Monday, June 27, 2011

Meet Ania Ahlborn

I first came across Ania's book,Seed, when another author recommended it on Twitter. She said she couldn't put it down, so I thought, what do I have to lose? The book was scary. You can read my review of it at See Spot Read. Then I started following Ania on Twitter and realized that not only was she a good author, she had a fantastic sense of humor. So of course, I had to interview her~

1.) How long have you been writing?

I 'discovered' writing when I was about nine or ten years old. During
one particular summer vacation, my cousin and I decided to write a
tandem story and I immediately fell in love. But I didn't take myself
seriously until I entered college. I switched my initial major of
psychology to English and never looked back.

2.) Do you write full time or do you have a day job?

I have a day job working at an insurance firm, five days a week, eight
hours a day. I hope to eventually 'retire' from that when my writing
starts selling enough to make up the difference of a lost paycheck.

3.) Is this your fist published novel?

It's my first published novel, yes, but not my first novel in general.
I have a few projects collecting dust on the virtual shelves of my
hard drive, though the quality of Seed pretty much stomps all over
those 'unwanted children'.

4.) What made you decide to go the Indie route?

Lack of options. Frustration. A hatred for writing query letters. The
publishing industry has been in decline for a handful of years now,
and while it was only a year ago that I was still sending out queries
to big name NYC agents, once I learned that I could publish my work
myself and potentially make a lot more profit, I dedicated myself to
going indie and never looked back. I'm glad I did. If I hadn't I'd
still be sitting here dreaming about being published, and I'd be
sitting here for years to come.

5.) How did you come up with the idea for "Seed"?

I didn't really come up with it at all. I've always wanted to write a
possession story, but it was always a really intimidating proposition.
There's a very real potential of swinging from horror to comedy when
topics like demons and possession are the main focus, and I was scared
that I'd end up writing some Exorcist parody rather than do the
subject justice. Because of that, I stayed away from the idea for
quite some time. But eventually the story just kept nagging at me, so
I gathered up my courage and sat down to write it. I didn't know what
was going to happen. I basically knew the beginning and a potential
end (which isn't the ending the book has now) and I let the characters
tell the story. I'm glad I did. If I had told it myself it would have
been far less creepy.

6.) What scares you personally? Do you have any silly phobias?

I don't like being chased. I pretty much curl up into a ball, cover my
head, and wait it out. I also won't touch the Ouija board. Been there,
done that... alone... when I was a kid. That was a dumb idea.

7.) What is your writing routine?

When I'm writing a first draft, I write every day, seven days a week,
for at least a thousand words. I don't really have a routine. It's
pretty basic--just a 'sit down and do it' approach.

8.) Have you always been a fan of horror?

I really have been. Horror movies terrified me as a kid, but I'd watch
them anyway. Now, the only movies I get really excited about seeing at
the theater are horror. That isn't to say horror is all I watch, but
it'd definitely what I enjoy most.

9.) What other authors inspire you?

I love Stephen King. People tend to roll their eyes and say 'oh yeah,
sure, everyone loves Stephen King', but there's a reason he's called
the master of horror. His best stuff is subtle enough to get under
your skin, and that's my favorite kind of scare. I'm also a huge fan
of Brett Easton Ellis. He wrote American Psycho, which I guess can be
considered horror, but most of his stuff is pretty mainstream. I've
just always had a fondness for his unapologetic fast-paced style.

10.) What advice would you give to newbie writers out there?

Stop talking about writing and start writing. It kind of weirds me out
how many 'writers' sit on Twitter all day and talk about writing
without ever actually writing a damn thing. Writing is hard, and it's
a lonely endeavor, but those are the breaks. It's the price an author
pays to be able to call a book their own. My advice: turn on that
laptop, write 1k a day, and continue to write 1k a day until you're
done. No excuses. It's the fastest way to getting a book out of
yourself, and you'll be surprised how quickly it happens if you just
stick to the plan.


Born in Ciechanow Poland, Ania has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious, and sometimes morbid sides of life. Her earliest childhood memory is of crawling through a hole in the chain link fence that separated her family home from the large wooded cemetery next door. She'd spend hours among the headstones, breaking up bouquets of silk flowers so that everyone had their equal share.
Beyond writing, Ania enjoys gourmet cooking, baking, movies, drawing, and traveling. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband and two dogs, Beau the Scottie and Galaxy the Yorkie.

Learn more about Ania on her site,, where you can sign up for a direct-from-the-author newsletter on new releases, promos, and more.

Want to connect? Follow Ania on Twitter @aniaahlborn, or find her on Facebook at

I hope you all check out Ania's book and her website!

Friday, June 24, 2011

#FridayFlash-(my first)- The Lamp

The theme this week was "terrible taxidermy". As many writers will tell you, the best stories are grounded somewhat in reality. This story was inspired by an actual Baboon leg lamp that I saw on a program called Oddities. If you've never seen the show you should definitely check it out.

The Lamp

“What the hell is that?” Jane asked, a look of pure disgust marring her otherwise beautiful features.

“Yeah, dude. What the hell?” Greg added.

“You’re kidding me, right?” Luke asked. “This thing is awesome!”

 “No, Luke. That thing is vile. Now what the hell is it?” Jane scrambled around to stand behind the couch as Luke placed his latest find on the coffee table.

 “It’s a Baboon leg lamp.” He grinned from ear to ear.

 “Like, made from an actual Baboon leg?” Jane stared at him in horror.

 “Yes! Isn’t it amazing?”

“No.” Greg said. “It should be on some show, like taxidermy gone wild or terrible taxidermy. That thing is just too weird.”

“It’s giving me the willies, Luke. Take it back.” Jane demanded.

Luke stared at them. “You guys really don’t like it? You’re not just bullshitting me?”

“No. I really don’t like it.” Jane and Greg said in unison.

 “Fine. But the store’s closed now. I’ll have to take it back tomorrow.”

“It can’t stay here.” Jane was staring at it, revulsion etched on her face. “Seriously, I don’t want to look at it.”

“I’ll keep it in my room.”

“That’s fine. Just don’t expect me to stay in your room tonight.” Jane headed down the hall to her room.

 Luke looked at Greg, who was still staring at the lamp, his Xbox game completely forgotten.

“Not sure what you were thinking there, bro. This one’s strange even for you.”

Luke had the reputation of being a little odd. Usually Jane didn’t mind the weird stuff he brought home. He couldn’t understand why she was so repulsed by the lamp. When he’d seen it as his favorite shop, Eccentricities, he couldn’t resist it. He didn’t usually go in for dead animal art, but this lamp had spoken to him. He put the lamp in his room and went back into the kitchen. Jane had already started making dinner and he slipped his arms around her from behind.

“I’m sorry, babe. I didn’t know it would upset you so much. I’ll take it back first thing tomorrow.”

Jane turned in his arms and snuggled against him. “Thank you.”

 “Any idea why it freaks you out so bad?”

Jane looked up at him. “You’re probably going to think this is silly, but do you remember that story- The Monkey’s Paw? It reminds me of that. A dead shriveled monkey’s paw.”

 Luke chuckled. “It’s not shriveled. Whoever did the taxidermy didn’t do a bad job.”

Jane pulled away. “Whatever. Just get rid of it. And for the love of Bob, don’t make any wishes on it.”

That night he pulled out the lamp. Jane had made him put it in the closet because it was freaking her out so badly. Luke studied it. Really, the taxidermy was well done. The leg looked alive, as if it had just walked right off the baboon. For a brief moment he wondered how one went about getting a severed baboon leg. He thought about how Jane had compared it to the monkey paw in that story. Honestly, he only vaguely remembered the story anyway. She was the English major, he was the Zoologist. He chuckled about her admonition about wishing on it. But, what the hell, it was worth a shot, right?

He held the lamp, closed his eyes and wished for the one thing he wanted that he hadn’t gotten so far. He wished to see Africa. He’d been in love with Africa since he could remember. He gobbled up nature programs and documentaries about the continent. He’d studied the animals and culture. Someday, he was going to visit there. He set the lamp back inside the closet. Then he went to Jane’s room and crawled in beside her.

“It’s in the closet?” she asked.

“Yes, Jane. The lamp can’t get you.”

“It’s not funny, you jerk! There’s something wrong with that lamp.” She turned over and faced away from him. He lay there on his back until he drifted off.

The next thing he knew he was racing across the African plains in pursuit of a small wounded antelope. He could smell the earth, the blood, the heat. His veins were throbbing with the blood coursing through him and his mind was full of the thrill of the hunt. He realized he was loping more than running. An odd two legged lope, using the knuckles of his hands to help propel him forward. He looked sideways and saw that he was part of a troop of baboons. Then his mind went back to the hunt.

As they drew in on their prey, his excitement mounted, as did that of the rest of his troop. The antelope fell and they sprang onto it, ripping it with their teeth, tearing at it with claws. Then, danger. Another troop of baboons was approaching. Luke stood up and raced towards them. He and their leader circled one another, yawning widely to show off their sharp teeth. He flicked his eyelids at the other baboon, aggressively. But the other didn’t back down. He flew at him with a shriek of rage and there were more teeth and claws, ripping, tearing. He was soaked in the blood of his challenger. He was victorious!

Luke awoke abruptly. The first thing he realized was that he was on the floor. The second was that he felt wet and sticky. His heart pounding in his chest, he stood and flicked on the light. Jane’s room was soaked in blood and so was Luke. Jane’s body lay in the center of the bed, ripped open and lifeless. Greg’s body lay beside the bed, also lifeless. Both looked like they’d been attacked by a wild animal. Luke moaned and slid down the wall, putting his head in his hands. He shook with horror, unable to believe the scene before him. Suddenly he remembered the moral of The Monkey’s Paw. Be careful what you wish for. His screams rent the night.

Hope you enjoyed it. And remember- be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meet Richard Lee Byers

I met Richard on the Masters of Horror Facebook group. I'm not going to tell you again how you should join that group if you haven't already (but you so should!). He had just released his book and was looking for reviewers. Well, you know me, I will do almost anything for a free book. So we struck up an email conversation and Richard sent a copy of his book, The Q-word and Other Stories. All I will say here is that I loved this book. Loved it. You can read my review over at See Spot Read.

And on to the interview itself~

1.) How long have you been writing?

 I made my first sale in 1986.

2.) Are you a full time author or do you have a day job or side jobs?

I think of myself as a full-time writer, but for the past couple years, I’ve had a second job as an online teacher. I originally took the job to pay off some medical bills more quickly. About the time I accomplished that, the economy took a downturn and my writing income took a downturn right along with it. So I’m keeping the teaching gig until things turn around.

3.) Is this your fist collection of short stories? What do you like or dislike about writing shorts?

This is my first collection. I like writing short fiction for a couple different reasons. One is that a short story is finished before it wears me out or I get sick of it. That’s not always true of a novel. Another is that a short story is manageable. Although it may be an illusion, I feel like I can tinker with it and polish it until it’s perfect. Whereas even when I sense that a novel’s going well, I never feel like I can make it flawless. There’s just too much material for me to hold it all in my head at once and balance, and refine it in the same way.

4.) You have several traditionally published works, what made you decide to go the Indie route with this book?

First off, though I have done a lot of traditionally published work, I’m not a superstar, and the New York houses are often able to contain their enthusiasm for short-story collections by lesser lights. But over the years, I’ve done a lot of short fiction I’m proud of. So, with epublishing so easy and inexpensive, why not give readers another chance to discover those stories, and sweeten the deal with a new one while I’m at it?

5.) The stories in this collection are mainly fantasy. Is that your preferred genre?

I love both fantasy and horror, and I think many of my stories actually straddle the line. The ones labeled as fantasy often have scary passages, and the ones labeled as horror often contain adventure and wonder.

6.) What I really like about these stories is the wonderful sense of humor that comes through. I don't care what genre one is writing/or reading- a little bit of humor is always a plus. Do you always display this humor? Do people tell you you're a funny guy?

I do joke around a lot, and my friends seem to think I’m funny. Although it’s possible they’re only humoring me.

7.) What is your writing routine?

I get up and write every day Monday through Friday. I stop when I meet my quota of new words. More often than not, that’s 1500. That seems to be a reasonable target for me to hit. I’m not slacking off, but it doesn’t kill me, either. When I have a tight deadline, though, my quota sometimes goes a lot higher. And I make it. I’m just miserable while I’m doing it.

8.) Have you always been a fan of fantasy?

Yes, pretty much. I was lucky enough to grow up right when publishers like Ace, Lancer, and Ballantine were bringing a lot of fantasy back into print, so I had the opportunity to discover the genre. If I’d been a few years older, I might still have gotten into science fiction, but maybe not all the dragons-and-magic stuff.

9.) What other authors inspire you?

Many. But I think my greatest influences are probably still the writers I loved growing up, so I’ll list some of them: Fritz Leiber, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Roger Zelazny, Karl Edward Wagner, Alexandre Dumas, H. G. Wells, and Raymond Chandler.

10.) What advice would you give to newbie writers out there?

You absolutely have to make yourself write on a regular schedule. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

You also have to make sure you finish the stories you start. Maybe not all of them, but most.

There’s plenty of information available on the craft and business of writing. Go get it. Otherwise, you’re starting out with a huge handicap.

Be courteous and professional in all your dealings, even if you feel that editors and publishers are being less than courteous and professional in their dealings with you.

Don’t give up.


Richard Lee Byers is the author of over thirty fantasy and horror novels, including a number set in the Forgotten Realms universe. A resident of the Tampa Bay area,, he spends much of his leisure time fencing and playing poker.

You can also buy The Q Word and Other Stories as well as his other books on Amazon.

You can also by The Q Word and Other Stories on all platforms at Smashwords.

Email Richard here, read his blog here, Friend him on Facebook, and Follow him on Twitter.

Hope you enjoyed this interview!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sample Sunday

Apparently #SampleSunday is a "thing" on twitter. So, while I'm not often a follower, I decided I have been really neglecting this Author blog so I'll play along. I'm giving you another sample of my WIP (no title yet). This will be the third scene put up so far (the others were on the WIP page), but I keep putting them up in random order. Either they are good enough that they leave you craving more and you'll buy the book when its published, or you'll be so confused by the random scenes that you'll have to buy the book in order to figure it out. Either way, you buy the book. It's a total win/win for me! *chuckles evilly and rubs hands together* What? Diabolical scheme? Who me?

Now do remember this has not been to either editor or proofreader yet (except for my kids) so its all raw footage, so to speak. Without further ado or disclaimers- here you go:

I must have dozed off at this point, for the next thing I remember is the carriage pulling to a halt in front of an inn in a modest town. Jonathon and Jacob dismounted and the coachman helped us from the carriage. The village was called Hamby. The inn itself was humble but clean and had a small private dining room we could gather in to eat a simple repast and quench our thirst. My legs were glad of the chance to stretch and walk about a bit. Everyone was growing weary of travel. Even Claire’s excitement seemed to have dimmed with the tedium of the road.  The food was plentiful and delicious. A smiling serving girl hovered about us filling mugs and replenishing plates. No one spoke until we had eaten our fill.

“Have you any idea how much farther we have to go today Jacob?” Claire asked.

 “I do not,” Jacob said. “I do not think it is far though. I would say another hour or two at most. We should be there before nightfall.”

“Where is it ye be goin’ if ye don’t mind me askin’?” the serving girl said.

 “We journey to a house known as Starkraven, it is owned by a friend of ours.”

The girl’s eyes grew wide as saucers and a look of sheer terror crossed her face.

 “Ye can’t be serious sir! No one resides at Starkraven! Well, no one living at least.” The girl’s face had paled and held no trace of humor. It was easy to see that she meant what she said and truly believed there were ghosts there. The pit of my stomach began to burn.

 Jacob eyed her with barely concealed disdain. “Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “The house has recently passed into my friend’s hands and he has already traveled there to prepare for us.”

 The girl shook her head and then cast her glance about the room. Her eyes settled on me and she said “No good can come of this. There are some places that’s jest evil and nothin’ or no one can change that. Darkness stalks the hall of that house and nothin’ but tragedy comes to those what stay there. If ye have any care for yerselves at all, ye’ll go back the way ye come and not even set yer eyes on Starkraven.”

With that, she turned on her heel and left the room swiftly. We all sat in stunned silence for a moment. I sat there shaking. That was twice that I’d heard dire warnings to stay away from Starkraven. Twice I had been singled out and warned. Even the thought of a few days with Charles could not overcome the fear I felt in that moment.

“I think we should go home.” The words were said so quickly and quietly that I was not even certain I had uttered them aloud. I must have, for Claire was quick to respond.

 “On the words of a country serving girl? How silly Olivia. We knew that the locals would be scared of the house; her words should come as no surprise. Nor should they have any impact on our intent.” I could tell by her tone that she was angry, both with me and with the serving girl. Claire hated for anyone to go against her will. I knew that she would not let anything change her plans. And yet, I had to try.

 “It is not just her words Claire.” I said softly. “I have had ill feelings about this adventure from the very beginning. I cannot explain these misgivings for they are not based on facts just feelings. Call it intuition if you must.”

 “Well, for someone with dire misgivings about our plan you went about it well enough. You’re just being silly like always. You’re always timid and fearful. But things always work out. I have not gotten you into serious trouble yet and this is no exception. I will not call a halt to this escapade for your misgivings or a serving girl’s superstitious beliefs.”

“It is not just either of those Claire. There’s more. There’s something I haven’t told any of you.” I looked down at my hands where they lay in my lap twisting my napkin relentlessly.

“Oh for heaven’s sake” Claire sighed. “Out with it then. What’s your big revelation?”

“Do you remember the girl I told you all about? The one who can foretell futures and speak with the dead?” I looked about the room. Jonathon and Jacob stood silent and stony faced by the fireplace. Elizabeth was looking down and Claire stared at me with her eyebrow cocked. Only Nan and Phoebe seemed to be giving my words any credence. Nan reached down and took my hand in hers.

“Go on Olivia. I remember her.” She said.

“I met her. When I was with my Aunt on Tuesday, I met Emma. She came up to me on the porch of one of the orphanages and she just stared at me at first. Then she grabbed my hand and began begging me not to go! She told me the house was evil and said she could see danger and madness and death in my future. She knew. She knew about our going to Starkraven!” I burst into tears so overcome with fear was I.

Claire sighed. “Oh Olivia. I’m sorry I was cross with you.” She came and sat beside me and took my other hand. “But you’re getting yourself worked up over nothing. There’s no way this Emma child knew of our plans. No way she could have. I am convinced that she was just having a bit of sport with you. You’re so gullible that you make yourself an easy target for this sort of thing. Really, foretelling the future, talking to ghosts? It’s not real. None of it. The locals are a silly superstitious lot and of course they have their stories and ghost tales. But I assure you none of its real. We’ll be fine. And we’ll have a very pleasant time banging around the old house and exploring. Why can you even imagine what treasures we’ll find?” Her cheerfulness had returned and Claire was very hard to resist when she was smiling.

 I was still frightened. She hadn’t been there when I’d seen Emma. She didn’t see the intensity in her eyes or the sheer terror she’d tried to convey. But what could I do? We only had one carriage and Claire was determined to go forward with her plan. I nodded my head and tried to force a smile to my face.

“Well then. That’s settled.” Claire smiled and we all began to gather our belongings in order to continue on our way. We had to pass through the large taproom on our way to the door. As we did so, all conversation ceased and all eyes turned to stare at us. I was greatly unnerved, but Claire put her arm around me and guided me to the door and into the stable yard.

We continued on our way though conversation was nearly nonexistent within our carriage. Each of us seemed lost in our own thoughts and Phoebe gripped my hand so tightly I feared she’d leave bruises. I knew then that she was as scared as I but neither of us dared to cross Claire again. I no longer tried to cheer myself but surrendered myself to my ill feelings and premonitions. It was beyond my control. I could only try to stay calm and pray that I was mistaken and Claire had the right of things.

If you enjoyed it~ leave a comment.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meet Armand Rosamilia

I met Armand Rosimila through the Masters of Horror Facebook group. If you are a writer in the horror genre and you haven't joined this group, the question is why? Its a great group, very supportive, very caring and informative. But back to Armand. Armand is not only a writer, with several books, stories and anthologies under his belt; he's also an editor and publisher. He works with Rymfire Ebooks. And the more I get to know about Armand, the more I like him. You can read my review of the latest anthology he's edited, Undead of Winter, over at See Spot Read.

1. How long have you been writing?

All of my life. I wrote horrible stories as a kid that I would subject my mother to, trying to compete with her love of King and Koontz. I had a couple of horror short stories published when I was younger but they never amounted to much and I never kept the momentum going. Within the last  four or five years I've taken this a bit more serious, with being a publisher and an author.

2. How long have you been publishing?

I did a magazine in the mid-90's called Black Moon Magazine for a couple of years, then I didn't do anything until 2005 when I started Carnifex Press, which had some great books released but a horrible manager (me). It was What Not To Do As A Publisher 101, and it taught me a lot. When I started helping out Rymfire eBooks in 2009 I never dreamed I would be taking it over myself, but I'm glad I did.

3. What got you started in the publishing business?

 I was/am a huge Heavy Metal fan, and I read every cheesy fanzine back in the day and always wanted to do it myself. I decided to do it. The same thing with horror: I thought about the books and stories I was interested in reading, and when i didn't find them I created them.

4. Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?

I grew up reading my mother's huge horror paperback collection. I'm more of a horror reader than movie guy. I love the written word to get you scared more than some slasher film.

5. For your anthologies, what is the average number of submissions you receive and how long does it take you to sort through them?

On average we get over a hundred submissions, and each anthology takes 6-8 weeks to sort through... I read bunches of stories in spurts, putting them into different 'piles' until i find the best stories.

6. What led you to the indie scene?

 For me, the best stories always came from the indie scene, the same with Heavy Metal music. Reading Dean Koontz was great as a kid but I wanted to read more and fins something a bit more extreme and something that wasn't cookie-cutter writing. I'm on a constant search for the hungry authors out there, willing to push the envelope with their work.

7. What scares you personally? Any silly phobias?

They aren't silly to me, haha... I have an irrational fear of dogs, afraid of heights, midget zombie strippers...

8. What authors would you say influenced you the most?

As a kid it was definitely Dean Koontz and Robert E. Howard... the guys that inspired me in recent years and showed me that I could write what I really wanted to write were Brian Keene, Scott Nicholson, John Everson, Gord Rollo, Douglas Clegg... I could keep going...

9. How did you come up with the current anthology, Undead of Winter: An Extreme Undead Release?

Seriously, I've always wondered how the cold would affect zombies and these stories answer that question! The anthology got its original start because I wrote a story with the same name about Darlene Bobich, a character I've explored in several short stories ("Anything But Lucky" in Daily Bits of Flesh 2011 by Pill Hill Press and "Rear Guard" bonus short story in "Highway To Hell" extreme zombie novella from Rymfire eBooks) and she stars in the extreme zombie novella "Dying Days"... I decided that the concept of zombies in winter was a cool one, and figured I'd throw it out there and see what happens... and i was pleasantly surprised at the amount of great stories that came in! Choosing the eight that made it with my story was tough...

10. What advice would you give to newbie authors or publishers?

Write, write and write some more... realize that you need practice... finish that book and then start on the next one and never give up... find people that you trust to read and edit your work and have them be brutally honest... and then write some more...

Armand is a NJ native who's living in Florida right now. He lives with his three children, fiance Kim and her son and way too many pets. You can visit him on the web:

Armand's website
Armand's Facebook
Armand's Twitter

Hope you've enjoyed meeting Armand as much as I have!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Meet Scott Niven

Scott is the author of three self-published books; Twilight Candleflies, Sunset Lavaflies & Midnight Fireflies. Each book contains three tales of speculative fiction. And all three are well worth the price. You can read my review at See Spot Read.

I can't remember just how I met Scott, but I've come to know him over the last month or so, and he's not only a great author, he's a genuinely nice guy. Which makes doing an author interview and review a pleasure. So without further ado~ the interview:

1.) How long have you been writing?

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was 12, I attempted to create an epic fantasy series along the lines of Lord of the Rings. I've still got the 5 mini-books I created for the series, and the first one has a date on it of April 10, 1981. So let's go with April 10, 1981!

2.) Do you write full time or do you have another job?

I'd love to be writing full-time, but currently I'm a typical 8-5 worker who moonlights as an author. I'm fortunate, though, in that I love my day job as a web designer at NC State University. The work involves a certain level of creativity which I enjoy, plus working on a college campus (which also just happens to be my alma mater) keeps me feeling young.

3.) Are these books; Sunset Lavaflies, Twilight Candleflies and Midnight Fireflies your first published work?

These are my first books, but I've had several short stories published over the years. My first published work was in a now defunct mystery magazine titled "Murderous Indent". It was a great magazine. I have no idea of its circulation, but it appeared in my local Barnes & Noble a couple of times. Definitely a huge thrill to walk in a bookstore and see a magazine with one of my stories in it!

4.) What made you decide to go the Indie route?

My manager at NC State mentioned that Amazon had started allowing authors to self-publish their work. He knew I wrote in my spare time, and thought I should publish some of my stories. I did some research and realized there really wasn't any reason NOT to self-publish, especially since I'd probably never convince a publisher to book out a book of short stories by an unknown author. I'm now very happy I self-published, because I've met lots of great new writer friends (including you!) and I've received enough positive feedback to encourage me to attempt something longer.

5.) You call your books Science Fiction/Fantasy but I would say at least some of the stories have a horror element. Like "Every So Often in Ducere, Nevada". Do you agree or disagree?

Oh, I definitely agree. Ever since I got it in my head to self-publish, I've had trouble labeling my work. I put speculative fiction on my three books, but I've received questions from several people asking what "speculative fiction" was. So lately I've been describing myself as a science fiction/fantasy author. But I think if I was going to be honest I should label myself as a science fiction/fantasy/horror/mystery/thriller writer, since I've written several stories that fit in each of those genres. I'll probably never write anything that will horrify readers as much as some of H.P. Lovecraft's stories horrified me (his story with Brown Jenkin still frightens me when I think of it), but I do hope I'm able to weave in some material that disturbs readers and gets in their heads from time to time.

6.) What scares you personally? Do you have any silly phobias?

See question 5 above: Brown Jenkin.  :-)  I also don't care for yellow jackets all that much, but I've had to swallow that fear so that I can seem fearless to my son. One way I scare myself on purpose is with a show called Coast to Coast AM that plays nationally on AM radio stations over night. The show discusses a huge variety of topics, from extra-terrestrials to ghosts to possession and so on. I sometimes turn it on as I'm falling asleep, then wake up in the night to hear some ghost-chasers playing a recording of a ghost boy saying something like "help me" or "why did you leave?" I usually can't get back to sleep for awhile after that.

7.) What is your writing routine?

I'm a single parent, so my writing schedule is scattered across the board. On the weeks when I have my son, I try to fit in some writing in the evenings, and sometimes during lunch. On the weeks when I don't have him, I'm usually able to get in a couple of hours each night, with longer sessions during the weekends.

8.) Have you always been a fan of Scifi/Fantasy?

Yes. I grew up reading mainly Fantasy with some Stephen King and a few other random authors thrown in for good measure. At some point in high school I began enjoying Science Fiction, then lots of other genres followed soon after, but I usually always return to Fantasy and Science Fiction.

9.) What other authors inspire you?

Well, I love Tolkien. Probably lots of people say that, but how can you not be impressed with what he accomplished? I love looking through the appendixes at the end of "Return of the King". When you dig through that, you realize just how detailed and fleshed-out his books were. I also love Patricia McKillip. More people need to read her fantasy books! Stephen King also inspires me, mainly because he thought his original stories weren't that good, but then once they got published he realized that readers loved them. 

10.) What advice would you give to newbie writers out there?

Well, I'm planning on writing a blog post about this soon, but I had an epiphany last week at the beach. And the epiphany was: I can write anything I want. Yes, it sounds simple, but I used to always evaluate if I thought this story idea or that story idea would be marketable to a magazine or publisher. But now, if I've got an idea that's stuck in my head that wants to be turned into a story, I have no , I have no barriers. If I write it, I can publish it. The world may not like it, but I'm no longer constrained by the "publishability" of my stories. That thought gives me a huge sense of freedom, and I think it's a though that everyone can benefit from - especially newbie writers.

About the Author

Scott Niven was born in 1969, but he still hasn't grown up. He loves being a parent though, so he pretends to be a grownup when he's with his son.

Scott's been writing in one form or another for over 25 years. He has published 3 books: Twilight Candleflies, Sunset Lavaflies, and Midnight Fireflies. His short stories have appeared in various publications, including the literary journal Pembroke Magazine. He was also a finalist in the prestigious L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.

When Scott's not writing or spending time with his son, he enjoys snapping forgettable photos, running through his neighborhood, and hopping on airplanes. He's visited 39 states, 15 national parks, and sadly, 0 foreign countries.

When Scott grows up, he hopes to become an astronaut. If that doesn't work out, his fallback dream is to make a living writing.  |  facebook  |  twitter  |  kindle  |  nook

I hope you all enjoyed meeting Scott Niven as much as I have! Now show him some love and follow him & buy his books!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Meet Olivia

Olivia is the narrator of my current work in progress, which I think will be a novella. An historical haunted house novella. Its a huge departure from my usual work, but Olivia wouldn't let me be until I started telling her story. The vast majority of the other writers reading this will know exactly what I mean. And the story? Well its pretty much writing itself most days, which is good, but then there will be the editing.

Olivia is a 19 year old girl who wants what all 19 year old girls want; to be thought pretty and smart, to have a handsome guy fall in love with her, to spend time with her friends and for her parents to treat her like an adult. But Olivia's major problem is peer pressure. She has a clique of friends and Claire is the Queen Bee (think mean girls for the Victorian set). And Claire always gets what she wants. Even though Olivia knows deep inside her, that something is wrong with Starkraven, she lacks the backbone to stand up to Claire and halt her plans. There's a price to pay for not believing in yourself, and for Olivia, it's a high price indeed.

I'm posting another excerpt to my WIP on the WIP page. I hope you'll all check in with Olivia and come to worry about her as much as I do.


*Photo was taken from; user Lady_Dark_Vader