Writer Wednesday – Carl R Moore

WRITER WEDNESDAY

 

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.

I grew up in rural Maine, and though I’ve been into horror and fantasy novels all my life, I spent my early years mostly writing song lyrics and poetry.

2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?

Some folks find my brand of horror to be on the extreme side, but I am as into symbols as I am thrills. I won a poetry scholarship to the Stonecoast writers conference my senior year of college for a surreal poem about a Frida Kahlo painting.

3. What made you become a writer?

I spent afternoons in a school library waiting from my father to get out of work. He was a high school teacher and there was about an hour after school that he’d stay late and I would just pluck books off the shelf and read. I remember picking out versions of The Odyssey, The Bible, The Arabian Nights, and stories from Arthurian and Greek mythology. I think it was the mythologies that really got me going.

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

More like a concepter—profiles the characters and the situation—like my latest—hunters versus werewolves—get them drawn and see where they take me.

5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?

I kept Hemingway’s bullshit detector on full strength.

6. What is the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

Aside from those I’m reviewing for my interview series, Author’s Own Words, I recently read The Saga of Grettir the Strong (Scudder translation). Amazing read, medieval prose that reads like a contemporary novel.

7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?

My novella, Slash of Crimson, which appears in my collection Slash of Crimson and Other Tales, published by Seventh Star Press is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Slash-Crimson-Other-Tales-Moore-ebook/dp/B0712293QP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518902924&sr=8-1&keywords=slash+of+crimson+and+other+tales

8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?

All the latest can be found at www.carlrmoore.com

 

Slash of Crimson

When someone asks me to describe Slash of Crimson, I always start with the characters, Drew Aldrin, the young heavy metal guitarist making his way in a small seaside city, along with Sondra Deeps, the mysterious red-haired beauty who saves him from drowning in the novel’s opening.

But I can’t talk more about the story without emphasizing the importance of its setting. It takes place in a stylized version of Portland, Maine, containing some of the city’s recognizable features, and other features that are less so. The conflicts of interest among the characters, the deranged preacher, the rough-around-the-edges hard rock musicians, can be seen reflected in their surroundings. The rotting wharves and narrow streets around the dockyards, for example, do exist in the real city, though there are fewer than described in the book. I wanted to describe a certain perceptual reality—the sense one gets of a labyrinth of commerce, ideas, and lifestyles, not all considered legitimate in our culture. I wanted to show how these characters blend in among the bars and dockyards of a North Atlantic working waterfront.

When it comes to world-building, we can make an interesting distinction between building fully, or near-fully, fantastical worlds such as Tolkien’s Middle Earth or Martin’s Westeros, and that of real worlds that mix-in fantasy elements, such as Neil Gaiman’s London in Neverwhere, or arguably William Gibson’s “Sprawl” in Neuromancer. Slash of Crimson, and all of my Crimes of Heaven and Hell stories, including the collection’s second novella Torn from the Devil’s Chest, fall into the latter category. I find the mix of the real and fantastic to be an interesting combination, and invite readers to experience it for themselves when reading my collection.

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Book Review – The Dark Man

TITLE: The Dark Man
AUTHOR: Stephen King
ILLUSTRATOR: Glenn Chadbourne
FORMAT: Hardcover
PUBLISHED: 2013

The Dark Man is a poem that Stephen King wrote years ago for an assignment in college.  He wrote it as a poem.  In this edition, it’s illustrated with pen drawings.  Also, the edition is laid out in the rather unconventional 7×5 inch (yes, landscape) format.

So, the poem is interesting, but as I read it, I found myself wishing I could just read the damn thing and not have to see the illustrations.  Sometimes I felt like having to flip the page every couple words took away from the flow the words should have had.  Fortunately, I got my wish at the end of the book.  Reading it in a crap format, I assumed it would be beautiful, but the flow got lost in the illustrations.  Reading it in a normal format, it actually was beautiful.  Hauntingly sad. Scary in a very human way.

The illustrations are interesting.  Some have things hidden (like the scratched form of a face coming out of a tree branch), some do not.  But some would very much have benefitted a larger format or being in color.

Which brings us to the review, and for that, I am torn.  The poem gets a very different rating than the book.  But this is a book review site.  We’re reviewing the whole package.  For that I give it 3/5 pages and a piece of advice.
Read the poem first, then start from the beginning.

Writer Wednesday – D.R. Perry

1. Who are you?
Who are you, who, who, who, who? I really wanna know! Ahem. Okay, time to stop singing The Who. Hi, I’m D.R. Perry and I’m living la vida dorka.

2. What type of stuff do you write?
I write spec-fic and silliness. Also some poetry. So far, my books have been Paranormal with loads of humor. My series is called Providence Paranormal College and it’s about what happens when shifters, vampires, faeries, psychics and magic users all go to an Ivy League school in New England.

3. What do you want to pimp right now?
Hey, I do interviews, too! I just got done with Summer Splash and now it’s Autumn Authors over at my website (http://www.drperryauthor.com/news). I also do Friendly Neighborhood Fridays, where I talk to cover designers, web designers, editors, and the folk who help authors get their book into publishable shape.

4. What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is like my favorite color and song. They change all the time! I would have gotten thrown off the bridge on Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail. Red, no bluuuue! Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi, no A Fox’s Love by Brandon Varnell, no Dream Stalker by Amy Hopkins. I. Can’t. Decide! Aaaaaargh!

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
Let’s see. There’s the mom hat (I have one kid with fur and four legs, another with hair and two), the gamer hat (I play WoW and pen and paper RPGs), and the audio hat (I used to be a karaoke DJ). I love my family, my fun, and my music. Couldn’t live without them!

6. Where can we find you?
I’m all over the place! Well, on the Internet, anyway. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Author Central and my website, complete with mailing list. Oh, and you can also find me at author events in Rhode Island. No, it’s not an island and not Long Island. We’re a tiny state in the US, but the food here rocks!
FB: https://www.facebook.com/drpperry/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DRPerry22
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/d.r.perry/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/drperryauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8588997.D_R_Perry
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/drperry
Website: http://www.drperryauthor.com/
Mailing List: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/p9i8u6

 

 

The Importance of Being Covered

Always judge a book by its cover. At least, that’s what we should do as writers. The cover is the first thing anyone sees of our books, so it’s important that the cover reflects what’s inside. If a reader would love your sci-fi book about Kung-Fu aliens from planet Borax, you wouldn’t put a dude in Civil War era clothing on your cover, right? Is it possible to have something that jarringly inconsistent between cover and content as the above example? Yes, it is. I should know. I made that mistake myself.

I have a book about a sarcastic brainiac Nerd Queen tutoring a half-asleep
shapeshifting jock with a closeted geek streak. There are Star Wars references, puns running rampant along the pages, and goofy situational comedy. I have a gal who turns into an owl saying “hoo boy,” for crying out loud. But readers who like that kind of thing didn’t find my book because this was the cover:

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That cover on my book was like a bowl of salsa on a package containing a chocolate cake. People saw it and expected steamy love scenes. I did a live event with that cover and got snickers. No, I don’t mean people threw candy bars at me. They laughed, but not for the reasons I intended. Even worse, they scurried away, desperate to avoid the stigma of buying what looked like a bodice-ripper in front of the PTA president at the local Farmer’s Market.

I knew it was all that pouty shirtless man’s fault, so I replaced him. Nothing against pouting, shirtlessness, or men, you understand (because I do like those things). It’s just that I realized they belonged to literature light-years away in the Steamy Galaxy from my book. So, I checked around for titles with content similar to mine and discovered I needed something like this instead:

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And lo, the author said “let there be shirts” and there were! And they were illustrated! This is exactly the cover I needed on my goofy, geeky, unsteamy book. And do you see that library? That lets the picture tell readers these two are students because people don’t always see “Paranormal College” on a thumbnail. It worked, too. See the little badge? Yeah, I went from barely (ha, pun!) any interest in this book to nominated for an award.

So, go ahead and judge a book by its cover. Also, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. What would this article be without the pictures, after all? Point, set, and match, Mr. Pouty Shirtless. I’ll save his picture for some other…um, project. Yeah, I’m winking at you from behind my computer screen now. Thanks for reading!

Writer Wednesday – Barbara Ehrentreu

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1. Who are you?
My name is Barbara Ehrentreu. I write under Barbara Ehrentreu.

2.What type of stuff do you write?
I write YA and poetry.

3. What do you want to pimp now?
My second novel, After, is going to be in print in September. After is a story about the struggles Lauren Walstein, a fifteen-year-old girl, has to go through when her father suddenly has a heart attack and undergoes bypass surgery. In one phone call her life changes completely. Lauren is a character with whom most teens will relate. Her best friend since kindergarten, Joey, is going out with her enemy and they have grown apart. Before the phone call all she thought about was getting a scholarship for softball, and the Mets. Suddenly she must deal with both her father’s illness and being in school. The demands on her from both ends complicate the story. In the middle of all this, she finds she is developing feelings for her best friend that are more than friendly. Is he feeling the same or is he just comforting her? In addition there is Joey’s mean girl friend Amber, who doesn’t appreciate Lauren being in the picture. Will Lauren’s father recover? How will Lauren cope with her new feelings for Joey?

Also I am working on the sequel to If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor called “Jennifer’s Story”. Jennifer Taylor, the girl who bullied Carolyn Samuels in the first book is getting ready for a very big meet that will decide her fate. Will she be training for the Olympics or will she have missed her chance? As the day gets closer for the meet she finds she is reverting back to her old eating disorder and that her parents are creating problems for her as well. Her father is running for mayor and her mother is drinking. Having to navigate these issues is making Jennifer crazy. She does have her good friend Carolyn and Brad her boyfriend to help her through it. However, Jennifer is still worried she might not get on the training team. Also, Maura, Jennifer’s oldest friend, has a new boyfriend who seems to be paying way too much attention to Jennifer. Will he cause a problem in her relationship with Brad?This is still a WIP, but I hope to submit it soon.

4. What is your favorite book?
When I was younger it was Alice in Wonderland. Then I loved Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier. Now my favorite books are by Dennis Lehane and Jim Butcher. I loved The Given Day by Dennis Lehane and The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. But it’s hard, because I am constantly reading such good books from my author friends.

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
In addition to writing I am also a tutor. I am a retired Reading Specialist so I work with students who have difficulty in school due to reading problems. I am also a mother with two adult daughters.

6. What links can we find you at?
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraEhrentreu

Twitter: @Barbehr

My blog: http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com

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The best writing advice I can give to newbies

When I was first starting out I only knew I loved to write and the opportunity came for me when I was stuck in a hotel between places to live. My entire family consisting of two daughters and my husband, all adults, were squeezed into a two bedroom hotel room for a month and a half while we waited for our new place to be vacated. So every night I would tap on my computer and I finished writing an entire novel in that time. I revised it and had other people read it and then I thought it was ready to send to publishers. I got constant rejections and I gave up. It was a children’s fantasy and no one wanted it. Then I wrote another novel, this time it was YA and sent it to my critique group and they gave me excellent criticism. Then I had beta readers read it and they liked it. So I thought, great, this was ready to send out. I went to several SCBWI conferences and the editors gave us permission to send to them. So I started doing that and was met with rejection by every big 5 publisher. I put my novel away. I thought it would never get published, but a friend of mine was starting up a new publishing company. So I pitched it and she wanted it. This was such a long shot I thought I would never get it published. But I persevered and it did get published. First as an ebook and then in print.

My advice to anyone who is a newbie is to keep on trying. Take those rejections and save them and keep trying. Attend as many conferences as you can both physical and online. Online writing conferences are good places to meet all kinds of people. There are editors and publishers mixing with authors and writers. Physical conferences are good places to meet people too. Everyone mingles and you can meet editors and publishers across the table from you. Make the most of every opportunity to learn more about your craft. Workshops are excellent to take so you can hone your skills. Gather as many friends on Facebook and Twitter as you can and definitely start a blog if you don’t have one. Another great idea is to join writing groups both physically and online. All of this will help you to be a better writer and will immerse you in the world of writing and publishing. The last piece of advice I would give is again to keep on keeping on. Don’t give up if you feel your work is good. You are the one who is selling your work to other people. So tell people about your work whenever you can. Also if you can’t get it published the traditional way there is always self publishing these days for little or no money. If you want people to read your work you need to put it out there.

Book Review – The Traveler

TITLE: The Traveler
AUTHOR: Darren Simkin
ILLUSTRATIONS: Darren and Daniel Simkin
FORMAT: HARDBACK
PUBLISHED: 2008

So I was at my favoritest ever used bookstore, and I found this book on the bargain shelf. Knowing me, I probably paid about a quarter for it.

The Traveler is about a boy named Charlie. One day, he packs up all his time in a suitcase and travels until he finds something important enough to spend his time on.

This is an adorable little fable. From the big, bulky decades to the raggedy days… The illustrations are simple, the story is told like poetry. I loved everything about it.

I know I’m being vague, but there’s not much I can say without giving the ending away, and I don’t want to do that.

As a side note, I often wonder who decides where a book gets shelved. I mean, this is poetry, which should be non-fiction, but somehow they got this book listed as fable and shelved with fiction instead. Not that it matters to my review, but I wanted to muse about it for a minute. (Okay, okay, and I’m word count padding, but still…)

The cover prices is $12.95, which might be a little pricey considering what it is, but the book is so sweet and the story is so perfectly told. Go out and buy like ten copies and pass them around your friends. You’ll be glad you did. 5/5 pages.

Writer Wednesday – Michael Essington

1. Who are you?  Michael Essington

2. What type of stuff do you write?
My two, published, books are autobiographical. Last One To Die and Life Won’t Wait are stories of growing up in Los Angeles. Going from being a young punk rock kid and later becoming a father. My third book, Under A Broken Street Lamp, is a collection of short fiction stories that I did with an author from the East Coast named David Gurz.

I also write an occasional music review for Deep Red Magazine and Strange Reaction dot com.

3. What do you want to pimp right now?
I am writing the third and final book in the Last One To Die series, called Born Frustrated. Again, the stories are autobiographical.

4. What is your favorite book?
I like authors more than I like a specific piece of work. So, here it goes:
James Frey
Eddie Little
Edward Bunker
And of course, no list would be complete without a Bukowski mention

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I have always been an artist and a bit of a writer. It wasn’t until I hit my forties that I actually made an effort to publish stuff.

6. What link can we find you at?
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/michaelessington1 and my Amazon page: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

The best advice 

In 1994 or 1995, I went through a break-up which lead to a search for new employment and new housing. In other words, things went bad quick.

I slept on a friend’s floor for a couple of days, and then I took the couch at my brother’s place. Slowly, as I got my bearings and confidence, I put the feelers out to everybody and anybody that knew of housing and/or employment.

Finally, one day a girl I worked with in the 1980’s at a record shop called and said that her boyfriend was managing a Kinko’s and they needed somebody to run the computer department during the midnight shift. Perfect! As it was, I couldn’t sleep anyway. Break-up, money, one-year-old daughter, on and on, the brain never turned off.

One morning I’m sitting behind the counter at the computer department working on a press release for Michael Jackson’s parents Katherine and Joe Jackson, when a very dignified African-American man walks up. He asks if he could have a cord to plug his laptop in directly to the printer. I give it to him. He shoots off a couple of pages. Comes back, pays for the prints and hands me the cord.

This went on for a few months, cord, prints, pays and leaves. One day, curiosity gets the best of me, I walk over and ask what he’s working on. He tells me he’s a poet and he’s putting together some pieces about his time in Vietnam.

I told him that I had been writing poetry since the early 1980’s, then asked if he could look it over sometime. He agreed.

My new poet friend came in a week later. He walked up to me and handed me a book he made of 5 or 6 of his poems. Each very different styles, modern, traditional and a sonnet.

I went over and took out a notebook I had of my writings, similar to what I write now, but a bit too heavy on the metaphors. He looked everything over and made comments, like, “This one reads like a song,” and “This is good, but take out the “I,” tell the story without it being first person.” Really cool perspectives. Then he said to go to the local bookshop, find the poetry section and buy the first author I recognized. The point was to find my own voice. Don’t write poetry like I think it should be, don’t imitate Shakespeare.

I wandered over to Barnes & Noble. I looked and looked; finally I see a book by Jim Morrison called The Lords and The New Creatures: Poems. I bought it, read it and moments later declared it as the worst piece of shit I ever read.

I rewrote most of my poetry based on my friend’s suggestions. When he popped up a day or so later, I showed him my updated work and told him that Jim Morrison’s poetry was horrendous.

He read through my latest poetry, offered a few more pointers, and then he asked, “Have you read much Bukowski?” I said, “Not really. I saw Barfly in 1987.”

He nodded, and said, “OK, there’s a book you have to buy. I’d give you my copy, but I probably gave it away already. When you get off work, go to the store and buy Bukowski’s Love Is A Dog From Hell. That should point you in the right direction.”

That man was author Clyde A. Wray; he has always been an inspiration and a friend.

Writer Wednesday – James D. Sanders

1. Who are you? James D Sanders
2. What type of stuff do you write? I am an author of Urban/Street Lit, Suspense/Thriller Fiction, as well as poetry.
3. What do you want to pimp right now? My debut Urban/Street Lit novel “Situations” was released on 01/01/15, and is available in paperback and E-book format on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
4. What is your favorite book? My favorites cross a few genres. Inferno – Dan Brown, Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill, Do or Die – Darren Coleman
5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat? I am also a husband and a personal fitness trainer.
6. What link can we find you at? Sandersjames.wordpress.com and http://www.facebook.com/authorjamessanders

Overcoming Writers Block

I would have to say that one of the most interesting things, or at least unorthodox things about my writing process occurs when I’m writing some form of a story. It’s common for me to hit a point of writer’s block that sometimes shuts me down for days or even weeks. The way that I seem to always overcome it is one that is almost completely out of my control. I will usually find myself rereading a chapter or two of the book I’m working on at random. While I’m sleeping, I will actually dream the next phase of the story. When I awake, I am usually able to put a few thousand words down without a problem, as if I never stopped writing.

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