Monday, July 23, 2012

Preview of my interview with The Speculative Edge Issue #1

July 21st
Interview with George Wilhite
By Shane R Collins
George Wilhite has had an eclectic writing career. He earned his masters in American literature from Sonoma State University. Wilhite serves as a contributing editor for Static Movement and regularly writes book reviews for The Horror Review. He self-published his first collection of short stories, On the Verge of Madness, in July, 2011 and his second collection, Silhouettes of Darkness, was picked up by Musa Publishing and is scheduled to release September 28th, 2012. Currently, he is penning his first novel.
Collins: Your first collection you self-published but your second collection is through a traditional publisher. How do the two experiences compare?
Wilhite: I decided to self-publish the first time just to get a book out. I was having some success with publishing individual stories, though still for little or no money, but no luck with a publisher willing to release a collection. Collections are much harder sells than novels.
I have no talent in the area of graphic arts, so I knew I needed help with the cover. For a reasonable cost, the publisher,, provided a serviceable enough cover, but nothing extraordinary. To be honest, the most interesting element of the cover is the photography from my wife I offered as base material.
Another struggle of self-publishing was the editing. I didn’t have much money to spend so I just went over the manuscript several times myself, and my ever-patient wife did so a few times, and I also enlisted the help of some fellow writers. While the process was all rather painstaking, it was worth the effort to have an actual book to promote.
So far, the process with Musa seems different in just about every way. I had already been through the stories individually, and the manuscript as a whole, just as many times as I had with On the Verge before submitting it to Musa. The great thing now is that they will bring a fresh set of eyes to the final editing process and--thank goodness!--a talented artist to create a book cover. It is a great relief to let these specialists help make the book the best it can be and to tap into their existing marketing and distribution.
Collins: Why do you enjoy writing horror over other genres?
Wilhite: I think one of the main reasons I write horror goes back to writing from character. This genre exposes defining moments for human beings, in the sense that moments of terror, of confrontation with fear and trepidation of the unknown, even the unknowable; bring out the best or worst in us. If you read firsthand accounts of war, this same kind of juxtaposition of wrong and right, kill or be killed, comes up time and again. Films like“Platoon” and “The Hurt Locker” presents these kinds of themes well, and I think horror provides similar insight into the primal self within us all.
Collins: Once your second collection comes out this October, what’s next on your writing agenda?
Wilhite: I am currently writing my first novel. The novel is the first in a planned series “Intrepid City.” I have spent considerable time creating a huge backstory for this series, so if the first book catches on, I hope to find a publisher interested in committing to the series. Intrepid City exists in an alternate universe where demons, humans and Halflings co-exist. The Underworld is still home to plenty of demons, imps and other creatures and the stories I have planned have much to do with the intrigue between their world and ours, which they call Up Above.
The main character is a private detective/gun for hire, a demon who has come to appreciate humankind and chosen to live among us, passing as human. These unique qualities lead to his involvement in cases and adventures featuring many different infernal creatures, and some cameo appearances from some well-known humans from our past, damned to The Underworld. It has been great fun to write.
Collins: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Wilhite: No matter how dark the subject matter of my work gets at times, there is an undercurrent that human beings can survive even the most savage and effective attacks from supernatural forces. Even my stories with disturbing endings, either open-ended or bleak, normally have some aspect the reader can cling to and think “well, if Wilhite decided to continue this, it is possible things could be resolved.” Rarely do I just leave my characters in some kind of existential chaos.
Collins: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Wilhite: Just do it. In today’s extremely competitive market, you must write for the love of writing. If not that, writing must provide some kind of release, outlet for emotions or pain, or perhaps a taming of a personal demon. In short, there better be something in it for you, because the likelihood of even earning a part-time salary from it is a pipe dream. Now, that doesn’t keep yours truly from “keeping that pipe lit” and pursuing the dream myself; I am just saying the money, fame, whatever great commercial success would provide, cannot be the reason you write. If that is your only motivation, it will show in your writing. If you love to write, write. Write often.
*To read the rest of this interview, be sure to check out the August issue of The Speculative Edge!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Conversation with Horror Writer and Director Brianna Stoddard

Today's guest is Brianna Stoddard, a writer, editor, screenwriter and director of horror and erotica. We are fellow editors of themed anthologies at Static Movement. Brianna is here to talk about her work and writing process. Please check out her web site and Static Movement Calls for Submissions at the end of tis post.

Welcome, Brianna. Much of your own work and the anthologies you edit contain elements of erotica. Did you start writing erotica first, then crossover to the horror genre, vice versa, or has your writing always had elements of both?

I started my first “professional” novella when I was 15, but it took several more years to finish it as life got in the way. I had been writing ever since I was young, but that is my first piece to get accepted and published. Which by the way, is a lesbian erotic story now named How much is love worth? It is available now in many places around the net.  So yes, I started initially in the erotica genre but moved onto many more. I can’t specifically stay in one place since I find I can have more fun bouncing around and seeing where it takes me. For me, I enjoy writing horror the most. I guess I just have a wicked imagination.

The theme of our anthology Ruby Red Cravings is vampires, a theme that has been visited many times. What was your approach to keeping the book fresh and unique?

I didn’t really have to ask for much, I just asked for original and that’s what the talented authors gave me. I only slapped it together. I owe the great stories to them, although I did give some ideas that were used in the stories.

Your own three contributed stories for Ruby Red Cravings all have a common thread-children as vampires. Is this a theme you have developed, or plan to, in other works?

I am not the first and I probably won’t be the last, but yes I hoped I was the first to think of them with a vicious “killer” personality. I would love to write a children’s or young adult book to that effect. I just have to decide how far I’m going to go, it all depends what age group it is appropriate for. I will enjoy that. Some pretty good ideas are already coursing through my brain begging for attention, thanks for giving me the idea!

Your website states you are also a screenwriter and director. What kinds of projects are you working on, or have completed, in these areas?

I am sadly having trouble directing films in my hometown right now. But I have two Christmas videos I have filmed of my daughter. I am putting them up for Christmas on my YouTube page this year. I just hope good luck comes my way to get more done. I am on the verge of selling my first screenplay, so I am really excited. I have two completed right now to sell, a horror and a lesbian romance. I am sending my romance in to an agent in New York, so we’ll see. I have too many fighting for my attention though. I will be busy busy busy- for a long time.

What is/are your current writing project(s)?

I am trying to get into any anthology I can while waiting for agents for my screenplays and children’s books. I try what I can to fill my own anthologies for Static Movement while I also advertise as much as I can for my books on the market. I’d love to see more sales in that area. No one ever said writing was easy or always paid a bunch of money, but I am working toward that goal and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What writers and books have influenced your craft and how?

Everyone I meet through my editing has an awesome talent, and I am constantly surprised. I have read many stories to get me inspired and to learn new words I haven’t heard. Plus it always helps to think of something no one has discussed. But my biggest inspiration comes from Marquis de Sade , JK Rowling, and Stephanie Meyer. They are my favorite writers of all time and they inspire me to reach for my dreams. JK Rowling had it pretty tough, which is kind of where I am, so if she can become that successful- then why not me? Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, and Tim Burton are my favorite directors. They inspired me to write screenplays and to become a director. I hope someday I can meet those amazing men.

Thanks for stopping by, Brianna, and good luck on all your endeavours.

Brianna's Web Site:

To check out Brianna's current Static Movement calls for submissions:

Brianna Stoddard is a 26-year-old redhead from Pennsylvania. She writes, edits, designs amazing costumes and clothes, all while trying to manage single parenthood with two crazy (but very loveable) kids. She can be found on Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook. Stop by and check out her site. She always loves meeting a new friend!

Friday, July 6, 2012

When Love Bites by Vanessa North, Author of Two in Winter

Today's blog is an article contributed by Vanessa North (TWO IN WINTER-see cover and purchase links below), about writing paranormal romance love scenes.

When Love Bites

by Vanessa North

As  my hero, Jack, says to his mate, Bianca, “We aren’t human, why would we mate as if we were?”
In other words, somehow, with my werewolves, I had to create a mating ritual, something sacred to the species that would bind the two wolves together in something like a marriage. Now how does a girl who blushes at sexy scenes in R-rated movies go about creating a mating ritual between werewolves?
Step one: Pour a glass of wine. No, a bigger one.  Pick up a pen and start doodling. Realize the doodles are slightly pornographic. Blush. Burn them before spouse or children see them. Start typing on the computer, get distracted by Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter. See a photo of a man with a hairy chest, remember that werewolves are hairy and oh, yeah.  Writing. Werewolf mating ritual. One last look at that hairy chest for inspiration. Okay. Pour another glass of wine. Start thinking logistics. Do they need to be in a particular sexual position? No, don’t want to restrict the sexy-times for future books, though has potential for more potent dirty talk. Write a few lines of dirty dialogue. Blush. Delete. Okay, scratch the sexual position theory. Ceremonial words? Again with the talk. Love scenes are about action! Write a few lines of action. Blush, but keep them. Now we’re getting somewhere, and the characters seem like they’re getting somewhere too, but how do we make it special, not cheesy, and still sexy? Back to Tumblr for more inspiration. Did you know Tumblr is like a cross between blogging, tweeting, and porn? See something on Tumblr that can’t be unseen. Oh. Blush. Exit browser and vow never to look at the internet again. Bleach brain.
Now. Where was I? Did I mention that my weres are feminists? Oh, dear. That lends a whole other dimension to this. What if the mating ritual is inherently tied to the male “claiming” the female, marking her in a way that other males will know she is his? How sort of barbaric and totally anti-feminist. Now, how do we get our alpha females to accept this? Well, they’ll have to do some claiming and marking of their own, won’t they?
Brain is now churning out all kinds of ideas and a mating ritual is being established.
Write it. Read it. Revise it.
Really, the most important thing is to remember that while the characters aren’t human, the readers are. They want a story that will resonate and feel authentic. So the sexy stuff needs to be that way too. If the characters are behaving—even in bed—in a way that is consistent with their goals, motivations, and conflict, the readers will understand and respond to that. Make the ritual serve the story, and it will all work out.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Another Ray Bradbury Tribute by David S. Pointer

David S. Pointer (full bio below) is a poet and frequent contributor to my Static Movement anthologies. As a follower of this blog, he noticed I posted Ken L. Jones's tribute to Ray Bradbury, and sent me his own tribute as well.

Ray Bradbury Rides Again
David S. Pointer

The bio-engineered angels
attend Ray Bradbury’s second
service, reanimating him then
fly into deep space where acres
of prescription pills are being
planted as seed crop in misshapen
soil mounds and decorative pod
gardens for the outer space elite
as Ray points to an earthly period
between 1904-1913 when a private
entrepreneur bought up most of the
American medical schools while
partnering with FDA for increased
profits with pills replacing natural
plant medicine, green soon plowed
asunder as Orwell crawled in his
Indian crib and Bradbury circled
this old earth one more time then
asked the angels for anatomically
correct space wheels equipped
with a steam computer fishtailing
on up into unknown atmosphere

About the Author: David S. Pointer has published social and political poems in the small press scene for 22 years. In 2007, while taking a surgical technology program, David decided to add horror and Science Fiction poetry to his writing arsenal. David was also influenced by Ray Bradbury when he was a child and teenager. Recently, David has a new chapbook released entitled “Sinister Splashplay” at “Virgogray Press” available at David’s work has recently been published or will appear in “Weird City 3,” “Mass Dissidence” “Science Gone Mad” and other “Static Movement” anthologies. Moreover, David will have poems in all three anthologies “Indiana Crime 2012,” “Indiana Horror 2012,” and “Indiana Science Fiction 2012.” Finally, David will have a flash fiction story in the upcoming anthology entitled “Battlespace.” This anthology is a fund raiser for wounded veterans participating in the Warrior Cry Music Project which helps veterans heal through the arts.

Monday, July 2, 2012

In Memoriam: Two Poems for Ray Bradbury by Ken L. Jones

Today's guest is poet, horror author and comic book scribe Ken L. Jones. A short bio is included at the end of this post, but to add some context to the poems, Ken had the opportunity to meet Mr. Bradbury so these are memoirs of a friend as well as honorary words from a fan. The first poem is written in memoriam, the second was written by Ken wrote a couple of years ago for Bradbury's birthday and was passed on to its honored subject by a mutual friend. 

Dirge for Ray Bradbury
by Ken L. Jones

Red Planet nighttime
Strolls along a beachside as it fades away
Into everything all at once
A spoonful of campfires lights my way
That has the rhythm that burns all books
And like a merry-go-round reversing at super speed
He is gone, he is gone
And from what was once like a carnival of snow
Falling on the earthlings below
He says here’s to all the dreamers
Who are still alive now carry on
And now it is time for me to go
To be the singer of the poetry
Of what awaits us all on the other side
My words are my voice I have left behind
Be good to one another
Oh man be kind
Until I see you again some other time

The Man Who Photographed A Painting of Suddenly The Impossible Happened
(For Ray Bradbury)
 by Ken L. Jones
Empty rusty iron beaches
Whose cliffs are like Buddhas
That have lost their heads
Offer me a penny
For my kick the can
Floating thoughts
But I tell them I am too busy
Reading a copy of
Jack In The Beanstalk
That I saved from the fires at
The library at Alexandra instead
While I make a breakfast
Of the glistening White Chapel fog
That twirls around my head
I am strangely sad
Like a shadow puppet
I am unrecognizable in all
That I will never understand
I want to be more unreal
Than a tape recorder
I want to be more than pouring raindrops
Twirled by a ceiling fan
I have yet to find out if there is a Statue of Liberty
On the dark side of the moon
Or why Alpha Centauri
Performs a ballet in the summer sky
I want to live forever
Like I was a comic strip character
I want to pull out the intestines
From the word goodbye
But the open sea’s crashing waves
Walk about on stilts made of riptides
That end in shoes of tangled kelp
Night is coming on
Like a lost child unbidden
Yet my muse has on
A kimono that is very Dionysian
As it parts to reveal
All that I have ever
Truly wanted or care about or felt
I am grown old and my body betrays me
But like Quixote
At windmills I continue to tilt
Still blessed with a child’s imagination
After nine decades
Screaming with joy like Tarzan
As I race on foot
Across the African veldt.

About Today's Guest: Although he has been writing professionally for over thirty years and does every kind of writing you can imagine from comic books to doctoring movie scripts Ken L. Jones considers himself first last and always a poet which doesn’t mean that he doesn’t find time to write a lot of horror and other genre style short stories too. His work has appeared in many of the fine Static Movement anthologies of late as well as such companies as Red Skies Press and Panic Press too and to answer your question yes he did have the opportunity to become friendly with the great Mr. Ray Bradbury back in the days when Ken was a famous cartoonist who used to attend the San Diego Comic Con as did Mr. Bradbury.