Monday, June 25, 2012

Bram Stoker Award Winning Author John Everson on his new novel NightWhere

John Everson is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Covenant, as well as the novels Sacrifice, The 13th,  Siren and The Pumpkin Man, all released in paperback from Dorchester/Leisure Books. His sixth novel, an erotic horror descent into dark desire centered around a mysterious adult club called NightWhere was released by Samhain in June 2012. He has had several short fiction collections issued by independent presses, including Creeptych, Deadly Nightlusts, Needles & Sins, Vigilantes of Love and Cage of Bones & Other Deadly Obsessions. Over the past 20 years, his short stories have appeared in more than 75 magazines and anthologies. His work has been translated into Polish, Italian, Turkish and French, and optioned for potential film production. He is also the founder and publisher of the independent press Dark Arts Books (

John shares a deep purple den in Naperville, Illinois with a cockatoo and cockatiel, a disparate collection of fake skulls, twisted skeletal fairies, Alan Clark illustrations and a large stuffed Eeyore. There's also a mounted Chinese fowling spider named Stoker courtesy of Charlee Jacob, an ever-growing shelf of custom mix CDs and an acoustic guitar that he can't really play but that his son Shaun likes to hear him beat on anyway. Sometimes his wife Geri is surprised to find him shuffling through more public areas of the house, but it's usually only to brew another cup of coffee. In order to avoid the onerous task of writing, he holds down a regular job at a medical association, records pop-rock songs in a hidden home studio, experiments with the insatiable culinary joys of the jalapeno, designs photo collage art book covers for a variety of small presses, loses hours in expanding an array of gardens and chases frequent excursions into the bizarre visual headspace of '70s euro-horror DVDs with a shot of Makers Mark and a tall glass of Newcastle.
For information on his fiction, art and music, visit John Everson: Dark Arts at

John is our guest today, here to talk about his writing, including his latest novel NightWhere. Follow this link to The Horror Review to see my full review.

 Well, John, I just finished reading NightWhere and I have to say “wow.” It is one of those horror novels that just devastates the reader. I will leave it to you in my questions whether we will include spoilers, but please tell us how the idea came to you.

I wish I could remember! I thought of the idea for NightWhere over a decade ago, before I finished the last draft of my first novel, Covenant. A lot of my short fiction up to that point had dealt with obsession – and the dangers of following desire down, down, down into the rabbithole. My first collection of short fiction, Cage of Bones & Other Deadly Obsessions, dealt fairly exclusively with erotic horror – deadly sexual obsessions. So I suspect the idea of a sex club that lured people in and put them on an increasingly dark and debauched path came from the same place as those stories. We all have desires that we yearn to quench, but know that we should not. But what happens when we do. And then go further?
uench, but know that we should not. But what happens when we do. And then go further?

NightWhere is basically the story of what happens to someone who gives in to their forbidden sexual desires 100%... and then takes it farther.

One of the emotionally driving forces of the book, which I think sets in apart from other extreme graphic horror I have read, is Mark’s love for his wife Rae, regardless of the depravity she has spiraled into. Was this part of the original concept, or did you realize later this was necessary?

No, it was always part of the concept -- Mark’s love for Rae is the crux of the story. It’s his love for her that makes him first stay with her when she’s sleeping with other men and then it drives him to chase her through the degradations of The Red to try to bring her back home. In a way it’s like the old Greek myth of Orpheus following his wife Eurydice into the Underworld to try to rescue her.  Love is strong, but can love truly conquer the darkness in the soul, once set free?

I know from your other books you don’t hold back when sex and violence are integral to the story you are telling, but was it difficult to write a book that had extreme sexual content in almost every chapter?

The writing was easy, but I was worried throughout that I was going to either “go too far” or, perhaps, “not far enough.” There were a couple scenes where I considered dropping some of the perversions that are inflicted on Mark. But ultimately, I decided that they were what the novel called for. I had to put them down. 

I also worried a bit that with the amount of “swinger” stuff in the start of the book, where Mark’s and Rae’s relationship is established, that I might lose some of the horror crowd looking for a monster on page one. I was concerned that the book might have too much sex for the average horror fan and way too much horror for the readers looking for dark erotica. But… in the end, I just told the story and tried not to worry about tilting it to appease one audience or another.

Your last novel, The Pumpkin Man, took place in coastal Northern California, not far from where I live, in fact. What drew you to this area as a location? Was it important to set that particular novel there?

The Pumpkin Man and my previous novel, Siren, were both set there, in fact. The Pumpkin Man is really based on the town of Jenner, while Siren takes place a little farther north. I set both books in that locale because I love that area of the country. I’ve visited San Francisco more than any other city outside my home of Chicago, and it’s the place I’d move to in a heartbeat if I could. When you drive the coast north of the city, the landscape gets increasingly beautiful – and remote. There are places just a half hour out of the city that are desolate and remote and beautiful and feel like you’re a hundred miles from anyone. That kind of physical setting is perfect for a horror novel (or a horror movie -- Hitchcock used Bodega Bay for The Birds).

For Siren the location was a natural – a rocky coastal region near the ocean is exactly the setting a Siren would be found in. For The Pumpkin Man, that setting was less called for; the story could have taken place in the cornfields of the Midwest (and that would probably be expected, given the title). Instead, I decided to flip the location. My two protagonists from Chicago inherit a cottage near the ocean and decide to go check it out, since they’ve also both just lost their teaching jobs thanks to the annual RIF layoffs. They end up locked in this isolated town where horrible murders are happening (people getting their heads cut off and replaced with pumpkins carved in their own likeness). But since the killer seems to be following Jennica, our heroine, she can’t really do much other than stick it out and try to solve the mystery of The Pumpkin Man at his apparent source, before he finally cuts too close to home.

I was lucky because I had two different business trips that took me to San Francisco during the writing of those books, and one of them, as I was wrapping up Siren, gave me the opportunity to tack on a day of vacation. So I rented a car and drove up the coast for a day and night (I stayed just a few miles from Jenner). I shot a lot of pictures and video to help finalize last descriptions in Siren and to firmly set the location I planned to use as the backdrop of The Pumpkin Man.

Please describe your writing process, and whether it remains consistent form one book to the next.

My process has varied from book to book. Covenant, my first novel, was written very slowly, in little starts and stops over the course of several years.

I used National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) back in 2002 to jumpstart  Sacrifice, the sequel to Covenant – It had been more than two years since I’d wrapped the first draft of Covenant, and I knew I needed to begin a new long project. So I dove in to the “write a novel in a month” challenge, and wrote more than half of that novel (50,000 words) in three weeks. Of course, I was sick for the whole next month afterwards, from burning the candle at both ends and it took me over a year before I went back and finished the book.

The 13th was the first novel I wrote once I was contracted to Leisure Books, and for that novel, I forced myself into a more steady writing rhythm, writing once a week after work at a bar (I go there straight from work and dive right into writing instead of losing hours at home before beginning work). I did some writing during the weekends on that one as well. It took me about 11 months from start to finish.

For Siren, The Pumpkin Man and NightWhere, I kept with the once-a-week “big progress” writing night at my local bar after work (which gives me a solid block of 4-5 hours of writing time), but I also forced myself to get up early before work and knock out a few hundred words a day. Since all of those novels were contracted books with deadlines, I set up word count goals that I needed to hit every week, whether I made the word count goal in two mega-writing sessions or seven small 1,000 words-a-day sessions.  And for NightWhere, I quickly abandoned the morning writing sessions (I hate getting up early) and did a lot more work late at night in my basement, where I could light candles to help the mood and play good soundtrack CDs from bands on the 4AD label, or The Cure’s live DVD performing the album cycle of Pornography/Disintegration/Bloodflowers.

What advice would you give a new horror writer in the current publishing environment?

First, I’d say to hone your craft by writing and submitting a lot of short fiction. I think writing lots of short stories helps a writer find his/her voice and rhythm, and can teach a lot about how to develop characters and plots without investing a year of your life on a giant novel project. It allows you to rack up publication credits as well, and start building some name awareness in the horror community.

A lot of people in the current climate will disagree, but I still believe that writers should work with traditional presses to publish their books. Whether they are well-known indie presses like Cemetery Dance, Bad Moon Books, Delirium or Necro, or midlevel houses like Samhain or big NYC houses like St. Martin’s,  Random House, Signet, etc., I think working with professional editors is an important part of learning how to be a better writer. Lots of people are seeing the e-book revolution as a great excuse to “shortcut” the process. “Who needs a publisher?” they ask, and proceed to pummel readers with all the shit that they could never get published in the past. There are times when the freedom of e-publishing is a good thing, because certainly there is good stuff that never managed to get a good publishing deal. But if you’ve never managed to get anyone of note to buy your work before? It may be that you need to work on your craft a lot more before anything you write should be published. That’s why we had gatekeepers called publishers. To read the slush piles of half-baked stories and seek out the ones that were actually worthy of being promoted.

Sometimes the new age of “instant self-publishing” allows great new stuff to hit the public fast. But mostly? There’s a reason much of that work didn’t sell before. And it shouldn’t sell now.  Self publishing is too easy. Anyone can write. But the world of publishing is supposed to reward those who are really good at it by offering them promotion and widespread distribution and a decent check at the end to compensate all the work and struggle the author put in to become a professional author. Call me old fashioned, but if you really want lifelong success in writing, I still believe you usually have to work a little harder than scribbling out a story on Sunday and posting it on Kindle on Monday.

Where do you see the horror genre going in the next ten years?

People have asked me this before, and honestly, the answer is … nowhere. And that’s OK. Horror isn’t so much an evolving thing as a “constant” – a genre that allows  people to explore their deepest fears. Some of those fears are 100% universal – fear of the dark, fear of being killed, fear of having your most precious things taken unexpectedly away from you by a force you can’t control. Every generation has their own particular boogeymen based on what’s going on in popular culture at the time, but the basic tenets of horror go back to the same fears that we had 100 or 1000 years ago. The monsters may change, but the fears that create them don’t.

Horror will continue to deal with those fears.  And we will always have them.

What are you working on now?

My seventh novel, which I started working on a few weeks ago, is called Violet Eyes. It’s a story about a recently divorced woman and her son who have just moved to a town near the everglades to escape her abusive husband. But they only just begin to settle in when the town is overrun by spiders. But these aren’t your normal house spiders… these spiders have been bioengineered for a covert purpose. They have purple eyes, and they seem to be hatching from people’s heads. And just when you thought that was bad enough… the hordes of purple flies descend.

For those who’ve read my short story collection Creeptych, you’ve already gotten a taste of Violet Eyes in the novelette “Violet Lagoon” which was essentially an expanded version of the intended prologue to this novel. I outlined the book three years ago, and then wrote the Creeptych closing story based on the future book’s prologue outline.

Now I’m finally letting the spiders have their day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ron Koppelberger, author of "Raven's Blood" chats about his writing

Raven's Blood

by Ron W Koppelberger
A Book of dark and dreamlike poetry. Imagine a world of dreams. Imagine a world where shadow and light combine to create an image painted in whispers, in silent contemplation, in dreams of what is and what has been. Imagine a selection of dark poetry that stirs the soul and captures the innermost wont of our desires and aspirations. Raven's Blood is a collection of poetry created in hours of silent contemplation and wonder. Come imagine the world in half-lit splendor and often with just a touch of fear.

Ron Koppelberger began writing when he was ten years old, his grandparents gave him his first typewriter. He has written 103 books of poetry and 18 novels. He has published 682 poems, 736 short stories and 143 pieces of art in over 256 periodicals, anthologies and books as well as in 11 radio broadcasts. He loves to write and nothing thrills him more than seeing his work in print. " The creative process is a thrill for me as is influencing the reader in a positive way, in a thought provoking way. One of my primary goals involves touching the reader and giving them a gift, the gift of a long forgotten memory or perhaps a special insight that may not have been apparent."

Ron stops by my blog today to discuss some aspects of his writing.

Welcome, Ron. We are acquainted through Static Movement. I believe you have appeared in every themed anthology I have edited for them, and almost all your submissions were poetry and flash fiction. Do you enjoy writing longer stories and novels? Which do you prefer and why?

I enjoy writing flash fiction because it allows for me to get the idea on paper,  quickly and in a short bursts.  I feel that some of the best and most profound fiction is flash fiction,  of course nothing beats the involvement of writing a novella or a novel or even a longer story.  Poetry is kind of like flash fiction to me,  I have written 103 books of poetry and it comes to me like eating or sleeping.  The idea is to get the image on paper,  to give the reader something to look at with words and emotions.  I feel I can do this effectively with a good piece of poetry.  Ultimately I don't have a preference,  the writing in whatever form is a catharsis for me and I enjoy it with a passionate affection.    

What is your writing process? Are you a full-time writer? How often do you write?

I write at night,  or in the morning.  My day begins around 1 or 2 A.M. in the morning and continues on throughout the day, sometimes as late as 8 P.M.  I enjoy the privacy of early morning hours and most of my really good writing takes place in the early hours of the morning.  I am a full time writer and poet,  I like to devote 6 to 8 hours a day writing and sending in submissions.  As far as writing I try to devote some time every day to writing,  I think that writers who say they don't have enough time are joking,  you can accomplish a great deal with only two or three hours of writing a day.

Who are some of your favorite writers and why? Do you read a lot? Do you think that’s important for a writer?

I am a big fan of Lovecraft, Poe, Bradbury, King, Koontz, Straub, and others to numerous to mention.  I enjoy the writers listed because I can connect to them at some level.  A good book is an adventure,  an emotional experience that is meant to enrich us in spirit and soul,  that's what I look for in a writer.  I read as often as possible,  I believe a good writer has to be a reader first.  Experience comes with reading and the experience teaches us how to communicate better,  more effectively.    

Where do you see the horror genre headed in the next ten years?

I think the craft of horror writing and writing in general is headed for new horizons,  with Kindle and Nook the profession is getting a shot in the arm.  I think that a burgeoning company like Static Movement for example is a writer's greatest asset,  one of mine for certain.  The field of horror is subject to societies evolution and it's continuing desire for the genre.  I think the field of online and electronic endeaver are just begining to be created and that birth is an advantage to the aspiring Horror writer and poet.

What are you working on now?

I just finished a book of Dark Poetry called Raven's Blood (Available through Create Space-see my link above-gw-),  and I am currently working on my next volumn titled "A Butterfly Whispers".  In addition I find myself working on the new Static Movement Anthologies and with several of the new editors.  Within the next year or so I am hoping to publish the first installment of my epic poem called "August Snow".  

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Conversation With Craig DiLouie, Author of the Apocalyptic Novels THE KILLING FLOOR and THE INFECTION

Today's guest is writer Craig DiLouie, here to talk about his work, including his latest release from Permuted Press, The Killing Floor, the sequel to his acclaimed apocalyptic novel, The Infection. Book covers are featured throughout the post and purchase information is provided at the end.

Welcome, Craig. Thanks for stopping by. I was introduced to your writing when assigned “The Infection” and “The Killing Floor” for review. Tell us about other books you have written.

Thanks for having me, George; I appreciate the opportunity to talk about my fiction.

THE INFECTION (Permuted Press, 2011), described by one reviewer as THE ROAD meets 28 DAYS LATER, tells the story of five ordinary people who must work together to survive after everybody they love is violently taken away from them. It’s got tons of action, brutality, violence, realism and grit, but is also a deeper, character-driven story. In many ways, it is similar to THE WALKING DEAD, but much more violent and filled with action. This novel has garnered great reviews from numerous sources, including Fangoria, and will soon be published in Russian.

THE KILLING FLOOR (Permuted Press, 2012) picks up where THE INFECTION left off, and therefore feels familiar while starting a whole new story arc and introducing several new characters to join the surviving cast of THE INFECTION. In THE KILLING FLOOR, we see the White House evacuated and Washington fall, and then participate in the invasion by America’s far-flung military to take it back. While THE INFECTION is somewhat episodic, with numerous flashbacks, THE KILLING FLOOR congeals around a single storyline and function as much as a straight-up thriller as a work of apocalyptic horror.

TOOTH AND NAIL (Salvo Press, 2010), described by one reviewer as BLACKHAWK DOWN meets 28 DAYS LATER, was my first zombie novel. It tells the story of a military unit deployed in New York City during the zombie apocalypse. It’s incredibly violent, stirring and powerful, while also being realistic due to intensive research. This novel was recently optioned for film, was published in Spanish (NUEVA YORK: HORA Z), and will be published in Russian.

Before my zombie novels, I wrote three other books. The first, PARANOIA, is a psychological thriller about a man subjected to conspiracy theories, denying all of them, until being given concrete evidence one of them is true. After believing one, he finds himself believing all of them, and is then forced to make a choice of whether to kill for his new beliefs.

The second, THE GREAT PLANET ROBBERY, is a comedic military science fiction novel about two military veterans who decide to get rich in retirement by robbing an entire planet. The book reads like Kipling’s GUNGA DIN set in outer space. This book got a great review from PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY.

And the third, THE THIN WHITE LINE, is a book about what a severe influenza pandemic would look like in a modern country. The book, recently nominated by, a website providing a resource for nurses and nursing students, for its Top 50 Must-Read Books for Nurses in 2012, describes a flu pandemic occurring in 2012 as if it already occurred. The novel reads like a nonfiction history book, and is heavily researched and footnoted.

Your readers can learn about these and my other works of fiction at, where I blog about novels, movies, short films and other media dedicated to the apocalyptic horror genre.

I described the exhilaration of “The Infection” as a book that “happens to you.” You do a tremendous job capturing the effects of PTSD on the survivors of the initial plague in present tense prose. How did this come about? Did you always know you would write the novel this way or did the idea come later?

When I was first exposed to zombie fiction, I found it extremely exciting. Here is this collection of literature in which the reader is exposed to the zeitgeist of the world ending, the excitement of survival, the catharsis of being one of the last standing—of not having to have a real job or pay taxes anymore. As I got older, however, my tastes began to change as I now have a family, and therefore much, much more to lose. Instead of writing my fantasies onto the apocalypse, I began to write my worst fears.

In the early days of zombie fiction, David Moody was perhaps the only author writing what I would consider truly realistic stories about the undead. In Moody’s AUTUMN books, his survivors are psychologically unsteady, emotionally shattered people, just as apt to collapse onto the floor crying than take charge and do something. This inspired a similar sensibility in my own books, which is that a zombie book should always be a story about people with zombies, not vice versa, and people are fallible and act human when confronted by horrifying circumstances. They freeze, they scream, they run, they suffer from shock. Imagine seeing your closest loved ones hurt in some violent way—really imagine it, go ahead, I’ll wait—and that horrifying panic you now feel barely scratches the surface of what you would feel if something really did happen. In my view, running through the apocalypse without a care in the world shooting zombies in the head is thriller fiction, while fleeing through the apocalypse, after everybody and everything you ever loved is violently torn away from you, is horror. Since the latter makes me feel something much deeper and more satisfying, I tend to enjoy it more as a reader and explore it as a writer.

As for present tense, that was a simple decision. I’d written books in past tense and present tense, first person and third person, and decided present tense would work beautifully here. The present tense makes the action imminent. Everything that is happening in the book is happening now, and there are no guarantees anybody is going to survive the next five minutes. Present tense is not everybody’s cup of tea, however. Some people simply hate it. Thankfully, more people have liked the use of present tense in my zombie books than didn’t like it.

On a final relevant note, I believe that the greater the realism in a story, the greater willing suspension of disbelief, that magic glue that connects reader and storyteller. So in my story TOOTH AND NAIL, which is about a military unit fighting zombies on the streets of New York City, I researched everything from bayonet fighting to weaponry to slang to small arms tactics to provide a convincing tale. While I didn’t get everything perfect, servicemen have written to me to tell me they appreciated the authenticity—plus that the soldiers are presented as real people, not sappy superheroes or pointless villains. In TOOTH AND NAIL, rifles jam, smoke obscures vision, friendly fire occurs, the chain of command breaks down. Similarly, the boys of Charlie Company have no taste for shooting the people they swore an oath to protect, they’re horrified and shocked by the extreme violence and gore, they’d rather be home protecting their families, they question their responsibility to help others when it’s fast becoming every man for himself, and they wonder why they’re obeying orders from a government/military that is dissolving. Exploring these questions with people we can care about in a story that is both exciting and told realistically is so much more satisfying.

I want to avoid spoilers for those readers who will seek out your Infection novels as a result of this interview, but suffice to say by the end of “The Killing Floor” things are looking grim. Do you plan more sequels and what can you tell us about that?

Right now, the series is complete, although one never says never, and I would be happy to revisit the series and make it a trilogy under the right circumstances. Whether that happens has as much to do with how the publishing industry works as my own personal interest.

What is your usual writing process? Do you outline or just see where a novel goes?

A book starts with a compelling idea. Writing one of these books takes hundreds of hours, time I could be spending with my family or dedicating to my business instead. And that’s just typing, not even counting the fact that for about a year, I am almost always thinking consciously or subconsciously about my current project. In short, writers do this for love.

So I first have to start with an idea that really drives me. That gets the love going. Usually, this big idea will distinguish the book in some way from the competition, justify the amount of labor, and demand that I produce it. In short, it presents itself in my mind as a book that I want to read—I just have to write it first.

The idea always involves how the story will end. That is my goalpost. From there, I back it up to the climax, and I think of how the climax could be an incredible payoff, and then from there back it up loosely to the first sentence. So really I need to know how the story ends, and the first sentence, and the rest I can pretty much figure out along the way. It sounds silly and Zen but stories really do have a way of writing themselves, and characters have a way of telling you what they want to do—even die at the strangest moment—and it’s often not what you’d planned. Along the way, the novel has to deliver compelling conflict, strong characters, stirring action and a convincing setting, with each word, each sentence, each page moving the story forward.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on an apocalyptic novel about love taken to its extreme, where it becomes horror. For me, this is one of the primary conflict points with any story about death, particularly if the dead come back as undead: How do we, as the living (or uninfected) deal with the undead (or infected), particularly those we love? I can’t provide any more detail than that because the concept is fairly original and I’m keeping it close to the chest until it’s completed. It’s very disturbing—even to me as the writer, and that’s saying something.

Describe a favorite character from your own work and how you created him/her.

One of my favorite characters is Anne from THE INFECTION and THE KILLING FLOOR. Here’s this strong, mysterious woman who has a natural talent for killing the Infected with her sniper rifle. The other survivors in her group wonder about the fresh scars running down her otherwise attractive face, and imagine a romantic military background. They don’t know she’s a simple housewife who lost her family during the outbreak through her own denial of the severity of what was happening. That she’s so good at surviving because she would be perfectly happy to die. That even her scars are not what they seem. We get to know her story in a flashback in THE INFECTION, and she returns as a major character in THE KILLING FLOOR.

Anne is the Captain Ahab of the story, if you can imagine Moby Dick as a virus. She’s a killing machine; she finds killing the Infected easy because to her, they are no longer people, but instead meat puppets with some type of parasitic organism pulling the strings. She’s an ideal survivor because she doesn’t care if she lives or dies; she has nothing to lose and therefore nothing to fear. The scary thing about Anne is her hatreds and obsessions for Infection often get the better of her. She has fought monsters so long, so intensely, she herself is becoming another kind of monster. I would not want her hunting me in an apocalyptic wasteland. She never gives up.

What other authors do you admire? What authors have influenced your work?

I agree with the Stephen King quote that recently made the rounds on Facebook that essentially says if you’re not a reader, you have no business being a writer. Every time you read a good book, you learn more about the craft. I’ve read scores of horror books just in the past year, and learned a great deal from every single one, from the good to the bad.

As for my favorite authors in the genre, I would have to say—just to name a few:

  • David Moody for his courageous take on the undead in his AUTUMN series, his dedication to extreme realism, his incredibly original vision in HATER, and in general for his role in fathering this incredible fast-growing subgenre;
  • John Ajvide Lindqvist for his original takes on vampires (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN) and zombies (HANDLING THE UNDEAD);
  • Conrad Williams for his almost poetic but also horrifying and dismal view of the apocalypse in ONE;
  • Jeff Long for his amazing vision of a sinister underworld in THE DESCENT and DEEPER—he taught me a lot about horror and its practical boundaries;
  • John Skipp for entertaining me time after time, book after book—he writes with a breathless energy, has perfect pacing and is fearless with his material; and …
Well. the list just goes on and on. There are so many. The great thing about horror fiction is none of us write the same story. All of us authors try to distinguish our work as best as possible. That means readers have endless choice, which is a great thing for me both as a reader and as a contributor to this genre.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my work, George!

Thank YOU, Craig, for stopping by. To our visitors, please follow this blog to receive updates of future guest blogs and also your host's own writing endeavors.

I have re-listed Craig's blog address below as well as some links to purchase his work.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"I Bid You Welcome": Conversation Continues with Medium and Author Dorothy Davies

Dorothy Davies is a writer, editor and medium who lives on the Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England. It is reputed to be the most haunted place in the UK, the word wight means spirit, which may well explain why her latent psychic abilities only came fully to the fore when she moved there just over 17 years ago.

Dorothy returns today as my guest. In my June 11, 2012 blog post, we discussed her early experiences as a medium. Today, our chat will focus on her writing, especially her book I Bid You Welcome: A Collection of Dark Tales from Writers in Spirit. (cover and purchase links can be found at the bottom of this post)

Dorothy provides this insight in the book’s description on Createspace:

As a medium I am used to spirits walking in and working with me. There are a lot of books out there with my name on, all of which have been dictated by spirit authors. Richard Laymon arrived some time before we actually began work on the novel he wanted to write: he was just there, a companion whilst I fought my way through the process of getting the first channelled book into the public arena. Once the book was published, he began hinting that it would be rather fun to begin something which was not historical, which we did. We then started to write what felt like a non-stop stream of short stories which have been published in anthologies, both print and on-line. Richard asked me to collect them into a separate anthology as we worked.

Dorothy, reading the stories in this book, I must say the writers I was familiar with did in fact seem to speak in these pages—Richard Layman’s famous dark comedy and relentless gore, Edith Wharton’s literary and chilling style.

Of course, those who refuse to believe in the supernatural might just say you have learned to mimic the styles and voice of these deceased authors and historical figures. How do handle such skepticism?

I ask them if they could write a story in an evening and have it accepted without revision or editing. The stories just spilled from me. I do not let it bother me that people may think I am copying, the facts are this: each writer has their own 'voice' when writing. My stories have different 'voices' which is impossible to do if they were coming from my mind, my imagination. Same with the historical 'novels'. I have information not found in history books and, the amount of research I would have had to do for each of those books is unbelievable. I wrote Henry's book in six months. I wrote Judas' book in six weeks (and had it vetted by two knowledgeable people as I did so). I know more about Guy Fawkes' torture and trial than anyone has written. The same goes for the stories. I 'grew up' with Ray Bradbury's wonderful work but I do not write like Ray Bradbury. I had not read a single story by Edith Wharton until she came to me with her delicate chilling ghost stories.

I grew up viewing endless repeats of the old Universal monster films and always loved watching Bela Lugosi. Tell us about your first encounter with Bela.

I am not a film buff, I only know of Bela through the occasional horror film way back when. Static Movement proposed a vampire anthology. I recall sitting in my office saying to Richard (Laymon) 'I'd like to be in that but I don't do vampires.' I became aware of a presence almost immediately, looked round and said 'Bela?' and got the laugh I associate with him. 'Now you can,' he said. 'Rich and I can write vampire stories.' (It's one of the 'strange' things about my mediumship that I know who is there without seeing them. They impress themselves that strongly on me.) No way would I have thought of Bela as a writer, but he has stories to tell and tells them against himself at times. Transformation is Bela laughing at his own image. He is a delight.

What challenges did you face compiling this collection?

Balance, mostly, trying to ensure gore was offset with delicate, chill rather than ice, so the anthology flows from one to the other. Each story was a pleasure to transcribe, there is a deep sense of joy when working one to one with a spirit in that way.
My usual editor didn't like the stories, said they didn't work for him, so I offered it to Fiction4all who took it, created the cover and put it out in all the formats. I am very grateful to them for the belief in the collection.

Do you ever write as “Dorothy” now, without channelling? If so, how is that writing process different?

Rarely! Dorothy as a writer has become subsumed into Dorothy the medium. As with public speaking, it is sooooo much easier to let someone else do the work…it leaves the brain free for editing...

What projects are you working on now?

Books and more books. I hope! The list is endless, the visitors innumerable, the pleasure immense. I should be told when the last book is done, so I can dispose of the vast library of books  - I have a book on each person to keep track of the timeline. They are good at memories, bad at timelines, but then, aren't we all?

Thank you for this opportunity! It is very much appreciated, by me and those I work with.  Richard Laymon says, good one, George, we appreciate it and by the way, I like your stories!

Thank you. That is great. Tell Richard I am a great fan. I have only recently began to work my way through some of his novels but he is one of those short story writers (along with Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury or Clive Barker) who if you see his name on an anthology you buy it. No hesitation.

Thanks again for stopping by Dorothy and thanks to any visitors to the blog. I hope you found Dorothy as much a delight to chat with as I have. Please check the links below to this collection we’ve been discussing and to Dorothy’s website.

I Bid You Welcome, is available at:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Channelling Books for Spirit Authors: A Conversation with Medium and Author Dorothy Davies

Dorothy Davies is a writer, editor and medium who lives on the Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England. It is reputed to be the most haunted place in the UK, the word wight means spirit, which may well explain why her latent psychic abilities only came fully to the fore when she moved there just over 17 years ago.

She works as editor and book designer for a small private publishing company during the day and edits for Static Movement and writes every evening. She walks and talks with spirit companions and visitors 24/7, declining to follow the “advice” of others that she should “limit the time she speaks with spirits” because of ongoing migraines.

Her companions insist that the migraines have nothing to do with them, but have everything to do with the pressures of 21st century living, compared with their much easier (and richer) lives as medieval aristocrats! Dorothy's answer is: you do not ignore friends when they visit and she will not do that to those who expend their spirit energy to be with her.

Dorothy is my guest for the next couple of blog posts. Today, we will chat more about her experiences as a medium, while the second half of our interview will focus on her writing, especially her book I Bid You Welcome: A Collection of Dark Tales from Writers in Spirit. (cover and purchase links can be found at the bottom of this post)

Welcome, Dorothy. Your bio states your latent psychic abilities only came fully to the fore when you moved to the Isle of Wight just over 17 years ago.

Did you have any earlier experiences that made you suspect you had these abilities?

I was, for many years, a devout Christian. Only now, with hindsight, do I see that many of my experiences were spirit rather than Christian, if you see what I mean. Example, once, in the middle of Holy Communion, I heard the rustle of robes and felt the pew move as someone sat down beside me. No one was there, physically, that is. My first reaction was, this is Christ himself. From this distance of time and current experiences, I can say it could have been but it could also have been my guide, a Mayan priest-king, who wears robes. But one incident was definitely spirit engineered. I was living in northern Spain at the time and on my way to work (governess to the deputy Mayor of Bilbao's youngest children, my task, to play with them and ensure they learned English, all we spoke whilst I was there.) This particular day I had no money left. I paid my bus fare and that was it, no more money. I faced a lengthy walk home after work. I went into the first chapel I saw, knelt down, prayed for help, looked up and found every statue in the place wore a halo of gold, which faded and disappeared. When I got to work, the children's mother came out to see me. 'I thought you could use this', she said, handing me my wages, a whole week early...
From my teen years I read books about opening the third eye, anything to do with psychic ability, without actually doing anything about it. It was as if the knowledge was being absorbed but the time was not right. I had a reading with an eminent psychic, who told me my life was one long series of surprises. She was right, it was and still is.
Being bound up, as it were, with the Church of England, attending Holy Communion regularly, being one of the Flower Ladies, most of my feelings were suppressed.  Then, for no reason I could see, I stopped going to church. I later found out that the affair which finally broke my 23 year marriage started at that time.
My move to the Isle of Wight came about through that series of 'coincidences' which only spirit could engineer. I had taken a copy editing course, I had been writing for this small publishing company, I offered to do editing work for them, was accepted (long distance) and so, when the breakup came, the director of the company told me to get the next ferry over, that I could have a job in house. So, Isle of Wight it was, no questions asked. I bought the first home I viewed, one that feels right nearly 18 years on, and one that is crowded with spirits several times a week when the gentleman's club, which met there regularly in earlier times (the house is 138 years old) still gather, dogs and all, for their meetings.

Tell us about the first experience after moving to the Isle that convinced you that you were in fact a medium.

A year after moving to the island, I visited the Victoria Arcade, which is two doors away from my home. I was drawn to the tarot reader who had a place there, and went in for a reading. She turned over the first card and said 'you're very spiritual, do you sit in circle?' I said no, and she said 'you should.' I had at that point been having a lot of psychic experiences, picking up thoughts and feelings of co-workers and so on. I contacted the spiritualist church in Ryde and the president asked me to visit before the Sunday service. She said she had many people say they were psychic but it was all their imagination. I went and after about two minutes she said, 'fine, let's go in to the service, shall we?' I had passed that test. The medium for the evening gave me a simple message from the platform, including 'watch your back'.(the very next day I was asked to help lift the photocopier...) when the medium left the platform he stopped by my side and simply stared at me, as if trying to convey a message without words. I was too new then to know what it was but am sure it was something to do with my future work.
I sat circle (a group of like minded people who gather to meditate and share their power and experiences) for some time in that church and then moved to Ventnor church, where I became Secretary, did platform work myself as well as regular circle attendances and somehow, through all this spiritual work, became a working medium.

This is all quite fascinating. Have you ever encountered visual or physical manifestations of spirits?

I 'see' spirit with my physical eyes as flickering lights, almost as if the air is being disturbed. I can liken it to 'seeing' the Stealth bomber, if you can take that as an analogy.  I 'see' spirit clearly in my mind often. Physical manifestation, things are moved at spirit friend Daniel came to me as a clown (we later wrote his life story--he being a concentration camp  victim) and clowns play tricks. I use a pendulum to find missing things. He moved my pendulum... there are many Daniel stories, because he shared his time between me and an intensely spiritual medium from Lymington. He used to plague her with his tricks, too.
I know when spirit visit us in circle, I get very cold down one side.
I know when spirits want to let me know they are there when their favorite tracks roll round on the CDS, I go cold from head to foot. They have ways of letting me know they are there.
I have been told one day I will see spirit as clearly as I see living beings. I am waiting on that day!

Thanks. It is interesting to hear an actual medium’s experience with this compared to the version we get in most novels and films.

What current projects are you working on in collaboration with spirits?

Currently there are about six books started, I want to finish something! In print/on Kindle are books by George, duke of Clarence, Henry VIII and Judas Iskariot. To come, Guy Fawkes, Charles I and Jacquetta Woodville.
I am working on the life of Katherine of Aragon right now, books by JFK, Antony Woodville (my medieval hero and companion) Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots are started. I have several compilation books in progress too, some are collections of reminiscences from pop stars, jazz singers, blues singers and so on, some are 'celebrities', radio stars, people like that. I also have to write Dispatches From The Mists of Time, where people come to give me the story of a particular period of their life, rather than a full length book. One example is Harold, who wants to talk about the march from Stamford Bridge and the Battle of Hastings because, as he said, no one is interested in anything else! This is a way of my 'clearing' the list of 50 or so spirit authors, because I will not live long enough to write them all!
I took time out to write a non-stop series of short stories, they have now stopped and Katherine has come back to say, shall we continue my book and tell the world what it was really like being married to the most famous king you had? This is what we are doing right now. Then I know JFK will be back, he says it is time we finished his book (he's right) then I will move on to Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots. This book focusses on the relationship between two powerful women who never met but whose lives were blighted by each other's actions.  Each chapter is told from alternating viewpoints. I found that when one chapter was done, if there was writing time left, the other would not carry on... she had to come the next night...
Life is not for a moment dull around here.  Lady Jane Grey made herself known on Monday night, she is added to the list!



I Bid You Welcome, is available at:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Donna Del Oro: Behind "The Delphi Bloodline" -- Final of Six Posts

Today we conclude a series of six blogs by guest blogger Donna Del Oro, each providing insight into her novel The Delphi Bloodline, just released on June 1, 2012 by Musa Publishing. Thank you, Donna, for spending the week here providing insight into your exciting new novel.

Exploring Your Own Psychic Abilities
By Donna Del Oro

            Most of us have intuitive insights into situations and people. We get “gut reactions”, “vibes” or “feelings”. Often, we’re gratified, even surprised, when our gut reactions prove correct, and we spend a few minutes wondering why our guts are smarter than some people’s minds. Or why our guts can’t help us out more often. Like, which slot machine should I play?  Which stocks should I buy?  Is this man all he claims to be?
            Clairvoyance is a skill that my heroine, Athena Butler, has in abundance. “Clairvoyance” comes from the French, meaning “clear seeing”. It refers to the power to see an event or image that appears in the past, present or future. This type of sight usually does not occur with our physical eyes but with our “inner eye”. Or, as Athena refers to it, using her higher mind to tap into the Flow.
            The Flow, to her and others of the Delphi bloodline, is an unseen dimension of energy that encircles the planet and which contains the information and historical records of the human race from the dawn of man to the timeless future. It can be compared to a universal memory bank of the human mind and soul, or as the Hindus call it, the Akashic Records for all mankind. Like a repository of human energy and knowledge for all time, it exists on a level or dimension that cannot be measured by any of today’s instruments. Some physicists believe this dimension vibrates at a different rate than the energy given off by the material world. If string theory proves correct, these energy strings and their vibration might enable scientists and engineers to make it possible for all of us to access this dimension.
But for now and in more common language, we call it the “spiritual dimension”. As the modern-day descendants of a powerful bloodline, Athena and her mother have inherited the extraordinary abilities of this “inner eye” or “higher mind” that allows them to access this other, unseen dimension.
            When Athena’s mother makes the mistake of letting down her guard and revealing to a group of elite Washington, D.C. power players how her powers work, she and her daughter become the focus of a tycoon’s ruthless plot to control and exploit the bloodline’s powers. After her mother is kidnapped off a Baltimore street, and Athena becomes the next target, it’s all she—and her Guardian, Kas Skoros—can do to avoid the same fate. Although they clash at first, Athena realizes that Kas’s mother is, herself, one of the modern-day heirs to the bloodline, and Kas has assumed the duty of  Guardianship. Guardians of the Delphi bloodline have historical, genetic links to the warrior-bodyguards who once protected the ancient Greek priestesses of the Temples of Aesculapius. Together, Athena and Kas run, hide and eventually fight back to stay alive and free, and to preserve the bloodline.
            So how can the rest of us mortals, who are not heirs to the Delphi bloodline, develop our own clairvoyant abilities? There are numerous books on the subject and private institutes for psychic research can be found in the United States.  Many of these institutes conduct workshops for those who want to develop their intuitive talents. There are ESP/psi labs in highly reputable academic institutions, also, such as Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Princeton and the University of Virginia.  The Department of Defense has recruited and trained members of the Stargate Program to be remote viewers (clairvoyants who can “see” specific targets such as foreign missile silos and drug-running ships).  Make this topic YOUR special hobby and soon you’ll be “seeing” things more clearly.
            I did, and I do.

Purchase your copy of "The Dephi Bloodline" from Musa:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Donna Del Oro: Behind "The Delphi Bloodline" Part Five of Six

Today we continue a series of six blogs by guest blogger Donna Del Oro, each providing insight into her novel The Delphi Bloodline, just released on June 1, 2012 by Musa Publishing. Please join us through Saturday, June 9th to learn more about this exciting new novel.

ESP/PSI and What Inquiring Minds Want to Know
by Donna Del Oro

Psi is a fascinating field to study, and so the research for my romantic thriller enthralled me every step of the way. I’d been interested in ESP phenomena since early adulthood. My cousin was a full-time, practicing psychic who claimed an approximately 85% accuracy rate in her readings. I’d had a number of experiences that proved to me that I was highly intuitive. But Psi is its own right is fascinating because it calls so many basic beliefs, scientific and otherwise, into question.
Researchers of Psi divide psychic phenomena into several primary areas, and then tend to pick one on which to focus their study. Those areas of research and testing are: Telepathy, the study of mind-to-mind communication; Precognition, the transfer of knowledge about future events that cannot be inferred through any known way; Clairvoyance, studying the transfer of information about faraway places without using the normal senses; Psychokinesis, the mental interaction with material items, whether animate or inanimate; and Biological psychokinesis, the mental interaction with living systems (for example, healing from a distance or the communication with living creatures of different species).
In THE DELPHI BLOODLINE, my heroine Athena Butler, the modern-day descendant of the powerful and ancient Delphi bloodline, displays abilities of telepathy, clairvoyance and biological psychokinesis. Her mother and grandmother all show similar abilities, as does the mother of the hero, Kas Skoros. They are heirs to the bloodline, women whose ancestry can be traced back to the clairvoyant and healing priestesses of ancient Greece.  The problem in my story is that a ruthless tycoon finds out about the bloodline and wants to exploit and if necessary enslave them. To stay free and alive, they must turn vigilant and use all their talents to trap the mastermind’s minions—and try to ensnare the mastermind as well.
Until recent decades, many psychologists and psychiatrists viewed psi with skepticism. Today, the field is open to the connections between psi and psychology, neuroscience and physics. Many top-notch, international academic institutions, such as Cambridge, Princeton, the University of Virginia and SRI (Stanford Research Institute), have psi labs. The same natural laws that apply to physics and other sciences also apply to psi. It can be tested in the lab and has been for decades, the results of which gave rise to the Department of Defense’s Stargate Program.
Many scientists agree that psi might actually be a type of mental process or state, such as memory, learning or consciousness. The psychic women in THE DELPHI BLOODLINE exemplify the extraordinary mental processes that science labs all over the world are now studying.

Purchase your copy of "The Dephi Bloodline" from Musa: