Everything That Counts, pictures, Signing Events

Celebrations and Zombies

I’m totally one of those girls that loves Pumpkin Spice.  It’s the only time of year that I change my Starbucks order-and it is well worth it.

Needless to say I will be busy this winter (I’m a hairstylist in the ‘real’ world (and I’m really damn good if you want your hair looking amazing during any of these events then book with me here.))  So I’m going to attend some really interesting events this fall which I hope you’ll enjoy as well.

The first is in support of the indie publishing company Spider Road Press (check them out they donate a portion of their profits to charity).  Harvey ruined the first date, but us indie authors can’t be kept down, so it’s been rescheduled for October 17 from 7-8:30.

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The food is amazing, the company will be friendly, and the readings will be hauntingly memorable which will include my piece ‘Julia’ (which will be included in the upcoming ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ from Mad Girl’s Publishing out 2018).

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Patricia Flaherty Pagan with ‘Approaching Footsteps’ which includes my piece ‘Thomas’ and myself with my debut ya novel ‘Everything That Counts’.

 

 

 

 

Second will not only be a blast for all ages, but part of the profits will be donated to a scholarship for a Houston child.

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I could go on and on about this event but to find out more about the Houston Zombie Walk and how they’re donating to education click here.  

Myself, Chantell ReneeJae Mazer, and Jessica Raney will be in there Saturday October 21 from 5pm until they kick us out. We’ll have candy, razor sharp wit, and a pen to sign copies of our work.

Hope to see you there!

 

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Everything That Counts

Hurricane Harvey won’t win

Although I consider Annapolis ‘home’ I’ve lived in the Houston area for twelve years, and unless you’re living under a bridge then you know we’ve been going through it.

harvey-2I hold our furriest friends at the highest regard, and in face I’ve had the pleasure of adopting my baby, Madame Bijou, from the Houston SPCA.  This charity has done some amazing things, and although I can’t save all the animals from the flood waters I can support those who do.

Isiah Courtney carries his dog Bruce through flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Beaumont Place
Isiah Courtney carries his dog Bruce through flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Beaumont Place, Texas, U.S., on August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Therefore I will be donating 50% of the profits from the sale of my novel ‘Everything That Counts’ during the month of September to the ASPCA which is working to save the animal victims of Hurricane Harvey.  You can find ‘Everything That Counts’ on Amazon.

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I know that not all animals were lucky enough to have a safe and dry home, like my tuxedo kitty, but I’m going to do my best to help.IMG_3033
For more information click below.
ASPCA responds to Harvey

If you want to help humans then may I recommend the Houston Food Bank
or the charity that Texans player JJ Watt started you caring.
20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Carla Conrad

When I think of this writer the first word I think of is class.

She is a true Southern beauty, highly educated, graceful, stylish, and kind.  Winston Churchill had many famous quotes, but Carla Conrad is the embodiment of “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”  Thankfully she’s never asked me to take that particular trip.

Carla is one of the many authors whom I’ve worked with in a critique circle setting, and helped shape ‘Everything That Counts’ into the novel it is today.  Although she is a romance writer (she’s been awarded over three times for her work in the genre) Carla is not afraid to read stories about bloodsuckers, or mass murder and give you valuable information on how you can enhance your story.

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I can’t count the many times that Carla has helped me out of a creative jam, but I’ll never forget what a true friend she is when it comes to my personal life.

Carla Conrad is a writer that every reader should be on the lookout for if you like mystery, intrigue, with a heart pounding hunk of romance to boot.  So without further adieu I give you Carla Conrad and her answers to my 20 questions.

 

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Twenty Questions With… Carla Conrad

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?
    1. Probably one of the Nancy Drew mysteries.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing?
    1. I began my first mystery story when I was 11 years old. I think I titled it Treachery on the Amazon. I seriously doubt that I completed it. I still have a problem completing stories. I think I just don’t want them to end.

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.
    1. You should enjoy this since it would require zombies. Two of the writers are dead:
      1. Dorothy Dunnett (deceased)
      2. Frank Yerby (deceased)
      3. Sylvia Day
      4. J.K. Rowling

 

  1. What would you eat?
    1. I’m more worried about what they would eat. Don’t zombies chow down on brains?

 

  1. How do you plot out your work?
    1. I need to be better at this. I straddle the line between being a plotter and a pantser. Plots percolate in my head for years before I conquer my inertia enough to put them on paper. Once I reach that point my outlines are more of a sequence of events I try to push, shove, squish and squash into a cohesive narrative resembling the three-act structure. I’m afraid that’s as good as it gets before I dive in.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?
    1. I’m actually most productive in the afternoon. Since I tend to be lazy, it takes me most of the morning to get going.

 

  1. Is there music on?
    1. I’ve tried several times to write to music, but I love it too much and find myself listening more than writing. However, I do find songs that inspire scenes and create a soundtrack appropriate to the book. The selections can be highly eclectic.

 

 

  1. What inspired your last story?
    1. The genesis of the idea came from a television special many years ago featuring David Copperfield. Like my heroine, I’ve always been fascinated with magic acts.
    2. I nicked the idea of large cats from Siegfried and Roy, who primarily performed with tigers. Not to appear a completely shameless thief, I gave Julian lions he named for artists he admired (or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
    1. I can do better: any books in the following three series.
      1. The Lymond Chronicles: (historical)
        1. The Game of Kings
        2. Queens Play
        3. The Disorderly Knights
        4. Pawn in Frankincense
        5. The Ringed Castle
        6. Checkmate
      2. The Crossfire Novels (contemporary)
        1. Bared to You
        2. Reflected in You
        3. Entwined With You
        4. Captivated by You
        5. One With You
  • The Harry Potter Series (YA fantasy)
    1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?
    1. My current favorite television show is Lucifer. The concept is unique and I love the tongue-in-cheek humor.

 

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?
    1. The visual I used for Gigi isn’t an actress. Arizona Muse is a model who did a series of print ads for David Yurman jewelry. She’s done many other fashion features, magazine covers and ad campaigns, but the Yurman ads are the ones I used for Gigi.

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  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?
    1. Always the one I’m currently working on.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?
    1. The one I haven’t started yet.

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?
    1. I have an excellent critique circle as you know, so I pay attention to their feedback.

 

  1. What are you working on now?
    1. Finishing a draft of Devotion and Deception, the first book in the Now and Then trilogy. It’s due to the editor the end of August. Book three, Forgive and Forever, is partially written. The big gap is book two, Reunion and Revenge.

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?
    1. Whatever I happen to be working on when the Grim Reaper appears. I’ll be like Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black. Me: “Uh, can you hang on a moment, I only have 1,000,000 pages to go.” Don’t laugh. Completing his Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series may be what’s keeping George R.R. Martin alive.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?
    1. Sadly I don’t have any fans yet. (sniff, sniff. Pass me a tissue for my tears, please). I haven’t published, but I’ve won and placed in a few RWA contests.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?
    1. It’s either the first line of Forgive and Forever: Disappearances can be deceiving.
    2. Or when Julian asks Gigi where she’s from and what she’s doing in Paris. “I’m from Houston, Texas, and I came to Paris to lose my virginity. Are you busy tonight?”  I could be more subtle, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, I liked the image of Julian choking on a swallow of espresso and spewing it back into his cup.

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?
    1. Not intentionally, but there are probably elements of my personality – or who I’d like to be – in both my male or female characters, and some of my husband in Julian.  I think most writers unwittingly or intentionally infuse different characters with aspects of themselves. How could we not? We spend years trying to impose our belief systems and values on our children. Thankfully, they usually retain only what they want and become separate individuals.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

I presume you mean a character I didn’t create. I’m partial to many male characters, but Frances Crawford in the Lymond Chronicles may be my all time favorite.

For female characters, number one has to be Scarlett O’Hara. Except for her inexplicable (and ridiculous) obsession with Ashley Wilkes, Scarlett has it all: courage, determination, self-focus, and defiance.

If you mean characters I have created, it better be one, or more, of those I’m writing currently.

Everything That Counts, Signing Events

‘Everything That Counts’ Release Party

It was amazing to finally have my novel out and available to the public, although Mother Nature had other plans.

For those of you that don’t live in Southern Texas like me (although I’m assuming Harvey is on national news) we’ve had some weather issues thus on Thursday evening many people were getting their homes prepped for the impending hurricane.

Thankfully I’m fine as is everyone that I’ve spoken to and I did have some great friends visit me at River Oaks Bookstore while I signed copies of ‘Everything That Counts’.

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Rebecca Nolen is a dear friend and fellow writer who has been integral in ‘Everything That Counts’ and really helped me get the editing process of the novel started.  Jason Brandt Schaefer took it home so without both of them then the book would not be as incredible as it is.

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Carla Conrad spearheaded one of the critique circles that I brought Blake’s story too, and she’ll be highlighted in next months 20 Questions.

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Patricia Flaherty Pagan has been one of my longest writer friends and she has started her own publishing company Spider Road Press which I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  She not only was in the critique circle that I brought ‘Everything That Counts’ as well, and my flash fiction piece ‘Thomas’ not only won an honorable mention in the Spider Road Press contest but it’s included in the thrilling ‘Approaching Footsteps’ available on Amazon and from Spider Road Press.

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Last, but not least, is my handsome man Izzy who has been with me through every draft that made me want to give up on writing completely.  All my love to you.

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I will have another release party-not during hurricane season-at a later date which will include a reading but I do greatly appreciate all those that did attend (including Chantell Renee which although I somehow forgot to get a picture of my fellow hairstylist author bestie!) (But we are working on another anthology (and looking for authors) for ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ out in ebook early 2018 )

 

Until then ‘Everything That Counts’ is available on Amazon as well as River Oaks Bookstore.  And don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.IMG_1991

20 Questions With..., Everything That Counts

20 Questions With…Melissa Algood

 

This is usually the time that I tell you how much I love the author that’s answering my 20 questions, or how we met, but this time I’m taking over.

I’ve throughly enjoyed reading my friends answers, because they all have done it so differently.  Honestly I didn’t expect them to put so much thought into their answers, or trying to figure out the ‘right’ answer, when in fact there is not right or wrong.  I intended for the author to interpret the questions however they wanted to, not for my ‘permission’ on how to answer.  Therefore I did cheat on pretty much all of the questions (if there is a way to cheat on questions that don’t lead to a grade).

So thank you to all of the authors that I’ve highlighted before, not only for being good sports, witty, and insightful, but for being my friend.

The first time I remember saying that I wanted to be an author was when I was about eleven or twelve.  I never imagined that people would really read my stuff, I mean at least not while I was alive.  Sylvia Plath has always been a favorite of mine, hence naming my publishing company Mad Girl’s Publishing after her poem ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’.

I am very happy to announce that I’ve publishing my first book-which will be officially released on August 24 at River Oaks Bookstore.  I hope that you’ll join me to celebrate the release of ‘Everything That Counts’ from 4-6 pm.

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I don’t really know what else to say-other than that writing isn’t something ‘fun’ for me-it’s a necessity due to the people that live out their lives in my head.  Thankfully at least some people like to join me on the journey – thank you for that.

So without further adieu I answer the infamous 20 questions

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Twenty Questions With…Melissa Algood

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?   ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams.  I remember reading the introduction (yes I’m such a dork I read the introduction to novels) in which he said that the story of Fiver and Hazel was originally something he told his daughters as he put them to bed and they begged him to write it down.  Also ‘Fool On A Hill’ by Matt Ruff-it throughly transported me and I wanted to take a ride like that as often as possible.
  2. How old where you when you started writing?  Young, maybe 11.  In middle school a tutor mentioned how detailed a piece I wrote for English was (I described a door creaking open as if a rat were being crushed in the frame).  I also wrote little short stories for my first boyfriends mother (a dramatized version of a woman crossing the street was my first).  In high school I pledged to write a poem a day which helped me the most overall, and I still read the poems if I want to go back in time.
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.  Richard Adams, Matt Ruff, Nicola Yoon, and Courtney Summers.
  4. What would you eat? Probably not rabbit…I’m picturing a sleep over environment which includes pizza and sodas.
  5. How do you plot out your work? I usually don’t.  I get a scene in my head, and I’ll play it over and over again until it is as clear as an Oscar winning film and then I write it.  Although this often causes a lot of work once I’m ‘done’ with the first draft so from now on I really need to do an outline first (but I did do that for ‘The Bakery Assistant’ which I have yet to complete and I lost the outline).  
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? Whenever I can, but usually after I’ve had my coffee.  But I have written many a scene while a color client of mine has been processing (I’m a hairstylist in ‘real’ life)
  7. Is there music on? This is the most important part of the writing process for me-I will spend more time on a playlist then virtually any other planning of a piece.  It will get so intense that a song will forever be intertwined with a character or scene.  I have posted the playlists for ‘Blood On The Potomac’  and ‘Everything That Counts’ on this blog.
  8. What inspired your last story?  A client inspired ‘Everything That Counts’ but I’ve been working on a lot more short stories which seem to be inspired by the copious amount of true crime podcasts I listen to (My Favorite Murder, Up And Vanished, Serial, Undisclosed, True Crime Garage, Last Podcast On The Left)
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. ‘All The Rage’ by Country Summers and ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher because both stories are so fucking important for everyone on Earth to read especially young adults.  ‘All The Rage’ is so poetically written although the content is something most people won’t read because it’s a difficult topic.  Similarly Asher’s novel does shine a light on many things that American society wants to put in the dark and he does it so intelligently that you’re enraptured.  ‘The Sky Is Everywhere’ by Jandy Nelson is achingly beautiful more like an epic poem, or a song, than a novel.  And I wish I could create another world like George R.R. Martin, but I can’t plan ahead that well.
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, ‘House of Cards’, and ‘Master of None’ on Netflix.  I’m also the biggest fan of ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Sons of Anarchy’ (which I binge watched while writing ‘Everything That Counts’), and ‘The Sopranos’ and my all time favs ‘Daria’ and ‘My So-Called Life’ and ‘Lost’ (which I binged while writing ‘Blood On The Potomac’).  As far as films I love ‘Donnie Darko’ although I’m not really sure what happened, and anything by Wes Anderson.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?  I kinda like Miles Teller for Blake, but I’m not sure if he’s tall/lanky enough…maybe he’s more of a Nat Wolff. Rachel Hurd-Wood or Daisy Lewis for Sophie, Britt Robertson for Zoe.  
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? I would say all of them, but for different reasons.  ‘The Bakery Assistant’ needs more research (so if you’re a lawyer on the east coast lemme know) ‘WinterGull Lane’ because it took me to such a dark place.
  13. Which was the easiest? Most of my short stories are quick as lightening, which might be why I write them so much more often.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? ‘The End’ is a short story I won an award for about a young boy who grows up during the apocalypse.  I didn’t get hung up on how it all went down, but what it’s like to actually live after everyone else is dead.  At a book release the wife of another author told me that she loved that George still found it important to look at the artwork that still existed on the walls of the hotels in Las Vegas, because what’s the point of living if you don’t have the opportunity to enjoy art.
  15. What are you working on now? The novels that I mentioned before, and to write enough short stories to publish my collection called ‘Everyone Dies’.
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? All of them
  17. What’s your best fan story? When I sold an anthology to a teenage girl at a Comic Con in Houston and she shared with me her journal of poetry that she carries with her, then later that day came by to told me how much she loved my story.  Or when I read my piece ‘Thomas’ at the Spider Road Press award ceremony and one of my friends told me that it was the only piece that made her cry.
  18. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? ‘We trudged onto the darkened stage covered in blood and glitter.’ from the story ‘Even Aliens Watch Reality T.V.’ my man’s favorite story that I’ve ever written.
  19. Have you ever based characters off of real people?  There are attributes that are based off real people, and I talk a lot so I listen to how people talk and infuse that into my work.  So yes, but not enough to have anyone worry.
  20. Who’s your favorite character?  I’m gonna cheat and say that I have a fav from each piece-Samantha Locke ‘Blood On The Potomac’, Blake Morgan ‘Everything That Coutns’, Claire Fisher ‘The Bakery Assistant’, and Stormy O’Dell ‘WinterGull Lane’

 

 

You can follow me on this blog, on TwitterFacebook, and you can buy all my work on Amazon

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Everything That Counts, pictures, Signing Events

Party Time for ‘Everything That Counts’

A novel takes a long time to come to fruition, and the story of Blake Morgan’s last year of high school was no exception.

I began writing ‘Everything That Counts’ as an escape from my heart pumping novel ‘Blood On The Potomac’, but it ended up taking on a life of it’s own, and I’m very proud of  this novel.  It is my love story to Annapolis, geeks, and for anyone that’s made a big mistake yet is attempting to redeem themselves.

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If you’d like to see a snippet of the novel you can check out First Chapter of ‘Everything That Counts’ (although it has been edited since then so it’s going to be even better!  And get your playlist ready because music plays a big role in the novel, get your headphones ready when you click Soundtrack to ‘Everything That Counts’  

 

I hope you’ll join me on Thursday August 24 from 4-6 pm at River Oaks Bookstore in the heart of Houston.  I will do a few readings, and I did buy a new dress just for the occasion, so please join me for the birth of a novel.

 

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short stories

Want to get your work published?

Last October my dear friend, and fellow author, Chantell Renee and I compiled a collection of 21 horror stories from seven authors.  It was a lot of hard work, but even more fun.  Many of the authors have been highlighted in my 20 Questions series, and you can check out pics from the release party here.

Now we’re working on our next anthology entitled Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions-and we know that you’re interested in joining in on the fun and become a published author yourself.

I’m looking to publish early 2018-which means I’ll have to have your short story/poem/flash fiction by October 1, 2017 emailed to madgirlspublishing@gmail.com

Still interested?  Then read the rest of the info below-

Looking for authors that like to write about the dark side.

Submit your work to Mad Girl’s Publishing for the upcoming Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions

1. All stories/flash fiction/poems must be from the perspective of a ‘villain’ They can be from a fairy tale, from another universe, or your old boss-as long as the story is told through a ‘villains’ perspective.

2. Feel free to choose if the villain is found in any way redeemable.

3. This short story (5000 words max)
/flash fiction (800 words max)/
poem (1200 words max) can be previously published or simultaneously published (as long as you also promote the anthology otherwise what’s the point).

4. You the author keep all rights to your work therefore it must be an original piece.

5. This is something I’m doing more for fun then for the $ therefore I don’t have any funds to pay you for the publication. But your piece will be professionally edited and as you know I love to promote my work and go to many events to sell such anthologies which will promote you and your work. (pretty much check out the first Hair Raising Tales and you can see that we proudly highlighted all of our authors).

6. This will only be an e-book. As I said I’m doing this for fun and I don’t have that much fun formatting therefore I’m only gonna do an e-book (but hey it will save a forest, right?)

7. Right now I’m shooting to release on Valentine’s Day.
Therefore I need all your pieces in by Sunday October 1.
I’m going to approve all the pieces by Wednesday November 1 and expect any bio’s and pictures by Tuesday November 7.

So if that time frame doesn’t work out for you then you need to opt out now.

e-mail stories to madgirlspublishing@gmail.com by October 1, 2017

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Scary human skull crying blood isolated on black background

 

20 Questions With...

20 Questions with Jae Mazer

She’s not the first author I’ve highlighted that’s as obsessed with mass murder in fiction as I am, but she is the first Canadian.  Jae Mazer has five titles under her belt, while they range from ghost to supernatural all include plenty of plasma for all horror fans to enjoy.

 

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Although I do love her blood splattering tales do be sure to check out her short story ‘Flight Of The Crow’, which has a different tone from her other work, but still is well written and impossible to stop reading.  ‘Flight Of The Crow’ will be included in the anthology Eclectically Heroic from Inklings Publishing.

I did have the pleasure of sharing a booth with her at Comicpalooza 2017 (she had purple hair, Chantell Renee had blue hair, and I had magenta so basically we’re the coolest). I hope that we can work together on many more endeavors.  I found Jae’s answers to my 20 questions to be quite fucking hilarious, and do keep in mind the words fuck and blood are used a lot so if that makes you feel all icky inside may I recommend you check out another authors answers (yet I can’t imagine that a ‘fan’ of mine has a problem with either of those things).

Now without further adieu I give you the amazing Jae Mazer…

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Twenty Questions With…Jae Mazer!

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? My favourite book is Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon. It was my introduction into the realm of horror and suspense, and a damn good tale of complete and utter societal collapse. Bloody brilliant. But did it make me want to be a writer? I think Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury did that for me. His prose, his voice, the imagery and style. Intoxicating.

  2. How old where you when you started writing? Very young. I wrote a collection of short stories when I was about ten years old, and my dad helped me prepare it and send it off (snail mail… no snickering about my age) to publishers. Of course they told me to get bent, but that didn’t dissuade me. I still have the copy of that “manuscript” in a thick duo tang in my office.

  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Maya Angelo, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and… I’d actually like to have lunch with George R.R. Martin, just so I could punch him in the throat with a dinner plate.

  4. What would you eat? The brilliance of my mentors *swoons*. But seriously, probably wine. Expensive shit. These rich fuckers are good for it.

  5. How do you plot out your work? *laughs and laughs and laughs*… oh. You’re serious? Nope. I’m a definite pantser. I start out with a loose outline, like where I think the story should be going, but my characters often have other ideas. Bastards. I just follow them around and hope they do something interesting and purposeful. And if they don’t, I kill them.

  6. Do you write in the morning or evening?  Both, but mostly in the evening. Late evening, once my family goes to sleep. I get my best work done when I should be sleeping.

  7. Is there music on? Always. Classical music, or a station that plays themes from classic horror movies. Though I do like a bit of Florence and the Machine or Of Monsters and Men. Disturbed, if I’m in a particularly stabby mood.

  8. What inspired your last story? Society, and the demise of. Thank you, American politics…

  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. Anything by Clancy Weeks (that guy can fucking write!), Fahrenheit 451, The Deep by Nick Cutter, and Harry Fucking Potter! I know that’s four. But there you have it. I’m not a fucking mathematician.

  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? The writing in telvision’s Fargo is fucking brilliant. I’m obsessed. The dialogue, the narration… love. As for movies, Silence of the Lambs is an all-time brilliant favourite (though I didn’t like the book).

  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? Ellen Burstyn. Absolutely. I wrote a character named Sister Crow, a homeless woman who has schizophrenia. Sister Crow turns out to be the hero of the tale. Ellen could rock a good Sister Crow.

  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? My most recent piece (which shall remained unnamed and not described—it’s presently in consideration for a blind-judged contest). It’s a flash fiction piece that deals with a very sensitive topic. I wrote it twice, two different endings, and dwelled on which one would finish the story. Lots of moral conflict and anger towards misogyny. I had many a heated discussion over that piece with people who shared different viewpoints.  Emotionally charged and controversial.

  13. Which was the easiest? Easy? *laughs again* *snorts drink out of nose*. As much as I enjoy writing, my subjects are always a tad emotionally taxing. I can’t seem to get away from my pieces turning a bit personal and political. But the creature horror does flow easily from my brain.

  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? Definitely the controversial flash fiction piece. The one I can’t discuss yet. Those who got it, really got it. They immediately identified the underlying theme, and could see and feel the characters motivations. Yay me.

  15. What are you working on now? A novel I’m co-writing with my father, Gerry Mazer. We hope to have it completed by the end of the year. It’s a crime thriller called Ripples of Silence about a detective who’s deaf, tracking a serial killer who he thinks may be his son.

  16. What story do you have to write before you die? The one that becomes a bestseller. Like, millions of copies. Seriously.

  17.   What’s your best fan story? I have my favourite horrible fan story, because that’s the most interesting. Dude sends me emails, several emails, trying to get me to help get him published because he “admires me as a writer”. When I don’t agree to help, wanker goes apeshit on me, telling me women cannot and should not write horror, and the only reason I’m published is because I *insert graphic sexual suggestions here*. But hey, he read my books, right? Positive fan stories? I love when people contact me with fan fiction ideas. A woman from the UK wrote me an email about my second novel, Delivery, and the next adventure she saw the protagonists having. She was super passionate about the characters. Really cool.

  18.   What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?

   “You think me a monster, David?”

David looked at Christoph, his cane and neatly-styled gentleman’s cut, the way half his mouth curved up into a smirk.

“I don’t know what you are,” David said, his eyes moving off Christoph and back out the window.

“I am a monster, David. I am man.”

Also, the words blood and fuck seem to make plenty of appearances in my writing….

  1.   Have you ever based characters off of real people? Oh yes. But I’ll never tell who…

  2.   Who’s your favorite character? My own? Gotta be Ferris Salazar, the antagonist from my third book, Pal Tailor. He’s a badass wanker, and an intriguing, complex mess.

You can find out more about the author on their website, jaemazer.com, and purchase their work from Amazon.

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Everything That Counts

Soundtrack to ‘Everything That Counts’

Some of you might not know this, but I spend a lot of time coming up for a playlist for each novel.  It could have been the beat, the title, lyrics, or just the way the song made me feel as I was writing ‘Everything That Counts’.

Granted some of them might not be my taste, but as a writer you have no control what’s going on in your head, nor what your characters like to listen to at a party. On the other hand I did majorly fall in love with Rivers Cuomo and Weezer.  At this point I’ve listened to so much of their music for such an extended amount of time that I know all the lyrics to pretty much every song (well from before 2005).  Needless to say I owe a huge thank you to Weezer who really helped shape Blake, when I first started writing him I couldn’t connect with him until I found a band that really encapsulated him.  I thought, ‘What would a geek listen to?’ and I thought of Weezer first.  After listening to their songs I noticed that their album ‘Make Believe’ really worked well with my story, and fatefully enough it was released in time to make sense for my novel which is set in 2004-2005.  It’s almost as if they wanted to be included in Blake’s story…

Many of the songs are now eternally linked to a specific scene in the book i.e. whenever I hear ‘Milkshake’ by Kelis I think of a specific party that Blake attended.  Ironically a pivotal point of the novel.  Those songs are denoted with a (+).

Some songs are mentioned by a character, or referenced in the prose.  Those songs are italicized.  A few have a location real or ficitous- the geography is in (parenthesis like this).

I highly recommend you check out all the music that influenced ‘Everything That Counts’ which will be released in August, 2017.  Stay tuned for more details.

 

‘Everything That Counts’ from award-winning author Melissa Algood

I’d been treating life like a chess game, forgetting to live in the moment when I had a chance. I had to change all that.

Blake Morgan is the biggest geek in all the graduating class of 2004, possibly in all of Annapolis, maybe even the entire world.
He decides that talking to a girl, doing something unexpected, getting something other than an A+, and do something brave during his senior year will make him into a whole other person. Maybe even cool.
Yet each time he checks something off the list he hurts the few people who love him just the way he is. A loser.
Is he able to repair the damage? Is changing who you are worth it? Can Blake be an astrophysicist and have a supermodel as a girlfriend?
He’s stupid enough to wreck his life, but is he smart enough to put it back together?

 

 

And now for the official playlist for  ‘Everything That Counts’

 

Chapter 1-August 2003

  •    Imitation of Life by R.E.M +
  •   Caring is Creepy by The Shins
  •    Green Grass of Tunnel by mum + (Magothy River)
  •   For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)[Remastered] by Pete Yorn
  •   Cause = Time by Broken Social Scene
  •   What You Waiting For? By Gwen Stefani
  •    The Way We Get By by Spoon
  •    Strict Machine by Goldfarp +
  •    Somewhere Only We Know by Keane + (a white oak in front of Blake’s house)

Chapter 2-September 2003

  •  Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet +
  •  Think I’m Paranoid by Garbage
  • Black Rooster by The Kills (Cape St. Claire High School)
  • We’re Going To Be Friends by The White Stripes+
  • Buddy Holly by Weezer +
  • Doin’ the Cockroach by Modest Mouse
  • Undone (The Sweater Song) by Weezer
  • Can’t Hold Us Down (feat. Lil’ Kim) by Christina Aguilera (Annapolis Mall
  • In Da Wind by Trick Daddy (Cape St. Claire High School)

Chapter 3- October 2003

  • A Lack of Color by Death Cab for Cutie
  • If You Find Yourself Caught In Love by Belle and Sebastian
  • Here I Dreamt I was an Architect by The Decemberists
  • Do You Realize?? By The Flaming Lips
  • The Scientist (Live) by Aimee Mann +
  • Exit Music (For A Film) by Radiohead +
  • Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz (St. Margrets)
  • Upward Over the Mountain by Iron & Wine +

 

Chapter 4-November 2003

  • Roses by Outkast
  • Stronger by Britney Spears + (Zoe’s favorite song)
  • 12:51 by The Strokes

 

Chapter 5-December 2003

  • Photobooth by Death Cab for Cutie +
  • Stay Together for The Kids by Blink-182
  • Hate It Here by Wilco +
  • Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty & The Heatbreakers (Ego Alley)
  • A Perfect Sonnet by Bright Eyes + (Magothy River)
  • Swan Lake composed by Tchaikovsky
  • Pyramid Song by Radiohead
  • Radio Number 1 by Air
  • Mad World (feat. Gary Jules) by Michael Andrews +

 

Chapter 6- January 2004

  • Gretchen Ross by Michael Andrews + (Sophie)
  • #1 Crush by Garbage+
  • The Sweat Descends by Les Savy Fav
  • You Were Meant for Me by Jewel
  • Poupée de cire, poupée de son by France Gall (Lily)

 

Chapter 7- February 2004

  • Weak and Powerless by A Perfect Circle
  • Dark Moon, High Tide by Afro Celt Sound System
  • Hey Jupiter by Tori Amos +
  • 2 + 2 = 5 by Radiohead
  • Teenage FBI by Guided By Voices

 

Chapter 8-March 2004

  • Come On Let’s Go by Broadcast +
  • Step to My Girl by Souls of Mischief
  • Change Your Mind by The Killers
  • Milkshake by Kelis +
  • Hate to Say I Told You So by The Hives
  • Porcelain by Moby
  • Save Me by Aimee Man (Sophie’s favorite song)
  • Get Over It by Ok Go

 

Chapter 9-April 2004

  • D.I.D.A.S. by Killer Mike & Big Boi
  • Star Guitar by The Chemical Brothers
  • The Way You Move (feat. Sleep Brown)[Club Mix] by Outkast
  • The Power Is On by The Go! Team
  • Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 by The Flaming Lips
  • She’s Got Issues by The Offspring
  • Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney +
  • No One Knows by Queens of the Stone Age
  • Lost Cause by Beck +
  • Just Because by Jane’s Addiction
  • Superstar by Sonic Youth

 

Chapter 10-May 2004

  • Can’t Get Used to Losing You by Andy Williams +
  • My Boo by Usher & Alicia Keys + (Downtown Annapolis)
  • Till Kingdom Come by Coldplay
  • We’re Going To Be Friends by The White Stripes
  • If She Wants Me by Belle and Sebastian
  • Creep by Radiohead
  • Only In Dreams by Weezer +
  • Crystal by New Order
  • Pictures of You by The Cure
  • Come Pick Me Up by Ryan Adams
  • In the Backseat by Arcade Fire
  • Beverly Hills by Weezer
  • Clocks by Coldplay
  • Simple Things, Pt. 2 by Dirty Vegas
  • Perfect Situation by Weezer
  • My Best Friend by Weezer
  • Falling Away from Me by Korn
  • Here Comes Your Man by Pixies
  • Pardon Me by Weezer
  • Wonderwall by Oasis

 

 

Chapter 11- June 2004

  • Something About Us by Daft Punk
  • The Damage In Your Heart by Weezer
  • Center of the Universe by Built to Spill
  • Uptight (Everything’s Alright) by Stevie Wonder
  • Ocean Breathes Salty by Modest Mouse
  • Haunt You Every Day by Weezer
  • Cherry Blossom Girl by Air
  • Everything Hits At Once by Spoon
  • Golden by My Morning Jacket
  • Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Such Great Heights by The Postal Service

Chapter 12-July 2004

  • Black Dog by Led Zeppelin (Blake’s House)
  • Just Like Heaven
  • Kissing the Lipless by The Shins

Chapter 13-August 2004

  • Susanne (Single Version) by Weezer
  • Hard to Explain by The Strokes
  • Cybele’s Reverie by Sterolab +
  • Fade Into You by Mazzy Star +
  • Sunrise by Pulp
  • (Girl We Got A) Good Thing by Weezer +*

 

 

 

20 Questions With..., pictures

20 Questions with…Gay Yellen

She’s an actress, assistant director, journalist, an award winning novelist-and she’s also a dear friend.  Gay Yellen has a shrewd eye for detail, in fact I wanted to hire her as my editor, she didn’t have time (I mean look at her credentials she’s a busy lady) but encouraged me to really go through my manuscript.

Later I still had to hire an editor, but at least my tenses were correct, and without Gay encouraging me to tackle my greatest writing fear-editing- I wouldn’t be as strong as a writer as I am.

I’ve had the pleasure of having my poetry published along with hers in the collection IN THE QUESTIONS from Spider Road Press and we were in the same critique circle for several years which was educational and fun.  I highly recommend her Samantha Newman mystery series (her Samantha is much different from my Samantha Locke in ‘Blood On The Potomac’ in which we joked often during cc) not only does it keep you on the edge of your seat, but Yellen’s descriptive quality, especially with food, is so precise that your mouth begins to water.  Needless to say I think that she needs to come out with a cookbook.

And now I’m going to introduce you to the woman who’s done it all, and now is sharing her stories with the world, thankfully I had the chance to live during the same time as her thus able to meet her characters.

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Twenty Questions with Gay Yellen

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?     I can’t really pick one. Writing seemed to be a natural extension of reading, and as a child, I read voraciously. Family lore has it that when I was a toddler, I would turn magazine pages and babble words as if I were reading them.

  2. How old where you when you started writing?    In my baby book, my mother recorded a poem that she swears I made up at the age of three.

  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.   Anthony Doerr. Hank Phillippi Ryan. James Michener. Theodore Geisel.

  4. What would you eat?      Fries. Vanilla malts. Maybe Green Eggs and Ham.

  5. How do you plot out your work?      I’m not much of a plotter, except for the bare-bones structure. Once I have the main characters and what the story is about, the rest more or less falls into place, although it takes quite a while to get to The End.

  6. Do you write in the morning or evening?      I start in the morning and work as long as I can.

  7. Is there music on?       Not for my mysteries. I’m also working on a historical fiction, and I use music of that period to help immerse me in what is otherwise a distant and underexplored era.

  8. What inspired your last story?       After The Body Business was published, I regretted cutting the ending short, leaving readers hanging. I wrote The Body Next Door to continue the story. Now that it’s won the international Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem Award, I’m glad I made that decision.

  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.     All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson. The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak.

  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?    TV has some of the best writing ever. Veep, Silicon Valley, Life in Pieces, Better Call Saul come to mind.

  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?                        Emma Stone would be a perfect Samantha Newman.

  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?     The next one.

  13. Which was the easiest?    The Body Business. I’d just helped the author of an international thriller polish his book, Five Minutes to Midnight, which did very well, according to The New York Times. That success led me to try writing one of my own.

  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?              I love to hear from readers, whether they leave a question for me on my website, or I get to meet them in person at a book club or other public appearance. It’s a thrill for a writer to learn how the characters on the page come alive in a reader’s imagination.

  15. What are you working on now?     Book 3 of The Samantha Newman Series.

  16. What story do you have to write before you die?     The historical fiction has been in my heart for years. I started it years ago before my first mystery was published. The opening chapters actually won Best Historical Fiction in a Houston Writers Guild contest in 2013.

  17. What’s your best fan story?         I love meeting new fans who tell me that my book brightened a few hours of their lives. And when a long-ago friend discovers my books and reconnects with me, it’s a plus I hadn’t counted on, and I love it. That’s a long way of saying I have no best fan story, just a lot of wonderful encounters with readers.

  18. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?   Here’s one from The Body Next Door. Samantha is talking about the little girl she’d befriended a few days earlier: Anyone but Lizzie would have annoyed me beyond endurance, but somehow, we vibrated at the same frequency.

  19. Have you ever based characters off of real people?   A writer’s head is filled with experiences, some we’re conscious of and some that seem to bubble up from nowhere. I’ve never consciously based an entire character on any real person, but some character traits may resemble those of people I’ve observed.

  20. Who’s your favorite character?   Lizzie, from The Body Next Door. That sad, lonely little girl in need of a friend. I have no idea where she sprang from, but I fell in love with her at first sight, as did Samantha Newman. I think that relationship helped define Samantha in a good way. I still think about Lizzie. She’ll definitely be in Book 3.

You can find out more about the author on her website: http://www.GayYellen.com and purchase her work from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or your favorite indie bookstore.