L. Vera: Ben Sobieck, It’s nice to have you here. If you haven’t been keeping up, I’ve been interviewing non stop for over a week, and I’m pretty much on a roll here. So I’m happy I tracked you down.
Ben Sobieck: I wear a lot of camo, so it’s understandable. I’m happy to be back here in reality, virtually.
Ben Sobieck: Anywhere but the office. I rarely come out of my hole.
L. Vera: Hopefully no thieves are reading this.
I really enjoyed your story “The Last Injustice”. I think any story with a grandfather and their grandson causing trouble, is always a fun read? Please don’t tell me this is based on a true story.
Ben Sobieck: No, it’s not a true story. It involves a terminally ill grandpa going nuts one night. He brings along his grandson/daughter (I never make it real clear so as to allow the reader to insert him/herself). The grandkid tries to figure out what’s making grandpa be so crazy, outside of the illness. It’s a rhetorical question that isn’t completely answered. I want the reader to take a bird’s eye view of life and create their own meaning.
L. Vera: So why have this piece in Burning Bridges? Was it something written especially for the anthology?
Ben Sobieck: First off, “Burning Bridges” is one helluva anthology. It has this punk rock/indie spirit running through it. A bunch of authors, disgruntled with how they were treated by a particular individual, got together to make a statement. It wasn’t anything vengeful. More like, “We got hosed, but we’re not slowing down. We’re burning a bridge and we’re never looking back.”
The grandpa character in my story feels the same way, but with life overall. His only purpose left in life is to die, and he can’t stand to go through with it. He can’t look in the past, either, since it’s too painful. He’s stuck, full of guilt, and he just goes nuts. On the other side of things, the grandkid has an entire life to anticipate. Using this contrast, I wanted to show the two options you can take in life: You can let the past eat you alive or you can look forward. I thought that matched the theme of the anthology perfectly. I hope readers agree.
L. Vera: Why should other readers download it? And what piece should they start reading first?
Ben Sobieck: They should download it because it’s full of great writing. We put this thing together out of want. We’re not making a red cent off it. This is pure passion for writing. Start from the beginning and enjoy yourself.
L. Vera: What other craziness should we expect from you in the future?
Ben Sobieck: I have these two sides to my writing. One is serious, the other is humorous. On the serious side, I’m chipping away at my next crime novel. On the lighter side, there’s always another Maynard Soloman stories on the way.
L. Vera: Ben Sobieck, a fun writer. I plan on reading on reading Cleansing Eden and maybe later I’ll grab one of your humorous detective collections. Everyone should keep up with Ben by visiting his blog and facebook page . Thanks Ben.
L. Vera:Edith Maxwell it’s nice to have you all here. If you noticed the title to this interview, I think you might have an idea of where I’m going to go with this.
Edith Maxwell: I do! We’re happy to be here, too.
L. Vera: How many pen names do you have?
Edith Maxwell: Tace Baker is the first pen name I am using professionally. My three-book Local Foods Mysteries contract with Kensington Publishing specified that I couldn’t publish any other mysteries as Edith Maxwell during the terms of the contract. When I landed a contract with Barking Rain Press to publish Speaking of Murder, the first in my Speaking of Mystery series, I needed to come up with a pseudonym. You can read about my process here. I finally settled on Tace, an old Quaker name, because my protagonist Lauren Rousseau, is a Quaker linguistics professor. And Baker is at the front of the alphabet and easy to spell (and I love to bake!).
L. Vera: I’ve also had plan to use the pen name, “4″? What do you think? I was thinking of releasing my sci-fiction under that name and having a whole persona behind it.
Edith Maxwell: “4″ is intriguing. I wonder if it would be difficult to make people understand it is a name, though.
L. Vera: The reason I chose L. Vera was because it’s hard to tell my gender. Just by correcting people, I’ve met lots of people.
So you and Tace Baker each have a story in Burning Bridges. Why did you decide to get those stories in “Burning Bridges”?
Edith Maxwell: Speaking of Murder is the book for which I burned a bridge behind me, by withdrawing from my contract with a fraudulent so-called publisher. I wanted to honor the other authors who went through the same kind of grief by joining the collection. And since Tace is just starting her writing career, she needed a short story pub credential.
L. Vera:What can we expect those stories to be about?
Edith Maxwell: Both of my stories are about revenge and burning bridges of a sort, so I thought they’d be a good fit. One describes a writer who needed an idea for a crime story, and decided to make it come true, as well. The other could be seen as murder out of compassion or out of greed, or both. My villains are just that, kind of bad people at heart.
L. Vera:In the future, where will we find your stories in? And any other pen names we should look forward to seeing?
Edith Maxwell: Speaking of Murder will be out from Barking Rain Press in early fall of 2012 in both paperback and e-formats. Look for TaceBaker.com, @tacebaker, and Tace Baker on Facebook and Amazon. I’d love a follow and a Like! The first Local Foods Mystery,A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die, featuring organic farmer Cam Flaherty, will be out next spring from Kensington Publishing. I hope a few other short stories will pop up here and there, too!
A lot of friends actually call me Max, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I found a way to write under that name, too.
L. Vera: Thank you, Edith Maxwell. It was a pleasure to have you on my blog and I look forward to reading your stories in Burning Bridges. Please visit Edith Maxwell’s blog and amazon page, follow her on Twitter, and give Edith M. Maxwell a Like on Facebook.
Edith Maxwell: Thanks so much for having me on, Luis. And good luck with your writing career, too.
L. Vera: Heath Lowrance, man of many words, at least I would hope so. It’s nice to have you here Heath.
Heath Lowrance: Thanks, L.
L. Vera: Tell me a little about how you became a writer? Was it radiation? Revenge? Standing to close to a microwave?
Heath Lowrance: I was bitten by an irradiated Harlan Ellison, and eventually learned that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.
L. Vera: I knew it. I’ve read your story “A Freeway on Earth”, and it’s so far my favorite story in Burning Bridges. Did you specifically write this one for me?
Heath Lowrance: I wrote it for you and every other working stiff living a life dictated by an alarm clock. Really, “A Freeway on Earth” was born out of frustration with the day job, and how such a huge chunk of our lives are very jealously owned by someone else. I hate that. And I hate that I would get so anxious and nervous about being even a minute late, because the people that owned my time would read me the riot act about it.
So “Freeway” is about day job anxiety.
L. Vera: Why did you choose to get Burning Bridges together? You and Ben Sobieck were the brains behind the operation, you guys don’t have better things to do?
Heath Lowrance: It just seemed like something that needed to happen. Here’s this group of diverse and amazing writers, all with one thing in common (they’d each been burnt by an unsavory experience with a small press). They’d all crossed over a particular sort of bridge. I loved the idea that this one common experience had brought all these different sorts of writers together. Someone (I think it might have been YOU, L., but I can’t really remember) suggested, maybe half-jokingly, that we do an anthology, I seconded it, and bamm-o, next thing you know here we are. I volunteered to compile it because, you know, I only had three other projects that were way past due, why not add a fourth?
L. Vera: It may have been me. I know I’m always trying to get writers together to make our own website, but no such luck so far. I’m actually very happy this anthology happened. I have already heard lots of good things about the other writers and it was an honor to be included. Was there another writer out there that you wanted to include, that didn’t make it onto the pages of Burning Bridges?
Heath Lowrance: Well, I would’ve loved if our Nigel Bird had the time to do a story. I admire his work greatly. But despite that, I think we managed to gather up a pretty stellar list of contributors.
L. Vera: I was hoping to find him in there as well. Where will I be able to find your books and what else should expect to see you in?
Heath Lowrance: You can always hit my Amazon page. My novel THE BASTARD HAND is still available, as is my short story collection DIG TEN GRAVES. My second full-length novel, CITY OF HERETICS, is coming out soon from Snubnose Press. And there’s two or three other things coming in the next couple of months. Follow my non-award winning blog, Psycho Noir, for updates and details and what-not.
L. Vera: Heath Lowrance, an incredible writer. It was glad to have you on my blog and I hope to see more of your stuff. Till then I just started Dig Ten Graves, great so far and if others want to keep up visit Heath Lowrance’s blog and amazon page.
Heath Lowrance: Thanks for having me.
L. Vera: Allan Leverone, it’s a pleasure to have you here on my blog.
Allan Leverone: Hey, Luis, thanks for having me – I hope I don’t drive away all your readers…
L. Vera: Impossible. I hope.
Once again, I like to start off with a little off-beat question. So off the top of my head, since I know you’re an air traffic controller . . . who’s worse Pilots or Airport Security?
Allan Leverone: Well, I don’t have to deal with airport security on a regular basis, but on the other hand, I’m not normally in danger of getting groped by pilots, so it’s probably a wash. And, while pilots can occasionally be difficult to work with, if it weren’t for them, I’d be out of a job, so I can’t complain too much about them. Plus, if they want to land at the airport they have to do what I say, so most of the time we get along fine.
L. Vera: Sounds like a fun job. Ever think of a story idea while telling pilots what to do?
Allan Leverone: Occasionally, although it’s kind of funny - I was having little to no success getting anyone to pay attention to my work back in 2007, when I attended Thrillerfest, in New York. I was pitching a novel to an agent and he was completely uninterested in the concept. To pass the time, he asked me what I did for work, and when I told him, he looked at me like I might just be the dumbest person he ever met. He asked why I hadn’t written an air traffic control thriller, and I had no good answer for him. A couple of months later I began work on the manuscript that eventually became FINAL VECTOR, and things have gotten better and better, writing-wise, ever since. I wish I could remember the agent’s name, because I would love to thank him!
By the way, I’m not saying I’m NOT the dumbest person that agent ever met, but I figure literary agents meet a lot of people in their line of work; what are the odds this one never met anyone dumber than me?
L. Vera: Low, I hope.
I’ve read “Dead Weight”, found in Burning Bridges, and wondered where the inspiration came from for such a story?
Allan Leverone: “Dead Weight” is a story with real relevence for me, because the major plot element is something I have personal experience with. I’m not a mob accountant in real life, so if you read the story, you can probably figure out which major plot point I’m talking about. While I didn’t handle the situation in the manner my main character does in “Dead Weight,” I can’t say the thought didn’t occur to me. But in the end, the story is about a parent giving up everything for his child, a subject most parents can relate to pretty easily.
L. Vera: Why Burning Bridges? Why did “Dead Weight” find it’s way with those lovely band of misfits?
Allan Leverone: I was really excited to have the opportunity to contribute a story to BURNING BRIDGES, not just because of the ideal it represents, but also because it was being edited by Heath Lowrance, a guy I have a tremendous amount of respect for. Everyone who contributed to the anthology was burned by a relationship with an unsavory upstart publisher a while back, and a few months ago, someone had the idea of striking back through an anthology. BURNING BRIDGES is the result, and while I admit I’m a little biased, I think the result is truly spectacular.
L. Vera: What should we expect from you in the future, besides fame and fortune?
Allan Leverone: Well, while I’m certainly not about to turn down fame OR fortune should they come knocking, my goal is always to concentrate on the things I can control. For a writer, as you know, that means continually working to improve, and putting out the highest quality work I can. There are so many outstanding writers generating so much outstanding material that it’s really easy to get lost in the shuffle, and there’s a very real element of chance involved in determining who gets noticed and who falls by the wayside.
That said, I have a lot of stuff coming up that I’m very excited about. I just released my third horror novella, THE BECOMING, about a twelve year old boy who accidentally unleashes a horrific force when he explores a long-abandoned coal mine in Pennsylvania. I regained the rights to my first thriller, FINAL VECTOR, from Medallion Press and will soon re-release it in ebook form. And I’m working hard on the sequel to my novel, PASKAGANKEE, which should be available in a couple of months, titled REVENANT.
I just keep writing and hope good things happen.
L. Vera: I’ve already read half of Burning Bridges and think it’s a must read for anyone who simply like good short stories. I think a gateway drug to many other crazy books, but I suggest you delve in and not look back. Also check out Allan at his blog and on Amazon.
Allan Leverone: I couldn’t agree more. Thanks very much for having me, Luis, and here’s to brisk sales a great reviews!
L. Vera: Hi. It’s a pleasure to have you here on my blog.
Joshua J. Mark: Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
L. Vera: I wanan start with an important question. Which do you prefer dogs or cats?
Joshua J. Mark: Definitely dogs. I live with one dog and four cats. We’re outnumbered. It’s a tragic scenario. My wife and daughter are cat lovers so my evil plan to leave the back door open for a night and then say, ”Cats? What cats? We had cats?” will never be realized.
L. Vera: I read on B. R. Stateham’s blog you once had a dog named “Milkbone”. Ever write him, symbolically, in a story?
Joshua J. Mark: Yes, he’s shown up in various forms through the years mostly as a symbol of loss having nothing to do with an actual dog. He does make a realistic appearance in my novel `Other People’s Dreams’, though.
L. Vera: Should we expect a dog in “Safety First”, found in Burning Bridges?
Joshua J. Mark: No dogs in `Safety First’ – only on obsession which steadily grinds down the mind of the narrator.
L. Vera: Why Burning Bridges? Why with such a colorful authors?
Joshua J. Mark: I’m really, deeply, honored to be included with the other writers in`Burning Bridges’. I think the title is great, the stories are great, and I love how the project developed in response to a disappointment we all shared together in the publishing world.
L. Vera: If I were to stalk your work what should I expect to see in the future, at the end of my binoculars.
Joshua J. Mark: I’m presently marketing my Paranormal Young Adult novel, `The Girl from Yesterday’ and I have two others already written in the Rebecca Pender series (a girl who sees and talks to ghosts)so I’m hoping you’ll see that in the not-so-distant future. I’m also in the process of re-writing this other novel, `Other People’s Dreams’ about a guy who discovers he can make everyone around him happy by lying to them about pretty much everything.
L. Vera: Awesome, I’m actually about to read your story in my copy of Burning Bridges, which is out today. Free on Smashwords and .99 on Amazon, which will be donated to “Literacy for Incarcerated Teens”. Thank you and I hope to have you on again.
Joshua J. Mark: Thanks. It was a pleasure.
L. Vera: McDroll, I’m happy to find you busy and awaiting the release of Burning Bridges. It is a pleasure to have you on my blog and don’t worry I’m already a pro at this.
McDroll: I’ve read your previous interviews and I’m surprised you’ve not already got your own Saturday night chat show.
L. Vera: Oh, you. Let’s talk about you. If you had to chose one word that I (being an American) would need to know, if I was going to visit Scotland? Keep in mind I already know many foul words.
McDroll: There’s so many colourful words that I could teach an impressionable young lad like you Luis from shoogle to foochle but if you were ever to visit Scotland then you’d definitely need to have a grasp of bahoochie as you Americans are always talking about your ass.
L. Vera: “Bahoochie” I’ll try to fit that in a conversation today. So, “No Turning Back”, is in Burning Bridges. Why did you chose Burning Bridges for your story?
McDroll: I jumped at the chance to be included in an anthology with so many brilliant writers. I love Julia Madeleine and her novel No One To Hear you Scream was one of my top 10 reads of the year so I’m just thrilled to be in her company!
L. Vera: So what’s inside the story, “No Turning Back”?
McDroll: One of my friends happened to mention that the police have a new tactic in the local drug dealing business and as soon as I heard about it, I just knew that I had to use it in a story! I can’t say anymore because of spoilers!
L. Vera: I notice in your stories a lot of kids can’t speak properly. Do you think kids nowadays are just lazy? Or just don’t care?
McDroll: Even in Argyll, land of hills and glens, the youth of today are influenced in their speech by all the American TV that swamps the airwaves;-) I love eavesdropping so that I can pick up little gems in conversations. I love how people talk to each other, it’s so colourful and something I overhear will spark off a story.
L. Vera: Which came first, the title or the story? Because I must know.
McDroll: The story always comes first with me. I find titles quite hard so always wait until the story’s finished hoping that some kind of inspiration will hit!
L. Vera: So what’s next for McDroll?
McDroll: (I’ve now published 3 parts of my serialised novel, The Wrong Delivery. I need to get busy on part 4 which will probably be the last part, I think. It’s a crime drama set in Argyll, not a place particularly known for crime in Scotland, and shows how people’s lives can spiral out of control from making just a few poor choices. When I’m finally finished with that project, I’d like to try to write something longer about my two favourite characters, Beeny and Jango.
L. Vera: Wow, B. R. Stateham. I’m happy to have the chance to ask you a couple of questions. I hope you feel comfortable here at my blog.
B. R. Stateham: No problem, Luis. Always willing to have a conversation about writing, writers, my characters, and about creating story lines. A writer talking with writers, and fans of writers, is always a pleasant experience.
L. Vera: Thank you. Okay now with the pleasantries out of the way, let’s get to the guts and blood. When was the last time you killed someone?
B. R. Stateham: Let’s see . . . it was day before yesterday, I believe. Wrote a Smitty story about Smitty having another ‘talent’ in his hit-man trade; that of being a professional ‘cleaner.’ Cleaning up the mess others leave behind. Come to think of it, in another piece I am writing (not a Smitty piece) a couple of characters are about to get whacked. Hmmm . . . bloody old fart, aren’t I?!
L. Vera: After reading “A Gift”, in Burning Bridges, I’m convinced Smitty, the cold blooded killer, is actually you. How close I’m I from the truth? And don’t tell me if you tell me you’re going to have to kill me.
B. R. Stateham: Mmmmmm . . . maybe deep down in the subconscious you might be right. I think both the writer and the fans find characters they identify with and secretly wish they could clone into. Certainly a few fans have come to enjoy the Smitty stories that way. The consummate killer who knows how to kill and disappear into the night? There’s something vicariously intriguing about that concept. We find that character thru several genres from Horror thru Westerns. The mystery/detective genre is full of ‘em.
L. Vera: So what will we find inside the story, “A Gift”?
B. R. Stateham: An acquaintance of Smitty’s asks the killer to protect his only child from harm. He does, and in the process (and in an allegorical sense) gives the acquaintance an opportunity to cross a bridge and embrace a different life. A simple explanation, to be sure; but the story is a little more grimly painted.
L. Vera: Awesome. How many Smitty stories are out there? And where could we find them all?
B. R. Stateham: Oh goodness, who knows!! Smitty hopefully will last a long time. Currently I’m writing his first full length novel. And then I collect the Smitty stories when enough of them have been written and put them in an on-going anthology. Two of them are out now. Call Me Smitty: Dirty Little Secrets and Call Me Smitty: See You in Hell are available thru Amazon. As to where yo can find the individual stories I send them out to many of the on line ezines. And I share a few of them on my blog site In The Dark Mind of B.R. Stateham.
L. Vera: When you came up with the story, which came first, the title or the story?
B. R. Stateham: The story comes first. Always the story. The title usually comes from a line out of the story itself. For me it seems so easy to find a line or two that can be used for the title. But the story first (and I might add it’s usually first an image, or an idea, first set down and then the building of the story around that image or idea). I like writing this way. It’s fresh and exciting . . . and many times quite surprising . . . what comes along doing it this way.
L. Vera: How many more deaths should we expect in your writing career? (Please talk about future stories and books with your writing that’s coming out)
B. R. Stateham: Haven’t a clue! Currently I’m piddling with four novels I’m writing plus numerous short stories. There’s the Smitty novel (tentatively called The Ripper). And then the third book in the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales series (a couple of homicide detectives); and there’s the second book in the art thief/detective character named Jake Reynolds. And the third book in the Roland of the High Crags Fantasy series. So there’s enough there to keep me going for a long, long time.
L. Vera: That’s B.R. Stateham folks and I was glad to have him here. Don’t forget to read Burning Bridges hitting the #1 free spot on Amazon on Today. Also, check out B. R. Stateham at his blog, but tread lightly I swear he’s a cold blooded killer.
L. Vera: George Gesinger, an amazing writer, I am happy to have you on my blog.
George Gesinger: I’m more than happy to be here with you, Luis. I’d like the public to know more about me, as a writer and as a person. I believe I have something important to say to society.
L. Vera: Okay. I’m glad to be that platform. So let’s start off with publicity. One thing I like about you is that you are not afraid to publicize your work. Any secrets you want to share with us not so brave authors?
George Gesinger: The thing about publication is that it’s not like being on stage, in person, performing in the spotlight, like I was doing when I was a child prodigy in school. It’s only a matter of trying to think of things to say about my stories. I think I’m called upon to give more than just a link to motivate people to want to read me. People want to know why they should give their attention to any story. If you tell most people you’ve got a psychiatric diagnosis, they really don’t want to read your work. If I don’t get the word out, being a freelancer, how is anyone even supposed to know the stories even exist? I’d like to encourage all writers to take an active part in promoting their own work. There’s everything to gain from publication. I took some courses in business and marketing. I have some idea about how to make the plug about each succeeding story.
L. Vera: Your story “Asylum” is locked away in Burning Bridges. Is there any reason you decided to put such a story in this anthology?
George Gesinger: Yes. I spent my youth in state hospitals and psych wards, or asylums, after I’d graduated from high school and got sick while I was in university. I tried to go to music school, to become a high school band director, but the rigors of university life were too much for me. I had a major nervous breakdown when I was only twenty years old. Since then, I’ve suffered from a chronic chemical imbalance in my brain, which is an incurable disease. The doctors can control it to a certain extent, so some of us can live fairly normal lives with it, but once you come down with a problem with your brain chemistry, you have it for a lifetime. I want to be a part of the process of educating the public about this issue, so that there might be a little more open mindedness in the community at large for guys like me. The media have given a lot of bad press to mental illness, but many of us are just lonely, confused people who have to take pills and see doctors all our lives.
L. Vera: The title alone brings grimy images of a man locked away. Is that what we should expect?
George Gesinger: I think the general public is just plain frightened by the concept of someone being locked away in an asylum, because they don’t really know what it means. In all my work, I’m trying to dispel the stigma. I believe I’m “called upon” to do that, in a spiritual sense, since I have been given such a creative thrust, especially over the past year, to be writing down my experiences and publishing them. I’m not just doing it to shock the public. I think there’s already way too much of that in the media. What you’ll find in all my work is some perspectives on what it’s like to be behind locked doors. An asylum is not a prison, and as long as you treat others with respect, they are likely to do the same to you. I like to have a little fun with the concept, too. I always try to take my medications, because I don’t want the men in the white coats to be coming after me with a butterfly net.
I saw a story about soldiers being in combat on the TV one time, and the commentator made the remark that a soldier’s life is largely one of extreme boredom, punctuated with short periods of deep horror. I guess I’d say the same thing about being in asylums. Most of the time, we’re just bored, and want to go home. Sometimes, I think I’d like to have a normal life, with a normal history, but that’s not where I’ve come from.
L. Vera: What compelled you to write such a piece?
George Gesinger: I’ve had a lot of experience in state hospitals and psych wards over a lifetime of better than sixty years. That’s forty years in and out of institutions. One of the things I find compelling about that is that I’ve survived the experience. Someone once said, “Write what you know,” and I know institutions and the people in them. I always say that I don’t eat my vegetables, because some of my best friends are vegetables.
L. Vera: Most importantly which came first, the title or the story?
George Gesinger: I lived the experiences long before I could ever write about them. In 2010, I had a couple of calamities in my life. For one thing, I got confused about the formula for taking my medications the way they were prescribed. I’m not certain, but I think I overdosed myself for about two weeks or longer. I nearly lost my life. The other thing was that I lost my ability to communicate for several months, while I went thru the detox from my psych meds to save my life. Please understand. To take a chronic mental patient off his medications completely for any prolonged period is a very dangerous thing to do to a patient. I might have gone off the deep end, and never come back to myself again in my lifetime. I had to have strict medical supervision. My speech and ability to write the way I’m doing now, have come to me thru that confusing, tormenting time. I feel compelled to tell my stories.
L. Vera: What should we expect from you in the future?
George Gesinger: I hope to learn a lot more about writing fiction. I have a friend here at assisted living who’s trying to coach me a little bit about how to do that. So far, what I’ve been doing is writing about my personal experiences, in a nonfiction setting. Since I’ve been diagnosed with a memory disorder, I pursue my memories, and do my best to write them all down. What I’d really like to be able to do is draw upon my personal experience to write more about the overall experience of having a chemical imbalance, but make it more like fiction. I ask each of you to visit my blog. I’ve been very active there, too. I have a blog post about One Flew Over the Coo Coo’s Nest, dispelling some of the fallacies about the movie. There are things in that movie, like Girl, Interrupted, that are on target, and other things that are just plain Hollywood.
L. Vera: Awesome interview, I got an early copy of “Asylum” which will be in Burning Bridges on Amazon on May 1st and it’s great. Please visit George Geisinger on his blog , or on Goodreads and buy his books on Amazon , or you may get locked away with us crazy writers and none of us would want that. Right?
L. Vera: It means a lot to me to have you on my blog.
Paul D. Brazil: It’s nice to be asked, mate.
L. Vera: I know you write a lot of gritty noir in crime infested worlds. Since I’ve always felt you were such a “tough guy”, I want to know, who was the last person you punched?
Paul D. Brazil: I’m a writer not a fighter. I’m more float like a bee, sting like a butterfly. Drink like a fish.
L. Vera: Drink Like A Fish, that should be the title of a book. Anyways, I’ve always seen your stuff in collections, ever think about pushing a novel out?
Paul D. Brazil: There’ll be a novella coming out at some point this year from Pulp Press called Guns Of Brixton. And at least one more that should be out by the end of the year.
L. Vera: So what kind of violence will we see in, “The Beginning Of The End”? And will anyone get punched in the face in your story?
Paul D. Brazil: “The Beginning Of The End” has lots of violence that’s much worse than a punch in the face but, as is my taste, the violence all happens ‘off screen’.
L. Vera: What compelled you to write such a piece?
Paul D. Brazil: I wanted to write something about someone having a fresh start and burning bridges. And then see what happens after that. It’s like the last frame of The Graduate‘, which I’ve always found quite ominous.
L. Vera: And once again (it’s like my catch phrase for interviews) which came first, the title or the story?
Paul D. Brazil: The story was originally called ‘A New Dawn Fades‘ after the Joy Division song, but I thought that was a bit too glum, chum.
L. Vera: What should we expect from you in the future?
I’ll have story -The Liberator- in Matt Hilton‘s Action magazine and one called Catch As Catch Can in an anthology that’s being put out by the people behind Solarcide magazine. The Italian publisher Lorenzo Mazzoni will be putting out a novelette as part of a series of stories set in various cities of the world. Mine is set in Warsaw.
And there are a couple more things in the works that I don’t want to talk about right now.
L. Vera: You’ve heard here first. Paul’s a writer not a fighter. I can’t wait to read “The Beginning Of The End” in Burning Bridges on Amazon, May 1st. Also, check out Paul D. Brazil at his blog and read his stories or I’ll punch ya in the face.
L. Vera: I would like to start off by saying how much of an honor it is to have you on my blog and bare with me as I’m still getting the hang of doing interviews.
Julia Madeleine: Thanks a bunch for the invite.
L. Vera: I was doing some research on you and gave up, because ever since I’ve friended you on Facebook, I’ve always been interested in the fact that you are also a tattoo artist. If I wanted a tattoo, why should I go to your shop?
Julia Madeleine: You will have to take a look at the website and check out our work to know the answer. You know what they say about a picture and a thousand words.
L. Vera: You also have a story in “Burning Bridges” that’s coming out on May 1st, and you have a short story called “Unforgettable” screaming between those pages. Why did you choose Burning Bridges for you story?
Julia Madeleine: Oh, it’s probably all Heath Lowrance’s fault. You know he’s always up to no good. Him and that crazy British guy Paul D. Brazill. The two of them are the usual suspects when it comes to something like this. Paul probably thought the whole thing up after a few drinks. Yeah, now that I think about it, it was the two of them. I’d swear to it.
L. Vera: Those two trouble-makers are always up to no good. So tell me what is “Unforgettable” all about, and will it really be unforgettable?
Julia Madeleine: I hope it’s unforgettable. It’s about a woman who’s been stood up by a man a time too many and now she decides to teach him a lesson he will never forget.
L. Vera: Is there any intriguing tale about its creation?
Julia Madeleine: Once I’d started writing it, I remembered a story a friend had told me many years ago about her first ever date experience when she was just sixteen and the heartache she felt when she was stood up. So I worked that into the story.
L. Vera: And because I have to ask: Which came first, the title or the story?
Julia Madeleine: The story came first. Titles always come later for me.
L. Vera: What should we expect from you in the future?
Julia Madeleine: I’ve got stories in four, possibly five, more anthologies this year. I’m also releasing another full-length thriller called The Refrigerator Girls.
L. Vera: Another fun interview, I really enjoyed having Julia Madeleine on my blog and again in my kindle with Burning Bridges on May 1st. Also, check out Julia Madeleine at her blog and also stop by for a tattoo, tell them L. Vera sent ya.
L. Vera: I would like to start off by saying how much of an honor it is to have you on my blog and you would be the first person I have ever interviewed.
K. A. Laity: I will be gentle with you. I am pleased to be your first interview. I hope I do not scar you for life.
L. Vera: One thing I had noticed about you was that, besides being published in a plethora of outlets, is that you have your own Wiki page. How awesome is that?
K. A. Laity: LOL, I think one of my friends started that. I suspect no one else has looked at it. I should make my students update it. I make them change the college’s page.
L. Vera: So obviously you have been a part of other collections, and anthologies. I know Burning Bridges is coming out on May 1st, and you have a short story called “Horse Clock” within its pages. What makes being involved with this collection different then the others?
K. A. Laity: The primary appeal of this anthology is joining the gang who had the good taste to drop a publisher who showed himself to be a reprobate without morals. We’re known by the company we keep — and the company rocks.
L. Vera: That was definitely a learning experience for us all. So what will we find inside the story, “Horse Clock”?
K. A. Laity: We will find that the world is much more elastic than we have been taught to believe. Everything is alive. Sometimes you can find a god on your mantelpiece.
L. Vera: I’m already excited to read it. What kind of thinking went behind its creation?
K. A. Laity: Actually the first thing to come was the picture (located on the right). I rented the townhouse I live in sight unseen, so inherited many interesting things including the clock on the mantelpiece. I took this picture and wrote the opening lines for the story when I posted it. A friend asked if there would be more to the story. I hadn’t really thought about it, but then the idea for BURNING BRIDGES developed and I thought, ah ha!
L. Vera: And the title, is very intriguing. So which came first, the title or the story?
K. A. Laity: The story came before the title, the clock came first of all. No idea where the other horse went, but i had fun thinking about it.
L. Vera: What should we expect from you in the future?
K. A. Laity: I just turned in the final (I hope) edits for my next novel OWL STRETCHING which will be out later in 2012. I have a story “It’s a Curse” in Mr B’s DRUNK ON THE MOON anthology and “Chickens” in Matt Hilton’s ACTION anthology. I have a couple of non-fiction collections coming soon, too. My website (www.kalaity.com) will list things as they come out.
L. Vera: Thanks for the quick interview. I can already see Burning Bridges hitting the #1 free spot on Amazon on May 1st. I look forward to reading “Horse Clock” and I’m sure so is the rest of the Amazonian readers out there. Also, check out K. A. Laity at her blog.
“Burning Bridges” is a new free anthology, out on May 1st, featuring these great writers (along with myself):
Julia Madeleine, Paul D. Brazill, Heath Lowrance, B. R. Stateham, K. A. Laity, Benjamin Sobieck, Edith Maxwell, Joshua J. Mark, McDroll, Allen Leverone, Darren Sant
I’m fortunate to have, “Killing Deities”, in it. The story had gone through a number of different titles from “How To Kill A God” to “Killing Gods”. It’s a short story where manifestations, deities, created by people’s prayers and devotions, exist and interfere with people’s lives. In the center of a large lake of old electronics lives one – the god of media.
He stands taller than any man, wrapped in wire and rods. A monitor stands on its neck with a tiny tie that swings and he wants to know what business Sawyer has with him. The truth is Sawyer is killing all of them. And with the help of the old man who lives high above the clouds, he’s prepared.
I have plans to write more of his journey depending on the response of this first one. Initially I wanted to write a journey that delved into different genres. This one would be a science fiction / fantasy piece, the next a romance and so on. I also cut it down from 2700 words to 1900 and left less fat and more meat. I hope it leaves a nice taste in your mouth.
**Author’s notes: This is the eighth piece, the first is found here
You can find the complete, professionally edited and extended book here along with two short stories for $2.99.**
An obituary from the Liberation Times:
Julie Stone, 26, died August 12th 1988.
Julie was born on January 8th in 1962 and attended Memorial High School where she received her High School Diploma. She excelled as an artist and had plans to attend the Liberation Community College early next year.
She is survived by her aunt, Crystal Birmingham. A small service will be provided at Liddell’s Funeral Home.
I walked over to Vanessa’s apartment and knocked on her door. I asked her to lunch and guess what? She said yes. And then, you won’t believe this, we went to watch a movie afterwards.
I feel so much better after the other night. It’s like the hunger is almost gone. Of course it won’t be gone for long but at least I won’t pass out anymore. That note I got in the mail was a bit creepy. But I’m in control, not him.
So I knocked out more of my book in the morning and spent time with Vanessa. What a perfect day, Diary. We get along very well and I can tell that she likes me. The way she looks at me, the way she smiles at me, they way she touches me; I think I’m in love.
The hunger is fast asleep, at least for now.
I woke up thinking of her. I feel almost like a new man. The hunger that dwells deep inside seems to be asleep, snoring quietly.
I opened the blinds to my apartment and I let all the sunshine in. For a moment the sun blinded me but slowly the sun retreated behind some clouds. I then heard a slight knock on the door. It mustn’t have been more than 10 o’ clock in the morning; but she was there with a tray in her hand.
I let her in and we spent the whole day together on my couch. She thumbed through some of my books and even borrowed a couple. To Sarah was included in her stack. She left a little before the sun went down and I actually wrote more in my new book.
Today seemed like a very productive day, I even cleaned up a bit and that’s when I found a crumpled note. It was another page torn out of you. I never felt scared as I held it in my hand. I felt horrible. It’s a lie; a total and indisputable lie. He is just trying to trick me. He’s a liar.
The hunger is still sleep. Thank god.
From a torn page of Todd Casil’s Diary:
Sarah’s dead. I killed her.
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Rape is such an ugly thing. A man or woman steals something and leaves something more damaging in its place. The trauma is life changing and at best, hard to control. Ryan wouldn’t wish that on anyone, except maybe a person who had done it to someone.
Ryan was raped. Uncle John had raped him and had plans to continue to rape Ryan, but Ryan was strong enough to stay alive. He sought refuge in his artwork; it was the only reason he wanted to be alive. When that was taken away from him, he wanted to die.
He stared at his mural in the dark. He remembered every detail that plagued that wall. He imagined the mushrooms crying, hoping that Ryan would help them. “Ryan,” another mushroom said as she held onto the bars of her cage.
“I’m going to die here?” she asked.
“Yes,” Ryan said. He had explained in detail the scene that would take place upstairs.
Ryan had noticed a minuscule beam of light. It came from the room above. Must be the kitchen, Ryan thought to himself. The light disappeared and Ryan had realized it must be nighttime.
There were no clocks below the house. Many times it felt like time refused to be there. It was a place where even time didn’t want to exist.
Sam was awake. She rocked in her cot, while she held her knees to her chest. She was lost in thought, thinking of her friends and family. She wondered if Tommy Rosen would still want to date her. She wanted Tommy to love her and maybe one day marry her. They could have two, no three babies and two dogs. Her mother danced in her head as she twirled in the kitchen with her apron on, she missed waking up to the smell of bacon. The toast that awaited her at her plate would push the smell of butter into her nostrils and when she opened her eyes, she expected
Ryan drew with his mind and painted with his thoughts. Rainbows, grass and life he whispered to himself thinking of the butterflies that flew around the old tree and over the mushrooms. One stopped on a mushroom and flapped its wings as if it were staring back at Ryan.
Sam continued to daydream. Now she was thinking about having a baby. Perhaps Tommy would want at least one boy, she thought but the thought escaped her suddenly. “What if I’m already pregnant?”
“You’ll die before you find out.”
“Fuck you, Ryan.
“Fuck you and your fucking face. You know you are just as responsible,” she screamed.
The light upstairs shined through the tiny hole and moments, seven clicks later, Uncle John appeared at the door.
“What’s going on?”
The light remained off as Uncle John continued to flick the switch. He leaned back into the other room and kept trying the switch. He disappeared after several tries.
Ryan grew scared. Uncle John grew frustrated and when he was frustrated he would take it out on one of his captives. Please not me, Ryan thought.
He returned with a flashlight and stomped down the steps. “What the hell is going on down here?” he asked.
“I missed you,” Sam said. “I . . . Want you inside me.”
Ryan was shocked and confused. It was a weird sensation that made his face twitch. Sam was taken upstairs and, unlike before, she didn’t return.
Next: Piece 10
Samantha’s anger had lasted for only a couple of minutes since Uncle John was quick to correct the that kind of behavior.
Fear. Fear was something Uncle John was good at invoking. He never had to open the cage to induce fear. He just needed a little prodding, sometimes with an actual cattle prod. The sparks flew as he tapped the metal bars of the cage. His eyes lit up and spit began to fall down the side of his mouth as he stunned her repeatedly. She tried to reach for it – she wasn’t agile or fast enough – but only ended up zapping herself in her hand.
Her eyes even seemed to sweat, Ryan had thought to himself as the blues of the arcing light danced.
She became tired which had made it easy to handcuffed her. He carried her like an old finished up tag doll no one played with and took her upstairs. Ryan had finally finished his mural during the mayhem.
He stepped back and shined his flashlight at the grassy knoll. He followed the dirt path through the clouds of butterfly and over towards the dirt patch. There stood eight mushrooms. Each one represented the captives that had died in the bedroom up above.
Further, next to the trove of mushrooms stood a large diseased oak tree. He didn’t know what compelled him to add it but he thought it completed the project – and it did. Its branches twisted into the sky away from the dirt patch of mushrooms. The center one he had thought was his – in case he were to die. Maybe I’m already dead the idea was intriguing to the boy and he sat back, stared at his mural, moving the flashlight across the different pieces, and thought to himself the many intricate details of his short life.
Samantha was carried back into her cage moments later. She was too tired to struggle, too tired to care, Uncle John made sure of that.
Samantha entered stage four and was the first to reach it at such an incredible speed. She was also the first to reach a new stage – vengeance.
Next: Piece 6