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On the Spotlight: THE DEAD LETTER, by Finley Martin

 

THE DEAD LETTER SYNOPSIS
It is 2001 and the police constable’s girlfriend is murdered in a fit of jealous rage. When the constable realizes what he has done, he manages an elaborate cover-up. Only one person knows the truth. Flash forward to 2012. Anne Brown is still running her late uncle, Bill Darby’s, detective agency after spending four or five years as his assistant. One day, the postman delivers an eleven year-old letter. The letter is addressed to her uncle from a woman named Carolyn Jollimore. She says she has evidence about a murder and begs for help from Darby. But Bill Darby is dead. And when Anne looks up the letter’s author, she finds that Jollimare too is now dead. Troubled with the evidence at hand, Anne must decide if she should investigate this eleven-year old murder.
PURCHASE
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Finley’s  Website / Facebook / LinkedIn / Goodreads

Finley Martin was born in Binghamton, New York and grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He received a B.A. degree in English at the University of Scranton, and during the 1960’s he served as an officer with the United States Marine Corps at posts in America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

After he returned to civilian life, he worked as a free-lance writer, p.r. consultant, and photographer and became public relations director at International Correspondence Schools. In the 70’s he received an M.A. from the University of Ottawa and a B.Ed. from the University of Prince Edward Island.  For many years he taught English literature at high school and writing courses at university.  He has also worked as a truck driver, labourer, carpenter, boat builder, and deckhand aboard commercial fishing vessels and passenger ferries.

During his writing career he published numerous magazine and newspaper articles, poetry, and short stories in Canada and the U.S.  He produced a mini-series for CBC Radio and has given numerous poetry readings.
He authored three books: New Maritime Writing, Square Deal Pub., Charlottetown, PE; A View from the Bridge, Montague, PE; and The Reluctant Detective, The Acorn Press, Charlottetown, PE.


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On the Spotlight: Nightscape: Cynopolis, by David W. Edwards

SYNOPSIS
 
Detroit’s eastside has seen its share of horrors. Once-proud factories gutted for scrap. Whole neighborhoods burned out and boarded up. Nature drained of color. But nothing like this: a thought-virus that turns the city’s dogs feral and its underclass into jackal-headed beasts.
 
The city erupts in chaos and nightmare violence. Communication in or out is impossible. The skies fill with lethal drone copters and airships bristling with heavy-duty cannon. Abandoned to their separate fates among hordes of monsters, the few surviving humans must find a way to elude the military blockade preventing their escape or to defeat the virus at its source—before government forces sacrifice them all.
 
Breakneck action, rogue science and deft portraiture combine for a grand and gripping tale of urban terror.
 
 
 
PURCHASE
 
THE AUTHOR
Website
/  
Facebook  /  Twitter
 Goodreads  /
YouTube

David W. Edwards is the writer, director and
producer of the feature film Nightscape and author of the novels Nightscape: The Dreams of Devils and Nightscape: Cynopolis. He attended the University of Southern  California’s prestigious screenwriting program and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature while working for a variety of Hollywood production companies. He’s the founder and former CEO of a successful high-tech market research firm, and a former two-term state representative. He currently lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his family.
 
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Character Interview: Caleb Madroc from Donna Galanti’s paranormal suspense, ‘A Hidden Element’

?????????????????????????????????????????????We’re thrilled to have here today Caleb Madroc from Donna Galanti’s new paranormal suspense novel, book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element.  Caleb is 25 and an Elyon Community cult member living in the wilds of Oregon in a secret community his father created.

It is a pleasure to have Caleb with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Caleb. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I am not as saintly as the author makes me out to be. I train our community to kill people with their minds, and I cannot save all the lost souls hurt by my father’s oppression. I should do more to escape his evil rule, and stop him! He believes I’m weak and I can never be as strong as he, and I think he may be right. But I should still try to stop him, even while he threatens to kill my sons if I don’t obey him! And I know I’m weak, because I’ve never tried to stop my father’s hateful leadership because he is my father. Even while I hate him, part of me still loves him and yearns for his fatherly love that I once had as a child.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I help others in my community. I save them from severe punishment, and even death, and in doing so put myself in the position to be punished by whipping. I can stand the whippings—if it means sparing the punished some pain. Those scars I can bear. The scars of my lost love, Rachel, and not knowing my sons sear my heart forever.

Worse trait?

Not having the strength to fight my father and stop him from his evil oppression of our people. I fear he will kill my sons if he does.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Sam Winchester from Supernatural! He is strong and tormented and on a dangerous mission like me, yet has a full heart ready to give away if he only had the chance.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

In my community we are forced to breed as dictated by my father. This sickens me and so for years I pretended to be impotent, but lost my will just once at nineteen. She had been such a beautiful, sweet female. Rachel was her name and she pleased me across a sea of soft nights. I fell in love with her from that first night, possessing her body, soul, and mind. But our bond was soon severed. She was sent to mate with another…and then another and another. But she was already pregnant then with our twins I would never know, raised by a community of women. And I would never get to touch her again, until the day I led her to her death. You can read about my first love interest before I came to Oregon in The Dark Inside.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I was betrayed by an evil whore, my father was taken away, and I thought I’d lose my sons forever. I grew so weary of helping everyone else and never helping myself. All seemed lost.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really want to be and why?

Ben Fieldstone. He and I are very much alike. We both are willing to sacrifice all for our families, and for love. Yet he’s lucky as he got to be a father to his son, unlike me who’s been separated from my own sons. He also gets to love Laura, who is beautiful inside and out. I will always keep close in my heart the secret night I spent with her where we were forced together in an intimate space. We did not betray Ben, though it was difficult to not make love to her. My desire for her was – and is – very strong.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Torn. I get a sense of hope, but what I also know about normal society drives fear in me that all may not go well. I am afraid of going from one prison to another prison of a different making.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

Please give me someone to love of my own choosing. Live has been so full of ugliness and loneliness these past few years. And let me watch my sons grow to become the amazing men I know they will become.

Thank you for this interview, Caleb! Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I am hopeful I can assimilate into regular society and that the world can accept me, even with the terrible things I’ve been forced to do. Don’t judge me by what I’ve done through oppression rather judge me for what’s in my heart.

ABOUT A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

Evil lurks within…

When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so? 

PRAISE FOR A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall

 “Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

 “Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector

Donna GalantiABOUT DONNA:

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.

Website: www.ElementTrilogy.com

Blog: http://www.elementtrilogy.com/blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767306.Donna_Galanti

BUY THE ELEMENT TRILOGY BOOKS:

Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element: http://amzn.to/1p1YD1o
Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element: http://amzn.to/1mNcyCO
ON SALE NOW THROUGH 8/31 FOR JUST $.99cents!

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Profile: Donna Galanti, Author of ‘A Human Element’

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and the forthcoming Joshua and The Lightning Road.

Galanti, Donna 2An avid reader as a child, Galanti grew up in a nurturing environment, immersed in books such as The Hobbit,Little House in the Big WoodsThe Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of The Mountain, Call of the Wild and White Fang. “My favorite author was Roald Dahl and my favorite book of his was Danny the Champion of the World,” says Galanti, whose dark imagination ran wild from the start.

From her early years in England to her later work in Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer, Galanti always dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote her first murder mystery screenplay at the tender age of seven. She had a career in writing for marketing and communications and ran her own resume writing service, but it wasn’t until her mother died five years ago that she began writing novels out of her grief. Eventually, that grief turned to peace, when she fully realized what it was she truly loved to do: becoming a storyteller. In addition to being a full-time author, Galanti also works part time as a freelance copywriter for an advertising agency.

“I write from the dark side with a glimpse of hope. I am drawn to writing the hero’s journey – more so the tormented hero, and tormented villain. I enjoy creating empathy for both by blurring the lines between good and evil,” states the author, whose first two books in The Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element (Imajin Books, August 2014) are both full of murder and mystery with a dash of steam, and both have their own tormented hero and villain. “I slay my own demons through my writing – and I highly recommend it!” she says.

A Human Element, just released by Imajin Books, is the thrilling, unrelenting page-turner story of Laura Armstrong. Her friends and family members are being murdered and, despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown, where she eventually unravels a terrifying secret that binds her to the killer.

The book has already garnered excellent praise from New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and international bestselling author M.J. Rose.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]Galanti lives in an old farmhouse – sadly, with no ghosts – with many fireplaces where she often curls up to create her page-turners. Other times she works in her office overlooking the woods. Throughout the year she meets weekly with a women’s writing group at a café where they write together and share advice and their success stories.

“When I am creating a new book I love to sit outdoors overlooking the woods with a pen and notebook and handwrite my ideas. My thoughts are slowed down this way as my brain connects to pen in hand, and it opens my mind up to brainstorm,” says the author, describing her creative process. “There is nothing more freeing creatively to journal story ideas and throw all sorts of ‘what if?’ questions out there to find the kernel of a good story you want to pursue. Then I create character worksheets and type up a ten page synopsis of the book. I do all this before I write that first word of the story. And I always create a title first! It’s what drives my inspiration for the story.”

Galanti began writing A Human Element seventeen years ago from a vision she had while driving to work one day. She wrote two chapters and shelved them for over a decade. When she finally decided to continue the story, she wrote Monday through Friday from 4:30am to 6:30am. After seven months she typed THE END.

All writers have their stronger and weaker points, and for this author, revision is her favorite process. That’s where she can make her story shine. “Knowing how important this process is has been one of my strong points,” she says. “There are many layers to a story to be found after you write that first draft, and that’s what I love to do: peel back the layers.” One area she struggled in for a long time was to slow down her writing. She can be a very fast writer, creating pages and pages of words that often would need to be trimmed down. She has since then learned to slow down her writing and craft her words with care as she writes them, so she doesn’t have to spend so much time on revision.

In an era when small presses, the good, the bad and the ugly, abound, Galanti’s experience has been nothing but positive. “My experience with Imajin Books has been amazing!” she says of her Canadian-based publisher. “Imajin Books is dedicated to working with me to help my books succeed. The owner, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, is a bestselling author in her own right.” Imajin Books was very responsive and provided in-depth editorial guidance as well as marketing plans, not to mention fantastic book cover designs. The publishing industry is notorious for being slow-moving, but in the case of The Element Trilogy, Imajin Books made the process quick and efficient.

As with many authors, Galanti finds starting a new book most challenging. The first blank page can be a scary thing, until the story takes over, propelling your main character into his new unbalanced world toward the ultimate end. However, being an author can be extremely rewarding. “When it comes to readers, there is nothing more thrilling than reading wonderful reviews about your book that you spent months, or years, creating and shaping,” she says. “It’s from that private place in your heart, where you love the most – and hurt the most – that you pour out pages to show the world. And it’s all worthwhile when you discover that others have been touched by your story, just as you were touched while you were writing it. Second, it’s rewarding to pay it forward to up-and-coming authors. There is a wonderful feeling that comes from speaking to writers about your publishing journey and sharing advice and techniques on how to find success as an author, and hope that they do.”

Galanti is currently working on the idea for the third and final book in The Element Trilogy called, A Healing Element, and gearing up to release book 2, A Hidden Element, on August 28th. A native of upstate New York, the author now lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle—preferably with ghosts.

Connect with the author on Facebook Twitter and her Blog.

This profile was originally published in Blogcritics

Character Interview: Shiloh Williams from D.W. Raleigh’s Fantasy novel, ‘Shiloh’s True Nature’

shiloWe’re thrilled to have here today Shiloh Williams from D.W. Raleigh’s new Fantasy novel, Shiloh’s True Nature.  Shiloh is 13 and currently living in Fair Hill.

It is a pleasure to have Shiloh with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Shiloh.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?  

Yes, I believe my portrayal was fairly accurate.  The story takes place over 14 days and is mostly from my point of view.  So, my thoughts and feelings were evident in most circumstances…Although it felt like there was a whole day where I was detached.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

My personality was definitely explored and sometimes painfully so. I just turned 13, so I’m in that somewhat awkward phase of youth.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Well, you’ll have to read the book to find that out, but l will tell you one thing…I’m highly resilient.

Worse trait?

To put it kindly, I’m inquisitive.  To be blunt, I’m a compulsive eavesdropper.  If I want to know, then I need to know.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? 

Given the age requirements to make it believable, it would have to be a complete unknown.  It wouldn’t make sense to have Tom Cruise try to play me…even though he might try.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Well, sort of…but not exactly…there is someone I kind of like.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I became nervous plenty of times, but not because I learned how things would turn out…the end was a complete shock to me.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t want to be Haines.  He resides in the most amazing place, surrounded by incredible people, and he just goes against the grain.  Maybe if I knew more about him, I’d feel differently, but from what I do know, he’s not a nice person.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? 

It’s very hard to answer that question.  It all happened so fast for me.  I’m still in shock.  The other characters seemed elated with the ending though.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it? 

I truly believe the first story was wonderful.  So, I’d suggest more of the same, only different.

Thank you for this interview, Shiloh.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Absolutely.  The next installment is in the works.

**********************

About the Book

Title: Shiloh’s True Nature

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Author: D.W. Raleigh

Publisher: Hobbes End Publishing

When 12 year-old farm boy Shiloh Williams is sent to stay with his estranged grandfather, he discovers a mysterious new world inhabited by ‘Movers’. The Movers live in symbiotic harmony with one another, except one extremely powerful Mover who has stolen the town’s most precious artifact, the Eternal Flame. Shiloh investigates his supernatural surroundings, makes new friends, and begins to think of the town as home. However, just as soon as he starts to fit in, he realizes his newfound happiness is about to come to an abrupt end. One decision and one extreme consequence are all that remain.

Amazon Paperback Kindle 

Hobbes End Publishing / Author Page / Facebook

 About the Author

Doug Raleigh Pic

D.W. Raleigh was born in the Delaware Valley and has spent most of his life in that region. He has attended multiple colleges and universities collecting several degrees, including an M.A. in Philosophy. After toiling away for many years in various unfulfilling jobs, he began to realize that what he really wanted to do was write. Scribbling down ideas and little short stories he eventually came up with something he wanted to share with the world. Thus, Shiloh’s True Nature was born. D.W. currently resides in Newark, Delaware with his longtime love, Judy, and their two cats, Lovie and Cheepie.

Character Interview: Madam from Allison M. Dickson’s psychological thriller, STRINGS

Strings_Cover_253x391We’re thrilled to have here today Madam from Allison M. Dickson’s thriller, STRINGS.  She’s coming to us all the way from the great state of New York.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Madam.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

It’s as truthful a portrayal as one can ask for. It was brutal and I wish people hadn’t seen some of the things that had happened, particularly with Victor, but I hope people can understand how trapped I felt.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m a survivor, through and through. Dante, my chosen father, taught me well in that regard.

Worst trait?

I crave power and control.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Frances Fisher or Tilda Swinton would be wonderful.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Oh Benny Rosen… I wouldn’t call him a love interest necessarily, though he nearly had me fooled.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I had a feeling it would all go south with Nina. There was always something about that girl…

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

As poorly as I have things, I don’t know that I could survive any length of time a captor in the Ballas house.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Some endings satisfy you. Others make you crave more.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

I suppose I could ask for mercy, but given my life up to this point, I should know better.

Thank you for this interview.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I don’t think I’ll be staying put for long.

—————————————————————–

Allison Author Photo1Allison M. Dickson is a writer of dark contemporary fiction living in Dayton, Ohio. Though STRINGS is her debut novel, she has been writing for a number of years, with several short stories (including “Dust” and “Under the Scotch Broom”) available on Amazon. Two of her stories were featured The Endlands Volume 2 from Hobbes End Publishing. In 2014, Hobbes End will also be releasing her dystopian science fiction novel, THE LAST SUPPER, and she is independently producing her pulpy dieselpunk noir novel, COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER to be released in November of 2013. When she isn’t writing, she’s one of the co-hosts of the weekly Creative Commoners podcast.  She might also be found gaming, watching movies, hiking the local nature preserve with her husband and two kids who also serve as willing guinea pigs for her many culinary experiments.

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Book Review: Mysterious Albion, by Paul Leone

 

17605079The Catholic Church fights the Legions of Hell in Mysterious Albion, Book I in Leone’s Vatican Vampire Hunter series.

American college student Lucy Manning is visiting the London nightclub scene when she loses her best friend to a vampire. Traumatized by her friend’s death as well as by the fact that she herself was almost killed, Lucy flights back to the States.

But soon after, she is visited by two members of the Church — Father Gelasius and Sister Anne — who make her an offer she can’t resist.

Against her family’s wishes, Lucy heads back to London and joins a secret society of vampire hunters. Together with Father Gelasius, Sister Anne, and two other young members like herself, Lucy begins to fight the vampires who haunt the streets of night-time London — of course, not without going through a tough training first.

As more innocent victims disappear, it becomes obvious that the situation is getting worse…for an ancient, powerful vampire has risen from her slumber, and she’ll stop at nothing to shed rivers of blood upon the earth.

Mysterious Albion is an entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable read. I used to be a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and this story, though different in many aspects, has a similar tone that will be relished by fans of the genre.

Lucy is a very real, sympathetic character, and Leone did an excellent job in bringing London and the English countryside to life.

I also especially enjoyed the traditional vampire lore where vampires are depicted as evil monsters and not sexy creatures — quite refreshing!

This is Catholic urban fantasy, so there’s also a lot of religious references. However, I didn’t find these detrimental to the plot.

Witty dialogue isn’t lacking and there’s a fair share of fun battle scenes.

Recommended!

More on the author’s website. Purchase on Amazon and B&N.

Originally published in Blogcritics Magazine.

Book Review: Khost, by Vincent Hobbes

 

I was doubtful when I picked up Khost for review. I’d never read a military horror novel before, though I’ve always been a big fan of the first two Alien movies. The Alien movies are military science fiction, so I thought that perhaps the two genres would be similar. They were.

 

Well, as it turned out, I had no reason to be apprehensive. Khost was a very pleasant surprise, and I found myself caring about the characters and their predicament and engrossed in the story until the end.

 

The tale begins in 1984, with the Soviet Union engaged in the bloody war with Afghanistan. Afraid of losing, the Soviets develop a chemical weapon unlike any other in history, one with the power to enhance their soldiers in the battlefield.  They soon put it to the test in the province of Khost, where the Mujahideen hide inside a massive cave complex.

 

But things go awfully wrong. Instead of enhancing the humans, the chemical mutates them into beings that are way beyond human, into something horrifying and evil.

 

Move forward to 2010. The USA is at war with Afghanistan. And it becomes increasingly challenging in the province of Khost, where already an elite team of Delta Force Operators has gone missing. That is, except only one survivor, who has an incredible, terrifying story to tell, and whom nobody believes—nobody except the CIA, which soon sends a top-secret team to deal with the situation…

 

Khost is nonstop suspense, action, and thrills. The story moves at a heart-racing pace. The dialogue and descriptions ring with authenticity, and I was especially impressed with all the military language and details. I also found compelling the dynamic between the characters and their sense of comradeship.

 

None of them are your regular nice guy, yet they show admirable courage, honor, and responsibility for the wellbeing of their team. The scenes inside the cave are quite graphic and violent at times, but somehow they all felt essential to the story and not gratuitous. In sum, I enjoyed reading this novel and can fully recommend it to fans of thrillers, horror and science fiction, and well as those of you who would like to try something different.

 

Purchase KHOST on Amazon.

 

Character Interview: Abner Summeral from Patrick C Greene’s horror novel PROGENY

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Abner from Patrick C Greene’s new horror adventure PROGENY.  Abner is a fifty four year old hunter living in Eagle Ridge North Carolina. It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Abner.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Progeny for mayraPleasure to be here, (ma’am/sir.) I reckon he done a right smart job-I was a skeered all over again, even after all this time, when I read his book. I would like to say that I don’t think I was quite as skittish as he made me out to be, but all them other fellers-the ones what stayed alive, they all say I was actin’ purdy womanly, and I gotta admit–I try not to think about it too much anymore, so I reckon I was frazzled, what with them monsters and the storm, and Zane arguin’ with that Owen fella.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I aint claimin’ to be as brave and tough as our leader Zane, or even them other fellers. But considerin’ we was surrounded by huge monsters, in the dark, with rain a pourin’ and lightning crackin’, THEN they made me stay alone in that basement with a dead body, I think I deserve a little credit for not losin’ my damn mind! I mean, Mister Greene is the one tellin’ the story and all, and I don’t presume to tell him how to do his job, but I wouldn’t a minded him talkin’ ’bout me holdin’ it together while all that craziness was a goin’ on. I mean, there wasn’t no need to tell about me peeing myself.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Well, I’ve always trusted ol’ Zane to lead us in the right direction when push comes to shove-and he’s given me a pat on the back now and then for my loyalty. So I guess that’d be it-loyalty.

Worse trait?

Yeah, okay, I spook a little easy. Them monsters was the scariest thing I’ve ever known, so maybe I’ll be a little bit braver from now on.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? 

Now that’s a right nice question! I like ol’ Robert Mitchum, Clint Eastwood, fellers like that that you see in westerns, but I get the feeling they’d probably go with that guy that played Newman on that crazy Steinfeld show.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Well, no. I’m married, but that don’t come up in Mister Greene’s book. That fella Owen, the guy whose house we hid in, he got to get up with that nice lookin’ Deanne girl from the local tribe. Judgin’ by how little she was wearin’ when we got there, I bet…well, you know.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Zane was already in a sour mood when we started out on the huntin’ trip, ’cause we wasn’t supposed to be on Owen’s land.  Zane’s boy Byron didn’t wanna be there and they was arguin’, so we was all on edge a bit. Then Byron told that damn spooky story over the fire. Next day, wouldn’t you know it–Yancey and them saw that monster. We shoulda left right then and there–but that wasn’t how Zane wanted it. That’s when I knew we was all lookin’ at trouble.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Everybody had a pretty rough time that night, to say the least. But Mister Greenementioned the Sheriff comin’ in after all the mess.  He got away with not havin’ to deal with them beasts, or nothin’. So, even though he aint in the book much, I’d take his place in a heartbeat.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I’m just glad the whole thing’s over; and when I read the endin’ I’m glad all over again. That was the most terrifyin’ night of my life. He told it right, that’s for sure. We went through hell, if you’ll pardon my French.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d just like to say, aint nobody wants to read about me peein’ myself when the shit hits the fan. Also, I’d like for everybody to know I aint that scared all the time no more. Least ways, I hope not, and I don’t feel the need to find out.

Thank you for this interview, Abner.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Might  be, but I hope it aint a monster story. None of us wants to go back up on that damn mountain. But I’ve always thought, when I’m all alone with my thoughts–aint nothin’ keepin’ them things from walkin’ offa their own territory. Leastways, I caint think of anything capable of stoppin’ ’em.

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Some dark serendipity plopped a young Patrick Greene in front of a series of ever stranger films-and experiences-in his formative years, leading to a unique viewpoint. His odd interests have led to pursuits in film acting, paranormal patrick for mayrainvestigation, martial arts, quantum physics, bizarre folklore and eastern philosophy. These elements flavor his screenplays and fiction works, often leading to strange and unexpected detours designed to keep viewers and readers on their toes.

Literary influences range from Poe to Clive Barker to John Keel to a certain best selling Bangorian. Suspense, irony, and outrageously surreal circumstances test the characters who populate his work, taking them and the reader on a grandly bizarre journey into the furthest realms of darkness. The uneasy notion that reality itself is not only relative but indeed elastic- is the hallmark of Greene’s writing.

Website: http://www.PatrickCGreene.com

Purchase PROGENY on AMAZON.

Interview with Roland Allnach: ‘I learned that good criticism encourages a work to be better’

Roland AllnachRoland Allnach has been writing since his early teens, first as a hobby, but as the years passed, more as a serious creative pursuit. He is an avid reader, with his main interests residing in history, mythology, and literary classics, along with some fantasy and science fiction in his earlier years. Although his college years were focused on a technical education, he always fostered his interest in literature, and has sought to fill every gap on his bookshelves.

By nature a do-it-yourself type of personality, his creative inclinations started with art and evolved to the written word. The process of creativity is a source of fascination for him, and the notion of bringing something to being that would not exist without personal effort and commitment serves not only as inspiration but as fulfillment as well. So whether it is writing, woodwork, or landscaping, his hands and mind are not often at rest.

Over the years he accumulated a dust laden catalog of his written works, with his reading audience limited to family and friends. After deciding to approach his writing as a profession, and not a hobby, the first glimmers of success came along. Since making the decision to move forward, he has secured publication for a number of short stories, has received a nomination for inclusion in the Pushcart Anthology, built his own website, and in November 2010 realized publication for an anthology of three novellas, titled Remnant, from All Things That Matter Press. Remnant has gone on to favorable critical review and placed as Finalist/Sci-fi, 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards; Bronze Medalist, Sci-Fi, 2012 Readers Favorite Book of the Year Awards; and Award Winner-Finalist, Sci-Fi, 2012 USA Book News Best Book Awards. Roland’s second publication, Oddities & Entities, also from All Things That Matter Press, followed in March 2012. It, too, has received favorable critical review, and is the recipient of four awards: Bronze Medalist, Horror, and Finalist, Paranormal, 2012 Readers Favorite Book of the Year Awards; Award Winner-Finalist, Fiction/Horror and Fiction/Anthologies, 2012 USA Book News Best Book Awards.

His writing can best be described as depicting strange people involved in perhaps stranger situations. He is not devoted to any one genre of writing. Instead, he prefers to let his stories follow their own path. Classification can follow after the fact, but if one is looking for labels, one would find his stories in several categories. Sometimes speculative, other times supernatural, at times horror, with journeys into mainstream fiction, and even some humor- or perhaps the bizarre. Despite the category, he aims to depict characters as real on the page as they are in his head, with prose of literary quality. His literary inspirations are as eclectic as his written works- from Poe to Kate Chopin, from Homer to Tolkien, from Flaubert to William Gibson, from Shakespeare to Tolstoy, as long as a piece is true to itself, he is willing to go along for the ride. He hopes to bring the same to his own fiction.

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Oddities & EntitiesQ: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Roland.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Thank you for having me.  Oddities & Entities is in fact my second book, following my debut, Remnant, which saw publication in 2010.  Whereas Oddities & Entities straddles the paranormal/supernatural/speculative/horror genres, Remnant straddled the science fiction/speculative genres.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

Both of my books appear courtesy of a small press, All Things That Matter Press.  When I started researching possible presses to submit my first book, there were still some significant barriers to self publishers and vanity publishers, in terms of greater market acceptance.  Being that I was starting as an unknown, I didn’t want to have any avenues closed to me, so I focused my search on small presses.  I went with All Things That Matter because my first books, as well as my second, are anthologies, and not that many presses were receptive to the anthology format and the genres in which I was writing.  To my good fortune my publisher was willing to entertain the way I chose to present my stories, and, much to my delight, I was off to publication.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

With Remnant the process took about five months; with Oddities & Entities, the process took a little longer, given that the manuscript was a little more involved than Remnant.  But, in both cases, the process was efficient, professional, and I’m very happy with the final product.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I have a vivid memory of receiving the acceptance letter for my first book.  It was during the summer, and I took my kids bowling with some friends of ours.  It was a tiring day because I had worked a midnight shift.  When I came home instead of going straight to bed I couldn’t resist checking my email one more time.  After peeling myself off the ceiling, calling my wife at work, and leaving my kids almost deaf with my hoots and hollers, I had to settle down and get some sleep.  Once I returned to my normally reserved veneer, we went out to dinner.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I have to admit that I had some gross misconceptions about the publishing world.  My initial impression when Remnant went to press was to think that I was on my way.  In my ignorance I thought there would be a baseline sales figure for any book, given the number of books sold in the United States.  I was soon to discover that there is in fact a built in sales number, and that number is zero.  So I had to get over myself, and the first thing I could think of to set my writing apart from the crowd was to send out for some market reviews from reputable reviewers.  I saw an immediate increase in my website traffic with each review, and the reviews were all quite positive.  That gave me the confidence to start submitting to award contests in a further attempt to set myself apart.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Foremost, I feel I’ve learned so much about the craft of writing itself, after having gone through the editorial process with two books.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I put a great deal of care into my manuscript preparation, but I learned that there is no substitute for a quality, objective edit of one’s writing.  I think all writers have an innate sensitivity to criticism, and I’m no different in that regard, but I learned that good criticism encourages a work to be better, in no different a way than a singer still goes for voice training and an athlete has coaches.  Looking forward from what I’ve learned regarding publication is the simple fact that ultimately the author is responsible for championing his or her book.  Yes, there are professionals out there to help, and there’s no substitute for one’s own grunt work, but promotion and exposure are never-ending considerations.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It would have to be the sheer number of books that fill the publishing landscape.  I don’t like to think of fellow authors as ‘competition’ per se, because I feel we are all comrades in a common pursuit of reaching readers, but, at the end of the day, exposure is to a degree a competitive pursuit.  That said, what I find so gratifying is the number of people I have met who hold a genuine love for the written word, whether they wear tags as editors, publicists, or reviewers.  Yes, this is their business, this is how they earn their living, but for so many it is their passion as well.  As an author in this big world of publishing I find it comforting to know that there are so many people as dedicated to the written word as those of us who are compelled to write those words.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Well, of course, there’s always the self-satisfaction of saying, “Hey, I’m published.”  On a more serious note, and perhaps more from my personal perspective, is the realization that I’ve achieved something that lived in my head as nothing more than an elusive dream since I was sixteen and wrote my first short story.  I love to write because I find nothing more satisfying, and fascinating, than looking at a finished story and thinking that I started with nothing, and ended with something.  Seeing a work through to publication, regardless of whether it’s a short story, novella, or book, provides the final validation that yes, I created something, and it didn’t exist in this world until it came forth through me.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

In a single word: persistence.  My own story of being an author consists of twenty five years of diddling around with one story and book after another without any serious discipline to get something published.  It was easier to wallow in a frustrated dream than accept the measure of diligence necessary to see publication.  For me, the change came when I decided to view my pursuit for publication not as a hobby, but as a job.  That gave me the discipline to structure my time, to set aside a number of hours for market research, submissions, editing, and general self-education of the publishing world.  I know that any success involves a certain degree of good fortune, but I also believe that opportunities of good fortune are more likely to present themselves after a lot of hard work.  Success won’t drop into your lap out of the sky, because the world simply doesn’t work that way.  Remember that the easiest thing to do is give up, so don’t–be persistent, be patient, learn the trade, write the best material possible, and publication will come.

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