Monday’s Friend: Allan J Emerson

Today I’d like to welcome author Allan J Emerson to the blog.

 SJT: We have a lot in common, you and I. Like you, I was making up stories as a little kid. Mine used to feature any one of my dolls or stuffed toys, which all had names and family histories. What were your early stories about?

Allan Emerson author photoAJE: I do think the urge to tell stories surfaces when we’re quite young. When I was 7 or 8, my stories were mash-ups of movie plots, fairy tales, comic books, and whatever I thought up myself. They usually featured knights or kings who had some kind of special powers: they could fly, or read minds, or become invisible. I didn’t worry about anachronisms either—knights might shoot it out with the villain, or hear a cry for help over the radio.

SJT: Which writers inspire you?

AJE: Among mystery writers: P.D. James, Elizabeth George, and Ian Rankin. Louise Penny (the Inspector Gamache series). Stephen King has turned to mysteries recently (Mr. Mercedes). All of them write fully-realized characters living believable lives. Writers outside the mystery genre, like Alice Munro, Franz Kafka, Edith Wharton, and Saul Bellow, for their insights into what makes us human.

SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

AJE: I wish someone had told me it was not enough to want to tell a story. You need the tools to tell it, and most of us aren’t born with them. Take a course, read books on writing, or do whatever you need to do to learn writing technique. I eventually figured a lot of it out myself, but I would’ve been producing better stories much sooner if I hadn’t learned by trial and a great deal of error.

SJT: So tell us about your latest book, DEATH OF A BRIDE AND GROOM.

AJE: My favourite subject! Death of a Bride and Groom is a small-town mystery with humour, a little sex, a little swearing, and some surprising relationships (kind of like the author’s life, only without the murders).

DeathOfABrideAndGroomFront (2)The bodies of a man and woman are discovered in full wedding regalia atop a giant wedding cake parade float. The murders create a sensation in the little town of Honeymoon Falls, and there’s no lack of suspects: Iris Morland, the “bride” was truly, deeply, hated by half the town. Connor Tarlech, her lover and the “groom,” had been responsible for a bankruptcy that devastated the other half. Police Chief Will Halsey tracks down the killer through a series of encounters with various townspeople, most of whom have secrets they have no intention of divulging. Here’s a brief extract from the discovery scene:

“The bride atop the float stared sightlessly out over the street behind him, her head resting against the back of the elaborate throne on which she was seated. Her crown of plastic orange blossoms had slipped askew, and the panel of gauzy material descending from it floated in the breeze in front of her, alternately veiling and revealing her face. Her brown hair fluttered against her lips, which were slightly parted as though interrupted in the middle of a word, a word she’d been confident would have resulted in a far different outcome. The cat Halsey had frightened was curled up in her lap, thin yellow crescents showing through its slitted lids.”

SJT: You are described as writing ‘humorous crime’. How do you go about putting humour in a story about death? Would you say there’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy?

AJE: Certainly, life can be tragic and funny at the same time. I once watched a cat scarf an entire meat pie on a kitchen counter while its distracted mistress told me about the terrible final days of her husband’s life. I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt her tearful account, and it wasn’t until the cat’s loud slurps caused her to look around that we both began to laugh.

I think most mysteries (at least the ones I enjoy) are not about death as much as they’re about what happens after a death. The humour in Death of a Bride and Groom comes from the behaviour of the living after the bodies are found.

SJT: Your setting, Honeymoon Falls, is clearly a thinly disguised version of Niagara Falls. A place I know well. As well as putting fictionalised versions of real places in your books, have you ever put fictionalised versions of real people in them?

AJE: There are elements of people I’ve known in my characters, but I’ve never fictionalized real people in full. I find modelling a character on a real person constrains my imagination; it’s hard for me to imagine the character doing anything the real person wouldn’t.

I did get the idea for the town of Honeymoon Falls while visiting Niagara Falls, although the resemblance extends only to the idea of both being honeymoon destinations. (Well, I have to admit the heart-shaped vibrating beds and mirrored ceilings in the hotel were suggested by brochures from some of the tackier establishments in the Niagara area.)

The idea of marketing their town as a honeymoon destination is born of the inhabitants’ desperation when the town’s major employer goes bankrupt. Since they don’t have anything like the spectacular natural wonder that is Niagara, they dub the town “the Romance Capital of the World” and cultivate an over-the-top romantic ambience which slides rapidly into kitsch.

SJT: Do you have plans for more murder and mayhem for the residents of Honeymoon Falls?

AJE: Absolutely! I’m currently working on the next in the series, to be called Death of an Action Hero.

SJT: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

AJE: Read, travel (would love to visit England again), learn something new (I’m presently trying to learn French). I love theatre and have been toying with scriptwriting. I think watching actors bring to life characters I’ve created would be an incredible experience.

Thank you for inviting me to share your space today, Sara. It’s been a pleasure!

AUTHOR BIO

Allan J. Emerson is a Canadian writer and Death of a Bride and Groom is his first novel. Inspired by a trip to Niagara Falls, Emerson wondered what the daily lives of the permanent residents of such a popular honeymoon destination were like. Emerson was born in Saskatchewan and brought up in small towns there and in British Columbia, but lived in Australia and New Zealand also before settling with his wife in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Visit Allan’s website to learn more about his writing.

Monthly Round-Up: June 2015

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Summer has reached the UK! Hooray! Long days and the occasional glimpse of sunshine, and I’ve even felt brave enough to put away the tights when wearing work skirts. Still plenty of rain, of course – this is England. But the alternative rainy days and sunny days seem to make the strawberry plants in our garden thrive. We’ve got more strawberries than we know what to do with right now.

Anyway, I digress. On with the news.

COMING SOON

I am pleased to announce the imminent launch of the FORMER HEROES anthology, by Far Horizons Press. All of the stories in this anthology are by writers who are also live action roleplayers. It’s an eclectic mix, all dealing with characters who were once heroes. There’s some fantasy, some sci fi, some horror. My story, ‘The Unending Scream’, is most decidedly a horror story. Would it be anything else?

There’ll be an online launch on Facebook for FORMER HEROES, so you can join the party without leaving the comfort of your own home.

And, speaking of LARPERS (a bit of a reach, I know), we are still aiming for an Autumn release for THE WHISPERING DEATH. I hope to have more news about this soon.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

Today I’m visiting Eric Price’s blog to talk about a subject common to all writers, both seasoned pros and newbies alike: Writer Insecurity.

WORK IN PROGRESS

SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, the third Shara Summers book, progresses well. Most of my work on it is being done in Starbucks on Aldwych in London, early in the morning before going to work. Of late, though, I’ve had to sit in different spots, since my usual seat has been taken. I really hate that.

Well that’s all to report this month. See you next month!

Monday’s Friend: Stan Hampton, Sr

Today I’m pleased to welcome back to the blog the fascinating Stan Hampton, Sr.

SJT: This is your fourth visit to my blog. Anything new in your life since last time you visited?

SH: You know, you are right. I did not think I had visited that many times. The last time I visited was early February, this year. Since that time, I finished my first semester at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), and passed all classes enrolled in. I still need to get my GPA up so I can qualify for studying for a semester in Ireland. I moved again, third time in a year, but at least I am happier where I am now. And, I guess that is it. Not bad for an old man, eh?

Stan Hampton picSJT: You’ve led a very eventful life, including serving overseas in the military. If you could go back in time to visit your younger self, what advice would you give him?

SH: While in the military, take advantage of every training opportunity possible. Work on the marriage, work on being a better father and a better man—perhaps the marriage will not end in divorce. Stop being so angry and bitter—all of that does nothing except burn a person up inside. Learn to live, rather than just survive or exist. And get a degree, now. Do not wait for decades. Getting a degree early on could mean a better quality of life for you and the family. An Associates, Bachelors, or Masters does not guarantee a job (especially during the Great Recession), but it does open more doors of opportunity.

SJT: Your time in service has clearly influenced your writing, since you write about a number of characters who have either served in the military or have relatives who have done so. Do you see writing about such characters a way of dealing with the trauma of living through conflict, or is this more a case of ‘write what you know’?

SH: Probably more of a case of writing what I know. I have written two “realistic” military stories. Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot (MuseItUp Publishing) is about a young soldier at a convoy support center in northern Kuwait. He is preparing to go on a convoy security escort mission shortly after learning that a fellow soldier was killed by an IED. Dawn at Khabari Crossing was originally a college English writing assignment. I revised it for my short story collection Intimate Journeys (Melange Books). The protagonist is a soldier about to return from active duty mobilization and deployment, and facing an uncertain economic future during the Great Recession. Those two were somewhat easy to write.

For my UNLV Creative Writing workshop, I wrote DD Form 1076, which is the form used by the military to record the personal effects of deceased soldiers, especially those Killed In Action. This story, which I have wanted to write for some time, was inspired by a real incident. In June 2007 my company was about 30 days away from ending our year-long deployment, and returning home. And then one of our soldiers was killed by an IED. Those were difficult days for many people. Because DD Form 1076 is inspired by a real event, personally, this was a difficult story to write. Yet, I have felt a need to write it.

Regarding other military stories that take place during the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT), An Incident on MSR Tampa, The Lapis Lazuli Throne, and Dancing in Moonlight (Musa Publishing), or stories that take place in the past or the future, most have a supernatural aspect. I just think that war and the supernatural go together.

SJT: In your forthcoming novel, PRAIRIE MUSE, you revisit the main protagonists in SHARING RACHEL. What made you decide to write a sequel about these characters?

SH: On reflection, I really do like the characters Burt and Rachel Markham, and their world. They may be so appealing because they are ordinary people, happily married with two grown children, and small business owners. Yes, they are stretching their personal and sexual boundaries, and why not? That is their business. Anyway, Sharing Rachel is about their first adventure. So why not additional adventures? Sometimes it might be an adventure they sought out, other times (Prairie Muse) an unexpected adventure may come their way. Because of who they are, and their lust for life, I really do see further adventures ahead for Rachel and Burt.

SJT: Without giving away too many spoilers, tell us a little about PRAIRE MUSE.

sharing rachelSH: Well, to back up a little, in Sharing Rachel, Burt and Rachel Markham’s daughters leave in the summer of 2013 for a university on the East Coast. Faced with an empty nest and a predictable routine stretching far into the future, Burt and Rachel decide to explore their personal and sexual boundaries. This summer exploration carries on into the spring of 2014.

Prairie Muse picks up in May 2014—perhaps the initial blurb works best:

“The fireworks are about to begin as the sexual adventure of Rachel and Burt Markham continues. Small business owners and a happily married couple of 20+ years, they live in the small town of Four Corners, Kansas. The year before, with the permission and encouragement of her husband, Rachel had the freedom to explore the depth of her sensuality through having her first Bull. After saying farewell to her Bull, Rachel and Burt settle back into the routine of small town life. Then, African-American frustrated artist and new fireworks territory sales manager Horus Grant arrives in Four Corners. He is searching for new sales territory for the Missouri-based company, and he decides to open a fireworks stand next to Rachel and Burt’s seed and feed store. Outwardly friendly and personable, he is plagued by hidden demons. Though based in near-by Wichita, Horus finds himself returning to Four Corners again and again, and not just because of the fireworks stand. Rachel is also drawn to him and soon realizes she may hold the key to Horus’s slim chance of defeating his demons, of healing, and learning to live again.”

SJT: When is the book coming out?

SH: PRAIRIE MUSE should be released in August 2015.

SJT: Do you have any further plans for Burt and Rachel?

SH: Heh heh heh…

AUTHOR BIO

Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a third. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint). He is currently enrolled as an art student at University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

After 14 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.

As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Stan Hampton, Sr can be found at:

Dark Opus Press
https://www.createspace.com/3685965

Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing
http://www.edgewebsite.com/books/dansemacabre/dansemacabre.html

Melange Books
http://www.melange-books.com/authors/sshampton/index.html

MuseItUp Publishing
https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museitup/mainstream/better-than-a-rabbit-s-foot-detail

Ravenous Romance
http://www.ravenousromance.com/anthologies/back-door-lover.php
http://www.ravenousromance.com/anthologies/virgin-ass-first-times-tales-of-anal-sex.php

Amazon.com Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ
Amazon.com. UK Author Page
http://www.amazon.co.uk/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Goodreads Author Page
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888342.S_S_Hampton_Sr_

The Ten Commandments of Writing #5: Thou Shalt Rewrite

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Whenever a writer is portrayed in a film or TV series, the process is always the same. They sit at their typewriter or PC (depending on how old the series is), banging out the words, they print out a huge stack of pages, and then they write ‘The End’ with a flourish, and proudly present finished manuscript to agent/publisher.

I know TV misrepresents a great deal of professionals, but I always want to shout at the screen at this point. I don’t know any writer who can churn off a first draft that is perfect and publishable and in need of absolutely no revisions.

Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, there are generally two ways of approaching the writing of a manuscript. Some writers start the first draft with a clear goal of getting to the end. The first draft is likely to be full of inconsistencies and plot holes, but the important thing is to get to the end of the first draft and remember that everything can be fixed in the rewrite. This is my approach. The first draft is effectively putting up the scaffolding. The bricks and mortar and everything else that is required for the construction to be solid and functional can be added in future drafts.

Then there are other writers who revise as they go. Every time they sit down to write, they review what they wrote before and they will quite often go back and polish, or revise and rewrite bits before moving on. So by the time they get to the end they have effectively got a finished product. But it’s hardly a first draft, because many changes and amendments have been made along the way.

Whichever way works for you is something that only you will be able to decide, possibly after much trial and error. The point is, revision is essential to the writing process. How many rewrites are required will, again, vary from writer to writer, and may well depend on how much thought goes into the first draft. Some writers I know spend quite a lot of time thinking about each sentence before writing it down, whereas I would rather tap into that early morning flow of words and type the first thing that comes into my head. It means I’m more likely than that more ponderous writer to re-read what I’ve written and shriek, “what was I thinking? This is complete rubbish and makes no sense”. But I know I’ve got several rewrites to get it right, so that doesn’t worry me.

Like many things misrepresented in the media, writing is not as easy as it’s portrayed on TV. And no one gets it right the first time.

And so this is the Fifth Commandment. Thou shalt rewrite. And rewrite, and rewrite again, until the manuscript is so polished it shines.

Monthly Round-Up: May 2015

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

How did we get to the end of May already? I do love this time of year, when the days are long enough that I get to see my house in daylight at either end of the day, the sun starts to shine and everything comes back to life. As a hay fever sufferer I’m not so fond of the pollen flying around, though.

So here’s the latest report from me on what’s being going on writing-wise in the last month.

COMING SOON:

I’m pleased to say I now have two forthcoming publications to list in this section.

THE WHISPERING DEATH is being released by Kensington Gore later in Autumn this year.

SUFFER THE CHILDREN is being re-released by MuseItUp Publishing in Spring 2016.

So that’s two horror novels to look forward to! Sometimes I think the universe is dropping me big hints I’m more a horror writer than a crime writer.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF:

I’ve been a bit lax with promoting. Nothing new to report here. I hope to get back on the case by next month.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

Work is progressing well on the third Shara Summers book, SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH.

I’m also in the (very) early stages of a new horror novel. No title yet, but it is about a group of urban explorers who encounter a supernatural Big Bad.

With two WIPs on the go I’ve got to crack on with the writing. I will report back on how it’s going next month!

Monday’s Friend: Richard Bush (2)

Today I am pleased to welcome author and blues man Ricky Bush back to the blog, to talk about his two favourite things – blues and writing. Take it away, Ricky!

Blues And Trouble
By Ricky Bush

Ricky B (2)Blues and trouble. Those three words basically sum up the three books in my series involving Mitty Andersen and Pete Bolden, my crime fighting bluesmen. Wish I could get away with supplying that as a synopsis when asked to produce such. When I sat down to write the first book, River Bottom Blues, there was no doubt in my mind that it would revolve around those three little words.

I began listening to blues music when I was in high school (a long, long time ago), began playing the blues a decade or so later (blues harmonica) and began writing articles about the musicians and reviewing their recordings for a few different publications. Taking the old adage to “write what you know” to heart, I developed the characters of Mitty and his sidekick, Pete, both harmonica musicians, and the germ of an idea that had been floating around in my head for quite some time. The jumping off point was the unsolved murders of two renowned blues harmonica stars way back in the late 40s and 60s. I gave my protagonists the task of tracking down the person who murdered one of their harmonica colleagues in the present day. Of course, blues and trouble followed.

Really, I had no intentions of venturing further down the road after that first book. A series certainly didn’t enter my mind. I had that one idea in me and I had to get out of my system. I had a lot of fun with Mitty and Pete, though, and began toying with the idea of creating more blues and trouble for them. Didn’t really know what until I read a magazine article about a number of churches being burned throughout the South. The Devil’s Blues was born from that germ of an idea. When a close friend of theirs is falsely accused of firebombing his church, killing the congregation, Mitty and Pete see it as their duty to prove his innocence and, once again, blues and trouble cross their paths.

510x765-Howling-275x413 (2)A trip to Belize with the family several years ago sparked the idea for Howling Mountain Blues. At the time, I was still looking for a suitable home for my first book and had begun the second, without a clue as to whether either would ever be published. So, the idea of setting a third book in a tropical setting was far from being even a germ of an idea. If it had been, I would have looked for the multiple ways I could have written the trip off as research.

Eventually, though, the first book found a publisher and they agreed to put out the second. I was now hooked on Mitty and Pete and needed to come up with more…that’s right, blues and trouble. So, I sent them down to Belize to headline a blues festival without them realizing what kind of evil lies in wait.

So, yeah, blues and trouble pretty provide all the synopsis necessary when it comes to my crime fighting bluesmen.

Author Bio

Ricky Bush has been listening to, playing, and writing about the blues for most of his adult life. He has published articles about blues musicians and written reviews of their music for several different magazines and websites. After retiring from teaching, he began incorporating the music genre into his crime novels.

Find out more about Ricky and his writing from his website and his blog.

Buy his books here:

http://www.amazon.com/Ricky-Bush/e/B0073QET3S/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1431972106&sr=1-2-ent

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/ricky-bush?store=book&keyword=ricky+bush

Or from Barking Rain Press.

 

 

 

 

THE WHISPERING DEATH Finds a Home

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

I am pleased to be able to announce that my new horror novel, THE WHISPERING DEATH, has sold to British small press horror publisher Kensington Gore. There’s an exciting announcement about it over on their website.

THE WHISPERING DEATH is about a group of live action role-players who unwittingly release an ancient evil loose upon the world during a game. I am particularly fond of this novel because it is effectively about a group of geeks, and I was able to incorporate all the geeky things I love into the novel. LRP. Dungeons & Dragons. Video games. Zombie films. And it’s got a kick-ass heroine who’s also a geek girl. I had such a good time writing about her.

And it’s a novel that at one point I lost faith in. It had gone through several rewrites when I first started subbing it, last year. After getting fairly consistent feedback along with the rejections I decided it needed rewriting. But the rewrite took it to a place where the ending I wanted wasn’t going to work and I got quite depressed about it.

But it just goes to show you should never give up. Have faith and keep collecting those rejections. Eventually, acceptance will come. And sometimes you have to believe in your own writing, even when it seems no one else does.

THE WHISPERING DEATH is scheduled for release later this year, which means I am expecting edits to come my way very soon. And this one will be out in paperback as well as electronic format. Yay!

Monday’s Friend: Kyla Phillips

Today I am pleased to have urban fantasy writer Kya Phillips as my guest on the blog. Welcome, Kyla!

SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?

Kyla Phillips Author picKP: I was in fifth grade and instead of going out to play with the other kids I sat down in a corner with pen and paper and wrote my stories. That’s when I knew that writing would be in my future at least part time.

SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

KP: It is okay, no required, for your first stuff to be a bit crap. The best way to get past that is to keep writing, and writing, and writing.

SJT: Tell us about your new release.

KP: Agent of Light is the first in the Council of Light series. It’s an Urban Fantasy set in Cincinnati, Ohio about a bounty hunter team that track down the worst the supernatural world has to offer.

SJT: There are so many interesting sounding characters in this book I don’t know which one to begin asking you about. So I’ll leave it to you. Do you have a favourite, and how did he or she come into creation?

KP: I can’t say that I have one favourite because they are all so diverse and amazing. I love Vayne so much because she is strong yet has that vulnerability that shows through. She’s chaotic sometimes and very protective of those she loves. I also love writing about Donovan. He is a shapeshifter in both ability and personality. He’s often very stoic, but then he has moments of aggressive or passion and they always surprise me but never feel inauthentic. It makes for fun writing and great reading.

SJT: Your Facebook page says your fiction tends to have a message. Can you tell us what the message in ‘Agent of Light’ is (with giving away any spoilers?)

KP: The main message in Agent of Light is that vulnerability doesn’t negate strength. Vayne’s character arc follows that line. She goes through so things that prove she isn’t the impervious super-agent some might think she is but in the end proves to be stronger and more resourceful than even she guessed.

Also the story touches on the importance of relying on each other. No matter how powerful you are there are some problems that can only be overcome if you work together.

SJT: Have you ever been inspired to put people you know in real life in your books?

KP: I always draw a lot from people I know to fill out my characters. Vayne gets her protectiveness and chaotic nature from me. Her parents Phillip and Helena are a lot of my mom. They are a combination of who I saw my mother as in real life and who she said she wished she could be. I don’t know where Giovanni came from. He’s just a mess.

SJT: What’s next for you, writing wise?

 KP: I’m currently working on a SciFi novel, ‘Refugee ship Perseverance’ which follows a group of humans who barely escaped an invaded Earth only to find the planet they took refuge on isn’t as uninhabited as it seemed.

Also I’m working on book two of the Council of Light series, ‘Pawn of Shadows’. It delves into Donovan’s background. Readers will get to learn more about what landed Don in Vayne’s care in the first place. They will see the blossoming of one relationship and the straining of another so it should be very exciting.

 SJT: What do you like to do when you step away from the keyboard?

KP: I love to read and watch movies (Just saw Avengers: Age of Ultron which was awesome). I’m a simple girl. A trip to the park or to the pool and I’m happy.

AGENTOFLIGHT SOON1 (2)

Author Bio:

Kyla became a SciFi/Fantasy addict at age three watching Doctor Who on late nights up with her mom. She discovered her love of reading and writing in the third grade reading Robert A. Heinlein and Piers Anthony and trying to create stories like her heroes.

Currently she lives in Ohio with her grandmother and her dog, Mya – named after a SciFi character. She is inspired by the musing of her fellow writers in the Entropy writing group and hanging out at Barberton Public Library.

Links:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/KylaPhillips.Author

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Agent-Light-Council-Kyla-Phillips-ebook/dp/B00UEXVHMI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1427500890&sr=8-2&keywords=agent+of+light

MuseItUp: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/coming-soon/agent-of-light-detail

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laylawoodget

Monthly Round-Up: April 2015

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

The more observant may notice that there was no monthly round-up last month. This was partly due to the day job keeping me a bit too busy to keep up with blog posts, and partly because there was nothing to report.

However, I am now back on track , so here is the news from my writing world.

COMING SOON/OUT NOW

No new ‘coming soon’ announcements since February’s news about SUFFER THE CHILDREN being released by MuseItUp next year.

The anthology THE DARK HEART OF PEEPING TOM is out there, though, and it’s available in paperback as well as e-book (and Kindle). It features many stories that were first published in the UK 90s horror zine PEEPING TOM, including my story “Jimi Hendrix” eyes. If you like your horror dark, brooding and disturbing, this is a collection for you.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

After a bit of a quiet period, I have kick-started my online presence and have a few guest appearances in cyberspace to report

29 March – I had a guest post on horror writer Luke Walker’s blog about why a nice horror writer like me writes crime.
9 April – I wrote the inaugural post for author and editor Akaria Gale’s new series on pro tips, writing about why the author needs a balance of praise and criticism.
20 April – Jan Edwards interviewed me on her blog.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I am still working on SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, the third Shara book. This time last month I was quite depressed about it. Then I decided to scrap the old draft and start again. It’s never an easy decision to do this. If you keep restarting a manuscript you never get to the end, and I am a big advocator of getting to the end of the draft and fixing it in the rewrite. But I got to a point when I felt the manuscript wasn’t working in its current state and there was no point in continuing.

The reboot involved making some fairly major plot changes. Happily, the new draft is going quite well, and I have been able to salvage quite a lot of the earlier draft and incorporate it into the current WIP. Thus proving that it wasn’t all complete rubbish after all.

I am, however, only 7,000 words into the new draft so there is rather a long way to go yet.

See you next month!

Monday’s Friend: Akaria Gale

Today my guest is urban fantasy author Akaria Gale. Welcome, Akaria!

Horror + Romance = Perfection?
By Akaria Gale

I didn’t watch a truly good horror movie until 1999. Audition completely changed my mind of what the genre could be and it was love at first scream. Oh, sure. I’d seen a Friday the 13th here, or a Nightmare on Elm Street there. None of them struck me as good. They were silly, trivial things; forgotten as soon as I shut off the TV. Audition opened a whole new world of foreign cinema. It was thrilling to see what Japanese, Korean, French or Norwegian filmmakers used to terrify their audiences.

After gorging on foreign films for a few years, I returned to American horror and was happy to see the genre had grown up a lot. Slashers and torture porn like the Saw movies still ruled the screen, but a few ambitious tidbits stood out. The VHS and ABCs of Death anthologies showcased the power of short form horror. The Possession explored a willingness to terrify through a different religious lens than Christianity. Also, more women in the genre gave me two of my favorite movies in 2014, American Mary and The Babadook.

So what in the everloving hell does this have to do with writing romance? Well, I tried to carry my love of horror over to book form, but the heavy hitters did nothing for me. Neither did the unknowns. I tried traditionally and self published books. Something was missing. Finally, I turned to urban fantasy and found kindred spirits. Here were mysterious worlds filled with horrible creatures and brave men and women who fought them. But it wasn’t all about the struggle. The protagonists also fell in love. That’s what struck the spark. The light switched on. Bells rang. Angels sang. It felt like coming home. From urban fantasy it was a quick jump to paranormal romance. I’ve never looked back.

In 2010, with dozens of urban fantasy and paranormal romance books under my belt, I knew I wanted to add my voice to the crowd and so began the first outlines for the Awakening series. Last year, the first book in the series, Angel’s Awakening released. Book two is in the works.

I continue to watch a boatload of horror with a generous sprinkling of true crime for seasoning. It’s a type of therapy. There’s comfort in knowing nothing in my head ever quite reaches the twisted nature of humanity. At the end of the day, who would you rather have as a neighbor? Tabasco & milk swigging demons or Gary Ridgway?

Special thanks to Sara for allowing me to share my journey from horror to romance. I’ll see you in my dreams…and nightmares!

Author bio
Akaria Gale lives in Brooklyn with her husband, children and a disgruntled cat. She is a native New Yorker, slow cooker enthusiast, hard cider advocate who occasionally finds time to write about the secret world right underneath our noses. One day she hopes to give winter the middle finger and become a beach bum.

Find out more about Akaria and her writing at her blog, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Blurb for ANGEL’S AWAKENING
Akaria Gale

After a disgraceful two thousand year demotion, Charouth is a heartbeat away from regaining her status as one of Heaven’s Elite angels. Her final mission: to retrieve five rare artifacts and prevent Satan’s escape from Hell. A formidable task that becomes nearly impossible when Azazel, Satan’s top relic hunter and her ex-lover, joins the quest.

Bloody confrontations with the worst the Netherworld has to offer, land her further away from redemption than ever, forced to choose between duty or desire. Two thousand years ago, their passion defied Heaven and Hell. Will love blossom again, or will ancient allegiances tear them apart forever?

Buy now on Amazon Kindle.

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