Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Upcoming Interview and more

Within the next couple weeks I’ll have an interview with Steve Clark, owner and publisher of Tasmaniac Publications. They publish limited edition novellas by amazing writers like Gary Braunbeck, Tom Piccirilli, Steve Gerlach, and many others. Steve is a very nice guy and I’d marry him if I was a girl. But I’m not. Poor Steve.

In my writing life: I’m working on a novella and a short story that are so different from each other I have a hard time believing the same guy is writing them. I don’t know where the idea came from recently, but I’ve developed a little system that works well for me when it comes to each draft. But it’s a secret, so chew on that.

Recent purchases include:

“Blood Spring” by Erik Williams (Bad Moon Books); “The Girl in the Woods” by David Jack Bell (Delirium Books); “Saying Uncle” by Greg Gifune (Delirium Books); “Defining Moments” a short story collection by David Niall Wilson (Crossroad Press); “Cold Comforts” by Tom Piccirilli (Darkside Digital); “There’s No Place in a Sleeping World for a Wakeful Man” by Michael Louis Calvillo (Darkside Digital); “Midnight Blues” by Brian Knight (Darkside Digital); “Postcards from Purgatory” by Sam W. Anderson (Sideshow Press); “Dominion” by Greg Gifune (Delirium Books).

And here’s something I found recently that just astounds me. I love cool art. Daniele Serra’s paintings are so frickin’ cool.

Recently read/Still reading:

“Saying Uncle” by Greg Gifune—the guy is a freakin’ master. I’m halfway into it and it was hard to set the book down to write this.

“There’s No Place in a Sleeping World for a Wakeful Man” by Michael Louis Calvillo—which is a digital short from Darkside Digital. I didn’t like the first half of this story. In fact, I wanted to punch someone in the head. But the second half was excellent. I’ll buy more of his work to see what other styles he writes.

“Midnight Blues” by Brian Knight—this was great all the way through. It was like Stephen King’s “From a Buick 8” if Clive Barker had written it. Looking forward to more by Knight.

“Bust” by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr. A fast paced noir/crime book that had me laughing. Great stuff.

“Shroud: issue 2” A smattering of good fiction from the likes of Kealan Patrick Burke, Tom Piccirilli & Ken Bruen, Nate Kenyon and a woman I never heard of (Maura McHugh). I really loved her story. I actually rubbed the magazine all over my body. (Not really. But it was a great story and I love finding new authors so talented.)

Also read various non-fiction for research and fun.

Within a week or so my story “At Least the Dead” will be live on Dark Recesses! It was a fun story to write and only three people (outside of the editors at DR) have read it. It’s weird and freaky sticky.

For those who have never read my work, you can pick up my short “Daddy Screamed With Us” at Darkside Digital/Horror Mall. If you like it, send me a message. If you hate it, just send me nothing.

I hope everyone is doing great! Stay alive!

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Story available and other slippery news


My story, Daddy Screamed With Us is available through Darkside Digital/Horror Mall. It's an honor to have work among such great writers as Tom Piccirilli, Greg Gifune, David Niall Wilson, John Everson, etc. Shane Ryan Staley is a real pleasure to deal with as well. You can pick the tale up for $1.49. Let me know what you think!

Things of interest--

Apex is doing a neat little thing for their latest anthology, Dark Faith. Interviewing a new contributor every day. Very cool. Check 'em out. Dark Faith: Devotion

Recent Purchases--

David Niall Wilson's Joined at the Musefrom Darkside Digital. A big helping of co-authored stories with the likes of Brian Keene and others! Sweet.

Douglas Clegg's Neverland

Tom Piccirilli's Cold Comforts

Charles Beaumont: The Short life of Twilight Zone's Magic Man -- a documentary by director Jason V Brock and author William F Nolan. Featuring exclusive interviews with Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, John Shirley and many others.

Ken Bruen & Jason Starr's novel from Hard Case Crime: Bust

An anthology edited by Joe R. Lansdale: Dark at Heart

On the writing front. I'm getting a lot done. Feels great. Don't forget to read my interview with Shaun Jeffrey, author of The Kult and Deadfall, in the previous post.

Treat yourself well!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Interview: Shaun Jeffrey

I first met Shaun Jeffrey while learning the craft of writing on Editred. He was well ahead of most people there, but he took the time to help others. I always appreciated and admired that about him. His work bears a sharp edge—a tough mixture of crime and Horror. When it comes to his characters: you like some things about them and hate other attributes, there isn’t a lot of gloss on them. They’re real. His plots are tightly woven, fast paced and entertaining. Shaun is a star on the rise. I highly suggest picking up his story collections and novels.

LT: Hey, Shaun. What’s the latest news in your career? Did I hear something about The Kult being optioned for the movies? How did it come about? Is it already in production?

SJ: Hi Lee. Yes, The Kult was optioned towards the end of last year by Gharial Productions. The deal was secured by the publisher. At the moment, the director, Kip Shelton is doing the casting, and shooting is scheduled for September. I’m hoping I will be able to make it out to the US to see some of the filming so that I can get a look behind the scenes.

LT: Having read your work I know how ferocious it is. How long have you been writing? How do you manage to build such believable characters and thrust them into such dire circumstances?

SJ: I’ve been writing on and off for about 20 years – nearly half my life! My early work was a lot more graphic, but I guess I’ve actually mellowed with age. As for building believable characters, I just try to give them human foibles. Of course I then want to make things difficult for them, creating conflict. Without conflict, there’s no story.

LT: What’s the premise (and what was your favorite part to write) of your new novel DeadFall? Where can we buy it and your other works?

SJ: Well the synopsis is as follows:

"Kill them or convert them – either way we win."

A team of mercenaries race to an abandoned mining village to rescue two children held hostage by rogue ex-soldiers. But the kidnappers are a ruse, the real threat more terrifying than any of them could imagine.

Aided by a couple of unsuspecting eco-warriors, mercenary team leader Amber Redgrave must fight to survive against foes that don’t sleep and don’t feel pain.

Now as the body count rises, so do the stakes, and when the dead won’t stay dead, there’s going to be hell to pay.
My favourite part to write is the end, as that means that I’ve managed to finish what I started. It’s easy to start writing something. The difficulty is continuing with it for the long haul. People can purchase my work from most online venues, and there’s purchasing details for all of them on my website:

LT: Is your collection Voyeurs of Death still free to read? (Side note: A few of those stories still haunt me!)

SJ: Yes, I made my previously published collection free to download to try to allow more people to sample my work without having to splash the cash. Anyone interested can check it out here:
Voyeurs of Death I think it gives a pretty good idea of my style and the kind of warped things that inhabit my imagination.

LT: Let’s backtrack a bit. When did you first know you wanted to write? Have you always had a fascination for the darker side of fiction/human nature?

SJ: I don’t think it was a conscious decision to start writing, but I guess one day I just started putting pen to paper or finger to key. And as I’d always read horror, then I suppose it was only natural that I wrote horror. Add to that the fact that I grew up in a house in a cemetery and it’s probably fair to deduce that I wasn’t going to be vying for shelf space with Barbara Cartland.

LT: What short stories do you have forthcoming? Where can we read them?

SJ: As I’ve been concentrating more on novels, the only short story I have forthcoming is In Darkness which is going to appear in Cemetery Dance.

LT: What’s next for Shaun Jeffrey?

SJ: Well I’m working on another novel featuring the protagonist from The Kult, Prosper Snow. I also have a few other ideas bubbling, and I’m also working on a zombie screenplay with Daniel Kahaeku who wrote the screenplay for The Kult. But as my crystal ball isn’t working too well, I can’t say for certain what will happen. I just hope it’s good.

LT: Anything else you would like to add?

SJ: I’d just like to say thanks to anyone who’s ever read my work. A bigger thank you if you enjoyed it. And an enormous thank you to anyone who’s actually put their hand in their pocket or purse and bought it. I just hope it doesn’t disappoint, as at the end of the day, I want to entertain, and for a brief moment, I want to take you by the hand and lead you into a world of my imagination. A world of dreams, shocks, laughs and terror.

Kiss Shaun Jeffrey links:


Thanks so much for your time, Shaun! Looking forward to many more of your twisted stories!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Upcoming interview, news, links


I had a fun time interviewing Steve Lowe (see previous post). Next on my list is Shaun Jeffrey --He’s a helluva talented writer and a nice guy. Looking forward to it!

Recently read/still reading:

Steve Gerlach’s Within His Reach (Tasmaniac Publications) A fast-paced novella paying tribute to the Twilight Zone team. Great story with a heart-felt introduction by the legendary William F. Nolan. Well worth the money.

Eulogies: A Horror World Yearbook 2005: I’m halfway through. So far I’ve loved about half of the stories. The others weren’t my cup of tea, though they were still quite entertaining. Looking forward to some of the upcoming stories by Braunbeck, Burke, and Ketchum.

Deep into that Darkness Peering by Tom Piccirilli (Terminal Frights): About a quarter of the way into this massive collection. Top notch and layered stories. Well worth the money.

Recent Purchases:

Subscribed to Dark Discoveries, Weird Tales and Realms of Fantasy. Can’t wait to get the first issues of each!

Memory by Donald Westlake (Hard Case Crime)
Shadow Season by Tom Piccirilli
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Shroud issue 2
Kingdom of Shadows by Greg Gifune (Delirium Books)
The Fever Kill by Tom Piccirilli (Creeping Hemlock Press)
Corpse Blossoms anthology (Creeping Hemlock Press)
Dark Faith anthology (Apex Books).
Lots of great reading material!

Writing: I have 12 shorts stories subbed right now. And I just finished the first draft of a new long story “The Devil Calls it Quality.” Also nearing the last ¼ of a 7,000 word tale entitled “Embrace Your Jagged Edges.”

Stories coming out soon:

At Least the Dead in Dark Recesses.
Crawl in Pseudopod.
Jackie’s Lost Children in Morpheus Tales Dark Sorcery Special.
Family Curse in Morpheus Tales 13.

Stories available now:

Boys without faces in Twisted Tongue 13.
The Nun and another story Mystery’s Vast Empty in Morpheus Tales Special Flash and Morpheus Tales Fantasy Femmes.

I’m still waiting to hear back from agents on my YA novel query for Before Leonora Wakes. Have my fingers crossed.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Interview: Steve Lowe

I met Steve Lowe in 2009 while work shopping stories on American Zoetrope. He’s helped me with a few of mine and he has a fine eye for details (probably stems from his journalistic background and from being a perfectionist—both noble endeavors.) I’ve also read some of Steve’s fiction and here’s my opinion: It’s clean and sharp and gutsy. He spins some weird yarn that is easy to get caught in. But you should read some of his stories and form your own opinions.

1. Tell us your background. Have you always scribbled nasty letters? What shoved you toward the dark side? Movies? Books? Ex-girlfriends?

SL: I’ve scribbled for a long time, but it’s only been nasty for a short while. I’ve been writing about sports in my fair hometown of South Bend, Indiana since 1999 and I hadn’t written any fiction for about six years before I got back to it again in late 2008. My wife had one of those cheesy werewolf romance novels with a burly, long-haired dude on the cover. I read the first chapter and knew I could do better, so I wrote a short story mostly on a lark. The lark was not happy about it, let me tell you, so I switched to writing it on a computer and it went much better. That story (after transcribing what I could from the lark) is now a novella called WOLVES DRESSED AS MEN and will be released in November of this year. We had to put the lark down. It was both a happy and sad day.

2. How would you label your fiction? (For example, mine is “Goth/Hillbilly” but you can go into further detail with yours and mention some writers you adore/stalk)

SL: I don’t know how I would label it because it continues to change all the time, though I will admit I’m enjoying writing the weird stuff right now. I like minimalism and getting right to the point (a product of sports writing and newspaper journalism in general) but I’m not really focused on one style or genre. I’m still in that stage where I write what comes to mind based on what mood I’m in, how annoying my children are being at any given moment. I’m all about capturing what I’m feeling in the moment. If I start writing homo-erotica, then I’ll know it’s probably time to stop hanging out at the YMCA.

3. Tell us about your two novellas (Who bought them? What are they about? When can we buy them?)

SL: The first one is more of a novelette. It’s called MUSCLE MEMORY and it’s somewhat low-brow comedy about body-switching in rural Pennsylvania. Eraserhead Press is publishing it in October as part of their New Bizarro Author Series, which is sort of a proving ground for authors who want to become real, grown-up bizarro authors and no longer be forced to sit at the kiddie table at Thanksgiving. Basically, if my book sells 200 or more copies in a year’s time, I could get a five-book deal from Eraserhead and be forever labeled an official bizarro.

The other novella is the aforementioned WOLVES, and it’s being published by Eternal Press as an eBook first, then will be offered in print a month later. I wrote this one almost a year ago, and like I said, as my writing has evolved since then, I don’t know if I would write this story today. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the story or the style, just that it’s not what I’m writing now. The story is about a werewolf loose in a crumbling Detroit-like slum, but there’s very little focus on the beast and more about the men fighting it, very dark and brooding stuff. I must have been all dark and broody at the time.

4. Where can we find your short stories?

SL: Oh, here and there. I had one in the most recent issue of Liquid Imagination, I had one in the first Dead Bait anthology, a couple on The New Flesh: Crowd parted for great lucchesi
Ambling Along as I'm Wont to Do Knobby) and I’ve got some forthcoming in Three Crow Press and Esteban’s House of Bizarro. Probably my favorite story that’s been published so far was made into a podcast on Drabblecast: Varmints!) It’s entitled VARMITS! and it’s about a paranoid guy who think raccoons are out to get him.

5. What’s the deal with your brain always stroking off over “Two Minutes,” and who is this Bogey character that’s sending you death threats disguised as lingerie?

SL: If you mention “stroking” and “Bogey” in the same sentence, you’ll never hear the end of it from her, the auto-erotic little minx that she is. As for the 2-Minute Drill, it just sort of happened. When this year began, I was shopping my novellas around and thinking I would need a website, or at least a blog, if I ever happened to sell one or both of them. Once I got the blog up, I didn’t have much of interest to post and I really didn’t want to do another normal author’s blog. Not that there’s anything wrong with that obviously, but if I was going to do it, it had to be different. I wasn’t going to just write about stuff that popped in my head, because I’m really not that interesting or insightful. I wanted to use it for entertainment, or at least post goofy, funny stuff. That’s when I thought of doing author interviews, but making them a little more unique. See, I get bored easy, so I thought five short questions, five short answers, totally off the wall shit, while also attempting to push the authors’ books and wares to the readers, and maybe it would work. I had AJ Brown do the first one and the next day I had a list of about 20 writers and artists wanting to do their own 2-Minute Drill. And they’re fun as hell because I get to make up just about whatever I want.

6. What is your proudest moment as a writer? As a man?

SL: As a man is easy, it was the day the paternity results came back. Didn’t have much of an argument left after that day, but I digress… As a writer, that’s tougher. I suppose that first acceptance and first payment. That was a good feeling, to know that I was cunning enough to fool someone into giving me money for my fiction. (Insert maniacal laugh here…)

7. What does the future hold for Steve Lowe?

SL: Pain. No, just kidding. Hopefully, a novel, which will probably be painful for anyone who tries to read it. After writing for newspapers for so long, you get conditioned to keeping it short and sticking with only the most important stuff. But fiction is such a different animal. I’ve always wanted to write novels, but I didn’t think I could manage something that long. Once I got to the 20,000-word mark on WOLVES, I started to figure it out. At some point, I’ll knock out a full-length novel. I have 18,000 words of something I may or may not finish, but before then I’m working on another novella, then I’ve got two more ideas started that I want to flesh out and see where I can take them. They may not be novel-length, but I haven’t really focused on them yet so we’ll see. And of course, more 2-Minute Drills. At some point, I’ll convince another big-time author to come on. I had Jeremy C. Shipp do one in early March and he was great.

8. Anything I forgot?

SL: Did you pick up your dry cleaning yesterday?

9. Befriend/Worship Steve Lowe links: (Facebook, etc.)


Thanks, Steve!