find her on Facebook and Twitter! Now it’s time for a sneak peek into K.J.’s novella Change of the Heart…

ChangeoftheHeartCoverOfficialMatt Day is a cab driver who was burned by the last person he let into his life and he lost everything because of it. Camilla White just got fired by her secret lover at the holiday office party and needs Matt to get her out of New York City.

On the way, a snowstorm hits and the two end up stranded in a snow drift. The only way to survive is to rely on each other. With two damaged hearts on the line, it might take a Christmas miracle to make it happen.

Change of the Heart is a story of hope, romance and healing. This spicy read might be set around the holidays, but it’s a great read any time of the year!

Don’t forget to click on the cover to be whisked away to Amazon!

I’d like to thank K.J. for taking the time to answer my questions!

Don’t forget to join my next week when my guest will be TR Stoddard!

Lazy Literary Agents In Self-Publishing Money Grab via Argo Navis

Caught this very interesting article – if you’re thinking of finding an agent, maybe you should reconsider…

David Gaughran

argoI was at the London Book Fair last week – and I’ll be blogging about that soon – when the news broke that David Mamet is to self-publish his next book.

His reasons? “Publishing is like Hollywood—nobody ever does the marketing they promise.”

While I think it’s great that someone as high-profile as David Mamet is self-publishing, I was very disappointed to find out the way he’s doing it.

Self-publishing is big business. By my estimates, self-publishers have captured 25% of the US ebook market. It can be lucrative on the individual author level too, with writers getting up to 70% royalties if they publish themselves.

The reason why those percentages are so high is that self-publishing allows you to bypass the traditional middlemen (agents, publishers, distributors) who each took their own slice of the pie before the author saw any money.

Literary agents in particular must be worried…

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Book Tour: No Alternative by William Dickerson

Today I’m featuring a guest post from William Dickerson, the author of NO ALTERNATIVE. Here’s a little info on William…

WilliamDickerson-AuthorWilliam Dickerson graduated from The College of The Holy Cross with a degree in English and received his Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from The American Film Institute. He is an award-winning writer/director whose work has been recognized by film festivals across the country. He recently published his first novel, “No Alternative,” and completed his debut feature film, DETOUR, which hits Theaters and Video On Demand (VOD) this year. He is currently finishing up his second feature, THE MIRROR.

He is hard at work on several new feature films and is writing another novel. In his spare time, he creates music for his band 9068dash39.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Rachel, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Duet.

In support of his novel, NO ALTERNATIVE William is touring around the internet, leaving little golden nuggets of the things he loves best and talking about his book. We are lucky enough to have a guest post about music, more specifically the band Weezer. So sit right back and you’ll hear a tale… Oh and stay tuned for the excerpt at the end!!

WeezerPostPic

Photo Provided by the Author

One of the more amusing videos on YouTube lately is one that is probably not meant to be funny at all.  It’s from the rock band Weezer, and if you haven’t heard about it yet, they have a cruise:

It’s a promotion for a 4 -day cruise to the Bahamas, on which Weezer will play atop the veranda deck to emo sunbathers.  This entire notion stands in contrast to the long-held belief that alt-rockers, grunge-folk, and emo-mopers hold the hue of their pale skin in high regard.  The Bahamian sun will no doubt throw a wrench into this ethos.  The video also begs the question: was Weezer being held hostage while making this video?  There have been more willing subjects in front of a lens in some of Al Qaeda’s best viral videos. 

For the sake of full disclosure, I love Weezer.  I sprained my back crowd surfing at a concert of theirs at Roseland Ballroom in 1995.   I don’t hold the injury against them, in fact that sprain lead me to quit the tennis team and spend more time learning to play the drums, so I have Weezer to thank for that.  I saw the group again at Roseland last year, a show in which they played their “Pinkerton” record – their masterpiece – from beginning to end.  It was as close to live musical perfection as I’ve ever seen.  Part of that perfection was imbued by the lore that surrounds the album, how Rolling Stone declared it the worst album of 1996 and how front-man Rivers Cuomo refused to play any songs from this deeply personal record for many years.  It was like this huge cathartic explosion on stage and I witnessed it.  From what I recall, Rivers was dealing with a significant break-up during the writing process, and his lyrics overtly reflect bad relationships, sexual disappointment and issues with personal and professional identity.

If I were to buy a ticket and take the cruise with Weezer, I’m not sure what I would experience, but I can’t imagine it approaching the magnificence of the Pinkerton concert in any way.  Cruises have been in the news lately, specifically the cruise line that happens to be hosting Weezer on this island excursion.  They’ve been heralded for their exciting midnight breakdowns, food shortages and feces-filled hallways.  Imagine enduring those indignities to the soundtrack of “If You Want To Destroy My Sweater…Woo, Woo, Wo-Woooo.”  Don’t let your sweater come undone and drag its threads along the muck on the starboard side of the ship. 

Rivers famously quit the music business to study music at Harvard and then lived in a garage for a number of years as a protest against his rock’n’roll stardom and its requisite riches.  The cruise gig seems like miles and miles from that artistic monkdom.  Has Rivers and his band sold out?  Or are they just planning to play “Island in the Sun” in some demented loop for four full days?  I have to think there’s some hidden agenda of performance art in this.  Rivers is not like other rock stars; he’s an aesthetic soul.  I’m betting on performance art.  I mean, it has to be, right?

***

NOALTERNATIVElgNO ALTERNATIVE is a coming-of-age drama that drills a hole into the world of suburban American teenagers in the early 90’s.

Thomas Harrison is determined to start his own alternative band, an obsession that blinds him to what’s either the mental collapse, or the eruption of musical genius, of his little sister, Bridget. Bridget boldly rejects her brother’s music, and the music of an entire generation of slackers, by taking on the persona of an X-rated gangsta’ rapper named “Bri Da B.”

NO ALTERNATIVE probes the lives of rebellious kids who transition into adulthood via the distortion pedals of their lives in an era when the “Sex, Drugs & Rock’n’Roll” ethos was amended to include “Suicide” in its phrase.

Bridget is parked in art class, surrounded by her classmates at their individual easels. Ms. Sheehan, her skinny, exceedingly longhaired, Earth-mother of a teacher, makes her rounds from student to student. She stops behind Bridget, eyeballing her canvas. While others concentrate on drawing bowls of luscious fruit, glistening and ripe, Bridget touches up an image of fruit, apples and such, impaled on several razor-sharp meat hooks. Ms. Sheehan surveys the depiction with interest, “Do you think you’ll ever actually follow the assignment, Bridget?” Bridget adds some luster to those metallic hooks, “Not likely.”

“I do kind of like it.”

“It needs more blood,” Bridget observes.

“Of course.”

Sheehan shakes her head, but has to smile, as she continues along to another student. Bridget places her pencils down, closing her eyes, and exhales. Bridget exhales for the therapeutic value of the act.

Bridget has been prescribed anti-depressant medications, many different medications, a bounty of medications, medications as plentiful as Baskin & Robbins ice cream flavors, medications in all shapes and colors, in colors much more numerous than the colors of the rainbow, medications in quantities nearly equal to the many languages of the human race, a tower of Babel of medications and she has been on this laundry list of medications since she was eight years old. What childhood malady could have justified this salad bar of meds being visited on Bridget? Sure, a casual observer with an eye for analysis might have detected her lack of motivation on the soccer field at an early age, like the way she’d shy away from the ball whenever it was kicked anywhere near her, or noticed her brittle temper, like the time she smashed all the windows on the garage door with a hockey stick. An ever-increasing percentage of the medical community views these childhood failures as justification for testing new wonder drugs on innocent children. Bridget suffers much, there’s no doubt about it and most of all from a debilitating anxiety. The bone-chilling anxiety that accompanies her while being forced to give classroom presentations. The gastrointestinal stomach ailments that she swears are there, but no doctor can officially confirm. The anxiety of her compulsive drawing and erasing, drawing and erasing. Bridget suffers.

Just breath. In. And then out.

The phenomenon of syncing one’s breathing with another’s is seldom discussed, but is a considerable fear held among the anxiety-ridden. It’s something Bridget obsesses over: the idea of someone other than herself controlling her breathing. It is simultaneously smothering and freeing. During an anxiety attack, breathing becomes front and center, you can actually convince yourself to stop breathing if you’re anxious enough. Or so you think. But it’s what you think that matters. It matters enough to actually cause you physical pain and discomfort. And that’s a problem. Inevitably, nobody thinks you’re crazier than you think you are.

In an attempt to combat her anxiety while giving a presentation on earthquake preparedness – an endeavor not worth the chalk when you live in the northeastern quadrant of the country, but an assignment is an assignment, and who knows what part of the country one will abscond to when free to abscond – Bridget focused on her classmates around her. She attempted to picture them in their underwear, a ridiculous cliché, but one that had worked for her in the past. It didn’t work this time. She couldn’t picture anything. No boxers, no panties, no edible thongs, no pierced labia or Prince Alberts; just her breathing

And the sound of other people breathing.

Bridget became deaf to her own rhythm as her classmates began breathing in the same tempo. At least that’s what she thought was happening. In actuality, it was Amanda Welsh, and only Amanda Welsh, overweight by acceptable Westchester standards, with dimples the size of pomegranate seeds and the crease of her belly pinching the plaid of her uniform with every exhale. Her breathing eclipsed that of her peers, thunderous sound waves created at a distinctly lower frequency and emitted from the inner depths of her flesh.

She was like a bag of bagpipes squeezing itself.

Bridget could hear nothing but her breathing; in fact, she honed in on it, on the wheeze of air passing through a crowded windpipe.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Like the equalizing knob on her stereo, Bridget’s brain shut off the treble and turned up the bass, louder, louder, louder; all the way to the max. Every word out of her mouth was garbled, as if she was speaking underwater. The only frequencies allowed into her ear canals were those from the bagpipes. As a result, she adjusted her breathing to mimic those of the bagpipes, because if she didn’t begin and end her breath at the precise moment the bagpipes did, she would cease breathing. And, of course, die. The bagpipes were her assisted breathing machine: at this very moment, standing before her class, every movement, every word, every breath, being judged by her peers, her teacher, the loiterers in the hallway passing by, and her breathing was regulated by a bag of human bagpipes.

She was a stock car stuck in its groove, unable to change lanes. Then she stopped. Breathing.

Either the overweight girl she was listening to stopped breathing, or Bridget mercifully broke free of her often unforgiving burden. Either way, the end result was the same: Bridget’s knees buckled, her legs collapsing underneath her, and the side of her head smashed into the corner of her teacher’s steel desk. She was knocked instantly into blissful unconsciousness.

She likes this moment the best.

Awesomeness huh? Consider purchasing a copy via Amazon! Thanks William for stopping by today! If you would like to connect with William, you can find him on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or on his Amazon Author Page.

Oh and there’s a tour wide Rafflecopter giveaway!!

Click here for a chance to win cool stuff from William Dickerson

A Sign of Trends to Come?

Today I read an article in The New York Times that has me wondering if traditional publishing is truly on the decline. I don’t think it will ever go away, but if what is said in the article is true, traditional houses are focusing less of their money on marketing. What does that mean for the traditionally published authors who may now adopt the self-publishing route? Well for starters, it will give them a bigger piece of their royalties and they’ll get to be in charge of their own marketing campaigns.

Is there a shift coming? Read New Publishers Authors Trust: Themselves in The New York Times and see what you think.

Nine Questions with… Marissa Carmel

Today I have the pleasure of featuring an interview with author Marissa Carmel! Welcome Marissa, why don’t you take a few moments and introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

Me (2)Wife. Mother. Wordsmith. I like to write just outside the lines.

At least that’s what my twitter account says.

I’ve been writing since I can remember, and I always did it as something for personal enjoyment. But when iFeel came to me, I knew it was time to break out and share my imagination with the world. I’ve self-published iFeel, book 1 in the Vis Vires trilogy, completed ‘Gravitational Pull’, book 2, which has gone into editing and started book three, ‘Constellation’. I’m very excited to finish the trilogy!

Tell us about your writing process?

It’s a mess. I have scribbled notes and ideas everywhere, but I have recently dedicated one notebook to each of my works. That way when I have an idea, I have a specific place to put it. I’m getting better. I have also started writing outlines, which helps align my thoughts. But when physically writing, I just go from memory and let it flow.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

No, I love writing contemporary/New Adult romance. I think an idea would really have to capture me for me to deviate. But you never know what the future holds.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Pride and Prejudice, because what romance author doesn’t love Jane Austin?

Dante’s Inferno, I love the depth and the exploration of sin.

A Modest Proposal, by Jonathon Swift, I know it’s not technically a book, but its message is a powerful one.  And I believe my love of satires stemmed from this read.

The Little Mermaid, my mother would read it to me as a child. We both love anything supernatural; it’s a story that has always stayed with me. I hope to write a New Adult novel about a mermaid sometime in the near future.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff, I read this to my son almost every night.

Those are great choices! If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

I have no idea. I wrestle with this all the time. I just haven’t found the people to play my characters!

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?

Probably, pass back out.

I have to admit that I laughed out loud with that answer! Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Smoking. It’s so bad. But I’m so connected to my character, that sometimes I need a smoke break.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Spending time with my family. Working my day job. Catching up on my DVR library, which seems to be growing by the minute. I’m also always reading something.

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

**Disclaimer- this is unedited and subject to change.**

‘Gravitational Pull’, book 2 the Vis Vires trilogy.

“Make it stop!!” I scream through strangled sobs, as I flail all over the bed.

“Liv!” I can hear a distant trace of Justice’s voice as he tries to calm me. But I have no control over my own body; the energy is just too much. Make it stop. Make it stop, I repeat and repeat, as the tingles move viciously up my thighs.

I brace myself for the worst.

The energy finally makes its way to its destination and pinches me right between the legs.

 “Agh!” I scream as my body violently, and brutally, gives out. I’m left lifeless; no energy to spare.

Thank you Marissa! If you would like to connect with Marissa you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, her website or on Pinterest! Now let’s take a longer look at iFeel, the first book in the Vis Vires Trilogy…

iFeel cover3Lust. Anger. Hate. Desire. Love. Happiness. Joy. iFeel.

What happens when an unknowing empath meets a pixie who wears leather, a snitch who is repulsive and a fiery angel who can literally set your soul on fire? A whole lot of emotional turmoil and one love story ignited.

Liv Christianni is isolated, alone, tortured and withdrawn, saddled with the torrential downpour of the world’s emotions. Accepting of her providence Liv has lost all hope, until one day fate steps in and spins the course of her life like a spiraling top. Hunted by a Spirit Stalker, Liv is forced to gain control of herself and her surroundings, threatened by the touch of her immortal love; she must find a way to survive both physically and emotionally. Can she find the courage to accept her true self? Can she love unconditionally cognizant of the condemning consequences? Can she rise from the ashes to become the person she was always meant to be? Funny, witty, real, and poignant, iFeel rips into your soul, and sets your emotions on fire. If you are a fan of Charmed or Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle this series is for you!

Thank you Marissa for answering all of my questions! And don’t forget that you can click on the cover and it will whisk you away to the Amazon page for iFeel!

Join my next week – I’ll be interviewing KJ Wolf!

 

The Coming Soon Blog Hop!

I would like to thank D. Alexander Ward for tagging me in the Coming Soon Blog Hop. I have been tasked with answering the following questions and then tagging three other authors to participate.

Here are my answers but stay tuned to see who I tag!

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I’m working on a few projects. I have had a few invitations to write for anthologies that I am completing along with a super-secret project that I’m spearheading along with two of my closest author friends. In addition to that, I’m also working on a book, a novella, and an interconnected short story collection. It’s a busy time, but I love it.

How does it differ from other works in its genre?

That’s a hard question to answer as there are so many of them to consider. I can say however that one of the invitations that I am working on is taking me outside my comfort zone and I’m finding that I truly love it!

What experiences have influenced you?

I find myself influenced by many of my everyday experiences. It can be something as simple as the paranoid feeling you get when you’re shopping and you think the guy standing next to you in front of the bananas is acting a little off. Or in the moments between wakefulness and sleep that allow your mind to wander.

Why do you write what you do?

Because I like it. Simple and honest.

How does your writing process work?

For the most part I’m a pantser. Planning never ends up well for me in most of the things I write. I have planned a few things very roughly, but sometimes I get my best ideas on the fly so it’s best that I not become too trapped in what I need to write.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Fighting the block that sometimes creeps up on you when you hit a specific spot in the story.

What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?

I have so many things planned which makes this a hard question to answer.

Who are the authors you most admire?

I admire the authors that write what they want to write. There are trends that cyclically occur in the industry, and while it’s fun to sell books and gain readers, I find it more fulfilling to write the types of books that I genuinely enjoy.

Who are new authors to watch out for?

I think you should check out the authors that I’ve tagged – they’re pretty awesome!

What scares you?

Spiders. Deathly afraid. I’m getting better, but I still cringe each and every time I see them!

So now it’s time to tag some authors – I have three choices and they are…

Kate Monroe

Alex Chase

Suzanne Robb

Can’t wait to see what their answers next week!

Nine Questions with… Jessica Grace Coleman

Today I’m talking to Jessica Grace Coleman, an English author who has written a paranormal mystery series, as well as other works. Welcome Jessica, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

blogphoto2smallMy name is Jessica Grace Coleman, I live in a small village in the heart of England, and I’ve recently started self-publishing my own novels and short story collections on Amazon as ebooks and paperbacks. I’ve released three novels in the ‘Little Forest’ paranormal mystery series: ‘The Former World’, ‘Memento Mori’ and ‘The Exalted’, as well as my first collection of short stories, ‘Grown By The Wicked Moon’. I also run Darker Times Fiction, which is host to several monthly writing competitions, and Rock Pulse, which is an online music zine featuring reviews and interviews with various bands and artists. Basically, I’m interested in anything to do with writing!

You sound awfully busy with everything that you’ve got going on! Tell us about your writing process?

With novels, I can’t start writing until I’ve planned them meticulously. These plans usually end up running to about 20,000 words in length (about one fifth of my usual novel lengths), so it takes a lot of time, but it’s so worth it. When I wrote my first novel, ‘The Former World’, I didn’t have a solid plan to begin with, and it got incredibly confusing every time I decided to change something in the plot or add a new character. Since I’ve started planning each of my books scene by scene in great detail, I find it a lot easier and quicker to write the full novel. With regards to actually writing the novel, all I need is some peace and quiet and copious amounts of tea.

That certainly is a lot of planning! Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I mainly write horror and mystery stories, as I think scaring people is one of the hardest things to do, whether it be in a book or in a film. However, I think the hardest thing to do is make people laugh, so if I were to venture into any other genre, I’d love to have a go at comedy. I am planning on writing a non-fiction book on the amusing and strange experiences I’ve had while travelling around the world, so I’ll be challenging myself with trying to make it humorous for a wide range of readers. We’ll see in a few months if I manage to do it or not!

Oh, that sounds intriguing! What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Stephen King – The Shining: It was the first King book I ever read, I hadn’t seen the film, and I was relatively young at the time. It just immediately had an influence on me; I found both the setting and the deterioration of Jack’s mind fascinating. A couple of King’s novels are set in Colorado, and I lived there for a year as part of my University course, so I made sure to visit the hotel in Estes Park which inspired King to write the book. Brilliant.

Jostein Gaarder – The Solitaire Mystery: I love many of Gaarder’s books, but I think The Solitaire Mystery is my favourite. It still has his trademark philosophical themes, but in a much more accessible way than, say, Sophie’s World. Gaarder’s work always makes you think, and it’s just written so beautifully.

Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club: I have to say that I watched the film (which is one of my favourite movies) before I read the book, and I love them both. The dialogue is just so great, and it’s a testament to Palahniuk that the screenplay for the film lifted a lot of the lines straight out of the book without changing them.

Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games: Not exactly an original answer, but I love the Hunger Games trilogy so much. What matters most to me when reading is the ‘can’t-put-it-down’ factor. Even if a book isn’t written in a particular style that you like (although Collins definitely does have a style I like), I think the single most important thing is how much of a page-turner it is. I read the whole trilogy in a weekend and felt pretty annoyed afterwards that there wasn’t more to read! The sign of a truly great writer.

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol: I love Christmas, and what’s more Christmassy than Ebenezer Scrooge? This has obviously been adapted into films so many times that a lot of people know the lines off by heart, and I love the idea of a writer’s words lasting long after his death. I can’t really say much about Dickens that hasn’t already been said by thousands of other people, but his ability to create memorable characters and meaningful, beautiful dialogue is really inspirational.

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

I always find this a really difficult question, as a writer always has an idea in their head of what their characters look like, and generally you try hard not to picture them as celebrities or actors. I’ve said in the past that Karen Gillan would be a good actress for the lead character Beth Powers in the Little Forest series, as she not only has the right coloured hair but has experience of acting as a normal girl in a completely abnormal situation. I also think Jennifer Lawrence is a brilliant actress and would be perfect for Beth. As for the main men in the books, I really wouldn’t know, although I’ve been told that Robert Sheehan would make a good Connor Maguire.

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?

Probably do a highly embarrassing celebratory dance in my pyjamas! Then I think a drink with friends would have to be arranged. OK, quite a few drinks!

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

Not really any vices, but I can develop bad procrastination habits sometimes when trying to get a novel finished. I would blame the internet and its many distractions for this, but without the internet I wouldn’t be able to self-publish!

Tell what you do when you’re not writing?

At the moment, I’m job hunting – which, as everyone knows, takes up a large chunk of time. Apart from that, I run monthly writing competitions at Darker Times Fiction as well as a couple of other websites that need updating regularly. When I’m not doing anything internet-based, I’m usually reading or watching films.

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

From Carnival Masquerade (Little Forest 4)

The idea of control is a strange thing.

Authority, manipulation, power: all of these words conjure up a wide array of concepts, ranging from the mundane (the authority of school teachers), to the slightly odd (scientists making people conform just because they’re wearing a white coat), to the just plain bizarre (cult leaders brainwashing hundreds of people – believe me, it happens; I’ve had first hand experience).

As a gazer – one who sees dead people – and as someone whose surname is ‘Powers’, you’d think I’d be able to hold my own, be able to exercise at least some authority over people, or at least over the dead. Well, you’d be wrong.

I have no control whatsoever over spectres or when they decide to appear to me; I can just about summon one of them every so often, but I can’t send them away. They have control over me. In turn, the portals they use to get from the Former World to the Modern World (our world), have control over them. It’s a sinister kind of food chain – or power chain, if you will – and I’m at the very bottom.

So who’s at the top?

Great excerpt! Thank you Jessica!

Now let’s take a look at the first book in the Little Forest series, The Former World

The Former World 500Twenty-one year old Beth Powers is fed up with living in the tiny, gossip-fuelled village of Little Forest and resolves to escape to London with best friend, Veronica Summers.That is, until the body of Beth’s colleague Emma Harris is found in the nearby woods, setting off the small community’s well-oiled rumour mill. Beth soon finds herself in the middle of a bizarre village conspiracy: was Emma’s death really accidental? Why are Beth’s nearest and dearest cutting her out of their lives? And what does it all have to do with the conveniently-timed arrival of handsome new resident, Connor Maguire? With the help of new ally Will Wolseley, Beth delves into the village’s sinister secrets and uncovers a terrifying truth about herself that could change her life forever. Will Beth decide to leave her childhood home for good? And, more importantly, will Little Forest let her go?

Don’t forget to click on the link to be whisked away to Amazon. If you’d like to connect with Jessica, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, on her blog, and on her Amazon Author Page.

Don’t forget to join me next week when I interview Marissa Carmel!

Nine Questions with… Kat Yares

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Kat Yares! Welcome Kat, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

Hello, my name is Kat Yares and I’ve been writing for most of my adult life.  I’ve had short stories published in both print and online magazines and have recently begun the journey of being a self-published author.  I’ve earned my living with my words both by writing ‘confession’ stories when my children were young to writing web content when I got older.  In between, I’ve been a waitress, bookkeeper, shipping, receiving manager, and computer repairperson.  One of the best moments in my writing career was when I was accepted into the Horror Writers Association in 2001.

Most of the books I write are considered controversial.  Not because I want readers to be shocked, but rather that they will think.  For myself – the ‘what-ifs’ of the world are there to be explored.

I’m married (to the love of my life – my soul mate, friend and motivator) and between us, we have seven grown children, three grandchildren and two English Mastiffs.  When not reading or writing, the two of us love to make short horror movies and dabble in photography.

What is your writing process?

Basically, it goes something like this:  idea, research, outline, butt in chair and write.  May also do a lot of plotting verbally with my better half – he is always great at helping me flesh out ideas into story.

It’s great that you have the support of your husband – there’s nothing better than being able to talk out your ideas before putting them on paper. Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I don’t really think about genre when I write – I just tell the story I want to read and let the genre chips fall where they may.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Bible

Why, because they all deal with the human condition as well as the role society plays in shaping character.

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

Since I’ve already written the screenplay version of Vengeance Is Mine, this one is easy, at least for the two main male roles.  Billy Bob Thornton to pay Cooter, Robert Duvall to play the Brother Joe Jones, and some young unknown actress to play the lead of Macie Jones.  But I really think that Thornton and Duvall could give the story the powerful performances it would need to be successful.

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?

Break out the champagne and do the happy dance.  Tell my husband he can quit work now.

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

Facebook, Shuffled Row, the occasional glass of wine.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Reading, photography, making short films when the budget and time allows and occasionally cleaning house.

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

From Chapter One of The Profiler: Dark Fantasy to be released Summer 2013

Lightening ripped through the night sky revealing the source of the flashing red lights.  Dozens of men, wearing yellow rain slickers over blue uniforms stood on the lonely country road, some staring blankly into space, others retched the contents of their stomachs into nearby ditches.  The lightening illuminated the reflective stripes running across the backs of the slickers, the word POLICE flashing with each strike.

Floodlights beamed bright lights at a small portion of the road and surrounding area.  The coroner’s truck, easily identifiable, stood open awaiting its morbid cargo.  Two men, both wearing suits beneath the rain poncho stood looking down at the nearby ditch.

The mutilated body of a nude, young woman lay in the ditch.  Her head, decapitated.

Ooh! Fantastic! If you would like to connect with Kat and keep up to date on when her books release, you can find her on her blog, Twitter, or via her Amazon Author Page.

Now let’s take a look at Kat’s latest book, The XIII…

TheXIII_frontcover1For over two thousand years, the patriarchal heads of thirteen families have ruled the world from the shadows. When adopted Maria Sanchez marries the wealthy, good looking Joshua Christenson III, she has no idea of who he really is or the ancestry of their child she carries. As the new generation of the thirteen take their places at the table – they have no idea that one in their own midst will seek to destroy them all. As Maria attempts to understand what is happening in the world and why; the weaker link of the thirteen attempts to gain the power that he so desperately desires. Although a standalone thriller, The XIII picks up 2000 years after the story told in Kat Yares’ Beneath the Tor. A page turner that fits the description of The Da Vinci Code meets The Illuminati. Although first penned several years ago, the themes in this story are front page news today.

Pure awesomeness from the sounds of it (but I like that sort of thing!). If you’re interested in picking up a copy, click on the cover and you’ll be whisked away to Amazon!

Join me next week when my guest will be Jessica Grace Coleman!