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crimsonThe Crimson Calling by Patrick C. Greene is a suspenseful, fast-paced tale featuring a strong, bad ass heroine, and lots of non-stop action. It puts a new spin on vampire lore by combining the old myths with the modern military.

In a world where just a few hundred vampires secretly remain after the eradication of 1666, Olivia–Liv–Irons is a young woman with unusual military talents who is emotionally tortured by the loss of her child and the man she loved. One day, she is a approached by an ancient alluring vampire with a proposition she can’t refuse.

Now, it rests in her hands to save the good vampires–as well as humankind–from a sect of the evil undead who want nothing more than to rule the world on their own terms. Including turning humans into foodbags. But at the heart of this mission, there lies a secret…

Olivia is a lovable character, strong and independent, yet kind and vulnerable, the perfect combination with her bad ass attitude. There is also an array of interesting secondary characters as well as a villainess readers will love to hate. Intense and entertaining fight scenes between the immortals will satisfy fans of the military/vampire fiction sub-genre. Adding to this mix are the alluring forests and rolling hills of Eastern Europe, as well as erotic descriptions of vampire transformation.

Greene has a gritty writing style that doesn’t shy away from the nastier side of things–and language. His combat descriptions are awesome. At the same time, he does a skillful job in getting into the mind of his young and vulnerable protagonist, showing us her doubts and fears with a caring touch. The ending seems to be open to a sequel so I’m definitely looking forward to read more. Entertaining and recommended!

Find out more on Amazon.

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patrick headshot interviewsAs a toddler, Patrick C. Greene was creating horrors in crayon and magic marker upon every available surface. Not surprisingly, he soon discovered comic books and immersed himself in the fantastic worlds found therein. Horror fiction and films came next, and despite spending nights of terror hiding under covers, he always found himself drawn back to tales of dark fates.

Greene cut his fangs in the screenwriting business but found his true calling in the world of prose fiction of the kind his heroes King, Barker and Koontz create. With the success of his first novel PROGENY, and the upcoming THE CRIMSON CALLING from Hobbes End Publishing, Greene presents a brand of horror as emotional as it is terrifying, as engaging as it is suspenseful.

Living at night, deep in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Greene answers the call of his morbid muse when not enjoying monstrous helpings of horror, kung fu and doom metal.

Connect with Patrick on the net: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Check out The Crimson Calling on Amazon.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Crimson Calling To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A: Centuries after their eradication and the death of their Queen in the Great Fire of London in 1666, the Vampire population now numbers in only the hundreds. A few of the remaining survivors regrouped and a High Council was born. Now a new threat has arrived: modern day military is not only tracking members of the council, they are attempting to create their own vampire soldiers. Enter Olivia Irons. Ex Black Ops. Doing her best to live a normal civilian life, but it never feels right. No family, no friends, and trouble always seems to follow. When the Sanguinarian Council offers her the chance of a lifetime, the biggest risk of all seems like the only path left to choose. How will she answer The Crimson Calling?

Q: What do you think makes a good vampire novel? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: It’s a bit of a balancing act, given that there are so many vampire films and books now. You have to meet certain expectations while defying or reversing others. For me, I’m never going to read a vampire romance novel but they aren’t written for me. For me, it has to be scary.

crimsonThree elements I think are necessary are intelligence on the part of the vampire (s) whether they are pro or antagonist, some sort of relationship between mortals and vamps, and, lastly, some erotic undertones. Vampires have become as much a symbol of sex as of death.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: Most of it was on the fly. I knew there would be a loner recruited by (more-or-less) benevolent vampires. It surprised me that the loner was a young female, as I had pictured a male.

Some times during the process, I could outline a few scenes ahead, but then I had to leave it alone and hope for the best upon finishing that sequence. By the midway point, it basically stream of consciousness. Even as a writer, I don’t like to peek too far ahead.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: I wrote a brief bio for Liv, the kind of thing you might pick up in a conversation with someone you’re stranded in an elevator with for an hour or so. Beyond that I did find myself revising some elements of her but not to the point of deus ex machina, if that makes sense. Sometimes you have to lay down the cards and leave them, see what play off of them.

 

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: With Crimson and my previous novel Progeny, I tried to intersperse exposition-heavy scenes with the more action driven elements of the story, which often means jumping around a bit in the timeline. It’s important to know, for instance, that Olivia is dealing with heavy emotional baggage, but my reasoning was that the source for said baggage need not be tossed right onto the table as one complete package. We all understand loss. We all throw up barriers against its effects. It’s interesting to me to understand not just the loss itself, but the coping strategies as well, through the action, not outside of it. So, though there’s no set formula, I try to create a scene that leaves the reader with a feeling of “Good lord, why’d they do that?” then offer a piece of backstory that serves as a brief respite while giving some clarity while the event is still fresh.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: When reading Ian Fleming James Bond novels as a youth, I found that 007’s globetrotting gave the character a sense of confidence and coolness. I personally tend to have some trepidation about being in places with which I’m not familiar, and Bond was always up on local traditions and customs. So the setting becomes a character inasmuch as it is viewed through the character. When discussing the various international locales of Crimson, I sought to deal with their strangeness rather than their familiarity. Vampire stories need an air of mystery, which is one of the few small differences from zombie stories, for instance, which work better with a sense of familiarity.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: Redemption is the only theme isn’t it? Even if it’s never achieved, we’d all like to have done something differently at some point, or get a shot at a similar situation so we can use what we have learned. A good many characters get a shot at redemption in Crimson and their success levels are wildly divergent.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: Eye of the beholder, simplistic as it sounds. Think of a movie or book that terrified or thrilled you as a child, yet seems almost laughable all these years later. If the creator felt some sense of accomplishment beyond the financial payoff, they can be said to have endeavored in genuine art, by definition.

Editing is an absolute necessity for an author, and all authors should learn to crush their egos underfoot for the sake of the work itself. You need beta readers, you need a sense of neatness and fulfillment throughout your work, and you need to realize that as a creator at any professional level you are giving away that work and letting it become the property of your patrons. So learn to value criticism and outside input. If you can’t cut the fat, be willing to hire someone who will.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Hm. If I’m limited to three I would say third is an enjoyment for at least some part of the process, be it the writing itself or reading the reviews.

Second would be a very thick skin. This plays into the above comment about editing; criticism is unavoidable, unless you’re never putting your work before the public. Unreasonable, even hateful criticism is very likely. Welcome it.

Finally is the habit, discipline or irrational impulse that, like a whispering devil on your shoulder, says you have to do it. Even if it’s only a few sentences, or just a few letters – if you’re not impelled to write something daily with an irresistible force, just forget it. Go back to your smart phone. Some of us are trying to take a serious crack at this and you’re making us look silly.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: Disagree. Writing is like entering worlds with more meaning and adventure and love than anything you’ll find in reality. You can enter this world essentially at will and bring the essence of its joy or sorrow or strangeness back with you and cloak yourself in it. You can move people, and that’s a gift not a curse.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: Of course I read Stephen King’s On Writing, and of course I recommend it. I don’t know if they still print that big ass Writers Market manual every year, but if not you can track down copies pretty easily, and they always have several articles about the process from famous and successful writers. I recommend those.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: I would say to all those solitary writers out there languishing on obscurity or oppressive isolation – you are not alone, clichéd as it sounds. You’re tethered to me and a million other world makers, and we are feeding one another.

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Front_Cover_Image_The_ConveyanceHow far would you go for love?

The question has always fascinated me, and during my years as a child therapist, I witnessed to what lengths some people will go to own love or hide love or, in the extreme cases, destroy love.

In other words, love contains a measure of moral responsibility, a duty to protect others from the potential harm of it.

The Conveyance addresses the issue of moral responsibility on several levels, and that’s the story—the real story. Not monsters or mayhem or suicide, but relationships.

Love.

As I mentioned, I’d dealt with the moral responsibility of love as a therapist. While fascinating, as a speculative fiction novelist, I burned to take the issue of moral responsibility to the limit.

That’s the point where the “what if” questions usually start. My books have always begun with “what if?”

What if a bunch of bigots were confronted with the fact a black man was one of the strongest forces of good in our world became the foundation for Forever Man.

Revelation arose from, “What if an atheist were confronted with the irrefutable fact that God exists?”

But for the first time, when I was formulating my approach for The Conveyance, the “what if” failed me. I couldn’t find the story’s voice with “what if” when I knew from the start that something had already happened; a decision had already been made. The forces of plot and motivation were already in motion. “What if” didn’t matter as much. I was stuck.

To get out of this jam, I used an old therapy trick on myself. It’s called “empty chair.” A version of it gets used in The Conveyance when Dr. Brad Jordan asked his patient, Doug Belle, to talk to a doll as if it were his mother. To get past my block, I sat next to an empty chair and “debated” with myself; I spoke to the empty chair pretending the character of Brad Jordan were there, and really grilled him. I let my thoughts fly, didn’t pause, and eventually got mad. That’s when Brad came up with “it’s not what if, dammit, it’s how far!”

That little spark, hidden under layers of my own psyche, jumped out at me.

It wasn’t “what if Brad were confronted with a choice about moral responsibility?”

Instead, it was “how far would someone go for love, and how would he/she/they respond to the moral responsibility of love?”

Love of self, love of family…love of species.

On the surface, The Conveyance is a horror/sci-fi thriller, filled with murders, conspiracies, and violence. The heart of the story—the place where the blood flows and the excitement thrives—is about the moral responsibility of love, and how far people will go for love.

And as with life, not all of the outcomes are good.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Brian W. Matthews’s latest book is The Conveyance, a horror/science fiction novel about a child therapist who uncovers a secret long kept hidden form the world. Together with his friend, police detective Frank Swinicki, he doggedly follows a trail of murder and madness, eventually exposing a sinister conspiracy that threatens the existence of the human race. The Conveyance can be purchased directly from the publisher at www.journalstone.com or from Amazon.  

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Author photo Q Island ReleaseRussell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching Chiller, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and The Twilight Zone, despite his parents’ warnings. Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn’t make things better. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida.

After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight. He has written the paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker and Q Island. He has two horror short story collections, Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness. His next novel, The Portal, releases in 2016.

His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”

Visit his website at http://www.russellrjames.com and read some free short stories.

Follow on Twitter @RRJames14, Facebook as Russell R. James, or drop a line complaining about his writing to rrj@russellrjames.com.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Q Island. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

A: A virus that turns people into psychopathic killers breaks out on Long Island, New York. The government drops a quarantine and no one can leave. Melanie Bailey and her autistic son, Aiden are trapped there. Aiden becomes infected, but does not get sick. In fact, his autism gets better.  She realizes he may be the key to more than one cure, if shje can get him off the island. She has to get him past the crazed infected, past the government troops, and out of the hands of a gang leader who has his own designs on a boy who may be the cure.

Q: What do you think makes a good thriller? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

QIsland72webA: The first is, you must have good characters, ones that people can connect and empathize with. If the reader doesn’t care what happens to the hero, there is zero tension when he is put in danger.

In no particular order after that, a thriller has to move. No navel-gazing introspection, no four-page back story, no meandering conversations. Every chapter, every paragraph lives to advance the story. Then, thriller readers want a roller coaster with more downward rushes then upward pulls. I also like a thriller to have plenty of twists, plenty of “Oh wow!” reveals that sent the hero in a different, untraveled direction.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I am a discovery writer, seat-of-the-pants writer, organic writer, whatever you want to call it. I start with a situation, then I try to have some kind of plausible ending in mind. Then I create the main characters with some pretty broad brush strokes and start writing. Everything kind of blossoms as I write. About two-thirds of the way through, I have to go back and construct an outline so I know how everything is fitting together and that the timeline makes sense.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: Melanie Bailey went through several transformations. She starts out the story weak and dependent on her husband, a jackass stockbroker who gets trapped on the other side of the quarantine. She’s all alone with her special needs son and it overwhelms her. But she gets stronger through the story as she realizes she has no safety net, and if her son is to survive, only she will make that happen. Early readers didn’t think she grew enough, or couldn’t see the turning point in her life, so I had to go back and add several scenes and change others.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: There are villains galore in Q Island. A lot of readers tell me that the uninfected are more scary than the infected. One of them is Paul, an oddball survivalist who lives in Melanie’s condo complex. The people turn to him in their hour of need, and the power most certainly goes to his head. I’ve seen lots of examples where people are put in charge of something and they turn all Napoleon. I amped that up and let Paul’s sadistic streak bloom. You’ll love to hate him.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: If I got to a section where it bored me to write it, I guessed it would bore someone to read it as well, so I cut it out or shrank it. Q Island also follows a few different parallel stories, that eventually all intersect, so I had several people who could encounter something amazing and I could pick who’s turn it was to get riveting. I think that read better than having one point of view person who experienced every adventure. That just starts to feel unrealistic after a while.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A:Setting almost sank the manuscript. I selected Long Island because it was large and relatively easy to isolate. A tunnel, a few bridges, a few ferries. Close them and the only way out is swimming. But then I had to do the world building in the post-Paleovirus version of the island. I wanted it to be more realistic than a lot of post-apocalyptic works are. That meant I needed to answer a lot of questions like will the mainland still supply electricity? The world won’t let them starve to death, so how does food and gasoline and medicine get through quarantine? Some businesses will disappear, like the mom-and-pop store making gourmet dog treats. How will those people live? Some jobs have to stay filled, like water treatment operators and police. Who pays them when there is no economy generating money in the zone? The whole thing seemed unmanageable and I set the manuscript aside. Later I read some other post-apocalyptic stories that got it right, and I was inspired to get the story rolling again. I think I did pretty well with it in the end.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: I don’t have a theme when I start a story. One usually surfaces. Sacrifice is about the bonds of friendship. Black Magic is about the strength of family. I really don’t notice the theme until I review the final product. I think more authors have theme running subconsciously when they write than people doing literary analysis want to believe.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: Wow. Can I answer something that deep? To me, art is personal. “Here’s an expression of my life and experience and inspiration.” It is made with little to no assessment of whether it will appeal to anyone else. It touches the heart of the creator. Commercially viable work is something that touches the hearts of the masses. An editor, understandably, wants the latter. That’s his job. In my experience with Don D’Auria at Samhain, and editor and a writer can collaborate and make certain that the finished work tells the story the writer wants in a way people would be driven to read. If an editor wants a writer to turn the whole story upside down, the writer should probably find someone else more aligned with the initial creative vision that drove the work.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Number One is drive. I remember watching a politician mount a very low energy bid for the presidential nomination, and reporters wondered if he really wanted the job all that much. He later dropped out of the race. Successful people in any profession need to have that drive to do the work to win. Authors have to have it by the barrelful, because they face a much higher failure rate, harsher criticism, and delayed rewards because publication, and any positive feedback, may be years from the moment the story was finished.

Number Two is being ready to improve. You have never mastered the craft. In the same way that athletes are always training, and golfers sometimes call in a coach to rebuild their swing, a writer needs to always be exploring ways to improve what they create. New, often unpublished. writers who prickle at constructive criticism likely won’t ever sell a thing. To apply and paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we need to be free to doubt our own infallibility.

Number Three, sorry to say, is luck. There are many good authors out there without publishing contracts. An editor had a bad day, a manuscript file was deleted accidentally, the work’s genre is stone cold this month, the writer missed the open call posting. There are a million different reasons good things stay on writers’ hard drives. That is why it is so important to scroll back up and make sure that you have Number One covered. The more you work, the more you submit, the more you publicize, the more the odds turn in your favor that the right opportunity will be there for your work.

See how I left out talent? You can be successful without it. (I’m skipping listing famous names here.) But without the top three above, you can’t be successful, even with it.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: True, but it is homework in a subject that you enjoy.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: Any aspiring author who hasn’t read Stephen King’s On Writing needs to close their laptop, buy it, and read it cover to cover, twice. I had great experiences with the Gotham Writer’s Workshop classes that are held online. But all classes are dependent of the skill of the instructor and the participation and caliber of the students.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: If you have the itch within you that says you must write, you have no choice. It will not go away if you ignore it. It will irritate you for years, even decades, and until you scratch it, it will offer no relief.

Just start. Sit and write. Read good writing. Sit and write some more. Do not give up, do not be discouraged. Since man first painted pictures on cave walls, some of us have been driven to share stories with the tribe. That is the DNA that has been passed down to you. Embrace it, and enthrall others.

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authornovellaQ: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Devil’s Engine. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it? 

A: Thanks! It’s really one of those “couple of curious kids start poking around the wrong place” kind of tales. In this case it involves three teenagers and an abandoned – or rather deliberately forgotten – train shed they find at a Hudson rail yard, and how they inadvertently awaken a sleeping bit of diabolical train technology from the 1930s. If you’re like I was when I was a kid, you’re almost genetically programmed to do the stupidest things…

One of the frequent ways I come up with stories is by simply going out to places and meeting people and seeing what connects. One day I was out biking past the Metro North repair shops at Croton Harmon and spotted an old neglected rail shed which got me thinking . . . ‘what if something was walled up in there? What would it be?’ An old steam engine of course. Which then got me thinking about the somehow menacing-looking ‘Commode Vanderbilt’ locomotive model I’d spotted at the Transit Museum shop at Grand Central Terminal not long before. From there it all fell together. I grew up with a love of trains (courtesy of my father) and snooping around abandoned places, so it all it needed was the ‘what if . . .?’ applied to it.

Q: What do you think makes a good horror story? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: I’ll give it a shot. 1) Always tell a good story. 2) Always make your characters believable and engaging. Make your reader forget he’s reading. 3) Be original. The overriding one of course is #1. And as Joseph Campbell said, the key to any good story is “Trouble. Trouble. Trouble.”

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I never plot anything. I’m a firm believer in Robert Frost’s dictum: ‘No surprise the author, no surprise the reader’. Besides, it’s much more fun to let the story tell itself and see where it goes. Pacing and plot twists is where rewrites come in, but more often than not if you’re being sincere about your process, you’ll catch it yourself. If the story starts feeling flat, it already is. Remember: Trouble trouble trouble.

Devils Engine CoverQ: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: Well, there’s arguably three protagonists in this story, though I guess Trent Rhodes – the high-school kid who sets things in motion – is the pivotal one. On one level he’s your typical white suburban rebel, edgy but privileged. His best friend is the opposite – black but artsy and having to work for a living, and the girl unlike the other two; pretty shy and smart.

As to the writing process I’ve developed for myself, it’s rather ad hoc – I develop a digital scrapbook file while developing each story where I throw in bits of dialogue, random ideas and concepts. The characters tend to develop organically from there. Not sure I can explain how, though. It just sort of coagulates.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: In this case it was dreadfully simple: unstoppable juggernaut. Based on historic steam engine. Toss in pseudo-scientific ‘Philadelphia Experiment’ technology with my version of ‘Quantum Occultism”. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: Oof. The best thing I can say is repeat what I said above – follow your instinct. If it feels flat then it probably is. If you’re not sure then try reading it aloud, either to yourself or to someone. That often reveals the weak spots, like run-on sentences or parts that drag. When in doubt, have something bad happen.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Observation and research. Whenever possible I like to experience things firsthand – like in this case standing there studying an old train yard; listening, smelling, absorbing. Get out of the house and explore – there’s a whole world out there to experience and that tactile knowledge will translate into your stories. When I bring that all back into the story the trick is to see it in your mind – see yourself there – then transcribe that for the reader. If it’s not real to you it sure as heck won’t be real to the reader.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: I never know what the theme is at the beginning of the story – for me it always starts with a title and a few lines describing anything from a simple concept to a scene. But there are typical themes I suppose – dabbling in forces out of our control, the mysteries of science and magic and what happens when they cross over into each other’s territory, the ability for us to manipulate our own realities and ultimately, life and death.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: That’s an elusive one. I would have to say that art is being exploratory and discovering new territories (or reimagining them at least) whereas craft is more about discipline and execution. A good writer should embrace and balance both I think. As to editing? I would argue a good editor is critical to the writing process. By nature most creative people tend to be self-indulgent and an editor will see that creation and polish off the rough edges. They’ll make that sucker shine. They see things a writer is often blind to – typos, plot holes and redundancies. On the other hand, if your editor is butchering your story to turn it into something for mass market appeal, it’s time to find a new one. I’ve been fortunate in this regard; I’ve worked with several who really refined the story in a way I never would have achieved by myself. Sure, you can be egotistical and run around screaming “Not MY BABY! Never!” but you probably won’t end up a very good writer.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Sincerity, originality and spinning a tale that draws me in to the point of forgetting myself.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: I disagree. (Typically) Homework is something somebody else forces upon you to do. Writing is something you choose to do, or are at the very least compelled to do by an inner drive. To me at least, writing is a blast. Homework a headache. I was a lousy student.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: One editor put me onto a book that was immensely helpful “Self-editing for Fiction Writers”by Renni Browne & Dave King  – invaluable for training yourself to avoid rookie mistakes. And of course Stephen King’s “On Writing” is excellent, though I don’t fully agree with everything in it. But at the end of the day his main point is really the best – youlearn how to write by writing. If you don’t focus on that all the workshops and books and sites aren’t going to help you.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: My own personal thing: write for yourself and write your own stories, not someone else’s. Find that inner voice that is you and you only. Forget market trends, popular genres and all that BS – strike out on your own new path and take us with you, that’s your job as an author.

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About the book:

The Devil’s Engine is a YA horror novella about three curious teenagers who discover a mysterious train born in the shadows of occult World War II research. 

Author’s bio:

Robert J. Stava is a writer who now lives in the lower Hudson Valley just north of NYC, apparently not far from that half-imaginary village he sets so many of his stories in, Wyvern Falls. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and after pursuing a degree in Fine Arts, wound up making his career in advertising at Y&R and J. Walter Thompson in NYC. He went on to become a multimedia Art Director and later as Creative Director ran the 3d Media Group at Arup, an international UK-based design and engineering company before catapulting into the wild world of writing horror fiction.

He is the author of the novels At Van Eyckmann’s Request and The Feast of Saint Anne, and his first published short story “Municipal Lot #9” appeared in issue 017 of Sanitarium Magazine. Three of his other short stories, “Blynd Haus”, “The Anteater”, and “The Dying Dream of Major Andre” will be featured in anthologies later this year by Dark Chapter Press, Grinning Skull Press, and Legends of Sleepy Hollow, respectively. The third novel in his Hudson Horror series, By Summer’s Last Twilight, is due out in autumn of 2015.

He is also author and designer of Combat Recon: 5th Air Force Images from the SW Pacific 1943-45 (Schiffer Publishing, 2007), a historical account based on his great uncle’s service as a combat photographer during World War II.

Visit his author site: www.robertstava.com

The official Wyvern Falls feature site: www.wyvernfalls.com

You can follow him on Twitter: @robertstava

Link to book purchase page: http://muzzlelandpress.storenvy.com

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Bucelarii - CopyHow many of us (including you) have time to sit and write for endless hours every day? Chances are, very few of us are full-time writers. I’m willing to bet that 70 to 90% of the people writing every day are people trying to make a career of it while still keeping their day job.

But, like any other “second job”, writing is something you need to approach with professionalism and dedication.

We’ve all heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hours” rule: to become an expert at anything, you need to put in about 10,000 hours. Well, if you sat down and wrote every day for 8 hours a day, that’s 1,250 days of writing–or nearly 3 ½ years.

I’m willing to bet most people only get about an hour per day–let’s say TWO, just to be generous. At 2 hours per day, you will need 5,000 days to become an expert. Given days off, weekends, and days when you just can’t write, that’s approaching 15 years! 15 years of writing to become an expert!

Of course, you don’t NEED to become an expert to do well at writing. But do you get where I’m going with this?

To become “good” at writing, it takes time–and a lot of it. You may not need 15 years to be a good writer, but it’s not going to happen overnight.

The secret to good writing: writing every day.

Regular practice makes both “perfect” and “permanent”. It’s a cycle of awesome: the more you write, the better you become, and the more you can write, so the better you can become.

But how are you going to reach that “better” and “more” stage? By regular, daily practice.

It’s all about putting in the time, every day, rain or shine, hell or high water. The only way to ensure that it happens is to make it a part of your day.

Some people HATE making schedules. They think it’s trying to force creativity or put it into a box. To them, I say, “Perhaps, but…”

I write for a living (marketing, blogging, advertising, etc.). It’s a creative profession, but far less creative than fiction writing. The fact that I write for a living (along with all of my other activities) means I am already spending time at my computer ALL DAY LONG. To sit down and keep writing fiction isn’t easy.

But that’s where the writing schedule comes in handy. I know that I’ll be finished with my regular work at a certain time of day, so I have X number of hours to organize in order to be productive. It’s a simple matter of choosing a slot of an hour or two and sitting down to write at that time.

Not everyone will have a life that’s neat and tidy. We don’t all work 9-5 jobs (I don’t!) where we can clock in and clock out. But that doesn’t matter! You still need to MAKE time to write in your schedule, no matter how busy you are. You may lose sleep, miss parties, get less TV/gaming time, or even have to spend less time with your family (sucks, but it may necessary).

How much is your “second job” as a writer worth to you? How much are you willing to sacrifice to make it work? If you’re anything like the successful authors in the world–such as Stephen King–you’ll make the time to write every day!

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The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

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andy

Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Andy’s first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website (http://www.andypeloquin.com) is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet.

He can also be found on his social media pages, such as:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndyPeloquin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andyqpeloquin

www.linkedin.com/in/andypeloquin/

https://plus.google.com/100885994638914122147/about

https://www.amazon.com/author/andypeloquin

https://www.facebook.com/andrew.peloquin.1

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Demon cover brown-reducedThe Dreaming Demon is an atmospheric 14,000 word dark fantasy novella, inspired by the classic works of Haggard, Howard, and Lovecraft. My inspiration for this story came from the disappointment of reading too many formulaic modern adventures where ‘a secret that will shake the world’ is uncovered. I have always much preferred reading the classic old adventure tales, and was yearning for a return to this age of storytelling. In writing this novella my aim was to gently regress the reader back in time from the present day to the golden age of adventure, through the memories of the characters. This leads to the uncovering of a tale of adventure with a dark underbelly, as the protagonist gradually realises that something sinister lies behind the expedition he has been persuaded to undertake into the jungle. My work generally involves the uncovering of darkness lurking beneath the surface of our world, although the style of storytelling in the Dreaming Demon is a slight departure for me.

About the Book

In 1592 the monk Ferdinand de Castile set out for the New World to preach to the natives in the jungle without knowing about their Gods and the power they hold. All that survives is his journal, the ramblings of a tortured soul on the fringes of sanity, recounting tales of a forgotten city long since lost to the rain forest. Now an expedition led by Sir Albert is to attempt to rediscover this city and its secrets. What mysteries and horrors led to the city being deserted by its inhabitants and engulfed by the jungle? Why is the beautiful but enigmatic Lady Athelton so intent on following in the monk’s footsteps? Will the mission lead to the discovery of a city paved with gold and jewels, and fame and fortune for all involved? Or does something more sinister lie in wait in the depths of the jungle?

Alex Avrio

About the Author

Alex Avrio was born in England to Greek parents, and has spent her life living in both Athens, Greece and various places in the UK. Alex currently lives with her husband in Newcastle upon Tyne. Alex has always been a keen writer, but waited until she completed her PhD in e-business before finally realising that writing was her calling. She mainly writes in the Dark Fantasy genre, where dark forces or supernatural powers lurk beneath the surface of our world, unknown to the general population. In addition to The Dreaming Demon, Alex also has two novels in the pipeline, which are due for release in 2015.

Website  / Excerpt / Amazon / Smashwords 

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