Inspiration For Mondays-Elizabeth Lyon

Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon is a treasure trove. It’s a rare week when I haven’t cracked it open a number of times.

On “Deep Listening”:

“The ear rarely deceives. You can see–read–your story and not catch many errors. However, if you listen to your story, you’ll hear clunks, hisses, and coughs. Yet, there is listening and there is listening. As you know, it is possible to hear without really listening, either to oneself or to others. Developing the perspective of inside-out revision means tuning inward, trusting your own sense and intuition as you read your story silently or aloud.”

What do you hear when you listen?
What do you hear when you listen?

Inspiration For Mondays-William Zinsser

On Writing Well by William Zinsser is a book about writing non-fiction. Even still, there are many, many principles on writing well which apply not only to non-fiction, but to fiction as well. This book was first published in 1976, and was revised and expanded on its 30th anniversary. It has sold over one million copies. That might not seem like much to some these days, but it’s another one of my staples in my book arsenal which has taught me a lot.

You can find it here on Amazon.

On rewriting:

“Rewriting is the essence of writing well: it’s where the game is won or lost. That idea is hard to accept. We all have an emotional equity in our first draft; we can’t believe that it wasn’t born perfect. But the odds are close to 100 percent that it wasn’t. Most writers don’t initially say what they want to say, or say it as well as they could. The newly hatched sentence almost always has something wrong with it. It’s not clear. It’s not logical. It’s verbose. It’s clunky. It’s pretentious. It’s boring. It’s full of clutter. It’s full of cliches. It lacks rhythm. It can be read in several different ways. It doesn’t lead out of the previous sentence. It doesn’t…The point is that clear writing is the result of a lot of tinkering.”

Of course, there is such a thing as too MUCH tinkering. But that’s a subject for another day. The point is, writing your story/book/article is just the beginning. 🙂

On Writing Well


Inspiration For Monday-Scott Meredith

I have a number of writing and editing books, like most editors and writers. Each one has given me a different perspective and support when I seem to need it most. The trick is to take what speaks to you and chuck the rest. Not everyone writes the same nor should they. Just use what works for you. Because let’s face it, this writing gig is not the easiest job in the world. Oh, it’s not digging ditches, don’t get me wrong, but there are times when it seems like it.

One of the best books on writing I’ve read is Writing to Sell by Scott Meredith. You can find it here on Amazon. It was first published in 1950, and recommended to me by author Peter V. Brett, and considering his success, it has been one of the best book recommendations on writing I’ve received.

Here is a quote from the book I think is great for inspiration on a Monday: (on procrastination)

“If you will force yourself to work out those book ideas without waiting for inspiration to slosh you across the back of the head, and if you will force yourself to write one sentence after another despite the fact that the picture is awry, and the pencils are blunt, and your family is making an awful racket, and you’re writing in one corner of a bedroom instead of in a big soundproof study, and you had a big night with the boys last night, and the stuff looks awful as you write it–you will find, when you examine it a day or two later, that the material you’ve produced is exactly as good or bad as the material you normally produce, or would produce under the ideal conditions.”

In other words, get your head out of your ass and just do it.

Writing To Sell

What are some books you have found to be helpful in the writing process?


Writing The Script For Reality

“Writers are, in a way, very powerful indeed. They write the script for the reality film. Kerouac opened a million coffee bars and sold a million pairs of Levis to both sexes. Woodstock rises from his pages. Now if writers could get together into a real tight union, we’d have the world right by the words. We could write our own universes, and they would be as real as a coffee bar or a pair of Levis or a prom in the Jazz Age. Writers could take over the reality studio. So they must not be allowed to find out that they can make it happen. Kerouac understood long before I did. Life is a dream, he said.”

~William S. Burroughs in “Remembering Jack Kerouac” (1985), included in The Adding Machine : Selected Essays (1993), p. 180

Dreaming You have the power. Now write it.
<3[/caption] *Photo courtesy of

*Quote courtesy of Wikipedia.


Finding the Time to Write – The Sequel

Back in 2008, I wrote a blog post about finding the time to write. I thought I’d re-visit the topic, especially since a lot of things have changed since then, although the basic issues I address in that particular blog post still apply. Right now I know many writers who are neck-deep in NaNoWriMo, and finding the time to write is really a concern. But for most writers, it’s an ongoing issue since the majority of us hold full-time jobs, have families, or would just like a spare moment to eat a meal, visit with friends and family, or even take a pee break.

Finding time to write
You think there’s a lot of time. But never enough.

When I wrote the original post, I was just launching a career in writing, which at the time meant writing non-fiction copy. Fitting in fiction was difficult, especially since there were these pesky things like “deadlines” and “rent”. It’s hard to make that brain switch between non-fiction and fiction, and sometimes I couldn’t do it at all. I mean, there are only so many hours in a day and my brain can handle just so much.

My brain on cauliflower
This is my brain. Yes, it looks like a cauliflower. I’m aware.

Even still, I managed to put together my flash fiction collection, other shorts, and my first publishable novel, Athena’s Promise. Since then, my career has changed (change is the only constant, I’ve found) and I am working quite steadily as a successful fiction content editor. I realize how lucky I am; I have a dream job, work for no one but myself and from home, and therefore, set my own schedule.

But I put in long hours and still have deadlines and there’s always that damned rent thing. So finding time to write my own fiction is…challenging, like it is for most of us who have this deep, abiding passion to throw words on a page to see what sticks. I still have other things to do, like eat, sleep, try to get the word out on my own fiction efforts; mop the floors, clean the litter box, and run my business. I struggle with brain re-charging, dealing with family issues, health issues, keeping up with the industry, networking, finding new clients so my cat and I don’t end up living in a cardboard box. I count myself very, very fortunate because even with all that, I’m doing what I love to do so I’m not complaining. Not even one damned bit.

But it wasn’t always so. It has always been a challenge to find the time to write, and I am sure it always will be. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

When I started writing fiction, I had a full-time job in the Out, and three kids to raise as a single mom. I think it’s the main reason I started with flash fiction, which will always be my first love. I still maintain writing flash is one of the best training grounds for writers — but that’s another topic. The point is, finding time to write it was almost impossible. But with this burning need, I really didn’t have a choice. It was write or die. And I don’t know about you, but writing sounds a whole lot better than dying.

Yeah. Not fixing to end up here just yet.

So I managed. After working eight or ten hours a day, taking care of the house and the kids, I’d scratch out what I could and just put all my nuts in a basket. Nuts which later turned into a collection of which I’m very proud. I was on my way. I also started a daily blog (yes, DAILY) in which I’d write something, ANYTHING, no matter how banal and stupid it might have seemed to me, just to get into the habit of writing something every single day. This is known as “discipline”.

Fast forward a few years (what, you think this shit happens overnight. Heh. You funny.) and I’m working in a hotel. Long hours. LONG. Brain-numbing, in fact. I just didn’t have time to write fiction, although I kept up the habit of blogging every. Single. Day. Even through an awful storm knocking out the power for five days, I wrote a blog post in longhand on yellow legal pads, and then posted them later. I did this for a total of six years. I tried NaNo once, without computer access during my imprisonment–uh–I mean EMPLOYMENT at the hotel, by using the same method–you know, real paper with a real ink pen, no spellcheck–and crapped out at 25k. What I wrote was awful and will never see the light of day while I draw breath, but I tried.

This is where my first novel attempt ended up. Believe me, it was for the best.

Then, I started freelancing, and trust me, I worked harder than I ever did in an Outside Job. That’s the nature of the beast, but being no stranger to hard work, it didn’t faze me. In this time, I wrote “Athena’s Promise” and although it was slow going, I got it done. I set myself a goal every day, and no matter what, every day I hit it. I hit it as hard as I could.

Currently, I am more often than not neck-deep in Other People’s Words. And I love it. I absolutely love what I do for a living. It’s not easy, but my Momma always told me life was not easy. While she may have been wrong about a lot of things, about this she was absolutely, 100% correct. Life is not easy and it’s not meant to be easy. Switching my brain from Other People’s Words to my own is difficult. You know, deadlines and stuff. Immersing myself into a world of someone else’s creation and picking apart the mechanics. Another switch to click and all that. But the voices in my own head are loud, and chatty, and just won’t shut the eff up. And I have yet to train my cat to clean out her own litter box. (She’s an asshole.)

And so, more material was wrought, and remembering my lessons on discipline, I have been working on the sequel to “Promise” titled “Athena’s Chains” and am halfway there. In the meantime, I have completed the first in a series of novellas, titled “The Trailer Park Tiara and Goat Incident–The Adventures of Sally Mae Riddley” (coming soon) and started the second, working title “You Ain’t The Boss Of Me – The Adventures of Sally Mae Riddley Volume Two” with three more (at least, if Sally Mae doesn’t quiet down) planned.

How do I find the time to write? I make it. Late at night, with my asshole cat prowling around yowling it’s time for bed or destroying yet another roll of toilet paper, I set aside at least an hour after a grueling 12-16 hour day to make it happen. Because I know if I don’t, it’s not going to happen. Nobody’s going to write these stories but me. I have to make it work, because I AM A WRITER. I am a lot of things, but at my core I AM A WRITER. And writers write, even in sub-optimal conditions. Tired? Sure. Obstacles? Definitely. So. What. Even if it’s only a hundred words, a thousand. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. Because here’s the thing; you take a small thing, and add another small thing, keep going, and the next thing you know…you have a Big Thing. (Yes, I know that’s a lot of “things”.)

How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time, motherheifer. One step at a time.

If you want it bad enough, you make it happen. YOU. No matter what stands in your way, no matter what it takes, YOU are the only one who can make it happen. The obstacles or challenges just make the journey that much more rewarding. And really, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the destination which matters as much as the journey.

Happy trails. Keep on keeping on. YOU CAN DO THIS. Now, get to it.

*All photos courtesy of

Need a content editor? I do that. Check my rates and services here.


Scams For The Indies

Well, I’ve been saying it all along. The sharks are out for we indies, and what they want to do is rend the flesh from your bones with sharp, wicked teeth and eat you.

Oh sure. It’s all fun and games until someone loses a leg. Or an arm. Or both.

Think I’m kidding? Nope. Check out this post by Patti Larsen regarding the ill-conceived notion of a “Mark of Excellence”. And this thing had a price tag of FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Seriously? Thankfully, since this post and others like it, the IBC (Indie Book Collective) has pulled their “program”. For now. UPDATE: (Yes, already.) Apparently the “Mark of Excellence” program is still available, although I refuse to link to it from here. RUN. AWAY. Seriously. This is so much bullshit I’m about to faint from the stench.

And then, this weekend, my friend and fellow indie, Janet Sked pointed out yet another entity trying to hop on the “let’s choose for readers what they want to read” bandwagon. Although I HATE to give them any hits, Grub Street Reads wants you to know “the best indie authors come from Grub Street”. Here’s the gist of their program if you really want to go look. But in a nutshell, the people here want you to PAY to put your book through a vetting process by their “qualified” endorsers and then, if approved, YOU CAN GET A STICKER FOR YOUR BOOK COVER!

Woohoo! I’m so excited I think I peed a little!

Look, let me just break it down. Indies vetting other indies is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Especially if they are charging a fee. Granted, Grub Street is nowhere as expensive as the “Mark of Excellence”, but still. And they might be lovely people. The truth is, there’s already a vetting process in place — it’s called READERS. Readers who now have the choice of reading whatever they damned well please, whether it’s something like Ninety Shades of Turquoise or the latest from a long-term bestselling author.

Get it? There’s no one standing between you, the indie author, or any author really, and the reader. NO ONE. Which is the whole premise behind this indie revolution, amirite?

This is really what it’s all about. SOMEONE WANTS TO TAKE ALL YOUR MONEYZ.

What makes this particularly disgusting to me is it seems these types of “programs” are preying on the new writer, the scared indie, the struggling artist who just wants to cut through the white noise out there and stand out. But if you think a shiny golden sticker handed out by people charging you money for the process is going to shoot your work of genius straight to the bestseller list, you’d better get a grip.

Think about it. Does Amanda Hocking have a golden sticker? Or Konrath? No, but they do have one thing in common — a shit-ton of material out there you can choose to read. Actually, how many of your favorite authors actually have a golden sticker on their book cover? Do you even notice? Does it make a difference in whom you choose to read?

Readers don’t care about stickers. They care about STORY. You can have a book cover with a bajillion stickers on it, but if what’s inside sucks, those stickers aren’t going to mean a damned thing. Not in the long run.

Write a good story. Save your money for great covers, great editing, and put the thing out there for the readers. And then you know what you do? WRITE ANOTHER ONE. Rinse and repeat. Your readers will find you, promise.

There is no magic bullet for success but HARD WORK. You’re either in, or you’re out. There is no in-between and there is no short cut.

Sorry to burst your bubble. Here. Have a cookie. THEN GET TO WRITING.

The First Rant of the New Year – The Word NO, Rape, and Responsibility

I’d like to start by saying someone or something stole my January and half my February and I think that’s rather rude. But it pales in comparison next to the REAL burr up my ass right now.

I realize this is most likely not going to be a popular opinion, and it’s also likely to cause some hard feelings. I’m okay with that. But it’s something that’s been building for a while — a long time, actually, and since this is my blog, I can say what I want. And yes, I also realize this is a topic which has been around the block more than once.

I receive a lot of unsolicited manuscripts from many different writers. I have read just about every genre known to mankind — I’ve had phases where all I read are biographies, sci-fi, epic fantasy and all the sub-genres, bizzaro, literary, historical stuff, poetry, Shakespeare, romance (oh yes, it’s true, I know Harlequin and Silhouette, although those years are long gone) and every sub-genre you can think of (and I can’t right now because I’m too pissed off). There’s also a crapload of free material out there, so I guess you could say in a literary sense, I get around. And some of the shit I’m reading is really, really pissing me off.

Not because the grammar or sentence structure makes me want to swallow a maggot milkshake rather than read one more word; not because the story line is about as ethereal as a lace curtain; not because the main character has the personality of a tongue depressor. Because many of these writers are hella talented and tell a really good story. No, what’s lighting my fire right now is IRRESPONSIBILITY.

Hey, it’s a free world. For the most part. You can write any damned thing you please. I can’t stop you, and I wouldn’t even if I could. But what I will do is drag your ass out into the light and ask you WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?

I’m talking to you, Romance Writer. You might write straight up historical romance, you could be an author of LGBT stories, contemporary stuff…it doesn’t really matter. I am seeing a lot of “her mouth said no but her eyes said yes” bullshit and I’m just SO OVER THIS CRAP. And a lot of it, pardon me, seems to be coming from the paranormal ether, but certainly not all of it.

Why does this bug me? For several reasons. I am sick to death of reading scenes where the woman says no, the man hears yes and proceeds even when she says no more than once, and they have hot monkey sex. (Insert preferred paranormal species here. They seem to get a pass on all kinds of abhorrent behavior.) Afterward, she’s all ga-ga over the guy and sometimes he expresses remorse because after all, he’s not a BAD guy, he’s just a HORNY guy and driven crazy over her incredible HAWTNESS, all is forgiven, and they ride off into the sunset and have thousands of fat babies.


For one, NO MEANS NO. “No” does not mean, “Oh, I’m just being coy because I want to preserve the fallacy I am a good girl just overwhelmed by the sensations of my lady bits” and NO does not mean, “Oh, if I say yes he’ll think I’m a bad girl and I’ll have to give up my Virgin Decoder Ring,” and NO doesn’t mean “Oh, go ahead and take it and by the way I love you for it and thank you so much for introducing me to the marvels of an orgasm.”

And NO, motherheifer, you do NOT get a free pass just because you have to drink blood to live, turn into a werewolf at the full moon and it’s the way of the pack, or your body parts are rotting off. Actually, if body parts are rotting off you probably shouldn’t be having any kind of rough sex in the first place. Gawd only knows what’s gonna fall off. Just a suggestion.

ANYWAY. Before you start jumping all over my shit and calling me Mrs. Brady (although she was a freak in her own right, GO FLO!) or saying, “Geez, Netta, you act like you don’t have a freak flag when we all know what a heinous untruth THAT is,” you’re right. I do have a freak flag. This is not about flying a freak flag. It’s not about “forced seduction” or erotic fantasies. I understand those, I have a few myself (that I shall keep to myself, pay no attention to the purple monkey, move along) and it’s not about titillation. It’s about glamorizing RAPE. There. I said it. Happy now?

Because when a woman says NO, and a man forces sex upon her anyway, that is called RAPE. There is nothing glamorous about it, there is nothing right about it, there is certainly nothing romantic about it. STOP. IT.

I mean it. Stop it. In fiction, why can’t the woman get on board and enjoy herself if that’s what she wants? Why can’t a man stop if the woman tells him NO? She can have her internal conflicts (oh lordy, don’t we all) but I’m afraid all these stories about the female saying NO with her mouth and YES with her eyes are desensitizing readers to the fact this situation is RAPE. And what about the mixed messages to the males out there? “Oh, you told me no, but you have bookshelves full of those romantical type books where the guy takes what he wants and they ride off into the sunset and have thousands of fat babies.”

Do you see where I’m going with this?

As a writer, you have to understand your words have power. You have never, ever in your life, held a weapon as powerful as the words you share with other people. Of course you’re an artist, of course you write for yourself, of course. But when you expose your work to other people, it’s a whole other ball game.

I’m not singling out romance writers, because it happens in every genre, but of course it’s more prevalent in romance. I’m not talking about realistic depictions of rape, or the horrendous and sad fallout after the fact. I’m not talking about a situation inimical to the plot of your story. I’m talking about this frivolous-type attitude toward a very serious issue. Think about what you are writing!

“Her mouth said “no” but her eyes said “yes”.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

IF HER MOUTH SAYS “NO” THEN THAT MEANS “NO”. (Besides the fact I have never met a talking eyeball.)

In this day and age (the heyday of rape in romance seems to have been the ’70s to the 90s although I feel like I’m seeing a resurgence) if you are a talented writer, certainly you can come up with something else to create tension and stop making it seem like this kind of situation is part of the mating ritual. Please.

Rape is all about power. It is not foreplay. It is not a way to bind a woman to you heart and soul. It is a crime. It is violent. It is wrong.

There are ways and ways and ways to explore the power dynamic between a man and a woman without using rape as the catalyst and if you can’t find them, you’re a shitty writer. That is my opinion. Therefore, if I read something of yours which trivializes this act, I will never read anything of yours again. I just won’t. I won’t promote it, I won’t edit it, I won’t read it.

Here is where I draw my line in the sand.


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….

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


Wooohoo! This is FUN!

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

Marissa Farrar!


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!



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


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.


I Zombie I

My Zombie My
Barnes & Noble

A Blade Away
Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

Get Jack’d
Twitter: jlwallen
Zombie Radio


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 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 🙂


Creepfest Blog Hop – Day 7 – Introducing Jessica McHugh

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

Check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win 🙂

Jessica McHugh is an author of speculative fiction that spans the genre from horror and alternate history to epic fantasy. A prolific writer, she has devoted herself to novels, short stories, poetry, and playwriting. She has had ten books published in three years, including “Rabbits in the Garden”, “The Sky: The World” and the first three installments in her “Tales of Dominhydor” series. More info on Jessica’s speculations and publications can be found at

1. You’re quite a busy lady between working an outside job and penning multiple projects. How do you keep up with it all?

It’s a rough gig, that’s for sure. The most torturous part is being at my full time job when there’s a story I desperately want to write. I can fit in little writing spurts while at work, but it’s definitely not the same as being home.

But this is the life I chose. Dealing with this situation is like getting a tattoo. It hurts and it’s a lengthy process, but I’m not going to cry from the pain. I knew what I was getting into. I also know I always end up with something beautiful, something that makes it all worthwhile.

2. You write across a multitude of genres when many writers specialize in one. Which one is the easiest for you to write and why?

I’d say horror because it’s so much fun for me, but when I really think about it, suspense comes easiest to me. No matter what genre I write, there’s always some suspense, whether I originally intended on it or not. It just slips in, probably because I have so much fun with slow reveal of secrets, the misdirection, and the twists and turns of unraveling the characters’ capabilities.

3. Sit on Santa’s lap and tell him your top five Christmas wishes.

1st off, I wish Santa didn’t smell like Doritos and Skoal. 2Nd, I wish I had a house with a patio where I could write during the summer. 3Rd, I wish one (or more) of my books would get super popular so I could ditch the day job. 4Th, I wish racism and homophobia would just disappear (although that might be a taller order than the day job-ditching). 5Th, I wish I didn’t have to exercise to be healthy. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it would be nice to devote that time to writing instead.

4. Out of all the imaginary worlds out there, which one would you chose to live on if you were banished from Earth and why?

I’d love to live in Dictionopolis from “The PhantomTollbooth”. There are lots of reasons, but mostly, I want to eat my words. “Turkey, pumpkin pie cheesecake, and pink champagne.” I’d be so happy right now if that worked.

5. What would you say are the biggest challenges to writers today?

I think there are so many talented self-published authors out there today and I respect so much of their work. However, the majority of the readers don’t understand that there are really remarkable authors available through those avenues. They think of self-published authors as people who CAN’T secure publishers, and that’s why I get frustrated when people just assume I’m self-published. Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with it, but I’ve sent out the query letters and been accepted and published by several small presses. I’m extremely proud of those accomplishments and it really hurts my feelings when people dismiss my work, thinking I just uploaded it to some website and decided to call myself “published”. If the majority didn’t have such a disparaging attitude toward self-publishing, it wouldn’t be an issue, but unfortunately, being respected as self-published author, is a huge challenge writers face today. And being published by small presses isn’t too different.

6. If you could turn back the hands of time, like Cher, what would you do differently in your life if you could?

Any change I’d make might prevent me from meeting and marrying my husband, and I wouldn’t risk that for anything. His encouragement and support is what pushed me to try getting published in the first place. Plus, he’s pretty damn easy on the eyes.

7. What superhero would you chose to hang with?

I love Ozymandias from “The Watchmen”. Ozymandias (or Adrian Veidt) is the smartest man on the planet, after all. Plus, I love characters who help the world through what others perceive as villainy.

8. You’re at a dinner party and you see Stephen King sitting all alone. What do you do?

I certainly wouldn’t try to drug him, take him to my snowy mountain home, and break his ankles so he couldn’t escape. No, I certainly wouldn’t do that at all…

9. What is your writing process like? Pantser or plotter?

It depends on the story and any obstacles I face after diving in. I suppose I always start as a pantser, but after a bit of writing, I may stop and outline the story’s skeleton.

10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’m trying very hard to finish the revision process on three different novels. 1: “Telinhe”, the 4th and final book in my “Tales of Dominhydor” epic fantasy series. 2: “Verses of Villany”, a historical fiction about playwright Christopher Marlowe. 3: “Pins”, a horror novel set in a strip club/bowling alley.

You can find Jessica here:

Twitter: theJessMcHugh

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and plenty of free swag!


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 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 🙂