Saturday, December 24, 2011

Creepfest Winners!

Obviously, commenting on every post wasn't too hard, as I only wrote two. I gave my excuses on my other blog. Basically, though, it all boils down to the fact that this is the last Christmas that I know my kids will be home for. My youngest son is leaving for the Marines soon, and my son-in-law is leaving for the Air Force. No idea where either will be stationed next year. So I didn't want to miss a minute of this year. No one says at the end of their life, "Hey, remember that Christmas, the last one we were all together for? Remember how I was always working and missed most of it? Yeah, I should have done that more often." Nope.

But I did have a contest and there are winners!

Nora Peevey wins the copy of Satan's Toybox: Toy Soldiers! Congrats, Nora!

And I will be giving a free copy of Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls to Cindy Keen Renyders, Red Tash and Nora.

Thanks to everyone who visited my blog! Hope you all come back!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Meet Ruth Barrett...

Ruth is the author of the book, Base Spirits, a book I'm looking very forward to reading. Ruth and I met through the "12 Days of Creepfest" blog hop website. And I offered to do an interview, she reciprocated, (read that here) and so here we are. We found through our interview answers and several emails, that we are very much alike. I'm looking forward to getting to know my new friend Ruth, a little better once these crazy holidays are out of the way. But you can get to know something about this amazing lady right here.

1. How long have you been writing?
I've been writing stories since I was a young child. Apparently my Grade 2 teacher called my Mom to ask if she had written a story I handed in because it seemed 'too good'!

2. What's the first thing you had published?
I had a short story 'Family Secrets' published in an anthology "Wordscape 6" back in 2000.

3. Do you write full time or do you have a day job?
My day job is writing descriptive video scripts for TV and film so that visually impaired folks can enjoy a more complete experience of a program. Basically, I fill in the blanks and describe around the existing soundtrack so that they can visualize characters and setting, and understand key action that they'd otherwise miss. So far, fiction doesn't pay enough for me to do that full time. (So far... !)

4. What is your writing routine?
I don't really have a set routine. I tend to noodle ideas for a long time: make notes-- research-- gather bits and pieces. Once I have the ingredients of a project, I let it 'cook' in my mental crock-pot before I start a first real draft. Once I get going full-steam, I can lose whole days writing without feeling the time pass.

5. Have you always been a fan of the Horror genre?
I read a lot of Stephen King, Peter Straub and John Saul from the age of 12. I guess that's what's wrong with me!

6. What scares you? Any silly phobias?
No silly phobias. Heights are scary for a reason: if you fall from a height, it will maim or kill you. I am afraid of major illness. Again, that's not silly: I've had some pretty traumatic life-and-death situations involving hospitalization over the past few years. As for being freaked out by silly things like clowns or mice or spiders, not so much. Although clowns are pretty creepy. I'd rather have spiders in my house than a clown.

7. What other writers do you admire?
I love writers in every genre-- too many to mention. The above are obvious choices for the horror genre, but I adore Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Ian Rankin, Sarah Waters and Emma Donoghue among others. Classics like Shakespeare and Dickens and the Bronte sisters... I've read a bit of everything over the years.

8. What is your favorite thing about the indie movement?
The unwavering support and friendliness of other indie folks. It is NOT a competition. We all seem happy to push each other's stuff and help where we can. It's great to feel a part of a community.

9. Best writing advice you've ever been given?
When you write a first draft, don't give into the temptation to go back over and fiddle with it as you go. Just write it through start to finish and don't worry about inconsistencies or tangents. That is a discovery draft, and it's not meant to be seen by anyone but yourself. If you keep going back over it, all you'll do is second guess yourself to death and re-write the first 40 pages 63 times. That way madness lies: you'll never get it done. Write until it's finished, let it rest for a week, then go back over and start to rewrite and fine tune.

10. What advice would you give any newbies out there?
Hone your craft. Join a writers group or take courses. Read a LOT. Use beta readers (not just your Mom). Don't rush to put your work out before a paying audience until it's the best it can be: half-assed writing just cheats everyone. Have it edited, properly formatted and professionally presented. Just because it's an indie book that doesn't mean it can be substandard.

You can stalk, I mean follow, Ruth here: Twitter:!/LadyCalverley

You can find her book, Base Spirits, here: Amazon Kindle:
For a chilling ghostly read with a historical twist, Base Spirits is available as a paperback through Fanfare Books or Callan Books Ruth will personally inscribe them upon request before shipping.

Don't forget the contests: To win a copy of Toy Soldiers (when released), please leave a comment on every post between now and December 24th. To win a copy of Demonic Dolls, simply ask for one and promise to review it!

Don't forget to visit the other great blogs in this blog hop and win more prizes!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 (now 11) days of Creepfest...

So the "Twelve Days of Creepfest" started yesterday and I'm a day late. What? None of you are surprised? Rude. I don't know why I put up with you people...

What, you're now asking, is a Creepfest? It's a blog hop of course. I know, I know, now you're wondering what a blog hop is, aren't you? Well, so did I. It appears that it's a very good chance to check out other horror writer's (in this case) blogs and also to win prizes. For free. Did I mention that there were prizes to be won?

So, when you're finished here...hey! Come back, we aren't finished! You should check out all the other lovely (scary?) blogs that are listed at the bottom. Maybe you'll find some new blogs to read. Maybe you'll win some prizes. It's not like you're doing anything else right now...

So what kind of prize am I offering? Well, I think I'm going to run two contests and give away two prizes. Why? Because I'm feeling immensely relieved right now that I've just sent "Satan's Toybox: Toy Soldiers" to the formatter. I'm finished with the editing and compiling, and can finally come up for air. Want to know a secret? It's good. I mean, really good. Don't get me wrong, "Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls" is good. But I think I like Toy Soldiers even better. But to be fair (can't go playing favorites), I'm going to give away a free eBook of both. The winners will receive Smashwords coupons so that they can download in any format their little heart desires.

What do you have to do to win? Easy-peasy. To win a brand new, hot off the presses copy of "Satan's Toybox: Toy Soldiers", which releases on Monday, the 19th, you must leave a comment on every blog post between now and December 24th. The contest will end on December 24th and I will pick a winner, randomly, out of a hat, and announce said winner on the Christmas Eve blog post.

To win a copy of "Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls" you merely have to ask for one. And promise a review on either Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, or, of course, all three, if you're feeling generous. It would be way cool if you reviewed it on your blog, but I won't get too picky. Just leave a comment on any blog post between now and December 24th and I'll draw names out of a hat again.  The winner will be announced on the Christmas Eve blog post.
I have some fun things planned for the next few posts, including some author interviews (who are also doing give-aways), some fiction, and some rambling. So come back soon. Oh, and don't forget to go visit the other participants! You never know what you want to win- until you see it! I've posted the linked blogs at the bottom of this post. Have fun! Win big!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Meet Andrew Van Wey...

I met Andrew through email. He asked if I'd like to review his book, and of course I said "yes" because it's a book. A horror book. For free. I'll never turn those down. Ever.

The book turned out to be really creepy, really scary and an all around good read. You can find my review of it over at See Spot Read. Go on, take a gander, I'll wait. *taps toe, whistles to self, fidgets nervously* Oh good! You're back.

Without further ado- I'm going to let Andrew answer some questions-

How long have you been writing?

More or less since I figured out how to hold a pencil and construct a sentence.  Some of my earliest memories are of reading a story I wrote to whatever family member would listen, or having the teacher make me stand up and assault my classmates imagination with some silly thing I’d written for Creative Writing Week or whatever.  This process continued more or less throughout college and beyond and tends to slow down only during times of great frustration or the occasional hand cramp.

Is this your first published novel?

Yes, but it’s not my first written novel.  I don’t think anyone should ever see that atrocity. It lurks in a drawer like some ill born monster made of too many adverbs and swollen chapters, like some literary version of the little monster from the movie Basket Case.

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

I’ve had so many different jobs I can hardly remember them all.  I’ve worked for tech start ups, as a truck dispatcher, in retail stores, book stores, even for Apple and Google.  For the past several years I’ve lived and taught abroad, a job I find great satisfaction and enjoyment in.  Still, during all those jobs I maintained as close to a regular writing schedule as my finances, sanity, and social life allowed.  Writing is just something I do, a part of my day, and I always try to end it with more words written than when it started.

What is your writing routine?

I wish I had something that resembled a routine, but really it’s all chaos, or at least it feels that way in my head.  I have to be really sold on the idea, the plot, the characters, the whole package, and that takes a lot of time. Years in some cases.  There’s a lot of self loathing and second guessing during that time, a lot of half empty pages, note cards, and journals on the path to breaking the story.

Once the idea’s solid, the plot’s laid out, and I’m committed to the characters I suppose it’s a matter of isolation and pressure.  I prefer to write at night, when the world’s a little more quiet and distractions are limited.  I tend to binge write, and am perhaps a rather cranky fellow during those times, but that’s also when I’m the most productive.  I wish the image were more romantic, some cafe in Paris with a Moleskine and a sheet of paper and nothing but my genius spilling out.  Instead it’s usually me in a comfy pair of pajama pants, my music blasting, my ass in a chair, and some vague grin on my face as I mash the keys and bite my tongue like a caveman. 

What made you decide to go the indie route?

I suppose it’s because I don’t have to wait for the approval of others.  If the paradigm were different, or the time frame faster, I would still be sending off query letters, but the truth is there are millions of readers with Kindles, iPads, computers that I can reach directly.  I like that relationship.  Plus, the number of eReaders are increasing, the price is decreasing, some countries are even going paperless with their school curriculums in the coming two years.  Anyone with any foresight can see that members of the generation growing up will have a different relationship with books than most generations before.  I love paper books, but a lot of people are indifferent or even happier with their Kindle or Nook or iPad.  Being able to instantly reach even a fraction of that growing audience of early adopters is fascinating, and, frankly, a privilege.  To pass it up would, to me, be silly.

Forsaken is very dark, very scary, with some delicious twists. How did you come up with the idea?

Wow, thanks!

Haunted objects have always interested me, haunted art especially.  And the story of how some objects became haunted is equally fascinating.  A painting felt like a natural medium that could simultaneously evolve and visually change, while at the same time providing a back story for research.  Paintings and their interpretations are subjective to the viewer and the information the viewer has about the artist, and that relationship offers some tremendous opportunity of psychological transference.  Is the painting driving the viewer insane, or is the viewer bringing an underlying madness to his interpretation of the art?  What if both are correct?

Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?

Ever since I read Pet Semetary and saw Re-Animator I got a double barrel blast of terror at a very early age.  I was that kid at the video store who’d instantly go to the horror section.  My sleepover contributions were movies like Evil Dead, Shocker, A Nightmare on Elm Street, or Dawn of the Dead. 

I was lucky in that my parents never restricted my reading, not once, and let me read more or less anything I showed interest in, which was most often horror.  I think far too many parents get worried about what their kids are reading when the truth of it is what’s on the news and what kids are discussing at schools are far darker than what’s in most books.  I’m always amused when some family member proudly says they won’t let their child read Stephen King and I’m like: “Have you seen your kids Facebook page?  Cause it’s not all PG stuff going on there.”

What scares you personally? Do you have any silly phobias?

Enough to write a book.  I absolutely hate airplanes, which is ironic because I love traveling.  I’ve been to close to thirty countries and every single time the airplane takes off I’m sure it’s going to be my last.  My girlfriend says I look like a cat right before a bath.  I’m not sure how airplanes stay up but I’m sure it involves some witchcraft.

I’m also endlessly fascinated and frightened by memory, the human mind, and how our reality is essentially a fragile soft circuit board of electrical impulses and hormones held behind a bit of bone.  I’m absolutely terrified I’ll bump my head, scramble some synapses, and end out seeing flying meatballs in place of clouds.

Ultimately what truly scares me and keeps me up is generally reflected in my writing.  I’m fascinated by the intersection between the psychological and the supernatural.  I enjoy splatter horror and the occasional masked murderer chasing campers through the woods, but I prefer the lingering fear of the psychological married to the unexplainable.  That dark place Lovecraft described as the Fear of the Unknown, where the real becomes the surreal, whether it’s due to madness or the paranormal or both.

What authors do you admire?

Oh so many.  I admire J.K. Rowling not just as a storyteller but what her books did for literacy, encouraging a whole generation to read.  Stephen King, of course, due mostly to his early works, his struggle, and how prolific he is.  Bret Easton Ellis for his voice and utterly terrible characters that are fascinating to follow.  Ambrose Bierce, John Bellairs, Clive Barker, George RR Martin, too many to count.  But if I could choose only one it’d be early Stephen King.  The Shining, Pet Semetary, ‘Salem’s Lot, It, those books gave me the fascination with fear that I carry today.

What advice do you have for newbies out there?

That's tough.  I’m a newbie myself so my advice is simple: keep writing.  It took quite a few failed first drafts to break a story I felt worthy of sharing.  My other bit of advice would be: embrace technology and don’t be afraid that the printed word is changing.  Books will always be around, but looking back at CDs vs MP3s of the late 90’s, I think we’re entering a similar shift for storytelling.  There will always be people who prefer paper to digital, real ink to e-ink, just as there were people who prefered CDs better than MP3s and vinyl better than all of it, but the truth is you don’t see a lot of Walkman's and record players these days.  Embrace change, don’t be afraid of it, and at the end of the day do your best to tell a damn good story however you can.


Andrew Van Wey was born in Palo Alto, California, spent part of his childhood among the ruins and woods of New England, and currently lives abroad where he doubts his sanity on a daily basis.
When he’s not writing he’s probably hiking, playing video games, or sleeping with the light on.  He considers gelato and pizza to be a perfectly acceptable meal, and shorts to be business casual if paired with a scarf.
His girlfriend describes him as energetic and unfamiliar with brevity.  He describes himself in the third person.

He can be found online at: Twitter:!/andrewvanwey

Buy Forsaken at, Barnes &Noble or


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Apparently, I can't do it all...

That's right. As much as it pains me to have to admit it- I can't do it all. Something has to give. And I don't want to place any blame here but this is the conversation I had with my husband last night~

Me: I'm sorry I snapped on you earlier, but I just don't see why dinner is always my responsibility. With the exception of the baby, everyone else in this house is an adult and perfectly capable of cooking dinner. Except Molly, who burns soup.

Mike: I don't make the rules, baby. That's just how it is.

Me: Well, Luke works full time, I get that. Molly busts her butt around the house, doing dishes, laundry and keeping it straight. Sean does whatever I ask him too, although he could pitch in more. I work full time, even though it's from home. And you work full time, but I'm not really sure what you do around the house? You used to clean the cat boxes but Molly took that over and you used to do garbage, but Luke does that most of the time. What is your chore again?

Mike: I don't know, but if you think of one, let me know so I can pawn that off on someone else too!

We really did have this conversation. And he really was joking (I think). And the level of household chores/responsibility is seriously skewed in our household. I will take responsibility, they were all babied far too long and its hard to wean them. But family matters aside, business is booming.

Angelic Knight Press has hit the ground running and we have a full release schedule. That means that I'm so busy editing, I can hardly see straight. Then there are other business related tasks to take care of at the press and trying to squeeze out some of my own writing. Its enough to make my head spin. Don't get me wrong- I love it. Absolutely love it! But as I mentioned before, something has to give. So I'm taking down the freelance proofreader/editor shingle. I will no longer be accepting side jobs (with the exception of former customers). I really still feel strongly about everyone needing good editing, I just no longer have the time to do it myself.

I would like to thank all of those who have sought my services. I've met some great people through freelancing and read some amazing books. I've been fortunate enough to have my editing credentials on some fabulous stories. Should things lighten up, I'll hang out my shingle again, but I've got my fingers crossed that they don't and the press stays busy for a long time to come!