Thursday, September 29, 2011

Interview with Horror Author Todd Russell

Todd Russell stopped in today. Todd is a horror author so this is perfect timing with Halloween around the corner!

He’s been very busy this week with the release of his New Novel “Fresh Flesh” on Sept. 29th, 2011.

Welcome Todd, the cover really captures my attention. What can you tell us about it?

The cover was drawn by International Horror Guild winning artist Aeron Alfrey. I came across his art while working on the 2011 draft and was blown away. He's done artwork for "The Mist" by Stephen King, an H.P. Lovecraft anthology, Thomas Ligotti horror novels and much more incredible work. Google him.

Alfrey and I hit it off over email. We both admire the original Twilight Zone by Rod Serling and agreed early on that the island would be drawn in black and white. I don't think the island would have looked as dark and disturbing in color.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

Oh man, pick one? Only one?  I love all these people. When I finished the first draft in 1989 I remember taking a long car drive and thinking about how much fun I'd had spending time with them.

When I reread the story in 2011—the first time in over 20 years—I remembered what I liked about each character and vividly recalled that cloudy January day in 1989. How these people seemed more real to me than any others I'd written about to date. Back then I was a very young writer with big dreams.

When the book landed me a literary agent before my twenty-first birthday, I knew there was something special about this story and these characters.

It was this year, over 22 years later, when I realized the story wasn't supposed to end—yet.

I'm not young any more but still have those big dreams.

How frequently I return to the Fresh universe will depend in part on reader interest. So, I encourage readers to please let it be known in their reviews how interested they are in reading more Fresh stories.

Can you share a sample?

How about three?

Richard Templin is about to be executed:

A beautiful woman awakes to a stranger


And there are more samples on the Flesh Flesh webpage here:

What is your inspiration for horror?

Dozens of authors inspire me. Robert McCammon, Stephen King, Poe, Lovecraft and Rod Serling. And a bunch more including authors you wouldn't think of as horror authors like Roald Dahl.

On the nonfiction side I enjoy reading true crime, biographies and about strange events in history.

As you know, I’m a Romance Author I’m sure my readers want to know if there is any romance in the book?


Do you have any other works available?

Yes, my first book is a collection of horror short stories called Mental Shrillness.

Where can I get a copy?

International readers can get all my book at Smashwords:

How can we stalk you?

Join my newsletter to be priority notified when new books are available:

Official Website:



Thank you so much for stopping in today and best of luck on your new book!

Thank you for letting me stop by and say hello to your readers. Best of luck with your work as well :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest Blogger Jack Wallen: A peek into the brain of a horror writer


Guest Blogger Jack Wallen
  A peek into the brain of a horror writer
     Thanks for visiting my Romance Blog! Today we are going to discuss Corsets: Love 'em or hate 'em?.......wait.....what is that noise?   Did you hear that?     Sounds like the neighbors cat.   I'll be right back.......(noise in the background) shattering scream.....RUN!!!!!!

There are dark inklings that spark across the synapses of my mind on an hourly basis. At any given moment something will leap out of the dark recesses of that mind to inspire some new horrific happening to be placed on paper. Characters lives are changed, made nightmarish, or snuffed out. How? Why? What’s wrong with you? Are questions I am frequently asked (most often in jest) …
Such is the life of the horror writer.

In every genre of literature, each writer possesses a different skill set. The romance writer knows well the matters of the heart. The parody writer sees everything through the eyes of the funny bone. The historical fiction writer sees the past as a new portal into the future. The horror writer? Well, the horror writer is always and forever looking for new ways to kill, maim, frighten, horrify, and generally make the skin of the reader crawl away from their unsuspecting brain.

But even beyond the un-pedestrian kills and frights, the single most important aspect of being a writer of horror is having a fresh take on the genre. Why?

It’s all been done.

Every possible way to kill the human being has been explored. Every demon unearthed, every vampire sparkled and hunked up. Now, the challenge is to take all of those existing elements and make it new.

Free at Amazon
I knew, when I first started writing I Zombie I (now FREE on I couldn’t simply rehash what had already been created in the world of zombies. Something new had to be given to the readers. Being a big fan of the genre, I knew one thing that had been avoided by so many writers was the why and the how.

ñ  Why did the virus hit?
ñ  How did it feel to transform into one of the undead?

Answering those questions helped my I Zombie trilogy have a fresh take on the genre. But just two rarely answered questions aren’t enough, in the realm of horror, to give a story enough life to make the readers want to partake. I still had to dig deep to make this story visceral … something to make the reader, at times, get a bit squeamish.

What I had to do was dig deep into the muck and mire of death and fear. To do that I needed to make a fairly implausible situation seem plausible. Instead of going all out post-apocalyptica, I opted to create a situation that could, with just a few stretches of a few imaginations, be possible. Make the reader wonder if what they were reading could possibly happen – make them worry, make them think, make them feel just a bit less safe in their too-comfortable lives.

What I find most interesting about being a horror writer is how we (the horror writers) take a slice out of every day life and find the horrific within. You see an autumn-colored tree and instead of seeing the beauty in the colors, we see the twisted roots ready to open up and swallow the souls of the children playing around its trunk. Instead of seeing the charm and sweetness of the aging senior citizen, we see the possessed crone with milkshake-white eyes ready to curse anyone who crosses their path. In short – we tear down the walls of normalcy, peel back the skin of sanity, and revel in the things most deem not safe for work or bedtime.

But look through the glass too darkly and you lose your audience. Oh there are writers for that genre – Splatter Punk (as some call it). One of my favorite being the masterful Edward Lee. But the general public doesn’t have the stomach for such shenanigans. So instead, the horror writer must wrap fear up in a blanket of safe harbor so the fear is brought to light to serve the story – not vice versa (with a nod to my mother, whose name is Versa.) So instead of the I Zombie trilogy being about the depths and depravity of human entrails, it’s about the muck and mire of human relationship and how surrounding chaos can serve to make that bond stronger. Well, that and how corrupt power can so easily lead to a pandemic of undead proportions.

Where are the fans?

One issue found with being a horror writer is finding fans. Horror fans are a rabid bunch. They adore their idols (Clive Barker, in my eyes, can do no wrong.) And when a horror fan finds an author they like, they’ll stick with them through thick and then. So as a horror writer, I must make sure I speak to those fans and treat them as they would treat me – as something unique, something special. Fellow travelers looking for a morsel to take them to new worlds of fright. Like-minded readers hoping to happen across that new bad guy to rival Pinhead, Captain Howdy, or Hannibal Lecter. And, of course, we writers of the horrific certainly hope to pen those evil-doers.

But how? How do we craft fear? For myself it’s all about opposites. What part of the human body do we cherish the most and what would be the least likely way to rid a man or woman of that bit? Who would be the archetype we’d most likely trust – who could do the most damage. William Peter Blaty did this to perfection by having a twelve year old be the target of possession. Children – they are the beings most often thought of as innocent, but also most often used to induce a sense of dread – the fear of losing them to evil (whether that be their seduction to evil or evil itself taking them from us.) Kill such innocence and you take your readers down very dark paths.

Opposites. Finding beauty in horror and horror in beauty. Removing the veneer to find maggots infesting the meat. Allowing a relationship develop between a beautiful woman and a man who is slowly turning into one of the undead (that’d be I Zombie I). I spend much of my time finding new ways to turn the mundane into something wrong enough to send chills through the skin and bones of the reader.

And just as much as anything else, I am a huge fan of the genre. I read and watch as much horror as I can. I long for the next fright, the next jump, the next shock and I hope that I can deliver those same goods to my readers. After all, without readers, writers are nothing more than ego-centric humans with strange messianic complexes in need of serious therapy.
Or are we? Bwahaha!

NEWS: Look out for My Zombie My to arrive at the end of September, 2011!

Thank you Jack for stopping in and sharing a bit of your mind, by the way the cat was delicious! I'm grabbing up a copy of Shero: Transgender Superhero
A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!  

Want more? Here’s more:

Follow Jack on Twitter: @jlwallen

Jack’s Books

I Zombie I

A Blade Away



Friday, September 16, 2011

Interview with Author Melissa Smith

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Hello, I’m hosting a Blog Tour for Indie Writers Unite! A new up and coming author will be featured weekly. Thanks for tuning in!

Interview with Author Melissa Smith

What inspires you?
My imagination. My dreams. My kids. I am a wife and mother that simply loves the written word. All the places you get to visit by simply separating some pages. The people you get to live through and love. All the adventures you get to have. The worlds you get to visit and travel.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing off and on since I was in High school but started writing professionally a little over a year ago.

How many books have you written?
I have three that are currently available with a short story in an anthology that should be out by October 2011. Then I'm working on a novella and another paranormal romance that should be ready to go by late November!

What are the names of your books?
Cloud Nine and Thunderhead are a part of the Guardians of Man series; The Heir Apparent is from the Waiting Throne series

I was looking through Heir Apparent and I love the maps. How difficult was it to create a map from your fantasies?
It was really easy! I could see what the land looked like in my mind so drawing it out was just putting pencil to paper.

Who is your favorite character and why?
So far, I would have to say its Ariana from Cloud Nine. She's just so much fun. The kind of friend you want to have, always.

Who is your target audience?
Everybody who loves a good love story!
I'm teen friendly so everyone can read it.

Is there anything else you want people to know about you or your books?
I just want people to take the chance and open one of my books. I know they'll end up loving them just as much as I loved creating them!

How can your fans contact you?


My blog

My website

Thank you for your time Melissa and I wish you the best of luck!