Writer Wednesday – Steven Shrewsbury

shrews

Who are you?
Steven L. Shrewsbury, I’ve written a slew of small press novels and had over 300 short stories published. There’s a rumor I’m Robert E. Howard reincarnated, but that’s just crazy talk.

What type of stuff do you write?
Hardcore S&S, fantasy and horror tales.

What do you want to pimp right now?
BORN OF SWORDS my latest novel from Seventh Star Press featuring my 700 year old merc Gorias La Gaul. It’s a kick ass S&S tale with a killer punchline. Also, WITHIN a horror novel from Black Bedsheet books featuring my albino spook agent Dack Shannon. AND…my collab with writer Brian Keene called KING OF THE BASTARDS., another hardcore S&S work from APEX Publications.

What is your favorite book? (or three)
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard, Bloodstone by Karl Edward Wagner, Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

Besides the author hat, what hats do you wear?
Dad, worker, smart ass advisor to the world

Where can we find you?
https://www.facebook.com/authorstevenshrewsbury
https://sshrewsbury.wordpress.com/

*
Just Write.
*

Just write.

Tell your story. Don’t try to impress your buddies or whoever you think will be reading this in 200 years. Get over yourself. Write. Don’t preach. You aren’t going to convert the masses to your personal belief system no matter how liberated or righteous. Just write. Tell your story and entertain. Make things happen, even it’s romance or mystery, don’t bore the be-Jesus out of folks. If you like the sound of your own voice that much, folks will figure it out and move on. Perhaps you think you’re special. Maybe you are. Please have others figure that out don’t announce it.

Be yourself. Don’t be Stephen King, Victoria Holt, George R R Martin or whoever writers the best smut out there. Be the next YOU. Figure out who you are. Find your voice. Keep it prisoner.

And then just write.

Advertisements

Writer Wednesday – A Christopher Drown

11888060_10153559213739592_8938124354625376470_n

1. Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
Hi, I’m Aaron. (“Hi, Aaron.”) You can find my writing under A. Christopher Drown.

2. What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
My novel, “A Mage of None Magic,” is straight-up fantasy. But my short stories are kind of all over the place.

3. What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
“Mage,” as mentioned above, was released last year as a second edition by Seventh Star Press. I had to set aside its follow-up for a while due to an avalanche of life-things, but am slowly starting to circle that drain again.

4. What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
The book that got me going was “The Sleeping Dragon” by my late friend, Joel Rosenberg. The book that keeps me going is “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. The book I want to write is “The Once and Future King.”

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I’m a graphic designer by trade. In fact, I’ve been making in-roads into book design and have a strong interest in helping small presses and independent authors put the proverbial bow on the work. Just because your project is low-budge doesn’t mean it has to look it.

6. What link can we find you at? (One or two please; don’t go overboard here!)
My Facebook author page is at /achrisdrown
My graphic design portfolio can be found at http://www.aarondrowndesign.com

***

The best advice you’ve been given:

Joel Rosenberg once told me, All you need to know when you write is where you’re going to begin and where you’re going to end—but mostly likely you’re going to be wrong about the latter.

Writer Wednesday – Jason Sizemore

IrredeemableBadge

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Tell us (briefly) about you…

Hello! I am Jason Sizemore. Most people know me as that one guy, the red head who runs Apex Publications. I’m also known in genre circles as an editor (I’ve picked up three Hugo Award nominations and one Stoker Award nomination for my editing work). I also publish and help edit the genre short fiction zine Apex Magazine.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
Over the past 10 years, I’ve been exclusively a short fiction author. I estimate I’ve had about 40 stories published. Recently, Stephen Zimmer of Seventh Star Press asked if I would like to submit a collection to him. He had read many of my stories over the years and felt it would make a good book. I was skeptical. Stephen and a collection of writer pals convinced me to go for it. The result is IRREDEEMABLE!

…and what you’re working on right now.
I’m writing my first novel…okay, co-writing my first novel with Maurice Broaddus. It’s a fun collaboration. He brings the urban. I bring the rural. I’m collaborating on a story with Elaine Blose (it’s finished, looking for a home) and a story with Sara Price.

As you can tell, I’m big into collaborating right now.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
My first memory is being in first grade and reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and thinking “Now this is a book.”

What are your three favorite books?
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
I usually have three going at once. At home, I am reading Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago and Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, and the audiobook of The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
Allow my mind to relax and forget about the stresses of the day.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
I do not re-read because there are too many good books I haven’t read.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Very likely if the recommendation is from a friend whose tastes I trust.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very likely, but I save the recommendations for books I feel are truly excellent.

Why do you write?
To purge the creative urges that builds up over time!

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
A professional videogame player.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Primarily from memories of my youth. Southeast Kentucky is filled with memorable and interesting people and places.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
They’re surprised by it. I’ve always been the editor/publisher person. Then they read my work and start asking questions like “Why do you like to write about such dark things?”

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
A big challenge for newbies involves understanding the options you have these days. Do you self-publish? Do you seek an agent and aim for New York? Is a small press right for you?

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Too numerous to list. *shakes head*

How do you deal with your fan base?
I give them hugs and love.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
I’m partially color blind! I know, I know, this is surprising due to my impeccable fashion sense and fantastic art skills (sarcasm meter set to maximum).

Anything else we should know?
You sure ask a lot of questions about me. Maybe I should ask YOU a question!
*turns spotlight on*
Okay now, where shall we begin…

Writer Wednesday Bonus Post – Miguel Viscarra

 

 

 

 

From the fiery abyss of the underworld comes 20 hellish tales from the south and southwest. Within these charred pages are stories that will introduce you to the many demons that stay hidden but are always nearby…  Southern Haunts is an anthology of  stories of possessed people, objects, houses, highways, and the devil’s favorite playground – the forest.

For this blog post, we’ll follow author Miguel Viscarra as he talks about the inspiration for his contribution “And There Was Nothing Left But Ash…”

 

SouthernHauntsBadge

 

Regarding inspiration for And There Was Nothing Left But Ash…, much like The Cleansing (in the initial installment of Southern Haunts), I really wanted to draw from my sociological background and once again focus on the dynamics of a relationship; albeit, the relationships of the characters in the story are much different than that of its predecessor. Primarily, the two main characters had a very picturesque and loving union, which I’d hoped that readers could identify with to some extent. I think that emotional connection is really important for the way things transpire throughout the story. The push and pull between the two main characters is really essential for drawing the audience’s sympathy, in hopes that they can see some semblance of identification within the characters. Whilst the characteristics and traits of my lead characters were important, it’s undeniable how significant the setting of my home state was for my second published work.

Researching and learning more about my own environment over the course of writing my works has been one of the most eye-opening and enjoyable experiences. I’ve only been to Deming, New Mexico a handful of times, and I can remember feelings like it was a very small town, very similar to my own. In New Mexico, I’ve seen many places that were reported institutions and tuberculosis wards in different parts of the state, but I was absolutely captivated by the uncertainty of the story surrounding Camp Cody/The Holy Cross Sanatorium. The rich history and fact behind the location was so intriguing. I stumbled upon numerous photos of the area when it was in its prime, and it was very important for me to really portray that historical basis through the accuracy of the location’s description. Moreover, the modern day information that I found regarding the setting was frighteningly real. To know that contemporary atrocities have been reported only makes the place all that more hellish.

I had the pleasure of visiting the area after a short vacation to Phoenix, Arizona to see one of my favorite bands, AFI. On the way back home from my trip, I stopped in Deming to uncover the place that I’d been so eager to dive into. I was surprised to see that there wasn’t much left today. What was still visible from afar were lost architectural relics on the desert floor of New Mexico. Once could still find the famed fountain, which in my story, serves as the intricate gateway that brings forth the fiery demon. All in all, I’d say the overall inspiration for the story was the desire to write a second tale in which readers could see very real human traits and traumas; an outlet that would provide an emotional fear that can be experienced by all.

 

SouthernHauntsCover-1200X862

Book Review – Vampires Don’t Sparkle

TourBadge-AnthologyExtravaganza

Title: Vampires Don’t Sparkle
Editor: Michael West
Published: 2013
Format: Print and eBook (most of the review done by print book)

In Vampires Don’t Sparkle, editor Michael West has managed to take the vampire and make it awesome again. He got rid of the current trend of sexy, sparkly, undead love interests that make teenage girls swoon, and instead has replaced it with something dark, something unique. Gone are the cheezy “I want to suck your blood” types that 1950s B-level horror flicks brought us. Gone are the neauveau un-scary un-dead. What he’s left us with is, well, awesome.

I was going to pick a favorite, and I sort of can’t. Vampire Nation, for instance, felt like it was a bit too short, but I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way. Even stories that needed work, like I Fuck Your Sunshine were good enough (in this case, the author attempted a Russian-esque sounding narrator and it didn’t quite work), and with minor changes would have been incredible. So really, I’m just going to tell you to read the book. There are some incredible authors in this anthology, and they’re worth their weight in words. Also, I’m not big on prologues and introductions, but I read Michael’s and actually agree with every word he said.

As for a rating, I hee’d and hawed for a bit, and… Well, there is one little footnote worth mentioning. On the very back cover, it says A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to cancer research institutions to fight the real horrors of cancer. And since the book was hovering somewhere around there anyway, I’m going to tell you to buy the thing. It’s absolutely worth a read, and, well, if buying it can cure a very much real horror of the non-sparkly un-dead kind (note: I haven’t today said that I wish cancer would get cancer and die, so I’m saying it now…), then there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick up a copy.

Book Review – Southern Haunts

TourBadge-AnthologyExtravaganza

Title: Southern Haunts
Editors: Alexander S. Brown & J. L. Mulvihill
Published: 2013
Format: Trade Paperback (& eBook… but just until I got the print copy)

Y’all, this is one of those reviews that you need to stick with through the end, but I promise it’s worth it…

Okay, I’m going to be honest here.  I’m one of those people who only sometimes likes anthologies.  Yeah, I’ve reviewed other ones that I’ve really liked, but there are also quite a few that I’ve picked up, couldn’t get through two stories, and sent it back.  And when you review them, it’s a whole new kettle of fish.  Because, really, how do you review such a thing?  Do a writeup about each short story?  Overall opinions?  A little of both?  Gah!

And so, this one… This one I was really looking forward to.  For starters, I know the editors.  I’m jealous that I didn’t get to submit something to it.  And, you know, I was just excited about this one.

I have to admit, as I worked my way around the book, I found issues.  (As I told the editor, I’m probably the toughest reader/reviewer he’ll ever get…)  There are a couple editing problems that seriously need fixed.  This book also has the absolute worst story I have ever read in print.  Seriously.  I reject betters submissions for my own publishing company.

But for the problems it has, there are also some real gems in here.  H David Blalock’s An Eclipse Over Elmwood was awesome, for instance, and my favorite story in the book.  [Note: Check our archives and you’ll find a feature interview with him.]  There are a couple other stories where I saw the ending coming, such as Roland Mann’s Haints, another favorite in this antho, but I still really liked the characters and how the stories were written.  And you have stories like Diane Ward’s The Shack which was good, but totally too short – I was sad that it ended so quickly and think another bit of story would have totally added greatly to what she already had going.

So my bottom line is this.  The book is decent.  If you manage to get your hands on a copy, it’s great for those times between novels or when you don’t want to dedicate that much time to one piece of writing.  My best advice is to pick and choose, to read a little at a time here and there, and to not be afraid to skip a couple stories that you might not like or fall a little short.  It’s worth being able to read the few gems that really shine.

%d bloggers like this: