RW Spryszak- Author Interview (2018)

I am so pleased and honored to introduce you great readers to an astounding writer by the name of RW Spryszak. I have a few interviews under my belt but have never felt like I was reading literature when reading answers. Mr. Spryszak has done that for me here. So eloquent and illuminating that they are a joy to read, I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I did. His book Edju was very hard for me to put down. So without further ado, please enjoy and here is a small bio to get you started.

Bio- RW Spryszak’s recent work has appeared in Peculiar Mormyrid, A-Minor Magazine, and Novelty (UK), among others. His early work is archived in the John M Bennett Avant Writing Collection at the Ohio State University Libraries. He is editor at Thrice Fiction Magazine* and recently produced “I Wagered Deep On The Run Of Six Rats To See Which Would Catch The First Fire*,” a collection of contemporary surrealist and outsider writing from around the world for 2018 under that banner, which is also available on Amazon.


Who are some of your favorite authors, or authors that have inspired you?

What inspires me to work is work that isn’t produced. I go into a bookstore just to browse and leave without buying anything. You could ask my wife this. She would verify what I’m saying. This happens a lot. And a long time ago I asked myself, well, what did you want to find that you couldn’t find? And maybe that is what you should write. Write what you’d like to read but can’t find. This is how I work. So, it isn’t what authors have written that inspires me, as you say, it’s what they haven’t written. It’s only a void I’m filling. In my own universe anyway.

Now, as an example of writers whose work has influenced me I have to go back to when I was young and didn’t know what I liked but found things that stayed with me. Gogol’s Dead Souls, first of all. I still have that old worn Penguin Classic copy from when I was in high school. The pages are quite yellow now. Of course, everybody who is a reader discovered Kafka as a teenager I think. But it was people who wrote things that made me go – “You can do this??” I mean when you’re young or naïve you expect a story to go from A to B to C, and twists and unexpected things make your head snap. So, there are the poems of Dylan Thomas and Guillaume Apollinaire. Thomas creates these spiraling images and ideas that blend and weave in and out of each other until you find yourself trapped in his crazy tornado. And Apollinaire writes the kind of things that make you say – “you can do that??” His work is one hundred years old and a lot of it reads like it was done yesterday.

But there’s Robert Walser. Naguib Mahfouz. Jan Potocki. I’m saying these names but I’m quite sure no one is going to look them up or anything. Still, I don’t think – for your audience – you can call yourself a true fan of horror if you haven’t read Potocki’s A Manuscript Found in Saragossa. Just saying. Maybe kitsch horror, but not gothic horror. Dracula, Frankenstein, certainly. But if you haven’t read Manuscript you have a missing part in there. An aspect that would make you say – “you can do that??”

When did you start writing, or what prompted you to start writing?

So how do I answer your question? I don’t know. I used to make up stories in my head as a little boy. Full technicolor epics before I would fall asleep. Wash up. Brush teeth. Go to bed. Roll around making up movies in my head.

And my first rejection letter came from Stan Lee. I wrote a story that pitted Doctor Strange against The Hulk. I was 10 years old. I sent it in and, with the innocent expectations of a kid I also sent along 12 cents to buy the issue my story would appear in. Well, of course, Marvel Comics would never use a hand-written story from a 10-year-old who didn’t know the highway from a footpath. So, here’s my Stan Lee story. 1963 or 4. I got a hand written note back from Stan Lee saying he enjoyed the story but could only use their own material. And – get this – the 12 cents I included with my submission was taped to the blue card he sent back with his note in an envelope. Was he the coolest guy ever? Yes, he was. By the way, Doctor Strange did face The Hulk in one adventure eventually, I think, sometime in the 1990’s I believe. I ought to sue, don’t you think?

How would you describe your style of writing?

I don’t think I think like a writer. I’m influenced by the visual. I look at things like a painter or a sculptor but I couldn’t paint or sculpt to save my skin so I write the form. Writing and acting were always easier than painting. Concepts. Visuals. I think probably because I was influenced by TV and movies when I was small. In Edju, in particular, I used something I learned from my long-ago acting days. How to stay in character from start to finish. Edju is a first-person story, so it’s vital you don’t “break character,” as actors would say.

Though I’m not in the Surrealist camp, so to speak, and never claimed to be, I do use the techniques they’ve developed. They try to bring the unconscious truth to things and so Arp’s ideas about Chance often come into play. Then there’s the process of automatic writing or even sentence collage. These are things I’ll utilize. Take for example in Edju, I used automatic writing as prompts. The start of some chapters is in italics. That was straight from the back of the brain and unedited automatic writing. Then I connected them. I left the strictly Surrealist process when I connected these prompts with a willful, consciously-produced narrative – which makes me not a Surrealist, I think. I don’t know. You’d have to ask them if I’m one of them or not. I mean, several Surrealists, people who have been with that worldview for decades, have supported my work – Max Cafard, J. Karl Bogartte, the New York Surrealist group – but I think that’s because I love the work they produce and have spoken up for their movement – which never went away, contrary to what the New Yorker may think – for years.

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And, really, I think this is a question better asked of my readers than of me. There are people who like my style and people who can’t stand it. Folks who tell me they can’t put it down and folks who can’t get through the first two pages without screaming and burning the damn thing. I know my stuff is difficult sometimes. So, what do I say?

Do you set a certain plot, or go where your writing takes you?

I could never work from an outline. I tried when I was younger. I couldn’t do it. It was like – I’ve written the outline and so the book is done, right? I have nothing but a vague idea and I’ve never known how things were going to end. Not ever. In Edju, I was going along and going along and wrote If I didn’t need to eat I would never trust your world again, and I would stay in these rooms till the spiders wept.” And I stopped and looked at it and said – Okay. That’s the last line. I’m done, now for the edits. And that line will lead into the first line of the next book because Edju, conceptually, is a trilogy. I have two vague notions about the two next pieces but I have no idea where they are going to go. The second book has been started at least five times and I think I only just settled on what to do last week. So, I guess my answer is I go where it takes me after a vague notion, or something like that.

If, while writing, I can’t visualize a title for the thing? I know I’m onto something. Whenever I’ve had a title first, nothing ever works. I don’t understand that. When I get to the point where I can’t come up with a title no matter what and it comes down to I don’t even care what anybody wants to call it, just get it away from me, you decide – it gets published. When I start with a title, it never even gets finished. It’s weird.

What are some of your favorite works of literature?

Well, yes, I mentioned these. Dead Souls, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa. Mahfouz’s The Journey of ibn Fattouma. Walser’s Jakob Von Gunten. But also, from a writer’s viewpoint, there’s technical aspect too, that you have to have. I’m not a big fan, but even if you don’t like him you have to say that Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is the perfectly executed novella. And it’s good to have a grounding. In fact, I’ve always felt you need a grounding in the classical and traditional before you can go off “experimenting.” You’ll find Picasso’s early stuff more traditional than you’d at first think it would be, being Picasso. Then, when he “got it,” so to speak, he created his own world and his own rules. But I’d say he couldn’t do it until he understood the starting point. I think that’s true for everyone to some degree. So, until you can read Dickens and explain why he’s a lousy writer, and he is, you should keep reading the traditional until you “get it.”

What is the most important aspect of writing for you?

Well it’s a compulsion that has to be fulfilled, isn’t it? When I was in my twenties I used to worry about getting published. Have to get published. It must happen. And so on. Of course, that’s when nothing ever happened. It wasn’t until I finally said, you know what, it doesn’t really matter if it gets published or not because I’m going to sit here and write anyway because I have to or I’ll just explode or go crazy. I would write because it was going to happen whether anybody was ever going to read it or not. That, of course, is when people started to accept and publish things.

Oddly enough, after that, I got this crazy notion that I wanted to bust into the mainstream. I had all this alternative work done and it was archived and I had a tribe and – for some reason – I said I’m going to try to break into the big time or something and – poof. Came the drought. I wanted to get published. I needed to get published. And nobody wanted anything I was doing. A couple of the bigger wigs even laughed at it. Because it was actually pathetic stuff, to be honest. So, okay, I went back to just doing what I’d always done and forgot about “trying” so hard and… what do you think? All of a sudden (to use a term that should never appear in anything you ever write), there I was back in print.

That’s the long way around the barn to say the most important aspect of writing, for me, is to not only be yourself, but if it’s working there’s nothing that needs to be fixed. If it ain’t broke. Stay true to your own voice, no matter how trite that may sound. Find your tribe and dance with them.

Do you put any of yourself in your writing?

Yes. There are dozens of things that happened to me, mostly filtered by metaphor, in Edju. Shards of dreams I had. People I’ve met. Or aspects of them. There’s even a scene in the book that I wrote forty years ago for something else. Something I wrote, never kept, but never forgot. It goes on for pages as if I was copying out of an old notebook. I never forgot the scene and it just came into the book on its own. That scene came from a particularly intense part of my growth as a writer. But, yes, they are all over the place. However, well-disguised. And this is all I will say about that.

What led you to write in this genre?

This is crazy because I didn’t write Edju to a genre. I just thought – a book. Maybe Literary Fiction. Maybe Dystopian. I didn’t have a target. When Spuyten Duyvil*, the publisher, first put it on Amazon they listed it as “Gothic.” To be honest, I didn’t even know what Gothic was. Gothic Horror – sure. I’d heard of that. And I didn’t know if there was a difference. Then a few people contacted me and said “Horror,” or “Speculative.” To tell you the truth, I don’t know what it is, exactly. So, my approach is like that old song – “any world that I’m welcomed to.” I’m becoming convinced it belongs in that Gothic category that the publisher listed it in. But you’ll have to believe me when I tell you I seriously didn’t have any kind of thing like genre in my head.

Do any movies or TV shows influence your writing?

Not off hand, no. I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore. My TV is mostly old movies and Baseball. Baseball is my escape hatch. Outside of that it’s just all noise. I suppose, growing up in the late 50s and 60s there were influences that happened then, but I couldn’t specifically tell you one thing or another.

Any future writing projects you would like to talk about?

The plan is to complete a trilogy with Edju as the lead before I croak. I have no idea what to call it, and that’s a good sign I think. But – you shouldn’t take anything for granted. I’m doing this but there’s no guarantee anyone will take it. Life in the small press universe is like that and you have to expect it. Unless you’re a best-seller you don’t make much money in writing. All the writers I know have a regular job somehow. Teaching, editing, or anything. Every one of them. You have to stay real.

I want to thank RW Spryszak so much for his valuable time and marvelous answers to my questions. For more information or to read his works please check out the following links:

Edju is at https://www.amazon.com/Edju-RW-Spryszak/dp/1947980890

*Spuyten Duyvil is at http://www.spuytenduyvil.net/

* “I Wagered Deep, etc.” is at  https://www.amazon.com/Wagered-Which-Would-Catch-First/dp/1945334045

*Thrice Fiction Magazine is at http://www.thricefiction.com/

http://www.rwspryszak.com/



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Dan Klefstad Author Interview (2018)

Radio host, Podcaster, and Author. This amazing man that I have befriended on Twitter is so inspiring. His novel Shepherd and the Professor offers fascinating plot lines and many twists and turns that make it a must read in my book! I am very glad to get to introduce him here to my readers at Chills From the Quill, so lets get to the questions!

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do for WNIJ News and NPR?

I’m the morning host for NPR station WNIJ, and the newscaster for two other NPR stations covering the length of Illinois.

How did you get into podcasting?

The president of the Rockford Writers’ Guild, Connie Kuntz, launched the “Guildy Pleasures” podcast one year ago, and Connie invited me to be the first guest. She read my first novel, Shepherd & the Professor, and was reading my more recent stories about humans who work for a vampire named Fiona. So I went into the studio with Connie and her husband Jesse who engineered the podcasts. During these sessions, I used my experience as a radio announcer to deliver the kind of recordings Connie and Jesse were looking for. We did the first five of my Fiona stories, and they got a great reception — I’ve heard nothing but good things about them.

Are you a horror lover?

I love to be frightened, I love Gothic atmosphere, and I enjoy stories that play up erotic tensions between monsters and humans. I’ll admit I’m not into splatter or torture. But I’ll never refuse a challenge to write this if I think gore can lead to a truly great story.

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Where did the idea for Fiona come from? And are you a fan of vampire fiction?

I’ve always been fascinated by vampires because they work on different levels. As mythical creatures, they transcend human limitations. They’re stronger, sexier, and live forever – who doesn’t dream of this kind of power? But they’re also rich metaphors for things that suck our life force. Your emotionally insecure neighbor is the vampire hidden in plain sight, ambushing you with questions when you return from work, draining whatever energy you have left. The vampire might be your lover, mother or pusher. I guarantee you: somewhere, somehow, a hidden thing is latched to your neck, taking from you and never giving back. When you finally see it, and admit your role in these encounters, I hope you have the strength to put a stake in it.

Favorite or inspiring authors for you?

Anyone who writes vampire fiction owes a debt to John Polidori, Bram Stoker, and Anne Rice. As a horror fan, I also owe much to Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson and Stephen King. In college, I was fascinated by Albert Camus and his treatment of the absurd – where humans desperately seeking meaning are confronted by a universe that offers none. There’s a connection to horror in absurdist philosophy that Jean-Paul Sartre brings home with No Exit. The final line of this play is: “Hell is other people.”

 What are some of your favorite books or works of literature?

To the above, I’ll add John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, Let the Right One In.  Lindqvist also wrote the screenplay for the 2008 movie of the same name, but the book contains an entire plot thread involving Eli’s caretaker, Håkan, that’s gripping and absolutely terrifying. Best horror novel I’ve read in many years.

Do you have a favorite quote?

I’m tempted to repeat that one by Sartre but I’d prefer something more hopeful. With your permission, I’d like to quote a character, Daniel, from my story “The Remains of the Daylight”:

“Because if one person thinks you’re good, you are good – right?”

(That line gives me hope)

What would you really like people to know about you?

I’m an optimist. Readers are often surprised to hear me say that.

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What inspires you to write?

Wow, that stumped me. I’ve done several interviews, but nobody asked me that before. The most truthful answer I can give is: I don’t know. I simply must.

And lastly can you tell us a little about your work and do you have any writing works set for the future?

I’m gathering all my Fiona the vampire stories that appeared in Dark Dossier Magazine’s Halloween issue (11 of them) and will add nine or ten more. These will be chapters in a book called The Guardian which I hope to finish this summer.

Thanks so much, Jaye, for the opportunity to share my thoughts, inspirations, and stories with you. You’ve been a wonderful host!

I am eternally grateful to Dan for taking the time to answer my questions and I hope we have inspired you to read some of his works! You can find links here for podcasts and readings:

The Caretaker” http://bit.ly/2lx3HyD 

“The Interview” http://bit.ly/2m9HKpX 

“Solstice” http://bit.ly/2D47OJg 

“Wolf at Fiona’s Castle” http://bit.ly/2GCZAKt 

“Hauptsturmführer Fillennius” http://bit.ly/2E6OSNL

You can also find him at Twitter at: https://twitter.com/danklefstad?lang=en

And on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/dan.klefstad

And at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Klefstad/e/B01IC5A1XK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Jackson-Author Interview (2018)

Roger Jackson another friend from Twitter was kind enough to let me ask him some questions about his writing. He is a Whovian and a self-proclaimed proud geek and an intelligent and fun one at that! So lets get to the questions!

What do you love about horror?

Its flexibility as a genre. We can have Horror stories so many elements, romance or comedy or social truths and yet the core ideals of the Horror story remain undiluted. It rarely plays well in the other direction. I can have a love story about werewolves and it still works as a Horror story, but throw a lycanthropy grenade into the middle of Verona and Romeo and Juliet’s asses are mine.

Why do you write horror?

All of the above, but I think the most straightforward answer is that my brain is wired to embrace the darkness. I didn’t have any parental or familial influence as a child, which rather wonderfully meant that I was left to my own devices, and I was always drawn to the forbidden, the scary movies and books and comics. They’ve always been the most comfortable and natural way to process the world around me, and in the end that’s what writing is, processing the internal and external worlds through one’s own personal filter.

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Who are some of your influences?

I’ve been influenced more by concepts and events than by individuals, I think. Certainly, the more media I consumed, the more I saw what worked and what didn’t. I remember seeing my first dead body when I was perhaps five or six, a child a little older than me pulled from the mossy waters of a local river, and almost at once making the link between the fear and queasy excitement of the assembled onlookers and my own feelings when I watched a Horror movie. I saw that bridge between the real world and fiction, and I suppose that was a key point in terms of an influence.

Favorite books, authors, and films?

My favorite book would have to be Pet Sematary, if only because it’s so unrelentingly bleak. The pages are soaked in death and futility. I don’t really have a favorite author, though, because everyone brings something to the table. I have a least favorite author, but let’s not go there! Favorite movies? So many! The Devil’s Rejects, most likely, because the ending makes me cry.

Tell us about the art that is your heart-kintsugi?

Well … most people know that Kintsugi is the art of repairing ceramics or pottery with a lacquer dusted with powdered gold. Rather than throwing a broken object away, Kintsugi means to extend its life and make something beautiful out of its scars. A few years back, I was ill and at the same time experienced from someone close to me a level of coldness and cruelty that I didn’t think they were capable of, and as a result there was some emotional breakage. I picked up on the Kintsugi thing because that’s how I am now, proud of the scars I’ve been left with. Everyone should be proud of their scars. They’re symbols of survival. 

What do you prefer British or American horror and why?

I’d have to say British. There’s a weird kind of glamour to a lot of American Horror, whereas the British stuff is often realistically ugly and decaying.  Movies like Death Line or Mum And Dad or even Human Centipede 2 (set in London) have this wonderful texture of griminess and threat that’s often lacking in American stuff.

What are some of your favorite weird things, or what do you like to do that is weird?

Weirdness is subjective, but I love art like Goya’s Witches’ Sabbath, because I like things that subvert expectations or accepted morality. I don’t know if I personally do anything weird, but … if I pass a dead animal in the street, a crushed cat or slaughtered bird, I always take a snapshot on my phone. I have quite the collection, but I think that when the corpse has been removed and the last of the blood dispersed by the rain, it’s important to remember that the animal had lived at all.

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What do you want people to know about you?

Probably that I’m not as scary as these answers make me sound!

Do you have a personal motto or mantra?

“Get Better, Not Bitter.”

I want to thank Roger so much for taking the time to answer my questions and you can read more of his work here:

https://jabe842beyond.wordpress.com/

https://www.instagram.com/jabe842/

Erik Henry Vick: Horror Author Interview (2018)

I had the good fortune to meet Erik on Twitter and he quickly became a favorite of mine with his wit and intellectual comments. After reading his book Demon King I was thoroughly intrigued and had to learn more about him, his wife Supergirl, their rottweiler named after the thunder god and their two crazy cats. Erik has done so many amazing things. Erik has a B.A. in Psychology, an M.S.C.S., and a Ph. D. in Artificial Intelligence.  He has worked as a criminal investigator for a state agency, a college professor, a C.T.O. for an international software company, and a video game developer. Whew I am tired just writing all of his accomplishments! So let us find out more about this talented man!

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Why horror/fantasy?

~My fiction has always had a dark streak. When I was young, I heard the adage: “Write what you read.” At the time, I was reading a lot of science fiction, with a smattering of horror, so I thought I should write science fiction—dark scifi, granted, but scifi. I wrote some cyberpunk and tried very hard not to recognize that as much as I love reading scifi, I’m wasn’t that great at writing scifi. Let me put it this way—my “scifi” was frequently compared to Dean Koontz or Stephen King 😊

 

When I returned to writing fiction after being disabled, I first had the idea while re-reading one of my favorite authors, Stephen King—specifically I was reading the Dark Tower series and thought it would be cool to write something with the same depth, with the same “Epic Quest” quality. I had been playing around with an idea in my head about a serial killer that was a wendigo, and the Blood of the Isir series was born. It was so easy to write dark fantasy, and even easier to write straight horror, I was sure I found the right genres. Having said that, I do have plans for a scifi horror novel at some point.

What and who are some of your favorite horror films, books, and authors?

~I love Stephen King, Dan Simmons, Robert R. McCammon, Anne Rice, Ambrose Ibsen, Joe Hill, Walter Jon Williams, and many, many more.

As for films, I seem to be drawn heavily to scifi horror like the Aliens franchise and Pandorum, but I also love original movies like the Babadook, Gerald’s Game, A Quiet Place (I love, love, loved this movie!), The Others, etc. Having said that, I almost never turn down a horror movie.

What I dread in either setting is formulaic, repetitive stuff. You know what I mean… “So-and-so has sold a gerbillion books writing about butterflies, so my next book will be about butterflies. I’ll call it ‘Butterflies on a Train!’” Yech.

Can you tell us a little bit about your work in A.I.?

~I spent most of my time trying to make artificial characters into something more than talking heads. My Ph.D. explored building synthetic personalities by basing character drives and emotions on trait-based personality theory (from psychology). I also did some work in Natural Language Understanding and machine learning.

Also can you tell us about some of the video games you helped develop?

~I worked on Madden directly, and as a character AI adviser on many others under the Electronic Arts umbrella. Probably the most fun I had in the game industry was working on a project that never made it into production—an MMO concept set in Frank Herbert’s Dune universe.

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I love the Hank & Jane IRL, would Supergirl like to comment on you and or your work?

~Direct from Supergirl:

Erik is one of those people who is good at everything he tries. This amazes and annoys me in equal parts. At the time he got sick, he was a professor at a private university. We had moved thousands of miles from family a few years prior so he could take the job. It was a difficult time and eventually, even with all the help and support the university provided, he had to stop working. I remember the day I filled the car with the contents of his office. The next few years are a blur to both of us, him due to pain and medication and me due to working and handling the family and house stuff. I do remember that we started to go for drives as a way for Erik to get out of the house and for us to chat.  We have always been the kind of couple who enjoys spending a lot of time together.

At some point Erik began talking about wanting to write a story with a character that had RA. I encouraged (or nagged, potato/potahto) him at every turn because I wanted him to have something of his own again and be more than the RA. I told him we didn’t need to worry if it ever got published or how long it took to write but that the writing was what he needed to do. We set up the office with a recliner and a swing arm for his monitor and keyboard so he would be able to sit long enough to write more than a sentence or two. There were flares that interrupted and the writing went in fits and starts for a while but eventually he had something.

Any interesting stories (that you can tell) from your criminal investigative days?

~I can’t say much from the investigative days, but my experiences drive my writing, to be sure. There are far more horrible things in the world than we give it credit for. One of the scariest moments in my life was an interview with a homeless man when gradually realizing the depth of his paranoia and persecutory delusions, then discovering he was armed with .45 caliber pistol.

My years working on a psychiatric intensive treatment unit also fuel my work—in fact I am developing a concept for a novel or two pulled directly from my time there, and parts of Demon King came from this part of my life, as well (and not just the obvious bits 😊).

What would you like people to know about you?

~I have a so-called invisible disability. It’s not really invisible—it must easy to see based on the glares I sometimes get when Supergirl pumps the gas, holds the door open for me, or cuts my steak in a restaurant. It’s especially not invisible for my family and friends. It has changed me-physically, but it has not conquered me, and it has not changed who I am at the core (a big, dumb, stoic Viking). For more about my pointy-stick collection, please see:

https://erikhenryvick.com/2017/06/11/how-can-you-do-that/

https://erikhenryvick.com/gear/

Even with this stupid disease, I love life. I’m a positive person most of the time, and I try to have fun with whatever I’m doing because that’s the best sharp, pointy, monster-poking stick I can find. I love to laugh, and I love meeting and talking to people.

How do you combat writers block?

~I don’t really suffer from writer’s block. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I shouldn’t write, and most of the time, I’m bright enough not to waste time on those days, I just go relax with a good book or movie. I mostly have the reverse problem. I have far more ideas than I can write in the time my Personal Monster™ allows me. I’m rapidly filling up a digital notebook of ideas, beginnings, endings, characters, etc. Hopefully, I’ll be able to figure out a way to write faster (or develop implant technology that sucks the stories directly from my head while I sleep).

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Any advice for other writers facing their own “personal monsters”?

~Push that monster out of the way and get to work. Find a way to do what you need to do. Experiment, take notes—whatever is necessary. DO NOT LET THE MONSTER WIN.

Do you have a personal mantra?

~If I do, it involves Personal Monsters™ and sharp, pointy sticks. Or maybe something funny.

I want to thank Erik and Supergirl so much for taking the time to answer my questions and give us such a personal look inside this amazing authors mind!

You can learn more about Erik and his books here : https://erikhenryvick.com/

 

 

Edmund Lester Author-Interview (2018)

I had the extremely fun chance to interview author I.E. Lester for my site. I enjoy his books immensely and I hope that you will check them out and read them also! This is going to be fun so lets get down to the questions!

In a Parallel Life you got the music scene down, are you a musician? Do you play an instrument? Any fun stories?

~Thanks for the praise on the music part. But no, I’m not a musician. Although I am married to one. My wife is a saxophonist in a jazz band. I did try my hand at playing guitar… and bass guitar… and drums when I was younger but I was completely terrible at them all and decided the world would be better off without me polluting the air with my pitiful attempts at making music. Trust me, it was bad.

I am however a lifelong fan of music, of rock music, folk music and most especially progressive rock and have music playing at all times when I’m working/writing.

Hmm, funny story? First one that comes to mind was back from my school years. A number of my school friends formed a band, as teenagers do, and did actually play a number of gigs around the Birmingham area. Being my size, I’m more than two metres (between 6’7″-6’8″) tall and back then played rugby so was well built, I used to help out with the band, carry the instruments and help work the door, collecting the moneys on behalf of the band.

Before each of these gigs I would have the usual conversations with the venue’s regular door security team and it one key topic would be the age restrictions. Depending on the type of venue this was either 18 or 21. We could not allow anyone in if they were under that age at it could risk the publican’s license. All makes sense, except for the fact I was 17 when we were doing all this. My being there broke the conditions. I guess being my size they just assumed I was old enough. No one ever checked.

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What are some of your favorite bands and what music helps inspire your writing? (I listen to a lot of John Carpenter 😉)

~The first band I ever listened to seriously back in the late 70s was the Who. I saw a documentary about them on TV and liked the music. I badgered my mother after seeing it to take me to a music shop so I could buy an album by them, and came away with a double LP compilation of the first ten years of the band. I absolutely loved it and was hooked on music from that point.

The Who are still a favourite although they have been joined by many others over the years. Here’s a sampling – Rush, Dream Theater, Bruce Springsteen, Yes, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Metallica, Tom waits, Iron Maiden, Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, Pink Floyd, It Bites, Tanita Tikaram, Suzanne Vega

I could go on.

I find any of these excellent music to inspire me when writing. But there are some artists I struggle to listen to when writing. I quite like the surreal pop/rock of They Might Be Giants but as the lyrics are such a stand out part of each of their songs I find they get in the way of my own words.

I’m listening to Neal Morse’s Testimony 2 as I complete this interview. I find his music, his solo work, and in the many bands he’s been part of, absorbing – well maybe his prog work. His non-prog, more singer-songwriter isn’t quite my thing, even though I do like a lot of singer-songwriters.

Why write horror?

~The first adult books I ever read were horror books albeit by accident. I was reading Roald Dahl’s kids books borrowed from the school library and with Christmas coming up my mother decided to buy me a couple as a present. Only she didn’t realize Roald Dahl wrote adult horror stories as well as children’s books and that’s what she bought. I was nine… and I loved them. That was my fate sealed.

Add to this the fact I watched more horror films over the years than I think I can count, most of which were truly terrible, and I have this repository of horror-ness lodged into my brain so I guess it’s natural that when I think of ideas for stories a significant number of them are going to be dark.

Horror also fits well for someone who lives in a country like England. There are just so many places here that seem a little spooky. This country is filled with castles, prehistoric sites like stone circles, Gothic churches – history wherever you look. To me old places naturally go with the idea of ghosts and other supernatural creatures. Just take a look through any of the folk tales from all over Europe and you’ll find a lot of supernatural

The town where I live (Ashby de la Zouch) has hundreds of years of history, traces of which you can see by walking around if you just take the time to look.

That and the other reason – if someone annoys you in life you can write them into the story then make them suffer.

What are some of your favorite horror movies, books, and authors?

~My favourite horror writer has to be Stephen King, the Stand, admittedly not a straight up horror book, being my favourite of his. But add in Misery, It, Carrie, Salem’s Lot, the Shining (plus, plus, plus) and you have an incredible body of work.

But I also love Dean Koontz, Richard Laymon (the Stake is brilliant), Brian Keene, Phil Rickman, Graham Masterton (has to be Tengu or Manitou) and James Herbert (Secret of Crickley Hall, Fog, Rats).

I do tend to find British horror differs a lot from American. As mentioned above I find creepy in history. But a lot of American horror, given the shorter history, has it in people. There’s a lot more tales of teenagers with freaky powers, puberty seemingly being a big bad switch on in US horror, maybe it’s something in the water, and lot more of the hicks in the middle of nowhere horror. The UK doesn’t have enough space to have towns and villages that cut off from the rest of civilization so I don’t think those stories would work here.

With films I have an all-time favourite – the original Halloween. Absolutely brilliant film. I thought Saw was great and have enjoyed the rest of the series although none are a patch on the first. I enjoyed the latest version of It although find it falls short of being a great on one count. It doesn’t have Tim Curry. I think if I’d not seen the TV mini-series and Curry’s performance I would consider it great. Bill Skarsgård was great but Tim Curry is one of my favourite actors.

What inspires you?

~Anything and everything. I know it’s a trite answer but it’s true. I’ve found ideas reading science papers (yes, I’m that sad), history books, visiting odd places, reading about other cultures, antiques I’ve bought at antique fairs (the Intersection is based on an old movie projector), and watching movies, especially bad movies.

My novel the Stairs Lead Down came from one movie session. I was watching a particularly terrible horror movie with my wife and at the end I went on a rant about just how bad I thought it was and how I’d have done it different. So she said, ‘Ok, do it’. Well I went through the plot of the movie (I wish I could remember which one it was) and started making changes. Pretty soon I’d thrown away everything single aspect of the film story – the location (I moved it from the US to the UK), the characters (the original had adults, my leads are teenagers), the basic story (I think it was zombies or something like zombies in the original, mine has ghosts and a necromancer), and pretty much everything else besides. The film, in the end, was a catalyst to get my mind going, and for that I can thank it. Still wish I could remember which film it was, but having watched thousands of horror movies I lose track.

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How do you get past writers block?

~This is a tough one. To be truthful I don’t know. I do know that when I’m not in the mood for it forcing it is a bad idea; or at least with regards ending up with anything publishable. I have a file on my hard drive of random typing. If I’m stuck I open it and start putting words down. Not words in a random sense, I do form them into sentences which tend to be linked. But I don’t worry about characters, plot or anything like that. I just go for stream of consciousness rambling. It’s led to more than one story.

It doesn’t always work, though. When I’m truly stuck I find getting away from the keyboard is the best idea. When it comes to starting a new story, there’s something far easier about doing it with pen and paper. And I find it works even better when I’m not able to do anything other than scribble down thoughts. If I’m in a writing funk and there’s a TV nearby it’s hopeless. I’ll spend an entire evening skimming through YouTube watching total rubbish.

But put me in a car in the middle of nowhere for several hours with a notebook and pens (always take a spare) and great things can happen. I’ve whiled away many hours filling pages with my barely legible scrawl and by the end of these hours usually found I have a new story underway. My current work in progress, a Gothic horror novella called Alabaster started in just such a way two weeks ago.

Why write a YA book and was is hard for that mindset?

~When I was creating the plot for the Stairs Lead Down I wasn’t thinking about writing a ya book. I just wanted to come up with a story I liked enough to try writing. When I’d molded into the plot I liked I found my focus was on a pair of fourteen year old twins. With that focus it felt kind of natural to aim it at young adults.

As for hard, not really. My thoughts about ya fiction is there should be little difference between it and adult fiction, once you take out the obvious no-nos for ya books. So no erotica, no over the top violence or language and all should be good. Well it would as long as the content of the plot isn’t outside the life experience of your average teenager. I’ve often said that (apart from the erotica I mentioned above) the only subject I don’t think would be suitable for younger readers is political intrigue. But I am happy if someone proves me wrong. Young adults are on the cusp of being adults. They should not be treated all that differently, so a good young adult book should be readable by all age groups from then up.

But it’s an odd thing, classifying a book as young adult. My two novellas, the Intersection and a Parallel Life, feature no content more obviously adult than the Stairs Lead Down; maybe the occasional curse word but that’s it. But the main character is a 49 year old accountant and the things that happen to him are in the “odd” category so it probably wouldn’t appeal to a younger reader.

What do you want people to know about you?

~I’m tall. I may have mentioned that – Two metres, one centimetre, or a little over six feet seven in old measure. But I’m friendly, so don’t get scared. And I’m not as pompous as I seem to be.

What scares you?

~I used to say nothing did. But after my wife’s serious illness at the start of this year I know that was just a flippant reply. My biggest fear, one I came too close to experiencing, would be to lose her.

Do you have a personal mantra?

~I have a couple of thing I try to live by. Enjoy life and be nice to people.

I want to thank Mr. Lester for taking the time to answer my questions because there is nothing better for me then getting to probe the minds of the people whose works I enjoy! If you want to learn more, we have included the following links:

@ielester on Twitter

Books:

In the UK

Stairs Lead Down

A Parallel Life

The Intersection

And in the US

Stairs Lead Down

A Parallel Life

The Intersection

 

 

 

Doug Ward: Author and Artist Interview (2018)

Next in my interview series is the amazing author and phenomenal Zombie master Doug Ward. Also part of the #horror family on Twitter at @AuthorDougWard, I have wanted to ask Doug some questions because I am so taken by his art and his books are so fascinating! This is a man who can spin a great yarn about the zombie apocalypse as a parasitic invasion and not just a fictional telling of cannibalism. I so appreciate authors that truly answer questions in books, not just insisting upon the suspension of disbelief! So lets get to it!

You have a BFA in Fine Art, how did you get into writing?

~The event that started me writing was a contest that Mark Tufo (Mark is the author of many books, the Zombie Fallout Series and the Indian Hill Series are a few), had set up. I was really into reading zombie eBooks and Mark said that he would publish the best short stories that he received, in an ebook. I actually encouraged one of my students (Yes, I’m a teacher) and we both wrote for the contest. A few months later, Mark emailed the two of us and explained that he didn’t get enough quality submissions so he couldn’t do the book. He did publish them on his website though; both my and my students work. That’s what inspired both of us to write full length books and self-publish. The story I wrote for the contest was Saving Jebediah; Another True Story of the Zombie Apocalypse.

Why write about zombies? What was their appeal?

~I really thought I’d never read a zombie book. It’s not that I didn’t respect the genre. I watched a lot of zombie movies and loved them. I was also a Halloween kind of guy. What it took was a friend of mine sending me a zombie novel for my birthday. I guess I read it to appease him. Then I read six more… That was only the beginning. I was obsessed. Before that I used to read a lot of history and science. You can see their influence in my work.

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Your parasitic comments are very intriguing, where did you learn about all of them and their ramifications?

~My dad loved science and had a book on parasites called Animals without Backbones by Ralph Buchsbaum. It was all about parasites and their effects on humans. I loved flipping through this book. I didn’t read a lot of it for reasons I will get to in one of your other questions, but the pictures and what I did read was fascinating.
When I started Parasite; The True Story of the Zombie Apocalypse, I wanted explain how it all started, so adding a concrete explanation to the outbreak by using a parasite just seemed a natural fit.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

~I loved Mark Tufo, but some other authors were Brian Keene and J. L. Bourne. Scott Lee has some really cool ideas in his Zombie Off series. It is one of those books that I was actually mad at myself for not thinking about that concept.

In regards to your art, do you have a favorite medium to work in?

~Oil paint is life. I really mean it. It is creamy and blends so well. I’ve tried every other media but with what I can achieve with those buttery oil paints, they are all I want to use. I use the seven layer technique just like the old masters did. It gives a greater feeling of depth and a heightened sense of realism.
I am also doing a lot of computer art lately. I’ve always rendered all of my paintings in Photoshop before drawing them on the canvas, but I can totally understand the digital craze. I like drawing on a Huion digitizer when I do the covers for my eBooks.

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What are some of your favorite styles of art, and any favorite artists?

~I love realism. I can respect the early abstract art movements, but Photorealism is, in my opinion, a true test of craftsmanship. I live for the challenge of creating life-like images. When muscles and bones feel like they jump off of the canvas, it is truly rewarding. That’s why I love the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Probably my favorite artist is Peter Paul Rubens. His compositions are so dynamic and the way he rendered the human form… spectacular. I was walking in the Philadelphia Museum with a friend when I came across my all-time favorite painting by him, Prometheus Bound. I didn’t know it was there. I just stood in that spot and stared at it. Finally, my friends just left me there. Sure, they eventually came back but I could’ve stayed there for much longer.

Favorite art period?

~ Baroque art is so fun and fluid. The way the subjects twist into such dynamic poses creates very dramatic compositions. Because I paint mythology as my subject, it may not come as much of a shock that they also did that. It was a rebirth of mythology and science.

How did you start with mythology and then go into how mythology fell to science?

~The rebirth of mythology and science, as well as the seven layer technique, just screams to be done again. As technology replaces our primitive beliefs, old gods fade from our minds. We no longer knock on wood to drive away spirits but we do put black tape over computer cameras to block peeping hackers. Through technology we have a wonderful future ahead of us unless our inventions prove to be our undoing.

Love your blog comments, remind me a little of Stephen Wright or Carlin. Any favorite comedians?

~Thank you. Steven Wright is one of my favorites. I think he’d love my Ward’s Words. I also liked Sam Kinison. He was so funny. When I first got on Facebook, many years ago, I didn’t know what to write. I didn’t think people wanted to hear about my breakfast or that I was going to work so I started writing jokes. And suddenly, Ward’s Laws and later Ward’s Words was born. I’ve written over 3000 jokes and may have slowed down, but they are still coming.

Lastly Doug, what would you like people to know about you?

~I have dyslexia. It was discovered when I was young but I never let it hold me back. Some people have said my books could use one last edit, and they are probably right, but at least I am out there doing it. I’m writing books. To have a full and rich life, I believe, people should do extraordinary things. Don’t play video games, make them. Don’t read books, write them.
I know, I said not to read my books, but this is what I tell my students. I try to inspire them to go outside their comfort zone and try to do something they only dare to dream of.

I really wish to thank Doug Ward for his very valuable time in speaking with me it has been a true joy! If you would like to learn more about Doug about his works please got to:

https://www.dougward.space/

and at https://fineartamerica.com/art/doug+ward

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Orange (2018) Horror Comic

I ran across this in development new horror comic Doctor Orange and it looked so awesome I asked the man in charge Joseph Duis at @heresystudiosll   to tell us a little about it!

DOCTOR ORANGE Psychological Horror Comic on KICKSTARTER

Doctor Orange Will See You Now

What would you do if you knew you had hallucinations but you didn’t know when they were affecting you?

That is the problem of Suhaila, the protagonist of the upcoming self-contained psychological horror comic DOCTOR ORANGE. Living in suburban Mississippi with her wife and dog, Suhaila’s life is isolated but quiet, and her schizophrenia is generally controlled when she takes her medication. But after carving a jack o’lantern for Halloween – one she names Dr. Orange – she begins having dreams that the doctor – who takes on the persona of a psychotherapist – is coming after her. When she awakens, things aren’t as she left them.

Things go downhill from there. In 22 full-color pages in which nothing is a given, she doubts her senses. Viewing events through Suhaila’s eyes, you won’t know whether she’s hallucinating everything – and is, therefore, a threat to herself and others – or whether a jack o’lantern is really out to harm her and her loved ones. And after a while, you’ll begin to doubt your own senses, as well.

There are only four days until Halloween. What will happen when it arrives?

DOCTOR ORANGE (written, created, and lettered by Joseph Duis; line art by Jose Raul Orte Crespo; colors by Maulana Faris; with a cover by Greg Woronchak and Maulana Faris; and published by Heresy Studios, LLC) is available through Kickstarter on August 14th through September 7th at drorangecomic.com. In addition to the standard PDF and print copies, there are several other rewards, such as a deluxe edition, stickers, art prints, a Dr. Orange latex Halloween mask, and even being drawn into the comic as a psychiatric patient. So check it out today!


Joseph Duis
Owner-operator
Heresy Studios, LLC

This is their site https://www.heresystudiosllc.com/

Kick Starter page https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2088467162/dr-orange-halloween-themed-psychological-horror-on?ref=513117&token=7aa65e3f

This looks amazing so get in now! I for one can not wait to see and read it!

 

 

Kathleen McCluskey (2018) Interview

I have been so lucky to meet so many great authors on Twitter and my next interview is another one of the greats. Kathleen McCluskey author of The Long Fall: Book 1: The Inception of Horror and The Long Fall : In The Midst Of Horror.

@KathleenMcClus4 Kathleen’s Twitter handle is also part of the amazing horror family just like my previous interview with @BlutengelDaemon . We are all great lovers of the genre and all of its aspects. It is my great pleasure to interview her, so lets get to the questions!

  1. Why the horror genre Kathleen?   ~I have always been drawn to stuff that would scare the shit out of me. I don’t know why. My mom and I used to watch Night Gallery and The Twilight Zone when I was a kid. Maybe that has something to do with it. I guess I just like the adrenaline associated with being scared. It’s quite the rush. When I was growing up my mom and dad ran a haunted house at a campground in July. I know, I know Halloween in July? Yep the kids got to trick or treat and then the haunted house for the adults. The locations were always creepy. They really did it fantastic. My father always played a Big Foot character and when I was old enough I played the dead crazy lady outside roaming around. So much fun. I’ve done haunted houses after that for a local amusement park. I do enjoy being scared and scaring people.
  2. When did you start writing?  ~ I wrote a story when I was about eight years old and it was called “The Monday Monster”. It basically was about a monster that lived under your bed. It would bite you on the ankle on Mondays and basically make them suck. LOL. I then wrote for my school newspaper. I wrote a short story once a month for it. It was always horror or thriller based. That was fun. After graduation I went to Penn State University and wrote for their paper once a week. It was articles about local bands. I didn’t last long, I had too much partying to do.
  3. Why the religious theme for your book?  ~ The religious theme for my books. Well, book one is the one with a lot of religion in it. But it also has battles with broad swords, hand to hand combat and an angel war. I wanted to write a vampire story. I wanted to make the main character the very first vampire. I needed to go back to the beginning. I thought about who it could be and came up with Satan’s son. Then I tried to figure out how he became who he became. I had to go all the way back to tell Satan’s story. THE LONG FALL series is about Lucifer. It’s also about his journey from being tossed out of heaven until the apocalypse. I intertwine the stories of Satan and his son. Book 2 is more about Satan’s son named William. Book 3, (soon to come out hopefully) continues with the anti-Christ and finally Book 4 is the apocalypse. They are all written but just the last two need editing.
  4. What are some of your favorite hobbies?  ~ Hobbies huh? Well, I am definitely not the knitting type. HAHAHA. I love to swim, I’m fortunate that my employment allows me to swim about thirty hours a week. I teach autistic and physically challenged children how to swim. On the weekends, when time allows I enjoy cooking and baking. Before it gets too hot here in the spring and summer I enjoy gardening. I put my headphones on with either something like Metallica or Zeppelin playing. I like to read and of course write. I have the type of brain that can’t sit still. I’m always doing something.
  5. What are some your favorite horror films and books?  ~ My all-time favorite horror movie is John Carpenter’s “Halloween”. It is so well done for the shoe string budget that he had. I adore the Michael Myers character. I think it gets a little silly after all the sequels but the first two done by Carpenter…..cinematic gold. I also like “30 Days Of Night”. The vampires in that film are so primitive and predatory. They are EXACTLY what a vampire should be. I loathe the “Twilight” bullshit. Newsflash: Vampires burst into flames in the sunlight. They DO NOT sparkle. LOLOLOLOLOLOL. I do enjoy some horror comedies like “Tucker and Dale VS Evil”. It all depends on my mood. My favorite author is Stephen King. I didn’t like the decade that he got sober and wrote a bunch of crap like “Dolores Claiborne” and “Rose Madder”. Don’t get me wrong I still read them and enjoyed them but they were just a bit preachy for me. He has made a comeback with the “Mr. Mercedes” series, though. I read other authors like Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Anne rice and Dean Koontz to name a few.
  6. Tell our readers a little bit about you.  ~ I am the youngest of five children. I have two older brothers and two older sisters. My heritage is Irish, Czechoslovakian and a dash of American Indian (Apache). I have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and an Associates degree in English. My children are 20 and 17. I have a daughter and a son. I was a platform diver in high school and college. I have lived an adrenaline filled life. I rode horses and motorcycles. I’ve been sky diving a million times. The Human Slingshot and Bungee Jumping are both things I’ve done but only once. I live in the city of bridges and when I was young we would jump off one of the bridges into the river. That’s crazy shit, I’m surprised I’m not dead.
  7. What would your perfect day be?  ~ Oh, my perfect day. I would love to get up and have eggs benedict waiting for me already made. Plus I didn’t have to clean up after it. Have a bloody Mary or two and get a full body massage. Then lounge around my house with my children and man. Just being together and eating and drinking, getting in the hot tub, swimming and laying in the sun. That evening have steaks on the grill and again not have to clean up. Then spend the night away sitting in front of the fire pit drinking a few cocktails and relaxing. Yep, I could use a day like that.
  8. Give us one of your funniest stories.  ~8. A funny story: When my kids were small I had them at a wave pool. They were in tubes and I had my arms, elbow deep into the holes that they were sitting in. Y’know to hold them so they didn’t float away from me. We were waiting for the waves to come on. I was a little hung over so needless to say my lower stomach had the rumbles.  I was what I call “crop dusting” in the pool. I was farting here, farting there. Nobody noticed because I was waist deep in the water. I let a long one out and wouldn’t you know it. Here comes a kid up behind me with goggles on and he screams at the top of his lungs, “I saw you faaawwwttttin’!!” I was horrified… and said, “get away from me kid.” He says it again, louder this time. I must have turned fifty different shades of red. All the people around us in the water were laughing. I wanted to die. I push them away from that mess. After my initial embarrassment went away I cracked up. Sweet Jesus he must have seen the bubbles coming from the bottom of my bathing suit. Every time I think about it I giggle.
  9. Do you have a personal mantra?  ~
    My personal mantra (I have 2) “Never have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.”
    “It is what it is”
    Here are the two links to Kathleen’s books so that you might enjoy them  https://www.amazon.com/Long-Fall-Book-Inception-Horror/dp/1947605038?keywords=kathleen+mccluskey&qid=1533792188&sr=8-2&ref=mp_s_a_1_2
    Book 1
    And https://www.amazon.com/LONG-FALL-Midst-Horror/dp/1983244139?keywords=kathleen+mccluskey&qid=1533792188&sr=8-1&ref=mp_s_a_1_1
    Book 2
    I have also included an excerpt for your reading pleasure!From: THE LONG FALL Book 1: The Inception Of Horror
    Chapter 14 “The Great Deception”

    He pushed Raphael away and staggered out of his tent, Raphael close behind him. He was there to hold up his lord if he was going to swoon; they could not afford to have Lucifer pass out in front of the troops. Blood dripped from Lucifer’s hands as he held his head. Raphael finally got to him, holding his brother up under the arm.
    “I don’t need your fucking help. Don’t fucking touch me.”
    Raphael didn’t listen; he helped his brother, lifting his head and the sight that met his eyes was truly fantastic. Raqael ran over and tried to release Raphael’s grip on Lucifer’s jaw. She again was denied by an unseen entity.
    Raphael, still holding his brother’s face, went to one knee and said, “My beautiful brother, you should see what I see.” He drew his broad sword and said, “Look for yourself, my brother.”
    Lucifer grabbed for the blade of the broad sword, no care of the slicing consequence of grabbing the divine, mighty instrument of war. He pulled the sword towards his face and could see for the first time the symbol of what he would be known for throughout time. Past, present and future generations would fear him even more. His lovely, gorgeous, wonderfully fantastic ram’s horns burst through his skull. Lucifer was shocked at the display before him and gave a boot to his brother Raphael in the middle of the chest.
    He called for Raqael and said, “This is finally my crown for my kingdom. I will be called Lord Lucifer from this moment on by all. Anyone who defies this order will be promptly beheaded. Behold my kingdom and my queen.”

I want to thank Kathleen McCluskey for her kindness in taking the time to talk with us and give us some insight into her process and life!

 

The Arcane

I am writing a novel right now that is nearing completion. The name of it changes daily 😉 but the characters are always the same and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce them and list them so as to make them easier to keep track of when my novel is finished. They are where our myths and legends come from, so without further adieu:
The first group is The Arcane, A race of beings created long before us that collect the souls of mortals, by a superior being known as :
Perdition~ The High One. Controls everything in the universe and can appear as anything she wants, human, female, male, young, old, or from another planet.
Desdiderium/Damnation/Dire~ He is basically Perditions henchmen in three guises. The first is Desdideriun who appears more like a man and is the diplomat/ speaker for Perdition. Damnation is the ultimate warrior and the only thing that can kill an Arcane being. And Dire is the one who looks over all other species in the universe then mortals, mainly animals, and he comes in the shape of any animal he wishes.
Carey/ The Darkness~ He is one of the most powerful Arcane with immense powers.
Rowan~ Whose powers are generated by the stars.
Marcus~ Whose powers are stimulated by water.
Holly~ Whose powers are all fire related.
Skye ~Her powers are more seduction and sexual
Ares ~ Is all about combat and warfare
Jane ~ Collects the souls of poets, artists, and musicians. Perdition made her like a little bet but made her broken.
Marie~ Is a white witch and practices all things like Gaia the Earth mother.
Hecate~ Marie’s sister and a dark witch, her powers are that of the night and she is a Necroscope
Hunter~ Is a white warlock and resembles the fertility gods of old.
Mitch the Faceless~ More on Mitch later, but he will be the bartender without a face.
The rest of my characters are all mortals that have the distinction of falling under the radar of The Arcane who want their souls for a game to see who will reign supreme.
Gabriel~ From Scotland, owns a distillery
Hamish~ A good friend and coworker of Gabe’s, also Scottish.
Christian~ Who loves a woman named Rain. He is a bouncer and an artist.
Rain~ Christians lover and she is a shark conservationist.
Paul~ Sometimes an asshole, but ex football player and running for political office.
Cameron~ Who loves Virginia. Plays for Detroit Lions and wants to become sports commentator
Virginia~ Cameron’s ex lover who survived Hurricane Katrina and is haunted by horrific nightmares.
Samantha~ Who is looking for love and works in Publishing.
Zane~ Architect who brought Gabe into group from Scotland visit.

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