Sad Ghost Press

I wrote Hunter’s Trap two years and a half ago, for some new print press opening their doors to unagented authors; it got to the final round but ended up rejected, for reasons unknown. In between the ten queried agents, seven asked for the full manuscript to read; bold, daring and creepy as hell were mentioned attributes, but none of them bit the bait. So I let the book rest, thinking it could always be suggested as a second project in case an agent decided to represent me and asked to read something else that was ready.

And then, things happened, things that made me realize that maybe I don’t always play well with others, maybe I do have a tendency to want things my way, and maybe I want more creative control over my books. And why shouldn’t I want it all? Ten years of working hard, getting cramps from twisted fingers for luck, sacrificing a virgin every full moon spells for someone else to change my writer’s life… until I got fed up and decided to take charge.

It’s not easy letting go of my traditionally published dream: seeing my name printed on a hardcover, going on an in-store book tour, having a team backing me up if I fall, that kind of thing. It also comes with having no say over your cover design, editing to other people’s directions, and once again, being told what to do. I’m a rebel, it’s anchored within me to always question authority, to always wonder if I could have done it better by myself, with my own means, with nobody else controlling me.

ghostSo I founded Sad Ghost Press – an adequate imagery reflecting the main theme throughout my books. I’m scared, I’m a tad melancholy and a lot excited, because on September 9th, 2014, HUNTER’S TRAP will hit the virtual shelves and be available for people to read. My way, the way I want it. There will be a blog tour, giveaways, Skellies and Ghosties and paperbacks to win, and I can promise you this: this book, my first self-published novel, will be all me ♥

 


Chatting with… Yangsze Choo♥

GhostBrideI fell in love with the cover and then I read the first lines… “One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride. Asked is perhaps not the right word.” That was it – the voice, the premise, the lingering meaning behind those words… And then I finished the book and was so jealous of its writer: Choo is one talented lady, so what else could I do but beg her to answer some of my questions?

1) The story is so rich in folklore, how much comes from your own heritage and did research bring unknown elements to light?
I had heard a lot of these tales as a child from friends and relatives and also as an avid reader. I think many people in Malaysia have some idea of this tradition, although the practice varies tremendously. Later on, when I started writing the book in earnest I found the National Archives in Singapore to be invaluable, as well as Harvard’s Widener library which had lots of out-of-print books written by British colonials. Going down to the stacks to do research was always a bit nerve-wracking, because Widener has these automated book shelves that can move around at the push of a button. There’s always the possibility of getting stuck down there!
2) You make quite a compelling ghost story, but do you believe in ghosts? And if so, how much of the ghost bride tradition do you think is true?
As much as I enjoy reading spooky stories, I’m really quite a chicken. That’s why I prefer books to horror movies, because I can always flip past pages or cover the scary parts with the judicious use of a peanut butter sandwich. I’d prefer not to believe in ghosts if possible (though I do believe in Heaven!) but they add a great deal of literary richness. The older I get, the more I can’t help but wonder what happens to us after death. It puts a lot of things into sober perspective.
3) If you could be anyone’s ghost bride – beside your hubby, obv – whose would you be?
Yipe! I think that I’d rather not be anyone’s ghost bride! The character of Lim Tian Ching in the book is in some ways every woman’s nightmare. When I was a little girl, I heard stories about how pre-WW2 Chinese society thought nothing of arranged marriages, often at heartbreakingly young ages for the girls. Some were taken into families as young as 6 or 7, ostensibly to be groomed as future daughters-in-law, but in reality used as child servants. This happened to one of my mother’s relatives. She was sent from China as a bride and her husband and his family treated her very badly. I was always secretly terrified that such a thing might happen to me, and when I was writing the book, I bundled together a lot of these ideas into Lim Tian Ching – with the added bonus that he’s already dead, so there’s no escape from the relationship even after death.
DSC027474) What are you currently working on? What’s coming out next? Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I’m currently working on my second novel, a mystery also set in colonial Malaya, but this time during the 1930s. Hopefully, there’ll also be a graphic novel adaptation of THE GHOST BRIDE with Eisner-nominated comic book artist Sonny Liew. Sonny is Singaporean and I’m excited to see what he comes up with in terms of character design and setting. As for five years time… I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to write, and if in 5 years I’ve written books that people enjoy, I’d be really happy about that! In the meantime, if you like books and eating, please come visit me at my blog http://yschoo.com/ 
 

Chatting with… Krista Walsh♥

My writer friend Krista Walsh wrote a fresh and unique book about a writer caught in his books world, and it’s fantastic!! I couldn’t wait to ask her questions to share her answers with the world…

Evensong The baroquian theme is very well explored, how did you come up with the writer waking up in his books’ world and seeing the consequences of his plot twists?

Evensong began as a flash fiction piece with the prompt: an author is trapped within his or her own story. It became the premise of an entire novel, and one I couldn’t be more proud of. From the basic idea, I started imagining what it would be like. As an author, we can’t write every minute of every day for every character. We only focus on the highlights, the main or secondary characters. No matter the genre, every story has full worlds with millions of plots going on at any given time. We can only tell a few.

Writers also start the story just as the relevant actions start happening, but what happens before? What happens after? If we considered all of these elements when writing, no one would ever finish anything, so it was a lot of fun to explore those “what ifs.”

Is it a true fear/paranoia that you have to miss out on your characters’ true aspirations and motivations, since you are the God to their world?

I don’t know that I ever really considered this question before I started writing Evensong. I always had to consider my characters’ needs and desires in order to give a story purpose and consistency, but that’s just it — what if I missed the mark? But my writing style differs greatly from that of my main character, Jeff Powell. He sticks with strict outlines. From first scene to last, he knows at the outset what is going to happen. Myself, I’m a “pantser”. I start a story knowing the first scene, the last scene, and a few in the middle (what I refer to as the “connect the dots” method), and I’m happy to let my characters guide me to each point.

As a result, when writing the sequel to Evensong, Eventide, there were some HUGE surprises for me about some of my main characters. Backstory that I didn’t know about until I wrote it out. Hopefully that means, if ever I did end up like poor Jeff, caught between the real world and the world of my own creation, my characters wouldn’t have quite as much hostility against me as his do for him!

Beside Evensong, which of your other story would you want to wake up into?

Oh I like this question! I can safely say there are a few I would not like to end up in, but I won’t write it out in case I jinx myself. But if it were to happen, I wouldn’t mind waking up in my Daughter of Time series. It follows the story of a sorceress who was accidentally turned immortal in the 12th century, and follows her story throughout history with a collection of fun and bizarre characters. I would love to meet them in person, find out how accurate my descriptions were.

Fantasy seems to be everywhere nowadays: were you influenced by something you’ve seen on TV or read in a book to develop Evensong, and if so, what was it and which part did it affect?

Fantasy IS everywhere, and I’m so glad it’s finally getting a foothold!

I would have to say my two greatest influences, or perhaps I should say sources of research material, were Alice and Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. Both of those stories handled the world jumping so well, so taking them as models helped cover any aspects I might otherwise have missed: the slow acceptance of the characters, the adjustment to different cultures and beasts.

What’s next for you, beside the sequel Eventide? Will you try a new genre for your next project?

The conclusion Evenlight! But aside from the Meratis trilogy completely, I have a few more ideas bouncing around. The first is theDaughter of Time series I mentioned in an earlier question. The other is a genre jump, a murder mystery set in the 1940s in a burlesque night club. I’m especially excited to start this one as the idea is inspired by people I know and admire. The hope is to start that one the later end of this year!

Thank you so much for hosting me, Anne! It’s always a pleasure to chat with you.

EVENSONG

Author Jeff Powell wakes up to find the impossible has happened. He is within his own novel—summoned into the fictional world of Feldall’s Keep by a spell he didn’t write. One the House enchantress hasn’t figured out how to reverse.

When the villain he’s been struggling to write reveals himself, unleashing waves of terror and chaos, Jeff must use more than his imagination to save the characters he created—and the woman he loves.

Trapped within a world of his own creation, he must step outside the bounds of his narrative to help his characters defeat an evil no one anticipated, even if he must sacrifice his greatest gift. In the end, he has to ask: are novels really fiction, or windows into other worlds?

MeAbout the Author

Known for witty, vivid characters, Krista Walsh never has more fun than getting them into trouble and taking her time getting them out. After publishing a few short stories and novellas in various anthologies, she has now released her own anthology, the serial collection Greylands.

When not writing, or working at her day job, she can be found reading, gaming, or watching a film – anything to get lost in a good story.

She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

For first grab at Evensong sale price, other promotions, news & announcements, you can sign up for her Newsletter

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At the local Second Cup coffee shop … but only if you come bearing a White Mocha


Giveaway Winners & Other Important Things

Halloween has come and gone, but there’s still a few skeletons in my closet:) First, we have giveaway winners: ZADA KENT wins the Girls & Monsters signed copy + The Monster Collection Skellies, and LAUREN GOFF is the winner for the Deaths by Drive-In ecopy anthology!!!

Laughing your head offNow, on other important things. I was lucky enough to be a contributor in THE CARNIVAL 13 collective novel and up until now had to keep my mouth shut about it… it nearly killed me, I was so excited! The proceeds go to Scares That Care, you get spooked by 13 authors writing each a chapter and you discover new favorites amongst the creepy clowns and wolfboys;)

Intrigued? Here’s more about it…

 

The Carnival 13

Come one, come all! Step right up and join thirteen masters of macabre literature as they take you on a journey unlike anything you’ve ever traveled. We’ve got freaks, fantasy and fear; all lined up waiting to take your breath away.

Will you be tempted by the Freaks of the Flesh? Astounded by the Freaks of Fantasy? Baffled by the Freaks of the Mind? All this and more await you for just the small price of three tickets… and your soul.

Featuring all-new and exclusive chapters from John Everson; Jason Darrick; Dan Dillard; Charles Colyott; Dale Eldon; James Garcia Jr.; Matt Schiariti; Anne Michaud; Rebecca Besser; Armand Rosamilia; Jon Olson; Brent Abell; and Julianne Snow – this twisted tale will leave you gasping until your last breath.

All proceeds to benefit Scares That Cares!

Available at:

Amazon: US, UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico

CreateSpace

Smashwords

 

The Carnival 13 Excerpt:

From Chapter One – John Everson

“I hate fuckin’ carnivals,” Brian said to a captive audience of clothes. They hung silently on their hangers, steadfastly refusing to comment. He absolutely did not want to go to the carnival. His clothes weren’t going to argue. But that didn’t change the fact he had to get dressed.

The colorful B & S Enterprises trucks had started unloading and setting up the tilt-a-whirl, Pirate’s Delight, and Bumble-Bee Bop rides in the Blackburn Mall parking lot on Wednesday. Polly had seen them on her drive to work after school. As much as Brian hated the damn things, he wasn’t going to let her see that, not after Polly had asked – with big gosh honey please eyes – if they could go. He was sure his face had lost all expression when he’d realized what she was begging for, but he’d gained control before letting her see his game-losing stare.

“Uh, sure!” he’d somehow managed. And Polly, excited about the idea of cotton candy and watergun balloon games, had managed to ignore or completely miss the look of frightened, anxious “Oh God, please no!” on her boyfriend’s face for the second it had appeared.

He rolled his eyes in the silence of his room and pulled his American Idiot concert t-shirt from the hanger. Somehow it seemed appropriate.

Fifteen minutes later, he was forcing a smile on the doorstep of Polly’s place. When she came to the door, light brown hair perfectly tousled over her shoulder, wearing a tight pink t-shirt and blue cut-off jean shorts, Brian’s forced smile changed from false to full-on for-real. She looked delicious.

“Don’t be too late,” her mom called from inside the house.

Polly turned and flashed an “oh puh-leez” look behind her. “I won’t,” she promised. Then she took his elbow and pulled him toward the driveway. “C’mon,” she said. “I want to get there before dark!”

Brian took another look at her glowing smile and even brighter eyes and decided that as much as he hated carnivals, this was going to be an amazing night.

***

The mall parking lot was already packed when they pulled in and were directed off the asphalt to an impromptu lot in the neighboring field. The carnival itself straddled both the asphalt and the long, normally empty grass to the west of the mall. It was the first real heat of summer, and everyone in town was ready for a party. The visiting carnival gave them a good excuse, and they didn’t pass it up. It looked as if everyone in Blackburn had turned out. The buzz of the crowd was already loud above the festive music of the midway. Brian and Polly stood in a long line at the ticket counter for 10 minutes before a ticket-taker – oddly garbed in clown makeup, with pitch-black fingernails – snapped up their money and slapped down two generic red rectangles that said ‘Ticket’, proving they should have entrance.

“Can we get cotton candy?” Polly asked, as soon as they stepped past the ticket booth.

“Sure,” Brian agreed, and led her across the asphalt to an electric pink cart just a few steps away. A man in a white coat and hat was busy swiping a cardboard cone around the inside of the glass cart, gathering up strands of spun sugar to create a hive of sweet cotton for someone waiting just on the other side of the window. The air around them throbbed, alive with tinkling bells, calliope music, and the screams and laughs of people diving and soaring not far away on one of the big oval rides that took you up into the air almost to the moon before suddenly dropping down to the earth in a pendulum arc that looked guaranteed to end in a crash to the pavement. Lights caught them, blinded them in hazy yellows, reds and blues and then were momentarily gone.

They were in the center of it all, and Brian knew that his trepidation, no, alienation about the carnival, was not going to find a receptive ear here. All around them people were having a blast.

They eventually made it to the concessions cart’s window and as the white-clad man spun sugar onto a paper cone for his girlfriend, the hair on the back of Brian’s neck stood up straight as a voice from behind yelled out, “Polly! What is up, girl?”

It was Francis Blellingfield. Brian knew that without looking….

 


Halloween + Coffin Hop = Girls & Monsters Giveaway♥

coffinhop

It’s no secret: autumn is my favorite time of year, especially because of Mother Nature lashing out her brightest colors before killing everything for winter. And then there’s Halloween, the celebration of the Dead and the Un-Dead. So pretty the skulls and spiders adorning the neighborhood, the pumpkin grins and the skeleton dances, so inspiring for future stories to come.

And so I want to spread the dark joy of scaring people, of making people squeal in disgust and hide in fright by giving away a signed copy of my collection of dark tales for young adult, Girls & Monsters, as well as The Monsters Collection of Skellies. Of course, I won’t be celebrating alone, so please visit my fellow Coffin Hoppers blogs and websites for other scares and goodies by clicking the sexy zombies, up above.

Coffinhopgiveaway*Girls & Monsters Giveaway*

1st prize winner gets a signed copy of Girls & Monsters plus The Monsters Collection of Skellies, made by moi.

2nd prize winner gets a digital copy of Death By Drive-In, an anthology featuring short stories written by 24 horror authors/Coffin Hoppers.

To participate, click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beginning on Octobre 24th and ending on Halloween at Midnight (east), the contest is international, the winners will be picked by ramdom.org, and the prizes shipped the next day. Good luck♥


The Perfect Cast

So many times I’ve come across the question if you could cast your own characters for the movie version of Girls & Monsters, who would it be? that before starting my thriller for young adult KILLER GIRL, I asked myself: who would I want to cast as my characters? Then I found this poster and almost died under the weight of inspiration.

First, I had to go with one of my favorite actors of all time (and near neurotic devotion): Gary Oldman. Our relationship (one-sided, needless to say) started with Sid & Nancy. Raw, brutal, addicts in love, he got me the second I laid eyes on him… and he looked so much like Sid Vicious that I had to remind myself this wasn’t a documentary but the fictional rendition of the Sex Pistols’ bassist final days. Then, there was Dracula (my one and only) and Harry Potter (oh, to bear the name Black) – The Professional, Romeo’s Bleeding, Immortal Beloved…so many, too many to even remember. And for Killer Girl, he’s my nemesis, he’s my monster: a man named Barnaby who turns kids into killers. Perfection.

Growing up, I wanted to be Winona Ryder. Oh no, not only because she played Mina (Dracula, again. I see a theme, here), Lydia in Beetle Juice or Kim in Edward Scissorhands, but also because she dated Johnny Depp and Christian Slater and was so beautiful and talented. Obsessed by her big doe eyes and that porcelain skin, I so wanted to be her… until what happened happened and the glass around her world shattered, a little. But fear
not, she’s back, she’s creepy (hello, Black Swan) and she’s my Kate: broken, fragile, but never a victim. A reunion with Oldman in my imaginary movie? Yes, please.
Then there’s my kick-ass girl lead: Roe: not afraid to shout about what’s right and wrong, she’s ready to take down the world, especially Barnaby. So I’m thinking Elle Fanning (with the help of Black #1) just because she’s pretty but not candycoated sweet… and she could go dark in the blink of an eye (I’m talking about her soul, now). Also, there’s something about her that screams ‘don’t make me say it twice’ that’s just alluring to me – no Disney or rainbows, but rain and darkness, just the way I like it.
And now I need YOU guys to help me pick my pretty boy, Dev: sensitive but not a wuss, he’s a fighter with an edge – as in you don’t want to mess with him, ever. I’ve settled for black hair/grey eyes combo, but I can’t find anyone matching that description. If you do, please step forward, and who knows, I might thank you in the acknowledgements. ♥

Horse Crazy Kid = Horse Crazy Author

My friend Julie Campbell is one prolific writer: she just published a series of novellas about a ghost-hunting dog, and now her full-length novel Sabaskia’s Tale is coming out today!! I was really touched by the story’s sensitive voice and endearing characters, and wondered why Julie loved horses so much ♥

Sabaska's Tale eBookAnne, thank you for having me here today. I’m going to talk a little about my love of horses and my Sabaska and the inspiration for my novel.

I don’t actually know how the horse bug bit me, but it did. As long as I can remember I’ve been riding horses. My parents let me do pony rides and trail rides as a kid and as soon as I got big enough they let me take lessons relatively frequently. There’s a barn close to where I grew up and I learned to ride English-style on Saddlebreds. I took lessons until I got to high school and then I got too busy and horses kind of went on a back burner. However, when I went to college in Colorado they came flooding back into my life. There were horses everywhere and I was going crazy that I couldn’t ride. Finally I found someone with a few too many horses and she let me ride with her, and learn from her and that’s where I met Sabaska.

She was basically half wild and barely trained. As I worked with her, teaching her that people were kind of cool, and learning from both her and my friend what it was to train a horse, I fell in love. Eventually I decided it was time to have my own horse and I wanted Sabaska. I bought her and moved her closer to my home so I could work with her every day. Progress went quickly. Sabaska had an eager and willing mind and she enjoyed doing things with me. I discovered endurance racing and decided that was the sport for us. This discovery set me and Sabaska on hundreds of miles of trails and adventure, which inspired this story. Sabaska was an amazing horse, as you’ll discover if you read the novel. A lot of her personality comes through in the fictional Sabaska. She was brave and bold and I couldn’t have had a better companion. One day while we were out riding I realized it really felt like we were in a different world and this sparked a story idea. What if I really was traveling to a different world? I wrote this book knowing it was the book I wanted to read when I was a kid, but didn’t exist. Hopefully it will find its way into the hands of horse crazy teens and inspire them to fantastical adventures on their own horses.

I lost Sabaska in 2012 to colic, but our adventures live on in these stories. She’ll never be replaced, but she gave me so many valuable gifts and lessons and the joy of having that special bond with a horse that I’ve never seen matched with any other creature.

 

***

Sabaska’s Tale
Series: Tales of the Travelers

By J. A. Campbell

Genres: Fantasy +  Young Adult, Horses

Published: July 5 2013

Untold Press www.untoldpress.com

Word count: 63 000

Pages: 224

eBook Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sabaskas-Tale-Tales-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00DSOCNWS

Amazon Smart Url: http://bookShow.me/B00DSOCNWS

Goodreads- book link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18134649-sabaska-s-tale

Sabaska's Tale GiveawayPromoBlurb:

To Anna, horses were more than a fascination, they were everything. Luckily, she had the opportunity to spend every summer on her grandmother’s horse ranch in Colorado. Life was perfect, until she received the devastating news that her grandmother had been tragically killed. Anna knew she was the only member of her family who could take over the ranch and hopefully find new homes for her grandmother’s beloved Arabians.
Anna wasn’t alone for long. Her grandmother had hired a local teenage boy to help tend the horses for the summer. Anna didn’t stand a chance against Cody’s quiet charm and the two rapidly become friends. However, even with the responsibilities of the ranch, Anna quickly discovers the secrets her grandmother had been hiding and a legacy that sends her on an adventure she never thought possible. An adventure in the saddle of a horse that wasn’t a horse at all. Sabaska, her grandmother’s favorite Arabian, was a Traveler; a magical being that could travel between worlds. With Anna at the reins, they find themselves trapped in a fight against evil with the highest of stakes… Their very survival.

 

Campbell_authorpic1Author Bio:

J.A. Campbell

Julie has been many things over the last few years, from college student, to bookstore clerk and an over the road trucker. She’s worked as a 911 dispatcher and in computer tech support, but through it all she’s been a writer and when she’s not out riding horses, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer. She lives in Colorado with her three cats, her vampire-hunting dog Kira, her new horse and Traveler-in training, Triska, and her Irish Sailor. She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories and the young adult urban fantasy series The Clanless.

Find out more about Julie at  www.writerjacampbell.com  and follow her on twitter @Pfirewolf

Blogs: http://writerjacampbell.wordpress.com/blog/

http://phoenixfirewolf.livejournal.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/J.A.Campbell.Author?ref=tn_tnmn

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/j-a-campbell/35/535/b25

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4708012.J_A_Campbell

 

 

 

 


The Lucky Ones, a podcast

COH_006 This is a first for me, having one of my stories told by someone else’s voice. Goldeen Ogawa did a fantastic job reading Jory’s journey through the City of Hell, where the dead are the lucky ones.

Click here for The Lucky Ones podcast

Fair warning: some people found it quite disturbing and advised NOT eating while listening, so beware…


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