Tag Archives: Inspiration

Women in Horror

We all have some bucket list written somewhere of things we’d like to accomplish before we die. Mine isn’t that long, which makes each entry even more meaningful. Like this one…

2015_February_ezine_cover_medSirens Call publishes a monthly eZine, and their February issue exclusively promotes the work of women in horror. For years I’ve been trying to get my stories in that particular anthology and this year it finally happened. Yes, KILL THE GIRL is among an amazing array of incredible work by some known and lesser known authors and I am thrilled!

Funny how I got to write this flash fiction: this was the beginning chapter of my next series coming out, Whispered Echoes. Back then, the genre was YA thriller and the inspiration came from a dream – actually, it’s a word for word capture of this nightmare I had, maybe 3 years ago. And now, it’s published in Sirens Call!!

So here is a FREE COPY of the anthology! It’s worth checking out, awesomeness oozes from the pages:)

Stay spooked, peeps.

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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.

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


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

 

 

 

 


Girls & Ghosts, an inspiration

Here’s one of my not-so-secret secrets:
I have tons of journals filled with ideas and a bunch of half-written
stories dispersed in my computer. Oh no sir, I’m not the type of
writer who leaves projects unfinished, but it happens that after
starting a plot, its complexity or direction isn’t working for me. So
I let go more than abandon, because one day, I’ll come back to it –
and I always do.

Not this time, folks. Only fresh ideas
for this new collection of ghostly stories where girls confront their
deepest fears… and I’m actually scared. Of course I’ve been
thinking about this project for a while, so ideas are slowly growing
into creepy plots, but there’s nothing already written on my plate
like my past collections of novellas, and it makes me jittery.

So what is a girl to do? I’m trying to
grasp as much information as I can, about things we don’t fully
understand with the little evidence out there. Like a junkie, I’m
watching all these ghost hunters shows where people go willingly to
haunted places to poke at spirits and gather EVPs, images of shadow
figures and responsive communication – if any. Sceptic or not, it’s
beginning to form in my mind: girls who are scared, girls who don’t
believe, girls who are trying to help, girls who see dead people, and
girls who won’t confront the truth. And very slowly, they tell me
their stories and how they deal with the fact that in the end we all
die, and that we might become ghosts ourselves.
And then some miracle happens and someone captures such inspiring pictures,
I completely lost my breath – and I’m still trying to catch it. Neil Gaiman posted this
abandoned amusement park on Tumblr

Haunted, much? Seriously, look at the
fog and the plants invading the structures – you can almost hear
the screams of glee as the roller coaster rides down the rusty rails.
But it’s only an echo, because like many other places in New Orleans,
it never got over the catastrophic disaster and it’s slowly dying
after being deserted and forgotten.
I can’t forget, though – a bit like those ghosts who can’t let go of what
they knew and who they loved and how they used to be. So that will be
my inspiration, an homage to
people who are gone, places that are falling apart, and things we
used to believe in.

Wish me luck? I need it, embarking on this Girls & Ghosts quest to give a voice to those who don’t have any. One thing for sure: dark it will be, I
promise.
***
Want an autographed softcover of Girls & Monsters? Giveaway ends June 28th, don’t miss out ♥

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Girls & Monsters Blog Tour – Week 5

LIVE CHAT WITH ME ON APRIL 30th AT 9PM (east) OVER AT DARKFUSE!!!!!!!

Girls&Monsters-banner

Come on over and visit these wonderful blogs where you’ll discover something new about me, my book, and everything in between…

Monday, 22th of April: Victoria Griesdoorn

Tuesday, 23rd of April: Gothic Angel

Wednesday, 24th of April: Marianne Su

Thursday, 25th of April: Lisa Forget

Friday, 26th of April: Aheila

The Monster Collection SkelliesWanna win a Girls & Monsters softcover with The Monster Collection Skellies of 5 pieces, handcrafted by me? Click HERE. The winner will be announced during my DarkFuse LIVE CHAT on release day, April 30th at 9PM (east) – don’t be shy, I do love challenging questions ♥


Chatting with… Sean Munger

My friend Emma Cunningham said his book Life Without Giamotti was her favorite of all times; he writes horror and zombies; he’s a cool guy. So here I present to you Sean Munger, author of the book Zombies of Byzantium.

I often wonder about why I write genre – how about you? Why did you write a horror story?

ZombiesofByzantium300Strangely, before I wrote Zombies of Byzantium, I had never written anything in the horror genre except a short story. I’ve been a lover of Byzantium for years, and since I began reading Byzantine history I wanted to do a book set there. The thing that struck me about it was how much it was like a constructed world out of a fantasy or science fiction book, like Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings or Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Marsbooks—but Byzantium was a real place where real people lived. I tried about three or four different ideas, all of them I guess you’d say historical fiction, which were all extremely flat, dull and lifeless. Then I hatched the idea of a zombie outbreak in medieval Constantinople. Amazingly, shifting to the horror genre suddenly made Byzantium come to life on the page. It was like flipping a switch, or that famous cut in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy opens the door in black-and-white and suddenly Oz is in color. I really can’t explain it, but something made it live.
Once I started to get into the story itself it made me realize how much the genre of horror can really explore aspects of the world you never thought of before. I’ve read a lot of books about Byzantium but in all of that reading I never once encountered the concept of fear or horror. If Byzantines believed in ghosts or the supernatural, for instance, they must have done so entirely in a religious context. So what would scare you if you lived in 8th century Constantinople? If a horde of flesh-eating undead zombies was fanning out through the streets devouring your neighbors, how would you, as a person living in that place and time, react? When this became more interesting to think about than the setting itself, I knew I had a story worth telling.

That’s so weird, the genre chose you instead of the usual way – like me. I’ve always loved horror, but more of the darker kind than slasher or graphic. I love to explore how people can appear normal but are far from it; those are the best characters, surprising not only the characters in the story but the writer, too.

So I gather you do a lot of research before you write your stories, but how else do you prepare? I’m a crazy outliner and I cannot start to write unless I know where my plot is going and who’s doing what and the most important: the ending. Are you like that, too?

My relationship with outlining is sort of complex. How completely I outline a story really depends on the story. I’m not a rigid outliner for the most part, usually because an outline is sort of like a military battle plan. It looks great on paper, but once you get on the battlefield, events can render it obsolete pretty quickly, and trying at all costs to conform reality to the plan often gets people killed.

I usually do start with a strong idea of what the end point is going to be, though. The ending is pretty much everything and I agree it’s the most important point. As I go along I usually make a list of things that need to happen and, particularly, potential questions or objections the reader might have that need to be addressed. If I strongly want something to happen, I have to write things into the story that close off other opportunities and leave the desired path as the only possible one.

Are you familiar with a movie from the 70s called “The Warriors”? That movie made me incredibly angry. The plot concerns a gang that gets framed for a murder, and they have to cross the entirety of New York City, which is controlled by rival gangs, in order to reach their own territory. They do this on foot, naturally. What made me angry is, the movie never explained why the gang just doesn’t hail a taxi. Wouldn’t that be much easier? Obviously the writers needed it to be the way it was, but they never explained that potential objection, and the whole plot hinges on it. So if I was writing “The Warriors,” the next scene after the murder would be some plot device to explain why they can’t just take a taxi back to their territory.

Sean Munger’s Important Links: