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This is me......

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I have heard that readers like to know about authors and that is something I haven’t done much of. Mostly because I don’t think I’m that interesting and I am not being demur when I say that. I lead a quiet life of writing stories and yelling at my laptop. Why would I bore people with that?
It’s also rumored that readers want to know a writers process and they like to get into the mushy good stuff in the skull of a writer in hopes of having a better understanding of what makes them tick. I’m not sure I have anything of value there….my mushy stuff is probably outdated and will grumble at you for turning on the lights.
BUT yet again this week I read some authors chatting about giving the readers a glance or a full look into their lives. I decided to toss my hat in. The following as strange as it may be is what I came up with.
 

I don’t like fancy; fancy restaurants, clubs, or fancy people. I’m much happier on the tail gate of a big truck, with a beer and cheap flip flops from Old Navy. I’ll also take dive bars anytime on any day. Give me a good dive bar with bikers, loud women who have big hair and a shitty cover band. I’m happy there leave me alone and duck someone is throwing a pool cube.

I realize the above statement makes me sound like a country song. Yea, I’m not that. I’m more inclined to burn it down than to pine away. I’m Heavy Metal with Blues late at night.

I write full-time, not because I’m making any money with it or am particularly good at it. About a year ago my husband wanted to move from California back to his home state of Georgia. He wanted me to leave my family, friends, and job. So we struck a deal.

Since I could forge words together I have wanted to do nothing but write. I have written for different literary magazines, poetry journals blah blah. I wrote two books prior to Starburst book 1 in my series and had tossed them in the trash. My husband craved home. I craved to see through with this writing thing.

Thus the deal was struck I would gladly move cross country if we could figure out a way to give me some years off working to do nothing but write. Handshake, done deal.

I now live in Warner Robins Georgia and am in love with this state. No, I don’t miss California at all. Californians can have it. I’m good.

I’m 46 years old thus most of my “fucks” are gone. The glorious thing about your late forties is the amount of “fucks” you once gave about things start to dwindle down. I’m too busy being me to care if a man checks me out or doesn’t…ha ha, don’t care. I’m also too busy to bring on or bring in drama. The late forties is a gorgeous time in a person’s life to grab a drink, put your feet up and laugh at the young ones. 

I have two boys, one 13 and one 9. I’m never the type of person that tells people they “have to” have kids. There is no “have to” in life. You either wish it or not. I didn’t want kids for years then woke up one day wanting one, had two. Parenting is hilarious, aggravating, and the most expensive thing you’ll ever do if you choose to do it.

I will also never show you any pictures of my kids unless asked. Let’s put it this way. I’m sure your baby is cute. I don’t want to see the kid’s picture. I have my own, thank you. I’ll look at my own kids pictures if I’m so inclined.

I’ve been married 19 years. Marriage is ugly and beautiful all at once. When you are ready to choke your partner out they will reach for your hand. I highly recommend it and I highly don’t recommend it. Like parenting, it’s a journey some might not want to take.

Sadly, I’m not a great friend although I want to be. I don’t call as much as I should. I don’t text back right away. Honestly some days I don’t feel like speaking. Sometimes, I get to writing, reading, or gaming and forget the world. Luckily, I have a best friend of 30 years that forgives me these sins on a regular basis.

I will never ask you to go to a mall with me. I dislike shopping. I dislike stores with the exception of book stores or “adult” stores. I find both equally interesting.

With the “adult” store as a clue….

I’m a disinterested pervert. What does that mean? I mean I’m a pervert that keeps my perverted thoughts to myself and doesn't want to share them with you. Likewise, I don’t want to hear about anyone else’s perverted thoughts or see them. That means keep your dick pics to yourself fellas. I’ve seen lots of dicks yours is not that impressive.

Small rant: Why do men feel the need to send dick pics? When I first started posting as an author my FB messenger went wild with dick pics. Let me speak for us ladies of the world. We will not fall over then become hot and bothered by the site of your junk. We love dick, yes we do…but we don’t want to see your dick. Like the pictures of other peoples kids. I have my own at home I’ll look at that one.  I personally want to see The Rocks ass if somebody could find me a real picture of that, well then that is awesome. 

Sorry…

Monsters especially alien monsters are my favorite things and I hate gore. What? You’re a horror author. Everyone knows horror authors are mandated by the Jason Council to love gore. That’s a strong no. I dislike books, movies, tv shows where people are hurting people it makes my stomach turn and drives me to drink more than usual.I love monsters. I love kaiju and most of all I love anything alien.

I’ll never ask you to go see a romantic comedy. I will, however, be that weird friend that drags you to see Rocky Horror on the bad side of town on a Tuesday night.  If I can get myself out of pj’s and convince myself to put shoes on. If I have convinced myself into all that then damn it, you’re going also. My best friend can attest to that.

Most days you can find me in my kitchen tapping away on my laptop. Writing fulfills me. Once upon a time, I had a vacancy in my core. When I went back to writing and took it seriously the vacancy was filled. So now like an addict, I cannot stop.

On an any given night you can find me on my couch, watching something Sci-fi on TV, near me will be a Bloody Mary and I’ll be snuggling whoever decided to land near me…be it husband, child or dog.

Lastly, I believe myself to be both introverted and extroverted all at once. When I’m out in public I will talk to anyone. I believe that’s leftover from my years as a hair stylist and bartender. However, at the first possible chance, I will run back home to my cave and seal the door shut for days.  I have Hobbit tendencies.

 
This probably did not help you get into my head as writer. I’m sure I gave you no better understanding of my process. I gave you the gristle when you requested bacon. I get that but if I had given you the reader a long ho hum bullshit speech about how I go about writing my stories or why I go about writing my stories then you’d have no understanding of who I am.
I’m the type of person that doesn’t care why Stephen King wrote Carrie. I want to know what he had for breakfast and if he can throw a punch. That tells me more about the man.
I hope that the above rambling gave you a hint of who I am that in turn might give you a hint of why the characters in my work are what and who they are.
p.s. If I find you interesting…you bet your ass I’ll put you in a book and possibly create a whole character based on you. Just ask Craig a real life dude and friend who was my muse for Craig in Starburst book 1 in the Women of the Grey series.

 

 

 

 

 

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Superior Mother

I have decided to write a brief introduction to the characters in all my books. Yup, I said all of them.  This includes The Women of the Grey series, my short story LifeSong and also the up and coming Robbie Street a mini mystery series and The Demon Dealer horror novel. Please meet Superior Mother.

 Superior Mother yawned; the Women of the Grey had been tedious lately with their self-absorbed bickering. Bickering Mother Superior believed was for those that had time to do so.  Superior's Mothers assistant believed that the bickering stemmed from discontentment. Discontentment came from idle hands. If the women had time to bicker that means they placed value on their discontentment. It did not mean that the women had extra time on their hands; it meant they were wasting their time. Wasting their time was a slap in the face to Superior Mother's leadership and to the dignity of their kind.

Superior Mother felt a spit of hate in her mouth; she hated anything that was a waste of their resources and time. Listening to the Women of the Grey grumble at each other acting no better than emotional human teens had Superior Mother edgier than she should be. She felt knife sharp, ready to slice and dice.  Sipping her tea Superior Mother sat still not wanting to get up to start her day. She did not want to see these women for just a moment more.

Sip after sip of tea Superior Mother reminded herself that their race outmatched humans at every turn. If she could remember the women's worth then perhaps she wouldn't be so ready to toss them aside.  Women of the Grey were better than the humans that they had dealt with on missions. Superior Mother needed to remember that, close that idea up in her hands and keep it safe. Safe so that she could return to it, hold it against her and ease her mind after a horrendous day.

Closing her eyes Superior Mother put the teacup to her face feeling the steam float across her. Opening her eyes and blinking Superior mother wished to be tea. To be something soothing and warm that slid down the throat and was always welcomed. Setting her teacup aside Superior Mother's thoughts drifted to the Originals.

The originals of their race were masterful. Originals were savage, an upper class of survivalist on a planet that was not their own. They built a home on earth where the Women of the Grey now hide in plain sight from human eyes. What would the Originals think of the women now? Would the Originals think them soft and unworthy of their kind? The Women of the Grey now were more human than anything else and this caused the bickering, the discontentment, the loss of who they are. It was as if they had all miss stepped and followed a path that was never meant to be.

Standing up Superior Mother wanted to toss her teacup across the room, watch it smash into the wall and hit the ground with small clunks. She wished she could do this to many of them. Take those that had lost their grit, were swayed by human ways and toss them against a wall. Watch these women of the Grey fall to the floor and break.  Superior Mother was a leader. When you lead, you build but you also break. Breaking is what Superior Mother seemed to like best.

Perhaps she should do this in public? Take one of them that had loved a human. Or one among them that believed the freedom of everyday choices that humans had was something the Grey should incur. Superior Mother wanted one infidel to bash against the wall and let fall. Teach the Women of the Grey that human does not equal better. Human to their kind meant little if anything, at all.Superior Mother believed humans were inferior. The humans had diversity in thought and action these beliefs could not happen in the Grey. "We are all the same and none different" Superior Mother repeated the Grey's motto to herself daily reminding herself that as a unit they were stronger.  Each woman of the Grey is the same in appearance what lagged now was they grew further and further from being the same in thought.

The ring on Superior's mother's hand was the mark of their leader and it grew heavy these days. The ring was an insignificant looking piece of shiny metal that held the key to all doors in the Grey. Doors that held secrets that were vast, secrets that were by definition horrible. Superior Mother placed horrible with discontent they were both useless words humans gave merit to. Useless was not a thought or place Superior Mother liked to be.Superior Mother stretched her fingers out admiring the ring.  Not one of them had noticed that the ring held specks of their frosty planet in its makeup. No women of the grey knew the ring that Superior Mother wore was part of home. The ring was forged on their home planet and from their home planet to mark their leader. Some days when the Grey was quiet Superior Mother wondered if the ring was more than a key, more than metals and dust from their planet.  Superior Mother questioned herself could the ring be a beacon? Could the ring one day have them rescued and taken home by their kind?

Breathing Superior Mother took her eyes off the ring thinking of the ring reminded her that she was the leader now, but must watch her back.  She was wary in her thoughts and movements ever present in the idea that every moment could be her last.  There is always another woman of the grey dwelling in hidden corners eager to rip the ring from her finger and put her to rest. These women that are lustful for Superior Mothers spot always under estimated the burden of being a leader.

 Superior Mother believed herself the leader who made choices. Choices that sometimes hurt her kind. Choices that the women of the Grey did not understand, would not understand. Some days she believed the women of the Grey could not understand anything she did at all. Standing up then straightening her hair and smearing a look of calm on her face. Superior mother remembered something she had read, "To lead a pack of wolves you must have the sharpest teeth and the biggest bite." She repeated that quote to herself more than once as she prepared to open her bedroom door. The quote made Superior Mother smile. She had the sharpest teeth. Closing her bedroom door Superior Mother grinned she also had the biggest bite.

 

 

 

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Ella series

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When you join the subscriber list for Carol James Marshall you will receive the Ella series that is only available to subscribers. Bi-weekly a part of Ella’s story will appear in your inbox. The Ella series is not available anywhere else! Carol James Marshall has written it specifically for her subscribers.

Ella is nothing you think she is.

 

Meet Ella

Ella was the type of girl who would turn heads. Turn heads not for beauty, or hint of elegance. There was nothing in her appearance that suggested the outrageous.

Ella was cool to look at; she appeared to be plucked out of the stars.  She wasn’t beautiful. Ella was almost unnerving when you first spot her with steel colored eyes that seemed too large to be human and lips that sparkled without gloss. Her neck seemed swan like in length.

Ella was something of a pretty oddity; it often caused people to stare with contempt at her whispering to one another “How could she enhance herself that way? Did she use plastic surgery? Is she wearing special effects contact lenses?” They’d hiss at each other that Ella must wear a lot of makeup.  It was alwaysTisk, Tisk” for that girl from some and silent envy from others.

Ella had noticed the stares from people long ago; it was something that sat in the air around her. She never bothered with it. When Ella was young she wanted nothing more than to shoo the stares away. Stares were easy to handle Ella walked away from them and a person’s attention span would handle the rest.

Ella walked her world.  She spent her days walking her walk, while thinking the thoughts that only Ella could understand. Ella was not normal, but then again she might seem like the most normal of all. Her daily actions reflected not the slightest hint of what was truly hidden in her. To watch Ella you would see a young lady that lived her life with discipline, responsibility, and a maturity that most never attain. 

There were many that watched Ella. The stares Ella could shrug away, but to be watched would cause Ella to change her routines, possibly move to another town and spend some time as she had done before hidden in quiet places of this world.

Ella is not what your think or guess. Most days Ella is a puzzle to herself and everyone else.

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Guest Blogger Damon Alan

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Guest Blogger Damon Alan

Let me start out this guest blog by thanking my benefactor, Carol Marshall. Thank you for putting my words on your page, Carol, that’s a strong gesture from author to author.

I wanted to share a few words on what it means to be an indie author, and how it comes to be. I think many of us start out doing the same grind as anyone else, write the book, create the synopsis ten dozen times in different lengths, agonize over query letters.

I did this. I did it more than once. It always felt like I was right on the edge. I got numerous query letters from agents, many of which got responses. Some were very helpful, such as the one that said 130,000 words was too long for a book from a first time author. I cut the book into intro novel sized parts, creating my first two books from one. Win!

I got another response that said “Your main character isn’t likable.” “She doesn’t show enough compassion, she’s cold.” This was probably the response that pushed me over the edge into indie publishing. Why? Because my main character is a military commander with thousands of lives in her hands. Should she get weepy when she asks her crews to die? How many would follow her if she wailed in agony each time she sacrificed people for victory? Few, I believe. I had every intention of writing a realistic commander, male or female.

I then asked myself, “Would this be the response if my main character was male?” Could I find examples of leaders male leaders like mine in science fiction? Sure I could. Admiral Ackbar. Jean Luc Picard. Kirk.

I could be wrong in thinking there was a bias against a female starship captain. Maybe my characters aren’t ‘quite’ good enough. But the reason my main character is female is because I have three daughters. I teach them every day that they don’t have to play by any standard. They can be what they want, and if they have one more barrier to punch through, then tear that barrier apart like a lioness.

So instead of rewriting the Dark Seas series with a male lead, I decided to self publish it. And I wrote later books with more powerful women. Merik, in book 2, would arguably be the most powerful woman in human history were she real. Hey, it’s fiction, go big or go home.

Has there been a price to pay for my decision to publish indie? Maybe. But I’m approaching a thousand book sales, so maybe not.  I can tell you that while my daughters are young and don’t appreciate the stance yet, as they move out into the world, they will. My lionesses.

Tweets like this one helped solidify my stance:

j***s@J****n9

Dec 19, 2016

Your strong female lead. Badass.
 

When you go indie, go full tilt. I now have six novels on Amazon as well as a novella and a growing list of short stories. I am about to publish my seventh novel, the 5th book in the Dark Seas Series. You will learn things as you go, and it will be your readers that educate you.

 

Take this 5 star review from my first book, for example:

“The Anvil of Dust and Stars is one of those books that you don’t see coming, not only due to the cover art and summary not doing it any justice, but also because of the way in which the story itself develops.”

 

What did I learn? I since have a new cover, after joining a stock photo site instead of relying on my own art skills. And, to be honest, I’m still learning how to write the summary for my book’s page on Amazon. As for how the story develops, one of the strengths of Indie writing is that you don’t have to follow the convention. After all, it’s a 5 star review! But learning never ends, does it? I’ll keep working on my covers and summaries.

 

You’ll need to learn extensively to indie publish. Here is an incomplete list.

·         You need to know how to write a good story.

·         You need to know how to compile and format your final result.

·         You need to determine where you will publish. I am exclusively Amazon, but maybe you’d like to go Kobo, Smashwords, iBooks, etc.

·         You need to learn how to select your keywords.

·         You have to know your genre and select proper categories on your sales site.

·         You need to learn Google Adwords, Amazon Marketing Services, and Facebook Ads. Probably others that I haven’t learned yet.

·         You need to see if you can get book signings. Attend conventions. (I’ll be at the Colorado Springs Comic Con in August, come see me.)

·         And, in the writing section, you need to have a critique group, a few beta readers, and an editor. I’m lucky, my wife reads extensively, is very well educated, and edits mine for me. That saves me hundreds of dollars per book.

·         If you’re going to do your own covers, do them well. I thought Example A was good enough, but after taking the review above to heart, I created Example B which seems to be much more popular. Covers, reportedly, are 70% of the decision to buy a book. I don’t know if that applies to ebooks or not, but I bet the number is high.

 

 


Example A:  

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Example B:

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As you can see, the knowledge base to be an indie author is extensive, and I’m sure I’ve not covered plenty of it. Am I trying to talk you out of it? No! No! No! I’m simply trying to make sure that if you feel you’re not getting what you need from the traditional route, that you go into the indie route with your eyes open.

Writing is 10% of what you’ll do. The rest is marketing, editing, formatting, etc. Because very few of us are lucky enough to write a book that sells itself. If I ever do, I’ll write a book on how to do it. Then I’ll market that book. Because I don’t think any books sell themselves.

Thank you for reading. If you’re interested in seeing my catalog, please check out the following link.

Damon Alan’s Amazon Author Page

Damon’s Email: damon@damonalan.com

Damon’s blog and website: www.damonalan.com

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Music and Books

This is almost a cliché of a blog post. I think I’ve seen a half a dozen writer’s blogging about their relationship with music. What music means to them, their writing, and their connection with music. The subject is almost trite and that has kept me from writing a blog post on the subject. Thinking on it though, I have written my origin story of my writing and how I started writing my books. I have written the cost of producing my books and the amount of effort I put into it. There was a bug in my ear telling me I should write about one of the biggest influencers of not only the Women of the Grey, but the characters in my series, in my upcoming novel and new characters coming into play.

I had thought of the Women of the Grey for a while, contemplating the concept of these women. I could piece them together but my main character wasn’t appearing yet. My main character was out there wandering around my universe.. I just couldn’t grasp the essence of her. Then the day came where it all fell into place and for some young ones reading this I come from the generation of MTV when it actually played music videos. If you loved a band you watched their music videos over and over. It was a thing, I promise.

Being that music video watching was a habit and I am a fan of The Pretty Reckless I turned Youtube on and started to watch The Pretty Reckless videos. That is the afternoon that the world fell out from under my feet and placed me somewhere else.  I ran into the Miss Nothing music video. The look to Taylor Momsen the lead singer in Miss Nothing caught my eye and captured my attention.  She walked the way I wanted my main character to walk. She sang the lyrics I wanted my main character to think. The look of “I don’t care” in her eyes is what struck me the most. Lisa is after all an anti-hero she wants for nothing that is ever placed at her feet.

All that I wanted to say about Lisa’s attitude, appearance, her hates; everything was in this one music video. By the end of the video I knew exactly who Lisa was. I could see Lisa standing next to me in my living room, watching the video nodding with fake agreement. After all Lisa agrees with no one.

Without trying to sound overly grandiose when the video ended I sat down and wrote the intro to Lisa. I felt the burst of that “who is she” bubble. I couldn’t help myself.  That is the origin of Lisa. She was born from a music video and a seed of an idea that I had passed around my thoughts for years.

I’m not plugging The Pretty Reckless believe me if the lead singer knew I am writing a whole Sci-Fi horror series based on one of her music videos I’d be ecstatic and happily stand next to Ms. Momsen holding up copies of The Women of the Grey series smiling like a fool full of Jagermeister for the world to see.

I’m sure, not positive but kinda sure that many characters in books are born similar to this. I want to think I invented the way Lisa came to be, but I am sure I didn’t.  I am writing book 3 in my Women of the Grey series. I still go to the Miss Nothing music video to watch the swagger, the expression and then turn to my laptop and give Lisa her very Lisa perspective on life.

It didn’t stop with Lisa though, Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s broken heart” is the key inspiration for my character Gia in my current manuscript The Demon Dealer. I usually watch that music video when I feel that I am starting to lose who my character Gia is at her core.  Also Warner another character in The Demon Dealer is based on the look Nathaniel Rateliff had on his face in his music videoS.O.B. Have you seen the look on his face, in that video? It’s begging for a character.

This “WOW” moment of inspiration happens a lot more than I think readers know.  I had been thinking about a new character for book 3 in the Women of the Grey series when I watched Halestorm Apocalyptic. From that video I got the full taste of what that character needed to be. Disclosure I am a huge Lzzy Hale fan. I want to go grow up and be her. She is seriously one of the most badass women on the planet.

Perhaps books should come with a playlist. How awesome would an audio CD of songs that inspired the book as a companion be?  It proves a fact that art inspires art.

I do fantasize of the reverse situation happening. A singer/songwriter would read my work feel inspired by it and write a killer song out of it. If that would happen I could then walk off into the sunset a happy broad.

 

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How Sci-Fi am I?

Recently I had been twirling the idea of my opening for Stainless Steel book 3 in the Women of the Grey series in my head. I needed a name for a new character. Being that Women of the Grey is about an alien race of women I thought nothing of approaching a large Facebook Science Fiction group for ideas.

I was met with nothing but spit and ugly from this group. I received smartass answers that were hovering on just trying to call me out for not being hardcore science fiction enough. I had posted a question to the group searching for suggestions and ideas. Instead it felt as if they wanted to dispute my knowledge of Science Fiction. I did not hesitate to delete my question and leave the group.

I don’t have time or patience for venom attacks on my character. I’m way too busy not being an asshole. I don’t feel bad about leaving this group. There are many other groups with much kinder and cooler people who are open to discussion not judgment to stress over it.

The situation however got me thinking of those in the science fiction community that revel in being hardcore Sci-Fi. You know the kind of people I’m talking about; the ones that know the specific name for one screw, on one spaceship that a certain character only flew once in some book/movie/tv show. These same people that huff at you if you don’t the name of that screw. “You call yourself a fan?” Kind of people.

It gets me shaking my head; it’s that type of people who scare off the softer fans. Let’s take myself as an example. I am the type of person that loves Science Fiction books, movies, especially video games. I won’t tell you how many hours (shrug, years) I played Dead Space, only that I can proudly saw I played on zealot. If you’re a Dead Space video game fan then you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I do not know the correct terminology for Isaac’s craft, suit, or gun. I don’t care about that I just knew that I liked it.

There it is, I like science fiction. I would sit down to watch an Alien movie before a romance. If it’s science fiction and horror I’m your lady. Let’s just say I would lose my shit to see someone cosplay Predator at a Con. Could I explain the details of Predator, his home planet, his species, the name of that cool thing on his wrist? No, I could not and I am sure that would drive some people bat shit.

I do not understand why there has to be different levels of fans? Why do some believe that they are superior to the rest and feel the need to shove others aside and yap out facts?  What is there to gain from alienating others from the genre?

My Women of the Grey series is about an alien race of female clones. Yet, this week I had to look up space opera. Does that somehow cancel the validity of my writing? It does to some, because I’m not Sci-fi enough. What exactly is enough and what’s just right?

It also got me wondering if such fluff exists in other genres. Are there hardcore romance fans out there that scoff if someone mentions a romantic scene as not romancy enough? “Rose petals on a bed?” “Hack,” hiss  “amateur” scoff. Do thriller fans try to out thrill other fans with facts about thriller authors?

I’m being silly because it is. How can we value ourselves for berating others?  It makes me wish I could grab a megaphone and hit the stage with an announcement “Sci-fi community…” cough wait for the booing to stop because I interrupted an argument over who did what, when and how better than someone else.  “Chill the hell out. There is room here for all levels of fans, from the mildly interested to the hardcore. The point is to enhance the genre”

I’m positive I’d get egg’d off the stage.  Here is my coming out party to the Sci-Fi community. I really really like Sci-fi. Love is a strong word, but I can say deeply like and prefer it above all else. However I will never be that person who knows every intricate fact on the genre or care to. That does not make me any less of a fan or any less of a Sci-fi author.

Isn’t the whole point of being a fan of something, liking it and wanting to share that love with others? I can’t understand how throwing hate gives value to the Sci-fi genre. I can’t understand how throwing hate gives value to anything.

 

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Meet my narrator!

Meet my narrator!

Before my first book Starburst was completed I knew I wanted an audio book version available for the public. Audio books are beginning to take their rightful stand in the literary world. With lifestyles increasingly busier every day some people are opting to get their stories, “to go.”  As audio books sales rise the demand for narrators also rises.

Please meet Molly King my narrator for the Women of the Grey series. We did a quick interview together, a getting to know you speed date type of interview. Enjoy!

 

Molly King

1.       Tell us a bit about yourself.   I'm a stay at home mom who loves to read, craft, and learn new things. I also do animal rescue in my home so we always have a slew of critters. In my down time, you can usually find me attempting to learn a new skill such as crochet or knitting recently. I, of course, love to read (I couldn't do the job if I didn't), but I also love movies and British television shows.

 

2.       How did you get your start as a narrator? A friend of mine is an indie author and was looking for someone to narrate a book of hers. There was little interest on ACX so I told her I would take a crack at it. The rest is history. I love this job

 

3.       What's the biggest misconception the public this includes authors have about narrating audio books? It's not near as easy as it sounds. There is a lot that goes into a production especially when one person does the work from start to finish. The editing is tedious but necessary. Another thing is that finding a voice for each individual in the story can be challenging. Lastly, one can only talk for so long before the voice gives out. This means that I can't sit in the booth for hours upon hours reading. It's hard on the throat, that's for sure.

4.     What is the average amount of time it takes to produce an audio book. For example, my book Starburst book 1 in the Women of the Grey series is 6 hours long. I know it took a lot more than that to record it. It can take nearly twice or three times as long to complete a book. This is due to not only having to read it, but having to read some parts several times. The editing can take up to 3 hours for one hour of finished audio, depending on how you do it. For a 6 hour book, such as Starburst book 1 in the Women of the Grey series, it took roughly 15 hours over several weeks to complete.

 

5.       Tell us something we don't know about audio book narration, something out of the ordinary that the general population wouldn't have figured out. It's lonely. It's a very singular job. The booth can sometimes be overly hot depending on how you've got it set up. I converted a walk in closet for my audio booth. It's warm in there and near the air conditioner so it picks up the sound of the conditioning being on. There are so many minute complications that come with the work that it can be incredibly frustrating at times.

 

6.     What is your dream narration job? Any particular book you'd love to narrate? I haven't got one in particular. I would like to do the Inspector Hobbes series by Wilkie Martin, but that's just because they are fun books to read. Otherwise, I prefer to work on independent books, ones that are written and published by the practically unknown author. Those are my favorites. I feel, in a way, I'm helping them build a readership and that is a job well done in my book.

 

7.       Lastly, steak or cheesecake? How can one choose between two wholely different foods!?  I'll go with cheesecake. Who doesn't love a good desert!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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National Poetry month

April is National Poetry month, and well I’m a bit late to the party, but I’d still like a drink. Below are a few of my favorite poems from my Diabla Poetry collection. This collection is a companion to The Demon Dealer. These are horror poems, no hearts and flowers here. Well only if the hearts are for gnawing and the flowers stomping. Enjoy.

Heather

She’s tiny

a twinkle of a thing

the smallest of her breed

 

walking down the hallway

in her home

wrapped up in pretty pink robe

with bows

and soft purry kittens splattered all over

her pretty pink pajamas

 

She looks not comical

not even whimsical

or magical

just a teeny little girl

probably walking to her mama

 

Her mama sleeps

wrapped up like a mummy

against the cold night

she thinks only lollypops and love

for her dinky girl

 

 

This little girl

this hearts and flowers

looking girl

doesn’t think lollypops and love

when she thinks of mama

or daddy

or baby brother

she thinks nothing

and she keeps that secret

 

Puny little thing

More bathrobe than child

stands watching her mama sleep

watching her mama dream big dreams

and the tiny little human thinks

big thoughts

like the scissors in her school pencil box

she could cut off all her mama’s hair

cut it to the scalp with those pencil box scissors.

 

she could

do more things with that pencil box

maybe put that pencil in her father’s ear

quick and hard

it might wake her daddy up

she didn’t care

 

Her mama eyes open

she whispers to her half-pint leprechaun

of a daughter

that she loves her

that she adores her

that she was just now dreaming of her

the sleepy mama grabs her girl

and pulls her into her bed

mistaking her intentions

for childhood sleep walking

or bad dreams

bad day

poor thing

mama love cures it all

 

The pocket sized girl

settles in with her mama

shoving all her big thoughts

deep into the pockets of her bathrobe

and keeps her secrets

 

Puppy Love

Everybody knew the

teenage years would be hard for her

How do you explain to a force such as her

That there will be rocking and rolling of

concepts she’s not used to

The mother was worried

 hands crossed and frown on her face

Her little girl was different

A different no one should mess with

a different that was best left sleeping.

The father grinned

the girl should go out

be out in the world and learn to be normal

 

The cage was opened

she was allowed out

like all teenage girls

movies and dances all on her own

things seemed fine

just dandy

no worries

then the boy

the boy in her most hated class

The boy who watched her every move

the boy who spent his nights

wondering what she was doing

That boy, kissed her lips

that kiss was tender

that kiss was sweet

that kiss made her stop

a bit and assimilate

time passed

she became giggles

she became cotton candy

The mother still frowned

The father brushed it off.

 

Then the boy stopped

that boy stopped kissing her

that boy stopped wondering what she was doing at night

that boy stopped and she woke up.

 

No more giggles

No more sweet

She was different again

Assimilation voided

 

The calls came one night

the boy was gone

didn’t come home from school

Had she seen him?

Did she know?

She nodded sadly at her mom and gave her father a shrug

Then went to her room

that was the night that acting became easy

she would pretend sad for days

classmates would pat her shoulders

She’d allow it

then at home she’d eat the dinners with a smile

do the homework without being told

lay in her bed at night when all were asleep

alone she could stop the acting

smile at herself and give the idea of the boy a smirk.

 

 

Pixie

A wonder she is

Such a slight thing

With eyes that spot sin

And a heart that enjoys

Giving pain

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My Type of Horror

Originally, this article appeared in the Brain to Books Cyber Convention.

I'm fond of the message in the article, since it gives the reader

  • an understanding of where I am coming from.
  •  
  • Please enjoy.

 

The horror genre is massive. The streets of horror are connected to side roads. Those side roads are connected to dirt roads. Fair warning no good can come from a dirt road on the horror path.  There seems no way of mapping the horror genre it is something that must be explored. Many steer clear of the horror roads, being afraid of where they lead to.  I have been down many of those roads trying my best to discover what branch of horror I liked. The horror inclination was always tugging at me giving me the need to wander in it finding where I fit in.

This is article isn’t for or against any facet of horror.  In writing my Women of the Grey series I am constantly surprised at what my readers find creepy, unsettling while others find the same section mysterious and poetic. The fact that this happens is a tell of human nature. While some people smell the flowers, others stomp them, and some plant them.

In my wanderings down the horror path I discovered my horror love is classic horror mixed with some camp. I’ll be the first to line up for a Hammer film festival or to see Elvira at local venue.  I am not a blood and guts fan. My heart belongs to monsters, Kaiju, and those creepy things that go bump in the night. Most of all my heart pumps for those terrifying things that visit us from outer space.

My fandom for monsters and classic horror started off when I was very young. I might have been the only 8 year old on the block watching Godzilla movies, not sure. Thinking back at such a young age my love for these monsters came from admiration. Who wouldn’t want to be Godzilla? If you’re having an awful day wouldn’t it be great to just knock down a building? As a kid I didn’t think about the logistics of knocking down the building, I just knew I wanted to be Godzilla.

 

As I grew older my tastes for monsters progressed. I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and had my mind blown by the fact that there was other type of monsters out there. Everyday things could be a monster, just like the birds in the movie. By the way I’m still a bit wary of large groups of birds, being almost certain that they are called a murder of crows for a reason.

In my teen years I discovered Tolkien. Orcs were a new type of monster. After my Lord of the Rings obsession (read the series 5 times) came the Alien movie franchise. As I grew older my palate for monsters was developing. My palate became enhanced more than what was typical. I can clearly remember the first time I watched Pan’s Labyrinth; the eye holding, saggy skin, kid eating monster that our heroine narrowly escapes shook me down and woke me up. That, I could point a finger at, was my type of horror.

There were other things before Pans Labyrinth that put the stepping-stones down for my education into horror. I watched things like Faces of Death and I read Stephen King. I took long walks with Anne Rice books bringing along her vampires and witches.  I did these things to further explore the horror path. I wanted to know how many places it could lead me to. The Faces of Death movies weren’t for me. Stephen King books were a pleasure to read and his movies enjoyable. Anne Rice vampires were seductive, her witches intriguing.

There was so much out there to understand about my relationship with horror, why I liked it and what I liked. Horror is not one solid thing. What is one person’s horror is another person’s main stream; some might believe to have horror you must have torture or captivity. While others might believe to have horror there must be a guy with a mask and machete romping around some lake. 

When it is discovered that I am a writer the first thing people ask is what genre I write. When I say I am a horror author some immediately put their hands up explaining to me that they can’t handle it, don’t like it. “Oh girl, I can’t sleep at night after reading that stuff.” I understand that, but I invite readers to stick a toe in any way. Try my books or other horror authors. Horror isn’t just one thing; horror is many things that can challenge the reader into feeling emotions that perhaps they haven’t explored in a long time.

My cousin and I often had horror, let’s call them discussions she loved the movies I run from. She wanted to watch movies where the human spirit is challenged by little men on tricycles. When I asked her why, she said that she would become engrossed into trying to figure out how she would survive such an ordeal. My cousin is a survivor she’s been through a lot, it added up and made sense.

Another avid fan of gore horror books and movies told me it wasn’t the horror that he loved most of all, but the psychology of it. I often hear this, horror takes us to places within ourselves that we would rather not explore. Horror can have the reader questioning themselves. What would I do? What could I handle? It’s actually not about the zombies, but about how the people handle the zombies.

As a writer I am still on my monster hunt, but now I create them. My current manuscript The Demon Dealer is a nod to the great Stephen King and my love for the show Stranger Things. My books are me still searching, traveling down those horror roads figuring out what makes me jump back and take notice. 

For me the scariest thing of all is the unknown. It’s not that there is something under that bed. It’s the not knowing what that thing is. Because of that I fill my books with mystery. I want the reader to get the creeps over what “it” might be.  Those dark corners of the unknown are where I find myself most often.

If you haven’t tried horror before maybe it’s time you go find your monster; you might learn something about yourself that was hidden on one of those dirt roads.

 

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