FALL INTO HORROR: An Interview with Xenith, by John F. Allen

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Welcome to Fall Into Horror with Mocha Memoirs Press!

Mocha Memoirs Press is celebrating the new Fall season by showcasing their love of horror and the authors who write it. Please welcome JOHN F. ALLEN as he shares his thoughts on fall and horror.

Hello, my name is John F. Allen. I’m a speculative fiction author and I’m here with Ms. Xenith LaCroix, witch-in-training and part-time adventurer. This is an impromptu interview with her before she embarks on her intense training at the hands of a master sorceress.

John :Hello Xenith, thanks for granting me this interview.

Xenith : Hello Mr. Allen. You’re welcome, I’m happy to be here.

John :I just love your name! What can you tell me about it?

Xenith :Well, I’m glad you picked it out for me. As for what I can say about it, the name is unique and not just for the spelling, ‘Z’ replaced by an ‘X’. Xenith means, “The highest point reached in the heavens by celestial body, and/or a culminating point.” I think the ‘X’ represents the unknown, as in the mathematical sense.

John : That’s fascinating indeed. I think it speaks to what your life has in store for you and your tales yet to come. So, as a change of subject, fall is here and that is a time of year which happens to coincide with Halloween. Witches and Halloween go together like peanut butter and jelly, your favorite snack, so what do you personally like most about fall?

Xenith :The brisk air and the falling leaves in their kaleidoscope of colors. As for Halloween, it’s quite the busy time for us witches. You know, all those cauldrons to boil, brooms to fly and children to bake (smiles).

John :Uh, you’re kidding right (gulp)?

Xenith:  Wouldn’t you like to know (smiles)?

John :(sigh) Yeah, moving right along. What is your favorite fall color?

Xenith Hmm… I think I’d have to say red.

John: What would you say is the biggest difference between fall weather in Chicago, versus fall weather in your native New Orleans?

Xenith :I would say that fall is much colder in Chicago, than it is in New Orleans. And, given the size of the city and the number of people, I mean that in more ways than one.

John : Are you feeling homesick?

Xenith: Not really. New Orleans only serves to bring back bad memories I’d just as soon forget forever.

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John : That’s right, you moved to Chicago to escape an abusive ex-boyfriend and a checkered past. You were taken in by Zaji Laveau, a powerful witch and a descendant of the voodoo priestess, Marie Laveau.

Xenith : Again, I’d rather not talk about New Orleans.

John :My bad, please don’t hurt me.

Xenith : Relax Mr. Allen, you’re safe for now.

John:Uh, okay. Anyway, let’s talk about your mentor instead. What’s it like to be under the tutelage of such a powerful sorceress who hails from such an infamous legacy?

Xenith: Zaji is a taskmaster. She’s strict and all about business.

John :So, your training isn’t going so well?

Xenith:  Actually, on the contrary. I am challenged and held accountable for my actions and inactions. This is something which I’ve never had in my life before. The structure she provides can be a real drag and sometimes I feel like pulling out my hair, but at the same time I wouldn’t have it any other way.

John : That’s good. Has your ability to control your powers improved significantly?

Xenith : I’d say so. Although I have a long, long way to go, I can now recognize the road I’m on for what it is. It won’t be an easy road, for certain, but anything worth doing or having is worth the effort and struggle.

John : That’s a very mature attitude, good for you. Well, thanks for sharing with us today. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we conclude this interview?

Xenith : Just that folks who are interested in learning more about me and my adventures, should check out the novelette, Witch Way Is Up, written by you and published by Mocha Memoirs Press. Oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

John :Thanks Xenith, Happy Halloween to you as well!


Comment below and click on the rafflecopter options below for a chance to win the tour prize, a $25 Amazon Gift Card! a Rafflecopter giveaway Continue on with this FALL INTO HORROR. You can join Mocha Memoirs Press authors and share in their love of horror on Facebook. You can also click on the links below to meet other horror authors:


ABOUT MOCHA MEMOIRS PRESS:

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Mocha Memoirs Press, LLC is a genre-oriented publishing company. Their vision is to provide an outlet for outstanding speculative and romance stories that often fall beneath the radar of traditional publishing houses. They seek to provide quality stories that invigorate the reader’s literary palette like a good, strong coffee. Like great coffee houses, they offer a variety of flavors. They publish stories in the following genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance, including the sub-genres of steampunk, cyberpunk, diesel punk, alternate history, weird westerns, and mash-ups.

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INTERVIEW: Tamsin Silver Talks About “Mark of the Necromancer”

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Sooo… here’s the thing.  In the words of Raj Koothrapali, I’m a sucky sucky friend.  This post was supposed to be up on Tuesday, Sept. 1st before my buddy Tamsin Silver left for DragonCon.  But I’m late.  So y’all be super nice to her today as she joins us on The Belle to talk about her new book, Mark of the Necromancer.  And maybe, just maybe, she’ll give us a sneak peek of her new and exciting weird western, The Curse of Scáthach.

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Introduce yourself and tell us a little about why you’re visiting the blog today.

Sure! My name is Tamsin Silver and I’m an Urban Fantasy writer out of NYC who grew up in a farming town in Michigan on books like The Narnia Chronicles, Charlotte’s Web, Nancy Drew, and A Wrinkle in Time. I used to teach middle school & high school drama down south, I’ve run two successful theater companies (one here in NYC), and other than writing books (Windfire Series) I create and write for the web series, Skye of the Damned. However, today I’m here to talk about my newest book (and series), Mark of the Necromancer; A Sabrina Grayson Novel.

What inspires your stories? 

Character.

Every book I’ve ever written is because there was a character who had something to say. Be it Atlanta in my Windfire Series, Will McCarty in The Curse of Scáthach, or Sabrina in my new book, Mark of the Necromancer. Each story started with the idea of who that character was both on the outside and on the inside, how they’d change, grow, and make us care for them.

Funny story, I had a dream once about this female werewolf alpha. When I was in the shower she was still pestering me. As I walked to my room I said aloud to no one, “Fine then, what’s your name?” And I “heard” the name Denika. That book, Moon Over Manhattan, will hopefully be coming out next fall. She is my favorite heroine that I’ve ever written…so I’m excited to finally get that out to readers soon.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

My favorite character in Mark of the Necromancer, hands down, it’s Alex Price. Which is funny because he’s not the main protagonist.

I love flawed men who have a heart of gold and that’s Alex. He may not be your POV character in this story, but I think the core of who he is comes across on paper anyway, which is maybe why I adore him so. In fact, one of my beta readers and one of my editors are in love with him too, so I’m not alone. A new review that is about to come out had this to say about him:

“Alex is a fabulous male hero and romantic interest. He’s atypical, lacking those wooden alpha characteristics common in this genre. He’s dangerous, thoughtful, and intelligent with sex appeal to spare. He reminds me of Karina Halle’s (anti)hero Dex Foray from the Experiment in Terror series. He was a refreshing diversion for sure.”

But have no fear; Sabrina is my second favorite character (don’t tell her I said that!) and likely my second favorite heroine I’ve ever written. I love her sense of humor and how broken she is. She screws up, a lot, but she’s willing to keep trying anyway. That’s what makes her so real for me (and hopefully for others).

Mark of the Necromancer is full of creatures that go bump in the night.  If you could choose a paranormal creature to be, what would it be?  Or would you rather be the leather-clad beauty fighting them?

That depends…do the creatures have a soul? Can they be good or are they just evil no matter what? I would prefer to be whoever has a choice and toes the line between good and evil. That’s always more interesting. BUT…if I were to choose a creature, I’d want to be a vampire. I love the idea of living forever even if I have to sacrifice the sun. Being alive to see how history changes or repeats itself would be really interesting.

Tamsin, you’ve been writing for quite a while now.  What are some things that you’ve learned on this journey from aspiring writer to writer with multiple titles under your belt?

Oh man…that’s a really great question…okay. I started jotting stuff down and found I have a top ten…here they are:

  • Write as often as you can.
  • Get exercise.
  • Read in your genre and out of it.
  • Figure out where & when you do your best writing.
  • Join a writers group.
  • Set deadlines for yourself and meet them more often than not.
  • EDIT the crap out of your work and pay for someone to do so as well.
  • Find at least two fellow writers to be in your corner: A mentor & a writing pal. The first to help with professional questions and the second to be a sounding board and confidant…as well as meeting up to write with you (be it online or in person).
  • Understand that it all takes time. Don’t get frustrated at the learning curve or at yourself. Just push onward; learn and keep going. Each step forward in this business is really ten steps forward, so rejoice in that.

This last one I didn’t have to learn, but I want to include it…Your fellow writers are your teammates, not your competition. Support them. Cheer them on! Their successes are yours and vice versa. That green little monster of jealousy will want to rear its ugly head from time to time. Learn how to put that SOB in his place.

You’ve been through the self-publishing and traditional publishing routes.  Do you prefer one over the other?  What are some things to consider if you’re an author who is considering self-publishing?

*low whistle* Oooh…bringin’ out the big guns just past ½ way through…I see how you are. 😉

Okay…uh…hmm…well, hell…here’s the thing; this is my 6th book as a self-published author. As you know, the first two books of the Windfire Series used to be one book called, The Betrayal and it was to be the first in the Living Dead Girl saga. It was an adult book and it was published through a small press. It’s how I got my start, actually.

Thing is, as awesome as they were to me and hats off to all that they taught me, but I feel that I do better on my own. Running a theater company here in the city for six years, I learned how to do promo work. If you have no idea how to market yourself, no interest or patience for doing so (or learning how), then I really recommend you go through small press. Self publishing is a lot of work, if someone tells you its not, they’re selling you something (as the saying goes).

Just remember this; you split profits from book sales with who publishes you. If they are not going to push you as much as you will, don’t share your money with them. We make so little as it is, why split it if you’re willing to put in the extra time/effort? So you see, in the end, it’s a personal decision. Now, if you can sell that book to one of the big houses and they do right by you on that contract or you get an agent who is busting their behind (and believe in you/your work)…by all means, GO FOR THAT!

 But if it’s between self-publishing and small press, it comes down to how they treat you and how much effort they put behind your book. If you want to write and make few other decisions past editing, then there’s your answer. If you like to have a say in all things and don’t mind getting your hands dirty…well then…self-publishing could be good for you and your work. 

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

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Other than Moon Over Manhattan (which I mentioned earlier) I’m writing a new novel based on a short story of mine called, The Curse of Scáthach. This tale takes place in 1878, during the Lincoln County War in Lincoln, NM. If you’ve ever seen the movie, Young Guns, know anything about Billy the Kid, or are a fan of the American Wild West, then you may know a bit about that event. Not many do, but it’s a fascinating time full of murder, mystery, greed, and mob-mentality…to name just a few things.In order to do this, I took a trip to Lincoln, NM, in July. I met with a historian there and we spent four days going to the important locations of battles and such, so that I could get a feel for what it’s like out there. I’m a city gal so I really felt that was necessary if I was to do the story justice. Both the short story, and the soon-to-be novel, are VERY much rooted in real history, with fantasy elements woven into the gaps. Basically, I’ll be creating an alternate reality, justifying actual historical events with a supernatural twist. I’ve spent the past six months studying the war (and will continue to do so) so that words that were said and events that took place will appear in the book. As will the all the real people who were a part of the battle back then, they too will be present and accounted for in the story. I’m very excited to begin work on this when I return home from Dragon*Con.If you’re a fan of Billy the Kid or of the Wild West…you can buy this online for only 99¢. There is also a page on Facebook dedicated to the novel version with pictures and historical facts. You can find by going to Facebook and looking up The Curse of Billy the Kid.

Mark of the Necromancer and the short, The Curse of the Scáthach is available right now!  Tell us where we can get it!! You can find links to all of my books and shorts, and see the first three episodes of the web series I wrote (Skye of the Damned), by visiting my website, www.tamsinsilver.com 

Thanks so much for being with us today, Tamsin!  If you’re one of those lucky ducks going to DragonCon this weekend, be sure to seek her out and get copies of all her stuff!  You won’t be sorry!  And speaking of books….

About Mark of the Necromancer

Sabrina Grayson is dead and it’s the best thing that has ever happened to her. As a child, Sabrina saw

ghosts, but with age and parental influence, she forgot all about them. But now she’s a Necromancer who can travel the Death Highway and walk the Earth. Determined to discover who is behind her murder, she’ll pair up with Alex Price, walk into Hell, and face off with Lucifer himself.

About The Curse of the Scathach

Will McCarty has returned to New Mexico for the first time since he “died” in 1881. While in town for a job, memories come flooding back and the murder of his boss, John Tunstall, still plagues him. The death of The Englishman ignited the Lincoln County War of 1878. This story of revenge and greed has been told many different ways, but Will knows the truth, and it’s time others did too.
Go back in time to when crooked politicians, mafia mentality, and dirty lawmen were the demons that ran the wild west, and walk alongside the reluctant hero who decided it was time their rein ended.

Once Upon a Time: An Interview with C. L. McCollum

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I’m so excited about my guest on The Belle today.  Author and editor C. L. McCollum is going to be talking about her newest endeavor:  Once Upon a Time, A Cliches for a Cause Anthology to benefit RAINN.

Introduce yourself and tell us a little about why you’re visiting the blog today. 

Hiya! I’m Caitlan aka C.L. McCollum (@C_L_McCollum on Twitter), and I am one of the co-editors and authors for the Clichés for a Cause anthology series. The newest book in the series, ONCE UPON A TIME, was just released on June 19th, and Lexxx has been gracious enough to offer to interview me about the book!

As far as me, I’m a 30-something Texas girl currently living in Austin. I’m a fan of SFF and most of my work tends to fall into that genre with occasional dabbling into magical realism. I also am most comfortable writing in the YA and NA categories. Those age groups just seem to be where my writing fits best.

 

 What is the “Clichés for a Cause” project?

The Clichés for a Cause project is a series of anthologies sponsored by Herding Cats Press with the proceeds from each book in the series going to a different charity. The first book was the brainchild of Mitchell Lehnert, another member of our writing group, but it’s since grown into a full series. There are only two books so far, but we hope to continue to add installments as time goes on.

 

 How did Herding Cats Creative Writing become involved with RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network) and why did you choose this particular charity?

We aren’t directly involved/affiliated with www.rainn.org – it was chosen simply because it’s a charity that is close to our hearts. Of the contributors, there are more than one of us who have personally experienced abuse or have family and loved ones who have. I personally hadn’t known RAINN existed during the abusive relationship I was in several years ago, but knowing that there was an organization to help people find their way out of those situations would have been a huge aid at the time. Now, I like to hope that our contributing of the proceeds of this anthology, no matter how much those proceeds actually end up being, might help RAINN to keep providing that aid to those who need it.

 

 Tell us a little about your process as editor of a large anthology like this.

We actually had four editors working together on this anthology: myself and August Clearwing as lead editors, and two associate editors, Gerald Sallier and Elaine Titus who helped with the content/copyediting tasks. We actually had several group sessions where we all signed into the same google doc and all four of us could confer/add comments/point out sections of the story we had questions about. It definitely helped to have four sets of eyes on each story; it made me a lot more confident that we didn’t miss major issues/errors since each of us had completely different grammar/content things that we were really good at catching. We also did several rounds of editing, focusing first on content and then on copyedits, which I think worked well for us. It was still a learning experience, though, so hopefully we’ll be even more thorough and efficient with the next book in the series.

 

 What can readers expect from Once Upon a Time?    

ONCE UPON A TIME contains 15 illustrated re-told fairy tales from 29 different authors and artists. The only rule we gave our authors was that their story must start with the words “Once upon a time…” Beyond that, they could go wild. We have everything from steampunk to sci-fi to contemporary to epic fantasy to satire, and the illustrations from our artists are just as diverse. I really can’t pick a favorite story or image frankly (though admittedly I’m partial to the illustrations for my stories LOL).

 

 Once Upon a Time is a follow up to last year’s It Was a Dark and Stormy Night.  What did you learn about producing an anthology from that experience?

What didn’t we learn from IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT? LOL We’re all incredibly proud of the fact that we got it put together and finished, but there were quite a few hiccups and mistakes along the way. We also definitely got overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things we needed to accomplish. I feel like we had a much better idea of the overall work that goes into putting an anthology together with ONCE UPON A TIME. Even little things like having group editing days planned and scheduled before the actual story due date were a huge help to our sanity.

We learned things from this anthology, too, honestly. I don’t think we’re ever going to have an anthology where we don’t look back and think “OK we could have done that thing better – let’s make a note for the next one.”

 Art seems to be a big part of these anthologies.  Beautiful, original illustrations are featured with each story.  How did you go about bringing together such great visual artists to participate in this project?

Honestly most of it was long-term networking that ended up having amazing side effects. A couple of the artists from DARK & STORMY were friends I’d known for years either in real life or online. When the time came to put together a pool of artists for ONCE UPON A TIME, one of those original artists, Angela Sasser (www.angelasasser.com), asked if she could mention the anthology to a small Facebook group she was part of. We said sure, and the next thing I knew, I had 12 emails in like 15 minutes. I heard over and over again that everyone was 1) a fan of fairy tales and 2) thrilled to get to be involved with a project earning money for RAINN.

It was incredibly humbling to have that kind of support from strangers just rolling in that way. The authors were all at least known to one or more of the Herding Cats folks so no one was a complete unknown, but most of the artists were people I’d never worked or talked with before. With several of them, I’d seen their art before and was a fan, but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable approaching them regarding the anthology. So having Angela step in was just a huge part of how incredible the anthology turned out. She wasn’t able to contribute art to this book which we were all bummed about, but I can’t wait to get to collaborate with her on the next book. So yeah, so, so much thanks to her for that!

 

 Once Upon a Time is available right now!  Tell us where we can get it!!

The physical copy of the anthology is currently available on Amazon here:  http://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Time-Charity-Anthology/dp/1514326493/  The eBook will be released within the next week. For more information about Book I: IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT or upcoming anthologies in the Clichés for a Cause series, please visit www.herdcatspress.com or our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HerdingCatsPress. Herding Cats Press is also on Twitter: @herdcatspress

Women in Horror Spotlight: Teresa Bergen

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My final installment in the Women in Horror Spotlight series is a writer whose work is featured in the upcoming State of Horror: Louisianna anthology from Charon Coin Press.  Teresa Bergen will be sharing with us some of her influences, difficulties and triumphs on her writing journey.  Stay tuned for tomorrow:  I’ll be giving an update about this week’s appearances at MystiCon.  I know, it’s that time of year once more!!!

What influences your stories? 

I generally like stories with lots of basis in my personal reality, and horror that somehow involves my own fears. And I like humor mixed in. At least something that is funny to me. For example, in my story “Binky,” I draw on the idea of not knowing how to raise someone else’s child – a situation I was partially engaged in when I wrote it — and also my experience being initiated into transcendental meditation at an early age and being warned to never tell my mantra to anybody. Do I believe that sharing my mantra will really result in disaster? No. But have I ever told anybody? No way! This is something I find funny about myself, that I simultaneously hold these two beliefs, and something I found entertaining about my character Gloria.

I’m currently working on a trilogy of novels about a girl whose mother forces her to go on a yoga retreat in India. While there, the girl gets bitten by a snake and develops latent cobra powers. Since I’m a yoga teacher as well as a writer it gave me a chance to draw out many of the funny and weird things about American yoga practitioners through the eyes of my reluctant young yogi protagonist.

How do you balance writing and the realities of life? 

Time is the biggest problem. I do lots of freelance writing, editing and transcription, and there are only so many hours in a day. And only so many hours I can sit and look at a computer screen. Unfortunately, writing online slideshows and ghostwriting company blogs pays a lot better than fiction. So fiction only gets a little piece of the writing day.  

There’s also the problem of doing a bunch of different things to support my fiction writing habit. I always thought I’d be a semi-financially successful fiction writer by this point in my life. (What gave me that conviction? I don’t know). Instead, I amassed a variety of ways to make money. Which, when I list them all off, makes me sound like a dilettante or a lunatic. So when people ask me what I do for a living, I generally just tell them the most relevant thing.

 Also, cleaning gets short shrift. Dust bunnies crouch in corners of my house. Moss grows on my car. And the yard has devolved into survival of the fittest.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing or what was the hardest part about writing your story?

One of the harder things for me about writing horror is making it convincing and believable enough without spelling out every detail. Unlike sci fi, horror doesn’t always give you the whole explanation of why weird things are happening in the story. Then again, I want some sort of remotely plausible foundation to anchor my characters and their macabre crises. As a reader, I hate to be completely lost and unsure what the writer was trying to say.

The ending of “Binky” was hard for me because I wanted it to be clear without pounding the reader over the head. Nor did I want the end to be predictable. Also, there’s the why of the story, which is like the why of raising children. Why was the stepdaughter so awful to Gloria? Was it deliberate? Was she just a bad seed? Would she have outgrown the phase and come to like/tolerate/love Gloria if things had ended differently? Some things can’t be known or explained.

Women in Horror Spotlight: J.C. O’Brien

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In my neverending quest for good content on The Belle, I’ve decided to feature some amazing new female writers.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, February is Women in Horror Month.  That might not seem so special until you consider that the horror genre is still largely a man’s world.  In fact, some loathsome internet troll published a rant last week calling female horror writers “hags.”  I don’t think it was intended as a compliment.  As for me, I’ve always seen these types of things as a bit of a double-edged sword.  In the future, I hope to be a “person” who writes horror, not a “woman” who writes horror.  But until then, raising awareness is never a bad idea.  So in that spirit, I’m spotlighting some amazing female horror writers whose work is currently up for grabs in the new State of Horror Series from Charon Coin Press.  Today’s victim:  SoH: Tennessee contributor, J.C. O’Brien!

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What influences your stories?

When I switched to genre fiction, I thought I was leaving the PC crap to write exciting stories. Ironically, shifting my focus to blood and action freed me to create situations that explore how woman are in the world, not how we’d like them to be and what happens when we face the real fears and struggles that come with being born into a particular body.

I want to create a visceral experience for the reader so they feel what my characters are feeling. That means I’ll grab anything — bits of overheard conversation, a smell that only comes out at night, the possibility of loss as my son goes into surgery — and mix it into a story.

Back in the ’80s there was a push to “clean up fairy tales” by stripping out their darker elements (but not the way women were treated). Kids ended up having nightmares. We need the darker side to find our way to balance and stories are a very safe place to explore things we might never do. On the other hand, if someone wants to take me to a bomb range and let me blow stuff up, I’m in.

How do you balance writing and the realities of life?

By getting very no-bullshit about my priorities.  If I don’t write, I’m weird. If I write after a long day of other work, my writing sucks. So I take care of my writing after taking care of the dog.  When I worked a day gig, I wrote on my lunch hour with ear buds in my ears. I wrote a novel in a year that way — lunch hours plus some weekends editing. Train yourself to write when you touch your keyboard. Save Facebook (or other social) for your phone. Once your writing is protected you need to train yourself to turn off and be present for your loved ones and your body. Writing challenges us mentally and physically. Finding exercise that takes me to another place works for me. I’ve belly danced for 18 years. Taking time to move my body to different rhythms has taught me a lot about pacing and structure. In other words however your need to spend your time, you can use it to inform your writing. You can also use your writing as an excuse to interview people, visit dive bars and discuss impolite topics.

Paying attention to loved ones is easier now that my son is a teenager. When he was a toddler, I could blast Middle Eastern music, but a putting a pen to paper or my fingers on a keyboard drove him wild. He’s much happier now that he can bounce story ideas with me. In fact, he’s the one who came up with the title to my story for “State of Horror: Tennessee.”

My husband’s a jazz musician. He gets the need to tend to your art, but the family schedule can be a nightmare since we share a single car. I’d love to tell you there’s a great solution for that one, but I haven’t found it yet.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing or what was the hardest part about writing your story?

Since I like writing violent scenes, I was surprised to find my first draft of “From Love to Dust” was too sweet. I rewrote large sections of it until it creeped my husband out. Then I sent it off.

There’s a fine line between caring enough about a project to take it through the necessary edits and loving it so much that it hides in your computer without ever meeting a reader.

I have two projects waiting for me to get over myself and approach them with the respect, care and expectation I use when editing anyone else’s work. I can be alternately easier and harder on myself than necessary.

A great deal can be learned by reading other people’s work and trying their approach yourself until you get a story you like, but the real game is trusting yourself. You have to believe you can write a story and then you have to believe you can finish it and that strangers will like it and so on. Or you have to find a story that you want to tell so much that the rest of that stuff doesn’t matter and I think that’s the clearer way. That doesn’t mean that the writing and editing will be easier, it just means that you’ll have a guide telling you what to leave in and what to leave out. I still believe the best advice is to write the story you want to read.