Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet Carson Buckingham

I met Carson through email, but have been lucky enough to become friends. I was delighted when she asked me to read and review her novella, Home. You can read my review over at See Spot Read. If you haven't- you really should. Then you should scramble to purchase your copy of Home.

Carson is a very interesting lady. She not only writes horror, she writes humorous fiction as well, and I can certainly attest that it is humorous. I frequently giggle-snort (my highest form of compliment) over her blogs. So without further ado, the interview:

1. How long have you been writing?
Since age five, when I created picture books with homemade construction paper covers and sold them to discerning family members as “great literature.”

2. Do you write full time? If not, what is your day job?
I do not yet write full time, though this is what I am striving for.  I decline to discuss my “day” job.

3. Is this your first published novel?
Yes it is, though it was the second long work that I created.  I have been in a handful of anthologies, am I am presently shopping the first novel I wrote, entitled, GOTHIC REVIVAL.

4. What do you find is the hardest thing about writing a novel?
Absolutely nothing.  The hard part, for me, is promoting it.

5.What scares you personally? Do you have any silly phobias?
No phobia is “silly.”  To those unfortunates plagued with phobias, they are very real, and I have nothing but sympathy for the sufferers.  Though I do not have phobias, Alzheimer’s and blindness do worry me.

6. What is your writing routine?
Sit down, turn on the computer and write.

7. Have you always been a fan of horror?
Actually, as a child, I was unable to read horror stories or view horror films because I found them deeply disturbing—even “Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein.”  I was easily frightened as a child---even the Wicked Witch of the West scared the crap out of me!  But now I find that I am very difficult to frighten by books or movies.  F. Paul Wilson’s THE KEEP was the first horror novel I ever read, so that got me started.  Ray Bradbury’s work made me want to become a writer—the beautiful and terrible things he could do with the mere arrangement of words.  Such intelligent power truly inspired awe in me, and a strong desire toward emulation.

8. What other authors inspire you?
Bradbury, Poe, T.M.Wright, Charles L. Grant, Bentley Little, and Maeve Binchy.

9. I know you had a hard road with Home. After your experience, what advice would you give to other writers when looking for a publisher?
Do a little research.  Find out how long your prospective publisher has been around.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  If the publisher is reticent to answer them, run!   Ask for a list of authors they have published, and contact them to find out if they had a good experience working with the publisher you're considering.  Make use of the Preditors & Editors site—you can save yourself some heartache that way, too.

10. What advice would you give to newbie writers out there?
Just stay with it. Find time to write every day. Read every book about the craft of writing that you can find.  Read voraciously in general.  You cannot become a writer if you are not first a reader. Be observant and cultivate your memory.  A writer is someone who knows a little about a lot.


Carson Buckingham knew from childhood that she wanted to be a writer, and began, at age six, by writing books of her own, hand-drawing covers, and selling them to any family member
who would pay (usually a dime) for what she referred to as “classic literature.” When she ran out of relatives, she came to the conclusion that there was no real money to be made in self publishing,
so she studied writing and read voraciously for the next eighteen years, while simultaneously collecting enough rejection slips to re-paper her living room…twice.
When her landlord chucked her out for, in his words, “making the apartment into one hell of a downer,” she redoubled her efforts, and collected four times the rejection slips in half the
time, single-handedly causing the first paper shortage in U.S. history. But she persevered, improved greatly over the years, and here we are.

Carson Buckingham has been a professional proofreader, editor, newspaper reporter, copywriter, technical writer, and comedy writer. Besides writing, she loves to read, garden, and collect
autographed photographs of comedians she loves, as well as life masks of horror movie icons. She lives in Arizona with her wonderful husband in a house full of books, orchid plants, and pets.

Carson Buckingham--Author of HOMESample or purchase HOME (EBOOK):
Sample or purchase HOME (PAPERBACK):
Carson Buckingham's Smashwords Author Profile:


Monday, October 24, 2011

Meet Glen Krisch

I met Glen through email. He'd read a review I wrote for Ania Ahlborn's book, Seed, and liked the review. You can read that review here in case you missed it. Glen asked if I'd like to review his book, Where Darkness Dwells, and you know me and free books, so of course I said yes. It wasn't until after that, that I learned what a well established author Glen actually was. You can read my review of Where Darkness Dwells over at See Spot Read. Then come on back and chat with Glen.

1.) How long have you been writing novels?

I started my first novel in high school, but wrote about 100 pages before I lost momentum. In college I created an independent study for novel writing. I was able to work on a novel while getting college credit. How cool is that? After college, I honed my skills on short stories for a few years before diving back into novels.

2.) Do you write full time? If not, what is your day job?

It would be a dream come true if I could write and edit full time. Some day, Stacey, some day! In mean time, I work a menial warehouse job. It pays the bills and allows time for my mind time to wander.

3.) Is this your first published novel?

Where Darkness Dwells is my second novel. My first novel, The Nightmare Within, is also available in all ebook formats.

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

After losing three years to what I thought was a publishing deal, I decided to publish The Nightmare Within on my own. I'd been a longtime fan of JA Konrath and Scott Nicholson (both their novels and blogs), so it just made sense. I went into much longer detail in a blog entry of my own. If anyone wishes to read about the beginnings of my indie journey, that entry is here.

5.) How did you come up with the idea for Where Darkness Dwells?

About five years ago, even though the economy was clicking on all cylinders, I had the wild idea that it would soon go down the toilet (imagine that!). I became fascinated with the Great Depression, and so I started researching the topic. Once I opened that can of worms, I came across other topics that pulled me in: hobos, the civil war and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1851, old mining towns and small family farms, etc. The more I investigated, the more layers I added to my burgeoning plot. Somehow it all came together. At least that's what readers have told me so far.

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

The only thing that really scares me these days is the death of a loved one. I tend to try to control everything in my life, but that's something that is totally out of my hands.

I wouldn't call it exactly agoraphobia, but I tend to be rather antisocial. Weeks or months can go by without me realizing I haven't been out in public except for going to work and the grocery store. I'm uncomfortable around people in general, even family and friends. I guess being a hermit works well with my chosen profession.

7.) What is your writing routine?

My day job takes me away from writing three days of the week. The other four days, I try to get in a long stretch at the keyboard after I drop off our two oldest kids at school. We have a two-month old at home, so if the baby says I can't write at a given time, I pretty much have to listen to his whims.

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

I'm a horror fan, but not necessarily a fan of typical horror tropes. I like to read and write dark fiction that reveals the frailty of humanity that is in us all. Even the most innocent person has shades of gray. If there are zombies or the apocalypse in a story, fine, but the characters better be strong, life-like creations or I'll pass. There are too many good books to allow myself to get bogged down in a thin plot with cardboard characters.

9.) What other authors inspire you?

This list is long and always changing and expanding, but these names are entrenched in my list of favorite authors:
Stephen King
Tim Lebbon
Gary Braunbeck
Dan Simmons
Tom Piccirilli
Joe Lansdale
Cormac McCarthy
Greg Gifune
Robert McCammon

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

Learn what makes a good sentence and then string a bunch of them together. If you can't make your words sing, or at least get them to hum in tune for a bar or two, perhaps writing isn't your destiny. To make them sing, study other writers who make it work. Read, write, edit. Repeat as often as humanly possible.


I have written three novels: The Nightmare Within, Where Darkness Dwells, and Nothing Lasting. My short fiction has appeared in publications across three continents for the last decade. Dog Horn Publishing (U.K.) will publish my story collection debut in 2011. I am also an editor for Morrigan Books. As a freelance editor, I have worked on books by Tim Lebbon and Lawrence Block, among others.

I enjoy speaking with other readers & writers. Feel free to drop by:

I hope you all enjoyed my chat with Glen as much as I did.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Zombies. 'Nuff said.

We have some wicked outlandish conversations at my house. Its pretty much the norm, as a matter of fact. Well, while my husband was in the hospital, my son, Sean, came to visit every day. As hubby slept a lot, I was glad of the company. While we were watching what passes for TV there, an advertisement for a documentary on the zombie phenomenon in pop culture came on. And this conversation ensued~

Me: I hope we're home by then, because I totally want to watch that.

Sean: Me too. Just to laugh at your generation's ideas about zombies.

Me: 'Scuse me?

Sean: You know, now that my generation has actual fact to support zombies. We were raised with enough knowledge of DNA, genomes and molecular mutation (I must admit that at this point all I heard was blah, blah, blah) that we understand how zombies could happen and why they aren't really dead.

Me: I'm not really sure what you just said, but I think you're full of sh*t.

Sean: I'm not full of sh*t. I'm just smarter than you.

Me: I'll give you that you have a higher IQ, but that means nothing when it comes to zombies, because I'm like a freakin expert here. And zombies are too dead. They're the walking dead. Duh. Everyone knows that. They travel in hordes.

Sean: No they aren't. Zombies are live people who blah blah blah (sometimes he gets really technical and I kind of zone out).

Me: (Somehow, my brain has jumped the track and I'm off course) OMG. Do you think sharks could become zombies? I mean if dogs and cats can become zombies, then sharks could right? That's freakin scary. Or alligators! What's scarier than a freakin zombie alligator?!

Sean: Um. Sharks and alligators already attack people so I'm not sure they'd be any scarier as zombies than they already are.

Me: Oh. Well then let's pick something that doesn't already eat people. What about Giraffes? Pretty non-scary to begin with but all of a sudden, wham!! Scary!!

Sean: Giraffes are herbivores, they eat leaves and grass. So they'd just go around attacking trees. Not scary. Extremely goofy.

Me: It doesn't matter what you eat before you become a zombie. The mutation that causes zombiefication would cause a craving for flesh. Therefore, anything that became a zombie would eat flesh.

Sean: Their digestive systems couldn't handle flesh. They'd still eat leaves.

Me: They're dead! Do you think vegan zombies are going to go around eating beans? No! They're going to eat people.

Sean: But human digestive systems are equipped to eat meat. It's not a matter of evolution, its a matter of preference. Giraffes don't prefer leaves, they're genetically programmed to eat them.

Me: (jumping the track once more because its how I roll, peeps) Wait! Do you think if Giraffes "accidentally" ate flesh, they'd develop a craving for it? (I did do air quotes on the "accidentally")

Sean: Zombie giraffes or regular giraffes?

Me: Oh regular. Not zombie, live giraffes.

Sean: How is a giraffe going to "accidentally" ingest flesh?! I think you'd have to practically force feed it to them.

Me: Okay, so say a serial killer works at a zoo and he wants to dispose of a body so he cuts it up and mixes it with the giraffe's food.

Sean: I think if a serial killer worked at the zoo, there are far more likely animals to feed a body to. You know, like Lions or Tigers.

Me: Okay okay, so say he just accidentally gets some in the giraffe's food. Taste for flesh, or no?

Sean: I think it would get very sick, so no.

Me: Whatever. Man eating Giraffes. I think they're scary.

Sean: Nope. Just goofy.

Me: I hope it eats you while you're busy laughing at it.

I'm pretty sure there's a story in there somewhere. And you all might want to look a little closer next time you go to the zoo. Giraffes have really big teeth. Also, to this new generation, who thinks Zombies aren't dead- *blows raspberry*

And now, my writing horror makes total sense, doesn't it?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meet Robert Shane Wilson

I met Robert through a horror writer's group, yes it was Masters of Horror, how did you guess? When he asked me to review Shining in Crimson, I was thrilled. I had recently won a contest on his blog (I'm a serial contest enterer), and as the winner I had gotten a signed print copy of his novella, The Quiet. I enjoyed the novella very much, especially since I drive through Indy frequently and recognized all the highways. I think horror is that much more effective when there's something of the familiar thrown in.

You can read my review of his novel, Shining in Crimson, the first in the Empire of Blood series, over at See Spot Read. Go on, check it out.

And here's a little more about Robert:

1.) How long have you been writing?

9 years. But I’ve only been writing seriously for about 4. 

2.) Do you write full time? If not, what is your day job?

I’m working toward a goal of writing full time. Right now, me and my wife are in the process of starting a book preparation company that would provide editing, proofreading, and book/ebook formatting individually or all in one.

3.) Is this your fist published novel?

It is my first published full novel, however The Quiet: A Novella was my first published book.
4.) What made you decide to go the Indie route?

Honestly, I’ve been watching the publishing industry pretty closely for a couple of years now and learning all I can. When I started writing Shining in Crimson, my plan was to make it the best novel submission I could and by the time I was nearing the completion of it, the industry had changed so much that it seemed it would be in my best interest to self publish for many reasons. First and foremost the drop in quality that the industry has sustained as well as the continuous bad choices the larger publishing companies are making. There’s so much greed in the industry and so little is dropping down the ladder to the ones who made the industry possible in the first place: the writers.

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

I used to have a major phobia of storms, tornadoes particularly. Now a days, my biggest fear is for something to happen to one of my children.

6.) What is your writing routine?

Ha! Sporadic at best. At least, right now. I’ve gone and involved myself in so many projects that it’s really hard to make consistent time. But I’m working on that. I plan on finding time to get 50k of the sequel to Shining in Crimson done as my Nanowrimo this November even with all I have going on.

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

I have in one form or another, definitely. I find it interesting that it took writing a horror book to realize just how much of a fan I really am. I had tried to write pure fantasy and pure sci-fi before and none of those ideas stuck enough for me to really finish them. But then came the idea for Empire of Blood and I fell madly in love with it. I relish each new idea that goes into the story and fits like a puzzle piece that was meant to be. That’s hard for me to say, being a rigid skeptic. I don’t really believe in fate of any kind but I do believe in this story.

8.) What other authors inspire you?

Goodness, I could write a short novel worth of names. I’ll go with the short short list though: Stephen King’s work was my first love, so there’s no doubt there. Richard Matheson, Peter Watts, Philip K. Dick, Joe Hill--okay, it’s not going to keep being a short list if I keep going.

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

Don’t quit. Unless you want to. In which case you would no longer be a writer.

10.) Tell us a little bit about your charity anthology, Horror for Good.

I’m co-editor alongside Mark Scioneaux, so I wouldn’t call it mine so much as ours. The whole thing really just started from an FB post that he put up wanting to start an anthology and snowballed into this huge project for charity. We let the followers of our FB page vote on what charity we will be giving to and they chose amfAR an international AIDS research organization. It really is a great cause. 

But I think another awesome aspect of this anthology is that we wanted to show that horror writers aren’t just a bunch of crazies who only think about blood and gore and darkness. We have big hearts too, and not just in jars on our writing desks. And I think the amount of response from established and unknown horror authors, as well as readers of the genre, really shows that. 

To top all this off, RJ Cavender of Cutting Block Press has just signed on as our publishing consultant! Everyday a new and exciting development comes our way and makes me that much more proud to be a part of the horror community.

I hope that you will all take the time to check out the FaceBook page about the Horror for Good


Robert S. Wilson was born in Bloomington, Indiana during the blizzard of '78. His first taste for horror came from watching episodes of The Twilight Zone and the stories his mother told him of a supposedly haunted house his family once lived in. He is the author of Shining in Crimson, book one of his dystopian vampire series: Empire of Blood. His novella, The Quiet, appeared in the anthology Not in the Brochure: Stories of a Disappointing Apocalypse. He is currently working on book two of the Empire of Blood series and is co-editing the anthology, Horror for Good: A Charitable Anthology.

His free audio serial of Shining in Crimson includes music by himself and many other up and coming dark underground artists. His monthly free audio short story showcase titled Dead Audio: Dark Tales of Fiction begins October 2011 and features a story from a different author each month. The first story, Flies, is a unique and gruesome tale written by J.T. Warren.
Robert lives in Middle Tennessee with his wife and two kids and spends most of his time wondering where all the time went. Samples of his work as well as the free audio serial for Shining in Crimson can be found on his blog at and Dead Audio: Dark Tales of Fiction can be found at you can also find him and Shining in Crimson on Facebook at and

Hope you enjoyed meeting Robert Wilson as much as I did,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Are you a pantser or a plotter? I'm a planster...

I see a lot of discussion on whether or not writers are "plotters" or "pantsers", whether they write with full outlines and note cards and know each character by heart before they've written a word, or whether they just sit down and go with the flow. Me? I'm somewhere in between, in "planster" land.

I don't do note cards. I never have an outline written down. It just seems like a whole lot of work. But I do know a lot about my characters before I start writing. I get the initial story idea in my head and then I keep thinking about the character. How are they going to react? Why are they going to react this way? I work on that in my head, though. I don't write it down. Then I start writing.

And this may be where I differ from others. I don't sit down and write as much as I can at one time. I write one scene at a time.Why? Two reasons. The first is because the story plays out in my head as a movie. I see my characters, I see the scene. Then I write it down as best I can to help you, the reader, see it too. And I like to give myself time to see the next scene. And second, I've also found that the story changes somewhat if I give my brain extra time to process it. So basically, I'm a slow worker. But for longer stories, its what works best for me. And it's not that I never write two scenes in a day, sometimes I come back and do another scene in the afternoon. And maybe even one more before bed. I just don't do them all at once.

I'm also thinking about the story and the characters all the time in the back of my mind. My best ideas or plot points or even endings come to me in the shower. Weird, huh? I think it's one of the few places where I'm just relaxing and my mind is sort of blank. Then I get all excited and start plotting. (Note to self: no matter how excited you get, do not jump up and down in the shower. The resulting fall is painful.) So in that way, I do plot out a rough, unwritten outline. And it helps me to have a direction to go in with the next scene.

But I don't always know my characters as well as I think I do. Sometimes they surprise me. I was working on a (soon to be published) story and one of the characters revealed that she was a homosexual. I was a little shocked at first, because I didn't see it coming, but then I shrugged and went with it. Good for her, I thought. To sum it up, here's a conversation I had with my son~

Me: I hate that people don't do what I want. That's why I write.

Sean: So you can make your characters do what you want?

Me: exactly.

Sean: How's that working out for you?

Me: It's not. They don't listen to me either.

Sean: So, the made-up people in your head don't listen to you either?

Me: No one listens to me, Sean. No one.

And the one I had with my daughter~

Me: OMG! Guess what I just found out? Susie is gay!

Mo: Really?!

Me: I know right?! I can't believe I didn't know...

And yes, that was a conversation about a made up person. Thank goodness my children indulge, no, embrace my craziness.

So there you have it. I'm a plantster. What are you?