FALL INTO HORROR: October Magic with Selah Janel

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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 SELAH JANEL as she shares her thoughts on fall and horror.

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Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a strange, deep love of the unusual and the frightening. I loved decorating for Halloween because it meant digging out the witches and mummies for the windows, unboxing all the ceramic haunted houses and hanging bats and other nick nacks that take over a house that time of year. I invented a long-running series of adventures for all of these weird characters, and every October before I was ten or eleven was a constant soap opera every time I looked at our sideboards or mantle. I was also an outrageous scaredy-cat and was unable to look at even the commercials for horror films on television without having a panic attack and having to hide my eyes and plug my ears. Plus, it was the 1980s, so every sitcom had a freaky deaky Halloween episode and you were told at school every day of all the four thousand ways you could be abducted, kidnapped, poisoned, drugged, beat up, or razor-bladed by candy. Then there was that time I was nearly locked in an ancient burial site during a family vacation, but that’s another post, entirely. That part of me was a strange dichotomy my parents could never quite figure out. Things terrified me, but I kept sneaking off to be near them. They’d find me reading the box backs of movies I’d never be allowed to watch, I may have run an underground library for RL Stine and urban legend titles out of my locker in middle school even though the stories freaked me out something fierce for a while. One parent readily sheltered me because they knew they’d just have to deal with the nightmares later, and the other told me family stories passed down from German relatives, and believe me, no one does a scary story like older Germans. In my adult years it was working in haunted houses and then designing for them that fully plummeted me into a love of horror films, because I realized I had options and tons of subgenres to explore. I’d slowly wandered into literary horror in college through Anne Rice and Ray Bradbury, slowly wading towards the likes of Stephen King, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson, and Nancy Collins. I’m the type of person that’s always going to be contemplating the what if’s– both the wonderful and the terrifying. There’s a possibility in the horror genre that entices me…that bit about waiting for the other shoe to drop and finding out what kind of shoe it is, even if I probably don’t want to really know. That tension is electric, and there’s some outrageously high drama in ghost stories and urban legends that we don’t get anywhere else. It reveals things about us as people, and the fact that these archetypes are constantly being reinvented and recycled says something about the genre, proves that it isn’t just schlock, but something that hits us at a primal level. I love Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree and try to read it every fall. It feels like autumn in a book to me. It’s a near-flawless history of Halloween (some of the history is admittedly a little off), but emotionally it’s perfect. There’s an underlying current of why people love Halloween, but it could also be used to express why people are attracted to the horror genre. Way back when, we had to fear predators coming to get us, we weren’t guaranteed that we’d see another day, we felt at the mercy of the cosmos because we weren’t sure that the sun would rise again. It’s that thin line between today and tomorrow, safety and danger, life and death, that makes the horror genre what it is, and is probably why I could be freaked out and drawn in by it as a kid. As a writer, I love playing with that line, whether it’s real-world anchored horror or otherworldly creatures, or a mixture of the two. Part of the reason I’m so drawn to Lovecraft-type themes and vampires is I like the thought of shaking up how we perceive the universe and the people in it. The fact that my characters are going about their lives and then some little thing happens that changes everything in a sentence or two is an incredibly powerful concept to me. I personally love characters that you wouldn’t expect to show up in stories like that: maybe they’re in historical settings, maybe they’re frustrated teens, who knows? At the end of the day, everyone is affected by those same what if’s, so it’s interesting to see how various people would react. In some ways maybe that helps me fight for the control I didn’t feel as a kid when I watched trailers for Nightmare on Elm Street or The Blob on TV. Maybe it’s a way of immersing myself into the October magic that doesn’t quite feel the same now that I’m not a kid. Either way, I love the genre, and I’m proud to be part of the tradition. Plus, it just gives the relatives one more thing to be confused about.


ABOUT AUTHOR

Selah Janel is the author of three e-book titles for Mocha Memoir Press, as well as other stuff. You can read about her pioneer vampires in Mooner and her world-ending invisible friends in The Grotesquerie. Follow her ramblings on her blog or answer the question of the day on her page on Facebook!


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.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

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.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

FALL INTO HORROR: Ramblings of a Horror Geek with S.H. Roddey

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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 S.H. Roddey as they share their thoughts on fall and horror.


Ramblings of a Horror Geek

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I watched Hellraiser last night. The last time I sat down and watched that movie was more than ten years ago. And it was quite a bit longer ago that I read the book. I was a lot younger and a lot more impressionable then, and the Cenobytes used to scare the hell out of me. The Chatterer still freaks me out because I used to have nightmares about things that looked like him when I was a kid. Then I dreamed about killing zombies. It seems whenever these crazy zombie dreams manifest, Selah Janel is always there. Last night she helped me cut down hundreds of zombies while trying to simultaneously rescue someone and get out of a drive-in theater park. Last time we went on an adventure in my dreams, we were looking at buying a house where the groundskeeper was using zombie labor to rebuild an old manor owned by giants. Don’t ask…I can’t explain any of it. So at two o’clock this morning I was lying awake in bed, trying to sort out the ramblings of my mind, and this crazy thought appeared in the forefront: I’m a writer. Why not put all these things together and actually make a book out of it? Which meant that at 2:15 this morning, I was sitting in the dark with a notebook and a pen, scribbling down ideas in a vain attempt to create a reasonable plot out of the madness in my head. By 2:30, I was watching old Peanuts cartoons and wondering exactly where I detoured into left field. I wasn’t always this weird, warped creature. When I was a kid, I was … Oh hell, who am I kidding? I was never normal. After the movie last night, my husband and I had an interesting discussion about iconic movie monsters. Nine times out of ten, when I ask someone to name a slasher flick monster, one of six names comes to mind. Let’s review the list, shall we? Chucky: Okay, so I don’t really consider Chuckie all that “monster”ish. He’s basically Pinocchio on LSD. And a pretty stupid character, in my humble opinion. HOWEVER, when it comes to creeps and chills, he’s definitely up there on the list of horror icons. He’s rude and he’s crass, and there’s not much stopping the director from firing it up with a bit o’ doll-porn in later episodes of the franchise. Not my favorite, but definitely note-worthy. Michael Myers: He’s not a monster in the sense that the others are, but he’s still scary. When dealing with serial-killing psychos, this name seems to pop to the top quite a bit. I personally enjoy the Rob Zombie remake better than the original even though the story of the original face being a cut-up version of a William Shatner mask makes me giggle with manic glee. Except that the chase scene goes on for about half an hour too long. Plus it was a lot of fun at Fandom Fest a few years ago watching him play pool with Jack Sparrow and the Borg in the bar. Leatherface: Again with the murderers! Mutated mass murdering psychotic monsters? Yep, you got ’em right here. The movies themselves are a light-plotted bloodbath, yet based on true events. The concept seems to appeal to the masses on a fundamental level, yet I almost find myself pitying Leatherface himself because of his sad, sadistic lot in life. Random yet related: Bob Elmore is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. It’s not every day you turn around to find a real-life movie monster (minus the mask) standing behind you. I’m not a big fan of the gore, but I gained a new respect for the character that day. Pinhead: See above. Creepy, bizarre, and all around nasty individual. Plus his backstory as a human-turned-monster is interesting. The makeup on this guy is kickass and the character’s personality is one that leaves nothing to the imagination. He’s the ultimate hedonist, presented in a way that you can’t help but love him even as he’s turning you inside out and destroying your soul. Just another reason why I aspire to be Clive Barker when I grow up. Jason Vorhees: Okay, so he’s one of the big ones that EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD knows and adores, but can I just say that I don’t buy it for a second? The original “Friday the 13th” was a great movie because the crazy person wasn’t Jason. However, the story in the first movie created a wholly unrealistic basis for the character that would become the icon for the franchise. JASON VORHEES DROWNED AS A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD, PEOPLE!!! HE CAN’T COME BACK AS AN ADULT MAN WITH INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF MACHETES! Regardless of what I believe, people love him, and the franchise has, in fact, made a ludicrous amount of money allowing him to run around and hack mostly-naked teenage girls to bits over and over again. Freddy Kruger: Now we’re talking. When I was a kid, Freddy was my big one. He scared me senseless. I still to this day can’t watch Dream Warriors without a chill crawling up my spine. Yeah, the character itself has a few holes in his realism, but the scariest part of Freddy? You can’t kill what doesn’t actually exist. Which is why I have to call bullshit on Jason Vorhees winning that battle. The writer and director failed miserably on that one. But I’m also a little biased, so it’s all good. Well, at least until you hear the knocking and that creepy little voice. “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…” So in the end what do we take from all of this? Pinhead is freaky and Freddy Kruger is the stuff of which my bad dreams are made. Now tell me, Creeps, who’s your worst nightmare?


ABOUT S.H. RODDEY

South Carolina native S.H. Roddey has been writing for fun since she was a child and still enjoys building worlds across the speculative fiction spectrum filled with mystery and intrigue. She brings to the literary world a unique blend of humor, emotion, and wild ideas filled with dark themes and strong characters. She is a voracious reader, wannabe chef, and video game addict with two full-time jobs: administrative professional and mom to human and furry children alike. She also enjoys being married to her best friend and full-time muse. Stalk her at: http://www.shroddey.com http://creepyauthorgirl.wordpress.com http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSHRoddey http://www.twitter.com/draickinphoenix


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.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

FALL INTO HORROR: It’s In the Air with Marcia Collette

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Mocha Memoirs Press is celebrating the new Fall season by showcasing their love of horror and the authors who write it. Please welcome MARCIA COLETTE as she shares her thoughts on fall and horror.


 

MarciaColette.jpg It’s in the Air. It was about a week before it school started when I first started paying attention to the Halloween things that were going up on the shelves in stores. Honestly, I think the stores put out the drab things first to gain some interest and get them off their hands before they start putting up the really cool stuff on the shelves. Anyway, I can’t help but go down those aisles because I love seeing the scary costumes, decorations, and party things on display. It makes me wish I had the time or the inclination to throw a Halloween party for my munchkin someday. I start thinking about how far I want to take my Halloween decorations, too. Do I want a giant blow-up pumpkin on my front lawn? Heck no. Do I want my front door to look like a haunted house? Uh-uh. Would I like to turn my garage into a haunted house? I sure would, but I also have this New York thing going on where my trust is hard to come by and I don’t want anyone stealing my stuff either. What about the candy? It’s not Halloween without candy. I don’t believe in doing the cheap stuff, but I don’t believe in getting a bundle of candy either. More than anything, I hate it when people give my child something like a box of raisins or some other crap that’s healthy. Yes, I’m a mom and I care, but I also believe in Halloween traditions that involve gooey stuff that sticks to my child’s fillings. With my youngling being in kindergarten now, I can already tell things are different. She’ll probably need a Halloween costume for school and I’ll have to give her something “healthy” to bring to a class party. She’ll also need a sturdy trick-or-treat bag we plan on hitting as many houses in our neighborhood as possible. I’m hoping her school doesn’t ask for parent volunteers for the Halloween Party because I’ll end up forgetting that I’m an adult and end up rolling around on the floor with the kids. Having a child, my tastes for the macabre have changed, in that, I’m more excited about something like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (Disney World) than I am about Halloween Horror Nights (Universal Studios Orlando). Not because I don’t want to be frightened, but rather, I prefer to spend as much time with my daughter as possible and seeing life through her eyes. Things like blood splatter and chasing people around with chainsaws are not a part of the picture. That’s not to say I won’t get my healthy dose of The Walking Dead. Oh, heck no! I’m not that crazy. I’ll just wait until the youngling falls asleep before I watch it. What decisions do you find yourself in the middle of as Halloween approaches?


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:

MMP_Logo.jpg

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.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM


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.

How to Sell Your Book by Way of a Great Cover, or Cover Lovin’ by David Blalock

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Once more I’ve decided to welcome another author over to the Belle to do my dirty work.  Today, author and cover art critic David Blalock has come over to talk about his Angelkiller Triad and how a really great cover artist can give your book the boost it needs to excel.  Because, as we all know, your book might be the best thing ever, but no one will know if they don’t pick it up.  And if you’re like me, you often choose a book initially because it has an interesting cover.  Seventh Star Press is well known throughout the industry for having the very best in cover and interior artwork and David’s trilogy is a perfect example.  But I’ll let him tell you…

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What can I say about Matt Perry’s artwork that can do it justice? His covers have drawn some significant attention to the series, attention it probably would not otherwise have had. As an artist, Matt has the ability to take an idea and imbue his own personal interpretation into the image without losing the original theme. It is a tricky balancing act, one he has mastered admirably.

 

Click me to buy!
Click me to buy!

 

The cover of Angelkiller is a striking image, unlike anything I’ve seen. His use of atmospheric imagery on that cover gave it that disturbing, unreal feeling that conveys the essence of the Great Conflict. The books are about a war between entities more than human and that cover shows just enough humanity to connect with the reader while retaining that otherworldly quality. The interior images in Angelkiller faithfully reproduce the scenes from the text in an exciting and provocative manner. They more closely connect the reader to the text, inserting more humanity into the art while retaining just enough emotional impact.

 

 

CLICK ME to buy!
CLICK ME to buy!

 

For Traitor Angel, Matt reached into the idea of virtual reality crossing over into mundane reality by presenting the combat between good and evil, represented by the knight and the dragon, against a background of circuitry. As a lot of the book contained just this combat, it was again faithful to the ideas embodied in the text while making a broader statement about the story arc in general. The interior art continues this theme, reaching toward the humanity without letting us forget how different the virtual reality conflict can be.

 

 

CLICK ME to buy!
CLICK ME to buy!

 

Finally, in Doom Angel’s cover, Matt states the Great Conflict in an iconic image that sums up the series marvelously. The feedback about this art has been unanimously positive. Again, he took the road of impression instead of strict interpretation, resulting in a stunningly beautiful, yet slightly troubling, image. The Great Conflict could not have been better presented in a single piece of art. The interior artwork only reinforces and strengthens the conviction that what is happening has a deeper meaning than simply a war between human factions.

 

 

Having Matt Perry as my artist for the series was a struck of incredible luck. I am very fortunate to have such a talented and perceptive individual on my team. And Seventh Star Press has a gem of an artist in their employ.

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Now you all know that while I’m a romantic at heart, I really love a dark urban fantasy.  I’ve just started reading Angelkiller but I’m already in love.  Read this description.  I dare you not to be desperate to read it…

Why do bad things happen to good people? Simple. In the ancient war between the Angels of Light and Darkness, the Dark won. Now it is the job of an undercover force simply known as The Army to rectify that.

Using every tool available, The Army has worked to liberate our world from The Enemy for thousands of years, slowly and painfully lifting Mankind out of the dark. On the front of the great Conflict are the Angelkillers, veterans of the
fight with centuries of experience.

Jonah Mason is an Angelkiller, and his cell is targeted as part of plot to unseat a very powerful Minion of The Enemy. Mason and his troop are drawn into a battle that stretches from real-time to virtual reality and back. The Conflict is about to expand into cyberspace, and if Mason is unable to stop it, The Enemy will have gained dominion over yet another realm.

Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?  Okay, kids.  That’s it for me today.  I’ve got a dragon by the fireplace waiting.  He seems pretty tame but he keeps shouting, “Bored!” and breathing fire. If I don’t act quickly, my house may burn down.  See ya, kids!

What’s Wrong with Romance?

Click me for more info!
Click me for more info!

No one could possibly be as surprised as I was the first time I wrote a romance novel.  Given my track record as a reader, I’m probably the most unlikely romance novelist that you’re ever going to meet.  While I believe in true love, I don’t believe in being stupid and the problem with most romance novels is stupidity.  Stupid people in stupid situations making stupid decisions with stupid dialogue.  Now, I know some writer folk are going to get all up in arms about that statement thinking that I’m insulting their work.  Look, if you’re that insulted that means you got some stupid goin’ on in your book.  If you’re a reader, then use this little vignette as a primer on how to choose a good romance novel.

Don’t think that I don’t believe in the genre.  I do.  I think writing good romance is damn hard work and is an art form in and of itself.  The problem is, it has a shit reputation because there are so many people out there who think it’s a quick path to fame and fortune.  Therefore, the market is flooded and it has gotten nigh on to impossible for good writers to get their work in front of readers.  In a sea of $0.99 dinosaur porn and incest fantasies, good books are drowning.  So as a reader, you have to consider what you’re looking for:  a satisfying story with believable characters and interesting plot OR shower nozzle masturbation material.   Don’t get me wrong, both are worthy endeavors.  But if you’re going to spend the money, you may as well get the good stuff.

I offer, for your convenience and pleasure, the biggest mistakes going on in the romance industry:

1.  Underestimating the intelligence of the reader.  There seems to be this idea in publishing that every romance reader is a mouth-breathing, undersexed soccer mom who can’t understand big words or shifts in POV.  I like to think that the folks reading my books are smart people who are looking for a good story and perhaps a little erotic inspiration.  I refuse to dumb down my plots or use smaller words to “make the story accessible.” I also refuse to believe that my readers are incapable of following a third person omniscient point of view.  To me, limited POV is well… limiting.  I want to see the whole picture.  “Head-hopping” is a fan fiction term that has no place in the literary world.  Word choice is part of what makes erotica so appealing and so sexy.  And in my opinion there is nothing sexy about crude language and degradation.

2.  Sacrificing story for more sex.  I admit it– sex sells.  But I hate reading books where interesting plot points are ignored in favor of having another poorly executed sex scene.  For real people, how many different ways can you say “insert tab A into slot B.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.”.  I’d rather have a good story with lots of action that shows our hero and heroine working together as equals and in turn growing their relationship instead of a sex scene every few pages.

3.  Same shit, different day.  Think back to when Fifty Shades of Gray became such a hit.  Remember how for the next year, every romance novel had the same cover?  They were all BDSM romances and they all had young nitwits falling in love with billionaires?  Yeah, we have this problem in romance where if one dwarf with a foot fetish fairy tale romance is good, then a million is better!  We jump on bandwagons and flood the market with a billion copycat stories.  I even watched my friends, desperate for sales, jump on the Pervy Billionaire Romance train.  Of course it didn’t work because there were a million other people with the same idea.

So what’s the answer?   Where is a smart, sassy gal (or guy) to find a great romance novel?  Well, the folks over at Seventh Star Press have decided to help us all out.  On Friday, they announced the launch of a brand new imprint, Seventh Starlight, that will showcase unique speculative fiction with a romance twist.  Seventh Starlight will literally be romance novels for folks who don’t like romance novels. The imprint embraces cross-genre adventures with a strong romantic element.  It looks to be extremely promising.  Already they have publishing vet Jessica Glanville as the managing editor of the imprint and three incredibly talented authors ready to launch:  Siobhan Kinkade, Crymsyn Hart and YOURS TRULY– Alexandra Christian.   In keeping with the Seventh Star brand, each book will also have hand painted cover art done by Anne Rosario.  If history is any clue, then Seventh Starlight will be romance of the finest quality.  Watch this space for more details on release dates and launch parties.

So take heart, kittens.  It’s an exciting time to be a romance reader, writer and lover!

 

 

 

Caution: Publishing Industry Rant

me and amy (2)So I was all set to write up my review of The Hobbit (aka How Benedict Cumberbatch Laid Waste to My Ovaries) and then I made the mistake of opening MSN news.  A headline reads, “Gillian Anderson Inks Sci-Fi Book Deal.”  This catches my eye.  I’m a fan of the X-Files and I think Ms. Anderson is a fine actress.  My immediate thought is that maybe she’s always wanted to be a writer and had this manuscript lying around her house since college and she never got to do anything with it because life and the entertainment industry got in the way.  Maybe now that her career has slowed down a bit, she finally got the chance to polish up that book and submit it to a publisher.  Maybe she had published some short stories in her youth that were really good and they just went unnoticed.  Good for her!

 According to the article, she’ll be writing with a co-author (a real writer who will do the majority of the book most likely) to develop a new series to go with Simon & Schuster’s new speculative fiction line Simon451 (clever, huh?  they just discovered that speculative fiction was a thing).  She says that she’s looking forward to her venture and that she feels that she has the perfect background material to do this.   That she “enjoys writing” but has never allowed herself the time to do it. 

Brace yourselves, this next part gets loud….

NO!  I do not accept this.  It does not compute. Let’s make one thing very clear:  writing a book is hard. Despite what Amazon and those self-pub vanity press banner ads tell you.  Writing is a talent that NOT EVERYONE HAS.  Even those of us who write genre fiction.  It is not easy, it is not a fast track to fame and fortune.  Simply “enjoying writing” is not good enough.  You can “enjoy” making a grocery list.  You can “enjoy” telling your kids bedtime stories.  Writing, real writing, having INTEGRITY as a writer means you love it.  You do it because you have to.  Not because you were on a sci-fi television show twenty years ago and you’re an aging starlet who needs a shot of adrenaline in your career. 

Do I blame Ms. Anderson for this?  Hell no.  I blame Simon and Schuster.  Poor Ms. Anderson is being used as a cash cow.  There are thousands of good authors out there.  Authors whose prose is so clean and so breathtakingly beautiful that it makes me cry.  Authors who write across a variety of genres.  Authors who write every single day and turn out book after book but can’t manage to get noticed by the upper echelon of publishing because they’re too busy giving book deals to Snooki and sci-fi pinup girls.  These are authors who shouldn’t be struggling to make a living.  I even have examples (other than myself):  Lucy Blue, Tally Johnson, S.H. Roddey, Stephen Zimmer, Michael West, Selah Janel, Crymsyn Hart, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Debra Glass, Steven Shrewsbury, James Tuck, John Hartness and COUNTLESS OTHERS who are hovering under the radar.  Writers who write because they love it, not for a paycheck.  And certainly not to be a whore for a publishing house. 

I also blame society.  Us.  We the readers.  Its a shame that P.T. Barnum isn’t alive today, he’d make a fortune.  It seems that the only thing we’re interested in these days is the freakshow.  The publishing houses, movie industry, music industry, etc. keeps heaping shit on to our plates and we keep lapping it up like its the best thing we ever ate.  Fanboys that still masturbate to their posters of Agent Scully will buy her book by the truckload and Simon & Schuster will make a sack full of money off of her whether its good or not.  And as an author it makes me physically ill.  As a lover of art, it makes me physically ill.  Almost as ill as people being able to quit their day jobs writing dinosaur porn and lactation romances. 

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe Ms. Anderson will turn out to be a great writer (not that we’ll ever know because of her co-writer. i wonder if his name will be in big, glossy letters on the cover).  Maybe she just missed her true calling.  Maybe Snooki really is an intellectual whose been hiding her light under a bushel all these years.  Doubtful, but stranger things have happened.  tumblr_inline_mr9t7xlXDT1qz4rgp

Okay.  I’m going to climb down off the soapbox and go back to browsing pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch on Pinterest.  As I suspected, that’s much better for my mental health.