Single Question Interview: Lydia Peever

Vampires, extra-crispy or super-sparkly?


There is nothing wrong with a little vampire sparkle. Blood glinting in the moonlight, the look in their eye when they mesmerize; so long as there is a savage aura about them. Vampires are killers. Period. On the other hand, Count Orlok would be about as crispy as I could stand. He did not have one suave bone in his body though, and the most terrifying killer seduces you into a trap you can’t escape. In answer to the question, if I had to have a vampire to dinner I’d like them mostly crispy. A red raw centre, moist with blood. Slather him in a sparkling sauce. Honey-garlic likely, to keep him under control.

***You can pick up Lydia’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Brad Carter

How is humor used in horror?


Humor and horror can be best friends. At its most basic, humor is the release valve that allows people to feel a bit of relief amid all the nerve-fraying that often goes along with horror. That’s the accepted wisdom, but I don’t think it tells the whole story. I believe a skillful application of humor in any horror story can actually heighten the realism. Think about it. Life is funny, and it’s often when people are pressed into terrible circumstances that their humor really shines. Combat veterans often tell hilarious stories. ER doctors often have wicked senses of humor. If you add a little humor to your horror, it feels more realistic. And beyond that–and I’m paraphrasing Roger Corman here–if you don’t give your audience something to laugh at, eventually they will start laughing when you don’t want them to.

In my own writing, humor just happens. I’ve been told I’m a smartass (Paul Anderson even committed that observation to print, so it’s there for posterity to read in Torn Realities), so I guess my personality is just bound to make it onto the page. I used to fight it, thinking that horror had to be completely dark and serious, but I just don’t see it that way anymore.

***You can pick up Brad’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Christian A. Larsen

When does a character become too real?


A character becomes too real only when that character is an actual person, transposed into words. Obvious exceptions include famous people, especially famous dead people. What would happen to fiction if Abraham Lincoln were off limits? Gore Vidal would have had a hard time meeting his word limit in his book about the president. Seth Grahame-Smith? Not so much.
But if the protagonist is a thinly-veiled copy of the author, or the heroine is someone the author carries a torch for, well, that’s just lazy writing, and worse, prevents real creativity. The real person prevents the story from revealing itself. Also, it becomes an exercise in wish-fulfillment, which isn’t nearly as cool to read as it is to write.

***You can find out more about Christian through his  WEBSITE.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: David Anderson

Gore horror or slight, with a hint of blood?


Slight. The imagination makes it so much more gruesome than could ever be shown on screen. Plus, it involved the viewer more.

My mom instilled in me a firm love of Alfred Hitchcock and he used the implied violence better than probably anyone. Though I’m not afraid to get into the gory details with my writing, leaving things to the reader is a great way to suck them into the story. They then become more than just an observer. They become part of the action, horror, or suspense.

Plus, gore for gore’s sake is just lazy storytelling. Why make it simple when it can be beautiful? Find ways to make the disgusting amazing, the horrible intriguing, and the revolting irresistible. Make is all beautiful chaos.

***You can pick up David’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Lyda Morehouse

What do you think is the future of science fiction?


I’m tempted to say something completely frivolous like: chickens.

My son will tell you that “chickens” is, in fact, my default answer to a lot of questions, including, “What shall we chat about tonight, Ima?” But I don’t actually think there will be chickens in the future, and there are very, very few fowl of any sort represented in science fiction.

So what will the future of science fiction be? I guess it depends on what we’re talking about. Predictive trends? The hot new thing? In that case, I really, really wish I knew because I’d sit down and write it immediately. Steampunk must be running its course, so what comes after that? More superheroes? Vampires in space? Werewolves on the moon?

I have no idea.

One thing I can predict with absolute certainty is that some literary writer somewhere will write a story or a novel or an epic poem that involves one of our long-standing tropes, like, say, a post-apocalyptic landscape or time-travel or dragons or mermaids and become a run-away bestseller lauded for their ‘mind-blowing originality’ much to the chagrin of science fiction writers everywhere. Margaret Atwood will also deny she writes science fiction. I can predict that with some accuracy.

But, if you mean what will the future of science fiction be in terms of how it will be consumed, I think I have some inkling about that: fan fiction. I predict that the next generation of fans will discover favorite science fiction/fantasy books by reading their fanfic first. Actually, I don’t have to predict that. It’s already happening. Recently, after being one of the guests of honor at CONvergence, one of the largest science conventions in my hometown of Minneapolis/St. Paul, I made several twenty-something friends, whom I started following on Twitter and hanging out with socially. These young fans told me time and time again: “Oh X? I read the slash fic first and decided it sounded cool, so I went back and read canon,” i.e., the Manga/comicbook/book/TV show/movie/etc. that spawned the fan work.

So, I predict that in the future, not too long from now, authors will be required to build their own community of fans FIRST. Things like this are already happening on Twitter and other social media and on what us old people call ‘the web.’ Think about John Scalzi’s rise to fame. For all intents and purposes, he made a cult following for himself first. Therefore, I predict that in the future, authors will be bought and sold based on their Klout rating.

But, I think, too, having free, available fan work of some kind will be critical to future writers’ success. Even if it’s a collection of images or fan art on Tumblr, I think that part of what writers of the future will present to editors and agents of the future is their ‘fan package.’ They will make pitches that sound like this: “I come with cute cosplay! My fans have written five hundred thousand words of fic! Have you seen the hot slash pairing pics on [fill-in future smerp for deviantart]?! I’m so big, there are already a half-dozen backlash memes!”

That’s what the future of science fiction will look like.

Oh, and e-books. I’m thinking that’s a big thing.

***You can pick up Lyda’s books through Amazon HERE and HERE.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: John Goodrich

Lovecraft, Poe or somewhere in-between?


I lean more towards Lovecraft than Poe, although Poe had a broader range, Lovecraft’s ability to imagine and then describe the completely alien wins him over for me.

That said, I wrote a piece for “Beyond the Mountains of Madness” that linked “The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym” with “At the Mountains of Madness.” Pasticing one author is difficult, but trying to somehow merge the two different writing styles was an insane headache. But the adventure won an award, so I guess I didn’t do too terribly.

***You can find out more about John through his  WEBSITE.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Jessica McHugh

Write for fun or for fans?


I see two potential interpretations of this question, so I’ll answer both.

First, if we’re talking about crafting my story based on my own desires or what I think my fans will like, it’s a mixed bag. I never write a story with the desire to please anyone but me. But during editing, when I can see the story as a whole and put myself in the reader’s shoes, I might tweak certain things. More often than not, I choose to surprise rather than satisfy in what the reader thinks he/she wants. Without giving too much way about my novel “The Sky: The World,” I had the opportunity to make an obvious love connection at the end of the book. But based upon the character development I’d set in place, a love connection didn’t feel right. I’ve had a few people say they’d wished the characters had ended up together, but I think in subsequent readings, they saw how that would’ve been an illogical conclusion based on the character’s personalities. I’m not going to smash two people into a relationship because it’s the easy/fashionable/sweet thing to do. But if I see a proper way to give readers what they want, I’m more than happy to oblige. After all, a disappointed reader can be a dangerous thing.

Second, I absolutely write for fun. I wouldn’t take on such a hard career path if I didn’t derive enjoyment from it. However, I also want to make a living as a writer. I want people to read and enjoy my work. I would still do it if I didn’t have/want fans, but I wouldn’t work as hard as I do. With 7 active projects and 12 on the backburner, it’s surprising I haven’t gone off the deep end yet. I guess all of the fun I have in fiction is my life raft.

***You can pick up Jessica’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Joe R. Lansdale

What scares Joe?


When I was a kid I don’t remember being particularly scared of the dark or what was under the bed, anything like that. I got delicious scares from stories and movies and certain TV shows, and sometimes an after event sort of creep. That said, I never really was an overly frightened child. My imagination could conjure up some serious boogers, but this was all delightful stuff and it passed in a kind of warm haze, like a hot bath going cold. I loved it. But what really scared me, what made me nervous, what truly frightened me were true life events. I remember the Boston Strangler, and wondering how far Boston was from where we lived in East Texas. Quite far, actually, but the idea of this guy was terrifying to me. And Charles Whitman who climbed up in the University Texas tower and rained death and burning hell down on unsuspecting students and teachers and people near the campus really got to me. How could someone do this? IN COLD BLOOD, first the film, and then the book, messed with my head, and I still think about it to these days, and a recent re-reading of it did nothing to soothe those feelings. It’s still dark. Still unsettling, and it was true. For me the fears of the supernatural are, as I said before, a kind of warm chill, if you can imagine such. Something I know isn’t true, and that I can get over quickly. It’s a thrill, not a true terror. Life, wars and disease and early, lingering death, all the things I mentioned before, something terrible happening to a loved one, those are my true fears, not witches and vampires, werewolves and the living dead.

***You can pick up Joe’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Eric Beebe of Post Mortem Press

What scares Eric?


That’s a tough one. Of course there are the jump scares or startles that you can get from a horror movie, but that’s not really fear, those are more of an unexpected surprise. I can say I have an irrational fear of water and unrestrained heights. The water one is pretty easy to explain, the heights, not so much.

When I was kid I took swimming lessons at our local pool. The first part of the first lesson was to become acclimated to being underwater and holding your breath. How was this accomplished? The teacher forced you underwater until she felt it was time to let you up. Without warning, for what seemed like hours I was forced underwater. The teacher wouldn’t stop until I stopped struggling. That never happened. The next day, my so called friends poked fun at me by dunking me, constantly. At age 8 or 9, this was traumatic. I believe it is also the root of my fear of water. To this day, if I see a water park, I cross to the other side of the street.

Unrestrained heights is an odd one. I can’t really explain it. I love roller coasters. The taller and faster the better. I have no issue with flying either. Yet put me on a ladder, on the roof of a house, or even on a tall bridge, and I start to freak out. I have learned to temper my response some as I have gotten older, but it still is an issue for me. One that’s not as easy to avoid as water.

But these fears or phobia still aren’t the kind of fear that keeps me up at night. I am not haunted by water or heights, more embarrassed than anything I suppose.

Like many people, I suppose my deepest fear is failure. I fear that I failed parents, failed my children, failed my wife, failed my friends, failed myself. That to me, is the ultimate fear. This is something I may or may not have complete control over, and if it goes wrong, it is my own fault. To me, the fear of failure is what keeps me up at night.

***You can pick up POST MORTEM PRESS books through AMAZON and other vendors, or on their  WEBSITE. Most books are also available at various conventions PMP attends annually.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

An Interview with Robert Essig

Today folks, I bring you the talented Mr. Robert Essig, one of the first people I met in the writing industry. Robert’s work has been featured in a long, long list of places. He has been editor for several projects as well. Good morning Mr. Essig, and welcome to my blog. Let me start off by asking you a little about the Through the Eyes of the Undead volumes.

Q. Is it a difficult task to switch modes between writing and editing your own work, and focusing on the work of others?

A. It can be. When I get to the editing process with one of my anthologies I tend to direct my focus solely to that anthology until the manuscript is finished on my end and sent to be formatted. But during the reading phase I continue to work on my own writing. Currently I am writing my second novel and finishing up submissions for Through the Eyes of the Undead 2. Once I determine a TOC for TtEotU 2 I will probably finish the first draft of the novel before editing the anthology.

Q. Can you give those unfamiliar with these books a sneak peek of what they can expect, perhaps whet our appetites so to say?

A. Quite simply, stories through the perspective of a zombie or zombies. These stories are accounts of what the undead see after reanimation.  Some are quite literal in that they are written in the first person POV, while others are the more common third person tale where the protagonist is a zombie. I try to stray from your typical zombie story and include a variety of sub-genres whenever possible, however in reading for the second volume most of the submissions that have made the short list so far have been straight horror. And that’s just fine with me.

Q. I do know that the first volume of Through the Eyes of the Undead was a great success–even recently making an appearance on the Library of the Living Dead’s (now known as Twisted Library Press) top monthly sellers list. Do you anticipate another great lineup and similar success for book two?

A. I sure hope so. The stories that are short listed so far are great, so I know the quality will be up to par. I hope those who enjoyed the first one take a chance on the second one and help spread the word.

Q. Now I am a little biased about your other editing project, Malicious Deviance, in large because I did the artwork for the book. I’ve yet to read it, but the lineup for that book looked fantastic. Can you tell us what readers can anticipate within its pages?

A. Malicious Deviance is my pride and joy. I love a good story about bad people, and I write a lot of them, but they can be a difficult sell, so I asked if people would be interested in reading a book of bad-ass stories about bad people, and overwhelmingly the answer was “yes!” If you like an evil or disagreeable protagonist, gruesome horror, and just plain out odd stories, then you’ll like Malicious Deviance.

Q. As of now, can you give us any projection as to what you think your next editing project might be? Maybe a small clue or hint even to what you think the theme might be for the anthology?

A. I cannot.  Not because I don’t want to or that am sworn to secrecy, but because there’s nothing in the works.  I had an idea that I proposed over a year ago to Dr. Pus, and he was on board, but it’s been so long that I’ve kind of tucked it in the back of my mind for now. I can’t hint at it for fear that someone may read this and snag it. It really is a great idea…at least I think so.

Q. Many know of Robert’s writing, but in case you don’t, you need to get out there and check him out. I love a story he sold to an online magazine, entitled “Rusted Roots.” For me the concept was so parallel to the way in which technology appears to be heading, in a weird way of course. Do you find yourself looking towards the future and taking that sort of thing into consideration when coming up with the idea for a story like this? I mean, do your stories emulate the way you feel about society?

A. “Rusted Roots” completely emulates my view of society and life as a whole—the idea of growing old and witnessing so many things you cherish fade away.  I’m convinced that we grow old and become bitter about social changes so that we can more easily accept the fact that we have to die. This story takes witnessing societal changes to the extreme. Perhaps the most tragic piece I’ve ever written.

Q. You also had a story in the last issue of Necrotic Tissue. It was sad to see a market like that go out of business. I was wondering what your take on the whole small press market is, and how it affects writers in a general sense. Do you think it creates more opportunities for unheard authors? How do you see the POD method of publishing evolving down the line?

A. I think the small press is a great place for new and seasoned authors alike.  The big New York presses tend to play it safe and they like the familiarity of King, Koontz and other such bestsellers, as well as trends (insert sparkling vampire here). The small press is wide, perhaps too much so.  I think one of the big issues recently are all the presses that aren’t paying their authors.  Of course there are going to be exposure only presses, but there sure are a lot of them as of late, and I have to wonder how much exposure authors are really getting being published there.  I think POD is great because it keeps print books alive in the age of everything going digital, and it is a blessing for the small press in that they don’t have to commit to a costly print run.  On the other hand, this also means just about anyone can be a publisher, so it is wise to do your homework.  I know I made my own mistakes when I started.

Q. You’ve been a busy man as of late. I saw one of your longer works pop up earlier this year I believe–a chapbook with Panic Press? Can you enlighten us on Pantomime?

A. Pantomime is a chapbook containing four short stories, two originals and two reprints.  The title story was the first story I ever sold back in 2008 to Tales of the Talisman. Still one of my favorites.  The other three stories delve deeply into various aspects of humanity—shame, fear, loss, sadness.

Q. And then just recently you have had a whole slew of announcements. You have a novella double feature coming out, is that correct? One that you worked on with Mr. Craig Sanders?

A. That’s right. Scarecrow and The Madness features two novellas from myself and Mr. Saunders. The book is one of the projects that came out Blood Bound Books’ first novel/novella submission period earlier this year. I’m excited about the project, and even more so now that I’ve seen the cover art, which is wonderfully gruesome.

Q. Can you give us a projected release date on this book?

A. Blood Bound Books is shooting for a December release.

Q. I believe you also have a big project in the works. You have what I believe is your first novel coming out through the Library of Horror, entitled People of the Ethereal Realm, correct?

A. Yes! I’m excited to finally see this book go to print after several years writing, re-writing, and editing it. I’m happy to be working with a publishing company that I have some miles with.

Q. It sounds intriguing, and judging by the title alone I picture some dark horror in a fantasy environment–sort of a mixed genre. Is that a correct assumption? What can you tell us about this fantastic book?

A. Horror/dark fantasy just about nails it, though probably a bit more on the horror side (the lines are so very blurry). People of the Ethereal Realm came from me wondering if someone could fall in love with a ghost. This is no paranormal romance, so don’t get the wrong idea, but the plot grew from that seed and soon enough I began writing about a disturbance with the ethereal people (those in the limbo between the realms) as witnessed by Gerald, a blind man with the special gift of clairvoyance. And then there’s Adam who lives across town engaging in an affair with a woman who will go to any lengths to get what she wants, but is she a spirit or a dream? Life and death isn’t what you think it is.

Q. When might we expect to see it available in print?

A. After it is edited, formatted, and has cover art.  There isn’t a projected release date as of yet.

Q. How about long versus short fiction? Is one or the other easier for you to write? Is there a difference in your style, or how you approach each story?

A. I’m a huge fan of short fiction for a variety of reasons. Strange things can happed without explanation.  It’s easier to explore something that would normally seem completely absurd, and if it doesn’t work, no big deal. If it does work, you can build upon it and turn it into something bigger. That being said, I’m beginning to really enjoy writing longer works. The novel I’m currently writing has almost written itself. I’ve had virtually no blocks or hang-ups so far, and the end is in my sights. Once I’m finished with it I will undoubtedly write a few shorts before beginning the next large project.

Q. I wanted to give you an opportunity to relay anything else you might want to speak about, before we wrap this up. Anything else to share?

A. Looks like you pretty much covered everything that’s been going on lately. I post updates and other delusions at my blog at least once a week, so drop on by and follow if you like. Friend me on facebook. Look for the books we discussed coming later this year, and hopefully I’ll continue to have good news and great announcements to share concerning my fiction.

I’d like to thank Mr. Robert Essig for stopping by to chat with us about some very exciting projects. You can find more about him at his website HERE and on his Amazon author page HERE. Thank you Robert, and best of luck to you with your writing ventures.