20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Kate Spitzmiller

 

It wasn’t long ago that I first heard Kate read two of her pieces and I was instantly brought back in time.  As a fan of ancient Greece and Rome I find myself falling in love with her characters along with the history that surrounds them.

Not only have we been awarded by Spider Road Press, but we both have pieces included in Approaching Footsteps which are definitely worth the read until her debut novel is released on Dec. 1 from Spider Road Press.

Even if historical fiction isn’t your thing the characters that Kate creates are so unique yet identifiable that you’ll have to find out what happens to the next.

So without further adieu I bring to you award-winning author Kate Spitzmiller.

Kate Author Photo

Twenty Questions With…Kate Spitzmiller

 

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? I think it would have to be a toss-up between Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor.  Heart of Darkness taught me about the power of a single word, the weight just one word can carry, while Shipwrecked Sailor—a much shorter work—taught me about brevity and how much emotion and conflict and tension can be squeezed into a novella. They both taught me how important it is to write about the human condition.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing? I don’t even remember. My Mom has stories I wrote in first or second grade. The first big project I remember writing formally was in eighth grade. It was for an assignment in social studies class. We were supposed to take on the persona of a representative from the Continental Congress and write a letter from their perspective. I wanted to write from the perspective of John Adams’ wife Abigail. I got a lot of grief from my teacher for that, because Abigail was a woman and not even at the Congress, but I fought my teacher on it and won out. I wrote a great letter!

 

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Stephen King (definitely!), Joseph Conrad, James Michener, and Maya Angelou

 

  1. What would you eat? Well, I’m gluten intolerant, so something gluten-free. Maybe sushi. Or some nice mussels or New England clam chowder.

 

 

  1. How do you plot out your work? I’m a bit of a pantster, not a plotter. As an historical fiction writer, usually the scaffold of the story is there for me already, and I can just fill in the gaps with fictional aspects. But some of my best work has come from just having an end goal and then sitting down at the computer and letting the characters working it out on their own. For example, in my upcoming novel Companion of the Ash, I had two characters who had never met before but I needed them to become allies. They were already in an awkward position due to family issues. I had no idea how the conversation was going to go. So, I put them together in a room and just let them talk. The scene ended up being great. Sometimes you just have to let your characters lead the way.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening? I usually get going around four or five o’clock in the afternoon and write until about midnight. I’m a night owl. Occasionally, if I’m working on something that has my head going a mile a minute, I’ll wake up early before work and write.

 

  1. Is there music on? Sometimes. It depends what I’m working on. I have a novel in the works that is set in Vietnam. When I’m working on that, I play Motown music for inspiration.

 

 

  1. What inspired your last story? Weirdly, one of my last published stories was inspired by a dream. I had a dream one night that my husband was a German spy during World War II and everyone hated me for it. I woke up and immediately took notes on the dream. The story, The Song of Saint George, ended up being about a woman who has to be convinced by British Intelligence that her husband is a spy. No one hates her (yet), but the basic element of her being married to a German spy is there.

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. I suppose it would be cheating if I listed three Outlander books, so I’ll say the first book in the Outlander series,Continental Drift by Russell Banks, and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

 

10.  What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? I think Game of Thrones is exceptionally well written. If you watch the bonus material after each episode and hear what the show’s creators have to say about each episode, you get an even greater sense of the meaning behind the writing. It’s good stuff. As for movies, generally speaking, I think anything directed by Ridley Scott is written well. He has a habit it seems of getting great screenwriters. I particularly liked the writing in Gladiator andThe Martian. In music, I am a huge Eagles fan, mostly because of their lyrics. Don Henley and Glen Frey tell great stories with most of their songs. “Lyin’ Eyes” is my favorite. It’s a very sad and poignant tale about two people who love each other but who can only be together very briefly because of circumstance.

 

 

11.  Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? For A Song of Saint George, I’d need a British actress for the role of Mrs. Ridley, so I might cast Sophie Turner fromGame of Thrones. She’d have to cut her hair, though, as the story is set during World War II.

 

12.  Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? In one of my scenes in my upcoming novel, my main character is sexually assaulted. This was a very difficult scene to write from an emotional standpoint. As writers, we get very attached to out characters, and I hated putting her through that. She’d already been through hell, and it was just awful to write. But it was necessary for the story.

 

13. Which was the easiest? I wrote A Song of Saint George in an afternoon—probably three hours—with very little editing. It’s a short piece, and mostly dialogue, but it just seemed to really flow. It’s the easiest thing I’ve ever written.

 

14.  Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? I think The House of Special Purpose, which is my story about Olga, the oldest Romanov daughter during her last days before the family is executed by the Bolsheviks. Even people who didn’t know the original historical story “got it,” and I was even told by a few that they learned something from it. A lot of people said they cried at the end—so I suppose that means they really “got it.”

 

15.  What are you working on now? I’m finishing up a novel set in the Roman Empire, 121 CE. It’s a historical with a romantic twist. I have one chapter to go and then the final edit. The novel is about two people—non-Romans—and their experiences as outsiders living within the Empire. There’s a lot of action and plot twists. I’ve done quite a bit of research for this novel, having traveled to Rome twice and northern England once to gather materials, notes, and photos of places and artifacts related to the time period and the story. Now I just need to get the novel finished!

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die? Ever since high school, I’ve had an idea for a novel set during the Vietnam War. It’s been buzzing around in my head for months now, and I work on it every now and then. It’s going to be a huge project—Michener-sized. But I see it as my one big work. The entire story is already laid out in my head, I just need to get it down on paper. That’s the story I need to tell before I die.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story? I don’t actually have any fan stories.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? From my Roman novel, in the epilogue, when the main character is describing the life she is living with her husband after their journey across the Roman Empire to freedom, she says: “Daman and Aeneas may both be men who traveled far and honored the will of the Fates, but Daman chose a different path in the end — the path out of darkness; the path of humanity and light.”

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Other than my historical characters (like Olga Romanov), one character was based on a person I know. I did that once. S/he is to remain nameless.

 

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character? Andromache, the main character in my upcoming novel Companion of the Ash. I didn’t create her, Homer did, but he made her out to be weak and rather pathetic. My version of her is brave and tough and vulnerable all at the same time. She is also able to forgive. I admire her for that.

 

 

You can find out more about the author on their blog katespitzmiller.com and purchase their work in Spider Road Press’s Approaching Footsteps from Amazon.

Companion of the Ash releases December 1, 2018.

But if you can’t wait until then take a look at some great reads-

The House of Special Purpose

The Song of Saint George

 

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My Girl

 

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Mad Girl's Publishing, Unseen

A Thrilling Playlist for ‘Unseen’

I love music.

Well maybe love isn’t strong enough a word, because it has been instrumental (pun intended) in my personal writing process.

So to all the musicians out there-thank you.

Below are the specific songs that were integral to the writing of my romantic thriller ‘Unseen’; which introduces you to Samantha Locke, a volitive assassin, and Matthew Burke, a straight-edge spy, while they work for Erebus a nefarious agency headquarterd in Washington D.C.

UNSEEN EBOOK

 

 

The titles which have a (+) after them mean that from now until the end of time when I hear that song I’ll instantly think of a man’s final wish (Precious), when we first meet Lilly (Boys Wanna Be Her), or Matthew walking through the streets of D.C. (The Tune). 

The songs with an (*) are far fewer and what I like to call inspirational if you will.  The songs were written long before I started the novel, but when I hear them I feel as if they were composed specifically for me to create ‘Unseen’. 

Titles that are italicized are either directly or indirectly mentioned in the novel ‘Unseen’.

During the early stages of writing ‘Ava Adore’ by Smashing Pumpkins resonated strongly with me, so much that if I were to give the entire novel one song to sum it up, that would be the song to do it. 

So get on your favorite music app and listen to some great music while reading a thrilling book.

 

Jack

-Precious by Depeche Mode+

Recruitment

-Boys Wanna Be Her by Peaches+

-Hurt by Johnny Cash

The Test

-The Tune by Wax Tailor+

-Strawberry Bubblegum by Justin Timberlake

-Bad Girls by M.I.A.

Stiff

-Bury Me With It by Modest Mouse

– The Letter Edged In Black by Johnny Cash

-Over and Over by Hot Chip

-Criminal by Fiona Apple

The Last Time

-Bang Bang Boom Boom by Beth Hart

– Wandering Star by Portishead

Locke’s First Mission 

-Rollercoaster by Bleachers

-This Is A Trick by (Crosses)+

End Of The Line by Sleighbells+

Looking Glass

Written In Reverse by Spoon

King Night by Salem+ 

-Man In Black by Johnny Cash+

-Dirt Off Your Shoulder/ Lying From You by Jay Z & Linkin Park

Bad Blood by Taylor Swift

– Terrible Lie by Nine Inch Nails+

Three Women

No You Girls by Franz Ferdinand

Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais) by Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais 

– Wasted Time by Best Coast

Truth or Truth

– Philosophize In It!  Chemicalize With It! By Kishi Bashi

– You Go Down Smooth by Lake Street Dive

– Ava Adore by Smashing Pumpkins*

Ghosts n Stuff (Nero Remix) by deadmau5

– When I’m Small by Phantogram

Paris

– 6 Underground by Sneaker Pimps+

– Hong Kong Garden (with strings intro) by Siouxsie & The Banshees

– Let It Fall by Lykke Li

Elevate by St. Lucia

Young Blood by The Naked and Famous

Night Terrors

– Harlequin Dream by Boy & Bear

– Every Day Is Exactly The Same by Nine Inch Nails

– Gooey by Glass Animals

Damaged Goods

– The Cat With the Cream by Belle and Sebastian

– Cut It Out by Kitten

Seven Cards

– Devil’s Spoke by Laura Marling

I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash+

– No One’s Gonna Love You by Band of Horses

The Broken Promise

– Highly Suspicious by My Morning Jacket

– Devil In Me by Gin Wigmore

The Arc

– Ink by Coldplay+

– Killer Bangs by Honeyblood

– Black Out On White Night by Sage Francis

– Crown On The Ground by Sleigh Bells +

Skin and Bones

– Lead Me Home by Jamie N Commons

– Something Is Not Right With Me by Cold War Kids

– I’ll Believe In Anything by Wolf Parade

– Always by Blink-182

Video Games by Lana Del Rey

Somplace by Jake Bugg

– Breakin’ Dishes by Rihanna+

Maggie’s/Saul’s Night 

– Black Tongue by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

– Phazing by Dirty South Featuring Rudy

– I Told You I Was Mean by Elle King

– It’s All Over by Johnny Cash

Locke’s Last Mission

– Female Robbery by The Neighborhood*

– Sing by Travis

Bullet With Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins

– Tell ‘Em by Sleigh Bells

– Magic by Bruce Springsteen+

– Good Lookin Out by Kurt Vile

– Gamma Ray by Beck

– Why Do You Love Me by Garbage

– In Circles (Remastered) by Sunny Day Real Estate

Bleach 

– Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton

– Lady Luck by Richard Swift

– No Below by Speedy Ortiz

      Christina by Kitten

Friends With Benefits 

Bad Girls (feat. Missy Elliott & Rye Rye) [Switch Remix] by M.I.A.

– Animal (Switch remix) by Ke$ha+

– The Lament of Pretty Baby by Cursive+

Gasoline and Matches 

– You Don’t Get Me Twice by Sleigh Bells

– Knives Out by Radiohead

Video Games by Lana Del Rey

– Army of Me by Björk *

– Bitter Rivals by Sleigh Bells

I Know by Fiona Apple+

Golden State

– To Hell With You by Sleigh Bells+

Mad Girl's Publishing, Unseen

Find out what’s ‘Unseen’

I’ve always loved a fast paced thriller, so back in 2015 I figured I’d write one that included everything that I wanted to read in a book.

Ater months upon months of typing at the keyboard, the trials of publication, and finally starting my own company and self-publishing I’m happy to announce that ‘Unseen’ the first book in The Greater Good Series is available now.

She is a volatile assassin driven by revenge.
He is an ex-Navy S.E.A.L obsessed with the greater good, tasked with being her handler.
Both Samantha Locke and Matthew Burke are under the watchful eye of a cryptic agency, Erebus, headquartered in Washington D.C.
‘Unseen’ takes the good-hearted spy, and vicious killer across the globe as they search for the murderers of their love ones.
Even if it costs them their lives in the search for the truth.

 

Just to give you a taste of the wild ride that you’ll take I’ve included the first chapter of ‘Unseen’ below….be warned it’s rated R.

 

Unseen

a novel by Melissa Algood

Chapter 1- Jack

“Where is she?”  

The question was followed by a right hook to Jack’s jaw.  The fist attached belonged to an olive-skinned, hook-nosed man.  A man Jack had once trusted with his life. 

Jack didn’t answer, even though he knew full well that not answering meant the beating would continue. Another punch turned Jack’s head into a buzzing machine, and would have knocked him over if the restraints tying him to the chair hadn’t kept him upright.

In the corner of the room, another man cleared his throat.  He was older, with age spots on his hands and silver hair.  He moved closer to Jack and his assailant.  

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, son.”

Jack spat on the floor of the barn, a single tooth fell, and blood stained the wood.  “You’re not my father.”

The older man moved closer, staying hidden in the shadows of the dimly lit building, but Jack knew his identity.  After all, he was the one that had made the job offer.  He wanted Jack on the Erebus team so badly, he’d been willing to hire Jack’s best friend, Matthew, too.  Jack felt a twinge of regret at having dragged Matthew into all of this. But then, Jack hadn’t known the full scope of Erebus’ plan when this all started.  

Jack knew he was going to die in this barn and Matthew would be his only hope to finishing this game right.  

“Genetically, you’re correct, but aren’t I the father you always wanted?  Picking you up out of that drunken stupor.  Your mother and I brought you on the team…”

“She’s not my mother.  You’re both lying sacks of shit.  Telling me I’d be saving lives by stealing and killing from the people that planned on ruining our country.  It was all bullshit!  If either of you think I’m going to work with Erebus, or with her at Lumos, then you’re fucking insane.”

The old man gave hook-nose a nod, and the beating began again.  The hook-nosed man grabbed Jack by the collar of his shirt, pulling him up, chair and all. Then he proceeded to shake him.  Jack supposed it was an attempt to keep him from losing consciousness.

“Just tell us where Lilly is,” hook-nose hissed.

“What, too afraid to say her real name?”  Jack taunted.

Landing another punch on Jack’s jaw, the assailant queried, “Why are you protecting some half-breed whore that you only met once?”

“Because she’s my blood.  I’m not going to hand over my sister to save my own life.  You know it.” Jack nodded toward the old man. “He knows it.  You’re wasting your time, because I’ll never talk.”

The old man sighed.  “Your mother…”

“She’s not my mother anymore,” Jack hissed,  “Not once I found out what she did to my sister.” 

Although he couldn’t see the old man’s face in the dark, nor make out his facial expressions through the film of blood that now coated his face, Jack heard the smile in the old man’s words.  “We created Erebus and Lumos years ago, your mother and I.  Your mother wanted to keep you in the dark. But now it is time to see the light.”  The old man moved even closer to Jack.  Sunlight from the slits in the barn door sliced across his withered face.  “Now you’re ready to take over Erebus.  It’s what your mother always dreamed of, you fighting alongside her.”

“If you just want me, then what do you need my sister for?”

“Your half-sister has skills we can use. Plus, she’s the key to exacting our revenge. As you know, we never forgive, and, for us, there is no forgetting.” He started pacing, occasionally glancing towards Jack.

Jack chuckled, although it proved painful due to the pounding his body had taken.  “You think she’s going to tell you anything?  You think she’s going to just give up someone who cares about her just because you ask?”

“We’re not going to ask.  She’s going to work for us, because we know who killed her father.  And you’re going to be her handler.”

Despite his broken ribs, Jack laughed again.  “I know who killed her father, too.”

The old man paused in mid-stride.  He turned toward Jack. “We’re talking about the rest of your life, Jack.  You would be in charge of all of Erebus, working alongside Lumos, and your mother. You would pick the targets. Defend the nation you love so much.”

“I won’t say it again, she’s not my mother.  And you can do whatever you want to me.  I’ll die before I tell you where Lilly is.”

“Such a waste.” The old man nodded at hook-nose again.  

This time the hook-nosed man walked to a long table to the right of Jack.  He rolled open a canvas satchel.  Jack didn’t have to see it to know that it housed implements of torture.  Returning, his sadistic assailant held up a pair of pliers for Jack to see.  

Jack felt his heart race, but all he could think was “please save her Matthew, find my clues, and save my sister; I couldn’t.”

Hook-nose moved to stand behind Jack, pulling on one of his cuffed hands.  Positioning the rusted metal pliers around Jack’s ring finger, he prepared to apply the pressure and cut off the digit. 

The barn door opened, a woman framed in the entrance. The sun made the woman’s red hair look like fire.  

“I found her,” the woman said.  Her Scottish accent reverberated in Jack’s brain.  “I found her for ya.”  She came towards the old man, handing him a piece of paper.

Lifting his face from the paper, the old man came to stand right before Jack as he instructed, “Bring her here.  We’ll have the place cleaned up before you get back from Baltimore.”

The woman left the barn, along with any hope that Jack had of saving his half-sister.

Hook-nose had removed the pliers from Jack’s captive finger. Turning to the old man, he asked, “What do we do with Jack?”

The old man looked at Jack, “What I’ve ascertained from our exchange is that you refuse to work with us any longer if your mother and I continue down this path to destroy a man that stole from us.”

“If it involves Lilly, then, yes, you’re correct.”

“A shame,” the old man shook his head.  Then, glancing at hook-nose, he ordered, “Follow protocol.”

In a last ditch effort, Jack asked.  “My mother is okay with you killing me?”

“Your mother and I started all this with the agreement that, no matter who was in our way, we would follow protocol.  If you refuse to work with us, then you are against us.  And you know what we do to our enemies.”

“Any last words?”  hook-nosed man asked.

“Fuck you!” 

The last thing Jack felt was cold steel on his forehead and his last thought Lilly.

 

Interested in reading more?  Click here

20 Questions With..., Uncategorized

20 Questions with…Pamela Fagan Hutchins

I refer to her as my mentor, and I tell everyone that she’s my Mom’s favorite author, but in actuality her most important role to me is friend.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins has numerable fiction and non-fiction titles, a multitude of awards, and can turn out books faster than you can say gluten-free brownies.  I met her in Houston where I attended her critique circle (the second I’d attended after going the Houston Writers Guild) and found that she could make her teenage child a meal, have a conversation with her husband, AND give all the authors valuable feedback that made me into the writer I am today.

I’ve also attended a conference in which she had her own breakout session.  Pamela spoke, nearly continuously, for five hours enriching the authors with her knowledge of the publishing industry while leaving us awestruck.

I’m thankful that she has been brought into my life, and anytime I need her she’s been there for me.  At this point I don’t know what else to say other than I’m so happy that she’s now moved to ‘Nowheresville’ where she can spend the days with her beloved animals including Feathers (on the left) and Kitty Katniss (on the right) who supported her as she wrote Bombshell which is out now.

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Twenty Questions With Pamela Fagan Hutchins

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?

Oh, if it were only one. Cheaper by the Dozen, Where the Red Fern Grows, Lonesome Dove, The Great Santini, and a slew of female sleuth mysteries by Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, and many, many others.

  1. How old where you when you started writing?

Third grade.

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.

Pat Conroy, Larry McMurtry, Liliana Hart, Craig Johnson

  1. What would you eat?

Ribeye steak (medium rare), baked sweet potato, and roasted Brussel sprouts.

  1. How do you plot out your work?

I brainstorm and storyboard with my story partner (aka my smart, creative, cute husband), then I do a little research, a lot of thinking, and make some chapter notes those loosely resemble an outline. I write character-driven mysteries featuring amateur female sleuths with strong women’s fiction themes, so I try to come up with a new way for someone to die with a fresh villain and interesting motivation at the same time as pulling off a fast-paced contemporary slice of a woman’s life. Ultimately, I just start writing, though, and let the characters tell the story. I update my chapter notes as I go, and I revise comprehensively one time before I turn it over to my content editor for suggestions, then my copyeditor for perfectifying.

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

Both

  1. Is there music on?

Only during the final stages. I find it distracting, which becomes an excuse to procrastinate, and I have pretty aggressive deadlines, so I have to stay focused. Music can help me fine tune voice and tone, though, so I like it a lot during final stages.

  1. What inspired your last story?

My characters inspire my stories. Once I get to know them, it becomes clear that their paths will lead to good stories. Knockout is my third “Ava” mystery, and her journey from unknown to superstar to indie involves bright lights, big stages, and betrayal. I just have to put my butt in the chair and let her speak through me.

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.

See #1.

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?

Justified was really well written.

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?

Ashanti is who I would cast in my Ava trilogy (Bombshell, Stunner, Knockout).

  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?

To date, my Michele novels have been the hardest (Going for Kona, Fighting for Anna, Searching for Dime Box), especially Fighting for Anna. It also won the Silver Falchion for Best Adult Mystery, so maybe being hard to write is a good thing.

  1. Which was the easiest?

My easiest novels so far have probably been my Emily mysteries (Heaven to Betsy, Earth to Emily, Hell to Pay). The protagonist Emily was based on a dear childhood friend and set in the town I grew up in, so it was a setting, culture, and characters that came to me more easily than some others have.

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?

Women really seem to relate to my Katie mysteries (Saving Grace, Leaving Annalise, Finding Harmony). Katie is insecure, awkward, and her own worst enemy. I can certainly relate to that myself!

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m working on the Maggie Trilogy. She’s a modern hippie turned junker/salvage artiste who owns an antique store in the Hill Country of Texas. And, oh yeah, she was a rising star on the music scene until she burned all her bridges and ended up broke and in a last-chance rehab. She’s wild, crazy, and super interesting. She first appeared in my mystery Fighting for Anna as a supporting character, and I knew I had to give her trilogy of her own.

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?

I have a story about “polarity” between two lovers. It’s a Serendipity­-­type story but with my own Pamela twist, based on my husband’s and my meeting. I don’t write romance…so we’ll have to see if this turns out as straight up romance, or something cross genre with suspense.

  1. What’s your best fan story?

When we moved from Houston to our little Nowheresville, we made friends with another couple who had also transplanted. One day, when I was taking a group of writers out to breakfast from a writers’ retreat I held at our house, I ran into those new friends. It turned out that his mother was with them, and “my biggest fan.” It was fun to have our new friends discover I was a writer through her eyes. She’s since become a friend, too.

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

Oh geez, I’ve written nineteen books! LOL, a sentence? Well, in lieu of that impossible task, here’s the intro to my 2nd Ava novel, Stunner:

 

They say be careful what you wish for, but they don’t know beef from bull foot. I jump out of the helicopter, which I rode over from Virgin Gorda for the sole purpose of making an entrance. Collin, my man, hustles forward. I clutch my floppy hat with one hand and take Collin’s fingers with the other as I concentrate on how to look graceful in a forty-mile-per-hour wind that creates a pelletized sand spout. On one side of us is crystal blue Caribbean Sea. On the other coconut palms bend nearly double behind a tiki hut with twinkling red and green Christmas lights. My eyes continue down the beach across the roofline of an enormous house and land on a thatched-roof pavilion with what looks like heavily loaded buffet tables.

 

All of this for the wrap party for my first album. Bombshell—that’s the name of the album—is memorialized on a giant banner across the top of the tiki hut: AVA BUTLER’S EXPLOSIVE DEBUT ALBUM, BOMBSHELL, FROM VENUS RECORDS. DECEMBER 15, EVERYWHERE. There’s a picture from the album artwork incorporated into the banner. In it, I’m a road-weary skank with eye makeup streaked down my cheeks and a ripped green lace top, but I’d do me.

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?

Every one of my twelve novels features real people in fictional roles. Now your job is to guess who is real and who isn’t! I’ll tell you one for sure: Ava is based on my best friend from my years in the Virgin Islands.

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

Of mine, or of anyone’s? Woodrow and Gus from Lonesome Dove. Dan and Little Ann from Where the Red Fern Grows. Or my Katie J

 

You can find out more about Pamela Fagan Hutchins on her website at http://pamelafaganhutchins.com and purchase her work anywhere online, in ebook, paperback, hardback, or audio. Get free exclusives when you sign up for her newsletter at https://www.subscribepage.com/PFHSuperstars. Email  pamela at pamelafaganhutchins dot com if you’d like her to Skype with your book club or women’s group.

Be sure to pick up Knockout the third book in the Sexy Ava series out June 12.

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…T. Haven Morse

She wears so many hats that I don’t even know where to begin.

But I guess that explains her poetry since it too has a million different perspectives.  I suppose it’s because T. Haven Morse perfected the craft of performance before she delved into the art of the written word.

When she’s not enjoying time on her ranch with her husband and children, she’s the girl Friday for Spider Road Press.

I’m so glad to have her on my side, so without further adieu may I introduce you to T. Haven Morse.

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Twenty Questions With…T. Haven Morse

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?

 

When I was eight, I took a small, thin book from my grandmother’s shelf: “Angel Unaware” by Dale Evans Rogers. The tale is written in first person, from the point of view of Dale’s sick daughter. Robin talks to God, sharing the story of her brief time on Earth. That was the first time a book brought me to tears. As Maya Angelou says—make them feel and they will remember. I’ve never forgotten.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing?

 

In 1987, at the age of eleven, I published my first article for the Jones Gazette (our family newsletter). Titled “Grandparents Coming,” the piece was short but informative. My first paid gig was to write a script for a Six Flags Astroworld show in my early twenties. However, I didn’t actually go “pro” until my late thirties.

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.

 

  1. Paulo Coelho—although we might need a translator
  2. Elizabeth Gilbert—she’s a writing idol of mine
  3. Maya Angelou—though we’d require a medium
  4. Holly Lyn Walrath—she’s local and we have lunch every Tuesday, so she’d be an easy one to arrange and I love talking writing-shop with her

 

  1. What would you eat?

 

Would it matter? No, but for the sake of this questionnaire and my longtime vegetarianism, let’s say veggie sushi and tempura with Boston Cream Pie for dessert (it’s my favorite).

 

  1. How do you plot out your work?

 

Each piece is different. Sometimes the story or poem just spills out like an uncontrollable gush of words, characters, and plot. Other times I actually outline the story with a set beginning, middle, end, theme, twists, and beats. However, even with those more structured creations, I always stay flexible for the unknown, alert to unexpected yet ever-present input from the characters or my muse.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

 

Every day is my life is different. On certain days, I write first thing in the morning—before the sun is up. Other days, the writing happens in a hammock at high noon. And some days, words meet page after dinner or dark.

 

  1. Is there music on?

 

Almost always. Either the Hans Zimmer channel on Pandora or the DirectTV Movie Soundtrack channels usually. I’m not a fan of lyrics when I write but love emotion-filled music.

 

  1. What inspired your last story?

 

For the first time, I’m actually working with a Story Guide on a fantasy yarn based on a true experience in my life. My guide is the Amazing Alysia Seymour and the story is a metaphorical novelette about my daughter’s birth and the heart-wrenching trials of spending a week in the NICU. Leyna, my counterpart, deals with some nasty demons—inside and outside—as well as meets some extraordinary spirit guides along the way. It’s, by far, the most cathartic and honest work I’ve ever written.

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.

 

  1. “By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” by Paulo Coelho
  2. “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
  3. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

 

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?

 

There are many! Currently on TV, I’m loving “The Alchemist” and “The Good Doctor.” In films, one of my favorites that I can’t believe wasn’t a book first is “The Age of Adeline.” I’m pretty much a fan of any screenplay by Darren Aronofsky (my first love of his work was “The Fountain”—still a regular go-to film for me) and Guillermo Del Torro. As for music, having work with Houston Grand Opera for six seasons, I’m a huge opera fan—especially of Iain Bell’s work. He’s incredible, as a writer and a human being.

 

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?

 

I have a number of pieces in progress at the moment, and at all times. Cressida, my romantic fantasy lead for book one of the Feathers of the Phoenix series, would be played by India Eisley or an undiscovered talent with dark-hair and green-eyes. Leyna, fantasy protag in my based-on-true-life novelette, would be played well by Natalie Dormer from Games of Thrones/Hunger Games. Finding the lead for my historical fantasy WIP, “Tales of Tuttleman” might be tougher—Tuttleman is a two hundred year old talking pug. Not sure how we’d manage that one on screen!?! If animation or not, Paul Bettany would do his voice. No question!

 

  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?

 

“Cressida”, book one of a romantic fantasy, has been the hardest because she and I started together before I had a clue what I was doing. She went from hardcore romance (verging on erotica) to straight fantasy and has now pendulumed back to somewhere in the middle. But once we’ve figured out the right balance of sexy and fantastical, she’ll be amazing—as will her offspring in the Feathers of the Phoenix series.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?

 

My first poetry collection published, “Flooded By”, simply poured out in about 45 days. That collection is way more muse than me. The persona poet in me took over and ran for the finish line, dragging me behind.

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?

 

I just finished a flash piece called “More Than a Pigg” for a contest. With the exception of one beta reader, everyone else who has read her, has absolutely loved the story. They were engrossed, sad to see the end, and were still reeling days later. Hopefully, she’ll win the contest and be published later this year. If not, I will definitely shop her around more. People need to hear this story.

 

  1. What are you working on now?

 

Lots of things! See above. 🙂 In a nutshell, book one of a romantic fantasy series, a free-standing fantasy novelette based on a true event in my life, a novella about a two hundred year old talking pug (think Forrest Gump meets Frank from Men in Black), and a series of chapbooks based on writing prompts called “Splintered Musings.” No, I don’t sleep. And when I do, I dream in epic storylines!?!

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?

 

All of them. I will write until my last day, I have no doubt. My muse is faithful and will guide me to the stories I need to share.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?

 

One of the poems in “Flooded By” is a glimpse into the love between a ghost-woman named Melody and a Catholic priest. It’s pure and complicated and lovely. I’ve had many readers, including some esteemed writer colleagues, tell me how much they love that poem. I love it too.

 

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

 

This is hard for a multi-genre writer like me, whose style is all over the place. But let’s go with this one from “The Tales of Tuttleman”:

 

“Although we were about the same age when we first met, I matured much faster than he did and achieved an adult perspective while he was still foundering with pimples and discovering what to do with his Wee Willy Winky.”

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?

 

Sure. In one of my current works-in-progress, there are three fantastical bird-women that are based loosely on my great-grandmothers (the three I knew). I’ve loved spending time with them while writing the story.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

 

Wow! That’s a wide-open question!?! In my own work, I have a serious writer-crush on Tuttleman—the two hundred year old talking pug—right now. He’s funny and charming and British with a wealth of knowledge and life-experience. Plus, he’s introduced me to Mary Shelley, Jack the Ripper, Nina Simone, Nelson Mandela, and a number of other famous and infamous people from history.

 

As for characters that aren’t mine, I absolutely love Odd Thomas—created by Dean Koontz. He’s young but wise, funny but poignant, and laidback but polite. A well-rounded twenty-something who sees ghosts and helps solve murder mysteries. What’s not to like?

 

 

 

You can find out more about the author on their blog “The Bountiful Balcony Buzz” (https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/blog) and purchase their work from the Bountiful Balcony Bookstore (https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/bookstore) and Amazon.

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Andrea Barbosa

I can’t say that I’ve met anyone ‘famous’ per se, but I have met a silver medal winning poet, which is as close as I might ever get.

And that’s totally okay with me.

Andrea Barbosa is a throughly talented author and I’m so very proud to have my own work included alongside hers.  We’ve even entered many of the same contests and the only way I’m able to accept the loss of first place, is because she won it.

 

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Jennifer Leeper, Andrea Barbosa, and Melissa Algood (me) accepting our awards for the Spider Road Press Flash Fiction Contest 2016

It’s  not only amazing that Andrea is award-winning poet and author; but English is her second language, and yet she strings together prose that is pure magic.  The Brazilian born, high powered business woman never lets anything get in the way of her beloved son; not even her fictional characters.  Every time I see her she tells me about the latest in his life, and is always an internal part of his life.

So yeah, she’s a great mom too.

I’m so happy to bring author Andrea Barbosa to you, and to have her answer my 20 questions.

 

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Twenty Questions With…Andrea Barbosa

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child, so it’s hard to remember what book exactly incited that desire within me, for I loved all fairy tales. One tale that I particularly recall is Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose.
  2. How old were you when you started writing? 12, 13, maybe earlier.
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Shakespeare, Hemingway, Henry Miller, Anais Nin. Of course, they’re all dead but it would be a fantastic gathering.
  4. What would you eat? Anything vegetarian.
  5. How do you plot out your work? The characters take control and I plot as we go, usually.
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? Evening.
  7. Is there music on? It depends. I like the silence but sometimes I need the music for inspiration for a particular scene or for a particular mood.
  8. What inspired your last story? My love for Greece and Greek history.
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. The Colossus of Maroussi (Henry Miller), The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde).
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? One movie that comes to mind as being well written is Arrival, as it conveyed a poignant story.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? To be Nikos, my Greek character in Olympian Passion, I always look at British model David Gandy. But since Gandy’s not an actor and wouldn’t have a Greek accent that Nikos needs to have, I’d choose Greek actor Apostolis Totsikas.
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? The romance novels are the hardest to write because I find the steamy scenes hard to describe.
  13. Which was the easiest? Poems are the easiest pieces that I write.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? The romance novels usually. In the second novel in the Olympian Love trilogy, Olympian Heartbreak, I did a lot of research about Greece. Several readers wrote to me praising the way I described the country, one even daring to say she felt that Greece was like it’s own character in the book, that I did such a good job that she felt she was in Greece while reading the book.
  15. What are you working on now? The final and last book in the Olympian Love trilogy.
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? Haven’t thought about that… ideas come and go but the one I had to write was my psychological thriller Massive Black Hole and I’m glad I was able to have it published.
  17. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? Since I write poetry, short stories, fiction, and romance novels, it’s hard to find a particular sentence for my style. So I’m giving you a verse that I really like from one of my poems: “and the images vanish like soft clouds up high, transforming the colors of my rainbow into the dark loneliness of my night.”
  18. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Not entirely but I believe there’s a little bit of people I know in every character.
  19. Who’s your favorite character? From the ones I’ve written, Nikos, the protagonist of the Olympian Love trilogy. I love writing him. He’s complex, enigmatic, a little mysterious, and of course, extremely handsome, a typical alpha male, and a Greek archaeologist.

 

Thank you!

 

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Chantell Renee, a wonderful reader, Myself, and Andrea Barbosa

You can find out more about the author on their blog http://massiveblackholenovel.blogspot.com/ , and purchase their work from Amazon. Andrya Bailey (romance): https://www.amazon.com/Andrya-Bailey/e/B01667R2D8.

Andrea Barbosa (fiction, short stories, poetry): https://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Barbosa/e/B00DGXPK6W

 

 

 

Mad Girl's Publishing, short stories, upcoming releases

A sneak peak of ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’

After a ton of hard work (not only by me and Chantell Renee but 4 other indie authors) the newest anthology from the Hair Raising Tales series, and the first collection from Mad Girl’s publishing is now available for pre-order!

‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ is out NOW and is perfect for the reader that you love, or even the horror reader within.

Inside you’ll be enraptured by thirteen stories from six indie authors that make you think beyond the fairy tale image of ‘evil’.

Tales ranging from murderous children to a mother’s never ending love, ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ will make you think of the wicked in a whole new light.

This collections includes words from award-winning authors like Jae Mazer, and emerging writers like Kyle D. Garrett.

To get a taste of what you’re in for I’ve posted the beginning of one of my pieces ‘The Orchard’ which is (at least right now) the darkest story I’ve ever written.  Please be aware the story contains MATURE CONTENT!

The Orchard ©

By Melissa Algood (2016)

“I got her.”

“Bullshit.”  A metallic click, a hiss, then I put the can of rock gut to my lips.

“I can show you.”  A plume of smoke followed his words.

“Show me what?”

“I kept her so you could see.”

“You think I’m some kinda freak?”

For a second his eyes glazed over before he answered.  “You think I’m a freak?”

“Nah, man.”  More beer oozed down my throat.  “I mean, I know you’ve been talking about it.  But talking ain’t doing.”

“I told you.  I got her.”

“Fine.”  I threw the empty can into the trash can.  “Show me.”

All the roads in our town were dirt; not a stoplight to speak of.  Everyone who lived out here knew where they were without street signs, which was good considering we only had a handful of those.  Jerry and I had lived together for a couple of years.  He’d never brought a girl home, as far as I could remember, but he paid his half of all the bills on time.  Up until now, I didn’t mind hearing him talk about the women in town-one in particular-but I never thought that he’d really do anything about it.

“It was late, you know after the ball game, so she was out.  I got into the back window.  It was open just like you said…”

My jaw clenched. “I never said anything to you, Jerry.”

His hands were still on ten and two when he turned to me.  “Don’t you remember, Noah?  Back when we were looking at the yearbook a few months ago?”

Jerry’s words bounced around the inside of the Silverado.  “Shut the fuck up with that.”  The memory of the both of us drunk enough to admit our deepest desires, but sober enough to make a plan, boiled in my stomach.  “Don’t ever talk about that night again.  You got it?”

“Yeah.”

“Say it.”

“Say what?”

“Jerry, you’re so fucking stupid.  Just keep your damn mouth shut.”

 

The out-of-towners who came to see the leaves change could never tell the difference between one tree and another, but I was born here so each piece of greenery was its own landmark.  I could smell the crisp apples in the air long before Jerry made the turn into the orchard.  The acres that spanned before us were more than a food source; teenagers used it as a locale for parties.  The first time I came out to the orchard was in fifth grade when the word around school was that the Buckhill brothers were going to rage on each other over the head cheerleader of our town’s only high school.  I could still feel the rush when one brother knocked out the other’s front teeth.  Iron still lingered in the air, although this time I knew that Jerry was the cause.

 

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You can read this story along with a few never before seen stories like Last Look, Circus Freak, After The Fire, and a post apocalyptic flash fiction piece Underground Railroad in the upcoming collection ‘Everyone Dies: Collected Works of a Morbid Author’.

Look for the first collection of short fiction of Melissa Algood brought to you from Mad Girl’s Publishing out 2019.

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Kyle D Garrett

 

Although I’ve never met him in person, I’m sure Kyle D Garrett real.

Or at least I’m sure that his alternate persona is real because he’s narrated my  award winning story ‘Hair Dying’ (avaliable on You Tube)  as well as ‘The Silencer’ a fan favorite of mine and ‘Going Home’ from the multi-talented D. Marie Prokop (all of which are available in ‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ ) on his podcast The Dark Narrative(subscribe on iTunes).

Anyway he’s cool and has way too much going on to be completely fictional.  Kyle hails from California and somehow manages to do all that narrating, writes some pretty terrifying stories, all while being an awesome dad and husband.

He might not have any titles under his belt currently, but Mad Girl’s Publishing will have the pleasure of publishing his piece ‘A Madman’s Manifesto’ in the upcoming anthology ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ (stay tuned for release dates).

Kyle is sure to have a promising career in the writing world and it has been really cool to be any part of that.  So until you can get you hands on a copy of ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ the answers to his 20 questions will keep you going.

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Twenty Questions With…Kyle D Garrett

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? It’s hard to say since I started writing at such a young age, but I do remember loving the Fudge books by Judy Blume as well as the Encyclopedia Brown books– those definitely ignited my love for stories
  2. How old where you when you started writing? Around 6 or 7– I wrote stories about my stuffed animals hehe
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Stephen King (of course), Ted Dekker, and (were they still living) Frank Herbert and Ray Bradbury
  4. What would you eat? Probably burger and fries or steak and potato
  5. How do you plot out your work? What’s that? Haha, I have a bad habit of just picturing my story in my head completely then trying to write it. It can make for some challenging sessions especially when your typing can’t keep up with your thoughts.
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? In the evening.
  7. Is there music on? Sometimes. I listen to some dark ambient piano by a very talented pianist named Nicolas Gasparini, known as myuu on YouTube.
  8. What inspired your last story? The one I’m currently writing was the question of what a woman would do to be a mother if she was desperate enough (She can’t have her own children). It goes into some delightfully dark territory.
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. Desperation by Stephen King, Thr3e by Ted Dekker, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? I believe a lot of the Marvel movies have been well done, as well as the shows on Netflix. I watch a lot of the superhero shows hehe. As far as albums I’m pretty nostalgic and tend to listen to older stuff like Metallica– Load and Reload are two of my favorite albums that I thought were really well done, and I will always love Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? I honestly think an unknown would be more fun than a well known actor/actress.
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? All of them lol. I am notoriously scatterbrained and have a hard time staying focused, so each piece can be pretty challenging.
  13. Which was the easiest? Refer to the last question, haha.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? I have yet to write that kind of piece.
  15. What are you working on now? Two short stories, and a slew of voice narration projects (I also do voice narration on YouTube).
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? A fantasy series I’ve been working on since high school. My wife calls it my life’s work.
  17. What’s your best fan story? My old high school history teacher coming all the way down from Oregon to SoCal to attend the launch party of my first novel. I cried.
  18. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? Still working on that sentence hehe.
  19. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Almost all the time.
  20. Who’s your favorite character? I love Paul Atreides from Dune– his tortured conflict of whether or not to accept his destiny definitely kept me drawn in.

 

 

You can find out more about the author on  Kyle D Garrett’s blog

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with R.L. Nolen

I was a fan before we met.

And when we did I couldn’t help but tell her that I loved her book while we were still shaking hands.

Deadly Thyme is a haunting love story, in a way, my favorite combination.  Throughout the years I’ve had the pleasure of signing my own works alongside her, had her input on my own work long before publishing, and she’s my go to when I find myself with a big issue in the writing world.

She’s lived all over the world, trained as a graphic artist, teaches our youth, and co founded the Houston Writers House which is a great place for authors of all levels.  I always learn at least one thing when I go to one of their Tuesday socials.

You might know her as R.L. Nolen, but I call her Rebecca, and she was integral in the publishing of Everything That Counts and in the future re-release of my romantic thriller (stay tuned for detail on that).

Until then Rebecca Nolen answers my 20 Questions…

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  1.  Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?  I believe the one book that made me want to writer adventure stories was “The Black Rose” by Thomas B. Costain.


2        How old where you when you started writing?  I distinctly remember I wrote my first book at the age of 16 that I hoped to get published. 

Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.  A.A. Milne, Charles Dickens, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell 

What would you eat?  I believe we would all settle down to a fine high tea in a small room with a roaring fireplace and linen tableclothes.

How do you plot out your work? I start with a small idea and write a page or two of how that will be a story.

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening? I write best in the morning.
  2. Is there music on?
    Yes, I listen to anything quiet with an allegro beat.
  3.  What inspired your last story?  I was trying to come up with a plot and I was thinking about stray cats.
  4.  Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
    Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin, The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves, The Girls by Lisa Jewell
  5. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? The Good Wife, anything by Lynda LaPlante
  6. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? Some good looking Brit with green eyes.
  7. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? The very next book
  8.      Which was the easiest? Surprisingly the next book was a lot easier
  9. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?I’m so happy when readers “get” The Dry – it has many layers.
  10. What are you working on now?I’m working on the next Deadly book – Deadly Haste
  11. What story do you have to write before you die?I have to get a picture book manuscript published
  12. What’s your best fan story?I have a lot of fans with Deadly Thyme
  13. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?
    That’s a really difficult one to answer. My style is so very different in each book. In The Dry I like my first sentence: “There was a lot of dark in the house in Jeffersonville, Virginia, several long halls, lots of doorways, and countless deep corners.
  14. Have you ever based characters off of real people?Of course, but I take bits and pieces of different people and collage them together to bring alive someone unique.
  15. Who’s your favorite character?
    My favorite character may be Morrigan Wasp. She is a fearless warrior and leader to her vespid colony

Find out more about Rebecca Nolen here.

 

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with Enos Russell

He has been granted lifetime membership to writing groups, books dedicated to him, and is often the first person I go to when I need assistance with anything to do with writing.

His name is Enos Russell.

I hate to use a broad stroke to describe a multi faced human being and all that encapsulates Enos, but if you’re in the Houston writing world you need to know this man.

Over a dozen titles in his name, but none of it would have come to fruition without his beloved Enid.  She is the brains of the operation by far.  A truth that Enos has mentioned nearly every time I meet with him.

I don’t know what else to say, other than he’s known me from the beginning of my career  and I will never forget all that he’s done for me.  Enos Russell is not just an award winning sci fi writer, he’s an amazing friend.

And now Enos answers my infamous 20 Questions!

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Enos, Enid, and myself at the release of ‘Eclectically Criminal’.

Twenty Questions With…Enos Russell

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?

ELR – Stanger in a Strange Land a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein.

  1. How old were you when you started writing?

ELR – 70

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.

ELR – John Campbell, Robert A. Heinlein, Haruki Murakami, and Mary Shelley.

  1. What would you eat?

ELR – Crow

  1. How do you plot out your work?

ELR – Wetware all the way. I think about them.

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

ELR – Yes

  1. Is there music on?

ELR – No, I write outside on the patio.

  1. What inspired your last story?

ELR – except for short fiction, I write in series. So, technically book 2 inspires book 3. I save the shorts for ideas I get whenever I find something interesting in current research. I ask the question about writing Life Code in general, “What could go wrong? As I posted on FB, I am in the middle of my research for the 2nd Meret Mather Mystery Technothriller, SKV, about Genomic Ransomware, trying to avoid too much science speculation AND addressing the question “What could go wrong?” when I spotted an article that showed three Americans won the Nobel in Biology for discovering how genetic material and be coded to act as a timer. I am concerned about how much time we have before this is weaponized.”

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.

ELR – I enjoy a good story but have never wished I had written one I read.

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?

ELR –  anything by Aaron Sorkin

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?

ELR – Scarlett Johansson to play Finna in the SEEKER series. Here’s a pitch for the first story, Finna’s Quest: “While Finna battles in the crusades for Eleanor of Aquitaine, a time traveler kidnaps her to fight in a Steampunk war across the galaxy. THE SEEKER – Finna’s Quest, High Concept Science Fiction, is the first novel and the Origin Story within a seminal series that pre-dates all of our published stories. Follow Finna on her thousand-year mission to lay the foundation for the emergence of Homo Evolutis and save Earth from destruction.”

 

  1. Which of your pieces was is the hardest to write?

ELR – My wife and I have published 25 novels and short stories. The most difficult story I have encountered is “Goth Glamm.” You may remember it from Critique Circle.  Here’s a start on its pitch: “If you remember puberty and claim you enjoyed that part of your life, this story is not for you. A Sixteen-year old Glam discovers she is losing her newfound womanly appearance while gaining shapes and hair in other areas. She tells her parents her body is turning her into a male and pleads with them for help. Her ex-counter-culture parents freak out, blame her for using bad drugs, unhealthy sex, and improper diet. Glamm decides to runs away and looks for solutions in the streets.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?

ELR – My first published story, Flash Fiction, an 800-word piece of humor titled “To Find a Thief.”

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?

ELR – my experience with ‘live’ feedback is that they first claim they couldn’t put it down and then proceed to ask a few questions about the science or technology.

 

  1. What are you working on now?

ELR – Okay, make me feel bad. I have ten unfinished works in progress. All are novels that currently have about 20k words each. Just like good wine in the cellar, I constantly spin them to keep the corks wet. The next to be published, in November, is GENECAUST

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?

ELR – out of deep respect for my former agent I took a vow to uphold her wishes for me to: “Just write the next damn book.”

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?

ELR – a former student from long ago posted on FB, “I could not stop reading it.” The book was ONSET.

 

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

ELR – I’m going to cheat here. After all, we’re getting close to 1.5 million words so I’m going to give you a short paragraph titled ‘Tiny Voices’ from RESET.

“One day, in church, her anxieties had their epiphany. As she watched a pregnant relative in her eighth month begin to walk the length of the church toward her mother’s closed coffin, Chloe wondered if she could detect sound from the woman’s womb.  She had heard them from other women carrying babies and while the other voices in her head frightened her, the little ones, the weenie ones, the ones from the womb, were different. They were special. Their small sweet sounds gave her comfort.

“On that day, long ago, Chloe sat at the end of her row holding tight to the wooden back of a pew. Unable to release her grip, she turned and stretched toward the aisle as far as possible in anticipation of the pregnant woman’s passing.

“But as she watched her draw closer, she heard nothing. The shape hidden under the woman’s dress remained dark. Empty. The absence of sound, the nothingness of it, sucked the soul from Chloe’s being. She pushed against the wooden pew trying to turn away from the aisle as the woman and the dark void passed. Frightened and confused, she withdrew into herself and spoke to no one for days.”

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?

ELR – not as such. My research into modern genomics usually led me to current Nobel Prize winners. The closest one is from my first book “Deadly Awakenings.”  In the book, her name is Elizabeth and she is more an inspiration than a characterization.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

ELR – Chloe in ONSET, RESET, MINDSET

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Enos Russell, his talented wife Enid, and myself at the release of ‘Eclectically Criminal’ in which I was the featured author.

You can find out more about the author on their website www.elrussell.com and PURCHASE their work from Amazon and Smashwords. Readers can get Sample Reads, ARCS, and FREE books at https://www.instafreebie.com/free/zy2Af

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I’m signing my story ‘The Silencer’ for Enos Russell