Author Corner–Matthew Dexter

E: Hail and well met, Matthew!  Thanks for popping in.  And you brought me pie!  I Knew I was going to like you.  Just put it up someplace high so Charlie doesn’t eat the middle out of it.  He only likes the middles.  Some corpses, I tell ya.

M: Gorgeous place. Thanks for having me. I heard about Charlie. The pie was from the forest, and the Ritalin was from Connecticut. Charlie don´t touch that.

Charlie did, in fact, touch the Ritalin.  Sweet mother of pie, if he wasn’t already dead I would have killed him.

E: You had a book come out earlier this year, The Ritalin Orgy from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.  It’s the next book in my review pile, actually.  Once I get caught up on some of these papers, I plan to dive on in.  What can you tell us about it?

M: It’s a novel about a teacher losing his mind at a boarding school. It’s about the morons and rich snobs who bully and haze their way to fancy careers. It’s about the faculty who live amid the privileged and the scholarship students doing what they can to survive. The Orgy is not of a sexual nature. The Ritalin use is pervasive and now replaced with cocaine.

Ritalin Orgy

E: What made you write this particular book?

M: I had written a few manuscripts about this prep school and wanted to get it out of my system before dying. If I can save one life, it is worth it.

E: You have 10 stories coming out.  Can you tell us a little bit about those and what publications those will be in?

M: I have a novelette about a drug smuggler coming out with Sententia: The Journal: 6. I have narrative nonfiction forthcoming in Pea River Journal and Gravel. One piece is about a Mexican highway and the other is about getting high while working at National Rental Car. I have flash fiction and short stories coming out in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Adroit Journal, Vending Machine Press, and other venues. I have a restaurant review forthcoming from Sleet Magazine. I have more stories submitted but am trying to focus on starting a new novel. Sometimes such attempts turn into shorter pieces. These sometimes find homes and readers.

E: You have a substantial amount of story publications.  And by substantial, I mean holy crapballs, that’s a lot of stories!  What does your writing schedule look like?  Do you writer at the same time every day or do you grab time when you can?  Living in paradise, I imagine it would be easy to get distracted.

M: It is easy to get distracted. I try to write as soon as I wake up, but would be lying if I said I write thousands of words on end. There are days I do not write. These are the worst days. I am trying to eliminate these and bang out at least 500-1,000 words. When writing a novel, I typical write at least 2,000 words every day for a few months till I have enough pages for a first draft. Many things I write do not get published, either because they are terrible, I never finish them, or they get lost for another project.

E: You have a second novel coming out.  Can you tell us anything about it?

M: First, I have to write it.

E: You have a lot of Hunter S. Thompson quotes listed as inspirational.  What is it about him that draws you in?

M: I admire the prose and humor and recreational drug use. Also, the freelance writer mentality of living in a foreign country is something that I enjoy.

Interesting side note: Inspirare, in addition to meaning to inspire, can also mean to breathe or to inhale.  Or maybe it’s not that interesting and it’s just me being an English Major.  Carry on.

M: I think it is interesting. I was lost in Old English and Greek vernacular, and that caught my eye.

E:  There are a lot of conventions and such coming up.  Are you planning to attend any of them?  And are there any upcoming promotional dates for you?

M: I would be up for anything if the possibility existed. I am confined to Mexico with my son and wife and many of these things cost money, so I am not a conventional convention star. Put me at a bar in front of the ocean, and I will read you some stories, some Ritalin Orgy or other tales for your inebriated pleasures.

You can find Matthew on his website or on Facebook.

Celia’s Now at Barnes & Noble

Just got word in the last day or two that Celia is now available through Barnes & Noble online!  This means that I can start working on a book signing now that my book is a part of their catalog.  I should very much like to do a book signing, so if you should very much like to attend a book signing, let them know.  You can find them on Twitter or on Facebook.  Who knows?  Maybe if out of town stores get enough requests, I can travel.  Wouldn’t that be nifty?  And if you’re local?  You can always call or pop on in.  Consider this your holiday gift to me.  😀

Author Corner–T. Fox Dunham

E: Hi, Fox!  Welcome to my humble blog.  Sorry for it being so cold in here.  I find the lower temperatures help keep Charlie from smelling so bad.  Do you need a blanket?

F: I have a gorgeous blanket, brown and covered in foxes, that Tara Fox Hall made for me. All my friends have seen it. I take it to Author’s Cons. She’s making me a bigger one too! I adore it. Who the hell is Charlie? The blanket is very small, but I will try to share.

He doesn’t know about Charlie?  Heh heh, he’s in for a treat.

E: You have a story coming out soon as part of the One Night Stands series from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing titled, “Doctor Kevorkian Goes to Heaven.”  What can you tell us about the story?

F: I’m a very sick man, and I should be locked up. The story is mostly about stasis, about standing still. Doc K wanted to free us from a painful afterlife, and in the book, he invents a cure for mortality, obviating euthanasia. Everything stops. And Gods is Doc K pissed when he goes to heaven. I wrote the story in a Vonnegut style but also my own literary voice. It’s one of my favorite pieces.  I’ve written so much for PMMP. I’m Max Booth III’s bitch.

E: You also had a book pre-release a few weeks ago from Gutter Books.  What can you tell us about The Street Martyr and do you know when it will be available for everyone?

F: The Street Martyr is my first novel, though several are following it up. Short fiction authors reach a plateau and must move to long fiction to further their careers. I am told through our distributor, IPGN, that it will be available by the holiday season, in book stores, libraries and online. It’s about two low-level drug dealers trying to survive in impoverished Philly.  When one of them is accused of the death of a pedophile priest, it becomes a fight for life against the city, the mob and police. Vincent will eventually expose a deep and depraved circle, protected by the system, that only a vigilante street hero can fight. And he will rise to the light.

E: You just finished up a trip to Anthocon.  You did a reading there, correct?  What was that like?

F: I read to friends and the dead. They scheduled me last, so we had a lot of shadows. Still, I blew the roof off the place with The Street Martyr. Cons are hit or miss. It’s nice to see friends, to make deals, but they’re not always helpful. But wow. Seven Jameson’s Whiskey for only 22 dollars? Dangerous Dangerous place, NH.

Word of caution: if you’d like to check out more about Anthocon, just click the link.  Don’t misspell it.  I misspelled it and got Anthrocon.  For the love of pie, don’t look that up!  You’re looking it up now, aren’t you?  

E: You’re also going to be a special guest author at Noircon this year.  What does that entail?

F: I’ll be doing special readings of the Street Martyr, signings, hanging at the Gutter Book table, sitting on panels and talking about my favorite subject: ME. I’m also doing a wild story for their anthology. The Con is in Philly, so I expect that my editor and several bum friends will be staying at my house. The bums!

E: Do you have any other events that you’re going to be a part of either at the end of this year or early next year?

F: I’m setting up several events around and in Philly over the next year. I plan to be reading from street corners, art galleries, coffee shops and lots of events in Lansdale have invited me to speak. The next reading is an event from Amy Rims, local artist in Lansdale PA, at the Water Gallery in Lansdale on the 22nd. You can find info for it on my author’s page

I will probably be at Texas Frightmare in Dallas, Texas with Max Booth III and Lori Michelle, both editors at PMMP, and I’m hoping to swing up to the WHC in Portland. It depends what’s being published at the time that requires promotion. I do nothing but travel anymore or sit at Molly’s and write.

E: You have a book coming out from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing this summer  with a very long title: DESTROYING THE TANGIBLE ILLUSION OF REALITY; OR, SEARCHING FOR ANDY KAUFMAN.  What can you tell us about this title?

F: That it’s officially the longest title they’ve ever published. I’m proud of that. I like making Max work. Well it’s all about dying of cancer and the way reality becomes an illusion. You realize that so much of what we call reality is tangible and an illusion—a construct of the mind. This is something that Andy Kaufman understood as reality bled for him. What is death and life? My characters seek to discover this as they head north, seeking proof that he is the lost son of Andy. That’s not implausible. Andy was a sexual addict.

E: You’ve written and published a lot of stories.  Do you have a favorite?

F: That’s difficult. I have parts of me scattered all over the field like I jumped into a helicopter blade. Still, the piece that comes to mind, the one I felt the best has to be The Unhappy Accident or Feelin’ Feel in the PMMP Vonnegut Anthology, So It Goes. If I had to throw a story at the Divine Creator like a bag full of burning shit on his lawn, it would be that one. I got to speak like truly me, from my own deep and natural voice as I wrote about what I loved. I am grateful to Max Booth III for seeking that voice out in me—ergo the Kevorkian piece and Andy and several other stories. He’s still a Lil’ Bastard, but I adore the guy.

MAX! MARRY ME!!!!! I Want to them babies of yours!!!

You can find Fox on his blog and on Twitter.

And now the age old question has been answered.  You know what the fox says.

Ultreia, Inc Reading and a Podcast

A few days ago, I mentioned that I had submitted “I Can Hear You” for a local reading event.  That event was held by Ultreia, Inc. last night, and my piece was accepted.  Huzzah!  Two of my college professors were in the audience, as well as a former classmate, so it was neat for me to have people I knew out there.  The reading featured 9 other local writers and there was some amazing work that was being shared.  It was a fantastic experience and I hope I have the opportunity to do more with this group in the future.  If you have Facebook (and I know you do.  Stop playing Candy Crush and look at me when I’m typing to you.), consider giving them a like, even if you’re not local.

This Friday, 11/15 at 6:30 pm, I’ll be doing another reading on IU-South Bend campus in The Grille.  The theme of the night is Analecta, which is the campus literary journal, and I’ll be reading a portion of my story “Blood and Rain” which was published in this year’s issue and won the first place prize for fiction.  It’s a small literary journal with no distribution, so if you just happen to be a publisher and you happen to be in the mood to publish it, you should let me know that.  😀

This past Friday, I recorded my first ever podcast interview with the good folks at Newbie Writers.  Have you ever wondered what I sound like?  Wonder no more!  Listen to my dulcet tones as I explain why my pets must be able to double as a food source.  It was a great interview and I had a lot of fun doing it.  I don’t plan to change my own interview format, but I had fun with the podcast, so maybe I’ll do something with that in the future.

Author Corner–James Dorr

E: Hi, James!  Welcome to Erindipity.  Would you care for refreshments?  Charlie wanted me to serve brains and threatened to go on a hunger strike until I did.  I told him to let me know how that works out for him, seeing as he’s dead and all.

J: Actually I’m more of a blood man myself.  Would Charlie mind if we just had drinks?  

E: You had a book come out this past May from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, The Tears of Isis.  It’s currently in my review stack and I can’t wait to get started on it.  What can you tell us about it?

J: The Tears of Isis is a collection of 17 stories and an opening poem beginning with the “sculptress” Medusa, and ending with the title story of another sculptress searching for inspiration through the Egyptian myth of the Weeping Isis.  These are dark stories for the most part and not all necessarily directly about art — along the way we meet vampires, insects, sea creatures, alien landscapes, people who make things from human bones, others who keep pets, even a dragon — but by the end, hopefully, all relating to a theme of beauty linked with destruction.  Creation and death.  For of course, without death, where would there be the need for new life?      

You can also find Tears of Isis on Barnes&Noble.

TheTearsOfIsis

E: I don’t usually spend a lot of time talking about cover art, but I’d love to know what inspired this cover.  It’s very striking, and as far as covers go, it’s one of my favorites.  What went into designing it?

J: I had sent some suggestions to the publisher, mainly several descriptive passages from the story “The Tears of Isis” along with some samples of Egyptian art showing Isis in her vulture-winged aspect, which were passed on to the artist, William Cook.  I was a bit surprised myself with what he came up with, having envisioned something perhaps more scene-like, and yet, with its strict bilateral symmetry evoking Egyptian motifs, yet not constrained by ancient Egyptian stylistic convention (the wings, for instance, perhaps more resembling an eagle’s than an Egyptian vulture’s — but most of the stories in the collection not on Egyptian motifs either), the design was, as you say, very striking.  Stark, almost, with its deep, dark background lit by the Isis-figure’s sun-disk headdress, and yet with other elements (the barely-seen eyes, for instance, peering out through the background darkness) pointing toward the book being about more than just Egypt.  From that, my only further suggestions had to do with where and how the lettering would be positioned, to reinforce the formal symmetry of the art.         

E: You also have two other book collections out.  What can you tell us about them? 

J: Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance and Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret, published by Dark Regions Press in 2001 and 2007 respectively, are also short fiction collections, but each with a section of poetry at the end.  They differ in one way in that they are not as strongly themed as The Tears of Isis (although one reviewer has suggested a preponderance of strong female figures in Strange Mistresses in particular), reflecting, perhaps among other things, the way the collections were put together.  With these the publisher chose the stories from larger samplings that I provided, whereas, with The Tears of Isis, I had complete control in terms of both the material used and the order in which it would be presented.  That said, however, both are primarily fantasy collections leaning toward horror — including stories originally published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Gothic.Net, Short Story Digest, etc.,  as well as new material — with the second probably the darker of the two.     

strangemist

darkerloves

E: You just had a story accepted.  Your website calls it an “Eco-horror Veggie Anthology.”  That sounds fascinating.  What can you tell us about “Seeds” and about the anthology it will appear in? 

J:  The guidelines called for “any kind of story related to plants, nature, forests, gardens, or anything scary/dark/bizarre in relation to vegetable matter.”  In short, ecology gone wild — horribly wild.  In view of that, my story “Seeds” (a reprint, incidentally, originally from KEEN SCIENCE FICTION more than a decade ago) may seem almost tame, only having to do with a newly-planted backyard flower garden gone wrong.  But the story’s protagonist really didn’t want to plant it, it having been his wife’s idea, and the female assistant at the seed store shares with him a love of Chicago Cubs baseball. . . .  The anthology will be called GROWING CONCERNS, to be published by Chupa Cabra House 

E: You write poetry as well as prose.  For you, how do those genres influence each other in your writing?

J:  From writing poetry, I believe one gains a greater love for words and the way they sound, as well as using them concisely and, at least in formal verse, in a context where patterns (such as rhyme and meter) have to co-exist with meaning.  I’d like to think that poetry has had a great influence on my prose, making me pay more attention to structure and cadence, and to picking the exactly right word or phrase — to be hyper-aware of, as Mark Twain might say, “the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”  It also heightens, I think, a sense of character and voice, how different people, or even different kinds of stories, will just sound different if done correctly.  And there’s a connection the other way too, that a sense of story in writing fiction can guide me in seeing an individual poem as possibly part of a greater concept.  To not-so-subtly sneak in a plug, a book we haven’t mentioned yet, Vamps (A Retrospective) published in 2011 by Sam’s Dot (now White Cat Publications), is my first book-length collection of poetry, in this case all having to do with vampires even if individually employing a variety of approaches and styles.    

E: Are you a plotter or a pantser, or some combination of the two? 

J:  The straightforward answer is a combination.  I usually will have a good idea of where a story will end — sometimes even writing out a tentative ending first, then struggling to find where the story begins.  However, I’m not sure there’s all that great a difference between these approaches insofar as, in my own case, when I was just starting out I often wrote out extensive notes on what sequence events would happen in and how each scene might act to advance a story, whereas now, once I’m properly started, I just let the words flow.  But doesn’t this simply mean that I’ve learned enough through sufficiently long experience that what I once had to work out consciously now just gets done on an unconscious level?  That is, that I’m still doing the same sorts of things, but now I don’t have to think about them (at least not as much).      

E: What has been the most valuable experience for you as a writer?

J:  It was through writing, a very long time ago, that I met The Woman Who Was To Become My Ex-Wife.  While I can joke about it now as well as harbor a few regrets, for a time there was, I believe, a genuine love between us.  And that is always a valuable thing.    

 Dorr2012

You can find James on his blog or on Facebook.

Author Corner–Johnny Worthen

E: Hey, Johnny!  Welcome to Erindipity!  Take a seat, have a beverage.  I realize it’s no Blog Mansion, but I do what I can.  Charlie!  Don’t be rude.  Greet our guest.

Unintelligible corpsy sounds.

J: I have a Charlie, too. Well, bits of one anyway.

E: You’ve just had a novel release from Omnium Gatherum Media, BEATRYSEL.  I can’t wait to get some time to actually read it.  Tell us a little bit about it and what inspired you to write it.

J: BEATRYSEL is the tale of a demon, created by her Magus lover, rent from him but seeking return. It is the tale of the Magus who made her and lost himself in the act. It is a tale of jilted lovers, betrayals and loss; power and Magick. It explores modern occult theory as practiced today and the manifest power of love made real.

BEATRYSEL arose from a distinct moment in my life. First I couldn’t find modern occultism treated accurately or sympathetically in fiction. Having studied it for years and understanding its potential, I wanted to incorporate that belief system into a story with like-minded characters.

Then there was the issue of love and a hate, betrayal and affection. BEATRYSEL was born at a time in my life when my friends were all hit with a plague of divorces about the same time. It was frightening and contagious. I watched best friends suffer pain and anguish like I’d never thought possible. The raw emotion took on an almost living form and it was an easy step for me to visualize it just that way, as a spirit. And thus, I made BEATRYSEL.

51u0JMHehXL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

E: This is your debut novel.  What has been the best part of the experience and what has been the most terrifying part for you?

J: Seeing it done has been the best part of it. I started my writing career late. Then I made the mistake of seeking publication in the traditional way of having a great book and seeking an agent. That way lies madness. Thus, I got an even later start. Once I went straight to publishers and editors I got picked up in short order and for multiple titles and have kicked myself ever since.

And so finally, after trying to get published for so long, seeing my book in print was a life-affirming event, an unparalleled thrill. But now, of course, it’s out there. And anyone can see it. That’s the terrifying part right there. I’m exposed. Or rather, my baby is exposed and there’s nothing I can do now. It’s like sending a kid to college, really. I know because I did that this year too. I’m all worry and powerlessness now. I can only hope that I did a good enough job that my baby can succeed on its own.

E: You’re also in the process of releasing another novel.  Well done, Sir!  What is the title and what can you tell us about it?

J: “Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.”

ELEANOR begins a young adult paranormal trilogy. It’s a story about a young girl growing up as inconspicuously as possible in a small Wyoming town.

ELEANOR is a very different book and very different experience than BEATRYSEL. Where BEATRYSEL is terrifying, ELEANOR is emotional; where love drives people to madness in BEATRYSEL, it redeems them in ELEANOR.

E: Today is also the cover reveal.  Well, don’t just sit there!  Show it to us, man!  How did you choose this cover?

J: The cover reveal is early. My publisher’s catalog is set far in advance. ELEANOR will not be released for months still. I’m looking at the summer in fact. That’s alright though. Eleanor is patient.

EleanorCover

E: How was the process for this new book different from the first one?  Did you learn anything from the first book that made it easier with this new one?

J: I was more disciplined with ELEANOR. I wrote BEATRYSEL before I made writing a career and so it was took years to write. With ELEANOR, I made it my life’s work to see the story through and worked diligently and straight on until the third book was done. It was intense but wonderful.

I tend not to censor myself in regard to theme and language in my stories, and knowing I wanted ELEANOR to be for young adults I struggled for a while on how to “dumb it down,” so to speak. Then I realized the only change I needed to make was to curtail my potty mouth. Young adults are more than capable of handling the big themes of love and change, fear, belonging and loneliness, life and death as are adults, perhaps more so. Once I realized this, I was free to write ELEANOR as she needed to be written.

I should say that I am not a fan of books that drag it into a series whether you like it or not. Therefor, ELEANOR, the first book in the series is actually a complete stand-alone title. The next two in the series continue the story, and I encourage you to read those too, but the first book, ELEANOR is thematically and structurally complete. 

I’m not sure why I felt I needed to mention that.

E: What are you currently working on?

J: I’m in edits with another literary horror called WHAT IMMORTAL HAND and I’m shopping a mystery thriller called THE BRAND DEMAND. As of today, I am 15,000 words into a book I know only as XANDER, a near future dystopia of haves and have-nots inspired by my recent readings of THE HUNGER GAMES, and Howard Zinn’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc., that you’d like to share with us?

J: I wish I did. I’ll be at Wordharvest, The 2013 Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference in Santa Fe from the 7th to the 10th of this month. After that, I’m back in hermit mode. I’ll be lining up book signings for BEATRYSEL but I haven’t yet. I’ll have to wait until Spring for ELEANOR events. I’ll keep you posted.

You can find Johnny on his blog, his website, on Facebook, and on Goodreads.

Recommend It Monday–Four Days by Eli Wilde and ‘Anna DeVine

Last time on RIM, I reviewed Cruel by Eli Wilde.  Today, I’m going to talk about the next book in the Strangers in Paradise Trilogy, Four Days.  When I talked about the first book, I compared it to the movie 8MM in that you only need to consume it once, and then never again.  For most people, I’d say this holds true with Four Days.  I just may pick this one up again sometime, though.

Four Days

This book is both horrible and beautiful.  What separates it from Cruel, for me, is that Emily is a grown woman when the events of the book takes place whereas Evan is a small child when his story begins.  For me, that makes it easier for me to handle Emily’s story.  This book is every bit as graphic as the last one, so if you have any triggers this is not the book for you.

What I appreciate the most about Wilde and DeVine is their ability to be graphic without being gratuitous.  Violence, especially sexual violence, serves a purpose.  It’s a horrible purpose, to be sure, but a purpose nonetheless.  The writing is captivating and skillfully done.  There’s also a commitment to the story.  If at any time Wilde and DeVine would have hesitated or faltered in any way, the whole thing would have imploded.

Like Cruel, Four Days is a shorter book and is meant to be read in a single afternoon.  This time, I devoured the book and was left wanting to know more.  Dublin is the final book in the trilogy, and I don’t have a release date on that yet, but I cannot wait to get my hands on it.  The first two books can be read as stand-alones, and they can be read in any order.  I read them in their proper order, and it was neat to see the way the authors wove in those intersections.  

If you read this book, or Cruel, stop back by and let me know what you thought.