STILL NOT NICE OR THE STRANGE PLANET INSIDE MY HEAD Has Landed!

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WHEEEEEEEE!

*Phew* Well, as anyone who has done this knows, publishing a book is a shit-ton of work. But finally, STILL NOT NICE OR THE STRANGE PLANET INSIDE MY HEAD is now available!

I feel like I just gave birth to a buffalo. Heh.

Check out the nifty trailer! And go grab yourself a copy!

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Working Hard-Still Not Nice Publishing News

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Whew!

Seriously, things have been a blur for months now. Busy is good they say–idle hands are the Devil’s workshop. But sometimes busy hands are that way too. MUAHAHAHA!

Which brings me to STILL NOT NICE or THE STRANGE PLANET INSIDE MY HEAD.

Yes, this is a new volume of short and flash fiction. Yippee! STILL NOT NICE is an unusual volume–there’s fiction, ruminations, and observations. There are a couple of stories about Sally Mae Riddley, my Fire Child, that have never been seen before. A couple of pieces from contest writing, and…well, a mixed bag, really. I’m very pleased with how it has come together.

Want to see the cover? Sure you do!

SNN Image

All thanks to the awesome Melinda VanLone for the amazing cover. I just love it.

The final details are being tweaked even as we speak! SOON! Sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already to be alerted as soon as it’s live.

It is really a strange planet inside my head. Come on in and take a look. I won’t bite…at least, I won’t bite hard. Heh.

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Independence

Until then, I'll keep on my dancing shoes.

Please note: the website is currently under renovations. Don’t mind the dust. Work progresses as time allows. There’s missing studs and holes in the walls, but we’re getting there. Thanks for your patience!

 

I have been an indie from the get-go, since I was a tiny person. It’s in my nature and I can’t help it. I’ve always cavorted to a tune it seems no one else could hear; independent to a fault, some might say. It has its ups and downs, pros and cons, highs and lows. During my lifetime, I have been both rewarded and punished for it. I was raised to be independent, and my life’s journey has trained me to be independent.

And while you might be able to teach an old dog new tricks, it’s much more difficult to change an intrinsic part of your personality.

vivi
I’m always ready to learn something new. But it better be good.

When I started my writing career, it was a no-brainer for me to go independent. I might be a bit of a control freak, and when it comes to my fiction, I want to be the one in charge. After all, fiction has been and always will be a gigantic part of my life. It means so much to me I can hardly bear the idea of handing off something into which I’ve poured my life’s blood and soul to someone else.

But in the changing tides of today’s publishing, it makes good business sense to keep your options open.

I have come to realize everyone’s circumstances are different. What works for one writer may not work for another. I’m not built to follow the road most traveled, anyway, and most of my close personal friends would scream, “HALLELUJAH” to that statement. I have to make the best decisions for myself without looking to see what other people are doing. I’ve lived most of my life that way, and it hasn’t turned out too badly, despite some spectacular failures. Hey, go big or stay home.

I have also discovered if something scares me witless, it’s probably the thing I need to do the most. I live with a lot of fear—but I never let it stop me. I was scared to go freelance when writing non-fiction. BOOYAH. I was scared to dive into fiction. Double BOOYAH. I was terrified to venture into editing. HAH.

So when I contemplated my next business move, I considered sending a novel to a traditional publisher. I almost talked myself out of it. Was I scared of rejection? Nope. Been rejected on several levels, many times. What I am scared of is success.

Which told me I needed to do it.

So I sat my happy ass down and took a few hours to do something for ME. I wrote a synopsis, put together the first three chapters, and wrote a cover letter. As we speak, my little package is winging its way to a traditional publishing house to see what we can see. I’m not even worried if they don’t like it. I’m worried that they WILL.

Then what?

Well then, we’ll just go from there, won’t we?

Until then, I'll keep on my dancing shoes.
Until then, I’ll keep on my dancing shoes.

 

Photos courtesy of morguefile.com. 

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New Release-The Trailer Park Tiara and Goat Incident

And so the first adventure of Sally Mae Riddley has hit the ground running!

The Trailer Park Tiara and Goat Incident
That face cracks me up every time I see it!

The Trailer Park Tiara and Goat Incident is the first in a series of novellas about the adventures of Sally Mae Riddley, and hoo doggy, she’s a hoot! This story was so much fun to write–I giggled through the entire thing. It started off as a joke between a few friends, and eventually Sally Mae’s voice became so loud in my head she just busted out all over. Take a look at this excerpt:

The thing you gotta remember is the Queen of the Trailer Park title has been held by the womenfolk of my family for three decades. So for me, Sally Mae Riddley, the pressure was on. And I was really motivated, see, because of the goat.

I’ll get to that.

My nemesis was Mabelline Townsend. She had bigger boobs, true, but most people knew they was totally fake. You can’t hide nothing in a trailer park, ’less you’re real clever, and people called Mabelline a lot of things but clever warn’t on the list. Of course, fake or not, that kind of thing don’t matter to boys. If it’s got mammary glands, they’re going for it. Just look at my cousin Jimmy, stuck in the County Jail for the next six months on account of the cow problem he had.

Don’t act like no one in your family never got in trouble over something stupid.

Anyway, Mabelline had the boobs. She’s right pretty, too, if you squint your eyes and dim the lights. To, like, full dark. Other girls in the trailer park thought they had the title sewed up this year for sure, seeing as my older sister, Sue Ann, was out of the running since she won last year. Sue Ann’s a real beauty, with long golden hair just the right shade of yellow–thanks to the bottle of peroxide under her bed no one knew about but me. And a nice tan with no tan lines anyone could see. Never mind the orange look to her, it was real complimentary to the yellow of her hair. And pretty, painted nails, thanks to the fine people at Lee Press-on Nails from Walgreen’s.

I could hardly compete with that package, what with my red hair the color of carrots, gangly legs and big feet. Mama just loved to remind me of my god-awful looks, compared to Sue Ann, every chance she got while Sue Ann pranced around the trailer in her coveted beer-can tiara. “Sally Mae,” she’d say, “I afeared you got out of the wrong end of the gene pool. If I din’t birth you myself, I’d swear you weren’t any o’mine.” Then she’d get this funny look on her face like she knew something she warn’t telling and she’d grab for the whiskey bottle and turn the tee-vee to Maury.

Ever since Daddy disappeared, she ain’t been right in the head. Rumor had it he ran off with DeeDee Townsend, Mabelline’s older sister. Truth is, a few of the town boys on vacation found DeeDee on the strip in Vegas, and never found Daddy. If anybody knew something about my daddy, nobody was telling. Mama din’t talk about it, but I sure did miss my daddy fierce.
So, Sue Ann won fair and square last year, and what she did with her moonshine prize was her business. But, here’s this year’s Trailer Park Pageant coming up, with my family’s reputation on the line and competition stiff. To be honest, I din’t really care too much for the reputation part, in spite of Mama’s harping–I only cared about the prize. Oh, the prize. When I say “moonshine” you probably think of some ass-kicking hooch from an illegal still in the woods. You’d be wrong. I needed that prize. For the goat.

I’ll get to it.

I knew for a fact Mabelline was taking pole dancing lessons for the talent part of the show, and it was going to be hard to beat. Not that she needed lessons, mind, she had more than enough experience dancing around poles, if you catch my meaning. Me dancing around a pole would be like looking at a grasshopper having an epileptic fit, so it was out. I couldn’t sing to save my life. I din’t have many options other than to figure out some way to beat Mabelline.

I thought about going to the swamp witch, Mad Hattie, for some advice, but since it was her what caused the problem with the goat in the first place, I figured I’d better come up with something on my own. Besides, I planned on visiting Mad Hattie when I won the competition, and it was going to be a one-time visit. Nobody wants to see Mad Hattie more than once.
So, I did the only thing I could think of. I went to my big sister to ask her advice. After all, she’d won the competition last year with a spectacular fire baton twirling routine. Sure, she set the honorable Mayor Tim Smith on fire, but she put him right out and that was pretty impressive. He was out of Intensive Care in a week, and nobody noticed the scars anymore. I figured she could help me out. After all, the family reputation was on the line.

“Sally Mae, I don’t know what to tell you,” she said, sitting on her bed, which was covered with the pink satin spread Mama got for her at the flea market with some of the prize money from Sue Ann’s big win, and wearing her tiara. She barely took it off since she won it.

She hardly paid me any attention, she was so focused on filing her nails to a sharp point in anticipation for her big date with Roscoe Diesel. He had a reputation and I guess Sue Ann wasn’t going to give it up that easy, which made me feel right proud. “It took me weeks to get that routine just right, and you don’t have weeks. The pageant’s tomorrow.” She looked up and gave me the once-over. “You know, even though Mabelline has bigger boobs, she ain’t no prettier than you. Especially if you do something with that hair.”

I smoothed my hands over my curls, quite aware Sue Ann was probably just being nice since last I saw in the mirror, my hair looked like the patch of spleenwort over yonder. “That ain’t my problem, Sue Ann. I can stuff my bra, but I heard tell Mabelline was going to do one of them pole dances for the talent part. I can’t do that, not in a million years.” I flopped on the bed next to Sue Ann and heaved a long sigh. “I have to win this thing. First of all, Mama will kill me if’n I don’t, and second…”

Sue Ann nodded. She knew. At least, she din’t know about the goat but she knew how valuable the moonshine was. I never asked her what she did with hers, and she din’t ask me what I was going to do with mine, if I won. When I won, I told myself.

“Well, you can’t sing, you can’t dance, and you can’t twirl a baton.”

“I already know what I can’t do,” I snapped. “You ain’t helping me much.”

Finally satisfied with her wickedly pointed nails and sticking the file back in her makeup bag, Sue Ann said, “Oh, don’t be getting your panties all in a bunch, sweet pea.” She turned back to me and smiled. “You can’t twirl a baton, but you can still do the fire thing.”

I shook my head. “No, I can’t. The last time I played with fire I set the outhouse to burning, remember that? Mama made me promise not to do it again.” I looked at my hands and wriggled my fingers. All us Riddley women had an affinity to fire; mine happened to be stronger than most. For instance, Sue Ann was pretty impressive with the fire batons, but I din’t need them to handle fire. Plus, I could make a lot more fire than what it took for two puny batons.

Sue Ann sighed. “Girl, if’n you don’t win that tiara, Mama will set your ass on fire herself, trust that. It’s been in the hands of Riddley women for decades. She’ll be mighty ticked if’n you don’t take it this year.” She stretched out on her bed. “Besides, you ain’t got boobs, so unless you plan on flashing your panties, the only thing that can compete with Mabelline is fire. Men love fire.” She grinned.

***

And that’s just the start of Sally Mae’s hilarious adventure. What starts out as a simple task ends up as complicated as it gets. Sally Mae and her best friend, Becky Jo, end up in a heap more trouble than they counted on, with a most unusual goat and a trip to visit the swamp witch, Mad Hattie.

As an added bonus, the first part of Sally Mae’s next wild ride is included, titled “You Ain’t the Boss of Me”.

“I promise you, you will laugh until you’re able to sit in the kid’s chairs. When you finish this book, you may have to worry about falling into the toilet when you sit down because YOUR ASS! IT WILL BE GONE FROM LAUGHING!” ~Joseph Paul Haines, author of Marooned and Ten With a Flag.

Disclaimer: Author shall be held harmless in any injuries resulting in the loss of asses or any toilet accidents.

You can also find The Trailer Park Tiara and Goat Incident on Smashwords. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!

VIVA LA GOAT! :)

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The Heart – Volume Two and A New Review

It's beating! IT LIVES!

The Heart – Volume Two has just been released and can be found on Amazon. w00t! I have two more volumes planned for release over the next few weeks — The Funny and The Horror. Go to my fan page on Facebook and vote for which volume you’d like to see released first. So far, The Funny is winning — consider this a once in a lifetime chance to tell me what to do. Heh.

Trust me. It happens about as often as this.

Don’t forget, The Fantasy – Volume One is also available.

I love book readers. I mean, I really, really love book readers. And when those book readers take the time out to not only read my book, but take extra time out to write up a review, my love turns to adoration. Many thanks to Maria Violante for this review of Athena’s Promise.

Book reviewers, word-of-mouth, sharing links — we indies could not do anything without our readers. I really appreciate every single Tweet, link, like, share, and review. Thank you all!

Now, here are some personal recommendations if you’re looking for some great material to read:

Patti Larsen’s first novel in the Hayle Coven series is FREE today! Go download a copy of Family Magic and meet Sydlynn Hayle. She’s a riot.

The much anticipated sequel to Lovers and Beloveds has been released — MeiLin Miranda’s Son in Sorrow is now available not only on Amazon but also at MeiLin’s website, released in a serial format. Excellent reading — she will blow your little brain. She did mine.

If you’re looking for well-written erotica, you can do no better than Fall Into Winter by Eden Baylee. What’s even more exciting is I have it on good authority she’s preparing a second volume for release in the next couple of months. Stay tuned!

Some of us aren’t missing the Walking Dead, and that’s due in large part to stories like Monsters Unmasked by Lori Whitwam. Fabulous story, set in the universe created by Joshua Guess, Lori shows us a dark and chilling perspective of how something like a zombie apocalypse brings out the worst (and best!) of people. Great read.

Finally, if you are a fan of The Hunger Games, you can’t miss Marooned. P.J. Druce has created an amazing protagonist in Punk Jordan and a story to keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

That’s enough to keep you busy for a while, huh? Happy reading!

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The Fantasy – Volume One

I’m excited! As a matter of fact, I’m just doing a happy dance all around the living room. I hope nobody’s watching because I probably look a touch insane and I’m fairly certain I’ll never make it on So You Think You Can Dance, because…well, I can’t. I rather look like this:

Only imagine the grasshopper in an epileptic fit.

Anyway, what’s the big deal, you ask? Well, I’ve decided to release some new volumes of fiction as I work on completing the sequel to Athena’s Promise and book two of the Aegian Trilogy, titled “Athena’s Chains”. The first volume is now out and available — The Fantasy – Volume One. It contains three stories from the Not Nice collection, a brand-new and never-before-seen short story, the two flash pieces which inspired the Aegian Trilogy, AND the first chapter of “Athena’s Promise”.

I have four volumes planned in all, The Fantasy being the first. Coming up over the next few weeks you will find:

The Funny
The Horror
The Heart

All will contain a mixture of new and old, and of course, you know they’ll all be twisted, which is why you love me. Heh.

This is what the inside of my brain looks like. Don't tell me you're surprised. (Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com)

It’s been difficult to find writing time with all the editing projects, but I’m not complaining because I love my job. I’ve been really busy earning a living, but I came to realize if I didn’t start scheduling time to write, it wasn’t going to happen. SO…I’m really happy about making some changes to include writing time for real, and I feel like I’m on the right track.

I have to thank Patti Larsen for the kick in the ass (because I really needed it and the woman kicks HARD!) and the unflagging support of Lori Whitwam, Joseph Paul Haines, and Joshua Guess, all fabulous indie artists in their own right.

I forgot how much fun it was to write and publish. I hope to remedy that on a much more regular basis, and I hope you have as much fun reading as I do writing for you. :)

If you like what you read (and even if you don’t!) I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave a review on Amazon, or click the “Like” button. I’ll love you anyway if you don’t, but I’ll probably love you long time if you do :) And a million thanks for all the support!!

Available NOW!

And you can find it here!

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It’s The Debutante Ball!

First of all, thanks to Author Elizabeth Mueller for putting together this fun blog hop. This is a chance for me to introduce you to Athena’s Promise, my debut urban fantasy novel, and to offer two free e-copies. All you have to do is comment with your email address. The winners will be announced on January 1, 2012.

This is the first book in a trilogy about Pallas, the front desk manager of a very unusual hotel.

As the front desk manager of a hotel on the edge of Zombietown, Pallas is used to dealing with angry centaurs, surly trolls, and zombie housekeepers. The trouble really starts when one of her guests ends up dead. But that’s not her only problem.

A cop with an attitude – can he be trusted to be more than just a pain in her ass or does he have a more sinister agenda?

A new Guest Services Manager, out for her job and ready to sacrifice anyone in his way – what does he really want?

The attractive maintenance guy, endangering the promise she made out of necessity to the Goddess Athena – does he know more than he’s telling?

A mermaid diva, whose show at the Sparkling Butterfly must go on – or else.

Pallas needs to find the killer, and fast, or she’ll lose her job, her home, and the ragtag family she’s adopted out of her crew of “critters”.

In the course of the investigation Pallas uncovers connections to a nasty Oddities dealer deep in the heart of Zombietown, forcing her to expose a trauma from her past which could threaten her future. With everyone and everything she loves in danger, the promise made to the Goddess Athena may well damn her if she breaks it, but she is bound and determined to save her friends, her home, and everything she’s built.

No matter what it takes.

This book was funny, sassy, pro-woman, suspenseful, funny, and much more. I just had to find out what was on the next page until it was finished. I am thrilled to know it is a planned trilogy as I adore the characters and want to see more of them along with finding out if the promise prevails. ~B. Decker

Ribken’s writing is very strong, full of snarking sarcasm that made me snort and giggle while tearing my heart out with Pallas’ need to protect the vulnerable ones she calls friends. Awesome book–can’t wait for the sequel. ~Patti Larsen

The world created by Annetta Ribken is well-crafted, complex, and rich with memorable characters. The story is perfectly paced, at times “gigglesnort” hilarious, and at other times utterly terrifying. With the literary world overflowing with urban fantasy in recent years, it’s difficult to stand out or have any sort of original take on the genre, but this author scores big on both counts. The entire story is so well – and believably – told, the next time I check into a hotel, I almost expect to see a Gorgon, a pixie, or a mermaid roaming the halls. ~Lori Whitwam

If I were to be any character in “Athena’s Promise”, it would have to be Pallas herself. Far from perfect, she still manages to kick ass and take names.

The actress I’d choose to play her in a movie is Emily Browning (with red hair, of course). This young lady did a great job in Lemony Snickets, and I saw her in Sucker Punch. She looks like she could take on the role of Pallas and do her justice.

Oh yeah. She looks like she could put the smackdown on somebody. Heh.

All you have to do is comment with your email address (so I know where to send the prize) and you’ll be in the running to win a copy of the ebook in the format of your choice. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

Here is a list of the other fine authors dancing with me — take a moment and visit. Lots of free swag up for grabs!

12 r Elizabeth Muelle
13 Regan Guerra
14 Melissa Pearl
15 Claudia Lefeve
16 Joseph Beekman
17 Pendragon Innmen
19 Alex J. Cavanaugh
20 Gillian Schafer
21 Fiauna Lund
22 Anastasia V. Pergakis
23 H. Linn Murphy
26 Tanya Contois
27 Patti Larsen
28 Red Tash
29 Annetta Ribken
30 Cindy Hogan

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You Won, YOU WON!

This Creepfest Blog Hop was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. I met some outstanding people who do the same thing I do, and I am really grateful to those who chose to come under the Netta Microscope, so to speak. Most notably, I’d like to thank:

Rebecca Treadway, for organizing and herding a bunch of writers (girl, you haz balls of steel!)

You just KNOW it had to feel like this!

Patti Larsen
Marissa Farrar
Stant Litore
Thea Gregory
Jessica McHugh
Lori Whitwam
Katie John
Jack Wallen
Red Tash
Kim Koning

and a special mention to Eden Baylee, the Queen of Twitter.

Much love and many thanks to you all!

You guys ROCK!

Now, on to the winners of my sweeps as chosen by Random.org….

The twelve winners of the e-copy of “Athena’s Promise” are:

Kim Koning
Georgina Morales
Jessica McHugh
Marissa Farrar
Nora Peevy
Ash Krafton
Stacey Stiferd
Mary Rajotte
Thea Gregory
Melissa Murphy
Stant Litore
Katie John

YAY!!

Wooohoo! This is FUN!

The winner of the signed print copy of “Athena’s Promise” is…

Marissa Farrar!

HOORAY!

Yeee haw!

And finally (and ironically!), the winner of the $20 Amazon gift card is….

Rebecca Treadway!

No, he doesn't come with it, but I though I'd give you some eye candy. Heh!

Congratulations to all winners. Please contact me for your prize and I will send them out ASAP.

Don’t forget, you can still visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs to discover some amazing writers!

Thanks so much for participating, and have a blessed and fun holiday season!

*MUAH*

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Creepfest Blog Hop Day 10 – Meet Jack Wallen

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

1. Okay, about this zombie thing. What attracted you to write about the living dead?

I’ve always been a HUGE horror fan. Ever since I was a child. But ultimately the zombie fascination comes down to how the zombie can be used for such a powerful social, political, and emotional metaphor. This is especially true for the upcoming “meh” generation which really seems to have their heads so firmly planted in their smartphones, they are lost to everything around them.

But the impetus to write the I Zombie trilogy hit me hard one day when I asked myself the question: “What would it feel like to become a zombie?” I was so compelled by that question, I had to have an answer. I knew the only way to answer the question was to write the book myself. Thus was born I Zombie I.

2. What one thing scares you enough to wet your monkeypantz?

I’m one of those that isn’t scared by much. That’s a good thing, considering what I write (and that I write at night when the house is dark and quiet). The one thing that scares me enough to make me wet myself is obscurity. The idea that I (and everything I have worked so hard on) would fade away without anyone remembering, is that thing that makes me curl up inside of myself and wonder why someone hasn’t tightened down my straitjacket buckles.

3. Speaking of scary, sit on Santa’s lap and tell him your five fondest wishes for Christmas.

Well, Santa, here are my five wishes for Christmas: 1) I want my book sales to explode and my fans/readers to REALLY enjoy my work. 2) I want Clive Barker to finally get the Hellraiser reboot off the ground. 3) I want to walk into my day job, wearing a Vera Wang ball gown and heels, and hand the owners my letter of resignation. 4) I want my next two series (The Book of Jacob and Klockwerk Kabaret) to be met with wild abandon. 5) I want Rob Zombie to finally contact me to ask permission to film the I Zombie trilogy (Mr. Zombie, a heads up, the answer is an emphatic YES!)

4. Why do you think the horror genre is so popular with readers?

I don’t think the horror genre is popular as a whole. What I firmly believe is that horror has the most loyal fans of any genre. Why? Because for so long there was nothing for readers to sink their teeth into besides the old guard: King, Campell, Straub, Andrews, etc. Readers were desperate for something new and when they found that something new they were willing to cling to that author through thick and thin. And besides, people love to be frightened. They love to read a book, while tucked safely under the covers of their beds, that makes them wonder how or if they could survive. We are voyeurs by nature. We can’t help but look at the train wreck as we pass by. Being able to witness that train wreck, as it happens, knowing no one was hurt, is a huge attraction to human beings.

5. What is your writing process like and how many quarts of blood do you go through?

My writing process goes like this: I hand write my first draft in bed. Once that draft is done, I do the first rewrites as I transfer it to digital format. Once the first rewrites are done, I print that out and re-read, correcting issues and making sure the story is coherent. Once that is done, I send the story to beta readers and then on to editors.

As for blood? Well, let’s just say this: I am currently working on the third book in my Fringe Killer series. I wrote a kill scene and decided I wanted the discovery of the body to be when the reader discovered just what the killer did. But the more I thought about it, I realized I was cheating the reader from experiencing the blood bath from the killer’s perspective. So I went back and let the killer have her way with the victim. It was brutal.

6. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing writers today?

With the advent of the indie author scene, there is now an incredible amount of books out there. This is a GREAT time to be a writer and a reader. Problem is, how to you get your books seen when it sits in a pile that reaches the sky? You have to be clever in your marketing and, as far as I can tell, few of us authors are marketing professionals. We are artists, not business women and men. It’s the single biggest challenge we face and many fail. The most important thing to do is have patience and continue crafting. Eventually, if you do things right, your books will sell. If you lose patience you stand to make a mistake and lose major ground.

7. Not only do you write, but you also design book covers. What made you decide to take on book covers?

I knew what I wanted my covers to look like and no one was doing that kind of work. Yes, you can get some seriously wonderful covers if your books are of the Paranormal or YA genres, but so much of the horror covers were cliché and I didn’t want that. I had the skills and decided to put them to work. I think my horror covers really connect with the story. That’s very important to me, as I take the emotional kernel of a story and make it the core of the design for the cover.

8. You’re throwing a holiday party. What writers, either famous or not, would you invite and what would you serve?

My invite list would be pretty short: Clive Barker, Stephen King, Edward Lee, Max Barry, Neil Stephenson, Shea MacLeod, Heather Marie Adkins, M. Edward McNally, PJ Jones, Talia Jager, Alan Nayes, Lizzy Ford, Julia Crane, and Poppy Z. Brite.

9. Where is the safest place to wait out the Zombie Apocalypse?

With me. But honestly? There is no one safe place to wait it out. You’ll have to be on the move. Food and water could run out. Eventually enough noise will be made and the horde will find you. Moving about is the best option. But, if I did have to pick one singular location to wait it out, it would probably be the Center for Disease Control. Neither zombie or the infection that caused them will be getting into that building any time soon.

10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I have quite a lot in the works. First and foremost is the third book in the Fringe Killer series, Endgame. Following that I will be completing the second Shero book (Shero II: Zombies and Bridesmaids) and then it’s on to some seriously exciting projects. I have a new zombie series planned, called The Book of Jacob. If you’ve read the I Zombie trilogy, the name will be familiar. This series will take place some thirty years after the I Zombie series and will be a much darker, bleaker series.

After “The Book of Jacob, Verse I” is finished, I will embark on what might be my most exciting project to date. I am going to venture into more steamy more punky worlds in a series called “Klockwerk Kabaret”. I can’t tell you how excited I am about starting that series – mostly because it will be a complete departure from my usual fare. But I do promise it will be quite different than the average steampunk novel. It will include my usual dark take on the world as well as plenty of corsets!

For more information on my upcoming works (and other fabulous things), check out my blog on monkeypantz.net.

BIO

Jack Wallen has a goal — to become the Zombie King. He won’t do that by dining on the brains of helpless victims. Instead he will write and write until his fingers and mind are nothing but meat for the beasts. During that time Jack will produce works of zombie fiction that are both enjoyable and cringe-worthy.

Of course, being of the insane writer clan, Jack isn’t just happy with the penning of zombie fiction. Oh no, the nightmare does not end there. Like the late, great Freddy Mercury, Jack wants it all — so, he will continue writing his Fringe Killer series as well as his joyous celebration of all things diverse — Shero.

For his inspiration to begin reading and writing, Jack thanks the ever-incredible Clive Barker for penning in a genre with words of grace and horror.

LINKS

I Zombie I
Amazon
Smashwords
Paperback

My Zombie My
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

A Blade Away
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Paperback

Gothica
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Paperback

Shero
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Paperback

Get Jack’d
Twitter: jlwallen
Facebook
Zombie Radio

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

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Creepfest Blog Hop – Day 5 – Stant Litore, King of Zombies

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

Stant Litore writes about the restless dead, and the first volume in his series The Zombie Bible is now available at Amazon. It’s called Death Has Come Up into Our Windows and tells the story of a prophet imprisoned in a well in a dying city; each day, his gaolers toss one of the ravenous dead in after him. You should read it; the book will leave a mark on you. Stant lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters, and stays out of certain parts of the mountains during the dark of the moon.

1. What sparked your obsession / interest in writing about zombies?

Zombies look at your face and they see nothing. They don’t see a person. They don’t see a soul. They see food. I don’t think there’s anything more terrifying, or more resonant with the issues of injustice and lack of compassion in our world. To what extent do you see a human soul when you look into another’s face? I mean to what extent, really? Or do you see an object to maneuver around, or a being who can serve your purposes, whether for business or pleasure, who can (metaphorically) fill the hungers you have – the hunger for approval, or for affirmation, your hunger for a parent or your hunger for a child, your hunger for sex or your hunger for competition? To what extent are the acquaintances and coworkers in your life … food? That’s a question Father Polycarp asks in my second book,What Our Eyes Have Witnessed, and it is a question that an encounter with the ravenous dead demands of us. Faced with the ultimate incarnation of hunger, we have to deal with our own hunger. We have to rethink what other people actually are to us, and what it means to live and what it means to die, and what part justice or ethics has in that.

2. Sit on Santa’s lap and tell us your top five wishes for Christmas.

An excellent year of health for my wife and children. The opportunity to hunt for a house. Good sales and good readers. More awareness among my community of the poverty in the community, and of the growing issue of underground slavery and human trafficking right here in our own town. Four is all I can think of; I’m a cheap date.

3. As an indie artist, what would you say are your biggest challenges?

I suppose there are two. The first is honesty. It’s not challenging so much at this moment, but I could see it getting there. The problem is like this. When you are an indie without the surrounding apparatus of a publishing firm, it can be tempting to cut corners on your own work, to rush things, to make decisions that have a short-term payoff but will cause you trouble down the road. This is the case as long as you aren’t accountable to anyone else. In my case I’m with a small indie press, and I have one of the best editors I know. I sought him out. And I am committed to being honest with myself about what I need to work on in my art. My editor is both encouraging and ruthless.

The other challenge is credibility. Because of the ease of e-publishing on a budget, there are a lot of indie writers who are publishing work that a professional editor would tell them is a draft (don’t get me wrong, though; some of the best books I’ve read this year were both indie and polished). This has the effect of keeping many readers leery of indie publishing. I decided early that the marketing plan for my series would place a premium on setting the foundation for credibility first, before moving aggressively after sales.

4. Did you always want to be a writer? What set you on this path of storytelling?

Always. Before I could write, I drew pictures on paper. Telling stories is in my blood, and if I stop for a week, I become the most cranky, cantankerous person you can imagine. Some things you can’t hold in any more than a flower can stop from blooming at the touch of the sun.

5. What is your writing process like? Pantser or plotter and why?

It’s both. In a very basic sense, the outlines for my current stories are suggested by the biblical tales I’m retelling, but that’s too simple an answer. I usually start with a scene that is very dramatic to me – though in fact it might be a very quiet scene — say, a loving moment between a couple. But, for me, it’s a scene full of drama and human life. That’s usually where I discover my characters.

Then I start writing a character arc – a few scenes where my characters make significant choices. That becomes my outline; it grows organically. By then I’ve an idea of what’s happening with this plot and at least a little idea of who’s in the story and what their lives and their choices are about, and then I just start to tell the story. And about two thirds the way through it, I learn eight things about my characters I didn’t know before, and I learn what thematic questions this story is demanding of its readers, and then I just keep rewriting it until I have it right.

But the key is to learn early on what choices these characters have to make, and why those choices are important to them and to the world they live in. That’s an exciting process of discovery and a tremendous wrecker of outlines, if I were so foolish as to start with an outline. But once you know what five scenes are the defining choices for one of your main characters, you know what your outline looks like. Everything else that’s going to happen in your story is made necessary by those moments of choice.

6. Give us a list of five things you think would be the most useful in the Zombie Apocalypse.

A machete, a greenhouse in an inaccessible location, access to clean water, a good supply of toothpaste, and a good book, at least one. That last is to keep you sane.

7. What writers have inspired you?

So many. Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolfe, and C J Cherryh come readily to mind.

8. What is the one thing about the publishing industry that irritates you the most?

Nothing that I can think of. I’m currently an independent not because of any longstanding issues with the industry – I have none – but because I like to be at the helm, and because I get a thrill out of the process of publishing and marketing. I get energy from it and a bit of an adrenaline high, the kind that comes with facing almost insurmountable odds and still producing something beautiful.

9. Tell us about your upcoming projects.

For the next year or two, I am pretty wrapped up in The Zombie Bible. Today the first volume, Death Has Come Up into Our Windows, has hit #8 in the Amazon bestseller list for horror, and the second, What Our Eyes Have Witnessed , has just been released for Kindle and Nook. But there are a lot more stories waiting to be told. You can get a brief preview here . You will see zombies in the Old Testament and the New, and you’ll see men, women, and children making difficult choices in difficult times, and fighting to live lives that are about more than just surviving.

Don’t forget to visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and tons of free swag!

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

Share