Just a quick reminder that author Brent Abell and myself will be doing our first book signing tonight (10-20-12) from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at Comics Unlimited (654-B Diamond Avenue, Evansville, Indiana 47711). We should both have plenty of books for sale, and there will be snacks and whatnots to munch on. Hope to see you there!
Today, to promote her first novel, Pandora, author Joanna Parypinski’s blog tour lands in my neck of the woods. Although I haven’t yet read the novel (but I am ordering it this weekend, as should you!), if it’s anything like the pieces of short fiction I’ve encountered, then I can guarantee it’ll be worth your time. One story in particular, The Viola D’Amore, was part of the March 2012 edition of Cover of Darkness Magazine and remains one of the best stories from a new author I’ve read in a long time. Read on to find out about The Origins of Pandora…
How did I come up with the idea for PANDORA?
Ideas for my writing usually come to me in pieces. I’m not J.K. Rowling: my character didn’t just stroll up, fully-formed, into my mind. Often I’ll have multiple ideas floating around, seemingly disparate plotlines for different books, and the great moment of epiphany will be when I realize they can all come together to create one fully-developed story.
It started with an image: Pandora’s Box. In my mind, it was an intricately carved, ancient chest made of ivory, and inside of it, all manner of creepy plagues from Greek mythology awaited their release.
But just the idea of the box wasn’t enough for a book. You need plot, characters, themes, and a great climax. So I started creating my characters (a cook, a teacher, a bullied teenager, an alcoholic writer, a paranoid priest), and I started outlining how their lives would be affected by the box.
It was still missing something. I was only 18 though: a novice by many standards. Though I’d been writing short stories and even a few YA novels since I first learned to pick up a pencil, I still wasn’t fully developed as a writer.
Those other books, by the way, were written during my high school years: the first, called The Legend of Blackbeard’s Island, involved three teenagers who stumble across Blackbeard’s cursed treasure, along with his headless remains. The second, called Northern Lights, was a science fiction/murder mystery/ghost story in which the appearance of the Northern Lights allows us to perceive the frequency at which ghosts exist.
But I digress. The point is that, for a brief time, I was at a loss as to how to turn my idea into an actual story.
Then, on the Fourth of July, 2007, it hit me.
I was sitting in a neighbor’s backyard, on the edge of a manmade lake surrounded by large houses. Someone was setting off a firework show over the lake, the glittering explosions shimmering on the black water below. The fireworks were so close; debris rained down on us, still burning embers. Ash littered the grass. There was something enchanting and horrifying about the experience, being so close to something both magnificent and dangerous. What would happen if the grass caught fire? What if one of the fireworks went off just a little too low, a little too close to the houses and lake?
This moment cemented the rest of the book for me. I suspect you’ll understand better once you’ve read it yourselves.
If you’d like to read it for free, then why not try to win an e-book copy right now? Post about the PANDORA Blog Tour on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Then come back here and comment below with a link to each place you’ve mentioned the tour (as well as your e-mail and whether you’d like a PDF or ePub version). The more links, the more chances your name will get pulled out of the hat to win the e-book! This mini-contest ends at 11:59 PM PST, Sunday, September 30.
Don’t forget to enter to win the grand prize at axelhowerton.com!
The Pandora Blog Tour continues tomorrow at Ash-Krafton.blogspot.com.
On October 2oth, both myself and author Brent Abell will be hosting a book signing event at one of Evansville’s premier comic shops, Comics Unlimited. More info as it comes, but I have heard that both of us may or may not have something new to unveil at the event. For details, visit the Appearances link at the top of the page.
This will be my first official book signing, so I’m really excited. Hope to see you there.
My friend Jacob Haddon recently started his own quarterly e-book magazine, Lamplight Magazine, and after reading the first issue, I can tell you it’s a winner. Issue 1 features an interview and a new story from author Robert Ford, part 1 of a serial novella from Kevin Lucia, an essay from J.F. Gonzalez, and new fiction from William Meikle, Nathan Yocum, Rahul Kanakia, Ian Creasey and Mandy DeGeit. Oh, and I did mention the first issue is free? Download it here and enjoy!
Hello, Hoppers! Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I guess I should let you in on who exactly I am and what I’m all about. My name is Wesley Southard, and I’m a published horror writer. It’s nice to finally be able to say “published” after four years of writing (Originally, when I decided to start writing, I started work on a novel I had envisioned, and three years later, with a much-needed kick to the ass from a few good people, I had to re-learn how to write short fiction.). As of right now I have three short stories sold (*update* I just recieved another acceptance today, so that makes 4!), one of which is currently in print and a part of my giveaway (see bottom). If you’d like to know more about my fiction or who I am or what-have-you, just click the links at the top of the site to my “about”, “biblio”, and “appearances” sections, and even my Facebook and Twitter Pages (links on the left of the page).
Orignally, I was going to write a very lengthy blog on why I believe Hollywood horror is on it’s deathbed with its remakes and reboots and sequels and prequels and oh God someone–anyone–stop the madness! But after writing nearly three quarters of what was turning into a bitchy “woe is me!” blog, and realizing that the traffic coming through my site this week is going to spike greatly, the last thing I needed to look like is a total dick in front of people who I’m trying to entertain. So I’ve decided, in honor of the Coffin Hop, the Halloween season, and everyone being writers or general fans of horror, I’ll let you in on a few of my favorite books of 2011. I know many people out there know the bestseller horror generals–King, Zoontz, Saul, Matheson–but what you may not know is that there’s a whole other side to horror, a dark underbelly, a side the general buying public may never have the privilege of getting to know. So being the nice guy that I am–and not to metion, a voracious reader–I want to share with you a few books that I know, like me, you’ll devour this dark holiday season…along with the candy you should be passing out to the little ones.
First up is Back from the Dead by J.F. Gonzalez. For the second year in a row, Gonzalez steals my first place trophy for the best novel I’ve read this year (last year, that title went to his Morningstar Press novel The Corporation). Though I admit I’m not the world’s biggest zombie fan, Back From The Dead is without a doubt one of the best zombie novels I’ve ever had the privilege to come across (and, yes, that includes The Rising as well). Gonzalez doesn’t rely on the fact that the novel it is a zombie novel, but the strength of his characters and his amazing storytelling skills. Much like Wrath James White’s The Ressurectionist, Back From The Dead, by sheer frustration for the main character’s plight alone, it will force you keep glued to the pages until the last line is read. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself and tell me I’m wrong. I assure you, I’m not.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough that Robert Ford allowed me to be a pre-reader for his novella Samson and Denial. I’m sure as shit glad he did. Even from page one, you can practically hear Samson’s thick Philly accent, smell the greasy cheesesteaks he’d had for breakfast and the cigarette smoke stained in his shirt. The story follows Samson Gallows, a pawnshop owner, who recieves a mummy’s head from a bum as his day’s trade. From there, his day goes to hell and back with the guesome murder of his bother, the kidnapping of his wife, and the Russian mob breathing down his neck. Mr. Ford’s stellar debut is not one to be missed, packing more of a punch in 125 pages than most can do in 350. If you dig stories of crime, the occult, and magical mummy heads (…and women running down the street topless), then this is your kind of book.
And lastly we have Grease Monkey and other tales of Erotic Horror by british horror legend Graham Masterton. Anyone that knows me personally knows that I’m a huge Masterton fan, and with over 35 years of quality fiction, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be either. Grease Monkey is a collection of Masterton’s best erotic horror stories, from 1980 to 2007, with very little left to the imagination. This array of perverse stories range from the supernatural (“Bridal Suite”) to the cringeworthy (“The Jajouka Scarab) to the bizarre (“Camelot”) to the downright deranged (“Sex Object”), there isn’t a bad story in the bunch. And with some of the most obscene interior artwork you’ll ever lay eyes on, this is one book you should not miss. I’ll admit, the price is a bit steep ($75) but after reading only a few stories, you won’t care in the least. Mansion House Press is creating some of the nicest limited editon harbacks that money can buy. I currently own their editions of Masterton’s “The Sphinx” and Edward Lee’s “The Chosen,” and both are incredibly gorgeous books.
Alright, the moment you’ve all been waiting for–the contest! Here’s the skinny: I’m going to give you the first paragraph to a modern horror novel (one of my personal favorites) and all you have to do is tell me the name of the novel and the full name of the author. Simple as that. Just place your answer in the comment section before midnight October 31st, and on November 1st everyone’s names who had the right answer will placed in a hat and randomly drawn for the prize pack, which includes:
1. A hardback editon of Big Book of New Short Horror from Pill Hill Press, signed by your’s truely (wink, wink). It contain’s my debut short story “With Many Thanks to Newark.”
2. A Big Book of New Short Horror postcard. (nifty, right?)
3. A rubber shrunken head. (body not included)
4. A light-up skull mug. (fill with your favorite beverage)
5. And two Halloween pens, featuring the likenesses of Dracula and the Grim Reaper.
The winner will be contacted by the email address that you submit with your comment, so please make sure that the email address you use is correct.
And here’s the opening paragraph:
Later, they would all wonder how they had not guessed the truth. He was waiting in the snow, but after climbing into the car he did not seem cold, his breath did not condense, he appeared calm and composed. He did not act like a man that needed help.
Hint: This british horror author’s novel of too-close-to-home terror was first released as a hardback in 2001 and was subsequently released in paperback in 2003.
Thanks for stopping by, Hoppers. I hope you do decide to check out one, if not all, of these great books, including my own as they are released. Alright, time to “hop” to the next 99 author’s pages. To do so, just click on the picture link either at the top of the blog or at the top left of the page to take you to www.coffinhop.blogspot.com so you can check out the massive author list and all of their great blogs this week, and their numerous, numerous giveaways.
Have a Happy Halloween, be safe, and remember…stay scared!
I realize I haven’t posted in some time, but I hope to change that from this point on. As the last post suggests, I’ve been in a bit of a funk from what was supposed to be my first big publishing venture, which from what you’ve read turned out horribly. But I’m ready to move past that and start fresh, and Horrorfind weekend was just what I needed to exorcise those shit demons.
Other than Mo*Con, I’ve never been to what’s considered a “big” convention. The week prior to HF was spent worrying about how I was going to react around a massive crowd, being pushed around, shoulder to shoulder, no room to breathe. I’ll be damned if I was wrong. Horrorfind was not what I expected. I’ve never felt more comfortable, being around so many like-mined people–never felt overwhelmed by the crowds or unable to move. In fact, I was quite comfortable the entire weekend. Everyone was there for a purpose: To have fun, get drunk, and make some memories.
And that’s what we did.
Another weekend in Pennsylvania, another reason to want to move to the east coast.
Over the course of the weekend, I got to meet one of my favorite actors, Ken Foree.
And the great Sid Haig.
Finally got to meet and hang out with one of my all time favorite writers, Tim Lebbon, and was lucky to meet the great Christopher Golden.
I was also very fortunate to hang out with and recieve some really great advice about the world of writing and publishing with the amazing James A. Moore.
And to top it off, my Sunday afternoon reading of “By The Throat”.
Also got to meet some great new writers, like Kevin Lucia, Jacob Haddon, Lesley Conner, and Charles Cloyott. Overall, one of the best weekends ever. And as for next year…
…You can bet your ass I’ll be there again!
P.S. I should have some publishing news coming within the next week or so, so keep your eyes open on this page for more details on my “real” first short story publication in an anthology.
On occation I will give interview to writer who I think everyone should be aware of. For my first, I decided to pick local author and my partner in crime Brent Abell.
Q. Although I see you on a daily basis at our day job, tell the good people out there who you are and what you do.
A. My name is Brent Abell and I work in a pit of despair watching plastic all day. I dream of breaking my shackles and working from home where I can do only what I feel motivated to do, not what I have to do for 8 mind-numbing hours.
Q. So I hear you’re a fiction writer…what do you write?
A. I’ve heard that about me also. I weave tales of blood, sex, and weird shit into stories that one day I hope can make working at home in just my boxers possible.
Q. Why Horror?
A. I love the dark side of things and I’ve been like that from pretty early on. I got in trouble in preschool for coloring Jesus’s robes black and then arguing it was artistic impression. It ended with me yelling at my teacher that I quit preschool. I also loved my 6th grade reading teachers face when I brought Stephen King’s “It” to read in class. Where else but horror can you explore our world and the other, dark world that exists parallel to ours? It also allows one to explain the evils in our society and in our own souls. I like that in a genre.
Q. In a fight between John Travolta and Elmo, who would win?
A. Elmo. The red fur is just Satan’s disguise and Satan beats alien religion figureheads hands down every time.
Q. Does living in Indiana affect your style or general storytelling, and if yes, how so?
A. I think that the religious nature of the region affects my work quite a bit. I either try to freak the church goers out, or I use the biblical notion of good versus evil to explain our roles in the endless battle between heaven and hell. This is playing a huge hand in a couple of projects I’m drawing up right now. One is a novella that examines the abortion issue and the supernatural ramifications it can have. The other is one of two novels I’m plotting. It concerns sacrifice and what a father will do to save the last of his family when it means dooming his hometown.
Q. What kind of writing shedule do you keep?
A. Very fucking random. Anytime I can squeeze an hour in is good for me.
Q. Marry, Fuck, Kill: Charlize Theron, Betty White, Sharon Osbourne.
A. Fuck Charlize Theron, marry Betty White (she shares my sense of humor and I can always fuck Charlize), and kill Sharon Osbourne, freeing Ozzy from that harpy’s talons.
Q. Who do you enjoy reading?
A. Shit, that’s a long list. Brian Keene, Ed Lee, Doug Clegg, Graham Masterton, J.F. Gonzalez, Wrath James White, Stephen King, Ray Garton, Joe Hill, Tim Lebbon, Jack Ketchum, and that super sexy author Wesley Southard.
Q. Wesley Southard, eh? Hmmmm…I’ll have to check him out. What/Who keeps you writing?
A. It is really a great stress reliever, but it turns stressful again waiting to hear back about a story. I also write to do something more with my life than a part-packer.
Q. A little birdie told me, from time to time, you like to partake in spirits…what’s your drink of choice?
A. Hell, any hoppy beer or Sam Adams. I am also partial to whiskey, wine, and gallons of margaritas.
Q. Do you have any rituals you like to do before you sit down to tap the little black keys?
A. Surf the Internet for porn or I look at my bookshelf and picture my books on someone else’s shelf one day.
Q. If you found a $100 bill on the ground, would you try to find the owner or would you spend it on expensive hardback books?
A. I would look for a second or two and then get on the computer and shop. When the books come in I will feel guilty and not read them out of shame. How fucked up is that?
Q. Tell us about your recent fiction sales.
A. I have one story already in print in the “Undead of Winter” anthology from Rymfire eBooks, “Rivals” is being released this December from Wicked East Press in their “Short Sips: Coffee House Flash Fiction Vol. 2, and I have a story accepted in upcoming “South Will Rise Undead” anthology from Library of the Living Dead Press. There a few things out there now I hope to find homes for soon.
Q. Tell us where we can find you, on the internet and out in the world.
A. On the website at www.plan9reloaded.com/btabell. From there you can find links to my Facebook and Twitter pages. It will be great place to get updates from the road at Horrorfind in September. That Wesley guy and I should have a fucking blast.
Q. Thank you, Brent…wait, wait! Don’t leave! I have one more question: What’s the best Southwestern Indiana lemon-orange soda that goes perfectly with either Nacho Cheese Doritos and/or BBQ Grippos?
A. Why that would be Ski of course! I goes good with everything, not just chips.
Agreed! Thanks, Brent. See you at work tomorrow.