vrijdag 30 december 2011

Interview with short story and poetry writer Kate Holley


This time i am talking to the talented short story and poetry writer Kate Holley. Kate is a 32 year old full-time mother of three children, two boys and a girl. Her kids range in age from 11 years old to 13 months, so each day usually brings something unexpected. Kate and her husband have been married for 6 years, and hope for things to slow down enough one day for an actual honeymoon. Kate was born and raised in North Carolina and enjoys raising her kids in the slightly slower pace of The South. In her previous professional life, Kate successfully managed multi-family housing in the property management field. Although she studied writing in college- and hopes to finish that degree some day soon- it wasn't until becoming a stay at home mom that Kate truly started to work on her writing. After several years of filling spiral notebooks, Kate's husband encouraged her to make the leap into self-publishing.  Kate typically writes short stories and poetry, but recently started writing on her debut novel. Kate is also dipping a cautious toe into the waters of social media and has recently starting blogging. When not being a full time mommy, or writing, Kate enjoys cooking, reading, and running.

Books & WritingWhen did you start writing?

Kate Holley: I remember writing short plays, in elementary school, for my dolls to perform. I would spend what felt like eons perfecting all of the dialogue between the dolls and creating the story lines of what was to happen at today's tea party. After each performance I would go back and make revisions to the script. I distinctly recall writing my first short stories and poetry around age nine, in the fourth grade. The school I attended had a great program in place called "Writer in Residence". The school would bring in a local writer to discuss the various aspects of a certain genre of writing in a workshop lasting several days. The culmination of the workshop had us students  submitting our own work based on what we learned. My first short story was a murder mystery case chronicling a private investigator, Mac Penn. I still have the copy that I submitted and the book that our teacher printed for each of us with each child's story typed up. We also had a poet come in that same year that completely blew me away. I remember, even at that age feeling a big click in my brain with poetry - I suppose that light bulb came on in my head! After that workshop I was hooked and wrote poetry non-stop.

Books & WritingI understand you write short stories and Poetry. What attracts you in short stories?

Kate Holley: Conflict! I love a short story with an immediate, intriguing conflict. Short stories must have something that catches your reader right from the start. In a short story you do not have the time to spend detailing all things as thoroughly as you would in a longer work. You must take all of the "high points" of your story and gel them into a cohesive piece of fiction- all while keeping a smooth, linear flow.  I enjoy writing short stories because they are a challenge in brevity for me.  I tend to get very wrapped up in details and descriptions and so most of my work looks like it's bleeding to death after each revision!

Books & WritingDo you have a favorite short story author?

Kate Holley: I have too many most likely! A few classic favorites include Poe, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Chopin. Funny side note- I am actually related to the great short story author O. Henry (but do not claim any of his genius), and I do admire his work immensely. Recently I have been reading  shorts by Zora Neale Hurston and Edwidge Danticot. I took an African-American literature class in college that I loved and have been revisiting some of the work studied in that class.

Books & WritingWhat attracts you in Poetry?

Kate Holley: What don't I love about poetry? As a self-proclaimed confessional poet, I adore the feeling that I am conveying my raw thoughts and emotions to my readers. I feel like readers can connect with me on a much more personal level in poetry. There is a freedom to drop all pretenses and simply pour your heart out onto the page. In poetry I am able to tackle issues that I have battled - or may still be struggling with- and have no shame in putting them out there for others to read.  For me, poetry is as much of a catharsis as it is an art form.

Books & WritingWhat kind of poetry do you like to read yourself?

Kate Holley: I find myself drawn recently to macabre poetry- again Poe comes to mind as a favorite. I also enjoy classics- Yeats, Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, Eliot. I love Pablo Neruda's work, particularly "The Heights of Macchu Picchu". Rounding out the list would have to be Ginsberg, Plath, and Sexton.

Books & WritingCan you tell us a little bit about your first novel you are working on at the moment?

Kate Holley: Well, currently it is still mainly in the development and research stage, but I have eeked out enough time to get the first few chapters drafted. It is a romantic historical fiction piece set in my hometown in North Carolina back in the 1920's. It has a paranormal twist, but no vampires or werewolves here. I drew a lot of my inspiration for character development in this novel based on oral history of my family passed down from my Nana. I also spend a lot of time driving the country roads near my home looking at the landscape and many of the old homesteads. I found a fantastic old cemetery off of an old rural road, not more than 10 miles from my home, that has been a big inspiration in this piece.

Books & WritingWhere can people go and read your work?

Kate Holley: I am slowly, but surely, publishing all of my archived short stories and poetry on Smashwords.com (smashwords.com/KateHolley) and on my blog- katehwrites.blogspot I have several shorts and an anthology of poetry that I will be publishing soon on Smashwords. Hopefully then, my portfolio will not looks quite as sparse! My blog will serve more for snippets of shorts and poems- more of a test audience for new ideas. Blogging is a new thing for me, so please excuse my learning curve as I get it looking a bit more polished!

Books & WritingDo you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Kate Holley: Just keep going!  Keep writing, and writing some more! I know all too well how it feels to have absolutely no time left in the day to write.  Some days I do not even start my writing until 10 PM, and will only last for an hour. Just keep those creative juices flowing any way that you can.  Also, as cliche as it sounds, carry a notebook or journal with you. I honestly have a notebook on my nightstand, and carry one with me in my diaper bag (full time mom here) to write down lines of poetry or plot points that may randomly pop in my head. It has proven invaluable in keeping up with ideas that I would have otherwise forgotten.

Below is an excerpt from a poem she wrote called "When Write is All Wrong" from the soon to be published collection of Poetry "From All Angles".

It's nights like this that completely demoralize my soul.

Hopes and dreams I tout seem far in the distance, growing stale in an ever-thickening layer of dust.

We choke.

The dust of my dreams dying and the stale of yesterday's hollow musings

Attainable at what cost? Realistic from who's point of view?

My old familiar fears begin to surface: the sting of rejection and the denial of alleged promise.


This is how I feel when unable to put pen to paper.

Unable to make coherent prose or verse from grandiose projections in my head.

As my thoughts flail and sink with their arms outstretched

They grab at my mind, shaking and sputtering- drowning in what will soon be forgotten.

Desperate to matter, yearning for inclusion – yet my walls will not come down.

Every line pained and garbled with thoughts unclear and vaguely broad.


Sleep is taking over with no promising seeds having been sown

The night seems a waste and my most adamant will has been overthrown..

All of the thoughts to be shared but my once over-flowing well is completely dry.

Perhaps I expect too much, and should somewhat lower my bar?

This task seems a joke,  for I have always required my version of perfection. So for now …

Good night you distant hopes on the horizon, in hopes of tomorrow you being in my pen's reach.


donderdag 29 december 2011

Interview with writer Tiger Hebert

Hi again!

This time I am talking to writer Tiger Hebert who is working on an online novel called "Beating Back the Darkness". He is a 29 year old born-again Christian, husband, and father of two (both of which are under the age of three). He is currently a quality assurance engineer for a GPS company, but he has previously spent time in various industries and in the United States Military. He grew up in the small town of Livermore, Maine where he fell in love with sports and fantasy.  Growing up he never thought he could have a career in either of those, so he pursued the "practical" professions, only to learn that he just was not doing anything he was passionate about.  So in the last year he started an NFL Football site called The Tiger Report, has gone back to college, and decided to finally pursue writing again.

Books & WritingFirst of all, where did you get your cool nickname Tiger from?

Tiger Hebert: I was born to a single mother that was just a child herself.  Being just sixteen years old, my mother was there with only her mother, father, and youngest brother. I was legally named after my Grandfather and my Uncle out of respect, but my mother knew the challenges that life presented.  So she nicknamed me Tiger, because she said I would be strong, a survivor.  The name stuck, and it's the only name that fits me.
Books & WritingWhat got you interested in writing?

Tiger Hebert: As a child I really enjoyed creative writing assignments in school, but I believe it was fear that prevented me from ever doing anything with the desire. Even as a teenager I really wanted to write fiction as well as lyrics, but I just never took the step.  After I dropped out of college, for financial reasons, I ended up joining the military. During that time, I felt so isolated and misunderstood that I felt like I was going to explode if I did not write something.  So I began writing shortly after basic training ended. They were mostly just angry lyrics aimed at being judged and doubted. One of the few friends I had at the time found the lyrics and became a huge encouragement to me. So from there I began to occasionally write lyrics and eventually poetry, and started to realize I had a way with words.

Books & WritingI understand you are writing a story online on your blog http://bbthed.blogspot.com/. Why did you decide to write it online?

Tiger Hebert: After getting married and having two children and everything that came with that, becoming so busy that I essentially put writing on the shelf.  The desire to write never went away though.   My desire was really focused on writing a fantasy novel.  It had been so long since I had written anything,  so I decided I would start a blog and write the book in sections.  I felt it would be a manageable way for me to work on it, while generating feedback and interest at the same time.

Books & WritingWhat is “Beating Back the Darkness” about?

Tiger Hebert: The world of Aurion has seen it's battles and skirmishes, but nothing like what is on the horizon.  An unprecedented time of evil is unfolding before our eyes in Beating Back the Darkness.  Kingdoms throughout the known world will be plunged into an epic fight for survival, and some will not survive.  Beating Back the Darkness takes the reader through the conflicts as they happen, and the decisions that will determine the fate of mankind and more.

Books & WritingHow did you come up with the story?

Tiger Hebert: In our everyday lives we are living in a world where there is a constant struggle of good versus evil, light versus darkness.  We all have the potential for good and evil, and it is those choices that tell our story.  And when we do decide to fight against evil, how will will prevail?  These are some of the underlying plot elements that drive the characters and events that make the story.  In "Beating Back the Darkness" I want to break the mold for fantasy fiction.  A rather bold venture for someone that has never published a book before, but I am not afraid.    I want to take some elements and staples from the genre, and deliver it in an unconventional way.

Books & WritingWhere did you get the art from that’s accompanying your story?

Tiger Hebert: As far as the art is concerned, I am simply displaying some art on the blog.  They are not my works, nor do I take any credit for them.  I feel like those works are quality pieces that reflect a portion of what I am trying to share in those pieces.  I am actually looking for any aspiring artists that would be willing to work with me to create art for the book.  So if anyone out there is interested, let me know.  ; )

Books & WritingAre you planning on publishing it?

Tiger Hebert: I am interested in publishing, but I am not sure how I want to approach it yet.  There are some good avenues out there such as BookieJar.com along with other methods.  I definitely will pursue the eBook avenue, but hopefully more than that.  I do want to make sure that there is always access to some free content for the fans as well, so there needs to be a balance.

Books & WritingDo you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Tiger Hebert: I am probably not a source for advice to other authors just yet.  However one piece of advice that applies to all areas of life is to be fearless.  Free from fear of critics, naysayers, and failure.  I fear God alone, nothing else.  So be fearless

Below is an  Excerpt from Beating Back the Darkness: Chapter 1 - Fire on the Mountain

A rumbling of thunder began to echo among the cries of the wind struck cliffs.  The vibration of the thunder resonated through his bones as he raced up the trail, but the thunder grew louder.  Looking behind him, terror filled his heart as he realized it was not thunder at all.  It was the hooves that were pounding the earth as they chased him.  He did not have time to count or identify his pursuers, he must reach the tower and light the beacon. 

Just as he started the final ascent up the ridge, his right leg burst into agony and he crashed to the ground.  Blood was spurting from the wound, where the arrow pierced him.  Attempting to get up he only stumbled.  The thunder was drawing closer.  It was his last chance.  Pulling a signal arrow from his quiver, he quickly lit it with his flint, and nocked the arrow on his bow.  Aiming it for the top of his sentry tower, he drew back the string.

His pursuers racing towards him with their bows drawn, and with a grunt the flurry of arrows were loosed.  As the sinews on the bows snapped, the large arrows were hurled towards the scout.  Slipping his two fingers off the string, the scout fired the flaming signal arrow as his body violently absorbed the impact of four arrows.  Impaled, gasping for breath as blood poured from his mouth he watched his scout tower became a flaming pyre.  His job was done.

Thank you Tiger for taking the time to answer my questions! Good luck with your online story and i hope you will get it published one day!

PS If some artists feel they want to help out Tiger with the artwork for his site, drop by his website http://bbthed.blogspot.com/ and contact him!

woensdag 28 december 2011

Interview with author Rebecca Hamilton

Hello all!

My latest interview is with the talented Rebecca Hamilton who is working on several books at the moment, including a book for the "Forever Girl" series. She is married and has three children, ages 3-6. She began writing about four years ago, and shortly after that she met RP Kraul, who quickly became her closest writing partner, best friend, and now business partner as well. She considers him at times her “muse”, her inspiration, and absolutely her mentor. She has learned so much from him and to now be running a business with him is a pure joy, especially a business that embraces an industry they both passionately love.

As her eldest has Autism and she herself deals with sensory issues and social anxieties that may be attributed to Aspergers, she often finds herself writing unusual characters and perhaps trying to bridge that gap between “mainstream personalities” and those who are considered “different”. She believes that if we understand these people who are different, we may see a beauty there that is unmatched anywhere else. She thinks that’s definitely there in her writing—that desire to show that different isn’t always a bad thing and that people like us aren’t really so hard to understand if you have the desire to try.

Books & WritingHave you always been interested in writing?

Interview with Rebecca Hamilton

Rebecca Hamilton: Most writers I know say they've been writing since they were kids. I’m not like most writers, though. I’ve been reading since before I was old enough to go to school, and reading has always been my first passion. I always considered writing a book as a bucket  list item. Something I wanted to do “someday”. I wrote some neat creative stories in school, as was required, but I never really tried to write anything until about 4 years once. Once I completed my first book, however, I realized this was more than a bucket list task for me. This was my one true passion, my one creative outlet where perhaps I have some real talent. Finally I’d found an artistic outlet that I knew I could stick to. I’d always had an artistic mind, which beforehand I had expressed through poetry and clay-sculpting, but it wasn’t until I ‘discovered’ writing that I realized I had any artistic potential.

Books & WritingHow did you end up writing Horror stories amongst others?

Rebecca Hamilton: Initially, I’d set out to write “crossover” paranormal fantasy, meaning paranormal fantasy for adults and young adults. The end result was more something in between—perhaps a little too edgy to cross into the young adult audience. Within that work, though, readers of mine spotted some strong elements of horror. Just little hints, here and there. I wouldn’t say my first book is a horror novel, mind you. Then I wrote a literary fiction novel, and some hints of horror slipped into there as well. I think my horror-writing came out full force, however, when I sat down to write with nothing in mind. I had an idea for a paranormal story brewing in my head, but a “voice” came to me and I started writing that. That evolved to be the start of that paranormal story I had brewing…except once I started, it quickly became apparent I was writing horror. I will say I’ve never been good with Horror movies (I can’t stand the sight/sound of horror), but strangely, I’d always loved reading horror novels as a child and young adult, and now continue to do so as an adult who has rediscovered the genre. So I guess the answer to your questions is… is just sort of happened…was just always there, beneath the surface, and then one day it cut free and spilled onto the page.

Books & WritingI understand your new book “The Forever Girl” is coming out this January. Can you tell us a little bit about the book.

Rebecca Hamilton: The Forever Girl is a paranormal fantasy novel with hints of romance, horror, and mystery throughout. The novel lends itself strongly toward a theme of acceptance and also a sense of ‘home’. It follows Sophia Parsons as she combats a family curse, uncovers a family secret, and discovers a dark supernatural hierarchy far worse than her town’s ‘Christian’ cult. In the end, she’s faced with the decision to either abandon her Wiccan faith or forfeit her opportunity to end her family’s curse.

Books & WritingHow did you come up with the story line for this book?

Honestly, I didn’t know anything about storylines when I started writing. And taking what I had an turning it into a storyline after the fact…well, let’s just say the current version of this novel probably doesn’t have a single sentence remaining from the original version. The story-line more evolved from trying to salvage some of my more basic ideas. Mostly, I knew I wanted a Wiccan characters and I knew that her early actions in the novel would ignite something beyond herself and set things into motion for her to end up going down the dark supernatural road to face a responsibility she wasn't prepared for.

Books & WritingWho designed the beautiful cover for the book?

Interview with Rebecca Hamilton

Rebecca Hamilton: The cover for the first book in the series is a photograph of Maria Amanda (mariaamanda.deviantart) and it was taken by Rune Hammelstrup (hammelstrup.deviantart) as for the layout and design, that one is on me. I take care of the font and design around the images for my book covers, and for this series I’ve opted to do two covers for each book—one for print, and one for e-book.

Books & WritingI read on your website beccahamiltonbooks that it’s part of a series. How many books will there be in the Forever Girl series?

Rebecca Hamilton: There will be seven books in the actual series, with three of those novels featuring Sophia, and the other four featuring a different character each time.

Books & WritingIs there a special reason why Sophia, the main character for “The Forever Girl”, isn’t going to be in all the books from the series?

Rebecca Hamilton: Sophia is the “Spirit”, and the other characters represent Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Her Journey is almost like a Trilogy within the Series, which is how it started, but I realized that the other characters she encounters in the last book of the series have such amazing stories of their own to share. I’m especially excited about the book I’m working on currently, which is book two in the series. Sophia, however, gets more page time because her story is the largest and she is the one who will ultimately bring everyone together.

Books & WritingIs she based on someone you know? Or is she a mixture of people you know?

Rebecca Hamilton: If you asked me about Ivory or Lauren or Sophia’s Mom or Dad, this might be a little easier to answer, as there are pieces of people I know in all of those characters. Sophia, however, must be more of a subconscious smorgasbord of traits I’ve seen in others. Her personality is close to mine (She’s an INFJ((introversion, intuition, feeling, judging), I’m an INFP (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception)). I found her hard to write as she’s the rarest and least understood of personality types, but for many reasons, that made her the perfect character for this story. Her reactions to things, however, are very different from my own. If I’d written her to be just like anyone else I knew, this story wouldn’t be this story anymore. It’s Sophia alone that makes it what it is.

Books & WritingYou are also working on “Her Sweetest Downfall” as an appetizer you say, which has some connections to the series, but isn’t part of it. Why did you decide to not make this part of the series?

Interview with Rebecca Hamilton
Photograph of Magdalena Sosinowska | http://ms-medea.deviantart.com/ taken by Wojciech ZwoliƄski | http://dream-traveler.tk/

Rebecca Hamilton: Ophelia’s story (Her Sweetest Downfall) is related to the world and characters of the series, and she’s even in some of the books in the series, but I don’t see her story as part of the overall main plot. It’s more a plot of its own, just related. I am thinking of including other Journals as well. It’s kind of like bonus material.

Books & WritingDo you have a favorite Author, which books you just have to read as soon as they come out?

Rebecca Hamilton: Nancy Pickard, hands down. I’m also a fan of Marisa de los Santos.

Books & WritingDo you have any tips for aspiring female writers?

Rebecca Hamilton: Write what is on your heart. Write what you want to read. There will be others out there who want to read it, too. No matter how different we are, there are always others who can relate to us; we just have to find them.

Below is an exclusive excerpt from the book “The Forever Girl”

I passed by City Market, and a cold darkness blanketed me. The streetlight turned red, and the whispering curse throttled through my mind. For once, I wished the whispers were loud enough to distract me from my thoughts.

To tourists, the market was merely a place to stop in and purchase a few items for their hotel fridge. Belle Meadow, mountain resort town! They didn’t care about the town’s history in coal mining, and they certainly hadn’t heard about the murder, or how Mrs. Petrenko, now a widow, sold the building to City Market. The windows had been replaced with new treatments, the parking lot repaved, and the inside freshly painted and retiled. But the shell of the building remained, a constant reminder.

For months after the murder, I’d visited Mrs. Petrenko twice a week. She taught me to garden, taught me to identify the different herbs and their natural properties. She inspired me to look at what connected nature with humanity, which ultimately led me to my Wiccan faith, though I was certain that hadn’t been her intentions.

Mrs. Anatoly Petrenko was perhaps one of the sweetest women I’d ever met. And her pelmenis, hands-down, made for the best Russian cuisine I’d ever tasted.  A few times, she told me I was the daughter she’d never had. She and Mr. Petrenko had come here to start their own business, and their hardships had gotten in the way of them starting a family. It was all these reasons, and more, that I eventually stopped visiting.

I didn’t deserve her kindness.

I want to thank Rebecca for answering my questions and the exclusive excerpt of course and wish her all the best!

PS: Sign up for the release information on both books(Pre Sign Ups will have the opportunity to buy the book at .99 when the book is released instead of the full listing price)! Sign up now and mention you came via this blog and you get the chance to win a free copy!

The Forever Girl Sign Up



Her Sweetest Downfall Sign Up


maandag 26 december 2011

Interview with author Chuck Barrett

Hello all.

For my latest interview i am talking to Chuck Barrett about his upcoming book "The Toymaker". Chuck is a retired air traffic controller after nearly 27 years of sitting in a dark room talking to little blobs on a radarscope. He is also a commercial pilot and flight instructor.

Initially he started writing in his spare time and that's why "The Savannah Project", which has won three awards, took over 10 years from start to publication. His upcoming book "The Toymaker", only took a year and he spent writing most of it in his spare time also. Now that he is retired, writing has become his full-time job…and he loves it!

Books & WritingWhen did you start writing on “The Toymaker”?

Interview with Chuck BarrettChuck Barrett: I started The Toymaker in the summer of 2010 and finished in early summer of 2011. The month of June I worked on it full-time as I retired the last day of May.

Books & WritingWhere did you get your inspiration from, for this book?

Chuck Barrett: A few years ago while my wife and I were on vacation in Moab, Utah where we met a couple at a bed and breakfast. We immediately connected. The first night at supper, while we were talking about our lives and occupations, I noticed he was slightly evasive and non-specific BUT he was using some buzz words I become familiar with from reading all those spy thrillers. And then it struck me, so I asked him point blank…"You make toys for spies, don't you?" After that, we became good friends and he agreed to become a source for my research into my 2nd Jake Pendleton thriller…which was not the same story line as The Toymaker. Then my wife suggested that a story about the man we met would be cool (including the title) so I asked him about it and he agreed. Since he has provided me with all types of cool information about technologies and gadgets…several of which are in The Toymaker.

Books & WritingHow long did you spend each day writing on “The Toymaker”?

Chuck Barrett: Before I retired I didn't have a set writing schedule for every day. Some days I wrote a lot, some very little, and some not at all. I'd go through periods of marathon days where I wrote 12 – 14 hours for 3 or 4 days in a row. Then it might be a week before I got back to it. Now that I'm retired and should have more time to write, I still don't have a definitive writing schedule…but I do have a plan for each day—I just have trouble sticking to it sometimes when the demands of my time are constraining.

Books & WritingCan you tell us a little bit about the main character Jake Pendleton?

Interview with Chuck BarrettChuck Barrett: Jake is a former NTSB aviation accident investigator. He wasn't former in The Savannah Project. He is struggling to come into his own. His character grows throughout both The Savannah Project and The Toymaker. Dealing with his embattled past, Jake's reckless actions land him with a new mentor who forces Jake to make the ultimate decision—who to sacrifice.

Books & WritingIs Jake Pendleton based on someone you know?

Chuck Barrett: No. Jake Pendleton is pure fiction. But as with all character, there are certain things about him and his psyche that come from real people. It's those characteristics that round out Jake as a lifelike character. Flawed and ambitious, confident, yet insecure about certain things. We could all look in the mirror and find some of his traits in ourselves. When I gave Jake his past, I used events from my life and some of my friends and acquaintances lives. From the beginning of The Savannah Project, I had a plan for the development of Jake's character. He had to face certain trials and tribulations in order to become the character I wanted to continue on in the rest of the Jake Pendleton novels. It was always a two novel plan to get him to that point.

Books & Writing“The Toymaker” is scheduled to be released on February 12, 2012. Are you planning a release party?

Chuck Barrett: The print release of The Toymaker is scheduled for February 12, 2012 and that is still the plan even though the Kindle and NOOK ebook versions are already available. I struggled to ensure that the digital versions were available by Christmas and we made it. Both the Kindle and NOOK versions were available for download on December 23.

Books & WritingWho will be publishing “The Toymaker”?

Interview with Chuck BarrettChuck Barrett: The Toymaker, as is The Savannah Project, is published by independent publisher, Switchback Publishing, an imprint of Wyatt-MacKenzie.

Books & WritingAt which bookstores can people buy “The Toymaker”?

Chuck Barrett: The best place to buy either/both of my books via one of the links from my website...Barnes and Noble online, Amazon, or a signed copy directly from me. Even though The Toymaker was written as a stand-alone novel, it is a spoiler if you haven't read The Savannah Project. I strongly suggest readers read them in order, if for no other reason than to see how Jake grows from the beginning of The Savannah Project to the final chapter of The Toymaker. The original intent was that they be read in order. Starting with the third Jake Pendleton novel, the order won't matter.


Books & WritingAre you working on a new book at the moment?

Chuck Barrett: I'm currently working on the 3rd Jake Pendleton thriller with plans for a release in late 2012. In my opinion, it is the most exciting story yet. Jake has come into his own and is tasked to uncover a string of unexplained occurrences around the country and will, once again, find himself embroiled in a battle to thwart someone's evil purpose.

Books & WritingDo you have a favorite Author, whose books you just have to read as soon as they come out?

Chuck Barrett: Unfortunately too many. I am way behind on my reading. Since you asked though, I read what I write—thrillers. My must haves are, in no particular order: Steve Berry, Brad Thor, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben…this list is too long to list them all.

Books & WritingDo you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Chuck Barrett: Don't quit. Don't get discouraged. Keep writing. The last few years have seen some unsettling times in the publishing industry and it will continue to change—and probably not the way you'd like to see it change either. Persistence pays off. As the traditional publishers are trying to figure out how to adapt to the rapidly changing ebook world, your own creativity pays off.

Books & WritingWhere can people find you on the internet?

Chuck Barrett: 
http://chuckbarrettbooks.com  While you're there, sign up for my KILL ZONE newsletter by clicking the "Sign Up" button. Don't worry, you won't get spammed. I've only sent out 3 newsletters in two years. The fourth will come out in late January.

I would like to thank my host for this opportunity. I always enjoy giving author interviews, whether online, through the media, or at book club meetings. It has been my pleasure.

Chuck Barrett

Interview with author R.P. Kraul

Hi all!

I had the pleasure of talking to horror author Rudolph P. Kraul, who is working on several books at the moment, and i asked him some questions about his upcoming books "Mirrors of Anguish"(Will be released in 2012) and "Gates of Perdition"(Will be released in 2013) He has been writing since he was a teenager and several years ago, he finally finished his first novel. At the beginning of 2011, Rebecca Hamilton and Rudolph decided to put together a joint venture: Immortal Ink Publishing because they wanted a venue for their own books.

First of all i want to thank Rudolph for taking the time to answer my questions of course and wish him the best of luck with his releases!

Books & Writing:  Can you tell us a little bit about your two upcoming books, "Gates of Perdition" and "Mirrors of Anguish".

R.P. Kraul: Mirrors is my first novel. It's the story of Jill, who goes to Belcorte, Pennsylvania to investigate her grandfather's life. He was accused of some hideous crimes, and he may have been involved with a serial killer still active in the area. Mirrors was originally called The Dunkirk Horror (a homage, in name only, to Lovecraft's Dunwich Horror), but I changed the name to avoid confusing the setting with the seaport in France.

Gates of Perdition is the prequel to Mirrors; it's the story of Jill's Grandfather, Arthur, and it's the story of the serial killer and how he came to be. It shows how all these different characters crossed paths and how the horror in the town began.

Books & WritingAre your characters based on people you know?

R.P. Kraul: Not entirely, no. I never take a real person and turn him into a character. I take traits and quirks of several people and mix them together. I also think that there are little pieces of me in all my characters, even the bad ones. I think it's neat to study strangers and imagine the personality behind the physical mannerisms.

Books & Writing:  Where did you get the inspiration for these two books?

R.P. Kraul: When I was quite young--kindergarten, first grade, second grade--I fell in love with horror movies and television shoes. While my mother was asleep, I'd sneak down into the family room and watch late-night shows and movies. I recognize in my books these influences--the early Universal films, the fifties sci-fi films, the Italian films of the sixties and seventies. Mirrors in particular went through this metamorphosis, implementing cool things I'd seen in horror forms. I eventually went back to basics with the story, but I suppose my stories still have a vintage horror-film feel.

Later, the influence of Poe, Lovecraft, Matheson, Bloch, et al. manifested in my stories. I didn't realize it at the time, but as I wrote Mirrors, I was building the framework for Gates of Perdition.

Books & Writing: Why did you decide against publishing "Mirrors of Anguish" and "Gates of Perdition" at the same time, as was the original plan?

R.P. Kraul: Publishing them close together was the original plan, but after contemplating the timeframe more and discussing things with my business parter, writer Rebecca Hamilton, I've decided to stagger them. I really want Mirrors to be read first because Gates gives away some secrets. Gates is currently with an editor, so it's probably a year from publication, mainly because I want to release another book between them.

Books & WritingDid you decide at the start to divide the story into two separate books?

R.P. Kraul: In early versions of Mirrors (then The Dunkirk Horror), Jill's grandfather was still alive and part of the story. Over time, that changed. In truth, when I finally finished Mirrors, I didn't know there would be another story. But, as I was going through the draft, I thought to myself, there's another story in there. Mirrors gave me the framework for Gates. Gates, however, is much different. There are more characters, more points of view, and the story is probably more literary than Mirrors. Plus it's set more than twenty years in the past.

Books & WritingWhen will both books be published, and where can people buy them?

R.P. Kraul: My goal for Mirrors of Anguish is February or March of 2012. I will release Gates of Perdition in January of 2013. Both books will be available in e-book format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple's iBook Store. Rebecca and I are considering options for print versions. We want readers to be able to purchase a print copy for a reasonable price.

Books & WritingYou are working on a few other novels at the moment. When can people expect to see those coming out?

R.P. Kraul: My third novel, Demon of the Fall, will be available in October of 2012. We shifted the timelines a bit because Demon of the Fall is a perfect book for Halloween. It's a traditional horror story with roots going back to the pulp comics of the mid-twentieth century. To make room for Demon of the Fall, we shifted Gates of Perdition to early 2013.

I'm also starting a series with a central reporter character. Those books are probably more film-noir-based than horror. I have also written a few chapters for the sequel to Demon of the Fall, and I'm co-writing two novels with Rebecca Hamilton.

Books & WritingWhat is it like to co-write a book?

R.P. Kraul: I can't say how others have done it, but this is how Rebecca and I do it: we discuss the story, and then we each write the chapters involving certain characters. It's been challenging because we're both pantsers (spontaneous writers). I normally sit down and just write things randomly without any plans at all--just a seed of an idea. I don't think you can do that when you're co-writing because you need to keep the story more focused to avoid issues later. Cleaning up the mess of one writer who flies by the seat of the pants--that's tough, but it can be done. Two together, though: you'd likely end up with a mess beyond reprieve. The plans we're using are loose, and they give us freedom to creatively roam.

Rebecca and I are still early in the process, but we have several chapters written for both books. We're doing the simpler story first, for obvious reasons.

Books & WritingWhat attracts you to the horror genre?

R.P. Kraul: I fell in love with horror movies and television shows when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. So maybe I possess some sort of a dark gene. You know, I've been re-watching season two of Night Gallery--what a fantastic Christmas gift--and it has occurred to me that horror often turns the what-if question on its ear. You sometime see what-ifs like this: what if a character is guilty of the murders he's accused of? Horror takes it one step further. What if a character blames the murders on the monster from his dreams, and he's telling the truth? Horror sort of projects bad human behavior, sometimes to the paranormal. At other times--and this is the case with Mirrors and Gates--horror depicts intrinsically depraved human behavior. That someone is a killer is interesting, but I'm more concerned with the "why." Horror lends itself to the "why." Plus, I think horror is great escapism.

Books & WritingIs there an author who inspires you?

R.P. Kraul: There are several. I envy Ramsey Campbell's ability to describe things. He's one of the most talented writers I've ever seen. I love Jack Ketchum too because he pushes the envelope further than any other writer. He crosses lines others wouldn't dare approach. I'm also heavily influenced by Poe, Lovecraft, Peter Straub, and some writers outside of horror. Hemingway and Vonnegut are the two names that come to mind.

Books & WritingDo you have any tips for aspiring writers?

R.P. Kraul: I have several:

1) Read widely in your genre--and outside your genre. Read some nonfiction too.

2) Learn the craft: language, grammar, idiom, punctuation, etc.

3) Taste in fiction is not objective. Do your best, but realize that some readers will love your writing, while others will not. Don't try to please everyone. Write to please yourself.

4) If you want to learn dialogue--it's a very important aspect of fiction--watch film. Screenwriters, not novelists, are the artists of dialogue. Every writer should study the work of Woody Allen; he's an expert on dialogue and realistic human behavior.

5) Relax. Write with a sense of humor. Have fun.

Books & WritingWhere can people find you on the Internet?

My twitter account is @rpkraul. My personal site is http://rpkraul.com, my blog is http://rpkraul.com/wpmu, and our Immortal Ink Publishing site is http://immortalinkpublishing.com

Below is an excerpt from "Mirrors of Anguish"

The air in Belcorte, Pennsylvania tasted like death.

It swooped among the gambrel roofs and crouched behind the panes of dormer windows.

Jill sensed it watching her, grinning at her. Death hid behind crumbling chimneys, jumped across rooftops, and prowled among the locust trees along the river. Death rang the town hall bell three times, and death stuck out its forked tongue to taste the snow that fell lightly on the ancient buildings of Belcorte.

In this town, more than twenty years ago, Jill’s grandfather had kidnapped a teenage girl and locked her in the spare bedroom of his Victorian home. He’d murdered her with a chef’s knife and scissors.

A college professor prior to his madness and suicide, Grandfather had written in his preface to Modern Anthropology the following:

Belcorte resides in the Southern Catskills, but Pennsylvanians call these mountains the Poconos. Belcorte is ancient; roofless shards of abandoned mining shelters spring from the hillsides as intrinsically as veins of anthracite jettison through the soil beneath. 

Belcorte’s Victorian homes bend in disrepair. One should expect state- tax dollars, if the fools we elect send them here, to return Belcorte to her prestige. This once beautiful maiden is a muddy-faced ghost, a dirty doll, and a receptacle for flies.



Re-reading your story before you publish it, is a big part of good writing, because that way you can get rid of all the unnecessary clutter in your story. You can always ask friends and family members to read your story, to sift out any errors and typo's that may still be in your story. Just make sure you ask someone who reads a lot and knows how a story is supposed to work. If you are writing in a language that is not your primary language, let someone check the story who is fluid in that language.

Sometimes you need to cut out a lot of junk from your story to make it work, but if that's what it takes to get it right, then so be it. I am working on a story for my course and i have re-read it now several times and edited it. I am also bound my a maximum of words, so that makes it a bit harder, but doable.

So keep editing your story until you are happy with it, and then let someone else read it to finalize it.

Happy writing all!

vrijdag 23 december 2011


Hello again!

Research can be a big part of your writing, because you want to get the details right. So if you are writing a story about something that happened in the past like the second world war, there is a good chance you need to do research for that. Nowadays a lot of information can be found on the internet, but sometimes you need to go to a public library to get some extra information about something you want to use in a story. Don't be afraid to ask a librarian for help on your subject!

It's also possible that you want to write something about a museum piece that gets stolen for example, so a good way is to actually go to the museum and look at the museum piece, and write down details about where the piece is standing, or hanging on the wall, and where it is positioned in the museum itself. That way, the story gets more believable because people who actually know the museum piece can relate to it.

Reading books about a historical person you want to use in a story can also be very useful. If you want to write about a famous person from the past, there is a good chance you can find many books already written about that person. You can use that information to your own advantage and perhaps rewrite history!

So always make sure you do your research when you want to write about something you need help with!

Happy writing all!

donderdag 22 december 2011

Interview with author Mike Wells

Hello everyone.

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing bestselling author Mike Wells exclusively for this site and ask him some questions about his books and writing. He was born and raised in America but has been living in Europe for the last fifteen years. Mike wrote dozens of novels and a couple of screenplays and at the moment he teaches part-time in the Creative Writing Diploma program at University of Oxford.

Books & Writing: What inspired you to write your first book?

Mike Wells
Interview with Mike Wells
I always wanted to be a writer—I wrote a lot of short stories starting back in high school.  When I was 35 I moved to California and started screenwriting, but that career did not last long.  I found out, the hard way, that movies are a highly collaborative effort and that screenwriters are at the very bottom of the totem pole and have very little creative control. I moved back to Tennessee and started working on my first novel, where I could have full control (at least until the literary agent/editors get involved!)

Books & WritingWhat is your first book called?

Mike Wells: The Founder’s Medal.  It’s a technothriller that takes place in Silicon Valley (California).

Books & WritingHow long did it take you to write your first book?

Mike WellsIt took about a year.  I was lucky enough to be able to work on it full-time.  It would have probably taken a lot longer, otherwise.

Books & WritingWhere do you get your ideas from for your books?

Mike WellsMany of my ideas are from small incidents that happen in real life, greatly exaggerated by asking a lot of “what if?” questions and letting my imagination run wild.  Some ideas catch hold and begin to have their own energy, like a snowball rolling downhill, picking up lots of debris.  Much of the debris has to be cut out but some of it becomes key parts of the story.  For me, the process of writing fiction is very much like dreaming while awake.  Daydreaming and writing it down as it happens in my imagination.

Books & WritingWhich one  of your own books are you most proud of?

Mike Wells: That’s a hard one, as I’m proud of them all.  I would have to say The Wrong Side of the Tracks, though, because it was based very much on my real life as a teenager and about someone who I was very close to who nearly died in an awful car accident, was very painful for me to write.  The book was very heavy for me, emotionally.  I nearly didn’t get through it and was depressed for a time when I finished.  But it is not a depressing book.  It was just the memories that it brought up.

Books & WritingWhich one of your own books gave you the most headaches to write?

Mike Wells: Definitely The Founder’s Medal, the first one.  This was because I really didn’t understand storytelling skills.  Before I wrote that book, I thought that being a great fiction writer was all about words, dialogue, characterization, etc.  It turns out that’s only half of it.  The other half is learning story structure, about heroes and villains, about genres and reader expectations, and especially what to CUT, keeping a story tight and focused.  To me, “Less is more” is THE most important rule of good storytelling/fiction writing, and yet one of the most difficult principles to put into practice.  I wrote a blog post about this called “Does Bruce Willis Have a Dog?”  The title refers to the book and movie called “Die Hard.”  And the answer is, in that movie, we don’t know whether the character Bruce Willis plays has a dog because in that particular story, it doesn’t matter.  Every writer should strive to cut out extraneous material that is not relevant to the story no matter how badly it might hurt.

Books & WritingHow do you overcome writers block, if that occurs?

Mike Wells: Interview with Mike WellsI was plagued by writer’s block for many years and at first was baffled by it when it would strike in the middle of a book.  However, I eventually learned to understand what causes it, at least for me.  It’s when I don’t know where the story is going or there is something fundamentally wrong with the plot that I’m not yet consciously aware of.  I also learned how to solve it.  What I do when I get writer’s block is go the farthest possible scene that I know (for certain) will be in the book and work BACKWARDS from that scene, writing the scene I know must happen before that scene, and then the scene before that one, etc.  This almost always gets me going again.  A story is like a chain, and each link in the chain triggers the next one.  If you go to any particular link in the chain that you KNOW will be in the story, you can work in either direction from there.

Books & WritingHow many words, or hours a day do you spend writing on a book?

Mike Wells: Three to four hours of intense writing is all I can do in one day.  I learned from experience that if I write more than that, I will start feeling weird and when it’s time to go to bed, I will try to take my pants off over my head.

Books & WritingAre you working on a new book at the moment?

Mike Wells: Yes I’m always working on one or more books.  Even if I’m not actually in front of the computer writing, I’m thinking about a book.  I do a lot of thinking about a story before I every actually start writing it down, I daydream about it a lot, visualize how it will start and various key scenes (let that snowball start rolling down the hill!), and sometimes discuss it with trusted friends.  But I don’t talk about it out loud very much because that sometimes dissipates the creative energy—better to keep it contained until I write it.

Books & WritingWhat tip would you give to aspiring writers?

Mike WellsThe most important thing you can do is—you guessed it:  write.  And write.  And write.  And then write some more.  With writing, the best learning comes from doing.  Struggling through one novel, or even a long short story, is far more valuable than taking writing classes, reading writing books, etc. (though I do recommend doing those things, too, alongside your writing, as they will help you)

Books & Writing: Where can we find you on the internet?


Thanks again Mike for taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview and I wish you the best in all your future writing endeavors.

You can check out his books on Amazon.

woensdag 21 december 2011



Make sure you get the details right in your story. So if you write about a man with brown hair, green eyes and a limp for example, make sure you don't change that up in your story where suddenly he has blonde hair and blue eyes. So keep rereading your story and see if the details are correct throughout your story. A helpful tip, when you are forgetful, is to write down any detail in an excel file or in a separate word file so you can always check the little details. Detail is also there to make the story more interesting for the reader. He or she has to picture what he/she is reading, so detail can help out with that.

Anyway, good luck with your writing!

zondag 18 december 2011


Hey all!

Another good way to practice writing, is to write from memory. So write down your life story in phases, like from 1-8 years old, 9-16 years old, and so on. Looking at an old photo album can also help you remember stuff from long ago. Or ask family members to help you fill in some gaps. Just write it in a interesting way, so others enjoy the read. To be clear, you don't have to write down everything you can remember, just the things you care(d) about. So if you are interested in football, and have been playing this for years, remember how you first started out, and how well you progressed. Or if you are into Sailing, remember the first time you went on a sailing trip and how good that made you feel. Just have fun with it :)

You could also write about your prom night and write in detail what you did that night, or write about the first time you went on a holiday with your loved one, or friends.

Anyway you get the gist of it, so enjoy writing down your fondest memories :)

maandag 12 december 2011


Hello again!

Another way to get some creative ideas for your stories, is to write down your dreams. So the first thing you do when you are awake is to write down everything you can still remember from your dreams. Don't worry if it makes no sense at all, just write it down, and who knows what great story you can come up with using this technique. Just puzzle around with the words or phrases and see what you can come up with.

Happy writing all :)

zondag 11 december 2011


Hi again.

To understand how a good story works, you need to actually read books to see how well a story flows form page to page. You also have to concentrate on the genre you want to write about yourself, so if you want to write horror stories, don't read chick lits. And vice versa ofcourse.

If you want to concentrate on short stories, there is only one writer you need to look for and that is Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, who is considered as one of the greatest short story tellers ever. Luckily for you a lot of his stories can be read online at www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/. So feel free to have a look there and check out his short stories. He really knows how to draw you into the story from the first few lines you read.

For Science Fiction aspiring writers, there are a several writers you should really read their books from, and those are Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells,  Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury and Robert A. Heinlein. Those writers really formed Science Fiction as we know it today.

Aspiring Horror writers, should really read the books from the following writers, and those are:  Clive Barker, Richard Matheson, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe and ofcourse Stephen King.

Anyway, you get the idea that you need to look for the best writers of the genre you want to write in, and read their books. 

Happy reading and writing everyone!

zaterdag 10 december 2011



Before you can really create wonderful stories, you need to work on your writing skills, so always try to write at least half an hour each day about everything that comes to mind. So it could be really about anything you can come up with. For example, if you think about a dog, try to write a little story about a dog. Also try to figure out which time is the best for you to write, so it could be that you write your best stuff in the morning before you go to work or school, or maybe during lunch, or before going to bed. Whatever the case may be, try out different times of the day to write and see whats suits you the best.

Make sure you always carry a notebook and pen with you, or make use of your tablet, smart phone or laptop so you can write down little snippets of a story. Don't worry if its just a bunch of mumbo jumbo that you write down, because perhaps you can use those snippets for later use in a story.

So in short. Just write, write, write!