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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

 

 

 

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

 

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.

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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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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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.