Post Mortem Press Featured Author – Jason Downes

A QUICK LITTLE INTERVIEW WITH THE CURRENT POST MORTEM PRESS FEATURED AUTHOR – JASON DOWNES

Q: Tell us a little about your writing. What is your typical genre, your style, the voice you aim for and such.

A: My writing has two sides. On the one side there’s the horror/ supernatural stories I’ve always written and on the other there’s the stories about ordinary Joe’s in less than ordinary situations. These stories tend to be based in Dublin and have a comedy/ drama arc to them. My first novel, Pony Fleming being the best example of this and my new novel, The Barn due out this year, an example of the previous.

Q: What are some of the endeavors you have on the horizon, or have been participating in?

A: Well as of now there are a number of projects in the works. The sequel to Pony Fleming is up and running and will have a more American feel with the lads hitting these shores for a visit but will also have the Irish humor and slang from the first.

I also have a book about an alcholic whose life is turned upside down by various tragedies and pulls him deeper and deeper into the bottom of a glass. This one is borrowed heavily from personal experience and although the situations the character finds himself in don’t relate to my own personal experience, the self destruction of the character very much mirrors the same thing done to someone known to me.

There is also a number of shorts which are in the mix and another tale which may run to a full length novel.

Q: Do you prefer longer or shorter fiction? And what do you think each provides for your writing?

A: For me it all depends on the idea I have. Some stories lend themselves to an indepth and deep dig of the mind, where the story can run and run, and others seem to need a more tapered and simpler conclusion.

Q: Let us know a little about your favorite character that you have created, and what makes them your favorite?

A: I’m not so sure, I do have a soft spot for Charles Dashwood, the evil bastard from the upcoming Barn, he really is nasty and venomous piece of hate but he does it so well. I also like Frank Fleming, Pony’s father. Pony was originally thought up as a trilogy but a part of me is debating a book about Frank himself.

Q: What do you typically read and how do those authors help to define your own writing?

A: I read many things. I like historical books and biographies. Fiction I love Stephen King, John Connolly, James Herbert, Ken Bruen, the list really goes on. How does its define me? They motivate me to come close to the great things they do. I’d write for free and more or less do but if this could be my job, I’d be happy as could be.

Q: What advice might you offer to other writers in their endeavors? What things have you experienced as set backs and potential deal breakers? Also, what things have helped you to gain exposure, bring attention to your stories?

A: The old chestnut…write but also read. Read, read, read and write. The more you read the more ideas you get, the more of those you have the more you’ll write.

Deal breakers I don’t really have. I just hope for the best, I fly by the seat of my arse most days to be honest.

Exposure…here is my weakness, I’m a publicity novice. I do the small things on facebook and what have you but I really need to learn more. My biggest ace has been PMP and my fellow authors, so I owe them alot for that.

Q: Finish this sentence, “Jason Downes is a…”

A: Jason Downes is a…gobshite, whose day will come!! Yet he can write a good story.

Q: Anything else you would like to promote, say, or rant about?

A: You can find info on Pony either here on PMP or at www.ponyfleming.com I hope to add a new website soon.

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Post Mortem Press Featured Author – Jessica McHugh

A QUICK LITTLE INTERVIEW WITH THE LATEST POST MORTEM PRESS FEATURED AUTHOR

Q: Tell us a little about your writing. What is your typical genre, your style, the voice you aim for and such.

A: I write all varieties of speculative fiction…for now. The truth is I will write anything that pops into my head; it just so happens that most of those stories fit nicely into the SpecFic genre. While I’ve written everything from graphic horror to historical fiction, my voice and style stay the same. I dig a little poetry in my prose, as well as humor even in the darkest of scenes. I have a blast writing stories and I want my readers to have a blast reading them. I like to think the fun comes out in the writing.

Q: What are some of the endeavors you have on the horizon, or have been participating in?

A: I’m working on a lot of projects currently and have lots on the horizon; some of which I can’t speak about quite yet, but suffice to say, 2012 is already a really busy year for this wacky writer chick. I have two novels that I’ll be submitting to publishing houses soon, the last book in my “Tales of Dominhydor” series due for release, I’m halfway through writing “Darla Decker Hates to Wait” which is the 1st novel in a YA series, there are a couple of short films in the planning stages, a handful of short stories being released in anthologies, and I’m working on some stories for the stage as well. I might eat and breathe sometime in there too. Oh and the day job. Sometimes I forget about that…

Q: Do you prefer longer or shorter fiction? And what do you think each provides for your writing?

A: I love writing novels because I’m allowed to really delve into the nitty gritty of my story and characters. For me, it’s easier to go crazy on a novel and then trim the fat, rather than write everything I want in a short story and have to trim the meat in order to hit a word count. A lot of times when I write a short story, I think about how I could turn it into a novel one day. Then again, I’ve done that with plays I’ve written too. I guess I’m just a novel girl.

Q: Let us know a little about your favorite character that you have created, and what makes them your favorite?

A: That is really tough. I would say Delaney Lortal from “Song of Eidolons” is my favorite, but if I explained why I’d give away a lot of the secrets in that story. I also love Faye Norton from “Rabbits in the Garden”, but I feel weird saying such an evil character is my favorite, so, I’m going to go with Captain Jack Racine from “The Sky: The World”. He’s the epitome of the charming asshole guy so many chicks love…or just love to fantasize about. He’s a lush for liquor and laudanum and sleeps with a different girl nearly every night. He wants to be a good guy, but it’s against his nature, so he stopped trying long ago. The only thing that spurs him into trying in “The Sky: The World” is the death of his brother, who was the best man Jack knew. All of a sudden, he has a purpose and he will stop at nothing to achieve it. I’ve written similar characters, but there’s no one quite like Captain Jack Racine.

Q: What do you typically read and how do those authors help to define your own writing?

A: I typically enjoy twisted tales like Roald Dahl’s macabre short stories. They definitely contributed to my style when I first started writing seriously at 19. Every story had a Dahlesque twist or sounded like a Lovecraft knock-off. Luckily, I’ve improved a lot since then and truly made the stories my own. “A Ride in the Dream Machine”, to be included in Post Mortem Press’ “Torn Realities” Lovecraft Anthology, was one of the first short stories I wrote during that time. For the anthology, I tore it apart and completely rewrote it, but thanks to 19 year old Jess, I had the backbone. The flesh just needed to be rearranged. Roald Dahl still influences me though, as well as Bret Easton Ellis, Stephen King, and Anne Rice.

Q: What advice might you offer to other writers in their endeavors? What things have you experienced as set backs and potential deal breakers? Also, what things have helped you to gain exposure, bring attention to your stories?

A: My advice to writers is to write. Write wonderfully. Write horribly. Write happy stories. Write heart-wrenching stories. Write stories that make you shout “Victory!” from your rooftop. Write stories that make you want to puke up your $10 six-pack. Write and write and write until people can’t question who or what you are. You’re a writer. You write.

For me, there are no dealbreakers. I might lie for a living (and yes, writing is my living, seeing as it hasn’t killed me yet), but I’m not unrealistic. I know there’s a huge chance I won’t ever be able to ditch my day job, but I will never stop writing. The need is deeper than my bones, blood, and soul. It’s stitched into a part of me that can’t be defined because it was forged from fiction long, long ago. People ask me how I stay so motivated to write and I can never find a helpful answer because that nameless piece keeps me motivated. If I have a free moment, it orders me to write and I happily obey.

I have garnered some attention from my Facebook and Twitter pages. I try to post interesting quotes from my work, as well as random witticisms. I’ve actually had quite a few people buy my books based on those postings and stated as such in their reviews. I enjoy connecting with my fans and followers because it shows them that I’m not only a real person, but I’m a pretty damn rowdy, fun one. I like to enjoy my life and writing and I believe that’s pretty obvious when you read my posts as well as my fiction.

Q: Finish this sentence, “Jessica McHugh is a…”

A: Jessica McHugh is an ink addict who seeks no cure.

Q: Anything else you would like to promote, say, or rant about?

A: Thank you for providing such wonderful questions, Ken. I had an awesome time answering them. I’m always rocking out at my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Author.JessicaMcHugh and my Twitter at @theJessMcHugh for anyone who’d like to follow me.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-McHugh/e/B003NUKAA4
Website: www.JessicaMcHughBooks.com
Blog: http://www.mcnito.blogspot.com/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_McHugh

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3 Fun Tales About Monsters

Where to read this book:

Snips & Snails Press

Out of Print

 

Interview with Author/Poet Bruce Boston

Q: I’ve read and enjoyed the poetry on your website, and I see you have won many awards as a poet. Being so successful on that platform, what drives you to long fiction?

BB: Actually, I’ve been publishing fiction, some of it long, for as long as I have poetry. My first novel, Stained Glass Rain, is over 140,000 words. I’ve also published more than a hundred short stories. I’ve always written both fiction and poetry. You can find most of my best stories collected in Masque of Dreams (Wildside Press, 2001, 2009) along with some of my best poetry.

Q: My own poetry suffers, likely due to the constant want to make the piece into a story. What shortcomings and downfalls might one expect to encounter when tackling both poetry and prose?

BB: When you tackle poetry seriously, you are looking at every word choice and every line break. And how they resonate with one another. If your poem starts turning into a story, you can either turn it into a story…write a long narrative poem…or compress it to the point where it works as a short poem, making every word count. You choice depends to some extent on where you feel your talents lie. I’d say that if the ideas and words are flowing for you, go with it, go for the story. If you decide it doesn’t work as a story, it’s generally easier to cut and refine what you’ve already written while you were on a roll than it is to add to it. I’ve had poems that I’ve later expanded to fictions and fictions that I’ve extracted poems from. I’d say there aren’t any shortcomings or downfalls if you take an open approach.

Q. I find this interesting, because the first section of The Guardener’s Tale came off so poetic to me. Was this your intention, or do you think this is merely the voice you were given coming out through your work?

BB: The Guardener’s Tale evolved out of a poem that originally appeared in Amazing Stories in the 80s. You can find the poem reprinted online at Membra Disjecta. The opening section of the novel draws heavily on this poem. Poetic language can enhance fiction if it is used in the right way. Some writers, such as Lawrence Durrell and Nabokov, are good reads for me in part because their language often reads like poetry.

Q. The indiscretion of Tuesdays was brilliant for me. I love the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” concept that allows a society the ability to let loose once a week, as if nurturing the human need to be bad. So, why Tuesdays?

BB: Tuesday is three days from Saturday and three days from Friday, the days when one is most likely to go out with one’s mate. So Tuesday seemed the most logical day to go out alone seeking other liaisons.

Q. I find it interesting, the comparison to a gardener, and their garden–creating a thing of beauty. In your tale, it is no different, except there are a variety of levels to these Guardeners, that in part appears to have something to do with age/experience. Also, the play on the word, using “guard” almost had me picturing storm troopers from Star Wars, but in actuality they are far from such armored monsters. On all levels, they are creating a garden of beauty together. I also found the widespread use of imagery that revolved on flowers in the story. Can you provide some insight into your creation of the Guardener as a social status and job?

BB: If you recall, some of the Guardeners do act like storm troopers when they invade the slum and evict residents from their dwellings. The higher level Guardeners are both police and psychiatrists, or at least with the help of technology they take on the role of psychiatrists. The Future Perfect, the garden of beauty they envision, is only perfect in terms of a society functioning without disruptions of any kind. In other words, a world were everyone has the same values and all serve a productive function within the system. It’s a bit like an insect colony, with no room for individuality or attitudes and ideas that run counter to the norm. Also akin to the ideal state once envisioned by the former Soviet Union. Much of art and literature of the Soviet Union from the 30s through the 50s, known as Socialist Realism, portrayed striving for an ideal communist society. Of course any society has its canon of what is considered acceptable behavior, which includes the content for art and literature. The more totalitarian the state, the more narrowly such a canon is defined. The Guardeners in The Guardener’s Tale are both guardians of their particular canon, and like gardeners in that they are trying to shape the future of the state by weeding out undesirable elements and shaping others. To extend the simile to an extreme, something like bonsai gardening.

Q. As a writer, I often find myself divulging opinions of how I think the future will look. Our present society can at times appear so limiting, and yet with modern day technology it is actually mind-blowing just how limitless it is. In your tale though, we have a world where technology has surpassed freedoms, and the City State must take control in order to ensure a successful future. Tell us a little bit about this concept. Is this how you envision the future of society?

BB: In the world of The Guardener’s Tale, although computers are used by government and business, they are forbidden to individuals, considered a negative freedom. There is no Internet as we know it. Despite all its faults, the Internet strikes me as a force for individual freedom and a barrier to government control. It creates a worldwide community that not only transcends national borders but can quickly exert political and social pressure. It disseminates information that the powers that be, any ruling government, would rather not have freely available to its citizens. It can be disruptive to a smoothly functioning society. WikiLeaks is a prime example of this.

Q. And what of reprogramming humans, as you mention in The Guardener’s Tale? Was this just you being creative, or is this yet another glimpse into where you think things are heading?

BB: There always seems to be an attempt by authoritarian forces of one kind or another to reprogram human nature to fit some socially acceptable norm. This is endemic to social systems. The Catholic Church served this function for centuries in Europe. Today, our basic natures are all reprogrammed to some extent by the mass media we are exposed to. A more specific example: the clinics that try to reprogram homosexuals to be heterosexuals. As to where we are headed, I’m not sure. If a technology evolves that can successfully reprogram humans, it’s hard to believe that a government would not attempt to make use of it to stabilize its power and achieve its goals.

Q. On your website it says that you are credited with coining the word “cybertext.” How does something like that transpire? I mean, did it just catch on from one of your tales or the like?

BB: I published a collection of poetry in 1992 titled Cybertexts. The prefix “cyber” is defined as “relating to information technology, computers or the Internet.” Many of the poems collected in Cybertexts have to do with human interaction with computers of one kind or another. However, at the time I wrote these poems, the Cyberpunk movement was still flourishing in science fiction, so the book also contains poems that applied to this, i.e., poems that described or reflected the world of that movement. Jump ahead a few years to 1997. Norwegian Professor Espen J. Aarseth, odds are totally unaware of my poetry collection, published a book titled Cybertext—Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. In this study, Aarseth defined “cybertext” as referring to texts that require an involvement on the part of the reader. For example, a text that poses questions to the reader and then proceeds with further text in response to the answers given, and so forth. This is the sense in which the term “cybertext” is used most commonly today. I coined the word, was the first to use it. Aarseth defined it more specifically in its contemporary usage.

Q. What might we expect from you in the future? Another book? More poetry?

BB: My latest collection of poems, Surrealities, should be out any day from Dark Regions Press. This is not a horror or science fiction collection, but all surreal poems and poems about surrealism. It’s also a departure for me in that I illustrated this collection myself with original Rorschach inkblots. You can find the illustrations online HERE.

Beyond that, Gary Crawford and I are compiling a shared-world collection of dark poetry and prose, working title Notes from the Shadow City.

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Well Bruce, I’d also like to thank you for stopping by and giving us a quick glimpse into The Guardener’s Tale. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good futuristic dystopian tale. You can find out more about Bruce on his WEBSITE.

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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.

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