Wednesday, April 8, 2015

And this is why my head will never get too big...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and wondering how it works for other writers. Who is your biggest supporter? What do your spouse and children think of what you do? Your friends? Your neighbors?

When I think about it, my sister is my biggest supporter/cheerleader. She's amazing. She reads everything I write and is always up to give me her honest opinion. Which means she doesn't always like everything I write, but if she doesn't like it she's quick to tell me why. She shares my posts and collects my books. She travels with me to conferences and helps take the sting out of sticky reviews. I don't know what I'd do without her.

Don't get me wrong, my folks are supportive too. They read all my published pieces and collect them. My dad has talked about me to his golf buddies, which resulted in me meeting my biggest fan and making a fantastic new friend.

I have some fantastic friends who follow my career and buy my books and tolerate my weirdness.

But my immediate family? Hmm. Well that's a bit of another story. Oh my husband supports me financially and listens to me ramble on about story ideas and publishing woes. And is more than happy to let me do my thing. But to date he's only read one of my published stories. And I'm pretty sure I guilted him into that. I should note that he's really not much of a reader (I know, right? How does that even happen?) so it's not like he's choosing to read something else before my work. He just chooses not to read.

And my kids? Well, my daughter reads some of my work. She's an avid reader, just not a horror fan. And my son reads some of my work. But they aren't impressed with my job. They don't listen to or read my interviews. They often seem surprised that I have followers or someone actually wanted to interview me. I tell them news and I get a lot of, "ohhh." You know, as in "oh, that's nice, mom." As though I've just told them we had sunshine today. I'm about as important as the weather, probably less so. And it's kind of an ouchy spot for me. Maybe it's because I didn't start my career until they were teenagers and completely unimpressed by anything I did.  I wonder...

So how goes it at your house? Do your spouse and kids care about your work? Is my offspring's attitude the norm? Enquiring minds want to know...


Saturday, March 21, 2015

An award? For me? Awesome!

So I got nominated for a Liebster award. Never heard of it? Me neither. But so what? It's an award, and I'm rather fond of those. It also allows for the answering of questions and I really like to talk about myself so (um... wait? Did I say that out loud? Ugh...)

The purpose of the Liebster Awards is to help fellow bloggers gain greater exposure. I’m glad to help out my fellow blog writers in this way. Thanks much to Steven Rose Jr who nominated me for this lovely award. The rules are:

1) Thank the person who nominated you
2) Answer the questions given by the nominator
3) Nominate 11 bloggers with 100 or less followers and link them to your post
4) Create another 11 questions for them to answer in their blog
5) Notify them

So, here are my answers to Steven's questions:

1) What is your dream car?
Dodge Charger

2) What is your favourite/favourite kind of food?
Mexican. I could eat it every night. But then again, I'm very fond of food in general.

3) What is your favourite genre/sub genre of reading?
Horror, of course!

4) Do you prefer Star Trek, Star Wars or neither?
I love both!

5) Of these classic/old school horror films, do you prefer Halloween, Friday the 13th, Universal’s original Frankenstein, Psycho or none of the above?
I'm not a huge fan of the slasher flick. I love the old Universal black and white films, and I love Psycho. But my all time favorite is Rosemary's Baby.

6) If you won the lottery, you would . . . (do what?)
Pay off all of my bills and buy a new car. Then I'd pay off my kid's bills and buy them new cars, then I'd call my financial planner and do what he says. He's a smart man. I'd probably take an expensive vacation he'd frown on though. ;)

7) How would you respond to a film agent who offered you a part in a big budget film?
After I got done screaming and hugging him??

8) Do you have anything (interest, toy, habit, etc.) from childhood that you will not let go of as an adult? If so, what is it?
So many things. My fear of the dark, my love of horror, an old doll named, "Sugar," my Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls.

9) What do you do when a person you’ve met for the first time bores you with their talk?
I've perfected the ability to look interested when I'm a million miles away. Then I avoid that person like the plague.

10)  Do you believe the world’s ready for commercial space flight? If so, why? If not, why not?
Wow. That's an odd question. I don't think so. I think we need somewhere to go first.

11)  What is more important to you, money or love (of humanity, including significant others/family and friends)?
Definitely love. No question.

And now on to my nominees **cough cough** victims. In no particular order:

1. Jaime Johnsee
2. Lisa C. Hinsley
3. Malina Roos
4. Caren Widner Hanten
5. Mckenzie Fawcett
6. Aaron Gudmunson
7. Kirk Dougal
8. Allison M. Dickson
9. Frank Michaels Errington
10. Paul Dail
11. Matthew Scott Baker

Some of the above are authors, some are reviewers, all are fantastic. Some of them I can't tell exactly how many people follow their blogs, but they all deserve more love. Doesn't everyone? So check them out, watch them play along, stalk them. I mean, uh, follow them.

My ten questions for them:

1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
2. Favorite animated movie?
3. Thing you must have before sitting down to blog?
4. Reason for blogging?
5. All time favorite horror film?
6. Favorite holiday?
7. Name you wish you'd been named in an alternate universe?
8. Favorite childhood memory?
9. Dream vacation?
10. Cause most likely to get your donation?
11. Ultimate goal in life?

And there you have it. More newsy post coming soon.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Grimm Mistresses Releases Soon!!

So I just realized I haven't blogged anything about the upcoming release of Grimm Mistresses.WTF, me? For those of you who haven't been bombarded with it on my Facebook or Twitter, Grimm Mistresses is a collection of five novellas retelling Grimm Fairy Tales. The novellas are all by female authors, hence the name. I'm super pleased to have my novella, "The Night Air," included. The collection releases on Monday, February 23rd. Here's the synopsis:

Remember the Grimm Brothers?Those dark fairy tales that made you leave the light on long before Disney went and sanitized them? Well, we do! Now the MISTRESSES GRIMM take back the night,five female authors who will leave you shuddering deliciously. Get ready to leave the lights on again with four pieces of short fiction bringing the Grimm Brother’s tales into the present. Be advised: these aren't your children’s fairy tales!

 And here is the amazing cover art:

Honestly, I couldn't be more excited. And the best part? I got to hang out and work with four amazing ladies, each one a super talented author. Our stories are all different: different writing styles, different approaches to the work, different visions for the theme. And yet, they all blend together into a collection that offers something for everyone. 

CW LaSart's story, "Hazing Cinderella," is hardcore horror. Fans of extreme horror will love it. 

SR Cambridge's story, "The Leopard's Pelt, is an enchanting retelling of the Grimm Brother's "Bearskin." Safe for non horror fans. 

Mercedes M. Yardley's "Little Dead Red" explores the lengths a mother will go to in order to avenge her daughter's death. Lyrically written, but still dark and grim.

Allison M. Dickson's story, "Nectar," is a sci-fi/horror blend that brings new life to "Hansel & Gretel." Scary, sexy, and thought provoking all at the same time.

And my story? Well, I hope "The Night Air" hits the mark of subtly creeping dread. Also relatively safe for non horror fans. 

I hope you'll check the book out. May you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it.

It will be available in eBook form at Amazon and other retailers on Monday, March 23rd. But if you have a hankering for a signed, limited edition copy, you can order those here:


Friday, January 23, 2015

Meet Wendy Webb

I stumbled on to Wendy Webb's writing quite by accident, but it was a happy accident to be sure. I thoroughly enjoyed her book The Vanishing so much that I immediately bought her other two novels as well. Something she said in the back of The Vanishing prompted me to contact her and set up this interview. It was a philosophy I share. She said, "That's really what it's all about for me. With my novels, I'm not trying to define a generation, right any great wrongs, or change the way you think about the world or your places in it. I just want to craft a good story that will delight you, entertain you, grab you and not let go, and send some shivers up your spine along the way." Mission accomplished, Mrs. Webb.

If you'd like to read my review of The Vanishing, head over to See Spot Read. Go ahead, I'll wait. Back? Awesome. Without further ado, I give you Wendy Webb--

1. How old were you when you first knew you were a writer?

Very young. Two books influenced me in a powerful way when I was growing up, setting me on my path. My grandmother read “Little Women” to me when I was about eight years old. It was absolutely clear to me that I was, in fact, Jo March, the dark-haired, headstrong sister. I identified with her so strongly that, since Jo loved writing, apparently I did, too. That’s really how I looked at it. I started excelling in writing at school and got more and more praise for my essays, and I never had a moment of doubt about the fact that I’d be an author someday. Jo got her book published. So would I. I don’t know what I’d be doing with my life if Louisa May Alcott hadn’t written “Little Women,” but it probably wouldn’t be this. Last fall, I visited her home, Orchard House, and when I saw the desk by the window where Louisa dreamed up the book that would chart the course of my life, I burst into tears. Everyone else on the tour thought I was insane. But the guide didn’t. “You must be an author,” she said. “We get that a lot.”

The other book that turned my young mind toward writing was “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle. A librarian recommended it to me when I was thirteen. The story didn’t have anything to do with writing — I already knew I was going to be a writer. I just didn’t know what I wanted to write about, until I read that book. It was magical and real and scary all at the same time, and when I finished reading it, I knew I wanted to write books like that one.

2. I know you are currently the editor of the Duluth-Superior magazine. How do you balance your editorial duties with fiction writing and a family?

Actually, the magazine closed last spring, but it was indeed a juggling act balancing my magazine responsibilities and a book tour. I was traveling all over the country for six months after “The Vanishing” came out, and I still had the same deadlines. The Internet made everything easier, though. I could get everything done on the road, but it was hectic at times.  I don’t write fiction when I’m on tour — too many distractions.

3. I think of your books as “modern gothic.” They include all the elements of the classic gothic genre (woman in peril; large, often isolated house; ghosts or some element of the supernatural; a romantic interest; an older woman; a villain of the piece; and a mystery), but they’re set in modern times. What genre do you consider your work and why?

When I wrote my first book, “The Tale of Halcyon Crane,” I didn’t think at all about genre. I just wrote the book that I wanted to read. It turns out it’s gothic, and “modern gothic” is a good fit. Reviewers have started calling me the Queen of the Northern Gothic, saying I invented a genre, because most gothics are set in England or down South. Again, I didn’t set out to do that, I just wrote a story set in the place that I know best.

4. Animals always seem to play a part in your stories, mostly dogs. Why?

The dogs in my stories are actually my dogs, Tika, Tundra and Molly, all giant Alaskan Malamutes. They never knew each other in life (one 130-pound dog in the house is enough!) but it has been really fun for me to put them together in my books, especially all three of them in “The Vanishing.” I’ve always walked through the world with a dog at my side and I can’t imagine life without them, so when I’m dreaming up my stories, it’s natural to feature animals as characters.

5. I’ve read that, for you, the setting inspires the story. How do you pick your settings?

I stumble across them. “Halcyon Crane” was inspired by a trip I took to Mackinac Island in Michigan, which a very haunted place, and a particular house you can see from the ferry on your way there. The plot of “The Fate of Mercy Alban” came to me when I was on a tour of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minnesota. I started thinking of how great it would be to have a summer party on Glensheen’s magnificent veranda, and then I thought: “Ooo. What if somebody winds up dead at that party?” And I was on my way.

6. The spiritualism age plays a part in The Vanishing. Have you always been interested in spiritualism or did you have to research it for the book? Either way, what do you find the most interesting part of it?

I’ve always been interested in it but I did research before I started writing. There were a lot of charlatans at that time, but I believe there were, and are, mediums and psychics who can indeed talk to the dead. I absolutely believe there are spirits among us. I’ve traveled all over this country for readings, and every single time, somebody tells me a ghost story that happened to them.

7. And, on a more personal note, what scares you? Any silly phobias? Do you work your own fears into your fiction?

What scares me most is not a spirit floating around the house late at night, but an actual intruder in the house late at night. That said, though, I am also afraid of the dark side of the occult. In “The Vanishing,” I have a Devil’s Toy Box that unleashes a whole lot of bad stuff at Havenwood. I actually got one of those for my birthday the year before I started writing that book. It was a really pretty box, handmade by my brother, but before bringing it into my house, I called a friend of mine who is an expert in the occult. She told me that it was very dangerous and to destroy it. I did. Similarly, Ouija boards. Never use one. You won’t be talking to who you think you’re talking to. I’m researching demonology right now for an upcoming book, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to write it. That’s some scary, scary stuff.

8. What authors would you consider the biggest influences on your writing?

You already know about Louisa May Alcott and Madeline L’Engle, but modern authors who influence me are M.J. Rose and Carol Goodman, both of whom write beautiful, magical tales, and both of whom I’m proud to call friends.

9. Five favorite books?

Oh, boy. This is a hard one.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Shell Seekers and its sequel, September by Rosamund Pilcher (people are always surprised when I say that, but I love those books.)
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

10. And last but not least, best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

When I wrote my first manuscript (which didn’t end up getting published) my agent kept saying: “Show, don’t tell.” I couldn’t get the concept. I’d been a journalist my whole career and we tell stories. Then another author let me in on her trick. She said: “When you’re writing a scene, imagine that you’re the director of a movie. Visualize everything in that scene — where it’s happening, what the people are wearing, what they’re doing. Hear what they’re saying. In a movie, if a character is angry, you wouldn’t hear some narrator’s voice saying: “Jane is angry!” You’d see Jane throw her coffee cup across the table and stomp out of the room, and you’d know Jane was angry. Authors need to do the same thing with words. That’s showing, not telling.”

Wendy's Bio:

Wendy Webb is the author of The Tale of Halcyon Crane, a gothic mystery set on an island in the Great Lakes. Her first novel, Halcyon was selected as an IndieNext Pick by IndieBound, the Independent Booksellers Association of America; as a Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Booksellers Association; and as a Great Lakes Great Reads Pick by the Great Lakes Booksellers Association.

Wendy is also a career journalist. She is at work on her next novel.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon:
Twitter: @wendykwebb
Facebook: WendyWebbAuthor

Wendy's Novels: