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WRIGHTIain Rob Wright is from the English town of Redditch, where he worked for many years as a mobile telephone salesman. After publishing his debut novel, THE FINAL WINTER, in 2011 to great success, he quit his job and became a full time writer. He now has over a dozen novels, and in 2013 he co-wrote a book with bestselling author, J.A.Konrath.

The three most important things in his life are his wife, his son, and his fans.

His work is currently being  adapted for graphic novels, audio books, and foreign audiences. He’s an active member of the Horror Writer’s Association and a massive animal lover. Join his mailing list and receive five FREE books, as well as all the latest news and releases.

  1. What does your work space look like?

I have a small office at home where I work (although my laptop on the sofa is also a mainstay), and I have found this important to stay motivated. Being surrounded by stationary and hole punches keeps me in a ‘work’ state of mind and I have a tendency to vegetate anywhere else. I use an iMac to work and I love it! Just typing is a pleasure on a Mac, and it all goes towards making my office an enjoyable place to be.
Wright-12. What is your work routine?

Ideally, I start work at 9 and work till about half 4, but since having a son, that gets torn up quite often. I try to keep normal business hours as, again, I am motivated by treating my writing as a ‘job’ (because that’s what it is). I have a minimum word count of 3k a day but will aim for 5. I try to keep anything non-writing related (such as website tweaking or blogging) to Wednesday mornings so that it doesn’t interfere too much with what’s most important (writing new books). I use Scrivener for my drafts, followed by Word for editing (I use the ProWriting Aid plugin), then put everything into Vellum for formatting. Using these programs has made life so much easier than how I used to do things and I wholly recommend them. Freeing up more time to write is a priority for me.
Wright-23. What is your process when developing a new book?

I used to write by the seat of my pants, with only an idea in my head. Lately, I have been plotting a lot more heavily, and have found this speeds up the writing process a great deal. I get stuck a lot less, and spend less time ruminating on where to go next when I have a detailed guideline to work from, so I will make sure I have every chapter briefly explained, along with character descriptions. Then I will just go for it, and let the story write itself within those parameters.
Wright-34. Do you use on outline or do you discover the story as you write?

Yes, I very much use an outline, but my first ten books or so were written on the fly. I like writing without an outline—it’s certainly more fun—but now that I work to such a tight schedule, I have to be a bit more rigid. Having an outline also makes things easier for multi-book series as you can take a step back and look at the big picture.
Wright-45. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

Nick Stephenson says to spend 80 percent of your time on the things that bring you the biggest results, and 20 percent of your time on everything else. This was important to me as I found I was getting stretched very thin with other things like my website, blog, Facebook, re-editing old books, advertising, and hundreds of other things that are all important, but not as much as other things (like writing new books). I now focus most of my time on writing, and limit other activities to a Wednesday morning. Knowing that really helps with my stress, as nothing gets in the way of my writing anymore. Something needs doing on my website? I don’t let it interrupt me, and know I’ll fix it on Wednesday. I truly believe that a writer should write, and that success comes from releasing new books. So, ‘forget about everything else’, would be my advice. Thanks, Nick Stephenson.

6. What are you currently working on?

I have just started plotting out the sequel to my 2015 novel, The Gates. I have been looking forward to getting started on it and my fingers are itching to start writing. Plotting has been really important though, as I’ve had to revisit the 1st book a lot to make sure everything flows and that there’s no discontinuity.
Wright-57. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

Wow, I don’t know. I suppose I’ve not been asked which actors I would have play my characters in the movies. I think I would want Alexis Denisof to play Blake Price from the Picture Frame.

You can find him at:
www.iainrobwright.com or

You can get his FREE Horror Starter Pack – FOUR bestselling novels and a short story banned from sale – by going here: http://www.iainrobwright.com/free-starter-pack/

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Born in Bath, England in 1974, Matt Drabble is a self-professed “funny onion”, equal parts sport loving jock and comic book geek. I am a lover of horror and character driven stories. I am also an A.S sufferer who took to writing full time two years ago after being forced to give up the day job.

Matt has a career high position of 5th on Amazon’s Horror Author Rank of which he is immensely proud. He has been accepted as a full member of the Horror Writers Association.

“GATED” is the 2015 Readers Favorite Gold Medal Winner. It is also a UK & US Horror Chart Top Ten Best Seller & winner of the Full Moon Awards 2014 Horror Book of the Year.

“ASYLUM – 13 TALES OF TERROR” is a US Horror Chart #5 It was also voted #5 on The Horror Novel Review’s Top 10 Books of 2013 & is a Readers Favorite 2014 Gold Medal Winner.

Both “THE TRAVELLING MAN” and “ABRA-CADAVER” won Indie Book of the Day awards while “ABRA-CADAVER” was also a 2015 Kindle Book Review Finalist.

 1. What does your work space look like?

I have an office at home which is used for my writing as well as a business. I always have to have an accompanying noise so the TV is always on. I like to have a mini-series playing along with me as I work as it means that I don’t have to spend time wondering what to put on next. The one self-indulgence that I allow myself is to frame the awards that I have won to date and I keep a book shelf with hard copies of my books.
Drabble-12. What is your work routine?

It’s the same as any job. I find that I work better inside an organized structure. I’m up about 7am, walk the dog and then take care of any chores. After that I clock in for work. I set myself a weekly minimum writing target of 10,000 words. Some weeks I might do that over 3 days, other weeks it might take me 7, but I always make sure that I hit the 10k minimum.

3. What is your process when developing a new book?

I have several notebooks in which I will jot down ideas for new books whenever the thoughts occur to me. I am always thinking about the next job before I’ve finished the current one and as a result sometimes I will put aside a project that I’m working on to start something new. At present I have 3 books which are half finished, I consider these to be useful projects to come back to as they are already halfway done.
Drabble-34. Do you use on outline or do you discover the story as you write?

I normally start with a starting idea and a twist of an ending. The in-between process is very much a journey of discovery and many a time I am surprised at where the story takes me and how it all ends up fitting together.


5. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

When I started out it was very much without any idea of selling a single book. I just wanted to write a book and had several paper pads of handwritten material. It was only by chance that I stumbled across Amazon’s self-publishing platform. As a result, I started out blindly without seeking out advice, something that I wish I’d done. This has led to me learning many a lesson the hard way. The first thing that I would tell anyone now is to get a thick skin. Some people will not like what you write or how you write it, no matter what. You’ll never be able to appeal to everyone and you have to accept that at the outset. Think about your favorite author, then check out their book via Amazon and you will find that even the greatest authors have many critics. I will always dismiss 1 star reviews and the 5 star reviews. I personally think that the 3 star reviews will give you a good idea of where you can improve. The trick is to leave the scattergun approach to finding readers behind and develop an audience who like what you do and how you do it.
Drabble-26. What are you currently working on?

I am currently finishing up the third and final instalment of my “Gated” trilogy. I have my first Zombie novel out for proofing at the minute which has kind of a Predator meets The Walking Dead vibe. After that I may well take my first stab at converting one of my novels into a screenplay.


7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

I am quite proud of the fact that I have no literary educational background. I have not studied either English Lit or Language to a higher education level. Nor have ever taken a creative writing course. I simply sat down and tried to write a novel and when I’d finished the story it came to the length of book. I very consciously stay away from ever analyzing what I do or how I do it for fear that I will suddenly grind to a halt if I think about too much. I have found a great editor who was a fan of my work and we work together on proofing and editing and would be lost without her.

Visit me at  www.mattdrabble.com to download free short stories & a full length novel.

Twitter: MattDrabble01

Facebook: matt.drabble.3

or to sign up for his Newsletter

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Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally-bestselling novelist and one of the top indie horror writers in the country. He is also a produced screenwriter and makes nifty chocolate-chip waffles.

Collins-11. What does your work space look like?

Honestly? It mostly looks like a table at McDonald’s, or a local bookstore, or the library. Anyplace with decent wifi that will allow me to bring drinks in so I can imbibe my wonder juice (aka, Diet Coke).
Collins-22. What is your work routine?

Wake up. Groom ever-so-slightly so as to achieve that “hobo/artist” look. Go to above-mentioned workspace. Write. Go home.

Rinse, lather, repeat.
Collins-33. What is your process when developing a new book?

I mostly walk around in circles mumbling to myself. No joke. There are little circular patterns in the carpet to mark every book’s genesis. My wife has learned not to talk to me in times like this, since that mostly results in her talking to a blank, vacuous face with frequent interruptions as I run to the nearest notebook.

In all seriousness, it mostly just involves me taking strolls, asking myself questions (“What would be a scary place?” “What kinds of fantasy powers would be really cool?” “What kind of person do I want to run this story?”) and then writing them down as fast as I can so I don’t forget them. Because I forget things a lot.

What were we talking about?
Collins-44. Do you use on outline or do you discover the story as you write?

A bit of both. I do a very basic outline – about a page – and then write from that. I think outlining too much really kills a lot of the joy inherent in writing the final product. Outlining too much turns your work from doing something creative to more or less taking dictation (erk!). So I do my page or so, then turn into the crazy guy giggling in the corner of whatever establishment I’m writing in because I just wrote something that surprised me. I’m pretty sure all these places have the men in white coats on speed dial just in case I ever progress from giggling to cutting off people’s skin and making shoes out of them.


5. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

Best advice came from my father: “Imagine every word you write costs you, personally, one thousand dollars.” It does wonders when you view your words as not only valuable, but something you have to actually PURCHASE. You find ways to make every word count, and to never achieve an effect with fifty words when you can do the same thing with only ten. This is especially valuable in today’s writing environment, when people are trained by TV and social media to receive dense information in the form of images and tweets and such, so they expect the same from books.


6. What are you currently working on?

I just finished a book called The House That Death Built, which is about four thieves who break into a house intent on burglary and mayhem… only to discover that the owners were waiting for them, and have a maze of traps and killing devices built into the place that the thieves have to navigate if they hope to survive. That comes out in a few weeks, and then I’ll be tackling several screenplays and a sequel to my fantasy The Sword Chronicles: Child of the Empire. Busy, busy, busy.


7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

What writing skill do you wish more people had?

The answer is this: I wish more people understood their inherent value. Which doesn’t seem like a writing answer, but it really is. Most people don’t really understand how great they are, how valuable their most important stories. And the more people have a handle on their true self-worth – not bloated ego, not crippled self-esteem, but their actual value to the world around them – the more great stories we’ll see.




http://eepurl.com/VHuvX (mailing list where readers can get a FREE book from Michaelbrent!)





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JeremyBatesJeremy Bates

Jeremy Bates is the #1 bestselling and award-winning author of several novels and short stories. He writes suspense and horror fiction. The novels in the “World’s Scariest Places” series are set in real locations, and so far include Suicide Forest in Japan, The Catacombs in Paris, Helltown in Ohio, and Island of the Dolls in Mexico. Visit his website at: WWW.JEREMYBATESBOOKS.COM to receive a free novel.


  1. What does your workspace look like?
    Always different! I travel a fair bit and write where I can. I spent last month in the Philippines writing with my laptop on a box on a coffee table so it was at my level, and right now I’m at a little desk in some Sydney hotel. I also spent a lot of time in coffee shops or even fast food joints. But my place at home is pretty normal: desk, chair, laptop and some tunes!
  2. What is your work routine?
    I like starting early. If I can, I prefer to get going around 6:30 or so after reading the news. I try to get in 2-3 hours. Then I do some stuff, have lunch, and try to get another 2-3 hours in during the afternoon.
  3. What is your process when developing a new book?
    I don’t do outlines, that’s for sure! I’ll sketch out an idea. I usually know a few of the characters. But for me the biggest decision is the setting. Once I know where it’s going to be set I go from there and try to sketch out a plot in my head and fill it in with the characters.
  4. Do you use on outline or do you discover the story as you write?
    As mentioned above, nope. I don’t know how people do it, really. Writing is tough enough sitting down and getting a book done. To sit down for a month just to outline stuff that might never get into the novel would drive me crazy.
  5. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
    Not to give up! This was not advice that was directly given to me, but I heard Stephen King say it somewhere. And it’s true. The only way not to become a writer is to not write.
  6. What are you currently working on?
    I’ve just finished a novel called Island of the Dolls. After a full-length novel I usually write a couple novellas to wind down, which are what I’m working on now.
  7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
    Would you like to sell the movie rights to your next book for seven figures?

Jeremy Bates Website

Jeremy Bates’s Books on Amazon

You can contact Jeremy Bates via email, jeremybatesbooks@gmail.com,
or his website, www.jeremybatesbooks.com

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April M ReignApril M. Reign is the bestselling author of Teen & Young Adult Paranormal Romances, Sci-Fi Romances and Mystery Thrillers, like HASH, The Mancini Saga, The Dhellia Series, The Disciples of the Damned Series and The Turning Series. She has currently sold over 250,000 books and has published over 35 novels and hopes to reach more readers with each new series she writes. She lives in Southern California with her two grown sons where she spends her free-time fighting demons, writing books and seeking inspiration from her travel adventures and travel blog. Please, visit her at www.aprilmreign.com.

  1. What does your workspace look like?
    DeskMy workspace is clean and uncluttered. It helps me focus on my work at hand. It also allows for an environment where I can conduct business in person with others, If I have to.
  2. What is your work routine?

Oh boy! Up until 2016, my work hours started at 9 am and ended at 2 am, only breaking for meals and a two mile walk or jog. I worked 7 days a week, on holidays and while I slept! (Okay, not really while I slept, but there was always the risk that an occasional dream would become a new story).

The last two weeks of December 2015, I decided to make some serious changes in my working life. I sat down at my desk and started to create a 2016 business plan. In that plan, I included my work schedule. Now, my routine is as follows:

9 am: Coffee, breakfast
9:30 am Social media, Emails and catch up with the activity that transpired overnight
Office10 am: Write! Write! Write
12 pm: Go for a 2 to 3 mile walk or jog
12:30 pm: Have some lunch
1:00 pm: Write! Write! Write!
3:00 pm: Admin work: Including:
Set up and review audio books
Create new book covers for future work or for my clients who hire me to do their covers and boxed set covers.
Contacting promo sites and /or reviewing upcoming promos to get pricing set up
Create Paperbacks and box set covers for closed series
Answer emails – FB messages – Twitter messages and Website messages
Handle merchandise and promos on merchandise
Update Website design and blog
6:00 pm Dinner time
7:00 pm: Handle all blogging and social media for my nonprofit clients under my business AMR Global Marketing
9:00 pm: CALL IT QUITS (Although, I must admit, it’s 11:40 pm and I’m answering these interview questions after a book release today and spending the entire day working)
My new business plan allows me to have weekends and all recognized holidays off as well as a total of 4 weeks’ vacation for the year! Wahoo!! So far, so good.
Reign-3   3What is your process when developing a new book?
My process is as follows:

  • Come up with a story idea.
  • Write out a short profile on the main characters. Such as names, ages, likes, dislikes and background.
  • Write the “About the Book.”
  • Decide on an estimated length. (Do I want this to be a shorter book? Is there more story to tell)?
  • Decide if it will be a series or a standalone.
  • Write out all the chapter headings and titles (Usually the titles don’t stay, but they are there for me).
  • Add 6 plot bullet points to each chapter up to three chapters at a time.
  1. Do you use on outline or do you discover the story as you write?
    Oops, I answered that in the previous question.
    Although I outline, I also allow room for the characters to change direction, which is why I only bullet point 3 chapters ahead. When I finish writing chapter three, I bullet point the next three chapters and so on. I have an amazing strategy, which allows me to write a 50,000 word novel in less than 30 days!
  2. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
    Plain and simple, sit down and write. I explain that in an inspirational video that I put together for writers. You can find that here: https://youtu.be/zW11qCnVziQ
  3. What are you currently working on?
    Too many things at this moment. I just released book 7 in my Disciples of the Damned I’m writing book 8 in that series as well as starting on a new series in Kindle Worlds for 2016. In total, I will be releasing 21 books in 2016. My lists and covers are located here: http://bit.ly/AMRcomingsoon
  4. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
    I’ve been asked a lot of questions over the years, so I’m not sure there’s one I haven’t been asked that I’d love to answer. I’m open to any questions and would love to answer them. I believe in being active on social media and sharing my world with my readers. So, I welcome anyone to ask away.
    Reign-8Website: aprilmreign.com

Amazon: http://bit.ly/AMRamazon

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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/aprilmreign.author

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/aprilmreign

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Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/aprilmreign

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John Everson is a staunch advocate for the culinary joys of the jalapeno and an unabashed fan of 1970s European horror cinema.  He is also the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Covenant and seven other novels, including the creature feature spiderfest Violet Eyes, the erotic horror Stoker Award finalist NightWhere, and his latest, the seductive backwoods tale of The Family Tree. Other novels include SacrificeThe Pumpkin ManSiren and The 13th. Over the past 20 years, his short stories have appeared in more than 75 magazines and anthologies. His fourth fiction collection, Sacrificing Virgins, was released from Samhain Publishing at the end of 2015. For more information on his obsession with chili peppers, as well as his fiction, art and music, visit www.johneverson.com.


  1. What does your work space look like?
    Well… that depends!  I tend to write in a lot of different places. I probably do mydeskthe least amount of writing in my home office, which is actually a nice comfy space – oak, L-shaped desk that has a shelf rack along the long end filled with my books, a bunch of CDs and statues of horror oriented icons, skulls, etc.  Usually with a cockatiel or cockatoo hanging around. But I write often at the custom oak bar that I built a year and a half ago in my basement because I can EversonBarplay music louder there. A  good percentage of the text of my novels have been written on “writing nights” outside of my house though – instead of coming home after work, I’ll go straight to a local pub and work for 3-5 hours on my laptop. It has to be a place with good finger food (usually wings) and beer, as well as music. I love the din of a busy bar that has good music and a nice corner booth that I can hole up in and disappear into my laptop world for a few hours. Sadly, I have travelled for my dayjob so much over the past year that I haven’t done my weekly “writing nights” in a long time. I just haven’t been able to rationalize taking more time away from my family when I’ve been gone so much… and my fiction output has definitely suffered from the lack.
  2. What is your work routine?
    Wildly sporadic. When I’m working on a project – I mean really working – I will schedule myself to get in 10-20 hours a week. That is difficult to do for long periods though, because I have a pretty intense dayjob that is usually 50+ hours a week and frequently involves travel.  I sometimes write on planes, or for an hour every day before I go to work in the morning (I hate doing that though – I’m not a morning person)… or on Sunday afternoons. Or on “writing nights” as described above at a local pub. Or in Irish bars in other cities while travelling.  I will sometimes go 4-6 months without writing any fiction, and then in the next 6 months, write an entire novel.  If there’s one thing I can say about my writing routine, it’s that it is anything but routine.
  3. What is your process when developing a new book?

That has varied by project. I’ve written some books by diving in with just a vague idea and a paragraph summary of what I think the book is going to be, but I’ve also done some that have a formal 10 or 12-page outline (a few of the books I sold to Leisure and Samhain were sold based on the outlines, before I sat down to write them). Either way, books happen because I’m usually intrigued by a specific situation/conflict that I think of that doesn’t leave my head (an aquaphobe entranced by a Siren, a swinger couple who get invited to NightWhere, a sex club that is far darker than they could ever have imagined, or a reporter who starts investigating a series of deaths that are tied to a Covenant with a demon…). And then I begin to sit down and write about how the characters react to that situation.
Everson-4 copy4. Do you use on outline or do you discover the story as you write?

Both. Covenant, Sacrifice, The 13thand The Family Tree – and the book I’m working on now, Redemption – were all written without outlines. A couple of them, I dove into with only the vaguest idea of how it was all going to turn out. The fun was in telling the story to myself and figuring it out. But others, like Siren, The Pumpkin Man, NightWhere andViolet Eyes were written with very detailed outlines. That said, even with those that were outlined, there is a lot that you “figure out as you go along.” The whole 1800s backstory plot of Siren came to be during the writing of the novel. It made up half of the book, ultimately, but didn’t appear in the outline at all.
Everson-55. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

Keep at it. You want to be in the game? Then you have to constantly be playing the game. When Leisure Books imploded five years ago, I was really feeling low, and thinking that it was all over for me … I felt like I might as well cash in the writing card. I’d spent over 15 years getting to the point of a mass market deal and when Leisure Books fell apart, I felt like that was it. I was done. But Mort Castle wrote me a really supportive email, which I’ve kept taped next to my desk ever since. He basically said a writing career is filled with good luck and bad luck… and mostly with long periods of “no luck at all.” You can’t predict when any of those lucks are going to hit, all you can do is keep at it and sooner or later, the Good Luck will hit.  Assuming you’re being productive in those long spaces in between. But if you’re not writing and producing work… there’s no way for it to ever happen. So… keep writing. That’s all you can do.
Everson-66. What are you currently working on?

I’m nearly done with the third book in the Covenant trilogy. Which sounds funny to say, since I never envisioned it as a series. I finished Covenant, almost 15 years ago now, and that was supposed to be it. Standalone book. But then a couple years later, I came up with an idea I really wanted to write about Joe Kieran that happened immediately following the events of Covenant, and tie back to the first novel. So that became Sacrifice. I finished that second novel in 2005/2006 (it was published by Delirium in 2007) and after I finished it, I thought… hmmm… I’d love to explore that ending a little more someday. But I didn’t have a solid idea about where it would go.

A couple years later, after Leisure bought the first two novels, I asked if they’d want me to write the third… and at the time, my editor, Don D’Auria, felt it would be better to develop more standalone novels, since those tend to fare better in Horror. So I did. Then right after Siren was published, I was just sitting down to come up with ideas for my sixth novel (I had just turned in The Pumpkin Man). I was on a business trip at my favorite bar in Santa Fe – the Cowgirl BBQ – and I wrote a few paragraphs that were intended to begin “Covenant 3”… and then I got the news that Don D’Auria had been fired from Leisure Books. I stopped working on it immediately. In fact, I didn’t write another word of fiction after that for weeks. When I did begin again, it was with a contract to write NightWhere for Don at his new home at Samhain.  After two more novels, last year, I decided to finally just dig in and get the book done. So for the first half of 2015, that was my major focus. The second half of 2015, unfortunately, derailed me. I was travelling constantly for work, and other than a couple short stories, I just couldn’t stay focused on the novel. But now I’m finally hoping to write the final chapters! It’s tentatively called Redemption.
Everson-77. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

I’ve done dozens of interviews over the years… maybe more than 100, I don’t know… it’s been a lot. So I honestly can’t say that there’s a question related to writing that I wish I’d been asked. I do get a kick out of some of the interviews where they ask goofball questions though that make you come up with a good creative answer, something like, “if you were a sock, whose foot would you want to be on?”


Website & blog:  www.johneverson.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnEverson

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/John-Everson/e/B002BMHL52

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Amy Cross writes horror, paranormal and fantasy novels, although she sometimes stumbles into other genres. She has been writing all her life, but only started publishing her work in 2011. Since then, she has sold more than 200,000 copies of books such as Asylum, Dark Season and The Girl Who Never Came Back.

In her spare time, Amy likes walking her dog, biting her nails, cooking, listening to unfashionable music, watching unfashionable films and TV shows, and writing about herself in the third person.

She’s currently working on the new Dead Souls series. Also coming soon are sequels to Grave Girl and Ophelia, as well as a new horror novel set in a prison and the final parts of the Joanna Mason series.


1. What does your workspace look like?

I like to keep things uncluttered. Usually, the only things on my desk are my laptop, a cup of tea, a notebook (I’m old-fashioned!) and an orange rag I use to clean my laptop’s screen. And tea stains. And a very faded Justin Bieber mug, which is a long story…

2. What is your work routine?

I start working early each day, between 8am and midday. Around lunchtime, I take the dog for a walk, and then I get back to work around 2pm. By 6pm I’m ready to stop, and usually I don’t work in the evening. Tonight I watched the first two episodes of Agent Carter series 2, and now I’m answering these questions before bed!

Cross-33. What is your process when developing a new book?

I just start writing! I have a Wordpad file with my schedule for the next two weeks, including word counts, and I make sure to always meet those deadlines. I have a dog, and I usually come up with ideas while taking him for a walk.

Cross-44. Do you use on outline or do you discover the story as you write?

Lately, I’ve tended to keep the outline in my head and just discover the story as I write. I tend to change my working method quite regularly, but this is how I do it at the moment. For example, ‘The Dead Ones’ was originally not going to be part of the ‘Death Herself’ series, but as I got further into the story, the character of Hannah seemed more necessary. Conversely, I was very tempted to include Hannah in ‘The Cabin’, but I resisted that urge.

Cross-55. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

I’ve never really received any advice. I just think it’s best to keep writing. Even if you end up with rubbish at the end of the day, you can take that rubbish and work with it the next day. I credit my dog with most of my success.

Cross-6Cross-76. What are you currently working on?

I work far in advance, so the books I’m writing now won’t come out until the summer. As for January 2016, I’m ready to release a novel about a woman who answers a deadly advertisement in the newspaper.

Cross-87. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

I have no idea! Right now, I’m sitting here, typing these answers, drinking green tea, thinking that it’s time for bed. Good night!



Amy’s Amazon Page

Amy Cross Books

Claire C. Riley

Claire C Riley is a USA Today Bestselling author as well as a #1 Bestselling British Horror Author. Her works include: Odium The Dead Saga Series, Odium 0.5 Novella Series, Limerence (The Obsession Series) Twisted magic Series, Thicker Than Blood Series and Shut Up & Kiss Me.
She writes dark twisty words, is a lover of epic romances, and an eater of cake! She writes characters that are realistic and kills them without mercy. 

She lives in the UK with her three young daughters, husband, and scruffy dog.
RILEY1. What does your work space look like?

Up until a month or so ago, I did everything from my dining room table in my living room! It was very hectic and messy and stressful. But I recently had a conservatory built specifically to be used as my office. It’s a beautiful space with a full glass roof and doors so there is tons of natural light. And the best part is I can lock the internal doors and keep my husband and kids out. I tend to be quite neat when I’m working—no clutter barring sheets of notes I have at hand next to me.
Riley-12. What is your work routine?

I write full time now, and have three full days (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) specifically for writing. Wednesday is my paperwork day (yuck) though I try to get 2k written in the afternoon, and Friday I try to catch up with all my emails, any beta reading that I’m doing, interviews, and of course the dreaded housework and food shopping.

I treat my days like any job with a 9 to 5 schedule, though, after 3pm it’s more stop -start as I have to get my kids from school. If I’m on a tight deadline, or just have a plot which won’t leave me, I also work in the evenings.


3. What is your process when developing a new book?

It tends to start off with a snippet of a scene which I’ll write down, and then slowly the snippet develops into the full scene, and then the full plot idea comes to fruition.


4. Do you use on outline or do you discover the story as you write?

I try to sit down and type out a loose plot, working out beginning, middle and end, and of course my characters and world, but the full storyline I like to let develop as I write. Creatively, I work better this way.


5. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

I was given two pieces of advice from two different people. One was – Give yourself three years to make or break it.

I was told that four years ago, and over that time there have been many ups and downs in my writing journey. There have been times when I’ve considered giving up and just writing for a hobby instead of a career, but I always had that friend’s advice in my head, to give it three years. I’m so glad that I listened to him and never gave up.

The second piece of advice was – write 2000 words a day, no matter what.

I still do this now, though my target is generally much higher now. When I’m having a particularly hard time with a book, I try to push on until I get in my 2k, and then I feel like I’ve achieved something and not wasted a full day. Plus, 2k a day means that I will have a rough draft of a book written in two months.

6. What are you currently working on?

As usual, I’m currently working on several projects at once. I tend to do this until a certain point where one storyline will insist on having my undivided attention!

So currently I’m working on two short anthology horror pieces – one is about clowns and the other is about zombies. I’m also working on a thriller/suspense for my agent and an apocalyptic horror for her also.

For my indie side I’m working on the continuation of my bestselling apocalyptic series- Odium The Dead Saga (book four).


7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer? 

– Why do I write?

My answer is I write because I breathe, and I breathe therefore I am.

Claire’s Links:





Samantha Warren is a speculative fiction author who spends her days immersed in dragons, spaceships, and vampires. She milks cows for fun, collects zombie gnomes, and dreams about the day she’ll meet Boba Fett. Her love is easily purchased with socks and her goal in life is to eat a Beef Wellington cooked by Gordon Ramsay.
FIXED21. What does your work space look like?
Messy. Very very messy. My office consists of my desktop computer (with two monitors, as every good gamer should have), a comfy reading chair where I also use my laptop to do some morning writing, a futon that is pets-only (trust me, you don’t want to sit on that thing after the dogs have been there. It STINKS), three bookcases, my tea bar (extremely important on rough writing days), and a few other pieces of furniture. The walls are plastered with Pacific Rim posters, my Wish I Were Here backer-only poster, my Have you ARTED today? chalkboard, and lots of other fun stuff.


2. What is your work routine?
I’m not a morning person, but I’ve found that if I don’t get my writing out of the way first thing, I’ll procrastinate until it just doesn’t get done. Over the years I’ve learned that if I don’t start writing by 10am, the chances of actually doing it drop to almost nothing, so I try to stick to that and get my butt in gear before 10am.

Book-33. What is your process when developing a new book or project?
After reading Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k book, I put aside my pantsing and began plotting. It increased my writing output tremendously. No joke, that book is amazing. It changed everything. I can now knock out 2k an hour if I really try. Long story short, I open up Scrivener and use the corkboard to outline my project first. I usually veer away from the outline, but when I get stuck, it’s helpful to at least have an idea of where I’m going in the end.
Book-44. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
I’ve heard a lot of advice. There are a few pieces that I really held on to and are written on post-it notes stuck to my computer. The first is from Dan Blank: Start your day with intention, not reaction. The second is a bit NSFW, from Chuck Wendig: Write like a mother F*****.The third is Protect your writing time. Really, the only advice that matters is this: Write. Put your butt in the chair, and write. Anything else is extra.

5. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
While everything I write has a fantastical bent of some sort, I generally don’t stick to one genre. I write what I want to read, whether it be sci-fi, fantasy, or horror. And I try to write what my readers want to read. I listen to their feedback and take it into account when working on the next book.

Book-66. What are you currently working on?
I just released the first book in a new YA Urban Fantasy series, The Third Key. I’m currently working on the next book in the series, aptly titled The Fourth Key. In addition to that, I’m about to release the 4th episode in my sci-fi steampunk serial, Space Grease & Pixie Dust, and I’m starting a new YA apocalyptic/horror series called Zombie Juice.
Book-77. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
Tough one. One thing I think it’s important to mention, especially for new or struggling writers, is that it’s perfectly okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to take a few days off, get into a rut, and get stuck. We all do it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We all go through tough times where we consider quitting. It’s a normal part of being a writer. The only thing that matters in the end is that you don’t quit. At some point, you have to sit back down and get back on track if you want to succeed. Don’t beat yourself up over the past and what you didn’t do. All you can control is what you do right now. So do it.



Website: http://www.samantha-warren.com

Newest bookhttp://smarturl.it/thethirdkey (99 cents through June 10th)



Kya Aliana writes YA horror/suspense/supernatural fiction. She loves to read and write in all genres, but feels the YA genre speaks to her the most.

KyaAlianaKya wrote her first novel at thirteen and didn’t stop there. Now, nine novels later and at twenty-years-old, she’s turned her reading and writing addiction into a career she loves. She self-published five books in her teen years, and has recently been signed by traditional publishing house Winlock Press. She is a full time writer living with her husband in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. Writing is her greatest passion in life; she’s found her calling in the horror world. Ever since she read her first Stephen King book, she’s been hooked.

She is married to her wonderful and supportive husband, Zariel, who encourages her to write and follow her dreams. He’s an amazing glass blower. They follow their dreams and passions together, supporting, encouraging, and inspiring each other every single day. Through love, hard work, determination, and their belief in each other, they feel they will achieve great things.

Kya Aliana is always eager to learn and will be the first to spark up a conversation with a fellow author. She always strives to improve with each story as she steadily masters the several dark layers of horror. She’s recently been hard at work writing her Vampiress Thrillogy (and you can bet her vampires don’t sparkle). The first book Vampiress: Bloodborne is published and available as an e-book. The paperback will come out in stores in August 2015.

Kya Aliana is the founder of Aspirations Press and will publish several volumes of the “Dreams Come True Anthology” – an anthology full of stories and poems written by young authors under 18. Her goal is to help and positively encourage young authors’ dreams and ambitions by publishing, professionally editing, promoting their names and stories, and helping them get the recognition and encouragement they deserve. These are the future voices of their generation and she looks for to publishing them and getting their names out there as the premier authors of fiction!

1. What does your work space look like?
My work space changes depending on my mood. Sometimes I write in my bedroom all curled up under the covers with nothing but the dim glow of my computer screen and a mug of coffee by my side. Other times I write in the living room on the couch. I can pretty much write anywhere and I find my surroundings don’t matter very much; I always zone out into the world I’m creating. In the summer, I love to write by hand in the shade of a tree – there’s something about nature that sparks creativity and motivation.

 2. What is your work routine?
Coffee, coffee, coffee! Then I usually log on to Facebook, Twitter, and my email to catch up with anything I missed while I was sleeping. I catch up with my online friends and then I’ll usually do a bit of updating/promoting on social media. After lunch, it’s writing time! I’ll outline, boost my word count in my current WIP, or work on some short stories – whatever my deadline permits.


 3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?
I get the rough idea down on paper (like a general rough draft but rougher lol). Then I go through my story structure notes and work on flow and foreshadowing, write up a less-rough outline, and then sit back and let the magic begin. My characters generally take over and stray from my initial idea – it makes for a great story but a helluva time revising and editing ha, ha.

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
Taylor Grant helped me a lot with my writing. He’s given me so much invaluable advice, tips, and helped me learn how to write well and how to avoid several mistakes that beginning authors make. I am so grateful for him! There isn’t just one piece of advice that I would consider “The best writing advice”, because everything builds on each other. Be simple and clear, build the world, cut your writing to the bone, be descriptive, be aware of hyperbole, the list goes on and on.

Books-25. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I really put a lot into my characters. I make them real, I put a piece of myself in each and every one. I also focus on pacing a lot, I love fast-paced books but often times they don’t give too much information. I do my best to write every book with solid non-stop action, information, and definitely a few plot twists. I’ve had several readers say that once they thought they had VAMPIRESS: BLOODBORNE figured out, I threw in another plot twist that kept them hooked. I also did a lot of research for my vampire book. I didn’t want it to be considered “just another vampire book”. So, I have a solid two years of steady research on different myths, old stories, and folklore from all around the world. I took the stories and twisted them into my own concoction, giving birth to some new kind of vampires and bringing back some old and forgotten myths and species. All of this is interwoven into a horror/coming of age vampire tale for Young Adults. It’s a weird genre to mix, but even adolescent vampires have to grow up at some point. 😉

Books-36. What are you currently working on?
I am working on VAMPIRESS: MALICIOUS INTENT – this is the second book in my Vampiress Thrill-ogy. I have the rough-rough draft finished, the outline nearly done, and I’ll start re-writing and sculpting the story and delving deeper into the characters here soon. I’m very excited to be working on this project – I get so into it that it’s hard to call me away even for dinner!

7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
Ah, so you’re going to make me think on this one. I like that ha ha! Okay, so I suppose I’ve been asked variants of this question but no one has ever been so bold to simply say “What makes you think you can make it as a writer in this world?” and I know that people do think that.

No, I’m not egotistical. I’m aware that I’m young (at only 20 years old) and I can’t even express to you how much I feel I have yet to learn. But, I do believe I will make it to The New York Times bestsellers list. Why? Because I work hard every single day to achieve my dreams. I’m not afraid to admit that I did something wrong. I’m not afraid to grow. I’m always willing and ready to learn something new. I am constantly on the hunt for different writing courses, classes, and workshops to improve my skill. I don’t shy away from constructive criticism and I do my best to learn from the harsh and blatant criticism as well. I strive my hardest to read often, deconstruct what I read, and bring to my readers a fresh new take on subjects (like vampires) that they love reading about. I do my very best to give full character depth and something to relate to. I do my best to bring something new, refreshing, intriguing, and gripping to my readers and while I am still very young I know that I will only continue to get better over the years and no matter what, I’m not giving up. I am a writer. I don’t do it to get on The New York Times bestsellers list (although that is one of my goals, it’s the not the REASON why I write). I write because it’s in my soul – I have stories, characters, plots, twists, and so many worlds inside me. I do this because I love it and I know that I’ll continue to my whole life.

Website: http://www.kyaaliana.com
 Book: Amazon Kindle USA: http://amzn.to/1GvXHs8
Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/1I5YtA0
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1G5EVLy
Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://bit.ly/1DwsRkv
iTunes: http://apple.co/1Il1z3i
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1FwbG1q
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1NCmZHq
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1DqfbsN


OchseWeston Ochse is the author of more than twenty books, most recently SEAL Team 666 and its sequels Age of Blood and Reign of Evil, which the New York Post called ‘required reading’ and USA Today placed on their ‘New and Notable Lists.’ His first novel, Scarecrow Gods, won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel and his short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in comic books, and magazines such as Cemetery Dance and Soldier of Fortune. MGM has optioned SEAL Team 666 to be a major motion picture with Dwayne Johnson signed on to produce and act as the lead character. Weston lives in the Arizona desert within rock throwing distance of Mexico. He is a military veteran with 30 years of military service and currently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.


  1. What does your work space look like?
    Controlled chaos. I like to gather as much pop culture and literary detritus as possible. All of this fuels my creativity. I can’t work in an austere and sterile environment.
    Books-22. What is your work routine?
    I write 5 pages a day if on project. If not on project, I work on plotting and putting pitches together.
    Books-33. What is your process when developing a new book or project?
    It usually starts with an idea, a word, a phrase… even a smell. I’m writing a short story now based solely on the word Aubergine, which is an eggplant and also the color of an eggplant. If it’s a short story, I trust my lizard brain to know what to do, but with longer work, I create a rough outline.
    Books-44. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
    Esteemed author-mentor-friend Thomas Piccirilli once told me to write 5 pages a day. If you write 5 pages a day you have a completed novel in three months. Yes. Three months. Great advice and I live by it.
    Books-55. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
    I’m not sure that it does, but if it does, then it’s because I read so much outside of my genres (probably 80 percent). I read a lot of literary fiction and it can’t help but color my work.
    Books-66. What are you currently working on?
    A top secret spec novel that’s going to be the next big thing.
    Books-77. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
    The most common question I get, is probably the same most common question everyone gets: where do you get your ideas. Without failing, I tell people who ask that I buy them on eBay from a little old gal who lives in Iowa. I know that’s not the question, but this one has a better answer.
    Books-8Please link to Weston’s web page www.westonochse.com


BrozekJennifer Brozek is an award-winning editor, game designer, and author. She has worked in the publishing industry since 2004. With the number of different projects she juggles at one time, Jennifer is often considered a Renaissance woman, but prefers to be known as a wordslinger and optimist.

1. What does your work space look like?
I have a dedicated office. The walls are covered with JLBOffice1artwork. The bookshelves are crammed full of books and papers. The desk is cluttered with all sorts of things including water bottles, vitamins, books, and whatever crochet project I am working on at the time. Also, a lot of my research materials for my current writing project. I have several cat trees for the cats and a comfy chair for the Husband. Basically, my office is eclectic and cluttered and just a bit messy.

2. What is your work routine?
Get up, shower and dress. (Even though I am a full-time freelance author and editor, I still “dress” for work. Partly because it gets me in the correct frame of mind. Partly because I Skype with clients, editors, and publishers a lot.) Get a cup of coffee and check mail. I do what I call “and internet tour” to see if there is anything on fire that I need to take care of immediately. Then I look at my schedule for the day do whatever I’ve written I need to get done. I schedule everything. I work almost every single day. This year, I’m trying to give myself one day off a week. It’s not working out so well.


3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?
I outline it. Then, if I need to, I do some research to get important technical fact correct. Then I write. If it is a novel, I start with a 2 page synopsis. If it is a short story, I just write it. If I’m editing, I review the book’s style guide. Then I edit. I’m very must a “just do it” freelancer.


4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
Jim Van Pelt did a short story lecture at a Rainforest Writers Retreat. That advice was,“Always know the end of your story before you begin. That way you can always being writing towards that goal.”It seems so obvious now but, until that point, I hadn’t outlined or gone beyond vagaries of the story I was writing.


5. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Over all, I think my work fits in well with the genre I’m writing in but it’s all about the way you tell the story. It’s all in the details. I always look for areas that haven’t been explored or haven’t been looked at in the way that I write them.


6.What are you currently working on?
I’m about to dive into writing the third Melissa Allen book, NEVER LET ME DIE. This modern day YA SF-Thriller book wraps up several plotlines from the previous books, NEVER LET ME SLEEP (June 2015) and NEVER LET ME LEAVE (December 2015). I’ve already got it outlined, medical details researched, and the 2 page synopsis written.


7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
Weirdly, no one has ever asked me what music I like to write to. Generally, I write to silence. Except when I’m writing fight scenes and chase scenes. Then I like to put on bombastic instrumental music to help set the pace. Currently, my favorite instrumental band to write to is Two Steps From Hell.

Read more about Jennifer at her website:  www.jenniferbrozek.com or follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.


Paul with hatPaul Dale Anderson has written more than 17 novels and hundreds of short stories, mostly in the horror, fantasy, and science fiction genres. Paul has also written contemporary romances, mysteries, and westerns. An Active Member of SFWA and HWA, he was elected Vice President and Trustee of Horror Writers Association in 1987. He is a current member of International Thriller Writers and a former Active Member of MWA.

Paul has taught creative writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago and for Writers Digest School. He has appeared on panels at Chicon4 and Chicon7, X-Con, Windy Con, Madcon, Minncon, the World Horror Convention, and the World Fantasy Convention. Paul was a guest of honor at Horror Fest in Estes Park, Colorado, in 1989. He is currently the chair of the 2014 HWA Stoker Awards Long Fiction Jury.

1. What does your work space look like?
Messy. I have a wonderful writing desk in the basement of my home that I no longer use to write because it’s piled so full of books and papers I can’t find the desk top. Behind that desk, I have a computer table with a Toshiba laptop and an old iMac. I seldom use those either. I have two offices on the main floor of my house. One office is my business office. Inside are multiple filing cabinets, an Army-surplus steel desk, a computer table with an HP desktop model loaded with Quicken, Quickbooks, Excel, Publisher, Adobe Creative Suite, and an HP printer/scanner/copier/fax machine. I back up everything to a 2TB portable hard drive. The other office is lined with bookcases. To be fair, every room in my house is lined with bookcases or bookshelves. Since Gretta (Gretta M. Anderson, my wife of 27 years) died in 2012, I have written primarily in the living room. I sit in an oversized recliner-rocker. I have two computers in front of me: a Lenovo Ideapad S510p Touch and a Toshiba laptop. All of my computers and printers are wi-fi enabled and networked. Behind me, on the dining room table, sits my workhorse printer, an HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus. To my right is a credenza with a coffee cup, an ash tray, and a dozen or so books I am either actively reading or using for research. To my left, are several filing cabinets containing works in progress and book contracts. Adjacent to the front door is my firearms safe; next to that is my work desk with an HP laptop and my Kindle and my Nook. One wall has a fireplace, and the opposite wall contains my entertainment center with a networked Samsung flatscreen, multiple VHS and DVD players, and a Yamaha stereo receiver, CD player, and Sony turntable. I have portable telephones in every room of the house, but I screen all calls and let most calls go to voicemail. The only calls I always take are from my daughter Tammy or my girlfriend Lizza.

 2. What is your work routine?
I wake between 8:30 and nine, make coffee, feed the cats, and I’m in my chair and paul resizedbehind my keyboard by nine each and every morning. I write from nine until two. Then I check my e-mail and my snail mail. I respond to e-mails, make or return telephone calls, and I pay bills. Then I shave and shower, dress comfortably in sweats or t-shirt and shorts, grab a bite to eat, and return to work or make a run to the post office. Every day except Tuesdays and Fridays, I write from five until ten PM. I tend to social media, chat with Lizza on Facebook, and feed and pet the cats from ten until midnight. I usually write from midnight until 2 AM. I’m in bed by 2:30, reading for pleasure. My three cats join me in bed and I alternate petting them and reading. I’m usually asleep by 3, and then I do it all over again tomorrow in the same order. The exceptions are Tuesday and Friday afternoons when Elizabeth (Lizza) Flygare and I go out to dinner and watch movies between three and ten. And some weekends are also exceptions when I’m scheduled to appear on panels or do signings at conventions. I try to limit my personal appearances so my writing doesn’t suffer.


 3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?
I explore ideas all the time. I jot down a few random notes and a working title. Most of the work is done by my unconscious while I’m doing other things. When I’ve completed a current project, I move on to the next. The words flow from my mind through my fingers to the keys. I’m constantly rewriting and revising. I hate outlining, and I write an outline or synopsis only after the first draft is finished. I used to fire off manuscripts to editors as soon as I had completed a fist draft, but I have learned it’s better to let a manuscript breathe for a few days and then go back over the entire script one more time before submission. I’m notorious for revising even in page proofs, and I see so much in my published work that could have and should have been done differently. I try to do better when writing my next book.

I absolutely hate pitching my work to editors or agents before the work is completed. When I meet an editor in an elevator and she asks, “What are you working on now that I might be interested in?” I always mumble something unintelligible. I have since memorized pat elevator speeches like: “Let me send it to you when it’s finished. I know you’ll love it.” When I try to talk about a work in progress, I talk the work out. The words lose their energy and don’t have the same magic momentum they have when written.

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
Frederik Pohl suggested beginning writers should copy word for word, by hand or by typing, stories or parts of novels they really like and find compelling. Writing the same words in the same order allows one’s subconscious to analyze why the words work. He said that’s what he did when he started out.

Whether it was Ray Bradbury, David Eddings, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Heinlein, John D. MacDonald, or someone else who said “Write a thousand words a day every day, and when you have created a million words, throw them all out and start over” doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you must write a set number of words every day and you must be ruthless in critiquing and revising your own work. Stephen King talks about “you must kill your little darlings” in On Writing; A Memoir of the Craft. That is so very true. To write well, you must write a lot and then throw the worst away without remorse.


 5. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Most of my work and all of my novels cross genres. I began as a science fiction writer. George Scithers, when he was editor of Asimov’s, told me my stories were too dark for Asimov’s and I should try submitting to horror markets. I sold several stories to Dave Silva at The Horror Show and some to The Arkham Sampler. I was into Lovecraft big time in the early eighties, and HPL had a significant influence on my early work. But all of my novels and most of my short stories—whether science fiction, fantasy, horror, or police procedurals—explore the hidden depths of the human psyche. My fascination with the way the mind works drove me to earn a master’s and almost a doctorate in Educational Psychology, and I was a certified hypnotist and hypnosis instructor for many years. I’m especially interested in obsessions and compulsions, and all of my characters are driven in some manner to behave as they do. As am I. I have been driven all of my life to write.

 6. What are you currently working on?
I have three series going: The Instruments of Death (17 psychological horror/police procedural novels completed and still counting), Running Out of Time/Under the Gun (suspense thrillers), and the Abandoned novels (supernatural, past-life reincarnation explorations: Abandoned, Winds, Light, Dark, Time, Mysterious Ways). I have several short stories coming out in magazines or anthologies, and I am compiling and editing a Best of 2AM Magazine anthology.


 7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
What makes you think you are a writer? Answer:  I write. I love to write. I cannot not write.

Website:   http://www.pauldaleanderson.net


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WestTerry M. West is a well known author, filmmaker, actor and artist. He has written several books in the young adult field (most notably the graphic novel series, Confessions of a Teenage Vampire) and he has also written several horror short stories as well as the horror/thriller novel, Dreg. His work has appeared (or is scheduled to appear) in FrightNet, Scream Factory, Agony In Black, Lacunae, Jackhammer, House of Pain, Dark Muse, Moonletters, Silent Screams, When Red Snow Melts, One Hellacious Halloween, Deathmongers, Vignettes from the End of the World, Axes of Evil and Zombified 2. He was a finalist for the 1997 International Horror Guild Award for a short story (The Night Out) and he made the 1999 Bram Stoker Award preliminary ballot for a piece of Officelong fiction (Hair and Blood Machine). He was also mentioned on the 1997 TV Guide Sci-Fi Hot List. West’s books and collections include: A PSYCHO’S MEDLEY, WHAT PRICE GORY?, DEAD AWARE: A Horror Tale Told in Screenplay, CECIL & BUBBA MEET THE THANG, HEROIN IN THE MAGIC NOW, THE GIVING OF THINGS COLD & CURSED and special collectors editions of CAR NEX, MIDNIGHT SNACK and CECIL & BUBBA MEET A SUCCUBUS. He was also the editor of the JOURNALS OF HORROR: FOUND FICTION anthology. His work has received glowing reviews. His filmography includes his debut film, Blood for the Muse (based on his comic book of the same name which was a finalist for the 1998 International Horror Guild Award for a comic) and Flesh for the Beast. He has acted in the films The Blood Shed and Gallery of Fear (both directed by Alan Rowe Kelly) and had a starring role in Joseph M. Monks’ debut film, The Bunker. Terry currently writes and paints in southern California with his wife, Regina, and their son, Terrence. Terry is an active member of the Horror Writer’s Association.

 1. What does your work space look like?
My office is in an open area on the 2nd floor of my house. I surround myself with horror collectibles and comics and things that inspire me as I work.

West-12. What is your work routine?
I try to write everyday. I usually spend more time polishing and revising a story than I do writing it initially. I have a tight writing schedule and self-imposed deadlines and I don’t take more than a day or two a week away from the writing.

West-23. What is your process when developing a new book or project?
First, I put together some notes on an idea and then I determine what I am trying to do with a story and where it will go and how it will conclude. Everything in between is catch as catch can and stories are always subject to change, especially if my characters start taking turns I wasn’t anticipating.

West-34. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
I spoke to Robert McCammon in the 80s at a writing convention/competition. I was very young and just all over the place. I spoke of twenty projects I was working on simultaneously and he pulled me aside and gave me the best advice I have ever received. “Build one house at a time,” he told me. And that advice changed everything. Now, I work on one project at a time and only move on to something else if I am stuck or finished with a story. Sometimes a story just isn’t ready and you have to leave it be until it is.

West-45. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I have always considered myself a student of the game. I also love changing things up, stylistically. I try to make my work accessible but highly polished at the same time. I have always been a little stung by that stigma that genre fiction is ghetto. I have gone to events and had pretentious authors of what they consider themselves to be serious literature look  down their noses at me. What a lot of them don’t realize is that, stylistically speaking, I can write circles around them. I have improved vastly over the last 10 years. I know my work is solid, and I don’t let opinions affect my confidence. If you are truly going to excel at some point, you have to trust your ability and spread your wings.

West-56. What are you currently working on?
Turning Face is a horror/comedy novella that is due on 06-12-15. Synopsis: Tojo Smith has a serious problem. He is the number one heel for a small wrestling promotion in Texas. He is also an earthbound demon and his mission is to inspire hatred in people. This is his service to the greater evil. But suddenly, the wrestling fans start to cheer for Tojo. He goes from the most hated villain of his promotion to the most cheered antihero. And no matter how loathsome his actions in the ring become, his popularity soars. When Hell notices this imbalance, Tojo is given an ultimatum: get the hate flowing again or be sent down into the fiery pits! 

West-67. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
Hmm, well it is no secret that most of my stories tie together and some characters or monsters sort of criss-cross between tales. There is an invisible road-map in my fiction universe, and it is always a kick when a reader notices it. The big bang of my current fiction universe was a short story called Car Nex. And the demonic entity known as the Car Nex is mentioned many times in different stories and there is a reason for it that may be years away from discovery.


Links: www.terrymwest.com

 Amazon Author page

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me2011Mary SanGiovanni is the author of 10 horror and thriller books, one of which was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, as well as numerous short stories. She has a Masters degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, Pittsburgh, and teaches English classes at her local college. She is currently a member of The Authors Guild, The International Thriller Writers, and Penn Writers.
1. What does your work space look like?
Ha! For having carved out a small space on my bed with a laptop, it’s a mess.

2. What is your work routine?
I usually work at night, unless I’m under a deadline, in which case, I work at night and on my days off from teaching.
Mary-13. What is your process when developing a new book or project?
I usually develop characters first — the heroes and the villains — and the setting, and then, the plot usually evolves from that.
Mary-24. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
I’m paraphrasing, but essentially, it was to listen to my own voice to tell a story – that was F. Paul Wilson.
Mary-35. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I think of my work as modern-day cosmic horror, but with more of an exploration of the nature of monsters, both human and otherwise. I find more and more often that I am blurring some of the lines along the boundary between being heroic and being crazy.

6. What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m at work on a novel called The Blue PeopleI’m also working on two partials for two other publishers and a short story.
Mary-47. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
No one ever asks me much about the connections I make between books. I don’t know if readers find them immaterial to the story or maybe the connections are too subtle to generally be noticed. But pretty much everything I’ve ever written, including much of my short fiction as well as novellas/novels, is all related.

Author website: http://www.marysangiovanni.com

Blog: http://msgwriterslife.wordpress.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0034QB11O

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/marysangiovanni

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-SanGiovanni/225037604189147

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/480837.Mary_SanGiovanni

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NancyNancy Etchemendy’s novels, short fiction, and poetry have appeared regularly for the past 30 years, both in the U.S. and abroad. Though she is best known for her children’s books, she has also published several dozen stories for adults, mainly dark fantasy and horror. Her work has earned a number of awards, including three Bram Stoker Awards (two for children’s horror), a Golden Duck Award for excellence in children’s science fiction, and an International Horror Guild Award. Her fourth novel, The Power of Un, was published by Front Street/ Cricket Books in March 2000. Cat in Glass and Other Tales of the Unnatural, her collection of short dark fantasy for young adults, was published in 2002, also by Front Street/ Cricket Books and appeared on the ALA Best Books for Young Adults list that year.  She lives and works in Northern California where she leads a somewhat schizophrenic life, alternating between introverted writer of weird tales and gracious (she hopes) wife of Stanford University’s Provost.

1. What does your work space look like?
For the past 12 years, my husband and I have lived in the provost’s house at Stanford University. It’s an old mansion, suitable for the type of entertaining the provost needs to do. Which means large. It’s about 8,000 square feet (complete with ghost, though no one’s seen her lately; we’re hoping we’ve made her happy and she’s gone off to her well-earned rest). So it’s no surprise that I have a room of my own to write in, at least for now. Initially, I chose the old servant’s living room off the kitchen. It’s about the size of a modern bedroom, but it has built-in bookshelves, two windows, and a set of French doors that let out onto an anteroom adjoining the tradesmen’s entrance. Yes, I’m serious, the tradesmen’s entrance. That turned out to be a big liability, because in this house, there are “tradesmen” coming and going almost continuously — plumbers, electricians, painters, caterers, delivery people, cleaners, the gardener, inspectors of various types, the list goes on and on. And they always peek through the French doors to say hello or ask for instructions, even if I have my Jolly Roger flying. So although I love this room, which is snug and cluttered with books and papers, artwork, photos, and keepsakes, I rarely do much writing in it.

A few years ago, desperate because I couldn’t get anything done, I created a workspace on the upper floor of a decrepit outbuilding a few hundred feet from the main house. It’s known as the well house, because it once contained the pump and storage tanks for the well that provided water for the estate. There’s no running water out there now, no heat or cooling, and the electricity is iffy. Periodically rats get into the walls, always exciting. It’s slightly moldy. But it’s quiet and isolated. And the top floor is a big open space with windows on all four sides. I can actually see the San Francisco Bay from up there. It has a couple of comfortable chairs with foot stools, an old sofa, a coffee table, two or three floor lamps and an electric teapot. I bought a Clearspot wifi and some space heaters for it. It’s very basic. I write up there on my laptop for a couple of hours most days. Nobody bothers me because everybody thinks the well house is horrible. But for me, it’s heaven — a place where I can take off my “Mrs. Provost” suit, just be myself, and do the work I love most.


2.What is your work routine?
I’m an early riser. Most days I’m up at 5:45, puttering around the kitchen, making breakfast and generally getting ready for the day. (I’m a fan of steel-cut oatmeal, and sunrises.) Ideally, I go to the gym or walk or do Tai Chi from about 8:00 till 9:30. I find it very hard to write if I don’t get some fairly vigorous exercise first. After that I spend about half an hour answering the most urgent of my emails and making phone calls. Usually that’s a blend of Stanford business and writing business. I also do some volunteer work for the Clarion Foundation. The workshop helped me get my start as a writer, and I’m happy to pay that forward. Then I get cleaned up, come back down to the kitchen, put together a little snack to take with me to the well house, and off I go. By then it’s about 11:30 a.m.

I don’t set word goals. I work till I run out of time. Usually that’s around 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon, when the rest of the day’s business and other obligations begin to press. I try very hard to keep set hours open for writing Monday through Thursday. They’re on my calendar, like any other appointment. I spend Friday mornings doing Tai Chi with a class, and in the afternoon I do the week’s errands. Then I write some more on Saturday, same hours. Sundays I rest or write poetry unless there’s something that really can’t wait.

Of course, that’s the ideal day. Some days it doesn’t work out. This morning, for example, the housekeeper called in sick. We’ve been waiting a month for a major repair on the big Viking range the caterers use, and we have a celebration for an endowed professorship coming up. Rescheduling is not an option. Somebody has to be here to manage the guy and make sure it gets done properly. If I’m out in the well house I can’t do that. So today I’m working on Doug’s 7 Questions on my desktop computer in the room off the kitchen.

You’ll notice there’s no time for blogging or social networking in there. That’s a deliberate choice. I don’t want to post second-rate work online. If it’s done well, a blog post takes as much time to write as a short short or a poem. I would rather use that time for journal entries or meditation, because those improve the quality of my work. I’m sure there are writers out there who would see that as a bad business decision, and maybe they’re right. If I had endless time, I would definitely blog. But I’ve come to understand that there will never be enough hours in my day for everything I want to do. Making conscious choices about how to fill those hours is extremely important because, in the end, that’s what determines how happy I am with my life. So I don’t blog except under special circumstances (the blogs I created during my Antarctic Voyage for example), and I don’t spend much time on Facebook or Twitter.


 3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?
If I’m developing a poem or a short story, all of the preliminary work is done in my head. That process may take weeks, but by the time I sit down to write a story, I have a basic mental sketch of it to work from. I have a fairly clear idea of the plot and the characters, I know where I want to set it, and I know the most likely ending.

If I’m working on a book, I make copious notes ahead of time. Keeping in mind that I’m sort of ancient, I like to have these notes in hard copy in a three-ring binder, with hand-drawn maps and landscapes and sometimes drawings of the characters. With a novel, there’s so much the writer needs to know about everything before sitting down to begin the actual manuscript, it’s hard to keep track of it all without notes. Sometimes I write poems and short stories about the characters to help flesh them out. When I speak to school kids about writing fiction, I emphasize that the writer’s job is to make everything about the story seem real to the reader. That can’t happen until the whole thing seems real to the writer. I have to feel that I know my characters as well as I know my friends in the external world; that I know whether the light of the full moon comes in through their bedroom window on an autumn evening, that I know what they’ll see and smell on their way to work, that I know their neighbors and their town as if I’d grown up with them.

And, of course, I need to know the story. What happened that makes this story worth telling?  How did these events change those to whom they happened?  These preliminaries can sometimes take months to work out. Over time, the worlds in which I’m working can grow in detail and texture and can often be used in more than one story. But it all has to feel quite real to me before I can make good fiction out of it. That takes time and patience.


 4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
Years ago — at the Clarion Workshop as a matter of fact — Kate Wilhelm gave me a piece of advice I still use constantly. She said, “Set aside time for your writing every day and guard it with your life.”  It’s never very far from my thoughts. I do my very best to honor it.

5. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Every writer’s primary task is to develop a voice of his or her own. The whole purpose of this is to differentiate the writer’s work from the work of all other writers. A writer’s voice is like DNA. It is unique. I’m lucky enough to have found my voice.

That said, I would add that my work, in general, bucks the trend toward brevity and economy that we see in almost every type of written language today. My stories contain a lot of detail. If you skim them, you lose the best parts.

My work is sometimes characterized as rich in sensory details. That’s deliberate. Recently, I was reading an essay by the physicist Alan Lightman in which he observes that technology is carrying us further and further from the world of our senses. We’re spending more and more time elsewhere mentally, less and less aware of our surroundings, interacting with people who are not physically present. He’s careful not to make any value judgment about that. It’s neither good nor bad, he seems to say. But if we continue on this path, it will eventually change what it means to be human. I won’t be as careful as Lightman here. I think it impoverishes us. If we stop noticing the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and textures of the world we live in, life fades toward gray. So does our ability to “make sense” of our world and the people in it.


 6. What are you currently working on?
For the last couple of years I’ve been working on a piece of book-length nonfiction — a big departure for me. It started out as a little YA book about the ins and outs of dealing with money in modern America. Of course, there are already hundreds of books matching that approximate description on the market already. The thing is, most of them are deadly dull, written by financial planners, bought by parents, shoved to the back of the closet unread by the intended audience. I’m attempting to make the book interesting for young people who love horror. I’ll leave it at that. My agent has been silent on the matter, which I take to mean she thinks I’m crazy. She may be right. Time will tell.

 7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
 Much of what I write is for kids, so I spend a lot of time with them in classrooms and workshops. And kids have no compunctions when it comes to questions. I’ve been asked about everything from how much money I make to how important cats are to my work. I’ve been asked whether I chew erasers. How old I was when I wrote my first story. Whether I like being a writer. If I hate any of my books. If I ever collaborated with my best friend. I have, of course, been asked why I write horror (several dozen times, at least). No one’s ever asked me why I only use fountain pens for my journals. The answer is that I like the way they feel in my hand, the way the ink smells, and the way it flows out onto the paper in such a confident, beautiful way. But mainly, I use fountain pens because they anchor me to the real world, which helps me think more clearly.


The Weird Worlds of Nancy Etchemendy

Rime of the Modern Mariner (blog)

Cat in Glass and Other Tales of the Unnatural

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Margi Evans


Margi Evans was born with manure in her blood and ink in her veins. Seemingly from birth she wanted to ride horses and write stories about horses. She grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon and began taking riding lessons as an eight-year-old. As a young teen, she was able to get her own horse which she supported by babysitting and cleaning houses. Through Pony Club she learned horsemanship and it was a great blessing in her life as the instructors were donating their time…a price she could afford. She loved competing in the regional pony club rallies with her team.

Upon graduation from Oregon State University and marriage to her high school sweetheart, she spent five years teaching at the high school and junior high levels. She put aside her riding and her desire to write until the last of their five children entered first grade. On the day Nick went to his first day of first grade, she had three appointments to ride horses that were for sale!

Raising her children was a creative experience all its own so she didn’t mind saving the stories that she had in her head. She coached Odyssey of the Mind and Destination Imagination teams for seventeen years so that her children could participate. She had “drawing days,” “reading time” and “family field trips” while her kids were growing up.

Eventually, Margi found time to write. Her first books were non-fiction equestrian trail guide books titled: Riding Colorado, and Riding Colorado II. She is currently working on Riding Colorado III as she loves exploring new trails in Colorado where they currently live.

FansShe has always been an avid fantasy reader, so, with the Mist Trilogy (Behind the Mist, released in 2011, Mists of Darkness, released in January 2013, and The Rising Mist, released in 2014,) she has been able to combine her love of horses with her love of fantasy. The Mist Trilogy received a Gold Medal from the Mom’s Choice Awards in December, 2014. These values-laden stories for middle grade and young adult readers, tell the story of the noble and great horses that become unicorns in the after life. Laced with spiritual meaning, one reviewer compared her to C.S. Lewis, a great compliment to any writer.

She departed from her love of horses long enough to write an allegory of the Revolutionary War titled North Mystic. This juvenile fantasy won first place in the Purple Dragonfly awards in the Juvenile Fantasy division in May of 2014.

1. What does your work space look like?

I do all of my writing in my home office. It is bright and cheery and, unless my husband has been in there, fairly tidy and organized. I have a comfortable chair and a large screen computer. All of my previous books are sitting on a shelf to inspire me and remind me that I really can do this!

2. What is your work routine?

My work routine varies depending upon the other things going on in my life and the weather! “The weather?” you might ask. Yes! You see, riding my horses is my first priority now that my children are grown and out of the house. If it is a beautiful day, I would rather ride than do anything else, even write. I also respond to the call of inspiration. If a great idea hits me, even if it is in the middle of the night, I will go to my computer and write. That being said, my most productive times are in the winter when I can block out three hours, usually in the morning after the horses are fed, to do nothing but write.


3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?

Ideas come to me at odd times and in odd places, including on the back of my horse while riding in the mountains. An idea for a story can come while looking through a museum. Dreams are another source of ideas. I keep a pad of paper and pen by my bed and write down cool dreams.

Once I have an idea I am excited about, I start planning it out in my head. I have the over-arching story completed before I ever start writing. As I write, additional ideas and characters present themselves and I let them. That’s part of the fun!

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

On my computer screen, I have a sticky note with five words on it: Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, Taste. I heard about this idea while attending a Colorado Authors’ League workshop and it might have even been you teaching the class. These five words remind me to use all the senses in my description. This is especially important in writing fantasy as we create our imaginary world and characters.


5.How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Traditionally, fantasy is the classic struggle between good and evil. In that sense, I am a traditionalist. However, The Mist Trilogy, comprised of Behind the Mist, Mists of Darkness and The Rising Mist and the stand alone book, North Mystic, are allegories. The Mist Trilogy is an allegory of the Christian belief in the role of Jesus in the battle against Satan. North Mystic is an allegory of the Revolutionary war.

I took a unique approach to unicorns in The Mist Trilogy. In my stories, the most noble and great horses are chosen to become unicorns when they die. And unicorns come in all colors…palomino, bay, chestnut, etc. When one unicorn becomes power hungry and takes a third of the unicorns with him into his dark kingdom, the trouble begins.

In North Mystic, the colonists are represented by Leprechauns who escaped from the Viking invasion in the 900’s and sailed to the new world. The British are represented by Trolls who come every fall and tax them of all their gold that they have harvested from the roots of their shamrock gardens.

So you see, I took traditional fantasy characters but changed things quite a bit. The Mist Trilogy was awarded a gold medal by the Mom’s Choice Awards in December, 2014 and North Mystic was awarded first place for fantasy by The Purple Dragonfly Awards in May of 2014. I am very honored to receive this critical acclaim for, as you know, writing can be a lonely, thankless job.

north mystic front cover

6. What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a Young Adult novel that I have titled “In the Heart of a Mustang.” It isn’t my usual fantasy but I wanted to try something new. It is about a young boy who gets in trouble with the law and is sent to a ranch for troubled teens in Arizona. The old cowboy at the ranch has adopted some wild mustangs from the BLM. The boy and one of the mares bond and end up saving each other’s lives. I am excited about it. It is filled with my passion for horses as you can tell.

7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer? 

“You are 63 and your first book came out just 10 years ago. What took you so long?”

Have you ever heard of the artist lovingly called “Grandma Moses”? Well, I guess I am the Grandma Moses of authors. I have always loved writing but I also have other priorities in my life. For twenty-five years I put my love of riding on hold. For thirty-five years I put my love of writing on hold. Both so that I could put my five children first. I treated motherhood as a creative endeavor and if you have run around after toddlers and pre-schoolers, four of whom are boys, you know it is also an athletic endeavor! So I was very satisfied. However, as my daytime hours became more my own once the last child went to first grade, I had time to pursue some of my other interests. The horses came first, of course, but when the youngest went to high school, I also had time to write. I am an example of the scripture: “To everything there is a season.” (KJV Eccl. 3:1)

I hope this can be helpful to your readers that are frustrated by not having time to write. Be Calm. Your time will come.

Margi Evans’ fantasy books are available at www.behindthemist.com or wherever books are sold.

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 Laura Benedict’s latest novel is BLISS HOUSE (Pegasus Crime), praised as “Eerie, seductive, and suspenseful,” by Edgar award-winning author, Meg Gardiner. The second book in the Bliss House series, THE ABANDONED HEART, will be released in October 2015. She’s also the author of DEVIL’S OVEN, a modern Frankenstein tale, and CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS and ISABELLA MOON, both originally published by Ballantine Books. Her work has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery MagazinePANK, and numerous anthologies like Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads (Oceanview). Forthcoming work will appear in St. Louis Noir (Akashic Books ) and The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press).

A Cincinnati, Ohio native, Laura grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and claims both as hometowns. She currently lives with her family in the southern wilds of a Midwestern state, surrounded by bobcats, coyotes, and other less picturesque predators.

1. What does your work space look like?

My writing space looks a lot like my lap, most days. I tend to compose on a laptop and edit on my desktop. It may sound superstitious to separate composing and editing, but I have a giant screen on my desktop computer so I get to really see the text in context. It’s just a process that’s developed organically over the years. But right now I’m in between desktop computers, and so I have two in front of me. Things are very crowded and messy. No photos, please! If my desk were a celebrity, she would be wearing a hoodie, sunglasses, and holding a giant Starbucks cup in front of her face.


 2. What is your work routine?

My work routine is variable because I have a teenage son that we are homeschooling. I exercise, do email and social media in the mornings and write primarily in the afternoon, from lunchtime until 5:30 or 6:00. If I’m on deadline, I’ll return to my desk after my evening with my family and work until 1 or 2 in the morning.


 3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?

Funny you should ask, because this week I’m starting to write THE ABANDONED HEART, the 3rd novel in my supernatural BLISS HOUSE series. It’s nice to be on the 3rd book of this series because there are lots of questions that came up in the first 2 books that need to be answered. My stories always start in my head as a line of dialogue, a very strong physical image, or a character with a personality that feels particularly strong. Because I’m very visual, along with reading books, articles, etc about my subject or its geographical area, I spend time exploring the artwork and architecture I imagine surrounds them. Also, I always read Patricia Highsmith’s small craft book, PLOTTING AND WRITING SUSPENSE FICTION. Oh, and I panic a lot, worrying that it will never come together–but it always does.


 4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

I’m not sure where I heard it first, but it’s the advice that I give to anyone who says that they want to write: “Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.” –Dorothy Parker. Though I feel compelled to add that it helps greatly to have the Internet turned off.

 5. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work crosses several genres: suspense, horror, mystery, (often) supernatural, thriller, crime, gothic. The sex and violence in my work is often more intense than many horror novels (though rarely grisly), and certainly more on-scene than in most gothics and mysteries.  Readers rarely find my work predictable.


6. What are you currently working on?

In a week or two I’ll receive my editor’s comments on the manuscript of CHARLOTTE’S STORY: A Bliss House Novel. It will be released in October (2015). In the meantime, I’m working on THE ABANDONED HEART, and trying to shut down the whisperings of a straight crime novel that wants to take my attention from it.

 7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

“We can tell by your InstagramFacebook, and Twitter accounts that you really like cats. Why aren’t there more cats in your books?”

That’s an excellent question. Yes, I do like cats, my own two in particular. But I rarely put them in stories because they’re plot hogs and they want the story to be all about them. Plus, they are shameless murderers–toying with birds and voles and such just to amuse themselves until, finally, the poor creatures can no longer stand it and die of fright and exhaustion. A cat will even bat a dead thing around for a while, hoping for one final, thrilling twitch or shudder. Readers would find such murderous single-mindedness too hard to believe. They’d never buy it in a fictional villain.

Laura’s Website: www.laurabenedict.com

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KBreaux1BwebKevin Breaux is an award-winning multi-genre author and artist. He grew up in Hatboro, PA, but moved to the Portland, OR suburbs in 2009. He spent many years in art school dreaming of becoming a professional comic book artist so that he could see his creations come to life in pen & ink. It was not until his final year at Temple University, that he realized writing could fulfill that dream.

After several years being mentored by the highly-skilled author and businessman, Jonathan Maberry, Kevin’s career as a writer began in 2007 with the sale of his first short story for $50. His first move, after celebrating the sale, was to join the Horror Writers Association (HWA). His debut novel SOUL BORN, an epic fantasy, was published by Dark Quest Books in 2010 and the book won First Place in the Sci-fi & Fantasy category of the P&E Reader’s Poll. Kevin has made it to the preliminary ballot of the Bram Stoker Awards two years in a row, and was a contributor in an anthology that was nominated.

Kevin is experienced with on-line social communities and has a growing fan base on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. As a skilled graphic artist, he has created magazine print ads and worked in the movie merchandising industry. Kevin also maintains two active blogs that contain his interviews, articles and guests posts published on the web.

Writing is his business. WRITE MAKES MIGHT!

1. What does your work space look like?

I have a nice home office. It’s well-organized and clean. My motto is: everything has a place and everything in its place.

Above my computer monitor is a framed poster of my favorite GI JOE Marvel Comics cover from the 1980s. Issue #49, where Destro and Dr. Mindbender are carrying a mummy that they will be using DNA from to create Serpentor. Yes, I’m a big GI JOE fan.

Next to that poster, are two pieces of art I commissioned of characters from my first fantasy books. As an artist, I love to have other artists draw my characters. I think it breathes life into them.

Behind me, is an Arcade Legends 2 arcade cabinet with over 100 classic arcade games on it. When my back hurts, I get up, stretch, and play a few games.

2. What is your work routine?

I’m a structured kinda guy. Mondays I save for business and networking. So on Mondays I’m normally planning my week, paying bills, setting up appointments, reaching out to readers and bloggers, and touching base with my literary agent.

The rest of the week is split between writing and editing. It depends on what stage my projects are in.

I like to write in the morning/early day. So I try to get started by 9am-10am and write until 2pm-3pm. I reach my word count goals in a short amount of time. I don’t get writer’s block. At the end of my day, I often like to add notes and details into my journals.

When editing a book, I mean REALLY editing a book… oh, I will schedule longer days. I have edited 10-12 hours a day for weeks on end when called to.

I try to remember to blog from time to time and I save that work for Fridays.

3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?

KevinJamesBreauxLogoMost of my ideas are in my head. I do not outline things. I work my ideas in my mind, and watch them play out like scenes in a movie. After doing this for a week or so, I am ready to jump right into my book. Last year, while writing the sequel to one of my agented projects, I decided to take a very mindful approach and took lots of notes on the first book before starting the second. Then I went back and forth between the books to make sure everything was tight.

I keep these little 8×6 leather bound drawing books as journals for each series and basically write out character profiles inside them. Age, hair color, eye color, habits, likes and dislikes… etc. Last year, I expanded on that and started tracking plot points and timeline details. It’s a fun habit.

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry led a local chapter of the HWA (Horror Writers Association) in PA a few years ago. I used to regularly attend the meetings. His advice about handling your writing not only as a passion and an art, but also as a business, has been one of the best things I have ever heard. It really made sense to me. As an art student, I always tried to approach my art as a business…. but hearing how Jonathan handled his made all the pieces fall into place. Jonathan has also given me tons of support and praise from the early stages of my career to the present.

Jonathan was a great mentor and friend to me and still is. His believing in me helped me keep fighting and pushing forward during some of the harder days.


5. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’d like to think my work is different because of my roots as a fine artist… at the very least.

I see myself as a multi-genre author. I don’t believe in sticking myself into one tight category. This is another thing Jonathan Maberry taught me. I write epic and dark fantasy. I write historical fantasy. I write urban fantasy. I write horror. I like to add elements of horror and mystery in all my writing. AND I never back down from romance. I love spicing up my work with some sexy-sex. I joke that my genre is fanta-horro-riller.

I also try and keep it real. Real funny. Real interesting. Real hot.

I am writing for both men and women and a large age range. I like to develop my characters as best as they can and give them flaws people can relate to.

Lastly, I was raised to support and respect others, so I do my best to help my fellow creators. Write Makes Might!

6. What are you currently working on?

I just finished the sequel to one of my agented projects, an urban fantasy that I’m very proud of. It mixes a lot of elements of our present: pop culture, media-obsession and addiction. It is the tale of a foul-mouthed fairy princess after a fall from grace. She had it all: fame, fortune, beauty… Wait. Okay, I don’t want to spoil it any further.

I’m about to start writing the sequel to my Viking Age – Norse Mythology – Historical Fiction – Dark Fantasy project (see multi-genre), also handled by my agent, Marisa Corvisiero of the Corvisiero Literary Agency.

The first book was a successful mix of all the genres I love, and it set it up a huge story arc. I’m very excited to begin writing the next book. I have all sorts of great ideas brewing.


7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer? 

People do not often validate how fascinating the journey from art student to author has been for me. I used to draw, paint, and sculpt. I used to want to be a comic book artist. Long ago, I worked at comic book conventions doing sketches and selling my work.

I would love for people to ask me about that journey more often.

I approach my writing from a fine art stance.  I spent 8 years in art school. I did not major in English, Journalism, or Literature. As a visual artist, I see things so clearly and I often say that writing is like painting a painting; layer over layer over layer.

Thank you, Doug for letting me answer your 7 QUESTIONS. It was fun. I would love for people to take a look at my author site and blog. If not for my writing, then for the pretty pictures and graphic/web art work I have done. 



Kevin is represented by Marisa A. Corvisiero the founder of the Corvisiero Literary Agencyhttp://www.corvisieroagency.com

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AbbottBrooklyn native, Marc L. Abbott began his career when he wrote his first screenplay in 1989 and was able to get a representative at New Line Cinema to look at it. Although a deal with New Line Cinema never took place, he continued to write until he graduated from Clark Atlanta University in 1994 and moved back to New York.

abbottIn the spring of 1995 a magazine called African Voices published one of his stories entitled “Deuce”.  It sparked enough interest in his talent that in the fall of that same year he landed writing opportunities on a show called Shelf Life with David Wright. He scripted three pieces which aired in 1995 & 1996 called “Tabby”, “Rush Hour” and “Tales from the Dead Syndicate”.

In 1999 he began writing and developing film projects independently. His first project was called “Goodbye” a drama told in three parts. In 2001 the second project was entitled “A Fly on the Wall” a drama in which the audience walks through a party and listens in on conversations about love, friendship and witness growing relationships. The third piece was originally called The Gathering but was later changed it to “A Gamble of Faith”. Of the three, “A Gamble of Faith”, became the most successful.

In 2002, he reworked “A Gamble of Faith” into a one act play, cast it, saved up some money and rented theater space in Manhattan at The Producers Club. In October of that year, the play debuted to two sold out nights at the Producers Club in Manhattan. From those performances several audience members asked that the play be brought to their churches and performed for fundraisers. From December 2002 to April 2005 the play was performed 25 times in and around Brooklyn and Manhattan to several packed venues.

In the spring of 2004, Marc self published “A Gamble of Faith” into his first major novel with IUniverse. The book debuted in time for the 2004 Harlem Book Fair.

Abbott-1Marc launched Hobbcat Publishing Inc., in 2007, his own independent publishing company. Under Hobbcat he released several novels, The Hooky Party, Anthorrorgy, Etienne and the Stardust Express, The Dead Syndicate and a re-release of A Gamble of Faith. Marc closed Hobbcat Publishing, Inc. to pursue work on the stage and screen.

He produced and directed a new play Three Isn’t a Couple and revived A Gamble of Faith for a short run. During that time he participated in Vermont writers competition at the When Words Count Retreat where he came in third. He returned to New York where he has been writing and directing short films that can be found on YouTube and Vimeo. He continues to write short stories on Scribd, blogs about writing on Tumblr (The Angry Ink Spot) and is an active storyteller in NYC at various venues.

You can find out more about him and view his works at www.whoismarclabbott.com

 1. What does your work space look like?
I have two workspaces actually that I work from. The first space I have is off in a small room in my apartment which consists of a desk, television and several collectables which provide inspiration. This is the space I normally work in to create the stories on my lap top. There are often notebooks scattered about on the desk as well with notes and ideas I have written down.

The second workspace is in my living room where I transfer the work to a desktop to edit. I try not to use the same computer to write and edit as I tend to work on several ideas off the lap top. Confining editing to a computer not filled with incomplete projects helps me focus. It also helps to minimize how many drafts are floating around.

On the desk top, all edits are final edits and when its time to send a manuscript out I’m not looking through multiple drafts for the right one.

2. What is your work routine?

I work mostly in the evenings after work. When writing, I give myself two to three hours in the evening to work. I have designated certain days for certain writing projects. For example, Monday’s and Tuesdays I will work on short stories only.
Wednesday and Thursdays will be devoted to a novel. This helps me keep ideas fresh. I have found continuous work on one project, for me, gets dull. Much like working out at a gym, you do different routines on different days so the body doesn’t get used to the same thing day in and day out. I find coming back to a story after a couple of days away helps me develop the overall story better.
During the creative process, I tend to have the television on. I work better with background noise.
After working for three hours I will usually watch a movie or play a video game. On Sundays, I go to a local bar and write. Usually that’s the day I pick to work exclusively on rewrites of a novel.


3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?
Typically I will start with a basic idea and just write out the concept, develop the characters then how it will all end. I do all this by hand in notebooks. I usually carry around two different kinds of notebooks. One will be for a novel, the other for short stories. I also use two types of pens. I use a ball point to write the novels. The short stories I use a fountain pen. There is a reason behind that.

With the ball point I tend to be very free hand and write fast. I get the ideas out quickly for a novel because I know that many of the hard core details will come out later. With the fountain pen and short stories, my attention to detail is more focused. The story is not going to be drawn out and so I take my time. The delicacy of a fountain pen, to me, aids in my focus.

Next, for novels, I do a chapter by chapter outline of the entire book which enables me to either add to the concept or, in some cases, change things completely. Often times I have added characters and gone back to do their background later. I will write these details out as well. Later I will transfer all the information to a computer just as a backup. I don’t usually go to the computer file breakdown to make changes as I will sit and follow the details I wrote out as I type.

When it comes to the actual writing of the book, I don’t really give myself a time frame.

I’ve found that when I do, I stress over how long it will take me to finish. I like to get immersed in the world I have created and so I don’t think about how long it will take to complete the story.
On average, a book will take me anywhere between six to ten months to initially write. I take a two month break after that then return to the manuscript to begin the first draft edits.


 4. What is the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

“If a secondary character decides they want to become more prominent in the story, allow them to do so. Follow them and see where they take you. Sometimes they will shift the story in a direction you never thought of.”  This was told to me at the Lunacon Convention three years ago by a fellow writer named KT Pinto.

While working on a new book and discovered that a character that was just supposed to play a small role in the story began to stand out more and take on a life of her own. I was worried that my continued concentration on her character development would hinder the story. While at the convention I asked a panel of writers what they thought about secondary characters overpowering the lead character in the story. KT told me to let the character shine and not confine her to the background.

I took her advice and went back and allowed the character to step forward and developed her background and presence more. When I entered the book in a competition the following year, that character was a favorite of the judges.


5. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a question I have a hard time answering but I will try. I don’t usually compare my work to other writers as style and texture of a story varies from writer to writer. But if I can say one thing, it’s that I’m not a big follower of canon rules. Much like the rules governing vampires have been rewritten. While I do like to use canon form from time to time, I like bending the rules. Especially when combining genres like horror and fantasy. For example, for my series The Dead Syndicate, Satan and Lucifer are two different angels and develop a bitter divide between one another. I’ve had people say that is an impossible concept because they are the same individual. But I find that makes for a better way of telling a story. It also makes readers curious on how I pulled that concept off.

I would also say I am very character driven. I LOVE characters and I love to make them suffer through the same things we all do so that readers can relate. It’s not just setting up a familiar scenario but taking the reader though the devastating effects, especially when the characters are not human. In the Dead Syndicate, my main character is an angel whose best friend is a demon who respects and likes angels. In one part of the story the demon, named Grathen, is captured and beaten up by fallen angels for being the main characters friend. He’s pretty much bullied by them and it’s a concept that everyone can relate to. The weak being attacked by the strong.

6. What are you currently working on?

Literature wise, I recently finished a vampire novel which is in its final editing stage. I will be looking for a publishing house for that this spring. Currently I am working on The Dead Syndicate: Demons, Heroes and Shadows which is sequel to my 2011 self-published novel The Dead Syndicate: Trial of the Archnemesis.

I have also finished writing and directing a couple of film shorts. One based on the Dead Syndicate and a horror short based on a short story I wrote called A Language Deciphered. Both films will be on my website in the coming months.

 7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

Why do I love writing and, more specifically, why do I love writing about angels? I think many people just assume that writers do what they do because they want to make money. Or you hear writers say it’s what I have always wanted to do. For me, writing has always been my escape. I have always had a very active mind and I love telling stories. I currently do live story telling around New York. So being able to put those thoughts on paper and seeing my imagination come to life brings me a great deal of joy.

As a teenager I wrote a lot of short stories and fiction and much of it has never been seen. Even then I only showed much of it to friends or teachers. After meeting my favorite author, Clive Barker, in HS at a convention, I was motivated to share my stories beyond friends. I genuinely love writing and being immersed in those worlds I create. I’m sure many, many writers feel the same way but its not a question I often hear asked or been asked. How did you get started or when did you want to be a writer has always been the popular questions.

As for my love of angels, I have always found their back story and lore very fascinating. The fact that they are like the buffer between us and the creator and suffer from the same issues that people makes for good story telling. Things like betrayal, envy, family disputes (being that the angels are all brothers and sisters) and they battle. They are compelling and flawed and they have the ingredients that make up great characters. Plus, I just think they’re cool.




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BibleJake Bible, novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, andJakeBibleAuthor inventor of the Drabble Novel, has entertained thousands with his horror and sci/fi tales. He reaches audiences of all ages with his uncanny ability to write a wide range of characters and genres.

Jake is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series set in Asheville, NC, the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash) and the Mega series for Severed Press, as well as the YA zombie novel, Little Dead Man and the forthcoming Teen horror novel, Intentional Haunting, the ScareScapes series, and the Reign of Four series for Permuted Press.

Find Jake at www.jakebible.com. Join him on Twitter @jakebible and find him on Facebook.

 1. What does your work space look like?

I have a standup desk that I write at, tucked away in the corner of our home office. That way I can stand and stretch without breaking my concentration if I am on a roll. I also have a great captain’s chair that I can sit in when the legs get tired. My setup helps keep me moving during the day. I don’t think I could get as much done if I had a regular sit-down desk.

Bible-12. What is your work routine?

I’m a nine to fiver. I pretty much drop the kids at school, run errands, then get home and write until it’s time to get dinner ready. I do this Monday through Friday. I rarely write on the weekends and I never write at night. My brain is way more active in the mornings, so nights just don’t work for me. Plus, I need time to decompress and hang with the family!

Bible-23. What is your process when developing a new book or project?

I usually come up with a title first. I love working from a great title. After all, a novel with a bad title is rarely going to get picked up by readers. Once I know what my hook is for the novel then I dive in. I do some outlining, but that gets tossed out the window after about chapter two or three. I think one of the most important parts of my process is the first scene. I never start a novel unless I have a strong first scene formed. It’s the springboard for the rest of the novel and without it readers won’t get past the first page.

Bible-34. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

I honestly don’t remember any specific advice I’ve been given by any one writer. The best advice, which all experienced writers almost universally agree on, is to just sit your ass down and write. You can’t be a writer unless you write and write a lot.

Bible-45. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have no idea how my work differs. I don’t tend to compare myself to other writers. You’ll drive yourself insane doing that. I will say that one thing I have throughout my novels is humor/sarcasm/satire. My dialogue is snappy and witty. I have been accused of being heavy with the one-liner, but I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing!

Bible-56. What are you currently working on?

Right now I am working on the last book in a four book series called Reign of Four. It’s what I call medieval space fiction. Total space opera, but with stripped down, almost primitive tech. Should have that done in the next week or so.

Bible-67. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer? 

Wow, that’s a hard one. I honestly don’t know. I guess this is why I’m answering the questions and not asking them. 😉

Twitter: @jakebible

Facebook Page: Jake Bible’s Wasteland

Facebook Personal: Jake Bible

Amazon Author Page: Jake Bible Author

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AukesRachelAukes_square-BWRachel Aukes is the bestselling author of 100 Days in Deadland, named one of the best books of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. She lives in Iowa with her husband and an incredibly spoiled sixty-pound lap dog. When not writing, Rachel can be found flying old airplanes and trying to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. Learn more at www.RachelAukes.com.

1. What does your work space look like?

AukesOfficeSince I have a day job where I’m traveling of the time, I write wherever I can. I’ll write on my iPad (with a handy Bluetooth keyboard) when I’m at hotels and on the plane. When I’m at home, I have a red recliner and side table that serve my office as well as a treadmill desk.

2. What is your work routine?

My work routine is pretty lousy and not very exciting. Until I can switch to writing full time, I cram in writing whenever I can. My day job demands roughly ten hours per day when I’m in town and even more hours when I’m traveling. When I get home from work, it’s time to make dinner. Once that’s done and cleaned up, I will hit the treadmill and write (It seems to be the only place I can get in chunks of writing time without disruptions). After I’ve written 3,000 or so words, I’ll call it quits for the night to spend time with my spouse and check in on social media.

I positively savor the weekends, when I try to dedicate one day to writing-related work. It doesn’t always happen, and I’m still working on convincing my family and friends that I need that day. But when it happens… ooh la la!


3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?

Oh my, here’s where you find out how “type A” I am. I have a four-step process I follow, and each step takes roughly one month.

First, I develop the story idea into a storyboard and character profiles. I really need my characters to be real people by the time I write the first page, the character profiles are pretty detailed, with pictures and everything.

Second, I rough draft the story. During this step, I give myself permission to write crap just get to get the story onto paper.

I rewrite that horribly ugly first draft as my third step, which usually involves multiple passes.

Lastly, the fourth step involves the various editing passes and proofreading.

Once those four steps are done, the story is ready to move onto the publishing process—either sending out or preparing it for self-publishing, depending on the plan for that particular story.


4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

For general advice, Stephen King’s On Writing has been pure gold. My personal favorite quote from his book is, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

For personal advice, while I was chatting at the bar with F. Paul Wilson about aviation, the conversation moved onto the book I was getting ready to write. Paul then gave me advice that changed my entire career. It was simple: “Don’t write under a pen name.” Heather Graham was sitting nearby and echoed his advice. While this advice wouldn’t apply to everyone, the rationale Paul and Heather provided around the advice (legality of names, pride in your own work, branding, and so on) helped cement my mindset regarding my writing style, publishing strategies, and professional presence. For me, all the stars aligned that night when I finally discovered who I would be as a writer. Once I was able to look at things from a new perspective, everything became easier after that.


 5. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

You really like to make your interviewees think! Hm. For me, I’d say my work is a unique blend of contemporary stories with classic underpinnings. For example, my latest series is a retelling of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy… with zombies. I also have a series that takes the book of Revelations from the Bible and completely reimagines the story of the seven seals.

6. What are you currently working on?

I’m writing Deadland Rising, which my editor is chomping at the bit to work on. Being the final book in the Deadland Saga, it’s taken the longest to write because I want to make sure everyone’s story is fully told. I love how it’s all coming together, but I still need to tell myself to quit worrying. Basically, I’ve built some mental walls, which need to bust through and fast.


7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer? 

“This is Joss Whedon. Will you sell me your Deadland Saga? I’d love to make it into a movie series, and it’ll be epic.” My answer would be a shrill, “heck yeah!”

But seriously, when it comes to writing, writers tend to get too caught up into the output rather than on writing itself. I think the answer to just about any writing question out there is, “First and foremost, have fun writing. Everything else can be worked out later.”

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CastleIn a writing career of almost 50 years, Mort Castle has been deemed a “horror doyen” by Publishers Weekly, “El Maestro del Terror” by South America’s Galaxia Cthulhu, and “the master of contemporary horror” by Poland’s Nowa Fantastyka magazine. Castle has published novels, short stories, articles, poetry, and comic books, and edited All American Horror of the 21st Century (Wicker Park Press) and the essential reference work On Writing Horror for the Horror Writers Association (Writer’s Digest Books). With writing translated into a dozen languages, Castle’s a two time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, twice recipient of the Black Quill Award, and was selected as one of “21 Chicago Southland Leaders in the Arts for the 21st Century” by the Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper Group. His most recent work is Dracula: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics. He teaches in the creative writing program at Columbia College Chicago and at writing conferences and seminars throughout the country. Castle and Jane, his wife of 43 years, live in Crete, Illinois.

 1. What does your work space look like?

Big—and a mess. About 1,500 square feet. A complete at home office, computers, backup computers, printers, backup printers, a typewriter. It’s our entire basement. Books, books, books, most on shelves, but here’s where the mess comes in: books, magazines, DVDs, all the reference materials I need for specific projects usually strewn on the floor so I can just grab ’em up. Many record albums (vinyl always has been better than any other audio medium), and the turntables to play ’em on. Musical instruments. I try never to work on a writing project without being able to reach for a guitar, banjo, or mandolin; when stymied in the words department, I move to the melodic area and that somehow does the unblocking for me. Think it has something to do with right brain/left brain/no brain.

02-books22. What is your work routine?

Changed a lot over the years. Now I only work when I have a project, usually one with a deadline. And when I’m working, I’m intense, eight or ten hours at a shot.

I once practiced the “write every day” thing—and it was right for me at the time—but then so was writing to blaring rock music—and now, it is Mr. Satie or Ravel.

3. What is your process when developing a new book or project?

A. Dream up the concept or grab onto one that has been handed to me.

B. Deep, deep research for everything—for comics work, finding visual references. For fictional prose, knowing the subject matter, particularly if it’s historically based in a time more than 100 years ago. Nice thing about research / Bad thing about it is that you can keep going on it forever, sometimes deluding yourself that it’s vital to the project when you know in your heart that it’s simple procrastination.

C. Write like hell. Never leave a page until it’s finished. When it’s all finished, then revise again.

For me, writing is more and more difficult as I’ve come to have a better understanding of the craft. I cannot be satisfied with simple works, the kind I used to dash off so quickly when I was young and happily ignorant. (Wrote more than one published novel in five-six weeks—when I was selling mediocre stuff to mediocre publishers.) Now, I’m usually trying for a masterwork and that means, if I have a good 12 hour work session and score 2,000 words from it, I’m delighted (and it rarely happens).

My annotating Dracula: By the time I got done with phase two, I could damned near have recited Dracula verbatim with 93% accuracy and could have slipped into the role of Mr. Stoker to tell you exactly why I did that little foreshadowing flip in chapter three.

01-books14. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

Forget the bunt or just trying to get on base. Go for the home run every time.

That came from my dear friend Rex Miller. I miss our lengthy telephone calls – those in the day when making a long distance call cost real money.

5. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ve acquired more of a “literary bent” than ever I thought I would, and so I strive to make my writing – dare I say it? – Art! At the same time, it’s not worth writing if it’s not read–so I likewise strive to create “popular fiction.”

There are some in the art community who say my work is too much in the pop fiction camp.

There are some in the pop fiction world who think my stuff is too, too, arty.

Whatever it is, it is Mort Castle on that page and, like my hero, Popeye the Sailor Man, “I Yam What I Yam and ‘ats all what I yam.”


6What are you currently working on?

With Sam Weller, my co-editor on Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, the anthology we did for William Morrow, I am wrapping up the comics series based on Shadow Show for IDW. I’m scripting Darchon, a supernatural comics series from Red Giant Entertainment, that’s set to launch in April.

Have two or perhaps three hush-hush / cannot talk TV and film projects, but can say that, using “the biz” lingo, there are serious names attached.

Have been asked for stories for three anthologies (I’d prefer they stay hush-hush for now), and to put together a non-fiction book proposal, but …

But mostly, I’m working on improving my harmonica chops. Tell you, there’s so much to be learned on a little instrument you can keep in your pocket. Of course, you do keep it there, you’re likely to swallow some pocket lint when you hit that low “C.”

7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

Q: Why haven’t you written a bestseller?

A: Why, that’s a wonderful idea. I never even thought to do that. Golly, I’ll get started right away–as soon as I have a title. How about … 50 Shades of Puce? Running with Chainsaws? Harry Porter and the Half-assed Prince…


LeBlancauthor pic-elvisDeborah LeBlanc is an award-winning, best-selling author and business owner from Lafayette, Louisiana. She is also a licensed death scene investigator, has been a paranormal investigator for over twenty years, and is currently the house clairsendium for the upcoming paranormal investigation television show, Through the Veil.

She served four years as president of the Horror Writers Association, eight years as president of the Writers’ Guild of Acadiana, and two years as president of Mystery Writers of America’s Southwest Chapter. In 2007, Deborah founded Literacy Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting illiteracy in America’s teens. Deborah also takes her passion for literacy and a powerful ability to motivate to high schools around the country.

1.What does your work space look like?

Think aftermath of an F5 twister. :)

2.What is your work routine?

Daily, unless serious life issues get in the way, from 6 am to 5 or 6 or 10 pm…depending on the roll I may or may not be on.

3.What is your process when developing a new book or project?

–concept first

–book title and main characters second

–plot notes for entire book

–strategic point notes by chapter

–notes per page per chapter

–butt in seat and write, write,  write!

4.What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

-write everyday whether you ‘feel’ like it or not–and never give up! By whom?–myself!

025.How does my work differ from others of its genre?

–the difference between all writers in any genre is their unique writer’s voice.
6.What are you currently working on?

–argg..I’m in a manic pace at the moment, which means I’m writing 3 at once.

–VOICES–Paranormal thriller

–TOE to TOE – The 1st in an 8 book series (Think Stephanie Plum meets Six Feet Under! )

–And one with a title yet to be released….it’s the first in a paranormal erotica

037.Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

—Do you have pets? Do you enjoy dancing? What’s the craziest/funniest/most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?

For more information, visit www.deborahleblanc.com and www.literacyinc.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/theofficialdeborahleblanc

TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/deborahleblanc

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LisaMorton2Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, award-winning prose writer, and Halloween expert whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening”.  Her most recent releases include the novella The Devil’s Birthday and the novel Zombie Apocalypse: Washington Deceased. She lives in North Hollywood, and can be found online at www.lisamorton.com.

What does your work space look like?
Because I live in a small apartment, it’s basically a section of the living room couch and my lap. However, I’m thrilled to say that’s about to change: by the end of the year I hope to be living in an honest-to-gawd house for the first time in my adult life, where I will realize my lifelong dream of having my own office. I crave a space where I can be organized and have my reference materials within easy reach. Ask me this question again in a year and I’ll even send you a photo!

What is your work routine?
Write whenever I can. The last few years have been frantic, as I’ve tried to juggle a physically and mentally exhausting day job, caring for elderly parents, the daily little domestic tasks we all deal with, and holding an officer position in the Horror Writers Association alongside my writing, so it really has come to the point of just writing wherever and whenever I can.

What is your process when developing a new book?
It depends on the book. Most of my books are contracted with a publisher well in advance of me writing a single word, so there are outlines and notes galore exchanged. If it’s a non-fiction book, I’ll spend months just gathering research materials before I start writing. I will say that even without editors and publishers, I’m still a big believer in outlining – it really helps me to stay focused when I know where I’m going. My outlines are usually broken down by chapter, but they’re not exhaustive – no more than a few pages long – so they leave plenty of room for discovery and spontaneity.


What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
Writing advice and I tend to not get along (and yes, I’d probably be much farther along if I’d paid more attention to a few things people have tried to tell me over the years). I think encouragement and support have always been far more important to me. No amount of advice is going to beat having early supporters like Roberta Lannes, Stephen Jones, and Dennis Etchison on your side.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I try not to over-analyze my own style for fear of affecting it in some self-conscious way. However, I can say that one thing about my work is that I’m probably more consistent in my use of female protagonists than most other writers. All of my novels have featured lead characters who are female, and that’s kind of a big deal to me because there are just too few horror novels out there in which the women do anything more than serve as victims or supporters of the male hero.



What are you currently working on?
A non-fiction book on the history of ghosts. It’s big, and it’s already past its first deadline (I have a marvelously tolerant editor), but I’m very happy with how it’s going. It’s for Reaktion Books, the same company that did my book TRICK OR TREAT: A HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN. Their books are just gorgeous, and I’m really thrilled to be working with them again.


Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
Q: At this point in your career, what’s your biggest worry?

A: Time. Time is just a constant weight digging its spurred heels into my back. And I’m not just talking about time in regards to deadlines (that’s a whole separate worry), but rather the amount of overall productive time left in my life. I was startled when, a few months ago, a friend who is very prominent in the genre told me he was constantly aware of having about ten years left, because I feel very much this way. I figure I have maybe fifteen really good years left, and given my speed that’s not many books. How do I choose what to write? Am I wasting my time on certain jobs-for-hire? Do I need to start cutting more non-writing efforts out of my schedule? That awareness of time just never leaves me, and sometimes I have to force myself to just slow down and breathe.

 Lisa Morton website: http://www.lisamorton.com

Lisa on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.morton.165

Link to photo: http://www.lisamorton.com/blogs/lisabyellen.jpg (please credit Ellen Datlow for this photo)

VaughnCarrieVaughnCarrie Vaughn is the author of the New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty, the next installment of which Low Midnight. She’s written several other contemporary fantasy and young adult novels, as well as upwards of 70 short stories. She’s a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R. R. Martin and a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado. Visit her at www.carrievaughn.com.

What does your work space look like?

I have an office in my house, with a very messy desk. I work at a computer, and tend to have notes and reference books piled around me for whatever I’m working on at the time. My dog, a miniature American Eskimo named Lily is usually sleeping nearby.


What is your work routine?

I spend a couple of hours every morning on administrative stuff – blogging, social media, answering emails, and so on. I try to do some writing in the morning, but I do the bulk of my writing after lunch and a nice long walk with Lily. I try to wrap up by dinner time so I can go socialize with friends who are on a regular work schedule, or spend the evening chilling out with a book.


What is your process when developing a new book?

I start with an idea or a character, and just start taking notes. I think about scenes, what I want the tone to be, what direction I want to take the story. I like to know how the story is going to end before I start so I know where I’m going. I usually try to do up a rough outline, but sometimes I’ll just start writing to get the character’s voice down, and wait to outline until I’m a few chapters in. I’ll go back and forth between story and outline a couple of times, refining the outline as I go. Once I have a rough draft, I’ll usually go through a lot of revision, once again to refine all the details I wasn’t sure about when I was writing.


What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

I’ve had some excellent advice over the years: John Crowley said, The only rule in writing is whatever you can get away with. Jay Lake said: Don’t go with your first, second or even third idea. Go with your fifteenth, or seventeenth idea, because that’s the one that’s going to really go deep, and be the one no one else has thought of. My first agent, Dan Hooker, told me the best thing I could do to promote my first book was to write the second one, and make it the best it could be.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Kitty’s a pretty unique protagonist for urban fantasy. She isn’t a cop or bounty hunter and despite being a werewolf isn’t prone to violence. I try to make her as down-to-earth and relatable as I can. The stories get pretty far out, too – twelve books out, soon to be thirteen, and I don’t think I’ve repeated myself.

What are you currently working on?

I’m gearing up for the release of Low Midnight, the first novel featuring Cormac, one of the most popular characters from the Kitty series. The book I’m currently working on is a third Golden Age book, a sequel to Dreams of the Golden Age.


Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

I’m not sure! At this point, it feels like I’ve been asked just about everything.


Robert Dunbar’s articles about literature and film have appeared in numerous publications. He is the author of several novels, a collection of short stories, and a nonfiction book about the origins of the horror genre. For more information, visit www.UninvitedBooks.comDunbar-Web

What does your work space look like?

It resembles a stable that’s been converted into a library… with good reason. Fortunately the smell has abated somewhat.

What is your work routine?

I wake up in the morning and start to write. Really, that’s pretty much it. Just factor in breaks for making coffee and taking walks in the woods, both of which are essential for maintaining the appearance of sanity. Wouldn’t do to frighten the wildlife. Seriously, I do freelance editing and articles and reviews, and there’re always various marketing projects that require attention. There’s never a free moment. Remember when writers could just write? (No, me neither.)

What is your process when developing a new book or project?

My process? Barely controlled hysteria with alternating periods of bone-crunching depression and wild exhilaration. Like falling for a truly dangerous individual over and over. No – a whole succession of dangerous individuals. Where art and love are concerned, one learns nothing. Okay, enough with the “one” stuff. It’s me. I never learn. It’s always new. Always terrifying.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” ~ E.M. Forster

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

How much time you got?

What are you currently working on?

Because I have completely lost – or at least misplaced – my mind, I am currently working on two novels at once. This will almost certainly kill me. I give me a week.


Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

For some reason, readers are forever asking me deeply spiritual questions about their own paths in life, as though writers automatically possess some deep understanding. (It’s amazing how often I can appropriately respond with advice that contains the word “bourbon.”) What do I wish people would ask me? I wish people would ask me to identify my favorite among my own books, so I could unequivocally tell them “Willy.”


KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAYvonne Navarro lives in southern Arizona, where until recently she worked in one of those super secret squirrel buildings on historic Fort Huachuca. She is the author of twenty-two published novels and well over a hundred short stories, plus numerous non-fiction articles and two editions of a reference dictionary. Her writing has won the HWA’s Bram Stoker Award plus a number of other writing awards.  She also draws and paints, and once sold a canvas print of a zombie painting. She is married to author Weston Ochse and dotes on their four Great Danes (Goblin, Ghost, Ghoulie and Grendel) and a talking, people-loving parakeet named BirdZilla.

What does your work space look like?

Sometime in the mid-eighties I got tired of spending a week at a time doing nothing but piled-up filing because I couldn’t find stuff. I made the decision back then to keep my workspace neat and to stay up to date (mostly) on filing and putting things away. As the years passed, I became rather OCD about it; as a result it drives my husband, author Weston Ochse, batty because he says I can’t work if everything isn’t neat and in its place. That’s actually not true. I don’t want to work like that. I also like light furniture and bright colors, and, of course, books, books, and more books. And I like zombies and crosses and scary pictures. Oh, and Great Danes and bulletin boards where I can hang stuff I don’t know what else to do with. That all makes for a pretty complicated and indescribable work space, so why don’t I just include a picture or two?


What is your work routine?

Currently it’s sadly undisciplined. I used to be very good about writing regularly despite that having a demanding and stressful job in a downtown Chicago law firm. The long commute actually helped because I wrote to and from work on the train, five days a week, without fail. The good things in life take up time, though, and I got married, moved to Arizona, got another job with almost no commute, and over the years ended up with four Great Danes and a parakeet. Up until recently, it was puddle around at it (bad advice to all those young writers out there!) and only get serious when I had a deadline. Now I plan to reverse all that and go back to the good old days. Thanks to the government cutbacks, I lost my job of ten and a half years in mid-September, so now I’m planning to work on things that have upcoming deadlines plus some other projects. I also love to paint, and I’m hoping to do that more, too.

What is your process when developing a new book or project?

Lots and lots of thinking about it, and I wouldn’t do anything without an outline. Nothing that isn’t flexible, obviously, but I want to have a beginning, a middle, and an end before I get formal about it; how I get to those three points is up for grabs. Lots and lots of notes, stream of consciousness style.  I’ll decide on the main characters and do an extensive character outline for each, even hunt through magazines for photographs of people who can represent them. Starting it usually isn’t a problem– first lines pop into my head rapid fire. I’ll pick one based on how far into the action (usually a lot) I want to be.


What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?

I’m sure it was the same advice that I give to every young writer who asks me: “Read everything out loud.” I wish I could credit the person who told me this, but I have no idea who it was.  This is how you find the mistakes you can’t when you read only in your mind: bad punctuation, overlong sentences, misspellings, overused words.  I read everything aloud, even novels, before I consider them finished.  And not in a monotone, either!

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Gosh, I don’t know.  Voice, perhaps?  I think each writer is unique, with his or her own style, voice, pace, sense of place, the story itself.  If that wasn’t true, there would be no need to put a name on any book.  It’s why people have favorite authors, or buy all the books by Author A, almost all the books by Author B, and an occasional book by Author C.  It’s why a person takes a chance on a new author– the book cover might attract a shopper, but hardly anyone buys a book by someone they’ve never read before without reading a sample page or three.


What are you currently working on?

Oh, I have great and grand plans!  Prime among them is to start a new series for which the idea has been muddling around in my head for five years. Thanks to the great folks at Golden Apple Studios in Maine, I spent two weeks working on it as a writer in residence this past July. I struggled with it the entire time, ultimately writing only 27 pages and realizing on the morning I was to leave that I was doing the entire thing wrong.  As a result, I consider that time excellently spent– at the pace I was going with the day job and home responsibilities, it would have taken another year, at least, to come to that conclusion.  Plus I also came away with knowing exactly how to do fix it.  Score!


Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

“Hi, I’m from 20th Century Fox Television. Would you be interested in having us make your novel Final Impact into a TV mini-series?”


Link where signed copies of most of her out of print books can still be bought: http://www.yvonnenavarro.com/offerings.htm

A few titles are now available in digital format can be found here.

Yvonne’s Facebook page.

Yvonne’s Website/Blog.

RelfTerrie Leigh Relf (AKA The Boortean Ambassador to Haura) is a Lifetime Member Reif-200-bdrof the Science Fiction Poetry Association and an active member of the Horror Writers Association. Her work has appeared in a number of anthologies and publications that include Joshua Gage’s collaborative poetic endeavor, Confessions: A Nightmare in Five Acts (Elektrik Milk Bath Press, 2014); Eldritch Chrome: Unquiet Tales of a Mythos-Haunted Future (Chaosium, 2014), and Big Pulp’s The Kennedy Curse (2013). While she took an extended hiatus from Alban Lake, she continues to serve as the contest judge and lead editor for The Great Lakes Drabble Contest. In addition to being a fiction writer and poet, she is also a writing & creativity coach, a Neuro-Linguistic & Hypnotherapy Life Transformation Coach and Reiki Practitioner.

7 Questions

1. What does your work space look like?
My work space looks like my kitchen – and it is! I usually work at the kitchen table, where I can spread out an assortment of stickie notes, note cards, pieces of paper (no napkins, lately), notebooks, books, and pens. Sometimes, on the couch in the living room, where I prop my laptop up on a pillow so I have a change of venue. I always have paper and pen with me when I go out and about to write down ideas, leads, and whatnot. When I interview someone, it’s usually over the phone or via email. On occasion, I’ll meet with people at a local cafe or pub.


2. What is your work routine?
I write something every day. What that something is does vary, though. In addition to my own creative and non-fiction writing, I also do work for hire; so some days are spent writing for ongoing or new clients.

3. What is your process when developing a new book?
Each book is different; however, what usually occurs is that I have a flash of an idea for a book, write that down, then decide if I’m going to backburner another project for the new one. I have so many ideas germinating all the time, so right now, I’m focused on finishing several books – that include collections of poetry and short stories – along with three novels.

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
While Ray Bradbury didn’t tell me this personally, he said it on his TV show: Write a story every day. After a year, you’ll have 365 stories and a few of them will be good. I followed that advice one year, and he was right. There were a few good ones in there.


5. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
This is an excellent question, and one for which I wish I had an excellent response. What is unique about my work is that it’s my work, which is a product of my mind and all the other minds I’ve encountered and been inspired by. All the books and poetry I’ve read, all the talks and interviews I’ve heard or read, and the list goes on. We’re all part of a web, I think. 

6. What are you currently working on?
I’m currently focused on book three in the Blood Journey Saga, co-authored with Henry Lewis Sanders. It’s titled Children of Blood, and we’re about 1/3 of the way through the second revision. After that, I will be returning to Walks-With-Two-Spirits, which was recently rejected.


7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
Would you like to sign a six-book deal with us for a seven-figure advance? The answer would be a resounding “YES!”

Visit Terrie’s Website: tlrelf.wordpress.com


An Untoward Bliss of Moons — soon to be released from Alban Lake Publishing

Letting Out The Demons: http://www.elektrikmilkbathpress.com/bookstore

The Intergalactic Cookbook, co-authored with Marge Simon and Sandy DeLuca:

Poet’s Workshop – and Beyond! 2nd ed.: http://store.albanlake.com/?s=Poet%27s+workshop&submit=Search

The Waters of Nyrhttp://store.albanlake.com/?s=The+waters+of+nyr&submit=Search

The Ancient One, Book II of The Blood Journey Sagaco-authored with Henry Lewis Sanders: http://store.albanlake.com/?s=the+ancient+one&submit=Search

Blood Journey, Book I of The Blood Journey Sagaco-authored with Henry Lewis Sanders: http://store.albanlake.com/?s=blood+journey&submit=Search

Jupiter’s Eye – Published by Sam’s Dot Publishing. Out of Print, but may be able to find online.

My Friend, The Poet, and Other Poems About People I think I know – Published by Sam’s Dot Publishing. Out of Print, but may be able to find online.


Edward Lee is the author of over 50 books and numerous short stories and edward_lee-WBPhotonovellas. Several of his properties have been optioned for film, while HEADER was made into a movie in 2009; THE BIGHEAD is in production now. In addition to North America, Lee has been published in Poland, Germany, England, Romania, Greece, Austria, Russia, France, and Japan. Recent releases include Bullet Through Your Face and Brain Cheese Buffet (story collections), Header 2, and the hardcore Lovecraftian books Trolley No. 1852, Pages Torn From A Travel Journal, Going Monstering, and Haunter of the Threshold, the latter being what Lee considers his hardest-core work to date. Currently he is working on a new novel as well as making his own low-budget horror movies. Lee lives in Largo, Florida.

What does your work space look like?
EL: Great question!  My workspace looks like hell! I sit in front of a 42 inch screen at the end of a couch, amid untold clutter, junk, and rubber movie props. There is perfect order in my DISorder.

What is your work routine?
EL: Lately, I take lots of days off because I’ve become old, fat, and lazy!  Otherwise, I write about 500 words a day. For 25 years I wrote 1000 words a day, but now I’m discerning that the work is better at the lower word rate. What’s the rush?
What is your process when developing a new book or project?
EL: I go to my computer file titled IDEAS, and pick one of multiples dozens of projects I’ve been outlining for years and/or decades. It’s my aesthetic treasure chest!

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
EL: in the early 80’s, the late World Fantasy Award winner Brian McNaughton told me “Writing is like push ups. It you don’t do them regularly, it’s a pain in the ass. But if you do it every day, it becomes routine and you grow continuously stronger.” Also, “Write a page a day. In a year you’ve got a book.” Pretty good advice!


How does my work differ from others of its genre?
EL: I suppose in my attraction to extreme imagery, be in erotic imagery or grotesquery. Even since I was a little kid, I’d read Poe or Jack London or something, and think, “Wow, this is great but it would be more fun if it had nudity and gore.” That’s about as high-brow and answer as I can muster!

Lee-3What are you currently working on?
EL: Header 3, which will be novella length, a smutty short story about a girl who discovers a pile of amorous sea-slop in the bottom of a boat, and an M.R. James pastiche novella. All are progressing smoothly (if a bit slowly). I’m also shooting my own low budget comedy horror movie. What do I know about making movies? Nothing!  That’s what appeals to me!  I have hare-brained ambitions all the time, but I’m also a creative genius, so I hope that counts for something!
Lee-4Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
EL: That’s the most original and intriguing question I’ve ever been asked in an interview, and I regret to say I don’t have an answer!

What reviewer have said about Edward Lee’s work:

 “The hardest of the hardcore horror writers.”Cemetery Dance

 “One of the genre’s true originals.”The Horror Fiction Review

 “Lee is the one who crosses the line.”Fangoria

 “The hardcore horror king.”Horror Reader

 “Edward Lee continues to push the boundaries of sex, violence and depravity in modern genre lit.”Rue Morgue

 “A master of hardcore horror. His ability to make readers cringe is legendary.”Hellnotes.

Visit Edward Lee at EdwardLeeOnline and City Infernal Films


Tim Waggoner has published more than thirty novels, three story collections, andWaggoner-1 his articles on writing have appeared in many publications. He teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction.

What does your work space look like?
I tend to work best away from home, so I usually write in coffee shops. I need to have a certain amount of noise and activity around me to concentrate, but not too much. I usually write longhand on paper and then enter it into the computer later, making changes and editing as I go.

What is your work routine?
I teach composition and creative writing full-time at a community college, and I try to make sure there’s open time in my schedule in the afternoons for writing. I usually write several hours a day, although when I get close to finishing a draft, I tend to write a lot more. I may be writing as many as six hours a day then.


 What is your process when developing a new book or project?
I spend a lot of time thinking about projects and making notes before actually sitting down to compose text. I’m often mulling over aspects of a number of projects while actively composing text for another. I collect bits and pieces of experience, observations, and ideas, and when several of those start to come together – often in weird and surprising ways – then I’m ready to start on a new story or novel. At that point I’ll make an outline, although I don’t follow it slavishly. As I write, I often toss in details from whatever’s going on in my life at the moment in order to make the story seem fresh and immediate to me. I guess I’d describe my process as part improvisation and part planning, with a good dose of listening to my subconscious tossed into the mix.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
When I was freshman in college – over thirty years ago now – the TA who taught the class, Pam Doyle, held final conferences with her students. During mine, she told me that my writing was strong and urged me to take my writing as far as I could. That advice – “Take your writing as far as you can.” – is something that I’ve passed on to other writers ever since. I like it because it’s opened-ended. It doesn’t say “Publish a book” or “Make the bestseller list” or “Have a movie made of our book.”  And it doesn’t say “You can quit when you made it,” whatever it may be. And far can mean so many things: far in terms of content, theme, style, etc. It’s simple advice, but it’s had a profound effect on me as a writer.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a difficult question to answer! My horror is known for being surreal and psychological, and my urban fantasy tends to be a mix of the humorous and the macabre. I usually write with a deep, immersive point of view, regardless of the type of story I’m telling, and I try to focus on character as much if not more than event. For horror, I like to make the inner outer and the outer inner – if that makes sense — and I try to avoid using traditional tropes, or at least put a new spin on them.

What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on a horror novel for DarkFuse titled Eat the Night. It’s about a woman who has nightmares of being part of a Jonestown-like cult, who discovers a hidden basement in her new home, and who starts receiving pages of a mystical tome called The Book of Masks in the mail. She’s also under surveillance by a mysterious group known only as Maintenance who wants the book for its own ends. I have several short stories that I owe editors, too.


Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?

Q: What themes do you explore in your horror fiction? A: My horror tends to be existential. I don’t write about Good vs Evil. I write about Entropy and how we can manage to live our lives in the face of it. It makes a good metaphor for the human condition, since we all know we’re going to die and yet we somehow have to find – or make – meaning for ourselves in our short time on this world. I also write a lot about Duality and Fragmentation, both in my characters, my settings, and in the threats and situations my characters encounter.

Visit Tim on the web at www.timwaggoner.com.

Tim’s books can be found on Amazon.

* * * * *


NOTE: After a long and valiant fight with ALS, Rocky Wood passed away December 1, 2014, about six weeks after the following interview.

Living in Melbourne, Australia, Rocky Wood has authored major works about Stephen King of which three were nominated for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction. His Stephen King: The Literary Companion won the coveted award in 2011. Rocky also authored two graphic novels, one of which –Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times – was awarded the Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel.

In the author’s notes to his novel Doctor Sleep, Stephen King praises Rocky for his assistance: “Rocky Wood was my go-to guy for all things Shining, providing me with names and dates I had either forgotten or plain got wrong. The Rock knows my work better than I do myself.”

A Trustee of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) from 2008 to 2010, Rocky was elected HWA President in 2010, and re-elected in 2012. He is also an Active member of the International Thriller Writers and a founding member of the Australian Horror Writers Association.

A freelance journalist since the 1970s, his articles have been published all over the world on subjects such as UFOs, the security industry and popular culture.

In October 2010 Rocky was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Some of his unique Stephen King collection is still for sale at Overlook Connection the proceeds going to his long-term medical care.


1. What does your work space look like?
I tend to work anywhere, so I don’t have a specific workplace. Have laptop, will write!

2. What is your work routine?
I prefer to work in the evenings, but depending on deadlines and commitments I will work any hour of the day required to get things done properly, on time and preferably early so that unforeseen circumstances don’t have a chance to impact.

3. What is your process when developing a new book?
I always sell a book before I write it, a layover from freelance journalism when I was young. Don’t work unless you are going to be paid. So, a book idea must develop into a great proposal that sells the book. By that I mean telling the target publisher what’s in it for them. The target market, ways of promoting the book to that market, etc. If you can tell a publisher how they can make a profit from your book you are much more likely to get a contract. The structure of the book in the proposal is then my template for writing it.

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
An early newspaper editor when I was writing about the UFO phenomenon – hook the reader in the first sentence. If I didn’t, he would reject the entire column!

5. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I mostly write non-fiction. In that mode I tend to do a lot of original research. For my first book on King’s work I discovered a dozen or so King stories that were unknown. I did that by travelling to Maine from Australia – literally half way around the world – and then digging in libraries, historical societies and the like, and building a network of people to assist me. The same with the second book, on King’s non-fiction. Working with Justin Brooks we found literally dozens of ‘lost’ works by King, working through old microfiche files in small towns across Maine, and working endless hours on leads until we found what we were looking for. That task, by the way, never ends.

As to my graphic novels – ‘Horrors!’ illustrated by Glen Chadbourne, and ‘Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times’, illustrated by Greg Chapman and co-authored by Lisa Morton, those differ from most graphic novels in that they are based on real events. ‘Horrors!’ reimagines what really happened when the great horror texts of the 19th century were being written by Shelley, Poe and Stoker; and ‘Witch Hunts’ deals with the real horrors of the witch hunting craze of the middle centuries of the last millennia – and believe me when I say we didn’t have to make much up to fill that book with horror!

6. What are you currently working on?
I’ve just completed an Update to ‘Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished’, out from Overlook Connection Press this month. New King stories are revealed along with great details about others. King generously answered more questions for this Update, so it’s great to get that information out to the King community. Steve is nothing if not honest in many of the revelations. Look for it as an ebook and a small paperback, as ‘Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished – 2014 Update’.

7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
Nothing that comes to mind.

Visit Rocky Wood’s website.

Items from Rocky’s collection still for sale can be found at The Overlook Connection.

Find Rocky Wood’s Stephen King books at Amazon.



Selling novels and short stories since 1983, Billie Sue Mosiman is a name brand and has become something of an institution among many horror, dark fantasy and suspense readers. With books nominated for Edgar and Stoker Awards and 160 short stories published in various magazines and anthologies she is ubiquitous and popular. At one time she taught novel writing for Writer’s Digest and also taught a course for AOL Online. Her latest novel, THE GREY MATTER, is published by Post Mortem Press.


1. What does your work space look like?
These days I work on a laptop that is either in my lap or on the coffee table. I used to work in a home office at a desk for most of my career, but I like portability now.

2. What is your work routine?
I work from inspiration. Even with deadlines from publishers I worked by revving up my enthusiasm and working daily from morning until dinner time. I have to feel as if I really have a story to tell, something I want to explore, before I begin so schedules just don’t work for me. Nevertheless I’ve been prolific, especially with the short story.

3. What is your process when developing a new book?
I get the first scene out so I have a good feel for the story and character. Sometimes I take a few notes about what’s going to happen next. Mainly I fly by the seat of my pants.


4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given and by whom?
I can’t remember any specific advice. I used to read books about writing and was most inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE CRACK UP that came from an Esquire article he wrote, giving advice to is daughter Scottie.

5. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I’m not sure. Maybe it’s quieter. Not that I can’t or won’t write an extreme scene of horror, but even working up to a scene like that I prepare the reader by first hoping they invest in the characters before forced to go through a difficult or explicit scene.


6. What are you currently working on?
I have a novel or novella idea about a monster in the woods that I heard scream one summer when I was a child. I was staying in South Alabama with my grandparents. It left such an indelible impression, I might write about what sort of monster that was.

7. Within the context of your writing, what question have you never been asked that you’d love to answer?
Maybe “What made you spend your whole life writing?” My answer would be it expanded and widened my life. It made my whole life exciting and fantastic because as I wrote I lived so many lives through so many characters it made me feel as if there were multiple steams of reality and writing of some of them, I was just a journalist, taking down people’s stories, their heartaches, their weaknesses, and their strengths and courage.

Following Bill Sue Mosiman on her blog: THE PECULIAR LIFE OF A WRITER

Or on Twitter: @billiemosiman

Visit her “Amazon Page


And be sure to check out her latest suspense novel, THE GREY MATTER, a Finalist in the Kindle Book Awards.

Bestselling crime and mystery author Ed Gorman says of GREY MATTER: “I can honestly say Billie Sue Mosiman is one of the finest horror-suspense writers I’ve ever read.”

Stoker Award winner Mort Castle says: GREY MATTER’s got plot twists you aren’t predicting and characters made not of cardboard and cliché but flesh and blood, flaws and dreams and courage. Above all, GREY MATTER is a story of ‘family’: It’s love and not surname or DNA cell tissue that binds us together to protect and save our own.