Pavarti K. Tyler will be here at The Cerebral Writer on Friday to discuss her new release Shadow on the Wall, but as part of her "blurb blitz tour," here is a small preview:
Recai Osman: Muslim, philosopher, billionaire and Superhero?
Controversial and daring, Shadow on the Wall
details the transformation of Recai Osman from complicated man to Superhero. Forced to witness the cruelty of the Morality Police in his home city of Elih, Turkey, Recai is called upon by the power of the desert to be the vehicle of change. Does he have the strength to answer Allah's call or will his dark past and self doubt stand in his way?
Pulling on his faith in Allah, the friendship of a Jewish father-figure and a deeply held belief that his people deserve better, Recai Osman must become The SandStorm.
In the tradition of books by Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, Shadow on the Wall
tackles issues of religion, gender, corruption and the basic human condition. Beautiful and challenging, this is not a book to miss. Stop by on Friday for Tyler's enlightening essay, "Behind the Veil: My Experience with Hijab," as well as more information about her and Shadow on the Wall.
Disclaimer: I went to see The Raven with low expectations based on pre-release reviews. Moreover, given the integration of Poe-inspired themes (similar to my novel, Finding Poe), I almost wanted this film to fail, my fears of the story being too similar to mine creating in me a petty (and highly unnecessary) sense of competition. I have to say I’m humbled by what I saw—and also very happy to report that the differences between The Raven and Finding Poe are delightfully vast, the intellectual choices made by its writers having taken the idea in a completely different direction than that which I took in my novel.
Premise: A serial killer has turned some of Edgar Allan Poe’s most popular stories into inspiration for murder in an attempt to push the struggling writer back into his art.
My Review: It seems to me that the scathing reviews for The Raven had to have been written by people who are unfamiliar with Poe, as I cannot see any fan of his work not enjoying this film. The story cleverly integrates Poe’s work, meshing story and content in a meaningful way; the self-aware reference of fiction meeting reality is both bold and artful. The acting is excellent (John Cusack and Alice Eve are brilliant), the use of tone stunning, and its personal take on Poe’s death and the enigmatic “Reynolds” well done. There were some issues with the pacing, with not enough tension in some places and short lulls in others, the villain is a little predictable, and Poe starts off as far too unlikeable a character, but such issues are far from fatal. I had hoped the writers would have found a way to integrate Poe’s unfinished work, “The Lighthouse,” instead of pushing Poe to finish his life writing other, fictitious works, but all in all, the film is a solid must-see for Poe fans. I rate The Raven four out of five stars.
Continuing with the Poe theme, I would like to welcome Poe's Mother author Michael Meeske to the Cerebral Writer today. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Lisa, it’s a pleasure to be here. I’m happy to tell you about the inspiration for Poe’s Mother.
It seems the world has gone slightly mad for Poe, with the release of our books about the great American master of mystery and horror and the new movie, The Raven. Poe has always held a fascination for me and many other writers, regardless of genre.
My interest in Poe, and thus the impetus for Poe’s Mother, began at an early age. I’ve talked about this a bit on my own blog on Goodreads, but I’ll go more in depth for your readers. I care a great deal about this novel, which was the third that I wrote – it’s my most personal and intimate work.
I grew up in Coffeyville, Kansas, a small town in the southeastern corner of the state. As a kid, I was a voracious reader. I tended to gravitate toward science fiction and adventure stories in elementary school. When I was seven I became a member of the Science Fiction Book Club of America and read, or in a few cases attempted to read, some of the great masters of science fiction – Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke. I also read Conan Doyle and Wells – they were much easier on my brain than some of the contemporary science fiction authors I had chosen. Poe was also on my list, so when I got the chance to order Ten Great Mysteries for 35 cents through the Scholastic Library Edition, I jumped. I still have the book, with its eerie green and yellow psychedelic portrait of a young, sinister looking Poe. I couldn’t wait for my Scholastic book orders to come – as I recall they were delivered to my school.
As sometimes happens with food, my eyes were bigger than my brain in this case. My 10-year-old mind was unprepared to wrap itself around some of the more complicated language and verbiage used by Poe. For example, in the third paragraph of The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe uses the word “dissimulation.” That zinger joined other words sprinkled about such as maelstrom, ossification and Sexagesima Sunday which halted my reading enjoyment. So, what did I do? I asked my mother to read a few stories to me. She complied on one infernally hot summer afternoon. That memory somehow stuck with me like a superbly drafted oil painting. I can still see her sitting in a gold chair silhouetted against opaque white curtains trimmed with black Japanese design. That loving moment of sharing turned into Poe’s Mother. My mother wasn’t reading The Wind in the Willows or a Hardy Boys mystery to me. She was reading Poe. Years later I asked myself what would happen if a family took Poe’s writings as their own form of gospel. What strange habits would they form? For the record, the outcome – my novel – had nothing whatsoever to do with that living room in Kansas so long ago.
From those questions arose Sissy Baxter and Madeline Poe, the two first-person narrators of the novel. Sissy is 15 and lives, along with her brother, Riven, in a small town called Nodoline. The Poes are the wealthiest of the other residents in Nodoline and have their own sullied reputation. Through the Poes, Sissy enters a world of dark secrets that spills into madness. Despite Sissy’s age, the book is not for young adults. I use the word “startling” in my trailer to describe the novel. I think that’s a fair assessment; it’s hard to “startle” these days, but I think Poe’s Mother does just that.
I hope your readers will pick up a FREE copy, exclusively on Kindle, from Friday, April 27th through Monday May 1st, as part of my Poe Weekend promotion. It’s my gift to them.
Thanks for having me, Lisa.
It's my pleasure, Michael. Poe's Mother looks like a fascinating book, and you can bet it's on my "to be read" list.
About the author:
Michael Meeske writes across genres, including romance, mystery, suspense, horror and gothic fiction, a genre that blends horror and romance, and has its roots in some of the earliest novels ever written. Poe’s Mother is his latest release available exclusively on Amazon. com.
From 2008 to 2010, he served as Vice President of Florida Romance Writers (FRW). He has been a member of FRW and the Romance Writers of America since 2002. He also was an active member of the Writers’ Room of Boston, a non-profit working space for novelists, poets and playwrights.
Michael’s writing credits include Frankenstein’s Daemon, a sequel to Frankenstein, offered through Usher Books. He also is the co-author of His Weekend Proposal, a tender category romance published in August 2009 by The Wild Rose Press under the pen name of Alexa Grayson (soon to be published in Greece); Zombieville, a short story included in a 2011 anthology by FRW writers, available at Amazon.com, and Tears, a short-story published in the Fall 2000 issue of Space & Time, a magazine of fantasy and science fiction. Usher Books will publish additional works by Michael in 2012 and 2013.
Some of his influences are Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, Richard Matheson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and any work by the exquisite Brontë sisters. You can contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stop by Long and Short Reviews
today to read a fun interview--and leave a comment for your chance to win a signed paperback copy of Finding Poe
Also, in celebration of Poe, given this weekend's release of The Raven
, be sure to get your free Kindle copy
of Finding Poe
through Amazon. Offer good through Sunday.
Today, I want to welcome author Alan Nayes to the Cerebral Writer. He has several titles available across a few different genres, with the majority of his works ranging from bizarre to horror. Welcome, Alan!
1. Tell us about your most recent release, Blue Girl.
Hi Lisa, thank you for having me today. Let me see, Girl Blue
, in one word—bizarre. The story revolves around an extraordinarily talented sculptor named Jeremy Copper. His specialty is carving nude women in stone. Jeremy is one of the best in the world at creating his female erotic statues. But Jeremy is dying and he wants to make his last creation his legacy. Girl Blue will be carved from a rare block of blue granite. What Jeremy doesn’t realize is this rare block of granite is “haunted” by the vengeful spirit of a woman who lived in the 1920s. Girl Blue
is an erotic supernatural tale about Jeremy’s quest for perfection and what he gets instead. No matter how many more novels I write, I will never write another story as bizarre and sensual as Girl Blue
. 2. According to your Amazon Author Page, you have spent a good amount of time in various parts of the country. Do you find that any particular change in atmosphere affects your writing (and if so, how)?
Not really, Lisa. I’ve spent time in Texas, California, New Mexico (decades ago), and Wisconsin. And it doesn’t seem to matter—stories and ideas don’t seem to be particular. They can arise any time, anywhere. I just need a pen and paper near so I can jot them down. I do tend to forget easily. 3. You’ve written a wide array of horror, and even a love story. Which genre do you find to be most fulfilling to write?
It’s not the genre that makes a story fulfilling for me, but the actual story, regardless of the genre. If the idea grabs me enough, then I’m going to feel compelled to write it. 4. Any genre which is the hardest for you to write?
The genres that I’ve written in are romance (only one), thrillers, adventure and horror. Oh and I even wrote a children’s story. Again, it’s not the genre that determines how difficult the book will be to write, but the actual story. Though having said this, GIRL BLUE
was not an easy write as I knew absolutely nothing about art and sculpting in particular so I had to resort to a lot of research, which I find tedious at times. I could never be a sculptor—that is one difficult art form. 5. How did you get your start in writing and/or publishing?
Lisa, I started out the conventional way. I completed a manuscript, found an agent and eventually—after numerous rejections—sold to a big six publisher. Unfortunately the book didn’t do well so for some years I found myself adrift in the Nopublishing Sea. Then the ebook opportunity came floating by, so here I am an indie author, though GIRL BLUE
was published conventionally (Samhain, 2012). I am both trad and indie at this time. Whatever opportunity comes along, I’ll go for it.
6. Do you enjoy reading? What would you say is your all-time favorite book?
Love to read. I read several books a month—and when I’m not on a writing deadline, a novel a week. I’m one of those writers who firmly believe to create good entertaining stories you have to read good entertaining stories. Like in music (no all time favorite song), I don’t have an all time favorite book. There have been so many books in differing genres I’ve enjoyed over the years it would be impossible to narrow it to just one.
7. Where do your ideas come from? Do you brainstorm, or do you develop your books as they come?
Lisa, I guess I would say I develop my books as they come to me. However once I decide on the next story I am going to concentrate on I might do some brainstorming as far as developing the major plot points. Yet even these often change once I’m in the story.
8. Do you have any personal fears? Do they ever work their way into your horror?
My biggest irrational fear is flying—so far that hasn’t played a role in one of my books—but one day it will. If I don’t perish in a plane crash first. (talk about sick humor…)
9. You have a nice selection of books available through Amazon. How would you say your books have progressed since the very first piece you saw to completion?
That’s a tough question, Lisa. I don’t think it’s that the stories have progressed as much as they have delved into different genres. When I wrote my first two novels--GARGOYLES and THE UNNATURAL, thriller and horror—I never thought at the time I would ever write a love story (BARBARY POINT) and especially not a children’s story (RETURN TO UNDERLAND). So maybe a more accurate word is diversified rather than progressed, if that makes sense.
10. If you could say one thing to your readers, what would it be?
Dear Mr. or Mrs/Ms. Reader, if you happen upon one of my stories by accident I hope you enjoy it. I did my damndest (is that a word) to make it entertaining. (Hm, that reads like an epitaph—lol)
Bonus question: If your entire life history were somehow to find itself carved in blue granite, what would the sculpture look like?
Wow, that would be one disturbing sculpture! I think I would keep a sheet over it.
And thank you again, Lisa, for hosting me on your blog.
Thanks for stopping by!
About the author:
Alan Nayes was born in Houston and grew up on the Texas gulf coast. He lives in Southern California. He is the author of the horror/thrillers, GARGOYLES (Resurrection Trilogy, Book One) and THE UNNATURAL. His most recent releases are BARBARY POINT, SMILODON, GIRL BLUE, PLAGUE (Resurrection Trilogy, Book Two) and RETURN TO UNDERLAND, a children’s adventure story.
An avid outdoorsman and fitness enthusiast, he is one of only a few individuals to ever swim across Wisconsin’s chilly Lake Winnebago. When not working on his next project, he enjoys relaxing and fishing at the family vacation home in Wisconsin.
The Order of the Knights Templar has persisted in secrecy through the decades, fighting to protect humanity from otherworldly evils most people would rather not know exist. Cade Williams, one of the most obscure amongst the Order, is also the most enigmatic and unorthodox, instilling fear even amongst his fellows; however, he might be the only person capable of saving the world from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy the divide between reality and a realm known as the Otherworld.
I enjoyed this novel, which thematically reminded me of a highly supernatural DaVinci Code. Structurally, it came together well,
the storyline both sound and well-paced. Characterization was good, although I would have liked to have known more about Duncan, one of the secondary characters assigned to assist Cade. Technically, I found a few minor grammatical flaws, mainly the separation of compound verbs, some unnecessary prepositions, a few improperly used semicolons, and the undue capitalization of a couple of words, but those were the only reason this novel is not receiving a perfect five stars from me. The Heretic is entertaining, highly creative, and fast-paced, and I give it a solid 4.5 stars.
Please join me at Thoughts from the Dan O'Brian Project
for a fun interview on the inspirations behind Finding Poe
and other works. I really enjoyed doing this interview, and I think you'll like it too.
Today, it is my pleasure to interview horror author Ray Wallace, who is the author of The Nameless, Escape from Zombie City, and the new release The Hell Season. More than two dozen of his short stories have appeared in various publications. His story "One of the Six" took first place in CHIZINE's second annual fiction contest. He now writes reviews for CHIZINE and SFReader.com. Welcome, Ray!
1. Why don’t you start by discussing your recent release, The Hell Season?
It’s a fun little tale about a man who awakens one morning to find that his family has quite mysteriously disappeared during the night. Then the skies start to rain blood. And it’s all downhill from there. The Hell Season is what I like to think of as my “kitchen sink” book because there are a lot of ideas at work throughout its pages. One horror follows the next as our hero tries keep his sanity about him, find a way to be reunited with his family, and do what he must in order to survive.
2. You also have a short story collection slated for independent release. Can you share a little about what you have in store for your readers?
Horror. Sheer, mind numbing, soul crushing horror... Oh, and maybe a few laughs along the way. The collection will include quite a number of stories I’ve published over the past ten years or so. A few previously
unpublished pieces will be included too. Most of them will be straight horror pieces but there may be some that cross genres.
3. You have published both independently and through small press. Which route do you prefer, and why?
I’m so new to the self-publishing biz that I haven’t really developed an opinion of the process yet. So far, so good, I’d say. The rights to THE NAMELESS recently reverted back to me and as the whole self-pubbing thing has had my interest for a while now, I figured it would be a good book to start with. And as I have a bunch of short stories sitting around, I figured that a collection would be the next logical book to put out there on my own.
4. What does your writing/editing process look like from conception to final edits? How long does it generally take you to complete a novel?
I wish there was a process to it. I really do. And I’m not trying to be at all facetious. Each of the books I’ve written has had its own process. With THE NAMELESS, I had already written the short story upon which the novel would be based. So it was all about expanding an existing story, filling in the blanks, so to speak. It was the first novel I had ever written and ended up taking me a while, probably about a year and a half. After that, I wrote THE HELL SEASON. That book started with the idea of a man waking up one day to find that his family has disappeared. And then the skies start to rain blood. The whole thing was written with a stream of consciousness approach. I really had no idea at times where it was headed or what would even happen next. I have to say that I surprised myself on several occasions with what actually did end up happening throughout the book. In all it took about seven or eight months to finish. With ESCAPE FROM ZOMBIE CITY, I ended up writing a big chunk of it during NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month). The first draft of that book got written in about six weeks. I think editing it actually took longer than writing it. I can get a bit obsessive with the editing process and spend several months getting things right.
5. Have you always written horror, or did you start with a different genre? When did you know you were a horror writer?
I’ve always written horror and I knew I’d be a horror writer the first time I sat down and tried to put a story together. In my early twenties I wrote a touching little tale called “The Hand of God.” As far as I can recall, it was the first story I ever completed. In it, a man finds a worm while working in his garden, decides to kill it but doesn’t get the chance as the slimy little
thing burrows into his hand and disappears inside his body. Then it gives birth to a host of
burrowing baby worms. At the end, he takes a dive out the window of the hospital where he’s been staying, his body exploding on impact, showering those gathered there in worms. And, thus, the cycle continues... It wasn’t all that good of a story but, hey, it was a start.
6. With that in mind, who are your biggest writing influences, and why?
H. P. Lovecraft because of the mood his stories convey and the grand scope of his horrors. Clive Barker because of his ability to merge the utterly fantastic with the truly horrific. Joe Lansdale because of his ability to make you cringe one moment and laugh out loud the next. Edward Lee because of his fearlessness. Stephen King because, well, he’s Stephen King! And Pet Sematary was the first horror novel I ever read.
7. As you’ve progressed from one work to the next, gaining experience through
publication, what would you say you’ve learned the most about your own writing?
That I have my own way of doing things and that I’m fine with that. I’ve read my share of interviews and articles over the years offering advice as to the best ways to write effectively and efficiently. Most of what I’ve read seemed like rather sound advice too. And some of it I would try to implement into my life but never for very long. The bottom line is that I’m terribly unorganized. And, by extension, my writing habits can be terribly unorganized. Stories get started and never finished. Ideas grab me only to have another, what at the time seems like a better idea grab me two days later. Then another one two days after that. Yes, there’s quite a bit of chaos at work. But a number of stories and novels have managed to arise from that chaos. I used to beat myself up over the fact that I was so disorganized. Still do, a little bit. But, for the most part, I’ve come to accept the fact that it is what it is and it seems to be working on some level. Hopefully, I’ll manage to really get my act together one of these days. But until then...
8. Your books range from supernatural to survival horror. Which is your favorite subgenre of horror to write?
I can’t say that I have a favorite subgenre. I never set out to write any certain type of horror story. It’s all about the idea at the heart of the story, the one that sets everything else in motion. If the idea is compelling enough, if it blossoms into something much bigger than a single idea, if it compels me to flesh it out, to imagine scenes and characters and plotlines, then that’s the story I’ll write. It becomes what it becomes and falls into whatever subgenre it may.
9. Which of your favorite authors do you think your own unique voice is most similar to, and is there anyone you strive to be more like?
I’d like to think there’s some Joe Lansdale there with maybe a touch of Clive Barker. When things are too grim for too long I like to add a touch of humor at times. It’s one of the things I really enjoy about Lansdale’s writing. Can’t really think of anyone who’s better at this little trick than he is. As for Barker... It’s tough to think of many writers who can infuse their horrors with the fantastic and otherworldly quite like he can. Especially in regard to his early writings. It’s something I’ve attempted to do myself on occasion. It would be nice to think that one day I’ll be able to do it as well as he can. We all have our dreams...
10. Clive Barker's works translate especially well to screen. If you could choose one of your stories or books that you would love to see as a movie, which one would it be and why?
I’d have to say THE HELL SEASON. There’s just so much craziness going on in that book. It
would be great to see in a movie.Bonus question: If you woke up tomorrow to find the zombie apocalypse had come, would you be prepared?
The truth of the matter is I would be terribly unprepared for a zombie apocalypse. It’s not like I’ve been stockpiling food or water or fortifying my place of residence against an attack of walking, ravenous corpses. Hell, I don’t even own a gun. Although I do think I would be mentally prepared if the day ever comes when the dead start rising from their graves. I have read and watched my fair share of zombie books and movies. I’ve also written my share of
zombie stories. So I tell myself that I wouldn’t overly freak out if the apocalypse actually did
occur. Although I’m not in any particular hurry to find out.Thanks so much, Ray!
For more information about Ray Wallace and his writing, check out his website, or stop by his Amazon author page and Facebook fan page.
Enter between now and May 5 for your chance to win a signed copy of Finding Poe:
Thanks for entering--and good luck!
Happy Friday the 13th! Today, it is my pleasure to be interviewing horror author Armand Rosamilia. Thanks so much for stopping by!
1. Your Amazon author page lists 40 horror titles, which includes an interesting mesh of heavy metal, zombie fiction, and erotica. Which would you say is your favorite type of horror to write and why?
I just like writing horror. If it falls into another subgenre, so be it. My zombie stories have gotten me the most attention but I fill in with straight horror stories all the time. My latest release, "Bones. Death. Cenote" is a three-story collection set in South America and dealing in the occult, but no zombies. 2. Could you tell us a little about your State of Horror series?
It's an ongoing series, with (generally) 5-7 stories set in a specific State. We already have eight books currently available and more coming soon. Right now we have ten States open for submissions, and as one State is filled another one will open. The obvious goal is to do all 50 States. http://rymfirebooks.wordpress.com/submissions-anthology/
for more information.3. I see you’ve worked on a number of anthologies, both as a contributor and an editor. What do you think are the biggest benefits and drawbacks to each side of the publishing platform?
As a contributor you're tossing your story into a pile with dozens and dozens of other stories and hoping yours rises to the top. More often then not sheer numbers work against you, but I'd like to think the best stories get published. As an editor you wade through the pile, looking for a handful of gems. With the upcoming "Undead Tales 2" release, I had 343 submissions with only 16 being ultimately accepted. That's a lot of rejections to have to dish out as an editor. 4. How many years have you been writing professionally?
In 2005 I got serious again after not writing for about eight years. But in the last four years I've really been on a roll with being published, and the last eighteen months with the many changes in publishing I've tried to ride the wave.
5. Seems to have paid off for you, even if you did take a break. Who
are your greatest writing influences?
Dean Koontz and R.E. Howard as a kid. Now I'm influenced by so many new indie authors I read. There are too many to name, and I find a new one each day, it seems.
6. Do you read any other genres? If so, who are your favorite non-horror authors and why?
I read a ton of non-fiction, mostly music biographies and history books. I'm very interested in the history of my home State of New Jersey, and read about Florida as well, where I live now. I wish I'd read more non-fiction as a kid.
7. Clearly, you’re a fan of heavy metal music. Who are your favorite bands—and do you listen to them while you write? If so, do you feel the music you listen to ever has an influence on your writing?
I'm 42 and grew up in NJ in the 80's, so there was such a great metal scene back then. I still listen to Priest, Maiden, Sabbath, Manowar, Slayer, Anthrax, Metallica and Megadeth, as well as a ton of other lesser-known bands. I'm a total metal geek, knowing all these stupid facts about each band and knowing all this info you shouldn't waste your time knowing. I will listen to certain bands when I write, depending on what the story is about. Currently, I'm writing Dying Days: Origins, a prequel about Tosha Shorb, who was featured in Dying Days 2. In the story she's a big fan of the metal band Lizzy Borden, so I listen to them while writing.
8. I guess you're eclectic about your music, just as you are in horror. With that in mind, what would you say makes a good erotic horror? What turns you off?
A good erotic horror story has to be scary. Simple as that. When I was putting together the Rymfire Erotica anthology there were so many stories that had some great sex in it but nothing more. It could've been any genre. I prefer a horror story with some
good sex thrown in rather than a sex story with some horror thrown in.
9. As an author who is very involved in the Indy scene, what advice
would you have for authors considering independent publishing?
Go for it! There are no good or bad things to do, only not doing anything. Try it all and see what works for you, because what works for one author won't work for all authors. I read every writing blog and book I can find, take notes, and work ideas until they don't work for me and focus on the ones that do work. Good luck!10. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Think about writing. I'm always writing, even if it's not physically. I like to read and watch the Red Sox now that baseball started again. 11. Bonus question: Why is a raven like a writing desk?
No idea. Ask me this question nevermore.
For more information about Armand Rosamilia and his writing, be sure to check out his Amazon author page. You can also find him on Facebook.
You can read my review of the Zombie Writing! anthology he edited here.