zaterdag 22 december 2012

Interview with Tom Blubaugh by Nick Wale


This time Nick Wale had a very nice interview with author Tom Blubaugh!

Q) Tell me about your books– what are they called and where can we buy them? I think people will be kept hooked by Night of the Cossack.

A) The only book that is still in print is Night of the Cossack. It’s a story about my maternal grandfather. He died before I was born and I missed knowing him. In fact, both grandfathers we deceased when I was born. I knew very little about either of them, but I did know my maternal grandfather was a Cossack soldier. This always fascinated me. I wanted my children and grandchildren to know him so I basically created him in this historical fiction. The history is 100% accurate, but he’s 95% fiction at this point. 

Q) How do you promote your work? What internet sites do you use?

A) Every possible way I can–blog and radio interviews, blog articles, speaking, book signings and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest and more. I’m working with a marketing consultant to pull all of my multiple thousands together and further develop my name and sales. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the interview by clicking here!

zaterdag 15 december 2012

Interview with Terry Irving by Nick Wale

Hey all!

Nick Wale interviewed the infamous Terry Irving for his latest interview! 

Q) It’s a pleasure to meet you, Terry. Let me ask you something personal before we begin. You didn’t come across Bobby Darin on your journalistic travels, did you?

A) He died in 1973. I did interview Ricky Nelson about Elvis Presley.

Q) Really? What was he like?

A) Dumb as a rock.

Q) No way! I like Ricky.

A) I was doing a story on the seventh anniversary of Elvis’ death and all the hagiography was just beginning. He had a fantastic manager that had all the stories about Colonel Tom down. Ricky was a loss. Also met Colonel Tom Parker at Elvis’ birthplace and Sam Philips in the the original Sun Studios down in Memphis.

Q) Colonel Tom was a genius in my opinion. I’m a huge Elvis fan and I don’t think Elvis would have been as big without Tom Parker.

A) He might have been bigger. Tom (Parker) kept him from growing. Do you know that he didn’t start advertising until Elvis’ shows were completely sold out? He created a frenzy.

Read the rest of the interview by clicking here!

woensdag 12 december 2012

Interview with author Nicky Peacock

Hey again!

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicky Peacock about her latest work and writing :)

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Nicky Peacock: The first story I ever wrote was about a scarecrow when I was 5 years old – I was told off by my teacher because it came across a bit sinister!

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Nicky Peacock: I think I was just fascinated with scarecrows at the time – kind of still am.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Nicky Peacock: I love shocking the reader – whether it’s a twist in a tale or an untrustworthy narrator. My aim is to have them want to read it again.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book and the main characters?

Nicky Peacock: My latest book is called ‘Bad Blood’ and is a vampires VS zombies urban fantasy set in England. The main character is called Britannia and is really fun to write. The book is first person from her point of view and she’s a 4 hundred year old vampire with a short fuse and a long patriotic streak.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Nicky Peacock: I read a lot and was actually looking for a vampires VS zombies book – I couldn’t really find one, so thought I’d write it!

Books & Writing: How long did it take for you to write the book?

Nicky Peacock: From start to finish – about 6 months.

Books & Writing: What attracts you to Horror and the Paranormal?

Nicky Peacock: I think it’s always been a part of me. Ever since I was little I’ve been drawn to the genre. It’s very rare that people come to like horror – you either love it, or you don’t.

Books & Writing: What do you like about writing short stories?

Nicky Peacock: This is awful, but that they take less time. A short story can go from idea to publication within months – a book can take years. I tend to have a lot of ideas so I get excited about my latest one – keeping the excitement alive for a longer manuscript can be difficult.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Nicky Peacock: Yes, join a writers’ group. If there’s not one near you – start one. It’s easier than you think (I did this myself)

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Nicky Peacock: I have quite a number of authors who inspire me. I like the longevity of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse Characters. I like the poetic gore of Poppy Z Brite. I love the worlds created by Karen Marie Moning and Laurell K Hamilton. I also admire Amanda Hocking for showing that Indie can work.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Nicky Peacock: I have an Amazon author page: – where you can see and buy all my published books.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Nicky Peacock: I have a blog: and I’m also on Twitter @nickyp_author. Feel free to friend me on FaceBook too – just input my name and check the photos for a scary looking blonde!  

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Nicky Peacock: My latest book from Untreed Reads ‘Years End – 14 Tales of Holiday Horror’ is out now – it’s a great read ready for the new year and can be downloaded straight from the publisher’s website, or through Amazon on my page. Click the banner below to go to the page.

dinsdag 11 december 2012

Nick Wale reviews the book "Courier" by Terry King

Hello again!

This time Nick Wale reviewed the upcoming book Courier from Terry Kingwitch according to Nick will be a bestseller! Don't forget to check out the entire review by clicking on the link below the out take.

Work of fiction it may be, but, Courier delves into a vein of thought that many Americans have often pondered. What other travesties might Nixon have been committing behind the scenes? It is a well known fact that he was one of the most prolific foreign policy presidents and deemed his endeavors in that field as some of his greatest achievements. It is also well known that he was powered by money. One of his first moves post-Presidency was to engage super agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar and gain a huge advance for his overly long memoirs. The main motivation for that fatal Frost interview was also money. Is it so inconceivable that he wouldn't take bribes from South Vietnam?

Courier makes me wonder. I was not born during those heady days of Vietnam or when Nixon held the greatest power in the world at his fingertips. I was born during a different generation and in a different country. I only know of Vietnam through the books I have read and the history lessons I took at school. To many who were there, however, this book will bring back memories of Nixon and what he stood for. He was the man who bought America to its knees and then almost defaced the whole ideal of a Presidency.Courier brings all the injustice and behind-the-scenes activity of such a President into play. During this era, a man like Rick Putnam would have been killed for knowing such information. History has shown that there were no depths Nixon wouldn't claw to just to remain the President of the United States

 Click here to read the rest of the review!

donderdag 6 december 2012

Interview with Douglas R Cobb by Nick Wale

Hello everyone!

Nick Wale also does interviews with writers and from now on I will post some stuff from his interviews on this website. So feel free to check out the interview he has done with Douglas R Cobb. 

Q) Your daughter seems to be a big influence on your writing. I bet she is proud that her dad is a writer. Tell me– are you the same as any other dad back home with the family?

A) Though I always have loved to write, and I majored in English in college, I hadn’t really tried to sell any of my short stories, poems, or novels. I got wrapped up in starting up a family, getting a job, they usual sorts of things most people do with their lives. But, my daughter did get me back interested in writing, when she requested that I write a book about her dog, Lily. I ran with that idea, and made her into a talking pterodactyl, and the crime-fighting head of an organization of her friends, also mutant animals, called PAWS (Private Army of Warrior Sleuths). It’s become a series, beginning with Lily, Unleashed, the first book she inspired. After that, there’s Lily and Paws: The Ghosts of Summer  and Lily Solves Them All, in which Lily must solve 7 crimes using the methods of 7 of the world’s most famous detectives of literature and the Silver Screen. Included are Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple. Then, I wrote My Brother The Zombie: (The Zombie Revolution: Book One). My son’s photo is on the cover of that one. He’s also been an influence on my writing, especially with that book. And, my last book is Crossing The Dead Line, though I’m working on a Lily and PAWS Christmas novella currently. You and your girlfriend are in it, you know. (Nick laughs- “really?”) Yes, you two are werewolves–nice ones, so don’t worry–LOL.

Q) Thanks Douglas! Lori and I appreciate it! Did you see my latest interview? I gave a huge shutout to you, buddy! Hope you heard it in Arkansas!

A) Yes, I did–it was one that everyone who loves great literature should read, so that they can learn more about you and your book. I’m sure that it will be a hit, when it is published. Thanks for the shout-out! (Douglas paused for a moment and looked straight at me, a smile broke out on his face.) A brief answer for once, LOL…if I get too long-winded, just hit me upside my head once or twice…

Read the rest of the interview by clicking here!

maandag 26 november 2012

Interview with author Anthea Carson

Hi all!

Today I am talking to author Anthea Carson about her life and writing.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Anthea Carson: The first story I wrote, I didn't know how to use letters. I noticed that there were symbols used to make sentences, so I tried using ice cream cones for the letters. I thought it wouldn't matter, and that my mom should be able to make sense of it anyway. I don't remember what the story was about, but I remember that my mom couldn't make sense of it. She tried to pretend she did, but when I quizzed her on what the story was about, she flunked terribly. I then sobbed and sobbed and stomped my feet because nobody could read my ice cream cone words. I don't know how old I was, but obviously couldn't yet read. So I tried to write my first story before I could read or write.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Anthea Carson: I used to stand outside and stare at  the sunlight shimmering through the trees, and the first time I found myself alone outside and saw the stars at night, I stood in awe and wonder at them. So I guess it was nature that inspired me.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Anthea Carson: I love to create the unspoken tension between characters. I love to mimic reality, and the flowing and undefinable nature of relationships. I love to show the cause and effect between people and the decisions that they make. I love how one thing leads to another, and how so often one event will set in motion a chain of events that cannot be stopped. I both love and hate that time is irreversible, and I love to ponder that and show the harsh reality of that in my stories. I love the struggles that are common to everyone like indecision, hesitation, and how each of us handles grief in his or her own individual way, almost like a fingerprint.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book Call me Jane?

Anthea Carson: Jane starts off as a somewhat of a blank piece of paper in her adolescent years and life begins tossing and turning her, changing who she is forever. She leaves her cushy private school for the rough and tumble public school because she wants to be more real The realness of life might not have been something she was prepared for though. And although she is naive, she is not innocent, and her choices also impact the world, as it impacts her. She is sly, and sometimes only seems innocent. She falls in love with her best friend's boyfriend, and justifies to herself the steps she takes to steal him. The harm she does to her best friend was something she hadn't expected, and wasn't prepared to deal with. Life wasn't playing dress up and barbies, like she half expected. Consequences were something she had simply never seen before. And sometimes it's not that you don't do the right thing, but simply that you wait too long to do it.

While Jane herself could be called naive, her new friends certainly are not. They are cynical, jaded, worldy and unpredictable. They play with her like a new found kitten, tossing her balls to chase. They are like a set of puzzle pieces that all fit together, or a chess board where the men all move differently, only she has yet to figure out her place in that strange world they have created.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Anthea Carson: It is fairly autobiographical although the names are changed, and mostly fictionalized.

Books & Writing: How long did it take you to write the book?

Anthea Carson: Call me Jane took about five years total, although for several of those years the manuscript simply sat on the shelf jelling.

Books & Writing: The book is part of a trilogy called "The Oshkosh Trilogy." Why did you decide to make a trilogy from the story and which part of the trilogy is "Call me Jane?"

Anthea Carson: The first book in the trilogy was not originally intended to be a trilogy at all. "The Dark Lake," as it is called, was the story of a woman who is caught in the past and for some reason cannot leave it. "Call me Jane" is the next book in the sequel, but it is in reality a prequel. "Call me Jane" shows the event she cannot remember in "The Dark Lake," twenty years later. The event happened at a party. In "The Dark Lake" she gets two separate events mixed up in her mind and has melded them together as one. "Call me Jane" and the next book, not yet titled, is the separating of those two events. She cannot remember what happened, and yet remembers fragments and blurs the lines between the two traumatic events. And the reality of what happened to her is much less terrifying than the nightmare her life has become by repressing the memories.

Books & Writing: I understand that you have written several books over the years. Can you elaborate on some of them?

Anthea Carson: I co-authored a children's chess book called "How to Play Chess Like an Animal," with the Colorado State chess Champion, Brian Wall. (I have been a tournament chess player and chess coach for many years). I wrote a young adult fiction called "Ainsworth," about a mystery of uncovering the disappearance of a long lost uncle on a farm in the Sandhills of Nebraska. This book explores the fascinating world of the Ghostdance, a phenomenon that spread across the Native American tribes in the late 1800's.

I also wrote "Two Moons," a short story about a female chess player and a strange man who follows her, a short story called "House Under Water," about a dream, a novella called "Girl with the Alligator Pants," which is a fantasy, stream of consciousness version of "Call me Jane," and "Cheese Doodles," a nonsensical short story about a drug addicted young woman in Texas whose life seems to be spinning out of control.

Books & Writing: What do you like about writing short stories?

Anthea Carson: I like the fact that they don't need to go on and on, and can contain strange ideas that, if carried on throughout a long sequence would become far fetched and ridiculous or lose momentum. I like the fact that they can be trivial and ridiculous. I suppose novels can too, but it's easier with short stories.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Anthea Carson: I recommend a book called "Writing down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. She helps free the creative spirit. I recommend stripping off the mask and telling the truth although I must say that doing so exposes one's soul to the world and this may yet cause me to become a recluse if I'm not careful. Of course there is always chess I can escape to. Thank God for that.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Anthea Carson: Faulkner inspires me, but I don't want to write like him. I want to write like Hemmingway. I want to learn to keep it simple. But I love the complexity of Faulkner. I don't think readers are drawn to that sort of thing though, it is too straining. I also deeply respect and admire the work of George Eliot. Other major influences include Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte, Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and Gone with the Wind. I know I know, not considered a classic. But it should be. Oh, and of course, the best, Jane Austen. I love Shakespeare too.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Anthea Carson: I have a free ebook on Goodreads, called "House Under Water." Otherwise my books are all on Amazon kindle. You can also order my paperback of Ainsworth from amazon. You can go to to order chess like an animal. I also have 2 new books out with a fellow chess player named Tim Brennan. They are called Tactics Time and Tactics Time for Kids.

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

Anthea Carson: I am @chessanimal on Twitter, Anthea Jane Carson on facebook, and Goodreads, Anthea Carson.

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with readers?

Anthea Carson: I have two or three more novels in the works. One is of course the third in the Oshkosh Trilogy, and another is a suspense/thriller about a woman trapped in a deadly marriage.

Below is an excerpt from the book Call me Jane!


Back in 8th grade we used to go to the Y dance every Friday night.

Lynn Bonner was my best friend. She would bring the clothes she planned to wear in a duffel bag to my house. She could never borrow any of my pants or shirts because she was so tall. She loved to do my hair and make up and talk about the cool kids who went to Webster.

Webster was the public middle school down on Hazel Street about one block from Menomonee Park. St. Mary’s, where we went to school, was only about four blocks away on Baldwin Street, but it seemed like miles. And once we started high school, those middle school Y dances seemed like they happened years ago even though it had only been a couple of months.

Lynn still did my hair but we weren’t getting ready for Y dances anymore, we were getting ready for parties.

“There,” Lynn said and stood back to admire her work. She had applied blue shadow over my eyelids, black eyeliner and thick mascara which made my upper eyelashes stick to my lower lids. Her own mascara was always smudged all over her cheeks.

 “Who is the most popular girl at Webster?” I asked.

It would be years before I realized how ridiculous this question was. And yet there would always be a part of me that wanted to be one of the popular girls too.

“Glinda. She really takes the cake,” Lynn said, shaking her head as she dabbed my face. “She dresses so cool.”

“And she is really coming here tonight?”

“Yeah, that’s what I heard. And Gay too, she’s coming. Actually, Gay is probably the most popular, but Glinda is the prettiest. She’s so pretty. And she dresses really cool. Nobody can imitate her style,” she continued. She had finished my make up and was working on her own hair, touching up one of the curls with that hot, clumsy curling iron, its cord bulky, stiff and awkward. It kept knocking over vials of nail polish and bottles of foundations that were always two shades too dark for my skin color. It was the 1970’s. Disco, feathered hair and dark tans were cool. I could never admit how pale my shade actually was.

“They all have such weird names,” I observed. “Like that girl Krishna? What do you know about her?”

“She is really popular.” She finished one curl and went on to the next, eyeing it in the mirror from a strange angle. This next curl was further back, on the top of her head. It’s what gave her hair lots of volume. She didn’t always do those top curls. “She hangs out with Carly Carter. Maybe Carly is the most popular. Even more than Gay. But they don’t hang out together.”

A question was forming in my brain. Didn’t all the popular people hang out together in one big popular group? But I didn’t ask her this. Instead I said, “Are those guys coming here tonight too?”

 “Everyone is. At least that’s what I heard. They all found out we had booze, and that your parents are going to be gone all night,” said Lynn.

 “What about Lucy? How popular is she?”  I asked.

            “She is really cute. She hangs out with Krishna. But Krishna is super-cute because she’s so dark. Actually Lucy’s pretty dark too. I would love to be that dark, and not have to lay out all the time.” It was brushing time. And she always loaded on the hairspray right about now. It choked me till I had to leave my bathroom, and back out into my wooden back room. It wasn’t really my bedroom. It was the den, and even when I tried to turn it into my bedroom, it still looked like the den.

She brushed and brushed, and then put her thick mess of hair down and shook it and brushed it forward. Then stood up, sprayed some more and brushed it back. Then she shook it side to side and gave it a wary eyed inspection.

“Sit down,” she said, closed the green toilet lid and pointed to my toilet. She loved to work on my hair.

“You are so cute,” she said.

“No I’m not,” I said. It didn’t mean I didn’t think I was cute, although I didn’t. It was just the standard thing you said when someone told you that you were cute. If you said nothing, you got a reputation for being stuck-up.

When she was done she said, “Is that what you’re going to wear? That?” Pointing at the outfit I had laid out on the bed. “You are not going to wear that.” She tossed it aside and began poking through my things.

I had no built-in closet for my clothes like I would in a real bedroom. My dad bought me this wardrobe thing and we set it in the corner by the door. It worked but it looked weird and temporary and if you pulled the doors too hard it tipped over. And it was metal. And yellow. There was a narrow mirror on one of the two doors on it. Next to it was the big old fold out couch. I never slept on it since I got my army cot. There was a big picture window that looked out at my backyard. I loved to stare through it. I was staring through it now, while I listened to Lynn rattle off the names of the popular kids I could never hope to be one of.

zondag 21 oktober 2012

Interview with author Tom Abrahams

Hello all!

Today I had the pleasure of talking to author Tom Abrahams about his book Sedition and his writing experiences.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Tom Abrahams: Thanks very much for inviting me!  I am a first time novelist, long time husband and dad.  I have been married for 17 years.  My wife and I have two children.  And we live in the Houston, Texas suburbs.  I've been a television reporter (specializing in politics) for the last 20 years.  I've traveled around the world covering interesting people and places.  And I've been fortunate enough to witness a lot of history firsthand.  

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Tom Abrahams: I remember an assignment I had for a 5th grade paper.  It was supposed to be a 1 or 2 page creative writing paper.  Mine was more like 10 pages and focused on a fictional me winning a gold medal in the Olympics in world record time.  That, of course, never happened.  But I did get a A on the paper. 

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Tom Abrahams: I've always loved reading.  I like the temporary escape, the ability to envision another reality.  And so, I've always thought that if I could provide that for others, as an author, I'd be sharing the gift.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Tom Abrahams: I love the surprises.  I wrote with a very crude outline.  And so often, when I am writing, I am surprised by where the characters take me.  I always manage to get from point A to point B in the manuscript.  But how I get there is rarely how I plan.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book Sedition and the main characters?

Tom Abrahams: Sedition is a political thriller based on an 1820 British plot called the Cato Street Conspiracy.  In it, a group of disaffected patriots scheme to kill the prime minister and his cabinet.  Then, they believe, they'll be able to take over the government.  I took that basic idea, modernized it, and set it in Washington DC.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Tom Abrahams: My wife and I were watching The Tudors on the Showtime network.  We wondered how much of the storyline was historically accurate and so we got online and started researching it.  In doing so, I noticed a footnote about the Cato Street Conspiracy.  I Googled it, read about it, and thought it would make a great political thriller.  The next day I began outlining ways to tell the story.

Books & Writing: How long did it take you to write the book?

Tom Abrahams: It took me 7 months to write it and then another 6-9 months of rewrites.  I really wanted it to be tight, fast paced, and enjoyable from the beginning to the end.  At first, I had to much "info dumping" in between the good parts.  It made for a really well-researched novel, but one that moved too slow.  So I condensed the information.  The first draft was probably 105,000 words.  The final product is right at 90,000.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Tom Abrahams: Don't ever give up.  Keep writing.  If one book doesn't work...the next one will.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Tom Abrahams: I love reading Michael Crichton.  I really enjoy the seamless way in which he incorporates the real world into his fantasy.  I try to do the same thing.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Tom Abrahams: The book's website is  You can also buy the book from Amazon, iBooks, and on the nook at Barnes & Noble.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Tom Abrahams:  my twitter account (and i follow back) is @seditionbook  i also have a facebook page, which you can find linked at the book's website.

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Tom Abrahams: If you read the book, and I hope that you do, please review it.  Good or bad.  I also encourage readers to email me at  with any questions or comments they have about the novel.  I love interacting with readers.

Below is an excerpt from his book Sedition!

Sir Spencer Thomas stirred the Chivas Regal Royal Salute with his left pinkie then sucked the rare liquid from his finger.

He’d saved the fifty year old scotch since 2003 when it was gifted to him at the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Now was as good a time as any to self-medicate with a $10,000 bottle of Strathisla malted scotch.

From his high back, brown leather chair in his suite at the Hay-Adams Hotel he could see The White House, The Washington Monument, and the 52 inch LCD television alit with coverage of President Foreman’s sudden death. The news was minutes old and already the spin doctors were talking succession.

“The body isn’t even cold yet,” he thought and crossed his legs.

He took a sip from the leaded glass and listened to the commentary on T.V.

“What complicates matters so much,” opined the pundit on the screen “is that the President’s death comes so soon after the prolonged illness and death of the former Vice President. It leaves us with a bit of a constitutional crisis. The replacement nominee is confirmed, but hasn’t taken the oath. Does this mean the Speaker of The House becomes President? Does she take the reins only until V.P. nominee Blackmon is sworn in? Who is in control right now?”

At the bottom of the screen flashed a crawl of announcements. Sir Spencer muted the television as he read the information moving from right to left across the screen.

Wall Street trading suspended after sharp 900 point drop. Mourners gather outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Cabinet meets in emergency session in White House. Leadership vacuum not a concern, says Speaker Jackson. Doctors say Foreman’s last checkup revealed no health issues. Aneurysm suspected in President Foreman’s sudden death. Autopsy is scheduled for late tonight with results tomorrow.

Sir Spencer took another sip. The scotch was smooth and it finished with a creamy taste. He stood from the chair, using his left hand to balance his six foot five inch frame as he rose. It was a simple task that had become increasingly difficult with age and indulgence. Sighing slightly, he stepped to the window overlooking the People’s House and thought about the incredible opportunity that fate chose to bestow upon him.

The possibilities!

The knight was a man for whom manifest destiny was a deep belief. It did not end with his adopted country’s purchase of Texas, as some historians suggested. It did not end with the Imperialism so many believe the U.S. employed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was, for him, the idea that America’s place as the world’s foremost military, economic, and social power was ordained in perpetuity. Sir Spencer believed the death of a president and the ensuing uncertainty might be exactly what was needed to regain its authority and rightful place in the hierarchy of nations.

This is what we’ve waited for. This is our opportunity.

Sir Spencer reached into the inside breast pocket of his combed, blue cashmere Kiton jacket. He pulled out his Sigillu encrypted cell phone and punched a series of numbers with his thumb, pressed send, and slipped the phone back into the pocket. “A Deo et Rege,” he murmured as he again lifted the glass to his lips. From God and The King. He could smell the strength of the scotch.

dinsdag 2 oktober 2012

Interview with author Aaron Dries about his latest book “The Fallen Boys”

Today Aaron Dries was kind enough to answer my questions about his latest novel “The Fallen Boys”.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Aaron Dries: My name is Aaron Dries and I’m still in shock. Five years ago I only ever dreamed of writing and now here I am celebrating the release of my second horror novel, The Fallen Boys. It’s a weird and wonderful world.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about your book “The Fallen Boys”

Aaron Dries: The Fallen Boys is an intense, psychological horror novel about a man named Marshall Deakins, who after four years, is still struggling to come to terms with the tragic suicide of his young son. It tortures him. He embarks on a search for answers that leads him down a macabre and labyrinthine path paved with secrets and lies. Instead of peace of mind he finds madness, held captive as part of a deranged plan filled with suffering. As the nature of his captors’ insanity is revealed, Marshall will need to confront the truth about his son and his own past if he hopes to have a future.

It’s a twisted cautionary tale. And it’s most definitely not for the faint of heart.

Books & Writing: “The Fallen Boys” deals with the theme of Internet bullying? What was the inspiration for this?

Aaron Dries: It wasn’t like there was a particular case that inspired this story. To say so would be completely untrue. But the issue was in the atmosphere; I’m not immune to it. I started writing the novel over two-and-a-half years ago, when there were all of these tragic stories slithering out of the media. And all of those stories disturbed and upset me, as they did everyone. It sickens me that there are those out there who play on the vulnerability of others —especially children— with this faux sense of power that the Internet provides. “They can’t see me and they don’t know who I am … therefore I’m not doing anything wrong by hurting them.” It’s about power. It’s about manipulation; both of one’s own self, and strangers. That frightens me.

Books & Writing: How did you find a way to tell a horror story about Internet bullying without it becoming exploitative?

Aaron Dries: Honesty was my barometer from page one. If something didn’t feel real then it was doing the book harm. If it felt contrived … I cut it. At the end of the day, it isn’t a novel about Internet bullying; it’s about manipulation. But I cannot deny the power of the catalyst theme, which is needed in any work of fiction. And that wound is still fresh. Internet bullying hasn’t gone away. So it’s about honesty, which is perhaps why it ends up going down such grisly paths. These are themes almost predestined for tragedy. And at the end of the day, horror and exploitation have gone hand-in-hand throughout history. That’s the curse of it, I guess. It happened when Robert Bloch wrote Psycho, when Wes Craven made Last House on the Left, when Jack Ketchum wrote The Girl Next Door. I’m sure I won’t be immune from it; which isn’t to say I won’t defend myself.

Books & Writing: You write very cinematically. Do you think your work would translate well to film?

Aaron Dries: Growing up, all I ever wanted to do was direct films. For me, writing is very much the same, only I’m not just the director— I’m the writer, casting agent, actor, editor and audience as well. People find my writing style cinematic and I’m very okay with that. Personally, I think my novels would translate into film well, because (so far) they have all been visceral horrors within real-world contexts. That makes adaptation a hell of a lot easier. And cheaper. I think House of Sighs would be a super-effective horror film; it’s streamlined narrative with real drive. The Fallen Boys treads a far more precarious line. If done wrong, it could end up as exploitation, or worse, torture porn. I worked very hard to not allow the novel to become either of these two things on the page. But if done right … man, what an experience it would be.

Books & Writing: Continuing on from this, both “The Fallen Boys” and “House of Sighs” have very effective book trailers. How did you go about getting them made?

Aaron Dries: I made them myself! I shot, edited and sometimes acted in both. The feedback has been fantastic and I’ve even got some work offers out of them. I used to be a video editor before I was a writer and I’ve still got that passion. I love that people enjoy the trailers so much, especially the one I released for The Fallen Boys, which I’m particularly proud of. I guess it’s that cinematic vibe that comes from the stories themselves. It just flows onto the screen. I’ve been getting all of these emails from strangers saying how frightened they were watching the trailer, which brought an evil little smile to my face.

Books & Writing: “The Fallen Boys”, as you mentioned, is grisly. How did you approach the ‘horror’ element of this real world terror?

Aaron Dries: The key was to underplay it, whilst overplaying it simultaneously. There are very few scenes of violence in The Fallen Boys… but we witness a lot of the aftermath, sometimes in great detail. As a result, readers feel as though they’re experiencing more gore than they really are. I’m very happy with that. This book, more so than House of Sighs, works because of what isn’t on the page. It seethes with implication. Early reviews have picked up on this, with some comparing it to Tobe Hooper’s original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in which viewers remembered seeing more violence than was actually shown. Big thumbs up from me. It was very, very deliberate. The book is largely about the Internet, which is a place where terrible things happen every day, but with a surreal lack of tangibility… yet there are very real consequences left behind. This is why the violence happens off-page. Well, most of it, anyway.

Books & Writing: There are a lot of twists and turns in “The Fallen Boys”. You think it’s going in one direction and then takes you in another… Do you plot your novels out in advance?

Aaron Dries: I don’t set out with a plan, but I always seem to find myself falling in to one. The Fallen Boys probably wouldn’t have ended the way it does if I’d sat down with a pen and mapped it all out on day one. It helps me discover what “feels right” as opposed to what’s fair, or perhaps, what a reader really wants. This book isn’t about what you want to happen. It’s about what does happen, whether you want it to or not. In a nutshell, it was planned to be devoid of mercy, unless circumstance dictated otherwise. And weirdly, the words just flowed out of me.

Books & Writing: These are really dark subject matters — Internet bullying, suicide, murder and manipulation … do these themes trouble you when you’re writing them?

Aaron Dries: That’s interesting. After House of Sighs came out, everyone asked me if I was disturbed by the content I’d written. Had I scared myself at any point? With that novel, the answer is no. Hell, it was fun. It was written by someone who was mad; someone with something to say about small-towns and some of the small minds that reside there. The Fallen Boys started out that way … but literally fell into something very different. It was a book that was getting out of control, spinning further and further into deeper hell. That unsettled me. And yes, in the end, it shook me up. I’m not immune to these subjects and as a result, The Fallen Boys screwed with my brain. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I lost sleep over it.

Books & Writing: “The Fallen Boys” syncs up with your debut novel, “House of Sighs.” Can you comment on that?

Aaron Dries: Setting is very important to me. Without a real setting, the characters feel less real. Horror, when it works, can be read by anyone anywhere. So many base elements are the same, and transcend location or ethnicity. That’s why I love the genre so much. But in order for it to resonate, it has got to feel real. Otherwise, there’s no point … With this in mind, I expanded on a world I’d already created, and in a way, ended up writing a “thematic sequel” to my debut. As a result, there are cross-overs. Those were fun to write. The villain from House of Sighs even has a cameo here. And the main character of The Fallen Boys is Marshall Deakins, whose father was the James Bridge postman in Sighs. Keen eyes will pick up on lots of these intersections. It’s fun.

Books & Writing: “The Fallen Boys” is very cine-literate. There are lots of references to movies and television shows, such as Twin Peaks. Are you a fan-boy at heart?

Aaron Dries: Absolutely! I wear my Twin Peaks fan badge with pride. My decision to set part of The Fallen Boys in North Bend, WA was because I went there for the Twin Peaks annual fan festival. I had an incredible time and made life-long friends there. And I was charmed by the locale. It was so surreal, stepping into a world that is, by definition, unreal. And yet, having said this, there are those in that town who just don’t care about the show anymore — many of whom perhaps never did. As a result, there exists this weird subtext in the streets… what is a tranquil backyard for some was a cinematic murder site for a world of other people. That stuck with me. And when the time came to writing The Fallen Boys, North Bend was still very much in my heart. It came naturally. 

Books & Writing: Do you think Twin Peaks fans would get a kick out of “The Fallen Boys”?

Aaron Dries: Ha! I’d love to think so. There’s a lot in there for Twin Peaks fans, especially those who have gone to the effort of travelling to North Bend. They definitely stand to get a kick out of some of my more obscure references.

Books & Writing: There’s a song in “The Fallen Boys” called “Endsville” by Dom King Come. How’d you find this song?

Aaron Dries: I’ll let you in on a secret. There is no Dom King Come. I made it up and I had an absolute ball working on those lyrics. So if anyone feels like putting it to music, go right ahead. It’s meant to be super chilled, old school country folk. Kind of Randy Newman-esque. You all have my blessing!

Books & Writing: Finally, where can we get a copy of “The Fallen Boys”?

Aaron Dries: It’s out now! Head over to, or snap up a copy at your local bookstore.

Books & Writing: Thanks so much for joining us, Aaron!

Aaron Dries: It’s been a pleasure. Happy Halloween!

Below is the Frightening trailer for the book, what people are saying , and an excerpt!

What people are saying!

The Fallen Boys is a relentless, sick and twisted journey into real world horror and madness, and a novel every fan of the genre MUST read!”

-- David Bernstein, author of Amongst the Dead (

“…Every real fear I've ever had as a living, breathing, feeling human being was brought to life within the pages of this book. Yet I could. not. stop. reading. Even with my stomach in knots, muscles tense, and anxiety level steadily climbing… Dries is indeed a master storyteller. All five of my senses were engaged with his vivid descriptions and use of imagery… A true psychological horror, this story did more than just disturb me - It got under my skin.

The Fallen Boys not only reminded me of why I fell in love with the horror genre, it also reminded me that there is horror and then there is horror. There is the kind of horror that speaks of monsters lurking in the closet and boogeymen residing under the bed. Then there's the horror of realizing that the most disturbing of monsters are the ones found behind the smile of a trusted friend, the seemingly innocent greeting of a stranger, or the face that looks back at us from a mirror.  From engaging characters to an awesome story line with villains you pray you never meet in person - all of these elements combined make this novel deserving of nothing less than my highest rating. 5/5 stars.”

-- Not Now Mommy’s (

The excerpt!

Prologue: An Evening in Washington State

July Twenty-Eight, 2007

The house was a moonlit carving in the dark. There were no chirping crickets, no birdsong—just winter silence. The sigh of trees. Stacy Norman slept inside, unaware of her role in The Forgiveness. She’d been chosen because she appeared innocent, but she would suffer because she’d committed the unpardonable crime of kindness.

Her murderer had appeared at her doorstep two months earlier, asking if a particular family lived there. Stacy had smiled at him and told the tall, deep-voiced man no. “Not much help to you, am I? Good luck, though,” she said, and closed the door, catching a quick glimpse of his smile.

This was the first of three visits he would pay to her house. The second was to scout for hiding places, surveying turns and locating the stairs, accumulating all the information he would need to make the third visit a simple, problem-free affair.

A breath of air through the house, coming from an open window somewhere—it had nothing to do with their entry. Stacy’s murderers had used the key under the doormat, which they had discovered on visit number two. Stacy would suffer because she was kind, but she would die because she was trusting.

The tinkle of ladles, suspended from the kitchen range.

It was a small, rented house on the outskirts of Preston—redbrick exterior and shingled roof that trembled when the winds blew hard. It was a long commute to work at the architecture firm in Seattle, but Stacy knew it was worth it. There in Preston she had privacy and silence, which was enough for her.

She used to be afraid of living alone but not anymore. The solitary life grew more and more inviting with each passing year, loneliness wearing thin. She didn’t own the little redbrick house, but that was okay. Renting taught her the value of patience, of working towards what you want. One day she would live in a home that she herself had designed, paid for and was proud of. It, too, would be on the fringe of a city surrounded by trees. And silence. Just the way she liked it.

Clocks ticked in the living room. Photographs of Stacy’s family back in Maine lined the walls, faces trapped under glass. A dog-eared copy of Even Cowgirls Get The Blues was bent over the arm of a chair. She was fifty pages from finishing.

Her diary sat on the desk in the study, an eagle feather marking her place. Her father had slipped it into her suitcase the day she had left home to study in Seattle. That had been six years ago.


Danny stayed over last night, read one entry. At first I didn’t want him to, but I gave in. Not to him, but to my damn hunger. I know that sounds stupid. Hunger. But I don’t know any other word for it. I’m not making excuses—it was nice. He was rougher than I like but what the hell, right? He made me coffee in the morning. I think I’m falling hard. I don’t know if I want that.

maandag 24 september 2012

Interview with author Ruud Antonius

Hey again :)

Today I am talking to author Ruud Antonius who was born on the 3rd of December 1959 in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands where he lived until the age of 13 and moved to England with his family in 1973, continued his schooling and studied art in Hampshire. After that, in 1979, he moved to Bielefeld, Germany and 9 months later to Hameln, a small town close to Hanover. For a period of 5 years he painted there, did a short spell being a musician and in 1984 returned to The Netherlands to become a full time artist. In March 2006 Ruud decided to move back to England to see how things had panned out there but finally ended up in Spain on one of the Costas where painting and writing seem to fill most of his days.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Ruud Antonius: The first serious piece I wrote must have been somewhere around the 1990’s. It was called ‘Mart Meissner’ and told the story of an autistic artist who lived life with the same intensity and vigour that he experienced in his work. At the time I was working in the Netherlands as an artist and wrote it in Dutch. Being a surrealistic painter I found it an interesting initiative to see what would happen if I’d write a story in much the same fashion as I paint, using identical thought processes to bend and contort reality into the strange and wonderful world of surrealistic imagery. So I bought an electronic typewriter (can we remember them?) and locked myself in the office after work for a couple of hours a day. What had started out as a small experiment soon turned into an unfinished story more than 200 pages long, packed with insane ideas but at the same time it was an interesting adventure to have taken on. It is now stacked away in a cardboard box somewhere where it will remain. I just might read it again some day but I haven’t had the courage as yet.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Ruud Antonius: About two years ago I was asked by Carter Kaplan, a professor of the English language in the USA to join the board of editorial advisors of International Authors which is a consortium of writers, artists, architects and critics. They publish works of outstanding merit dedicated to the advancement of an international culture in literature primarily in English. I accepted and was thrilled with the stories in ‘Emanations’ an anthology edited by Carter. Shortly after that I started writing Son upon Tine, not with the intention of ever having it published. When Carter came over to stay with me in the UK to attend a meeting of International Authors in London we got talking over the piece I was writing and he urged me to finish it. That and meeting up with a bunch of authors on a terrace at St. Pancras station did the trick.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Ruud Antonius: The strange phenomenon that I can actually feel and see the world I am creating, the details, choosing the bits you want and having the luxury to discard things which are surplus to the story but set the mood all the same for me to write in the right frame of mind. It just might be an addiction, a form of escapism from the real world, but hey, I am not too impressed with the real world at the best of times.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your trilogy Son upon Tine and the main characters?

Ruud Antonius: The trilogy is an analogy to the real world we live in, the absurdities of politics, money and corruption. At the same time it tells the story of friendships, society, science, love and fear with all its mechanisms and complexities in a bizarre community, yet never losing touch with reality. The reader is put in a position where the situations created never seem implausible and thus becomes familiar and attached to the weird and wonderful world of Son upon Tine without questioning the surreal undertone of the complete novel.

Book 1 tells the story of how Mark Miworth Caerphilly acquired his status and wealth through his position as Mayor of Cornbridge Town, bending the rules and regulations where he can to achieve his goals but when Anthony Bridewell, a casual worker in the nearby village of Son upon Tine happens to stumble upon a freak incident whilst on his way to work, the two main characters are bound by fate.  Angela Hilsop, the personal secretary to the Mayor defects after finding secret information regarding the Lower Decks, a remnant since the Great War and a sinister place in the cellars of the Council building where ‘difficult’ individuals are locked away to safeguard the Mayor’s powers. At the same time Anthony is aided by Abram Young, a milkman, one of the few in the small rural community who defies the heavy nature of the night, taking him out to the banks of the river Tine where plans have been made to build a modern power plant to generate electricity from a unique structure within the strange waters which flow through the country side. Soon afterwards more people join their struggle to topple the Mayor who makes great efforts to silence the small group but in doing so finds himself in more trouble than he bargained for. Joseph Young, the son and apprentice of the Milkman, Peter Outslogh a simple farmer who prefers to slaughter his pigs rather than rear them and Murphy Lawson a retired physics teacher who is married to a retired nurse who cannot accept the redundancy of her skills.  They all unite in an attempt to assist Anthony but are unable to prevent him having to leave his home, a house that struggles to retain its size and fights the structural changes Anthony has made over the years.

The story is told in two parts, with separate timelines, out of synchronicity, from Anthony’s and Mark’s point of view. As the story unfolds Anthony’s time line draws alongside Mark’s, in part two it surpasses his adversary. It is an hour-to-hour account from Ablebodyday 1, June 15th 1959 to Ablebodyday 8, June 22nd 1959 describing the absurd and preposterous events within the boundaries of Cornshire on a plot of land no larger than 12 by 12 miles.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the trilogy?

Ruud Antonius: The idea has been in my head for years and during that time I improved the initial concept, worked out the different layers, structured the themes and invented weird and wonderful characters. I had drawn a complete map of the village Son upon Tine and the area around the council offices in Cornbridge town long before I started writing. With all that already done the story nearly wrote itself.

Books & Writing: Why did you decide to turn the story into a trilogy?

Ruud Antonius: It was a logical choice from the outset. The first book tells a story on a very small piece of land, in a rural setting in the county of Cornshire with timelines which are offset between the two main characters living in two different towns. In the second book the consequences of the ‘troubles’ in Son upon Tine have repercussions with neighbouring country Scowaland. We then have two timelines and two storylines on either side of the border of two nations who are on the brink of war. The last book will be written in retrospective from Anthony’s point of view after the whole world has been plunged in a bitter war instigated from a relatively small incident in Son upon Tine.

Books & Writing: How many parts of the trilogy have you finished so far?

Ruud Antonius: Book one is completely finished and ended up 420 pages long which took me about 8 months to write. I am now half way through the second book which will be slightly longer by the looks of it and hopefully will be finished in April next year.

Books & Writing: When will you finish the remaining parts of the trilogy?

Ruud Antonius: The trilogy will be finished in 2014. So I will be hopping between my office and the art studio for at least another 18 months. That can sometimes be a little annoying, painting gets in the way of writing and writing can get in the way of painting. But on the whole it works pretty well, though I must confess that of late my breaks are getting longer and I need more and more coffee.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Ruud Antonius: On and

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Ruud Antonius: That is a difficult one and I hesitate in fear of saying something which only applies to myself but I find that a bottle of Rioja goes very well with writing.

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Ruud Antonius: I had always thought of author being autonomous, placed outside the rules and regulations of the community and being rather a stick in the mud by pointing the finger at society’s inadequacies. Alas, that is not true, society as a whole does not accept criticism but at the same time its ignorance does leave enough space to hold up the mirror and reflect the impact it has on the authors work. That is the niche where culture is made to survive in the modern world of today.’

Below is an excerpt from Son upon Tine!


June 16, 5:30 - 9:30, 1959

Anthony had lived in his house for as far as the viscosity of his memory would allow to be pressed through the ever decreasing diameter of veins that spread like a forest fungus away from the arteries of his everyday life, twisting and turning into the hidden niches of the grey soil where only incoherent dreams could be sustained on the faint suggestion of a promise to come up for air. After the first rays of sunlight shattered the darkness through the small opening between the brown curtains of his bedroom, evaporating all black matter that relentlessly pushed down his body into the mattress, dared he open his eyes to the world he lived in.

Anthony quickly stepped out of bed, put on his clothes that lay crumpled on the floor and did what he did every day as part of the ritual he had adopted to ensure all was well, that the night had not had any adverse effects on the structure of the home he so lovingly constructed over the years, despite what others in the neighbourhood might have said. It was a large house comprised of three levels and a large cellar, but when his mother passed away it had been considerably smaller, though it now accommodated a grand total of (at the moment) fifteen rooms, most of them empty for practical reasons since the troubles had started. Within an hour he measured all the rooms and concluded there were no changes to the measurements taken the previous day, nor the day before, and with a sigh of relief he realised the day could continue without having to worry about the house too much. Losing only one room over a period of six months was not bad; that was something he could keep up with. When it first started Anthony used to measure the outside of the building believing the overall size would give a clear indication of fluctuations regarding the volume, but that proved to be a mistake and one he would not make again.

After a quick check of the mortar and brickwork Anthony was adequately put at ease to go and search for the milk the Milkman would have put somewhere on his property and after a ramble through the garden he eventually found it by the shed amongst the building materials in the concrete mixer. The Milkman was a brave man, defying the night in his black Float delivering bottles filled with the whitest of fluids, thus serving the community. There were one or two people in the village who had ever caught a glimpse of him in the very early hours of the morning but none were able to give a clear description of this solitary man.

It was now around 7:30 in the morning and the first enormous transparent blocks of the day ahead squashed the dew from the grass and shaped another fine day into that what could be expected in June in the small village named Son upon Tine.

zaterdag 22 september 2012

Interview with author Elizabeth Barlo

Hello all!

Today's interview is with author Elizabeth Barlo (35)who has recently completed her first novel, ‘Ruth 66’, about a music-mad teenager who is forced to babysit his crazy grandmother on a summer road-trip down Route 66 that will change his life forever. Elizabeth is a mother of three who works part-time in the family business. After completing a Bachelor Degree in International Business & Languages, she forwent a legal career for an adventure in London, UK, where she worked in finance journalism. Her heart then took her to Sydney, Australia, where she worked for a boutique corporate communications agency for several years. She is now in the process of trying to build a career as a novelist.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Elizabeth Barlo: Yes I do. I was about eight years old and really into books about girls having adventures at their pony-riding clubs. My first story was about a girl whose pony was stolen and her quest to find him.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Elizabeth Barlo: I grew up with a grandfather who was a great storyteller, and from the moment I was able to read I got my inspiration from books as well. I really enjoyed reading books by authors such as Roald Dahl and Astrid Lindgren.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Elizabeth Barlo: I love that a story never unfolds the way I thought it would. Before I start writing I come up with a beginning and an end, but I don’t know how the characters will get from A to B until I’m actually writing the story. They are telling me what happens, not the other way around.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book ‘Ruth 66’ and the main characters?

Elizabeth Barlo: ‘Ruth 66’ is a novel aimed at young adults about a music-mad teenage boy, Charlie, who has to babysit his crazy grandmother, Ruth, on a summer road-trip down Route 66 that will change his life forever. Charlie is a quiet boy whose once middle-class, now bankrupt, parents are divorced. His dad was sent to prison for tax fraud and assault, forcing his Mom to move to the shabby side of town with him and his evil twin Becky. When his only real friend, his grandfather opa Bill, dies unexpectedly, he is devastated and tries to find solace in his music.

The morning he is supposed to start his dream job at the local record store, his grandmother and former country club maven, oma Ruth, shows up out of the blue in an old bus with Bill’s ashes on the dash and says she is going on a summer road-trip in the spirit of the ‘60s, along the iconic Route 66. His Mom goes nuts at Ruth’s seemingly uncharacteristic transformation and orders him to ditch his job so he can babysit Ruth on her trip. He initially hates the idea of having to spend the whole summer with his crazy grandmother, especially when she bans all modern means of communication, including social media, but soon realizes it’s a great way to escape his family for a while. When he discovers Ruth’s hidden agenda and meets a mysterious girl in the middle of nowhere, the trip takes a turn that will change his life forever.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Elizabeth Barlo: A few years ago I bought a certain music player that can hold many songs, so I could start building a music library for my family (we love to sing and dance in our household and have regular after-dinner-swing-sessions). It got me thinking about how music has influenced my life. The music you hear over the years is like a soundtrack to your life, and while one song may give you memories of utter bliss, it may bring deep sadness onto someone else. And that's the magic of music. It just becomes part of who you are and you carry it with you for as long as you may live. In ‘Ruth 66’, Charlie carries this soundtrack of life with him, in his head, and every situation in which he finds himself is accompanied by a song. His soundtrack is heavily inspired by the music to which his grandfather introduced him when he was a little boy.

So that's how ‘Ruth 66’ came to life in my mind and the rest of the story just flowed on from there.

Books & Writing: How long did it take you to write the book?

Elizabeth Barlo: I started writing in February 2010 and wrote about a quarter of the book before I fell pregnant with our third child. I can’t write when I’m pregnant or looking after a little baby (my brain goes into baby-mode and sleep-deprivation doesn’t help either) so I didn’t start again until March this year. I really got stuck into it and finished it in June. So all together it took me about nine months.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Elizabeth Barlo: I am still only at the beginning of my career as an author, but from my experience thus far I’d say:
Get organized and make time to write.
Trust your characters and don’t be afraid to let them take the lead.
Believe in yourself.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Elizabeth Barlo: There are several authors who have made lasting impressions on me. I always love reading Isabel Allende, John Irving, Gabriel García Márquez and Margaret Atwood. The Secret History by Donna Tartt is one of my all-time favorites.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Elizabeth Barlo: You can check out my blog:

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

Elizabeth Barlo: On Facebook:

Below is an excerpt from ‘Ruth 66’!

Hesitantly he walked to the front door, not knowing what to expect when he got outside, but not even in his wildest dreams could he have imagined the scenario that was about to unfold.

He opened the door and walked down the three steps. As he got closer to the bus he saw that it had been converted into a camper, with cosy red curtains behind each window. He could now see what looked like a woman behind the wheel. She honked again – he cringed at the sound – and when she saw him approach she smiled and opened the bi-fold door.

Who was this woman?
There was something familiar about her, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. She had long, dark hair with a hint of grey that fell over her shoulders and was wearing a long, flowing yellow dress with bright flowers - its wide sleeves blowing behind her in the breeze as she walked towards him on her platform sandals. She was wearing a long beaded necklace and a plethora of bracelets around both wrists, which jingled at every step.

She looked like she had been teleported directly from the sixties. He vaguely recognized the dress and the shoes, but couldn’t remember where he had seen them before.

“Sjarlie!” she called out, waving at him as she came closer.

He froze on the spot and his mouth fell open.

Holy shit! It was oma Ruth...

She smiled at him, and her face... it was different... her frozen mask had disappeared. He saw little wrinkles next to her eyes and her mouth and she looked so... alive.

“Close your mouth, darling,” she said as she stopped before him, “you look like a fool.”

He snapped it shut.


He looked up and saw Mr. Wolzicki, who lived across the street, hang his pasty, bloated torso out of the window.


 “Sorry Mr Wolzicki!” he yelled, and put his hand up apologetically. But before he had the chance to say anything else, oma Ruth did the same, but then turned her hand and flipped Mr. Wolzicki the bird.

“CLIMB THIS, TARZAN!” she shouted back.

He gasped.

So did Mr Wolzicki, and he saw the man’s stunned face turn purple with anger. He pulled himself back inside and slammed the window shut with a bang.

maandag 17 september 2012

Interview with author Zella Compton

Hi all!

Todays interview is with author Zella Compton about her upcoming book "The Ten Rules of Skimming", and her writing!

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Zella Compton: I have always wanted to be a fiction writer, and so obviously have dedicated myself to everything but fiction writing! I’ve tried my hand at a few businesses, including running a bed and breakfast and importing bouncy castles (to Canada), but mostly I’ve made my living from feature writing, magazine editing, and as a columnist. I wrote bits and pieces of fiction in my spare time for years and years. And then one day I got the idea for Skimming and knew that it had to be written.

As well as writing, I do some contract work for the government (which sounds far more mysterious than it really is), and when nothing else is going on, I potter around my garden plotting slug genocide. I like to dance, I like to sing, and I like to bake without recipes.

Currently I live on the South Coast of England, overlooking the Solent. I grew up here, left when I was seventeen, and came back with husband and three children when I was in my mid-thirties, a few years ago.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Zella Compton: My attic is stuffed full of stories and plays I’ve written which my parents kept hold of over the years. The first ones (that are decipherable) were written when I was about ten. Foxy and Friends was an epic thriller about the difficulties of getting a chaise longue into a den. That was closely followed by The Nurdles (about very small people who lived in a giant statue).

I remember the first story I submitted. It was for Jackie (a young teenage magazine), and I still have the handwritten rejection letter. It was about a girl who realized that she was a character in a book and didn’t like having someone else control her every thought and action.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Zella Compton: When I was a kid, the digital age was a science fiction dream. At home, we had three TV channels and the content I was allowed to watch was pretty dull. Having the box censored was ironic considering the books which I had at my disposal. I read whatever I could lay my hands on. From Enid Blyton to James Herbert, Nevil Shute to Tove Jansson. It was very eclectic. So while I wasn’t inspired by one particular author or person, I was inspired by my parents’ collection of books and of course, my local library.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Zella Compton: When I’m writing I enjoy the surprising things that my characters do. I always have a rough plan, and then someone goes and does or says something quite unexpected, and I have to rethink everything, or pull the character back into line. I love keeping a list of all the strings which need to be tied together, and then ticking them off when they’re done. I write myself notes on scraps of paper to remind me. Sometimes it takes me hours to remember quite what I meant, but when I do, well, it’s a glorious moment! You know what? I love everything about writing except the sicky feeling I get when someone reads my work for the first time.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book The Ten Rules of Skimming and the main characters?

Zella Compton: The Ten Rules of Skimming is about Adam, a teenage boy, discovering he can skim through people’s minds. Joy riding through minds is a dangerous hobby, especially when the Board (who govern skimming) are chasing you down. When Adam’s sister goes missing, he has to face the wrath of the Board in order to find her.

The book has graphic novel elements, so it has sequential illustrations on each page by the lovely Jess Swainson. It was fabulous to look at those as they were created, seeing how she brought people to life. There are lots of powerful characters in the book, and Jess has very much captured their essence. Like the gruesome questioner who opens the story, after locking Adam in a room with him.

I particularly like the way that Jess has drawn Adam’s friend Jenny-Ray (or Spod as she’s known), she has awesome curly hair – like me!

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Zella Compton: I was sitting on the beach, and I suddenly thought: what if? What if you could skim through minds, how would that work? And wouldn’t it be dangerous? And with a power like that, wouldn’t other people want to use it for their own gains? And what would you do with it? And what if you had it, and then couldn’t do it anymore? The ‘what ifs’ kept coming and coming, and so I scrawled it all down on the back of an envelope, and that’s how it started.

Books & Writing: How long did it take you to write the book?

Zella Compton: I have no idea. I am a binge writer, so I sit for hours and hours and hours, and then take a month off, before bingeing some more. It took me a long time to show Skimming to anyone, but the first publisher I sent it to, said ‘yes please’.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Zella Compton: Stop talking about doing it, and get on with it. Only you can write your book, no one else can. And when you’ve done it, read it, edit it, put it away for six months, and then read and edit again. Don’t stop because you’re tired of writing it, stop when you’re done.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Zella Compton: Every single one of them! They have been through the slog and made it out the other side, that’s inspiring.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Zella Compton: The Ten Rules of Skimming is available from, and via all good bookshops in the UK. It’s also available from (my publisher). Ask your local library to stock a copy!

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Zella Compton: Please come and say hello either on my website:, on my facebook page Zella Compton, or on twitter @zellacompton. Years ago I interviewed an author for a magazine, and she told me of the joy of seeing someone reading her book on the Tube. I would love to see people reading my book, so take a picture of yourself and send it to me!

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Zella Compton: I really hope that you enjoy the book! Thank you for reading, and thanks for interviewing me.

The Ten Rules of Skimming: excerpt

Chapter one

It was a simple question. “I need all the details,” the Questioner said. “The only way I can help you is if you tell me everything.”

Adam looked at the older man sat opposite him. He’d followed him into the basement of the hospital. The place had endless corridors with hundreds of sweaty feet squelching up and down in sandals, rising and falling, keeping time with the births and deaths. Now Adam was regretting his decision. He was going to be stuck here for hours and there was no guarantee that this man could save him from the fury of the Board and the consequences of his actions.

“Where shall I begin?” Adam asked.
“At the start. How did you discover you could skim?”
“It started in this hospital, a ward somewhere above here.”

Adam smiled at his Questioner, hoping he could remember all the details. He relaxed back into his chair and spoke so softly that the Questioner moved the old fashioned Dictaphone further forward and started taping their conversation. 
“It happened like this...” 

Adam put his hands behind his head and began his story.

ISBN: 978-1-906132-26-2
PRICE: UK £7.99
FORMAT: Paperback
AVAILABLE: Sept 2012

zondag 16 september 2012

Interview with author Christopher Dahl


Todays interview is with Christopher Dahl who is a 42 year old ex-rugby player from the Bronx.  He went to Fordham University and then got a Masters degree in teaching high school English (basically).  There were no options in life for him other than being involved with words, writing and books -- nothing else mattered besides beer, sports and women. His writing topics -- like all things he enjoys -- are bold, bloody and excessive spectacles.  On a dreary intellectual note, he believes that words are the threshhold over which humanity must step in order to move from the concrete to the abstract.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Christopher Dahl: Yes, it was a story about my father.  I found a picture of him in his army uniform, so I grabbed some paper and wrote a story about a brave young soldier saving New York City from a sea monster.  I cut up a shoebox to make my first cover.  I also cut up the picture to make my first graphics.  (This was before PhotoShop).  My mother found it and was astounded that I could spell "illustrated". I was about seven years old.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Christopher Dahl: The only other thing I ever thought life with any serious aspiration was a soldier, but it turns out I cant follow orders well -- so i decided writing was the way to go.  The inspiration was seeing my father's first ghost-written book about he first home computers, circa 1976.  I just thought it was so cool to creae something with all those symbolic words in it and tell other people news, information ... whatever.  So, my old man.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Christopher Dahl: I love telling stories because they expose the truth. As I said, Ilike things bold and bloody; thus, I like to hit tough subject matter and hit a nerve.  I like things that people will love and detest in the same breath; rebuke and acknowledge all at once.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book Blood calls To Blood: The Story of Wyrd John and the main characters?

Christopher Dahl: Blood Calls to Bood is the third installment of the Death Row Stories series ( and is the most unique.  John claims to be a witch, a lifelong pagan and a kind of modern sorceror.  he is like a character from a King Arthur tale transplanted into the 20th century, which is te whole idea of the book: he just didn't seem to be understood.  John Lived by the "old ways" and in the "craft".  He literally crafted spells for vengeance and power -- very wild stuff in a cyber-age.  I mean, I had never met an actual witch.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Christopher Dahl: The story is based on all of the letters that John sent me from Death Row in Raiford, Florida.  He committed a rather heinous murder an ended up getting himself a spot on the Row.

Books & Writing: What attracts you in horror?

Christopher Dahl: Since i like my spectacles bold, bloody and excessive,these "horror" stories are just down my alley.  Perhaps it's because my life otherwise is pretty middle-class: I teach high school, work out and cook dinner each night.  Horro is my indulgence in what Abraham Lincoln called the "darker angels of our manger."

Books & Writing: I understand you have written a few other books so far. Could you tell us a bit about those? And are they all in the horror genre?

Christopher Dahl: I have the Death Row Stories ( which are based on the lives of killers awating the lethal injection.  Robert bailey shot a cop on Easter Sunday.  Loran Cole killed the nephew of Senator John Edwards.  I have a book of their art.  Night of the Beast is actually a paranomral investigation where I tried to solve a murder from 1977 using psychics and  ... well ... all that stuff.  My first published book, though, was jut about my exeriences as a high school teacher.  Mostly, I deal in dark material.  Honestly though, I''m just another English major from the Bronx.

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?

Christopher Dahl: My mother had multiple personalities. My father found her journals and sent them to me. So i am working on vert weid memoire about my life as the son of a schizophrenic. At the risk of tooting my own horn, it will be fascinating.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Christopher Dahl: Writing is work.  Don't sit around waiting for the finger of God to touch your keyboard.  Don't limit yourself: write what you want when you want.  After that beautiful initial phase of writing, clean it up and try to get a publisher.  Keep a thick skin.  You WILL be rejected but that doesn't mean you stink.  Just keep plugging away.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Christopher Dahl: Jack Kerouac was the first author that got me inspired.  He showed me there were no limits, no boundaries. He also demonstrated that if you wanted to be a working writer it may well kill you.  On the other hand, he showed me that he would rather be a dead writer than a miserable retail manager.  He showed me the green light that  blinked at the end of Jay Gatsby's dock-- to strain a metaphor to breaking.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on the internet and read your work?

Christopher Dahl: Here are some links to some free content:

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Christopher Dahl: Please fell free to contact me any time you want to chat via e-mail.  I really like talking abou books and getting published.  Also, i would be happy to sign any hard copies if a reader wants to send me one.  Just hit me up via any one of my sites.

Below is an excerpt from the book "Blood calls To Blood: The Story of Wyrd John"!

Kathleen and I often walked to the forest that bordered my father’s property. Some of it belonged to him but the majority did not. Being far from the coast there were hills, rocks, and streams. The nearest town was or 8 miles away, so we were in the rural area, but not exactly too far from civilization. It was enough outside the city that nature held on by tooth and nail, but just barely. Even so, we took refuge there and sometimes we could get away deep enough to find the innocence we looked for, undisturbed by the hum of tires on asphalt roads or tractors in the field.

One day in July, we took such an excursion walking, talking, and sometimes remaining silent; going from one patch of blackberry bushes to another. It was summer. I was 14. She had just turned 20 and we had all the time in the world. After stopping for lunch, we had packed up and we took our return trip by taking another route, breaking new trails just to see what we would find.

Exiting the undergrowth, we came to a broad clearing, dappled with sunlight and silent. Partially buried in the leaves of the past autumns we saw a rack of antlers were sticking up. I immediately was drawn to this curiosity. Kathleen by my side, I reached to pick it up, but she grabbed my arm. Shaking my head, she said, “No that belongs to Herne and a if you wan it, you have to trade something you value for it.” The tone in her voice told me this was important, so we left it there and continued on our way back. She told me Herne was the god of the forest and animals who lived there. Herne’s symbol was the stag as well as the bull, a now-extinct bull called an auroch. He is also called Herne the Hunter, and by other names. The druids called him Hu Gadarn and others called him Cernunnas.

I listened and learned but Kathleen usually left me wanting more and forced me to search out more answers. She told me about other gods and goddesses, some Celtic, some Germanic, and some Norse. “Blood calls to blood.” We are the children of the Gods and, as such, Gods in our own rite yet to mature into our full potential. When we pray or do rituals, we honor them but do not bow down to worship them. I absorbed this. She continued to explain to me that all religions, once stripped of the trappings of man, society and various influences are, for the most the same, except each group of people carry their own distinctive understanding and connection to their teaching, religion and beliefs. “Blood calls to blood.”

I thought about this and I knew that I wanted the deer skull and antlers. I also knew I wanted to come up with something of value … but what? For weeks, I thought about it, going through my stuff, trying to come up with something a God would find acceptable as a trade. Kathleen had left me to move to Danville, Virginia, leaving me to find my own way in all of this. By the end of July, I had made my choice.