Someone Else’s Writing: Brad C. Hodson

Brad C. Hodson: “Reach for the heavens with all the fury of hell.”

Brad, how would you describe your style of writing?

 

My writing style…

I like to play with the style a bit and feel that, to a certain extent, the style should cater to the mood that an author is attempting to engender. That being said, every author has certain stylistic markers that define their voice. These days I tend to pay more attention to the musical quality of sentences, trying to create and maintain a varied rhythm that (hopefully) picks up the reader and carries them along. But, again, this varies. In DARLING I tried to get out of the way as much as possible, to keep the prose clean and simple and sharp. Style-wise, I suppose my models for the book were Matheson, King, and Laymon. DARLING was written four years ago, though, and, if I were to write it today the models might be more Hemingway and Straub. This dynamic quality is one of the things I love about writing (and, really, about art in general). DARLING is a book I could have only written as it is at that point in time. As I grow older, my tastes will keep changing and my writing will (hopefully) continue to change.

 

Your brand new novel, Darling, is scheduled for release by Bad Moon Books. Could you tell us a little bit about it? What inspired you to write it and are you happy with the result?

 

I’ve always been a fan of haunted house novels, from Henry James to Shirley Jackson to Stephen King. Growing up in the foothills of Appalachia, there was a strong undercurrent of folklore always about, from my grandmother’s stories of headless railroad workers to phantoms that haunted country backroads and leaped in front of passing cars (usually filled with drunk teenagers, but still…). Writing a haunted house story set in that locale and using that storytelling tradition seemed like a no-brainer. But heading into it, I instantly hit a snag. I wanted to do something new, to bring a fresh perspective to the haunted house tale. I hit upon what could be responsible for the phenomena that happens at the apartment building the book centers around, something that, in the end, makes the book not a haunted house story at all. But it feels like one and, if what I set out for works, it should give the reader a feeling of “home” within the familiar tropes of the genre while surprising them and taking the story somewhere unexpected. Worse case scenario, Phillip Simpson’s gorgeous cover will look good on your bookshelf…

 

Are you working on anything at the moment? Is there a piece of your work which you are especially proud of?

 

I’m currently expanding a novella I’d written last year titled THE MUD ANGEL into a novel. It’s a murder mystery set in Florence during the flood of 1966. It centers around families that have been feuding since the Renaissance, a lost work of Dante’s, and necromancy. I’m really excited about it and feel (as I’m sure every author does with every novel they write) that it’s deeper and more mature and has a stylistic integrity that I’m very proud.

 

I have another novel that revolves around pickpockets living in catacombs beneath Rome. It’s a sort of comedic adventure with elements of FIGHT CLUB and THE BEACH. It’s non-genre, so my business acumen with where I should place it is pretty non-existent so I’ve got a bit of a learning curve there. I’ve also written a play about Lord Byron that, if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, will be staged internationally within the next year.

 

Are there any other writers who you really admire? What was the last thing you read and would you recommend it?

 

The list of writers I admire could go on and on. To keep this short, I’ll stick with the living.

Within the genre, it’s hard to beat early King and early Barker. Peter Straub is fantastic, as is Richard Matheson. Dan Simmons I’ve always admired, not simply for his work itself, but his sheer refusal to be pigeon-holed in any one genre. Lisa Morton has to be mentioned because of her sheer work ethic. Even if I didn’t like her work (which would be impossible because it’s amazing), the sheer volume of short stories she has published in a year is breath-taking. The list could keep going. The horror genre is experiencing a kind of Renaissance right now, in my opinion, driven largely by the small press. There are so many great authors coming out, many new and fresh, that it’s hard to say at any given moment who I admire the most. It’s unfortunate that most people think of “Friday the 13th Part VIII” or “SAW V” when they think of horror, because the literature that’s being released right now is ground-breaking. Even only the genre could get ditch the baggage that the film industry has placed on it… Not that those movies aren’t fun (they are), but they represent such a small fraction of what horror is and what it could be that they have become an albatross around the genre’s neck as far as public perception goes.

 

As for the last thing I read, that would be a tie. I tend to jump around between books quite a bit and might read two books at the same time. The last two I finished were THE TURN OF THE SCREW by Henry James and THE BURDEN OF INDIGO by Gene O’Neill. Oddly enough, I’d never read James (something I’m quickly correcting – THE ASPEN PAPERS is the next thing on my “to read” list), but THE TURN OF THE SCREW really is one of the finest ghost stories every written.

 

As for THE BURDEN OF INDIGO… Pick up a copy if you haven’t read it. Pick it up NOW. Just make sure you have the weekend free because you won’t put it down. Gene O’Neill has this quality to transport you into this bizarre world where the color of your skin takes on an entirely different meaning. If this isn’t a Summer blockbuster at the movies within the next few years, then Hollywood really has lost its touch.

 

Finally, do you have any hints and tips for other aspiring writers?

 

I feel odd answering this because, in many ways, I still feel like a beginner.

I will say that the old saw, “Read wide and outside of the genre” holds true. I didn’t mention them above because I was focused on the genre, but what I learned from reading Elmore Leonard, Dennis Lehane, and Nick Hornby would be hard to pin down. And that’s not even getting into the Big Dead Greats like Hemingway or Flaubert.

I guess the other thing I’d say is reach high with your work. Don’t ever write something that you want to submit when you think you’re writing is “good enough.” Keep pushing, learning, growing. I used to fight at an amateur level, something that, oddly enough, tends to relate to writing in so many way. A coach I had once said, “When it really counts, you will never rise to your expectations but merely fall to your level of training.” Writing is an art that requires passion, but it’s also a craft that requires skill, skill that may take thousands of hours to develop. Someone asked for advice at KillerCon and, thinking of this, I said (half-joking): “Reach for the Heavens with all the fury of Hell.” The more I think about that, the more I actually like the sound of it. Passion and inspiration, on their own, do little. You combine them with the skill and the burning desire to be the best damned writer you can ever be… Well, now you have a potent combination. Now you have the foundation to be a writer.

 

Brad C. Hodson’s book, Darling, is available on Amazon.com. You can read a preview here. For more about Brad and his work, why not visit his website.

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Three P&E Readers’ Poll Nominations – vote for Rebecca L. Brown!

Rebecca has been nominated in three categories for the 2012 P&E Readers’ Polls!

Fever in the Blood, the first in the Fever trilogy is a contender in the Horror Short Story category.

Blood Lust’s cover art has been nominated in the Book/e-book Cover Art category.

And Rebecca herself has been nominated in the Author category.

 

If you’d like to vote, you can either visit http://critters.org/predpoll/ or follow the links below:

Horror Short Stories: http://critters.org/predpoll/shortstoryh.shtml

Cover Art: http://critters.org/predpoll/bookart.shtml

Author: http://critters.org/predpoll/author.shtml

*****

Many thanks to all of my friends and fans. Having taken a look at the other contenders, I’m honoured just to be nominated!

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Seasons Greetings!

Rebecca would like to wish all her fans, friends and colleagues a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year!

 

Don’t forget that you can follow Rebecca on Facebook, join her on Twitter, or drop in on her Amazon.com page for even more news and updates.

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Someone Else’s Writing: Cheryl Runyan

Rebecca was lucky enough to interview writer and ace beta reader, Cheryl Runyan:

 

Do you consider yourself to be a writer, Cheryl? What, if anything, do you think makes someone a ‘writer’ as opposed to just someone who writes?

Yes, I do consider myself a writer. The difference between a writer and someone who writes is a very wavery and interesting line. A writer is someone who has to write, while someone who writes does it as an entertaining hobby.
What are you working on at the moment? Could you tell us a little bit about it?

I currently have a novel in the works – one I am co-writing with some very talented authors – and a few short stories. I write a fair amount of fanfiction because a) it amuses me, b) it interests me to take someone else’s creation and give a fresh perspective and c) it helps hone my own writing.
Can you tell us a little bit about a ‘normal’ writing session? Do you have any habits or quirks when you write?

I also have a novel on the back-burner. I’m letting it brew for a while until have a clearer idea of how it needs to unfold. The novel I’m working on now begins during WW2. It follows a pair of star-crossed lovers to their deaths and then picks up again in present day with at least one of the lovers reincarnating and searching for the missing soulmate. It’s a fictional exploration of my own beliefs in the theories of soulmates and reincarnation.

A normal session for me? M’dear, there is absolutely nothing normal about me in the least! I suppose one might say my ‘normal’ writing session involves me settling at the computer with some writing music pouring out the speakers (depends on the scene I’m working on… for my fanfic, I tend to pull up retro as the TV series is set in the 80s) Habits and quirks? I find it easier to write on the computer with the ‘net active because I can research a question at the drop of a hat. used to find it easier to write with paper & pencil, but now it’s quicker to type because my fingers keep up with my flowing thoughts. Another quirk is that I am constantly editing as I write. If I don’t like the way something feels, sounds, etc., I change it immediately rather than waiting to do it later. The only time this changes is when I free-write… which can produce some interesting results that frequently surprise me!
Are there any other writers who you really admire? What was the last thing you read and would you recommend it?

There are several writers I admire, and I frequently do recommend them. Some of the amateur authors I have found on fanfiction.net are absolutely incredible and I honestly do not understand why they are not published. As for what I’m reading now, I’m currently enjoying re-reading Julia Quinn. She has a set of books placed in 1800s London, focused on the ton, which soothe my inner romantic. The novels are written about a family known as Bridgerton (and their friends) with a charming ‘mystery’ character found in almost every book by the name of ‘Lady Whistledown’. For anyone who enjoys Regency romance, it’s a heartwarming romp through an interesting era. Ms Quinn is historically accurate w/o being pedantic, which i also enjoy.

I’m also mid-way through a fantasy series written by Michelle West. Her rich storytelling is a joy to explore.
Finally, do you have any hints and tips for other aspiring writers?

My best tip is to find a topic you love and know well and let the words flow from your fingers. Then, let it settle for a week or so and go back and start picking at it. Another is this: remember all those irritating grammar lessons from back in the day? Yep, those ones…. get your hands on some grammar books and do them again – and never ever depend on ‘spell check’. Writing fanfic is a great way to establish your personal style while conforming to the character guidelines someone else has already created. Take your favorite TV show and write a tale that fits into its parameters. It’s far more challenging than you realize, particularly if you restrict yourself to established canon rather than creating your own ‘coulda/shoulda/woulda’ storyline.
You can read some of Cheryl’s work at http://www.fanfiction.net/~merisalope

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Sword & Zombie Available on Amazon.com

The Sword & Zombie anthology – which includes Rebecca’s first tale of Silver Daemonsdotter – is now available to purchase on Amazon.com!

 

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Someone Else’s Writing – Jaq D. Hawkins

How would you describe your work to someone who was completely new to it? Do you write with a specific audience in mind?

 

I write for the sort of readers who like the same stories and authors I do. When I’m writing, it’s as if I’m reading the story and watching it unfold and I find myself getting totally wrapped up in a storyline, sometimes without knowing where it’s going to go next. If I were to describe it, I might say Fantasy with a touch of Dickens.

 

What made you decide to start writing? Where does your inspiration come from? Are there times when you don’t feel inspired to write and if so how do you get through them?

 

That’s three questions. I started writing as soon as I learned to write, at age 6. It’s just something I’ve always been driven to do. Inspiration comes from all sorts of things. A casual comment, a random thought, a ‘what if’ question or anything at all. I wish I had the time to catch up with all the ideas flowing around in my head. This brings us to the third question to which the easy answer is ‘No’. I write Because I’m inspired to do so.

 

Could you tell us about your writing process? Do you have any quirks or habits when you write? Do you need to plan out a piece or do you just start writing and see where it goes?

 

Some of each. I generally start a story with no idea where it’s going and then it starts falling into place and I start thinking about how to finish it. If it gets too complicated I might have to map it a little, but so far I’ve only done a proper outline for a script because I had a large core group of characters and needed to work out who was where at any given time.

 

Are there any other writers who you really admire? What was the last thing you read and would you recommend it?

 

My favourite authors in Fantasy are Marion Zimmer Bradley, Roger Zelazny and Anne McCaffrey. I admire any author who can create a brilliant world and execute it well. The last book I read is Tamed by Douglas R. Brown and yes, I would thoroughly recommend it. It’s a new ‘take’ on a werewolf story. Proper werewolves, not Romance.

Finally, do you have any hints and tips for other aspiring writers?

 

Learn the business side of writing and for pity’s sake, proper spelling and grammar. The number of times I’ve seen people write on a forum that spelling and grammar is an editor’s job is appalling. Manuscript format, options for publishing and the art of the writing itself are all essential. Don’t imagine you can be lazy and skim on any of those ingredients. Writing is not an easy way to fame and fortune, it’s hard work and there will be times that you have to sit and go through editing notes to get everything right if you want to produce a quality product. If you can’t do that, someone else will and they will also get the fame and fortune that goes with quality writing.

 

For more information on Jaq’s work, you can visit her blog, her website or find her on Amazon.com

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Upcoming Fiction Publication: A Silver Soul

Rebecca’s short story, A Silver Soul will be featured on The WiFiles in 2013.

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Someone Else’s Writing: Donna Galanti

Donna Galanti: “We may write alone, but we can’t get published alone…”

Could you tell us a little bit about your book, A Human Element? How long did it take you to write? Did you write it with a specific audience in mind?

In A Human Element one by one, Laura Armstrong’s loved ones are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

I spent seven months writing A Human Element part time, usually setting the alarm for a 4:30am wake-up call. I got most of my book written before 7:00 am each day. I didn’t have a specific audience in mind when I wrote this book. The idea came to me in a vision years thirteen years earlier, I set it aside, and my mother’s death finally propelled me to write it in grief.

A Human Element: One by one, a savage killer murders Laura Armstrong’s loved ones – will she choose to kill him or redeem him?

What are you working on at the moment? Did you take a break after finishing A Human Element or get started with a new project straight away?

I’m plotting a young adult novel now while editing the sequel to A Human Element. In its sequel, A Hidden Element, when a family’s son is taken by the same unearthly evil that brutalized them fifteen years ago they must sacrifice all again to defeat a new terrifying enemy–an enemy that wants to rule the world with their son as his heir.

I’m not sure I know how to take a break. Ha ha. I jumped right into writing a new book after A Human Element, a middle grade fantasy adventure. My son inspired the story, and he even helped with plotting and creating the fantasy creatures. I am so brimming with book ideas I often have to slow down and focus on one or two projects at once. My brain moves faster ahead then my brain can write!
Are you more likely to pick up pen and paper when you feel the urge to write or switch on your computer? Do you have any writing habits or quirks?

Never pen and paper unless editing. I type five times faster than I can handwrite. I’m a hard typist and have broken a couple keyboards J. I love to write early in the morning and at Wegman’s Café with my writer pals. Writing: it really is a spectator sport! Quirks? I actually slow down my writing as I near the end of a novel as I fall so in love with my characters I don’t want them to leave me. It’s a death for me when it’s all over. I have a Writers Corner on my website where I share what I’ve learned with other writers along the way.
Are there any other writers who you really admire? What was the last thing you read and would you recommend it?

I most admire Dean Koontz and Stephen King. My book, A Human Element, has been likened to the style of Dean Koontz, and he and King have been the biggest influences in my writing. My husband wants to know how I can write such dark and twisted things. Steamy sex. Blood spew. Heads in a vice. Heh heh heh. It’s fun to write about stuff I would surely get arrested for in real life!

I’m reading books now for consideration for the Bram Stoker Awards, and it’s like Christmas with all the free books I have on my kindle. It’s great to discover new authors this way, like Billie Sue Mosiman. I just finished two of her fantastic novellas, Prison Planet and Mourning Mansion. I’m eager to read more of her work. Highly recommend! Her writing is stark, horrifying at time, and yet with a dash of hope.
Finally, do you have any hints and tips for other aspiring writers?

We may write alone but we can’t get published alone. Join a vibrant writer organization you can become involved in. Take workshops. Go to writer conferences. Keep improving your craft. And share the love. All authors started out alone at some point, so help ease the transition of a new writer emerging by mentoring them. And get on Facebook, Twitter, and create a blog.

Rebecca, thanks so much for having me on!

 

A Human Element is available to purchase on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. To find out more about Donna, why not join her her on Facebook, Twitter or visit her blog

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Upcoming Fiction Publication: Catch Kate

Rebecca’s vampire pulp fiction story, Catch Kate, will appear in Vampire2’s upcoming Pulp Fiction Anthology.

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Upcoming Fiction Publication: Blackness & Bone

Rebecca’s short story, Blackness and Bone, will be included in Zombie Works Publication’s upcoming You Can’t Kill Me, I’m Already Dead anthology.

 

Blackness and Bone is a stand-alone Blood Cravings story.

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