Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Welcome to a special guest post by J. Lincoln Fenn, author of Poe --Coming October 2013!

Interview with a Character

 Of course Dimitri didn’t answer on the first ring (he always lets it go to voicemail so he can screen calls - god knows he’s too cheap to get caller ID), but still I thought he’d get back to me sooner. I mean we have history. But what with the media attention from the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (he’s the narrator of POE), plus the unwanted attention from the demonic realm, it’s understandable that he’s trying to keep on the down low.

It took an offer of fresh cronuts and a cappuccino machine (bought at a yard sale), before he was willing to sit down at a small diner in New England to talk about his least favorite subject—himself.


Fenn: So I thought we’d use “Proust’s Questionnaire” to get things started. It’s a little writer’s trick to discover more about their characters.

Dimitri: Are you saying I’m a character? As in “oh, he’s such a character, he’s the life of the party.” Or are you questioning my inherent existence?

Fenn: I didn’t mean—

Dimitri: Because let’s get one thing straight. You got how much money selling my story to Amazon?

Fenn: Technically it was an advance—

Dimitri: And you think cronuts and a second-hand cappuccino machine is my due? By the way I noticed the $5.00 label. Classy touch.

Fenn: Right.

(awkward pause)

Fenn: Not easy to get cronuts though.

Dimitri: Noted. (eyes the cronuts). It’s like a cross between a donut and croissant?

Fenn: And it’s fried. That’s peanut butter icing.

(Dimitri takes a bite. Looks reluctantly appeased).

Fenn: So let’s dive into our Proust thing. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Dimitri: A new cappuccino machine?

Fenn: Seriously.

Dimitri: I don’t think there’s such a thing as perfect happiness. I mean, I could say sitting with Lisa on a beach in Miami, drinking something fruity with umbrellas, that’d be nice. Unless there are sharks. And then sand, it gets all up in your bathing suit—you try to wash it off in the bathtub and it clogs the drain. See what I mean? There’s always something itchy about happiness.

 Fenn: What is your greatest fear?

 Dimitri (snorts with laughter): Other than spleen-eating demons trying to kill me and my girlfriend?

 Fenn: Yeah, other than that.

 Dimitri: Dying without knowing who I am, or anyone else knowing who I am, really.

 Fenn: Ok. That was actually kind of deep. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

 Dimitri: My insanely gorgeous physique. A constant source of harassment.

 Fenn: I take it you’re being ironic?

 Dimitri: You should know—you wrote me this way.  Of course Twilight’s Edward is so good-looking he sparkles. You think a geeky guy narrator is going to pull in the tweens?

 Fenn: Not really the audience I was going for. You might have noticed the strong language.

 Dimitri: I’m 23, we swear occasionally. Sue me. But the gore wasn’t my idea.

 Fenn: Right, the gore.

 Dimitri: Thanks so much for that.

 Fenn: Hey, you took the Aspinwall assignment. Maybe staying overnight at a haunted mansion on Halloween wasn’t the best idea.

 Dimitri: Again, not my call Ms. Deux ex Machina. Plus it was an opportunity to expand my journalist horizons beyond obituaries, and I needed the money. Some of us writers aren’t living the 47North high life. They gave you a free Kindle, right?

 Fenn: You’re completely impossible. Ok, next question. What is your current state of mind?

 Dimitri: Recovering from PTSD. I know I’m not supposed to give away any SPOILERS. But thanks to you I now have a phobia of wells, the Tudor style of architecture, antiquarian books, morgues, hospitals, knives, 20th century Russian occultism, séances, punk rock bands, photography, and poetry magnets. Not necessarily in that order.

 Fenn: But beaches, beaches are still good?

(scribbles note to self)

Dimitri: I don’t like the way you just said that. You’re not going to ruin beaches for me too, are you?

 Fenn: Me? No. You and Lisa are happily ever after and all that.

 Dimitri: Because if there’s a sequel I’d appreciate some warning. And a bigger cut.

 Fenn: Noted. So, back to Proust. What is your most treasured possession?

 Dimitri: I’m wearing it. (Lifts his left hand and flashes a silver ring).

 Fenn: That was your father’s ring, right?

 Dimitri: Spoilers.

 Fenn: Right. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

 Dimitri: Waking up in the morgue would probably be high on the list.

 Fenn: You sure? Because…you know…I was thinking there was that moment when you opened the fridge, and you thought there was ketchup leaking…

 Dimitri: Do you actually want to sell any copies of this book, or should we just post it all for free now.

 Fenn: I’m sorry. My bad.

 Dimitri: Thank you. Now, what was I saying…depth of misery. I guess there were technically a couple of bright spots about waking up on the slab in the morgue. A) No one had dissected me yet. Being splayed alive would have really sucked. B) At least Lisa was upset because she thought I’d died. Since my parents passed away…there really hasn’t been anyone who cared, or even gave a f—

 Fenn: Language! Please, this is a G-rated blog posting. Okay we’ve got to wrap it up—just so you know, I’m not exactly bathing in dollar bills yet.  Got to get up early for work.  So let’s see…What or who is the greatest love of your life?

 Dimitri: Lisa put you up to that, didn’t she.

 Fenn: I might have mentioned to her…

 Dimitri: Okay, she is.  Lisa Bennet, punk rock drummer extraordinaire is the love of my life. The apple of my eye. The candy of my cone…

 Fenn: Insert cliché here.

 Dimitri: Exactly.

 Fenn: Alright, last question. Please take it somewhat seriously. On what occasion do you lie?

 Dimitri: When being interviewed.

(Fenn sighs heavily. Starts roughly stuffing her papers into her messenger bag).

Fenn: You know, next time I’m going to write a biography about someone dead. At least when your subject is DEA D they can’t be such a pain in the—

Dimitri: Language!


Fenn (sputters): You…you are so…what’s the word I’m looking for—it begins with an ‘a’.

Dimitri: Adorable?

Fenn (slides bag over shoulder angrily): No, that is so not it. More like 'annoying' to the millionth power.

Dimitri: So does that mean yes, you need a ride? (swings car keys around his finger).

Fenn: In your crap Mustang.

Dimitri: Write me into a Lexus next time, I won’t complain.

 Fenn: (sighs). If you’re headed my way.

Thus concluded our interview. Dimitri palmed the cronuts, bummed some gas money off of me, and called me about an hour after I got home to complain at length that the “crappucino” machine was, well, not exactly functional, and before I get any sequel ideas we need to sign a contract and yes, he's got an attorney.

Definitely writing a biography of someone dead next time.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Double-edged Sword

 I have been sharing bits and snips about the Witching Savannah characters on Facebook for almost a year now and am thrilled to have over 40K followers interested in an as yet unpublished book by an unknown author. With The Source, second in the Witching Savannah series off to the copy editor, I am gearing up to begin The Void, the series' third installment.  I am brimming over with ideas and itching to share details from the first two books.

But I have to wait. 

The series doesn't drop until February 1, 2014, a date that I both look forward to and dread. 

As anxious as I am to let the characters live their lives in the wide world of others' imaginations, I live in fear of those first reviews.  The question for me now is how to move my ego out of the way so that I can learn from valid criticisms, but still shrug off any gratuitous barbs. Would love to hear your thoughts. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Why Obscenity-Laced Rants Still Indicate the Blogger's Immaturity
Recently a blog post denigrating independent authors has been making its rounds of Facebook and Twitter.  I am not going to share the link as I don't wish to drive any further traffic to the blog in question.  The person behind the post choses to remain anonymous, but assures us that he works for a major publishing house.  (I say "he" and " his" as my mental image of the poster is that of a skinny jean wearing early twenty-something hipster male, although the poster may be female, so feel free to adjust pronouns to suit your own impression.) I am sure that he does do some form of work in publishing. I do pray, though, that he is not an editor, as his own writing style is, how to put this politely?  Lacking.  Such a heavy reliance on the use of obscenities to make a point demonstrates a lack of maturity, poor vocabulary or both.  I'm sure he knows several big words, but that the fact he chooses to rely on profanity indicates that he doesn't know how to use them in a sentence. 
Let me save you the trouble of digging for treasure in the blogger's trash.  His main point (and an excellent one it is):  Invest in an editor.  He is absolutely correct in this. 

I am blessed in the fact that I was introduced to an excellent developmental editor, Kristin Weber, by my agent.  I go through a round with Kristen before ever sending anything off to my equally excellent editor at my publisher.  I rely on Kristin to pull me back from the edge.  While writing The Source, second book in the Witching Savannah series, I came up with a FABULOUS scenario, where a minor character is revealed to be behind everything from the sinking of the Lusitania to the kidnapping of the Lindberg baby to faking the moon landing. (Okay, I exaggerate a little.)  I pulled it all together with a big bow, and slammed it on Kristin's desk with a "TADA!"  Kristin said no.  Kristin was right.  The whole scenario was too convoluted.  And yes.  Contrived.  And no.  The punch line was not worth the setup it took to get the reader there.  Working with Kristin saved me the embarrassment of having my publisher's editor deliver the same message.  So my addition to the blogger's advice would be:  Invest in an editor, and then listen to that editor.

Kristin can be found at http://www.kristenweber.com/.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Justin Bieber Gets Naked and Bees are Going Extinct

Admittedly the only connection these headlines share is the slightly homonymic nature of their subjects.  But the real story here is how a worse than Oedipal display of affection can receive equal news billing with the collapse of our food chain. 

The most horrifying aspect (other than the guitar pick puns that Mr. Bieber's antics invite) is the way the expert speaks about the beepocalpyse.  Oh don't worry.  Our dinner plates won't be as colorful, but admit it, you never liked those fruits and vegetables anyway.

Links to both stories below:

Bees going extinct, but don't worry...

Justin Gets Naked for His Grandmother

Sunday, August 11, 2013

More than 100,000 want to go to Mars, and I don't even like camping

More than 100,000 want to go to Mars and not return, project say - KCTV5

News sources are reporting that more than 100K have signed up to leave our beautiful blue sphere and head off to the cold, dry world one planet over.  I wonder about the people who are applying, seeing as many of them are lacking either the commitment or the wherewithal to come up with the $36 application fee.  Are they pioneers or just wanting to escape? 

When I was a kid, I would have been incredibly excited about the thought of moving to Mars. (I lived and died for Space 1999.) Later, the romance of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy caused me to revisit my childhood enthusiasm for a few brief daydreams.  But then reality sat it.  I am claustrophobic and I don't even like camping.  Besides, much like Arthur Dent, my survival skills can be summed up with the phrase "sandwich maker." 

I do dream that one day the human race will step out and take to the stars.  I will think of those pioneers fondly from the comfort of my nice warm bed.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

So excited to see that in addition to the United States,  The Line (Witching Savannah) will also be available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. 
Out of the Shadows...
Helga Esteb/ Shutterstock.com

I was one of those kids who ran home from school to watch "Dark Shadows"--well okay, it was already in syndication at that point, but that didn't matter to me.  I grew into an adult who ran home from work to see the episodes my VCR had taped during its long run on the network now known as Syfy (do not--repeat--do not get me started on their current Sharknado style of programming).

All three of the DS alums pictured above have proven themselves fine writers.  I am honored that one of them has graciously agreed to do a review of my soon-to-be-released novel, The Line, first in the Witching Savannah series. Another I will have the opportunity to meet at a signing of her latest work.  The third I will to my grave with a schoolboy crush on.  Let the conjecturing begin.

I am both thrilled and terrified to have the opportunity to come into contact with my idols.  Happily, there will be enough people with me to drag me away should I begin to make a total fool of myself.

Click on their names below to learn more about their latest:

Lara Parker   Kathryn Leigh Scott   David Selby

Friday, August 9, 2013

Spectre Savannah: FAQ :: The Murders

Spectre Savannah: FAQ :: The Murders: The initial reason why we believe the building is haunted stems from the murders that occurred on the property in 1909. On December 10th, ...

Looking forward to learning more about the Gribble House.  Hope to make it there when I return to Savannah in January.

Vote for The Line (Witching Savannah) on Goodreads!

If you are a Goodreads member, please click on the link below to vote for The Line (Witching Savannah).  The book has jumped from #100 to 20.  Help keep the upward momentum going.  Thanks!



A&E Perpetrating Fraud on a Weekly Basis?
A&E's American Haunting is perhaps one of the most damaging "true paranormal" programs ever to hit the airwaves.  The premise of the show is that families experiencing paranormal disturbances invite a camera crew into their home to document the hauntings and the conveniently timed resolution to those hauntings.
At no point does A&E announce that the events are reenactments--reenactments that have been heavily laden with special effects.  These special effects (doors opening and closing, beds bouncing up and down, moving shadows, electrical explosions) are presented as if they have been captured in real time. 
My real beef with the whole thing, though, is that even with the fakery, the show is not in the least bit spooky.  No frissons, no new insight into the paranormal.  Nothing to see here.  Just move on.

Click here to see the trailer (if you don't want to take my word for it.)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Please click on the above link and vote for us on the 2014 Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy list!

Farewell to Karen Black

In addition to her role in Robert Altman's classic Nashville, Ms. Black appeared in two of my favorite horror flicks, Trilogy of Terror (brought to us by Dark Shadows' own Dan Curtis) and Children of the Night. See her here in Amelia, the creepy doll story from Trilogy of Terror.
Photo: Vanessa Lua

With "The Source" safely in the hands of my extremely competent editor, Angela P., this morning I have turned my attention back to the world of social media and the internet.  The Witching Savannah series is now well represented on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, this blogs and web pages (www.MercyTaylor.com and www.WitchingSavannah.com). Now I just need someone to manage them so that I can get back to writing! :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Just sent off the first revisions on the edited manuscript of The Source, second in the Witching Savannah series. 
In addition to working on these edits, I have been doing a bit of minor historical research for The Void which will be the third title of the series.  I intend to kick The Void off with a party...one that would have taken place in 1920 at the Greenwich Plantation mansion. That's right, Mercy and her family will do just a wee bit of time travel.
The mansion burned to the ground in 1923, but prior to its destruction, it was considered the rival of the much more famous, and still extant, Biltmore Estate.  The mansion at Greenwich was itself a star of the silent film era, having served as the setting for films featuring Rudolph Valentino and Mary Pickford. 
The party the Taylors will attend is the wrap party for Stolen Moments, which features Valentino's last turn as a bad guy. The land on which the mansion once stood is now part of Greenwich Cemetery, Bonaventure's less famous, although contiguous, neighbor. Alas, I don't have a hand shot of Greenwich Cemetery, but you can catch glimpses of it in this clip of Stolen Moments.

It was this trip that was the inspiration to use the gates of the Wormsloe Plantation on the cover of The Line (Witching Savannah).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Mercy and the Line" - a song I co-wrote (2%) with my buddy Colby Hendricks (98%). 
It came out much darker than intended, ending up being about suicide as self-defense.  But hey, Mr. Clark, it has a good beat and you can dance to it.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Feeling every ounce of my Scotch/Irish tonight. And no, I am not referring to whiskey.
Niel Gow's Lament 
Working my way through edits on the second book in the "Witching Savannah" series. "The Source" delves much deeper into Mercy Taylor's, our heroine, family history and begins to look at the source of the Taylor Witches' magic. About 80% of the way through. Next step will be to send it to my Kindle and try to read it with an objective eye. Yeah, good luck with that, huh?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Down and Out in Beverly HeelsDown and Out in Beverly Heels by Kathryn Leigh Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A cozy thriller with a lot of heart. Meg's struggle to survive the world of organized (and occasionally disorganized) crime is entertaining, but her struggles with facing homelessness and dealing with Hollywood's obsession with youth proved unexpectedly poignant. I loved it.

View all my reviews
Check out my review of Kathryn Leigh Scott's "Down and Out in Beverly Heels" on Goodreads.

Thanks for the love!

Thanks to Cherry's Cover Love for featuring us! cherrycoverlove.blogspot.com

My co-author and I visit Bonaventure Cemetery

When Settings Attack!

Check out my post on Shelf Pleasure!