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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novel, pictures, Signing Events

Where I’ll be, and what to do until then.

First off I’m very happy to announce that I along with a few dear author friends will have a booth at Comicpalooza in Houston, Texas from May 12-17, 2017.  I would love for all of you to attend as I’ll have copies of my work that you can check out and even get me to sign it.

I always have a great time at Comicpalooza where I can meet up with friends, other authors, and fans all while were dressed as their ‘alter-ego’.  Speaking of which I will be meeting Felicia Day (Charlie from Supernatural) so if you see me on Saturday I will be cosplaying as her!

I really hope to see you there!

 

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Next I’m happy to announce that a fellow award winning author/horror fan Kreepy Keelay narrated my story ‘Hair Dying’.  He did a phenomenal job (it’s almost as if he crawled into my head…) and I implore you to listen to a story that is far more horrifying than brassy highlights-click here for Scary Story Time ‘Hair Dying’.

 

Finally I’d like to tell you how much I throughly enjoyed the novel ’13 Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher, so much in fact that I was worried the story would be ruined when brought to the small screen.  I was wrong-although the story is different, the show brought to you by Netflix has more characters, it holds true the theme that Asher wanted the audience to understand once they were done with Hannah and Clay’s life.

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I had the pleasure of meeting New York Times Bestselling author Jay Asher when he spoke at the HWG Spring Conference-he even signed my copy of his books.  I throughly enjoyed ’13 Reasons Why’ and think that everyone should read it (not just Madame Bijou who’s pictured with the novel).  Asher’s work along with ‘All The Rage’ by Courtney Summers should be mandatory reading especially for young adults.

So after you listen to the narration of my story ‘Hair Dying’, but before you see me at Comicpalooza be sure to read then watch ’13 Reasons Why’-it’s a story that deserves to stick with you forever.

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20 Questions With..., Uncategorized

20 Q’s with Judy Penz Sheluk

Most of the time I’m jaded, at the very least internally jaded (thank God for kitten videos).  I feel as if we life in a society in which we don’t look out for each other.  Women specifically.  Thankfully this woman proves me wrong.

Judy Penz Sheluk has a weekly blog on Monday’s in which she spotlights a new or emerging author’s release.  She also has ‘author talks’ in which our peers share their experiences in the hopes that we’ll learn from them.

If you’re looking for a mystery look no further than one of the many titles from Judy Penz Sheluk including ‘The Hanged Man’s Noose’ which made her an International Amazon Best Selling Author.

 

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And now Judy Pens Sheluk answers my 20 Questions…

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

There are two: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I read it when I was very young (about grade 4…resulted in me getting “accelerated to grade 6—thankfully schools don’t do that any longer) and thought…WOW, that’s how you paint a picture with words. Around the same time, I read the much-more age appropriate Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery (author of the Anne of Green Gables series). Emily was an aspiring journalist/writer in a time when women didn’t think of such things.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing?

I’ve always written “in my head,” meaning as a kid I would walk to school and keep a story going in my head, and just keep adding to it every day. I thought everyone did that! Professionally, since 2003, which is when I left my day job as a Sales & Marketing Coordinator to become a freelance journalist. I started writing my first novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose on Christmas Eve 2011, but I’d had a hundred or more magazine articles and a handful of short stories published by then.

 

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

John Sandford, the absolute king of pacing. Stephen King, because, well…he’s Stephen King! Sue Grafton: I love her Kinsey Millhone series and have read every novel, A to X, plus her collection of short stories. Tana French, an Irish mystery writer who is just brilliant. I thought about inviting Truman Capote, but he’d get all sulky if it wasn’t all about him, and it couldn’t be, could it? Not with that cast of writers.

 

  1. What would you eat?

Pizza. My favorite food. It’s good for breakfast (cold), lunch or dinner. And everyone can get whatever toppings they’d want. I’d go straight cheese, no toppings.

 

  1. How do you plot out your work?

Plot out? What’s that? Seriously…I’m a complete panster. I come up with a basic premise, and then “what if” my way to the end.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

Mornings are best, but I do jot down notes on paper in the evening or whenever the ideas come to me (I even have an LED pen that lights up so I don’t have to turn the bedside lamp on…). But, I still have a couple of editing day jobs, so sometimes the deadlines for those take precedence over my writing preferred time. But I do try to write every day.

  1. Is there music on?

If I’m writing the answers to this, yes. Either Country or Classic Rock or 80’s/90’s type “oldies” depending on my mood. But if I’m writing fiction, it has to be talk radio. Maybe it’s a holdover from when I worked in a noisy office and snuck writing time in whenever I could without getting caught!

 

  1. What inspired your last story?

I was in my lawyer’s office with my husband. We were there to update our wills, and he’d been delayed in court. I thought…what if I was hear to inherit …what if there were conditions to that inheritance…what if…and Skeletons was born.

 

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

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Need any more titles???? I have lots of book envy!

 

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

TV

American Crime, a network series, is very clever, though I preferred Season 1 to Season 2.

Breaking Bad. Better Call Saul. What can I say? Vince Gilligan. Can I invite him for pizza too? Please?

The Gilmore Girls. I’ve seen every episode a dozen times. Love Lauren Graham.

Parenthood. Never got the recognition it deserved. Did I mention that I love Lauren Graham? But the entire ensemble cast was terrific, and the writing was beautifully layered.

Movies

Too many to mention, though I recently saw Brooklyn and really enjoyed it. My all-time favorite is Primal Fear. Brilliant.

Albums

Anything by Blue Rodeo or Jim Cuddy. Listen to the words to Bulletproof. Listen to Cuddy (who is also the lead singer in Blue Rodeo) and tell me you didn’t shed a tear.

 

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

Whatever actor Hollywood says would be a good fit works for me! But when I think of Callie Barnstable from Skeletons, I think of someone like Jennifer Lawrence. Strong, but with a mix of naïve and jaded. Alexis Bledel would make a great Emily Garland (from The Hanged Man’s Noose).

 

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

I find short stories incredibly difficult to write. You’d think they’d be easier than a novel, but not for me. I started “Saturday with Bronwyn,” which is in The Whole She-Bang-3 (Sisters in Crime Toronto, Nov. 2016), about five years ago. After many stops and starts, I finally got it to gel. The fact that She-Bang was blind judged gave me hope…maybe some of my other stops and starts have a chance, too.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?

Another short story, “Live Free or Die.” It was “inspired” by an event (or should I say a man) that happened to me when I was 21. When I finally sat down to write that story, the words just flowed.

 

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

I’m hoping they get all of my stories…I actually don’t hear from a lot of readers. But Skeletons in the Attic seems to really resonate with folks. That said, some wish the ending were “tidier.” I deliberately left loose ends, not because I wanted to leave them for a sequel, but because life has loose ends.

 

  1. What are you working on now?

The sequel to The Hanged Man’s Noose. The sequel to Skeletons in the Attic. A short story…I’m usually working on more than one thing at a time. That way, if I get distracted or bored, I have another project to go to. It beats color-separating my paper clips or other diversionary tactics.

 

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

My mom died recently, and in her belongings were her and my father’s immigration papers from Nottingham, England to Canada. They came separately, arrived at different ports (Halifax and Quebec City), and married in Toronto. I want to write their love story. I’m not a romance writer, but I feel that Anneliese and Anton have a story to tell. I wish my mom had told me more…my dad died of cancer when I was quite young…but maybe it’s better this way.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?

I met a couple of women at Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh. They had met Louise Penny when she was starting out. They told me they thought I’d be the next Louise Penny. A girl can dream…

 

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

Authenticity matters. (Arabella Carpenter, The Hanged Man’s Noose)

 

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

Every character has elements of people I have known and/or observed, but there are always detours along the way. I’m a people-watcher…if you have a habit of pulling your earlobe when you’re nervous, that might get folded into a story one day. If you take the meringue off your lemon meringue pie and eat it last, that might make it in. I’m always looking for believable quirks.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

Arabella Carpenter. She’s the sidekick in Noose, and has a small role in Skeletons. She’s the protagonist in the sequel to Noose that I’m working on now. She’s feisty, flawed, passionate, and loves cognac, chardonnay and cookies. She’s probably the most like me of any of my characters. But I also really like Callie Barnstable in Skeletons. Honestly, it’s hard to pick a favorite.

 

 

You can find out more about the author on her blog http://www.judypenzsheluk.com and purchase her work from all the usual suspects, including Amazon: http://getbook.at/SkeletonsintheAttic. You can also find Judy on Facebook (https/www.facebook.com/JudyPenzSheluk) and Twitter (@JudyPenzSheluk).

 

 

 

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An Amazon International Bestselling Author, Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose (Barking Rain Press), was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic (Imajin Books), the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series, was published in August 2016. Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, The Whole She-Bang 3, Flash and Bang and Live Free or Tri. Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

 

 

 

pictures, short stories, Signing Events

‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ release party

In early August 2016 my dear friend Chantell Renee, a fellow hairstylist and award winning writer, decided to create an anthology of short stories that were truly terrifying.  That day over tacos at Torchy’s in the Heights we planned to have the collection ready in time for Halloween.  Considering I’d just taken a position at a new salon, Chantell was opening her own place to cut hair, and I would be out of town the first two weeks of September…we kicked some ass by getting this collection out.

We asked out friends who also write horror if they’d be interested in joining us.  Thankfully 5 authors agreed.  Even better their stories were amazing.  We held a party at the Wilde Collection in the Heights, which is an amazing venue, and friends gathered with us to celebrate our joint accomplishment.

All seven authors read a selection from their included work.  Chantell was having trouble reading hers, she says that’s what happens when you’re over 40, so I took over for her.

You can see the video of me reading my award winning piece ‘Hair Dying’ on my Facebook author page.

There were lots of dead things to take pictures with, including Jack Skellington.

I’d like to take this time to thank all the contributors, readers, friends, and of course Chantell Renee because without all of you this collection of 21 horrifying short stories from 7 local authors wouldn’t be available for purchase on Amazon or on my Amazon Author page.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy to ‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ and leave an honest review once you’re done!

 

20 Questions With..., pictures, Signing Events, Uncategorized

‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’

‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’

It’s definitely something you don’t want to read in the dark.

‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ is an anthology of 21 tales from 7 authors compiled by myself and Chantell Renee.  It includes newcomers like Jessica Raney (who interviewed Chantell and I for her BFE Podcast), multiple title authors D. Marie Prokop, and repeat horror writers like David Welling and Patricia Flaherty Pagan.
You’ll also see never before published stories from me including ‘The Girls’, ‘Birthday Cake’, and the hilariously horrifying ‘Even Aliens Watch Reality T.V.’.  Fan favorite ‘The Silencer’ along with others are included.  Each will be sure to leave you with nightmares.
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We’ll have a small gathering at  The Wilde Collection in the Heights on Thursday October 31 from 7:30-9 pm.  The contributors will read and sign the anthology.  There will be snacks and BYOB.

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Chantell and I will also be at the Houston Zombie Walk on October 29 which is a free outdoor event which raises money for students scholarships.  We’ll be in costume and would love for you to join us.

We look forward to seeing you there!
Uncategorized

Selling some books…

I had a great time in Houston finding new readers to invite into my insane world.  I hope that they enjoy reading my stories as much as I did writing them.

Be sure to check out ‘Eclectically Vegas’ from Inklings Publishing out in November which will include my first sci-fi story ‘The End’.

She loves 'Criminal Minds', too.
She loves ‘Criminal Minds’, too.
He was such a nice guy
He was such a nice guy
He also loves to write, although in his native language.
He also loves to write, although in his native language.

He loves to read The couple that reads together...

Me holding 'Eclectically Criminal' in which I'm the featured author.
Me holding ‘Eclectically Criminal’ in which I’m the featured author.
This little girl didn't buy my book, but she did enjoy her selection.
This little girl didn’t buy my book, but she did enjoy her selection.
Uncategorized

‘Hair Dying’ – finalist in the Channillio Short Story Contest 2015

I rubbed my hands together, but the blood wouldn’t come off.

Maybe it was because the girl was so young, and her plasma had more vigor. In my mind’s eye I could still see her brassy highlighted hair tied up in a bun atop her head. She wore boots, skinny jeans, and a baggy t-shirt that hung off her left shoulder. The sixteen-year-old’s outfit reminded me of what I used to wear in high school, only my pants were baggy, and my tank top was skintight. Her boyfriend was in my chair finishing his transition into a full-fledged hipster. His bangs covered most of his face, unless he flipped his head to the side, letting his dark brown, layered hair cascade in the air like a waterfall. It reminded me of a certain pop star that teenagers hated being compared to.

I’d just finished texturizing his thick hair with a razor fraying the edges like a wide-angle lens when his girlfriend started in on me.

She stood up, and moved next to me. She stopped behind the chair her beloved sat in, and leaned to the left. As I looked in the full-length mirror that was flanked by particleboard drawers that made up my station her body appeared to form a question mark. Her hand rested under her hip and her whole face puckered as if I’d given her a lemon to eat, rather than being stupid enough to allow her to give an opinion on the last half hour of labor I’d performed.

“Dunno. Seems messy.” She circled around her boyfriend and tugged on random locks of hair. “I mean my Mom does my hair, for like years, and she’s got really high standards.”

Through gritted teeth I asked, “Which cosmetology school did she attend?”

The girl laughed. “Oh, she didn’t go to school. You don’t need to go to school because it’s super easy to do hair. I mean any idiot can do it.”

My whole body tensed. Usually I’d hold my tongue, but I’d dreamt of this moment for years. “You’re right, it’s super easy to carve shapes out of something that’s constantly moving, like hair. And I’d trust anyone to put caustic chemicals on my scalp. It’s not like people get chemical burns or anything.”

I took my razor and slid it across her throat.

-The rest of the story will be published on this blog later this year.  It can also be found at Channillo.com