Mercedes Fox ~ Author

My Writing Blog

Tag: horror (Page 1 of 3)

Meet Author Roxanne Heath

Hello, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Roxanne Heath

Roxanne Heath’s interests and ambitions have changed many times over the years, but the one constant has been her affinity for fiction. Her primary hobby in childhood was writing stories, and the habit continued well into her high school and college years. Despite originally pursuing a career in science, in recent years she decided to turn her pipe dream of publishing stories into a reality. Her first story, Smoke: A Novel, was self-published in June of 2016. Her favorite genres to write are science fiction, and those dealing with ghosts and the occult.

Enjoy this sample: “Smoke: A Novel”

Genre: Paranormal horror / suspense

Synopsis: Finding a dead man in the woods seems, at first, like any other routine tragedy. Burdened by a lack of scientific evidence, the investigation takes a much darker turn when a series of interviews uncover sordid details from this dead man’s past including a history of magic and violence. This story takes the four main characters on a journey trying to determine the cause of death, leading each to question his or her own motivations for wanting the truth, and quickly revealing the consequences of betraying the trust of the dead.​

When did you decide to become a writer?  The time of decision was a bit twofold. Though being a writer was a pipe dream for a while, the abstract decision was made in high school and not acted upon until after college. It’s odd to pin it to those two specific times, because since I was about five I’ve been “writing,” even just silly drabbles back then, but it was around that time that I realized I loved reading stories so much that I wanted to see if I could make some of my own. During my adolescence I found myself reading stories, and becoming so emotionally invested in them that I wondered, “What if this part of the story had gone differently?” It was such an enjoyable pastime that I promised myself I’d start putting out original work after I got out of college. So really, the decision was made as early as 2010 if not acted on for another four years.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  For the majority of my middle school and high school years I would start stories en masse, write perhaps a thousand words, and abandon them because I could never take what I was seeing in my head and put it into words. It always left me with a sense of frustration because I knew that I had some (what I considered to be) pretty good scenes in my head if only I could figure out how to get them down. When I sat down and decided to start Smoke it was with that sense of previous failure in mind which acted as motivation, but also a kind of hope and excitement for the end product if I could just sit down and figure out how to write in the long-term.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  When I started writing everything was over-exaggerated in some areas and completely deadpan in others; there was no happy medium to any of it. To give you an idea, my characters would wildly yell at each other while standing completely still. I focused too much on the small details (I clearly remember writing a story about a dinner party in which every ingredient of every dish was listed) but never built any sort of world for my characters to live in. That gradually progressed to melodrama as I got the feel for writing intense situations, where the worst things in the world would constantly happen to my characters and they would react in kind. Where I am right now, I’ve gotten the need to write needless drama out of my system and can almost focus more clearly on the story itself and where it needs to go. I’ve tried writing almost every kind of scene in almost every level of intensity, and because I’ve now gotten a flavor for everything, I can go back and pick and choose which style I need for any given scene.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  It’s a delicate mixture of both. Originally I’ll just see where the idea takes me and I’ll get about ten thousand words into a project before I start to structure it at all. Even then, outlining a plot is only used as a last ditch effort to figure out what connects plot point A to plot point B. I’ll frequently have two scenes that I know need to be in the story but for the life of me can’t figure out how they relate, and that’s about the only time I’ll make actual diagrams and identify each point in the given arc to sort it all out.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  My latest book, Risen, deals heavily with mythology and the undead which are two of my favorite things to watch or write about. The issue there was a couple of different things. First, I cared more about the demigod characters than about the humans and so I spent much more time writing about them to the point where the scenes for each group was terribly unbalanced. Second, I’ve wanted to write a book like this for years, and finally figuring out how to do it has left me terribly excited. I was so thrilled while writing the action and fight scenes and backstory lore that often times even the tone of my writing sounded like it was gushing with excitement. So overall, the two most difficult parts of writing this book were balancing out the scenes for each group of characters, and trying to maintain some kind of calm, objective voice.

Which writers inspire you?  Jonathan Maberry (my inspiration to delve into the paranormal and sci-fi genres); C.S. Lewis (the drive behind my desire to write fantasy); Ned Vizzini (my first and best introduction on how to put mental health-related topics into words); and Laurie Halse Anderson (who has piqued my interest in trying to capture the dysfunctional family dynamic).

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  I am indeed! It’s more or less in the final stages of being edited and polished, but the official description of it is, “a mythological take on the classic zombie horror story.” I recently did a cover reveal, and you can find it here, along with a release date: https://twitter.com/rheathwrites/status/849039231859261440

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite?  Jonathan Maberry, hands down. He’s brilliant, able to write everything from the tender moments between two characters in love to the chilling, visceral anger of men in combat and I’d recommend him to anyone looking to get a proper introduction to the science fiction genre. So far, my favorite book of his is “Code Zero.”

There ya have it folks! Many thanks Roxanne! For more about Roxanne, her work, and to get your copy, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Instagram / YouTube

Meet Author Sidney Williams

Hello, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Sidney Williams

Sidney Williams is the author of 11 published novels. His first eight books were traditionally published and include three YA novels written under the name Michael August. Those were re-released by Crossroad Press in ebook form, and he’s now written three new novels for Crossroad.

He’s also penned a host of short stories published in anthologies including Under the Fang, Hot Blood: Deadly After Dark, Crafty Cat Crimes, Constable New Crimes and many magazines and online publications. Born in Louisiana, Sidney worked a number of years as a newspaper reporter, traveling the back roads and hidden nooks and crannies of the Bayou State.

Sidney worked in corporate marketing for a number of years and took some time to travel. Stops included England and Ireland where some of the ideas began to arise for his new novel, Disciples of the Serpent, an O.C.L.T. tie-in novel.

At the moment, Sidney lives in Orlando, FL, and teaches creative writing with a focus on horror, mystery and suspense.

Enjoy this sample:  Disciples of the Serpent, a Lovecraftian tie-in with the ongoing O.C.L.T. (Orphic Crisis Logistical Taskforce) series from Crossroad Press, follows Irish counter-terrorism expert, Aileen O’Donnell of Ireland’s National Police Service. She’s pressed into service to work with the O.C.L.T. as they race through ruins across the Emerald Isle in a desperate search for an ancient language that holds the key to plans of cultists backed by shadowy financiers. Can the operatives stop the re-born cult before they unleash an ancient terror that’s far more than the legends and myths of serpents ever suggested?

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  These days it takes several months, possibly just under a year, with some gestation for a book prior to the start.

I work more slowly than I once did. It used to take about six months, but I work more deliberately these days, building and polishing scenes as I go, questioning the characters and the storyline as it develops.

What is the current book you are promoting? It’s called Disciples of the Serpent, and it’s a Lovecraftian thriller with action and adventure. It’s a tie-in with the Crossroad Press O.C.L.T. series which also includes books by David Niall Wilson (Crossroad CEO), Aaron Rosenberg and David Bischoff. There’s a series bible and established, recurring characters, but I was given a lot of freedom to write the book as a tie-in that stands alone, as all the books do. O.C.L.T. stands for the Orphic Crisis Logistical Taskforce, and it’s sometimes spoken as Occult.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  When I worked as a reporter, I drew from my life, though obviously there are no transformed creatures or vampires like those in Blood Hunter or Night Brothers lurking the Louisiana I covered as a reporter. But the day-to-day experiences and people fueled a lot of my fiction early on. These days, I work more from my perspective on the world. I think my perspective has broadened with age. As a lot of writers do, I look back sometimes on older works and see the person I was then and see how I’ve grown.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  I work with outlines these days where once I just worked instinctively, though, I think it was Joe Lansdale who passed on word from someone else once. If you write from scratch, your first draft is your outline. It’s just a very, very detailed outline.

I think if we absorb stories, when we write, we work from internalized knowledge of the plot movements that a lot of templates attempt to label to make it easier for writers. They’re there inside us because we love Story, capital S for me. So early on, I just wrote, devising the story as I went. Now outlines help, but a lot of the process is still forging ahead, moving from one signpost to the next. I used images and snippets a lot for inspiration as I wrote in Disciples of the Serpent, some of my own photographs of Ireland and its ruins, some geographic images. All of that helped shape the vision.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  I was very fortunate for Disciples. It features artwork from multiple-Hugo Award winner Bob Eggleton with design by David Dodd of Crossroad Press. I’m not sure how Crossroad worked out the deal, but the art is very cool. Someone said on LinkedIn that the tentacle-thing on the cover didn’t look like a serpent. I said: “Read the book. What you see on the cover’s the tip of the iceberg.” It explores, in the world of the story, what St. Patrick and Lugh really drove out of Ireland and what cultists want to reawaken.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?  Aileen O’Donnell is a no-nonsense operative for the Irish Garda’s counter terrorism unit, the Special Detective Unit. She’s a bit fatalistic because her father, who was also a cop, was killed in the line of duty. A bullet went past his protective vest and found just the right spot to take his life. Because of that outlook, she doesn’t think much about risks. She feels whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. When a takedown of gunrunners goes wrong, she’s suspended but then approached by the Garda’s sub rosa unit focused on the paranormal. The boss there sees her as someone he needs, so he ropes her in on a series of deaths resulting from strange venom. She doesn’t believe in the paranormal, but she realizes a massive, terror-style threat is brewing, so she accepts the job and works with Geoffrey Bullfinch of the international Orphic Crisis Logistical Taskforce, who’s on hand to consult because he suspects the deaths are covering up something terrible that’s coming.

Which writers inspire you?  There are many, many writers. For this book, Lovecraft and other mythos writers were big influences, though it’s an action-adventure piece so a variety of genre and mainstream writers beyond that were inspirational also. I love Alistair MacLean, Clive Cussler and Robert Ludlum just to name a few, while certainly not comparing myself. There is just a lot of high adventure in Disciples, and O’Donnell has to take a lot of risks, while Bulfinch and other O.C.L.T. operatives get embroiled in the tumult racing from one Irish landmark to another and ultimately facing a horrific, well, I don’t want to give too much away.

Where do your ideas come from?  I loved touring Irish ruins and the countryside a few years ago, and that helped spur my ideas for an entry in the O.C.L.T. series when David Wilson offered me the opportunity to participate a while back. It actually took me a while to get around to the book once he sent me the series bible, so several titles in the series came out before I put fingers to keyboard. I love the idea of secret history and lost knowledge and that all boiled together in the mix for Disciples.

What is the hardest thing about writing?  Making the best possible decisions about what happens next and making the best use of characters in the situations you’ve devised to assure the story is satisfying. I do long questionnaires on my characters so that I’m informed, in the back of my mind, about their outlooks so that fuels their actions and drives the story along.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  Wow, it was a lot of fun to write, and I found a lot of creative energy as the action really started to flow. I don’t struggle with discipline. I write every morning before I do anything else, except drink coffee. It’s brew coffee then write. I guess for this book, as I mentioned, it’s deciding what happens next. Sometimes you know what happens after next, but you have to find a meaningful way to get to that next big moment. I worked hard to keep the story always moving forward. I did research into Irish myth, archaeology, the Druids and the Medieval Ogham alphabet. My characters are pursuing hidden bits of a script that looks like Ogham but doesn’t match known Ogham characters.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?  I like my heroine a great deal, but I have a few first readers who liked one of my supporting villains quite a bit, Freya Turnbull. I suppose that suggests deep down,  I liked her too. She’s a big and ruthless part of the evil plot at the heart of the story, but she’s not pure evil. She’s involved because at first she was a bit of a lost soul seeking a sense of community. She’s actually channeling strengths and abilities that might have been positive traits in another setting, so I came to appreciate her even though I knew she and Aileen, the heroine, eventually had to clash. I came to like Geoffrey Bulfinch very well also. He’s an O.C.L.T. character whose origins are a bit clouded. He’s a brilliant scholar of myth and legend yet tough and resilient. It was fun to write some action for a character O.C.L.T. readers like a lot.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  It’s a Louisiana-set noir tale about a cop who’s done some bad things but is struggling to make up for that and get his life back on track. It’ll be long haul for him.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?  I earned an MFA from Goddard College after I’d written several books and worked for years writing advertising and other corporate materials. It was a great experience with one dark spot, a professor who’s become a bit notorious far beyond my experiences with him. I refer to my semester with him as the wasted semester of grad school.

With that said, I think there are many great things about getting an MFA. Writing training, for lack of a better word, is a process, and the energy of a writing program can do a lot for an individual. I think it did a lot for me spiritually as well as creatively and technically, and I built some great and lasting friendships.

Oddly I’ve been so busy, first getting my backlist ready for Crossroad and then doing some things that became possible after that, including the novel Dark Hours, that I haven’t done everything yet I wanted to do after grad school. “Mr. Berrington,” a short story in Black Fox Literary Magazine and “Painted Moonlight” for J.J. Outre Review, move in that direction. I’d like to do more in that realm, genre with additional depth.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?  I guess I’d have to say Philip Marlowe. I love the romance of the hardboiled universe. I think it was maybe in a Time magazine review of the Robert Mitchum version of The Big Sleep that a critic stated Marlowe saw integrity as the only thing worth having. That always stuck with me, that he held honor above all else, even if he didn’t get rich. Marlowe always kept his humor even when he was getting beaten up too, and I thought that was interesting when I was a kid.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?  Well, we’re in an interesting moment, and there are a lot of snarky things I could probably say, but let me try a positive approach. We’re very polarized, and many people have been propagandized into entrenched positions. It’s easy to let that happen. When I was younger and in a bubble, I sometimes got nudged that way.

If you get into one of THOSE debates on Facebook, you quickly get a spew of things people have heard on TV. If I could change the world, I’d make informed dialogue a requirement. Harlan Ellison once said, and I’m paraphrasing, everyone isn’t entitled to an opinion. Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion.

Who inspires your writing?  My wife, my cats, Oliver and Ash, and my friends. I’m extremely fortunate to have a great circle of creative friends these days, or several intersecting circles of friends. I have friends from the horror community from days I hit the convention circuit a lot. I have friends from grad school as mentioned, and I have fellow writers all around me since I’m in a creative writing program, some great individuals. I have great students too, and it’s great to watch them embark to pursue writing dreams.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about? As mentioned, I have two cats these days, Oliver, a ginger, and Ash, who is grey and white. They like a warm lap, so they’re often very close as I work, if they’re not battling for position in their cat tree.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like?  I have in my lifetime done that. It’s kind of nice if the book is cold enough to me to pick it up and get caught in the story from a different perspective. If you’ve forgotten what happens next, it becomes fun to turn pages and find out anew.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?  It’s a changing world, and some people have done amazing things with self-publishing platforms. Once I would have said, no, no, no. Now, it can be a real springboard.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  We’re moving into a time where the stigma is melting away. Filmmakers have long had to make short films or even indy features to get noticed, and that’s been accepted as part of the process. I think that’s becoming true with writers as well. Writers just need to proceed with caution, make sure to get work edited, get professional-looking covers. “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot,” might be the best advice.

What book are you currently reading or just finished?  This minute, I’m just getting around to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Young people these days are gamers. My creative writing program’s director is launching a book club to encouraging reading novels among our students, and since that book’s gamer-oriented it seemed like a great way to start.

Tell us something unique about you.  Am I unique? Good question. I clock in as INFJ on the Myers-Briggs personality scale. About 1 percent of the population seems to be INFJ. Hopefully that gives me insight and self-awareness and makes me contemplative and compassionate. I don’t know that I’m one of a kind, but I think a lot and try to always evaluate myself, my opinions, the writing craft and the road ahead.

There ya have it folks! Thanks Sidney for visiting! For more about Sidney, his work, and to get your copies, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Pinterest / Smashwords

Meet Author R.A. Horn

Hello, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author R.A. Horn

R.A. Horn has previously served in the Ohio Army National Guard, and during that time she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Cleveland State University.  Haunting on East 48th Street is her debut novel which she started writing shortly after marrying the love of her life.  She currently lives in Eastlake, Ohio with her husband, cat and dog.

Enjoy this sample:  Haunting on East 48th Street-Book 1 of Perryville, Ohio

Genre: Horror/Suspense

After waking up from a terrifying dream small town woman Natalie Wenzel learns that her close friend Robert Connelly has been brutally murder.  Now she trapped in the middle of a horrific nightmare.  Her sanity will be tested now that she is unable to avoid the presence of her mutilated friend or shake a pair of detectives who are determined to uncover his killer.  Worst of all she will forever be confronted by the monster that took the man’s life, and he won’t be leaving anytime soon.

Why do you write?  I write to express and live through my own imagination which is inspired by distant memories of my early childhood.  They’re memories of two old houses in I briefly lived in when I was between 2 and 4 years old.  I guess you can call that nostalgia because when we moved away from these places I felt like I was being torn away from something that gave me peace in my own little world.

You may find that hard to believe because most people can’t remember when they were that young, but I have very vivid memories from my toddler years.  In a weird way that I can’t really explain these memories felt different than any others that I’ve had.  I can’t remember anything bad happening then and I have a ton of bad memories from childhood.

They inspired a type of setting that I constantly see in my dreams, in a piece of artwork, in a song or in a place that’s totally unrelated.  Over the years I’ve been able to form stories through these memories, so writing along with creating the artwork that I have helps to me relive them.

When did you decide to become a writer?  I decided to start writing about three years ago shortly after getting married.  I was at work one day daydreaming about a woman who was turned into a werewolf and made to kill her neighbor against her will all while having a nightmare that was too terrifying to be real.  The story was so intriguing that I just had to put it on paper.

It started as a short story, but over time the story evolved into a 53,000 word novel.  The story keeps going into four more novels that I will write.  I have no control over where it goes, and my only job is to put it on paper and share it with others.  This story is a bi-product of my imagination, which has an agenda of it’s own.  It all comes from those early childhood memories I talked about earlier.

So over the years I have developed a writing style that is my own and a story that I am very proud of.  As long as I have a unique story to tell I will continue to write.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  It varies.  This first book took about two in a half years to write.  I was finding my own writing style and I had actually wrote a good portion of the second book.  The idea at the time was to make book one, two and four into one novel but I felt that it would be too much going on.  There would be three plots in one book so I decided to break it up into three books with another spin off added between book two and four.  I can’t imagine the second book would take me as long now that I have a pretty good handle on where things are going.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  I currently have a day job and I work forty hours a week.  That hasn’t changed since I started writing the first book so I squeeze in any writing that I can during my lunch breaks or after I come home from work.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I’ve definitely learned to express myself through words as well as through my artwork.  Back in grade school I always had a creative side and I was always drawing an painting but I used to be so shy and quiet so I didn’t really make it my own until I reached adulthood.  I found my own vision within the last ten years and even more so when I started writing.

What have you written?  Besides Haunting on East 48th Street I have written a few children’s short horror stories which I am making into a children’s book of short horror stories.  They all come from nightmares that I’ve had when I was a kid and I have to say they’re pretty weird.  I’ve also written a piece of Fan-fiction for the survivor horror game Outlast called No Going Back.  I love to play video games every now and then and Outlast is one of my favorites.  I came up with a story and decided to write it and put it on fanfiction.net for others to see.  I’ve got six chapters posted so far but the story isn’t over yet.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  I’ve actually designed my own cover.  I did the artwork, photo-shopped it and made a cover on Canva.  It’s a really good website and I highly recommend it.

Any advice for aspiring authors?  Keep writing.  Take your time and don’t rush.  If it takes you five years to complete it then it takes you five years.  The story will be ready when it’s ready.  And finally, write like you.  Don’t do what other authors are doing.  Do what you do.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  Natalie Wenzel is a woman to her own.  She has no need to please anyone else but herself and she takes pride in the city she lives in even through it has a reputation for being one of the worst places to live in Northeast Ohio.

She’s a strong willed woman that appreciates things that most people don’t, and she can endure what most people can’t.  Haunting on East 48th Street features some of the most terrifying, nightmarish events that could happen to a person and the reader will see how brave she is when she is forced right in the middle of it all.

She is one of the most resilient characters I have ever met.

Where do your ideas come from?  To tell you the truth, I actually don’t know.  Some come from dreams, early childhood memories or sometimes they just appear in my head out of nowhere.  I just roll with it.

What is the hardest thing about writing?  For me it’s getting an idea or chapter on paper.  That’s where I experience the most block but once I get past that it gets a little easier.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?  I’m a huge horror fan and I love Micheal Myers so all of the Halloween movies (except H2o, 4 and Resurrection) are my favorites.  I’m a huge Star Wars nerd and my favorite TV show would be Trailer Park Boys.  Jim Lahey (The drunk trailer park supervisor from the show) is one of the inspirations for a future villain Dr. Nicholas Rugero coming up in the third book of Perryville, Ohio.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  I’m currently working on book 2 of Perryville, Ohio and right now it’s called Deep Red Woods.  The reader will see Natalie and Red Tooth’s relationship evolve.  It will be a little give and take with both of them but they will continue to bud heads like they did in book 1.

Detectives Banning and Ivory will serve as the main antagonists, but the reader will see more into their relationship with each other.  You’ll also see some more action scenes in this one whereas the first one featured a lot of gory aftermath scenes.  Book 2 will also introduce new characters and will start to pave way to a new villain coming up in book 3.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?  Of course I love all of my characters but my favorite is Roscoe ‘Red Tooth’ Cane.  He’s the main antagonist in the Haunting on East 48th Street and he is characterized as the wolf spirit who turns Natalie into a werewolf in his own image.  I know you love and write werewolves so I thought you would appreciate that.

He can be both good and bad.  He’s brutal and bloodthirsty so much that it earned him the nick name Red Tooth (which he hates) but he’s also intelligent, cunning and clever in ways I wish I could be.  I absolutely love writing about him because he’s so sarcastic, vulgar and quick-witted.  He’s unlike any other werewolf you’ll ever meet.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about? I’ve got a 1 year old beagle/rottie mix named Vegas.  He drives me crazy but I love him.  He was a rescue and I raised him from a 7 month old puppy.  He loves to show his teeth when he plays but he means no harm.  He’s a big sweetie underneath the big teeth he’s got. MF: He’s adorable!

My kitty Anna is 6 years old.  She’s the long haired cat and she’s a little prissy princess kitty.  She knows how cute she is.  I’ve had her since she was a kitten and her we had to put her brother down recently.  His name was Max and he was one of a kind.  I really miss him.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like?  Not yet but a few years down the road when it’s no longer fresh in my mind I will read my own book.  I imagine I’ll enjoy it.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?  I chose to self-publish because I love having the freedom to do whatever I want.  I can keep to the story and use and design my own cover with self-publishing.  You can’t do that with a traditional publisher.  The best part about it is that it is mine all the way.  Nobody is going to claim rights to something that I took the time to make.  This story is a pierce of me therefore it is mine and I will keep it that way.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  Absolutely and I know this from experience.  More than anything I wanted my book to land in libraries so people can find it and enjoy it without all of the marketing that authors have to do.  They can just wrap themselves in my story the way that I did when I was a kid going to the library and finding a book to read.

Unfortunately I knew that most libraries won’t accept self-published books.  I tried to donate copies of my book to my local library system but they flat out rejected me.  They told me that they don’t take self-published books even though I was going to give it to them for free.  It’s sad that many individuals don’t look at self published authors the same as traditionally published authors.  I’ve read my share of self published books and I’m sure you have too.  We can both agree that self published books are just as good as traditionally published book.  It’s just sad that many people don’t see it that way.

But fortunately there are plenty of experienced self-published authors who are willing to put themselves out there and help upcoming author succeed.  I am thankful for what they do.

There ya have it folks! Many thanks R.A! For more about R.A., her work, and to get your own copy, follow the links below:

Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

Meet Author Casey Bartsch

Hello, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Casey Bartsch

Casey spends a lot of time in a small shed that he has converted into an office. That is where he gets his thoughts, inspirations, and intense frustrations. If it wasn’t for the office, he would probably be a much happier person, but then, there wouldn’t be any point anymore.

He has a wife that understands him, so he has already won life. Everything else is just sprinkles.

Enjoy this sample: Strawberries

Horror/Thriller

Strawberries is the name he has been given. When they let him out, they had no way of knowing what he was. A psychopath. A killer. The body count is at twenty already, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Agent Harry Bland can’t see one anyway. He doesn’t have a single clue to go on. It doesn’t help that his mind won’t focus. His heart just isn’t in it anymore. Half way across the country, Sylvia is in a different state of mind. When she isn’t selling sex to the rich, she is doing her best to disappear. She lives a life of assumed names, one night stands, and a constant stream of narcotics. Sylvia has heard of Strawberries. Of course she has. So has everyone who has turned on the television or surfed the net. Yet, she has no way of knowing just how much his life will affect hers.

Seedy hotels, cross country truckers looking for the meaning of life, homemade pie, a reporter with her own secret agenda, obscenely expensive champagne, and plenty of spilled blood await our cast. But make sure to read fast…..Strawberries has killed number 21

Why do you write?  It’s cheaper than liquor, less painful than exercise, and less permanent than suicide.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  The first took a couple of years, with 3 re-writes. I am about 5 months into the second, and I feel like I may finish more quickly. But, I have thought a lot of things that weren’t true.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  I tend to have a basic idea, then just start right in. About halfway through, I’ll make a quick outline just to make sure I have a path to follow.

The best stuff comes at random, as my fingers click.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  I designed my own, but the girlfriend of a good friend of mine tweaked it to make it more likely to fool people into thinking that a professional wrote the words inside.

Any advice for aspiring authors?  Many people will tell you to sit and write every day. This doesn’t work for me. If it isn’t there, it isn’t there, and the only thing that can come from staring at my computer is depression.

What you need to do every day, is think. Don’t let a day pass without considering an idea.

Which writers inspire you?  McCammon, Barker, Palahniuk, Robbins, Mellick III, Ketchum, Vonnegut

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  My new novel is about a man with serious power, yet infinite confidence issues. He also may be slightly insane. He kidnaps some people and puts them through hell – the usual.

What is your next project? Novel. Title – Behind the Red Curtain

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  Sure, but it is vanishing. Mainly with the rise of digital. People have a million book choices at their fingertips for cheap. The heavy readers just consume, they don’t care where it came from. At first glance, you can’t tell on Amazon what is Traditional or Self-published – as long as the author has done the work to manufacture the illusion.

Tell us something unique about you.  Um…I’m blind in my right eye. Glaucoma when I was 2 years old.

There ya have it folks! Many thanks Casey! For more about Casey, his work, and to get your own copy, follow the links below:

Blog / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon

Meet Author John Wing

Hello, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author John Wing

John published his first collection of horror stories called: Fourteen shades Of Horror in 2013.  He has just published his fourth collection of Horror stories (Feb 2017) called: Ultimate Shades Of Horror. John lives in Bristol in England with his wife and two boys, aged 10 and 13. His other interests, apart from reading, are: Films (Thrillers, SF, Fantasy and Horror), music (especially the rock band Queen) and walking and playing badminton.

Book sample: Ultimate Shades Of Horror: This fourth collection of horror stories will infiltrate the darkest corners of your mind, unleashing a web of fear, evil, and the unknown. In these pages you’ll read about the man who can no longer control his own mind; an evil tree that will stop at nothing to wipe out humanity; a woman who becomes obsessed with the numbers 11:11; four people who have to face their worst nightmares when they walk through Death’s Door; a millionaire who swaps his own body for another with dire consequences. Plus other frightening and macabre tales.

Why do you write? Because I enjoy creating these scenarios or situations that are frightening and unusual that I usually set in everyday circumstances that I know others, if they choose to read them, will get a thrill and a fright, and that in turn gives me satisfaction and enjoyment. Then, I have accomplished something in my creative writing.

When did you decide to become a writer? About 6 years ago

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? Because I have a job and a family, on average, it takes me about a year to complete a book.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I use to write when I was younger, and a few years ago I came across some of the stories I wrote, and this inspired me to make a concerted effort to get something published. And now, with my fourth book just published via Amazon, I have done just that!

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I tend to write at the weekends, or, if I can manage it, an hour here, or an hour there

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I think my structure and my grammar have improved, plus I think I build tension much better than I did in my earlier stories.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? Not usually.

What have you written? Up to yet I have written four books. They are in Chronological order: Fourteen shades Of Horror, Darker Shades Of Horror, Extreme Shades Of Horror, and the latest published this year: Ultimate Shades Of Horror.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? When I get an idea I write a rough outline of it, and then as I start to write other ideas come to me, and sometimes I don’t even know what’s going to happen, which to be honest, excites me even more.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? I use Dreamstime website when I need a cover for a book. MF: I checked out your books and LOVE your covers!

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? I must admit, this is where I struggle. I would love more people to get to know about my books, but time and money are a problem.

Any advice for aspiring authors? If you have a creative bent for writing, then just do it. Because with Amazon for example, anybody can write stories or books and just upload them, and it’s great when people download your book, and even better when you get positive reviews!

Where do your ideas come from? They often just come to me, and when they do I just jot it down quick so I don’t forget. But Newspapers, TV or radio, or something someone says that I over hear, all give me ideas for my stories.         

What is the hardest thing about writing? Being as original as possible and to keep coming up with ideas.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Even though all the stories concentrate on the unexplained, scary and sometimes horrific, the hardest thing was keeping the collection of stories varied and stimulating, but hopefully I have managed to do justice to that in the end.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? Difficult to bring it down to one film and one TV show but Alien, Godfather 1 and 2 and the original Omen. As for TV it would be things like Fringe, Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones and Westworld.

Which writers inspire you? Many e.g. John Wyndham, Robert Silverberg, James Herbert, Robert Ludlam

What is the current book you are promoting? Ultimate Shades Of Horror

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? Yes, I’ve just begun my fifth collection of horror stories, and this teaser was based on the recent news item where Hitler’s phone had been bought at auction. It sent my imagination into overdrive. What if a collector had bought it and he had a horrifying experience with this device? Here then is an extract of it (please bear in mind that this a work in progress and this extract is taken a little way in from the start of it):

Gregory was in awe of the phone as he imagined the conversations that had taken place on it. The many orders that Hitler had dictated; that mankind’s history had been irrevocably decided in so many ways, by this one, seemingly, innocent object.

“Amazing,” is what he uttered under his breath. “Amazing.”

Then, the inconceivable happened.

The phone rang.

Ring … Ring … Ring …

Gregory involuntarily took a step back and gawped at the instrument.

Ring … Ring … Ring …

His first thought was to dismiss this anomaly. Because, surely that’s what it was. It couldn’t possibly be happening. How could it be? The thing wasn’t even connected. It was just his flight of fancy as he imagined what had been spoken on the phone all those years ago. But its insistent ringing soon made him reject his reasoning.

Ring! Ring! Ring!

Its shrill tone pervaded that room, bouncing off the walls and ceiling in the most defiant way, leaving no doubt in Gregory’s mind that this was really happening. The sound of it, unrelenting – a forceful, piercing and deafening affront to his ears.

RING! RING! RING!

Gregory wanted it to end. Immediately. He bellowed out his frustration.

“Stop it! Stop it!”

But the blaring continued, determined to irk him even more.

He then did what any normal person would do under the circumstances. He picked up the receiver. To his immense relief, the ringing ceased. The room was an oasis of calm and quiet, save for the crackling of the log fire in the background.

Tentatively, Gregory put the receiver to his ear … and listened.

He couldn’t hear a thing. Just an unnerving silence. There was nobody on the other end of the line. How could there be anyway? That would be impossible, he surmised. And yet, it had rung. He knew it had. The ringing had been real. But now, as he thought about it more, he began to doubt what he had heard. Maybe he had imagined after all. Gregory nervously whispered, “Hello?”

He wasn’t expecting a reply, but as he held the receiver anxiously to his ear, to his bewilderment, unmistakably clear and loud, he heard breathing. Long, heavy, breathing. Whether it was through shock or fear, Gregory wasn’t sure, he slammed the receiver back in its cradle, and stared at the phone with a mixture of confusion and dread.

He refused to take his eyes off the phone. He watched it intently as he would a dangerous animal that threatened to attack him, expecting the device to suddenly come to life by shrieking out its ear-splitting ringing. But it didn’t. It remained inert, mute – a harmless, inanimate object. But Gregory wasn’t entirely convinced by its stillness. He knew what he had heard. It wasn’t his imagination. The phone had rung. He had distinctly heard someone breathing.

It doesn’t make sense, he mused.

Diffidently, he reached out his arm, letting his right hand hover above the phone.

This is not possible. It can’t be.

Quickly, he plunged his hand down, grabbed the receiver, and listened.

Nothing. There was no breathing. There was no dialing tone. There was only empty silence. What one would expect from a disconnected phone. Now, he was doubting everything. He was completely flummoxed, disorientated. He didn’t know what to think. Was he losing his mind? He steadily replaced the receiver. He had to have a drink.

Near the blazing fire was a leather armchair next to a small round table with a decanter and a solitary glass. He half-filled the tumbler with scotch, and sat. As the liquid ran down his throat, it soothed and reassured him. Everything was normal – as it should be. He relaxed, stretching out his legs, enjoying the fire’s satisfying glow and warmth. He took another sip.

“That’s better,” he told himself, “just what I need.

He put the glass back on the table.

The phone rang.

Its sudden intrusion was obnoxiously noisy, violating the ambiance of the room and Gregory’s repose. He stood up sharply, fixing his gaze upon the phone.

“Stop it!” he yelled. “Stop it!”

But it rang, and rang.

“Stop it!”

The phone continued with its clanging. The more it did, the louder it seemed, as its interminable clamour ricocheted off the walls and the ceiling, cascading painfully into Gregory’s ears once more.

He stormed up to the offending object, shouting, “Stop it!” But his exclamation was ineffectual compared to the phone’s jarring, blatant racket. For the moment, it was anger, not fear that controlled his actions. He grasped the phone and spoke harshly into the mouthpiece.

“Who is this?”

This time, Gregory heard a voice speaking, giving instructions. It was spoken in German, and even though Gregory could hardly speak or understand German, inexplicably, he could comprehend every word that was being said. And what’s more, he knew that the voice he now listened to was none other than … Adolf Hitler.

What is your next project? I’ve started writing my fifth collection and have already done four stories for it and I’m about to start the fifth one.

What one person from history would you like to meet and why? Either Freddie Mercury because I am a big Queen fan or Jesus Christ because of his deep conviction of his belief in God and how it made him spread a message of love: that we are all accepted no matter our religion or lack of it, our colour or creed etc. What an incredibly fascinating man he would be to talk with. I don’t think you can get more diverse than that can you? A rock star and a very spiritual man!

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? That’s a biggie isn’t it? Though a cliché it would be so we can be more understanding, accepting and loving of one another.

Who inspires your writing? Every author I read whether I like their book or not

Where do you come up with your stories? It can be anywhere. At home, at work, in the car or just walking in the street

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite? I don’t have any particular favourite author.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? No. Maybe I should.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Maybe the Game Of Thrones books. To be able lay claim to such a sweeping saga with such memorable characters would be deeply gratifying.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? Never give up and don’t be disheartened.

What are some of your favorite books and why? Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke. I like all his books but this one really struck a chord. I suppose, what are we in the vastness of this universe? Game of Thrones books by George R R Martin because of the depth of his characters and the vastness of his immense storyline. Most of the Lee Child books. I’m invested in the character Reacher, and far too many more to mention here.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing? I think both have their place, but if you’re an unknown there’s no problem getting self-published, but traditional publishing, like the music business, is incredibly hard to succeed in.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published? I think sometimes there can be a bit of snobbery in regards this

What book are you currently reading or just finished? Just started reading Hekla’s Children by James Brogden

What do your readers mean to you? Everything. Without them I wouldn’t publish, and it’s very uplifting when someone takes the time to put on a review, especially if it’s a positive one.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others? Ready Player One is one of the best SF books I’ve ever read, and is now being made into a major motion picture by Steven Spielberg, and should be released sometime in 2018.

There ya have it folks! Many thanks John! For more about John, his work, and to get your copy, follow the links below:

Email / Facebook / Goodreads / AmazonUK / AmazonUS

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