Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

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.


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!


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?



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





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Night Terror 2Title: Night Terror
Author: Jeff Gunhus
Publisher: Seven Guns Press
Pages: 400
Genre: Supernatural Thriller/Horror
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Ten years after her abduction and near-sacrifice to the Source, Sarah Tremont struggles to be a normal teenager. As much as she’s tried to suppress the power inside of her, it’s grown dangerously strong and has drawn the attention of those who want to possess her power for themselves.

The nightmare that she thought was long over starts again as powerful forces descend upon Prescott City to seek her out. With her parents and Joseph Lonetree’s help, Sarah must stand up to an evil much more powerful than the one she faced in the caves a decade earlier. But in the end, she discovers the greatest danger might come from the power living inside of her.

First Chapter:

Charlie Winters didn’t scream. Not because the pain had stopped, because it hadn’t. Every nerve in his body was still on fire, bursting with electric signals to his brain that the bag of meat, sinew, and bone that was supposed to protect it was being systematically destroyed. Pound by pound, his flesh was eaten. Ounce by ounce, his blood was guzzled down.

His screams stopped only because his vocal cords were raw and bloody and had ceased to function. None of the dozen or so attackers had bothered to silence him when they started the feast, and Charlie had screamed and screamed until he could do so no more.

Even with his throat filled with blood, he still tried to cry out, expelling a spray of red mist. The men feasting near his head enjoyed this and breathed in the vapors of his bloody exhalation. One of the men’s thick fingers dug into Charlie’s left eye socket and scooped out his eyeball, giving a quick yank to pop it loose from the strand of nerves attached to it. Charlie felt another man put his lips around the empty socket and suck hard at the juices inside his head. Nails clawed at and then ripped off the small pad of meat on his cheek, a delicacy on ten-year-old boys as much as it was on suckling pigs.

Charlie closed his eyes and begged for death.

An hour earlier he had been a regular boy, just like anyone else.

But then again, he knew that wasn’t really true. He’d never been like anyone else. And now it had finally cost him.

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Galanti, Donna 2 (1)Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.

Website: www.ElementTrilogy.com
Blog: http://www.elementtrilogy.com/blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767306.Donna_Galanti

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, A Hidden Element. What was your inspiration for it?

A: A Hidden Element is book two in the Element Trilogy. The novel that I was stumped on…and a dream. My readers asked for a sequel and I said, never! Then one day I woke up with a vision of that second book. I dropped the psychological suspense novel I had over-plotted and was stuck on, and got to work right away on the sequel. There’s a third and final one planned out, A Healing Element.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Caleb lives an oppressed life. He has sons he can’t be a father to, he can’t choose who he loves, and he must carry out despicable acts just to survive. Yet Caleb finds he is pushed to the wall even further and must risk the very things he desires to save those he loves. Caleb is also a Watcher in a way, and Watchers are some of my favorite characters to write. Read an article I wrote about this theme.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I wrote this novel in a Write a Novel in 9 Months Class. We met once a week and it kept me accountable to get the story down in a certain time frame. One challenge was completely re-working some of the chapters to be in different voices from the original draft. I had to critically review each scene and really decide which character’s point of view was best to tell that scene.

?????????????????????????????????????????????Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I look at each chapter as a short story in itself. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end – and I love ending my chapters on cliffhangers that raise a question and (hopefully) beg the reader to keep turning the pages.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: Each day I sit down is like starting with a blank page all over again, so yes, there is some anxiety. The day before I try to finish writing in the middle of a scene or paragraph, and not end a chapter. This way I can easily re-read the scene’s intro and jump back into finishing it.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: There are many days each week that my alarm is set for 4:30am. Early morning hours are my best writing time when the skies are dark and the world is asleep – and my mind is not yet filled with the details of daily life. During the school year my day ends at 3:30pm when I pick my son up from school but I have a very understanding husband! I often spend a weekend day writing all day at my favorite spot in my local Wegman’s Café.

Q: How do you define success?

A: To me, success in writing is continuing to learn the writing craft, add it to my expanding toolbox, and apply all I learn along the way and see the fruits of that labor. Success in writing can also only truly come when you let go – let go of your ego that is. I believe that this is the biggest reason why I am published, have a wonderful agent as my champion, and have four books coming out in the next year. And this is the biggest reason I see writer’s fail because they do not accept criticism and are not willing to do the hard work to make their writing better. To succeed you cannot think your writing is perfect or that your story can’t change. You cannot take it personal when a developmental editor tears apart your manuscript for you to re-work. I love it! I am like – bring it on! Help me be a better writer. Why? Because I want to write a good book and then a better one and a better one. This writing business is hard. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. This writing business is not going to be easy – it’s going to be worth it!

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: Every writer has times when they hit lows in their writing and think, I can’t do this! Every time I debate whether I should be a writer and tell myself that I should just update my resume and get a real full time job with an actual weekly paycheck so I can support my family better – I remember how I sat down and wrote my debut novel A Human Element without knowing anything about writing a book. And I remember how it came from my heart and came from the deep places inside me where I most love, where I most hurt.

And I know that no matter how much I think I suck at times – I KNOW THAT I AM A TRUE STORYTELLER. And this is what I was born to do. And if you think that, then that’s what you need to follow. No matter how much you suck at times. No matter if others tell you that your writing sucks. Don’t let the negative thoughts – or negative people – stop you from telling your stories. We need your stories. We need to tell our stories. Be the true storyteller you are. Visit my Writers Corner for inspiration and resources to help you keep writing.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Yes! If we didn’t have demons chasing us to write, why would we? Knowing what I know now about being an author I have to wonder if I would have gotten in this business at all. If someone told me all I would have to go through to get here I would have said “I can’t do that! It’s too hard and too long!” I’m grateful I was ignorant about it all when I started.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: I truly believe that something wonderful can come of something that threatens to break your spirit. I started writing books to survive the grief of my mother’s death. She died from cancer five years ago. But here’s the thing. If she were alive I would not have finished writing my first book – or any book. I would not be getting published. I took care of her in the final moments and when she passed away I knew I had to make my dream come true. For in passing away my mom gave me her own gift – the gift to follow my dream of becoming an author.

So every once in a while I say these words out loud. “Thank you, Mom.” I let them hang in the air like a gift to her. She defined who I am and who I hope to be. And she was always my #1 champion and now I have be my own champion – like all of us writer so. So, I may have started writing books from grief but eventually my grief turned to peace and then joy at discovering what I love to do. Be a storyteller.


Evil lurks within…

When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so?


“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall 

“Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath 

“Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector


Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element: http://amzn.to/1p1YD1o

Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element: http://amzn.to/1mNcyCO


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Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and the forthcoming Joshua and The Lightning Road.

Galanti, Donna 2An avid reader as a child, Galanti grew up in a nurturing environment, immersed in books such as The Hobbit, Little House in the Big Woods, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of The Mountain, Call of the Wild and White Fang. “My favorite author was Roald Dahl and my favorite book of his was Danny the Champion of the World,” says Galanti, whose dark imagination ran wild from the start.

From her early years in England to her later work in Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer, Galanti always dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote her first murder mystery screenplay at the tender age of seven. She had a career in writing for marketing and communications and ran her own resume writing service, but it wasn’t until her mother died five years ago that she began writing novels out of her grief. Eventually, that grief turned to peace, when she fully realized what it was she truly loved to do: becoming a storyteller. In addition to being a full-time author, Galanti also works part time as a freelance copywriter for an advertising agency.

“I write from the dark side with a glimpse of hope. I am drawn to writing the hero’s journey – more so the tormented hero, and tormented villain. I enjoy creating empathy for both by blurring the lines between good and evil,” states the author, whose first two books in The Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element (Imajin Books, August 2014) are both full of murder and mystery with a dash of steam, and both have their own tormented hero and villain. “I slay my own demons through my writing – and I highly recommend it!” she says.

A Human Element, just released by Imajin Books, is the thrilling, unrelenting page-turner story of Laura Armstrong. Her friends and family members are being murdered and, despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown, where she eventually unravels a terrifying secret that binds her to the killer.

The book has already garnered excellent praise from New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and international bestselling author M.J. Rose.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]Galanti lives in an old farmhouse – sadly, with no ghosts – with many fireplaces where she often curls up to create her page-turners. Other times she works in her office overlooking the woods. Throughout the year she meets weekly with a women’s writing group at a café where they write together and share advice and their success stories.

“When I am creating a new book I love to sit outdoors overlooking the woods with a pen and notebook and handwrite my ideas. My thoughts are slowed down this way as my brain connects to pen in hand, and it opens my mind up to brainstorm,” says the author, describing her creative process. “There is nothing more freeing creatively to journal story ideas and throw all sorts of ‘what if?’ questions out there to find the kernel of a good story you want to pursue. Then I create character worksheets and type up a ten page synopsis of the book. I do all this before I write that first word of the story. And I always create a title first! It’s what drives my inspiration for the story.”

Galanti began writing A Human Element seventeen years ago from a vision she had while driving to work one day. She wrote two chapters and shelved them for over a decade. When she finally decided to continue the story, she wrote Monday through Friday from 4:30am to 6:30am. After seven months she typed THE END.

All writers have their stronger and weaker points, and for this author, revision is her favorite process. That’s where she can make her story shine. “Knowing how important this process is has been one of my strong points,” she says. “There are many layers to a story to be found after you write that first draft, and that’s what I love to do: peel back the layers.” One area she struggled in for a long time was to slow down her writing. She can be a very fast writer, creating pages and pages of words that often would need to be trimmed down. She has since then learned to slow down her writing and craft her words with care as she writes them, so she doesn’t have to spend so much time on revision.

In an era when small presses, the good, the bad and the ugly, abound, Galanti’s experience has been nothing but positive. “My experience with Imajin Books has been amazing!” she says of her Canadian-based publisher. “Imajin Books is dedicated to working with me to help my books succeed. The owner, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, is a bestselling author in her own right.” Imajin Books was very responsive and provided in-depth editorial guidance as well as marketing plans, not to mention fantastic book cover designs. The publishing industry is notorious for being slow-moving, but in the case of The Element Trilogy, Imajin Books made the process quick and efficient.

As with many authors, Galanti finds starting a new book most challenging. The first blank page can be a scary thing, until the story takes over, propelling your main character into his new unbalanced world toward the ultimate end. However, being an author can be extremely rewarding. “When it comes to readers, there is nothing more thrilling than reading wonderful reviews about your book that you spent months, or years, creating and shaping,” she says. “It’s from that private place in your heart, where you love the most – and hurt the most – that you pour out pages to show the world. And it’s all worthwhile when you discover that others have been touched by your story, just as you were touched while you were writing it. Second, it’s rewarding to pay it forward to up-and-coming authors. There is a wonderful feeling that comes from speaking to writers about your publishing journey and sharing advice and techniques on how to find success as an author, and hope that they do.”

Galanti is currently working on the idea for the third and final book in The Element Trilogy called, A Healing Element, and gearing up to release book 2, A Hidden Element, on August 28th. A native of upstate New York, the author now lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle—preferably with ghosts.

Connect with the author on Facebook Twitter and her Blog.

This profile was originally published in Blogcritics


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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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Please welcome my special guest, debut fantasy YA author D.W. Raleigh! His novel, Shiloh’s True Nature, has just been published by Hobbes End Publishing

D.W. Raleigh was born in the Delaware Valley and has spent most of his life in that region. He has attended multiple colleges and universities collecting several Doug Raleigh Picdegrees, including an M.A. in Philosophy. After toiling away for many years in various unfulfilling jobs, he began to realize that what he really wanted to do was write. Scribbling down ideas and little short stories he eventually came up with something he wanted to share with the world. Thus, Shiloh’s True Nature was born. D.W. currently resides in Newark, Delaware with his longtime love, Judy, and their two cats, Lovie and Cheepie.

In this interview, the author talks about his inspiration for the book, his creative process, writer’s anxiety, and the meaning of success, among other things. 

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Shiloh’s True Nature. What was your inspiration for it?

A: Several years ago, I was compiling a list of mythological concepts I found interesting in hopes it would inspire me to write something.  In my research, I came across two books from the late Joseph Campbell; The Power Of Myth & The Hero With A Thousand Faces.  These works really inspired me and provided a blueprint for successful storytelling.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Shiloh Williams is highly inquisitive…in good and bad ways.  His thirst for knowledge and an understanding of his environment is admirable.  However, he also finds himself in dangerous situations because of his need to know.

Q: What was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I think it took a couple of years to outline and then another couple to write and refine it.  I don’t really know how others construct their novels, but I have a very specific building process.  I create a short outline with the basic story structure.  I then continue adding things until I am able to form chapters.  The process goes on and on until the entire book is completely outlined.  In the case of STN, it went on until the outline was about 50,000 words.  So, when I sat down to write the book, I converted the 50,000 word outline into a 90-100,000 word novel.

shiloQ: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I do so by keeping that goal in mind.  As I was outlining the book, I made sure each chapter had specific, relevant goals and ended in such a way as to make the reader want to continue reading.  Was I successful? I think so, but only time will tell.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: No, I don’t experience anxiety…it’s more like what you feel like when you were a kid and had to do your homework.  It’s just hard to get started sometimes…you know you need to do it and you want to, but there are so many other things you could be doing.  I usually combat the feeling by reading the last few paragraphs of what I last wrote.  By the time I get to where I left off, I’m where I need to be mentally.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: I have no set writing schedule.  I write when the mood strikes.  Otherwise, if I force myself, I end up not liking what I’ve written.

Q: How do you define success?

A: The minimum definition of success for me will be to make a living from my writing.  I am proud of the fact that I’ve created something that has been published…and I certainly won’t consider it or myself a failure if it doesn’t sell millions of copies, but it would be nice if it did.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: It’s tough to deal with a negative situation like a lack of support.  I mean, you have to follow your dreams, but you also have to weigh your priorities and be realistic.  For example, if you and your significant other have a two person business and you decide to abandon that commitment to pursue an author’s life, you’re being irresponsible.  On the other hand, if you’re not in that type of commitment and your significant other doesn’t support you, I think you need to seriously examine your relationship.  Ask yourself, or better yet ask your significant other, how they would feel if you didn’t support their endeavors.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: No, I do not agree.  Given Orwell’s works, particularly Animal Farm and 1984, I could see him saying such a thing.  However, he makes the process sound more arduous than pleasurable.  I am driven to write, but it provides me with tremendous satisfaction.  I’m happy when I put together a great paragraph or chapter…I’m elated when the work takes the shape I intended.  There’s no darkness, or compulsion, or negativity of any sort for me.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A:  I’d like to thank them for their support and hope they’ll all pick up a copy of Shiloh’s True Nature.  The novel can be found at hobbesendpublishing.com or amazon.com



Title: Shiloh’s True Nature

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Author: D.W. Raleigh

Publisher: Hobbes End Publishing

When 12 year-old farm boy Shiloh Williams is sent to stay with his estranged grandfather, he discovers a mysterious new world inhabited by ‘Movers’. The Movers live in symbiotic harmony with one another, except one extremely powerful Mover who has stolen the town’s most precious artifact, the Eternal Flame. Shiloh investigates his supernatural surroundings, makes new friends, and begins to think of the town as home. However, just as soon as he starts to fit in, he realizes his newfound happiness is about to come to an abrupt end. One decision and one extreme consequence are all that remain.

Amazon Paperback Kindle 

Hobbes End Publishing / Author Page / Facebook


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Cover Small - Seed of EvilThis novella begins an entire up-coming saga: The Saga of Evil. In production for about ten years it finally reached the light of day in February of this year and is gradually taking the world by storm. The novella itself combines military Sci-fi and horror and takes it to a whole new level with fast-paced action and more. It’s a book no one should miss out on. The events within the book start a ripple that will in time reach across an entire universe, but right now you just have to ask yourself: Are you ready for what lurks out there? Seed of Evil: An Ancient Evil Rises is a thrilling and intense ride no one should miss out on.

Barbara Garcia from Readers’ Favorite: 

“Seed of Evil: An Ancient Evil Rises by Robert Friedrich takes place in the not too distant future. The moon and Mars have both been colonized, and are being mined. The mining team on Mars has uncovered a structure of non-human origin, and in the process of studying it, have inadvertently released a horrifying evil. Now contact has been lost with the colonists on Mars, and deciphering a corrupted message indicates that something has gone wrong, but no one is prepared for just how terribly wrong. Corey and his elite team of Marines are brought in to investigate, and are confronted with this evil almost right away. As his crew is picked off one by one, Corey finds himself alone to battle the evil that’s been unleashed. It’s an ancient evil with immense power, but Corey gets some help from an unexpected source.”

“It is a fast paced story, but I never felt overwhelmed or rushed through it. Narrated by Corey, I easily got a good sense of who he was, and with good world building and nicely descriptive combat scenes, I was quickly immersed in this story and was rooting for Corey all the way. Being a Marine, Corey kept his cool fairly well when confronting the spawns of this evil, but I was a bit creeped out just envisioning the bloody mess all those bodies made, and most definitely when he had to face the winged creature with all the heads on it. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read packed with action and a spooky sci-fi kind of feel.”



From a distant galaxy far beyond our time, the most ancient of all EVIL awoke before descending upon our unsuspecting galaxy. The planet it reached never faced such a threat, but didn’t submit to it, either. In a final attempt to survive, a prison between dimensions was built, the last hope to hold the DARK POWER for an eternity. The planet withered and died, and its people found a new refuge among the stars. That planet is now known as: Mars.

But even eternity doesn’t last forever. Ignorance and an infantile arrogance of a nation leads to its release. And once again, it only leaves death in its wake.

Read the fast-paced Sci-Fi/Horror, where the elements of OCCULT meet with an advanced MILITARY thriller, wrapped in a colossal battle between good and evil.

The first part of a new, long-awaited Saga, from the internationally renowned author of “The Darkness Within” will give you a gulp of a SMASH HIT and will leave you wanting more…


robert foto3miniRobert Friedrich is an Author who writes in a multitude of styles which include Novella’s, Short Stories, Poetry and even Screenplays. His books are famous for taking an unconventional route through the darkest of places and emotions, and are generally driven by fast paced action and direct-from-heart dialogue. His current releases include: The Darkness Within: A Novella, Enlightened by Darkness Anthologies, The Book of Metal Lyrics and Seed of Evil, which is the first part of an entire up-coming Saga. Robert surprises his audience by how different, each of his book’s tone, message is and how they are visually descriptive. He also designs his own book covers and trailers.

“A fictional Dystopia is better than a fake Utopia.” — Robert Friedrich

Website: http://robapexenterprise.wix.com/robert-friedrich

Book links (Excerpt is directly there via Amazon): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IF63J9K


Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8N6oMt4tuU

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ImageThe story behind the Children of Manson was a way of expressing some of my views about some real life issues as an undertone, while the predominant storyline was horror.

It centres around a university student who is a bit of a social outcast, while another story runs parallel, which involves a much more sinister character. The situations are both building up in their own way, and erupt when their two paths collide, with catastrophic consequences.

I love that there are no limits in any aspect of fiction writing. You can change the world, and the people; you can create and destroy… it is a limitless playground for the imagination. This is something I have begun to explore with this book.

I have very much taken a proactive approach to the promotion of my work, and have my own website, alongside a large social media presence, including Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Please search for The Cathy Stories to find me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you enjoy my work.

About the book:

Would you allow an aggressive disease to spread? Would you watch with indifference as it devastated its host? I have a choice. And I, along with my Family, choose to act. Now you may choose. Join us… or die.

Lloyd feels time is short. From his care home he looks out over a world he feels has lost its way. But though concerned he has a plan.

Dee is a troubled university student, who finds it hard to fit in to a new environment. She struggles to make friends, and to come to terms with her sexuality. And then come the reports of the disappearances, and the mutilated bodies appearing around the town. will she get to the bottom of these grisly happenings before it is too late?

Author’s bio:

ImageCatherine Bell is the author of horror e-book The Children of Manson. Her other work includes a collection of short stories, entitled The Sick & Sombre Tales of Sinister Town. Horror is Catherine’s favourite genre, both to read and write, and is always on the lookout for new influences.

Her other hobbies include metal detecting, nail art, and watching/ reviewing horror films.

Feel free to contact Catherine at info@thecathystories.com

Link to author’s website or blog: http://www.thecathystories.com

Link to excerpt: http://thecathystories.com/e-book/the-children-of-manson/

Link to purchase page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Children-of-Manson-ebook/dp/B008SUE38E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366063705&sr=8-1&keywords=the+children+of+manson


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8716893Mike Phillips is author of The World Below and Reign of the Nightmare Prince. His short stories have appeared in ParAbnormal Digest, Cemetery Moon, Sinister Tales, Beyond Centauri, the World of Myth, Mystic Signals and many others. Online, his work has appeared in Lorelei Signal, Kzine, Bewildering Stories, Midnight Times, and Fringe. He is best known for his Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal series. Please visit Mike at http://www.mikephillipsfantasy.com.

1) Tell us a little about your book. 

The World Below: In ancient times, magical creatures inhabited the earth. They lived on mountaintops, in the branches of trees, at the bottom of lakes and rivers. But that was long ago, before the human race declared war on the creatures they feared and hated. Now the enchanted peoples are all but gone. Those few that remain fear being stretched out on an examination table in some secret, governmental facility. The only place they can hide from the ever increasing number of satellites and smart phones is in the World Below.

Mitch Hardy is going through a hard time in his life. In his early twenties, he was working his way through college when he suffered an accident that left him flat broke and physically deformed. With some good advice from a friend, Mitch decides to make a fresh start in a new town. Things start looking up. Mitch finds a place to live, a decent job, good friends. He even meets a nice girl. Unknown to Mitch, his new girlfriend is one of the elder race, the faerie folk.

Lady Elizabeth is looking for a father she never knew. The key to finding him is somehow tied up with the mysterious Blade of Caro. Desperate, she steals the Blade from its protector, the despotic ruler of the World Below, the Dragon of Worms, Baron Finkbeiner. When Elizabeth is kidnapped by the Baron, Mitch is pulled into a world he never dreamed existed.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story? 

I can’t trace The World Below back to a single idea. I knew I wanted to do an urban fantasy, something where I throw out the rules and just have fun. I always liked the bad guys in books and movies, so I thought it might be interesting to let the goblins be heroes for a change. I threw in some adventure and romance and there you go.

3) Do you read widely? 

I have diverse reading habits. Short stories, poetry, novels, I read it all. I have an interest in science and engineering, so I read a lot of non-fiction articles as well. When I’m reading fiction, I gravitate toward stories of the supernatural. Some of the new authors you find in online anthologies are really pushing the boundaries of the genre and are worth checking out if you haven’t already. I also like historical fiction. My most guilty pleasure is the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell.

4) Who are your favorite authors? 

WB Yates, Margaret Atwood, Walter Mosley, Neil Gaiman, Dean Koontz, James Lee Burke, and Jim Butcher are some of my favorite writers. When I’m taking a break from writing, I like to read old favorites like Watership Down or Anansi Boys.

5) Who influenced you most? 

The poetry of WB Yates has been a big influence on my writing. I love the imagery. My style of writing is most influenced by James Lee Burke. Beyond that, I must give a nod to Dean Koontz. He taught me how to write suspense, how to draw out key moments to make the action more dramatic.

6) What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?  

I love storytelling. I try to make my writing as imaginative and as vivid as I can. I write in the horror and dark fantasy genres, but I don’t go for blood and guts and the gross stuff. I like suspense and things that puts the senses on edge. That said, in The World Below goblins become the heroes. They do, admittedly, tend toward the behavior of fifth grade boys. So you might get a gross out or two from them.

63827907) What scares you? 

Oddly enough, it never fails to surprise me when readers and editors tell me how scary my writing is. On more than one occasion, I’ve been credited with nightmares. I’m not typically frightened by the supernatural. Real violence, especially against women and children and animals, only makes me angry. So for me, the real thing to fear in modern society is accountants.

8) Where can we find you online? 

Staying in touch is not my strong suit.  Sorry. I have mikephillipsfantasy.com, but to date I’ve done nothing with it. I’m a regular on quite a few print and online periodicals. My Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal series of short stories have been especially well received. The World Below launches in a month. I promise to get the website up and running soon.

9) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell us about it. 

I’m a safety engineer by trade. Being a chemical and industrial hygiene specialist, and living in Michigan, I’ve spent a lot of time in heavy industry. The accident Mitch suffers at the beginning of the story is based upon what I’ve seen in my career. He gets burned by molten iron. I had a similar experience, though mine was certainly not as serious as the one Mitch goes through. I was “baptized”, initiated, into the crew. They overcharged a crucible of iron and jogged the hoist control as it passed by me. It ruined my favorite leather jacket and scared the heck out of me, but they knew what they were doing. I got a shower of sparks without a single burn on me. What a way for the union guys to say, “Welcome to the club, kid.”

10) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? 

I never wanted to be a writer. I went to college, got a great job when I graduated, and was bored out of my skull. I didn’t have any money when going to school, so I was used to working forty hours a week and taking a full time schedule. When I got my “real job” I had more down-time than I ever had in my life. Stories just started developing in my mind and I thought it would be fun to write them down. Now I can’t stop. If I don’t write, the stories work their way into my head anyway. The only way I can get the stories to leave me alone is to write them down. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing, but it was never anything I set out to do.

11) Have you ever written something that you’re afraid to let other people read? Why? 

Talking about my writing embarrasses me. I don’t know why. I’ve had great success with my short stories, but I never told anyone that I was a writer until my first novel, Reign of the Nightmare Prince, came out two years ago. Then, I had to come clean to my friends and family. You know, I get a kick out of seeing my work in print or online, but to me it’s all just academic. I write what pleases me. I don’t think of the people that –wait, now I am…

12) Why do you write the genre(s) you do? 

Stories of the fantastic, stories or terror, these have always delighted me. Writing for me is all about pushing the boundaries of my imagination. The more fantastic it is, the better. That’s why I write in horror, dark fantasy, and Sci-Fi.

13) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it? 

The toughest part about writing is marketing and staying in touch with my readers. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to all those people who have supported my work over the years. I wish I was better at telling them how much I appreciate their loyalty. I also have a sense of obligation to my publishers. Taking a chance on an unknown like me is a huge financial risk. I feel that I need to be better at supporting what they are trying to do in promotions and sales. I’m afraid that all too often I fall short of expectations in this regard.

14) How much is your protagonist like you? How different? 

In The World Below, the protagonist is a guy name Mitch Hardy. He’s just starting out in life, trying to put himself through college. He wants to be a teacher, to influence young people in a positive way and give back to his community. Life has treated him harshly, but because of those experiences, Mitch has a strong sense of right and wrong. I wish I had been as mature at his age.

16) What kind of research did you do for this type of story? 

I’m proud to say I’ve done absolutely no research for The World Below. It all comes from what was bouncing around in my head at the time.

17) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not? 

I don’t like writing scenes with profanity, explicit sex, or gratuitous violence. The world has enough ugliness in it already. That’s the world we live in, though. That’s the human experience. So ignoring sex and violence would be a mistake.

18) What about your book makes it special? 

The World Below is one of the wildest rides you’ll ever take. It’s full of crazy characters, imagination, magic and action. I hope you all agree.

19) What are your thoughts on the future of books? 

My next book, Dawn of Ages is coming soon from Damnation/Eternal Press. So look for that sometime around the New Year. I’m about half way through a sequel to The World Below. The working title is The World Beyond. I’m also editing a collection of my Crow Witch stories. When completed, I hope to find a good home for that too.

20) What are your hobbies? Do you ever work them into a story? 

I’m a farm kid and I like to get my hands dirty. Every year, I dig up my suburban yard and do something different. My neighbors think I’m nuts. I call it gardening. In my Crow Witch series of short stories, Miss Weigenmeister is an avid gardener. She gets better results than I do.

21) What are you passionate about? 

Spending time with family and friends, travel and the outdoors. Reading and writing fits in there too.

22) How do you want to be remembered? 

Go ahead and forget me when I’m gone. I’m not at all worried about being remembered. I try to be the best person that I can be in the here and now and not worry too much about what life will bring.

23) How does your childhood influence your writing? 

What a great question. This is the most significant influence on my writing. I grew up on a small farm. We grew most of our own fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs. We heated out house with wood. We built the majority of the furniture ourselves in my dad’s workshop. In the summer, my dad turned off the television and brought us to the library. Now, our closest neighbor was a mile away, and they weren’t very fun. So, most of my summer was spent reading. My love of a good story came from that experience. My characters are hardworking, fun loving people. I was the third of four brothers, the rascal, the smart mouth. I like a good scoundrel and I think others do too.

24) Everyone has a quirk; what’s yours? 

I love animals. I grew up with dogs and cats and all the different farm animals you can imagine. I even had a pet duck that used to follow me around. Her name was Peeper and I rescued her from a weasel the night of her birth –or should I say hatching? My wife is allergic to fur, so I can’t have a dog or a cat or any of the usual suspects. I do have a pet rat. Her name is Sassy and she is my second rat. Once you get past the tail and the black plague thing, rats are great pets. They are very affectionate. They are intelligent and trainable too. I often think of Sassy as a very small dog. When I have a party, I bring Sassy out for everyone to meet. Am I cool, or what?

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