Although I can’t remember the exact circumstances of our first meeting, I can say once you meet Rebecca you’ll never forget her. A fellow Aquarian, she and I hit it off from the beginning. She has that quirky sense of humor I hold so dear, coupled with an honesty that is both refreshing and bracing.
On top of that, the woman is mega-talented. Not only is she a writer with a twisted imagination I find fascinating, she is an amazing artist and the one behind the cover and the trailer for Athena’s Promise. Rebecca is fabulous to work with, and an amazing friend. Here’s a peek inside her unconventional and intriguing head. I’ll just leave the light on for you. Heh.
1. Your roots are in dark fantasy and sword and sorcery, but you work a lot in horror. What is it about horror that attracts you as a writer?
Both genres offers examinations into the human condition – touches deeper into the human psyche’s dark side. From religion or politics, to that inner monster we all possess. I don’t speak of slasher-style fiction or movies in that vein – for me, horror is more psychological than gore.
2. What do you think horror offers that other genres may not?
A catharsis, utilizing horrific imagery or words in real life instances where you’ve experience real horror, has been used in therapy. There’s also of course, the self-reflective approach. You can’t go around hurting people, so you create a character and whack them in the nastiest way possible.
3. Who is your favorite character you’ve created and why?
That’s a tough choice to make. I’ll go with what “type” of my character is my favorite, they tend to crop up in most of my stories, is the anti-hero. They tend to personify our own reality. Ordinary people who become something extraordinary (sometimes not) who do what needs to be done to “save the day”. It doesn’t mean they have to like it, or even volunteered for it.
4. What is your writing process like?
I write on regular note paper with a real pen. Most of which are brainstorm sessions from either a notion in my mind, or a dream I’ve had. The longer I brainstorm, the more ideas generate. Sometimes it’s a scene between nameless characters, sometimes a short story. If it blooms into a novel, I create a basic structure for the plot and will fill in the gaps with these ‘scenes’. I still have “homeless characters” and situations with no story. Yet.
5. Who are your writing inspirations?
Michael Moorcock, George RR Martin, and of course – Tolkien. I will have to say however, my first inspiration – Robert E. Howard’s “Conan” – followed up with artists such as Larry Elmore, Linda Bergkvist, and Alan Lee.
Musically, very inspired by the now defunct duo Dead Can Dance, and a horde of Classical composers and music. A Night on Bald Mountain, Deis Irae from Mozart, classical music and operatic scores such as Carmina Burana almost always create mini-movies in my head.
6. What actually scares you the most?
I’ve been asked that a lot. Aside from the surface fear of spiders – the deepest fear is the inability to move, speak, see, or hear – and be completely conscious of this fact.
7. Name the scariest movie and book you’ve ever seen and read.
Vincent Price’s “Last Man on Earth” scared me as a child, and as an adult – Will Smith in “I am Legend.” Both storylines scared me, in that each character was utterly the last of their kind. And both scenes, having to kill their dog. That was just so sad..lol. I haven’t read a book yet that I could call the scariest. One scene in Raymond Feist’s “Faerie Tale” creeped me out. The parts about the “bad thing” were really spooky. But no, to date – I haven’t read a book that made me want to sleep with the lights on. I’d settle for the creep or spook factor!
8. What is your opinion regarding the indie or self-publishing movement?
I’ve been involved in the Indie/Self-Pub movement longer than most people realize. It started out for me in the early 90’s when I made a “zine” – quarterly, and accepted submissions for short stories, art, poetry. California’s had a stable Indie movement in this regard for longer. Back then, I wasn’t online – it was through U.S. Mail, including networking. I fell out of the loop in the late 90’s and about a year and a half ago – came back into the loop to see its growth through electronic media. I jumped back into the shallow end with publishing poetry I had lying around, then a short story. I’m a novelist at heart, however – and don’t have the patience to sit around waiting a year for a novel to go to print. It’s a great opportunity for writers and personally, I don’t see it any different from Indie bands who put out their own labels. If the powers that be in the “market” don’t want you – you create your market. Back then, and in the now – I think it’s great. It’s not so much the “control” and “royalties” but the creative force behind it. “It” being “your product”.
9. You’re both a graphic artist and a writer. Which appeals to you most and why?
Even though I’ve been into drawing since I was allowed to hold a sharpened pencil 😉 (age 3, my first piece of art was Flipper followed by Fingerpainting in pre-school) writing is the greater appeals. It’s easier, to tell the truth -to write down what my head visualizes, than attempt to draw it. haha!
10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I just finished type-ups on all of my handwritten mess regarding a novella turned into a novel “I Chiang”. Now I need to assemble them into chapters and do the first round of edits before I toss it to you – the editor 😉 “I Chiang” is going to be the first in a series which I’m calling, for now at least – The Unfailed Series. Each novel is planned as a stand alone with recurring characters – leading up to events that I will keep under wraps. That part is still being fleshed out. Book 2, titled “Project 4: Unfailed” was originally Book 1, Project 4 was going to be my debut and in the middle of a second round of self-editing, the character Chiang started to talk. A lot.
I also have several short stories, some short-shorts that I’m compiling into a anthology tentatively titled “The Little Book of Weird”. They’re all supernatural or psychological horror based in and around my childhood, or simply things that came off the top of my head from mundane circumstances. One such a story, called the S(t)ink – is about a horrible odor exuding from the bathroom sink in an upstairs apartment, taking a life of its own. Another, based on where I live – called The Tenant, is about a woman who hears the veiled threats coming from the air conditioner unit outside her bedroom window. You know how sometimes, you get those evil little thoughts in your head towards somebody who peeves you? In the case of this short story, it’s our old apartment manager whose going to get it. Through a story, of course. This is why I love horror 😀 Where else can you get away with being creepy if not downright unpleasant? After the Unfailed Series I’m transitioning to my original love – Dark “Epic” style Fantasy with elements of Sword & Sorcery. (More emphasis on the Sorcery, of course) My “personal epic” – the “Lord of the Rings” in my life, is the “Book of the Accursed”. It’s taken close to 10 years, off and on – to see the conclusion.
Author Bio: I’m a writer and artist, all else is self-explanatory.
After months of dithering between here and there, this and that, trying to correlate the reams of publishing information bouncing around the internetz, I am going to self-publish a volume of my short works, a combination of published and unpublished stories. I have Joseph Paul Haines to thank for the kick in the pants — and fabulous support for my inane questions about the process — since he blazed the trail with the release of his own collection. I must credit MeiLin Miranda too, for sparking off the idea in my head that there could be a place for such a volume.
I’m still in the early stages, and I will blog about my experiences with self-publishing as it happens. I know I whine a lot about conquering another learning curve (doesn’t it seem as if your head will explode at some point??) but as I’ve stated before, a writer doesn’t “just” write anymore — if they ever did. Time to man up (or woman up, if you want to be politically correct) and take it head-on. Whiners belowdeck.
So, for me (and your mileage may vary if you decide to accept this mission) the beginning of the self-publishing process was to talk to Joe and pick his brain, since he had just completed his own mission. He made it sound quite easy, and thus encouraged, I went on to do my own due diligence. Don’t get me wrong — I know Joe would never steer me wrong and I hold him in very high respect. That being said, it’s up to ME to do my own research, and that I did.
Joe recommended CreateSpace, so I not only looked at the company’s website, I Googled reviews. I re-read some of MeiLin’s experience with them, and found that in spite of a small snafu, she was very pleased with the quality and customer service of CreateSpace, and the other reviews I read reflected that opinion.
I signed up for a free account. To be honest, I found their interface a bit confusing at first — yeah, a learning curve — but eventually I figured out how to get around. What I wanted to do was study the submission requirements and make sure I got it right the first time around. This is all before I started to put the collection together, understand — I felt like if I had the basic requirements down, that would save me time later when I was putting the masterpiece in order.
What is confusing me at the present moment is margins and terms like “bleed” (which sounds ominous), but those are little things I can ask more experienced writers. (Yes, Joe, you’re on deck. Heh.)
Now, on to the fun part. And believe me when I tell you I say that facetiously. Choosing the material. Plus, although I try to stay organized, I have pieces saved in several different folders, on flash drives, and I even went digging in GMail to find others. I’ve visited websites in which my stuff has been published, and had to re-type one that had been published in print which of course, I didn’t save anywhere else. *sigh* Lesson learned. I finally got it all in one place.
Actually, it’s not choosing the material that’s a brain fryer as much as the line-up. Most of my short work (but not all) is flash. I love flash. I’ve written a lot of flash. Tweaking my stockpile into a cohesive flow is a challenge. Plus, I became easily distracted walking through the beginnings of my writing career and remembering how, when, and why I wrote what I did. It was fun, but draining.
So, I tweaked and copy and pasted and dithered. I asked for the opinion of a trusted friend about the line-up, made a few more adjustments, and moved on to write the Author’s Obligatory Acknowledgments, a Table of Contents, and Author’s After Words. It’s starting to shape up to resemble a book! Yay!
Next stop is the book cover — I’m waiting on a specially commissioned photograph to reflect the material within, which should be here tomorrow. I will forward it to a very dear friend who has offered to Photoshop it into a cover, and in the meantime I will tweak and adjust some more.
And that, my poppets, is where I am in the process so far. Joe was right — it has been easy up to this point, but then we move on to the uploading and waiting for a proof. I will certainly keep you updated on the progress.
I hope to have “Not Nice and Other Understatements” available in the next couple of weeks, the gods willing and the creek don’t rise. Wish me luck