#BlogTour #MeerkatPress @MeerkatPress / #QandAs : Road Seven #RoadSeven – Keith Rosson @keith_rosson #KeithRosson

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

RoadSeven-TourBanner

Today I’m on the ‘Road Seven’ blogtour, organised by Meerkat Press.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

RoadSeven-AuthorPhotoWithBio

Website | Twitter

Synopsis :

RoadSeven-CoverRoad Seven follows disgraced cryptozoologist Mark Sandoval—resolutely arrogant, covered head to foot in precise geometric scarring, and still marginally famous after Hollywood made an Oscar-winner based off his memoir years before—who has been strongly advised by his lawyer to leave the country following a drunken and potentially fatal hit and run. When a woman sends Sandoval grainy footage of what appears to be a unicorn, he quickly hires an assistant and the two head off to the woman’s farm in Hvíldarland, a tiny, remote island off the coast of Iceland. When they arrive on the island and discover that both a military base and the surrounding álagablettur, the nearby woods, are teeming with strangeness and secrets, they begin to realize that a supposed unicorn sighting is the least of their worries. Road Seven will mark the third of Rosson’s novels to be published by Meerkat Press.

Meerkat Press | Indiebound.org | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Let’s see. I live in Portland, Oregon, with my wife, our kids, and our three-legged dog. My journey to becoming a published novelist happened over a long stretch of time. I started out writing punk zines as a teenager, and by the time I stopped in the early 2000s, I’d made twenty-some issues of my zine, AVOW. Around then I made the leap to short stories, and then ultimately started tackling novel-length ideas with some seriousness. By the time my first novel, The Mercy Of the Tide, came out, I’d been writing for decades, really. It was definitely a process.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
You know, I’ve got a joke that I want to be a literary author so bad, but I’m physically incapable of NOT putting a ghost or robot or monster in my stuff. I grew up on a healthy diet of Stephen King novels, Marvel comics, and punk music, and I think all of those sensibilities, tempered with decades of writing pretty regularly, have informed my work. Nowadays I read the gamut – when there’s time – from literary fiction to horror to crime to whatever. Give me a story collection and I’ll be happy.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Not really, honestly. There are certainly authors I would absolutely love to talk to. I’d be enthralled if they talked about their process or whatever, but as far as hard and fast advice, I think I’d just rather read their books. I pretty much know that I’m capable of writing novels at this point, even if that belief flags sometimes.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Whenever I get this question, I always think of the grizzled, hard-as-hell detective Claire DeWitt, in Sara Gran’s fantastic crime novels. Gran is definitely a person I’d like to have a beer with.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
With the pandemic barreling down the nation – our county has just now entered Phase 1 of reopening, and we’re currently facing a spike in new cases, so who knows how long it will last – and the fact that my wife and I took in a pair of foster kids right before the country essentially shut down, I find myself with very little time these days. Writing is such a high-wire act of sustained concentration for me, and if I can’t sit down and get in that headspace frequently, and for some amount of time, it just doesn’t work for me. I’m not really one of those “write for five minutes when you have time” kind of people. Hopefully in the fall, school will be somewhat open and I’ll have some stretches of unbroken time to work. When I do, I’m very precise about formatting my stories and novels in a particular way before I start writing.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
One novel started after reading a biography of Joan of Arc. Another started after getting handed a few prompts in my writing group. Yet another started with being enamored with local myths and legends. It’s all over the map, but the impetus usually comes from somewhere outside me first, causing some snag in the brain that won’t let go.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a pantser, though I’m working on a project now that I’ve written an entire synopsis for, which is a first for me. I usually just plow ahead, and as I go, it opens up ideas the following chapter or two.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I think it’s pretty universal. Read a lot. Write regularly, if possible. Be willing to show your stuff to people, and be willing to accept their critiques without getting defensive – other people can see the fault lines in your work that you can’t. Lastly, if you’re planning on getting published, prepare for rejection, and cultivate the ability to shrug it off. It’s just part of the process.

What are your future plans as an author?
Road Seven comes out in July. My story collection, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, comes out in February of 2021. It’s been a dream of mine to have a collection out, and I’m profoundly grateful that Meerkat Press has had enough faith in my stuff that they’ve been willing to out four of my books over the years. Meanwhile, I’ll be writing when I can. Have a number of novels I’m pecking away at. We’ll see how it goes.

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

And what happened next?
What happened next really was the ten-million-dollar question, wasn’t it? And ten million was being conservative, when you considered the advance he’d gotten for The Long Way Home, the years of significant royalties, the translations, the options and profit points on the movie, the advances for the other books he would later write, the generous fees for speaking engagements, the write-offs, even the emasculating acts of his later years in which he’d slump hungover in his little booth, signing books and promo glossies at sci-fi and comic conventions, diminished as his star would later become. But yeah, ten million was on the slim side, and all of it—the whole thing, his whole blessed, magical, fucked up life after that point—hinged on what had really happened in that dark cement box of a bathroom in Bumfuck Nowhere, Montana, after he smoked that joint. What had happened there, and what happened in the scraggly snow-dusted copses of scrub pines and blackberry bramble out behind the rest stop, and in the mostly empty parking lot, and later in the deep, dark woods.
He remembered staggering around the bathroom for a while, just feeling the kettle drum of his nerves jangling, alternating between outright panic and a feverish euphoria that quickly sputtered out and was very different from a heroin high. He walked to the sinks and gazed slack-jawed at his face in the dented mirror covered in half-peeled stickers and marker scrawls. He spent some time examining the whitened vistas of his eyeballs, trying to discern patterns in the red silken threads of veins buried there.
His heartbeat sang in his sour mouth. He gripped the counter and sneered.
Marnie, he decided, was wrong for leaving him. Don Whitmer had lost a valuable employee. He would eat stew from the bowls of Dieter and Julian’s skulls. He tapped a fingernail against his canine and marveled at the sound of it. He spent a lifetime spitting in the sink, trying to get rid of the chemicals abrading his gums, his tongue.
And honestly, maybe he was the one that broke the light above the mirror. Maybe he did. But at some point—days, minutes later—he noticed that the only light in the room was the single bulb on the ceiling, flickering in its steel cage. His limbs continued to weigh him down and he slowly began to sink toward the floor, an ice sculpture melting. He grinned and watched himself in the mirror.
And then something skittered behind him and he stood up, his hands slapping at the wet countertop.
But there was nothing there.
Just the entrance door, the dented garbage can with its a grim tide of paper towels ringing its base. His breath was ragged, his blood so loud he thought he might be able to hear it moving inside him; he gazed down at his hands again and became lost within the parchment-fine skin, the blued veins.
When he looked back up, he saw a little man standing behind him in the mirror. Sandoval screamed, childlike and breathy. The man—for lack of another word—was maybe four feet tall, as khaki-colored as a pair of pants, mouthless and nude. As smooth as a thing culled from wax. Thin-limbed and bald, it tilted its head almost inquisitively. While the eyes themselves were as black and lightless as any sea-bottom, the flesh ringing the eyes writhed with movement. These circles of roiling, putty-colored flesh. Sandoval breathlessly screamed and hoisted himself up on the counter, his ass soaked in sink water, and the little man ran away on hind legs suddenly grown multi-jointed, its legs hooking backward like an insect. Fast, so fast, but somewhat hobbling, too.
Watching the thing move made his eyes itch. He screamed again.
The little man ran into the far stall, the one Sandoval had just smoked in. The door clapped shut and slowly drifted halfway open.
Sandoval crouched on top of the counter, piss now warming his thighs.
A hand with too many knuckles reached out over the top of the stall door and slammed it closed. Bang. Then opened it and slammed it closed again. Bang. The bright sound of metal against metal. Bang.
Oh, long, knuckled fingers.
Too many knuckles.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
Then the hand pushed the door open and the little man’s waxen head peered at him around the edge of the doorway.
The flesh where a mouth would be began to grow thin. Translucent, the skin of bubblegum. The coils of flesh around its eyes squirmed. The skin of its mouth finally tore open to expose the black cave of its mouth and the light bulb on the ceiling exploded with a febrile pop! The room was flung into darkness.
Sandoval screamed and hopped to the floor. He slammed against the door, found the door handle and flung it open and staggered outside.
The world was frozen and blue.
The parking lot was scoured in a watery cobalt illumination, as if God had put a scrim over the moon. A pair of big rigs sat hulking in the gloom at the far end of the lot. He heard a bang inside the bathroom, something metallic buckling and scraping across the cement floor, and hot piss again sluiced its way through his jeans and then turned icy. He stumbled toward the parking lot because his lizard brain told him that beyond the parking lot was the inevitable human river of the highway. Cars and their headlights and their drivers. People. He stumbled toward the ineffable tide of life out there beyond the parking lot, there on the highway, he could hear it, hear it like his own blood in his head, like his own heart, the highway, of course, that’s what he wanted, he wanted to be among them, people, he didn’t understand how he could’ve ever not wanted to be among them— His foot hooked over his other ankle and he fell.
He shredded his palms, the back of his hands a cold blue, and when he looked up at the sky, it was not pinpricked with stars or scudded with a veil of clouds but was instead lit now with a disc of light. That disc of dark blue light. A light so large that it seemed to block all else out, to span from treetop to treetop on each side of the lot, and where had it been only seconds ago? And then the blue became white, white as chalk, as fresh paper, a light so bright that as he put his hand up to cover his eyes—and he was truly screaming now, yes, definitely, something integral cracking inside his throat—he could see the delicate framework of his bones beneath the skin, the black latticework of his own bones laddered below the pale flesh.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Keith Rosson.

Giveaway :

$50 Book Shopping Spree!

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #MeerkatPress @MeerkatPress / #Excerpt : The Wounded Ones #TheWoundedOnes – G.D. Penman @gdpenman

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

WoundedOnesBlogTourBanner

Today I’m on the ‘The Wounded Ones’ blogtour, organised by Meerkat Press.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

GDPenman

Website | Twitter

Synopsis :

Title: The Wounded Ones by G.D. Penman (Witch of Empire 2)
Release Date: 6/23/20
Genre: Urban Fantasy / LGBTQ / Detective

coverart-6-ARCDemons and serial killers are Iona “Sully” Sullivan’s bread and butter, but nothing could have prepared her to face off against the full weight of the British Empire at the height of its power. With the War for American Independence in full swing, she finds even her prodigious talents pushed beyond their limits when citizens of the American Colonies begin vanishing amidst rumors of crop circles, hydra sightings and worse. Through a wild and lethal adventure that will see her clashing with the Empire around the world and beyond, the only constants in Sully’s life are an undead girlfriend, a giant demon crow that has taken a shine to her, regular assassination attempts by enemies on all sides, and the cold certainty that nothing and nobody is going to make it out of the war in one piece.

Meerkat Press | Amazon | Indiebound | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt :

The Gobi Grill was a Mongolian joint on Staten Island. Of the different boroughs of New Amsterdam, Staten had always been the wealthiest and the most resistant to what the IBI used to call “foreign influences,” but even here, the Gobi stood out. Amidst French cuisine, Italian pizzerias, Greek salad buffets and stolid British pub food, it was the only place with anything spicy on the menu. Sully had always hated it, which meant that every time it was her partner’s turn to pick a take-out joint, the delivery came from there. On the late nights in the office, there was nothing that Ceejay had enjoyed more than watching Sully eat the spiciest thing he could find on the menu without flinching. Sully had always appreciated his sense of humor, even when she was the victim of it.
Right on cue at twenty minutes to nine, Ceejay swaggered in through the door in a sky blue Ophiran suit. He spotted Sully sitting by the bar and spun on his heel to walk back out again. He made it as far as the street before Sully’s snort of laughter brought him back inside.
“General Sullivan! Haven’t you won this war yet? I can’t sleep at night with all the banging on the barrier. You are so negligent. It is amazing that I didn’t steal your job years ago.”
Sully got up to shake his hand but stiffened as he engulfed her in a hug. Softly he murmured, “It is good to see you.” Then he stepped back and was instantly back to his full braying volume. “Two coffees, please, and four Nai Wong Bao.”
They settled by the bar after Ceejay had made a big show of yawning and stretching so he could get a good look around the place. There was no breakfast crowd to speak of—a few people were grabbing take-out coffee orders and there was an old Oriental man snoozing over a bowl of fishy soup in a booth. As far as Sully could tell, the Gobi never closed.
The food was in front of them before Sully could get a word in. Ceejay asked, “You came alone? I thought you would have bodyguards and sycophants dribbling out behind you these days.”
Sully scoffed, “Like I’ve keep telling you all these years, I can take care of myself.”
He raised an imperious eyebrow. “I seem to recall your telling me that—just before I had to pull your ass out of the fire.”
Sully prodded at the gelatinous white lumps on her plate. “What am I eating here?”
“Steamed buns. They have custard inside. Very British. You should like them.”
She took a small bite. Swallowing took some effort. Ceejay waggled his eyebrows again. “No?”
“I didn’t miss eating your weird food.”
“I’ve missed watching you eat my weird food. Your face—”
She cut him off. “How’s business? They haven’t kicked you back down to the mailroom yet?”
Ceejay chuckled. “I think that if there was no war going on, all the polite white people would’ve had me taken out back and shot by now. But since you keep dragging your feet, I get to keep being top dog in the IBI.”
“Well, I’ll do my best to keep fucking up then. For your job security.”
He gave a little mock bow of thanks, then tucked into his own buns as Sully tried to wash the texture out of her mouth with coffee. After a moment of comfortable silence she said, “I hear you’ve caught an interesting case.”
“I catch all the interesting cases. I am like a net that hangs underneath a thousand useless constabularies, catching everything that isn’t completely obvious.” His voice was slightly muffled by the mouthful of food.
“I was thinking about a specific interesting case. One that is almost as interesting as the one that I had just before I left the IBI.”
He sighed. “I don’t know why I pretended this was a social call. You are here about work. You are always all about work.”
Sully stared intently down into her coffee. “When things are settled and the war is over, there will be time to be friends again. Hell, I might even apply for my old job. You could be my boss.”
That earned her a belly laugh. “I can just picture it—‘Sully, I need you to investigate this terrible crime.’ ‘Ceejay, go to hell, I am hungover.’” His smile never faltered as he hissed, “Did you check that we are safe to talk here?”
Sully let her arcane senses sweep out of her body and through the restaurant. She could feel the fire runes in the kitchen like a crackling pressure at the edge of her consciousness, and the alarm charms woven into the doors and windows vibrated softly against her gentle intrusion. Laid over all of it was the sensation of her own magic, an almost imperceptible bubble blocking anyone from scrying on them. “We’re good for now.”
“No pattern,” he started. “These people, they seem to vanish with no logic at all. They go to bed one night and the next morning, poof. Nothing. It is not isolated to Nova Europa. The Northern provinces of the Republic have been losing people too. I know that the United Nations have lost some, but they don’t trust us enough to even give names or locations. They give me nothing but dates of the disappearances and then they expect everything that we have in return. Pricks.”
“And the Schrödingers?”
“They go haywire. Spike off the chart. There is definitely magic at play, but if any of our guys have a clue what it is, they are keeping it to themselves.” Ceejay knocked back the last of his coffee.
Sully sipped hers. “Any theories?”
“The smart money is on spies. Everyone knows that the British had them everywhere. Now that the hammer is about to fall, they are pulling them all out. The crazy power spikes may be some sort of pumped up portals to get past the blocks your friends cast.”
Sully frowned. “That makes no sense .You don’t withdraw your spies when you are about to fight someone, you keep them in place so they can feed you vital intel—troop movements, morale on the ground. I don’t buy it.”
Ceejay was scowling. “It doesn’t matter what you buy. It isn’t your job anymore. Remember? You quit.”
A bitter laugh escaped Sully. “Yeah, lucky me.”
It was only when he turned on her that she realized he wasn’t joking. “Back off, Sully. You have your own business to be dealing with. Stay out of mine.”
Sully’s jaw clenched but she forced her temper down. She had a lifetime of practice at that. “I don’t know what you think is going on, but I don’t want my job back.”
“What’s going on is that just when I thought I was going to see my friend again for the first time in months, a spy walked in dressed in her clothes. Fuck you very much, Sully.”
Sully did not blow up the Gobi Grill. She even paid the tab for the coffee and glutinous lumps. When she stepped out into the street, the gathering of three dozen crows perched on every flat surface was probably a complete coincidence and nothing to do with her mood. She shooed them away and waited to watch them circle up through the canyon between the skyscrapers to vanish into the chill blue sky. She blew out a warm cloud of breath after them. She didn’t know what was worse: Ceejay’s calling her a government stooge or his being completely right. Her phone started to vibrate in her pocket and with great reluctance she drew it out. She wasn’t sure how Ogden had adapted to modern technology faster than she had, given that she had several centuries head-start, but there was his name flashing on the screen.
She grunted, “Sullivan.”
He replied, “Ogden.” She could almost hear the smug grin.
“What do you want, Ogden?”
“I just thought that it might be an auspicious time to invite you to visit with us in Manhattan.”
Sully tried not to growl. “Why would anyone want to do that?”
“You could take a look at the unique architecture? Get to know your new friends and allies? Come and witness the ritual that we use to tear down the Veil of Tears?”
Sully huffed out another plume of steam. “You finished the spell.”
“We have most assuredly finished the spell.”
What Manhattan used to be could be seen in its foundations. As she soared over the water Sully caught a glimpse of wood and whitewash here and there. The ground gravel beneath her course still bore the shape of cobblestones in places and there was unmistakably dirt and dung beneath that. Once upon a time, this had been a human place. The moment that she looked higher than knee height the illusion that it still belonged to mankind vanished. Conjured stone twisted up into the skyline, jagged and impossibly symmetrical. The spires of Manhattan resembled nothing so much as gargantuan termite mounds and the fact that the doorways and thoroughfares of the city had been designed with residents many times the size of humans in mind just hammered home the idea that humans were visitors here. The outer wall stood at more than twenty feet tall and the smooth white expanse of it was oppressive, but it also hid the strangeness of everything within its circumference very well. There was no gate in or out of Manhattan; there was no need when every one of the residents could fly. Sully tried not to shudder as she saw the demons coiled along the ramparts beneath her, nesting in the belfries and lurking in the shadows between the towers. There were not as many of them as there were Magi, but the numbers were close. In all of the dull meetings since the war began, Sully had not voiced her suspicions that behind their impassable walls the Magi were summoning more demons to bolster their forces. It wasn’t as though there was anything that could be done, even if they were; Manhattan was a law unto itself. That had been the problem since before it popped back into the world.
Sully took the scenic route down to the massive ritual circle in the center of the city where the mass of Magi were gathered. Intelligence about America’s allies had been even harder to come by than information about the British in the past months, so she was making up for lost time. That was what she told herself to justify her slow descent. It wasn’t because she was frightened to go down into a massive nest of demons that would eat her magic and tear her to shreds and it certainly wasn’t because she was keeping an eye out for Mol Kalath. The bird could be here or not, it made no difference to her. Once she was sure that it was not, she dove to land gracelessly by Ogden’s side. He was grinning. “A very pleasant afternoon to you, Miss Sullivan.”
“Right. How long have we got until the fireworks start?”
He swept his arms out to encompass this little town square. “They have already begun the preliminary casting. Each component shall be bound within the circle and when all of the parts have been assembled—”
Sully grumbled. “I know how ritual magic works. I’m asking for a time.”
When he laughed it tugged on the scars across his lips, making him flinch. “By this time tomorrow, the Veil of Tears shall be unpicked and all the hell of Europe will be unleashed upon the British. Even now we ready our envoys to meet with the trapped demons. We shall marshal our forces in France, then strike out before tomorrow ends. They will not stand against such an onslaught for long. I would expect surrender by the following dawn at the latest.”
“Good job. Has Pratt been told?” Sully cracked her knuckles.
“The Prime Minister has been informed, yes.”
Sully closed her eyes and felt the magic taking form, each caster stitching their spell onto the last, every spell simple and easy to replace if an error was made, but woven together into an immense, complex tapestry. She had punched through a few barrier spells in her day, but that was a momentary disruption of the stable patterns, not a permanent solution like this patchwork monstrosity of a spell. She could already see the shape that it was going to take from the gaps left in the framework that they had cast so far. Understanding the totality of it was probably beyond her, but she could appreciate the craft.
“So, did you invite me here to watch you all casting for twenty hours? Because I might need a seat or something.”
Ogden shuffled his feet. “Knowing the little that I do of you, I had assumed that you would want to be at the front lines when the fighting begins.”
“You assumed right.” Sully flexed her hands. The dense magic that saturated the air was teasing little sparks of spellfire from her fingertips.
“Which is why our mutual friend has offered to carry you with the vanguard to Europe.”
Sully grimaced at the tell-tale rustle of feathers behind her. “Hello again, Mol Kalath.”
“GREETINGS, SHADOW-TWIN.” The voice tore right through Sully every single time. Even the other demons roaming free around Manhattan chattering in their own tongue didn’t make her head creak as much.
“I guess that you’re my ride to Europe?”
“THE DISTANCE IS TOO GREAT FOR YOUR SPELLS OF FLIGHT. YOU SHALL RIDE UPON MY BACK AND AT LAST WE WILL HAVE TIME TO CONVERSE.”
Sully ground her teeth together while Ogden clapped her on the back. “Just think, Miss Sullivan. In two days’ time, the war will be over and we will have toppled the British Empire.”
She unclenched her jaw. “All right. Let’s do this.”

Giveaway :

$50 Book Shopping Spree!

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheAtticTragedyBlogTour #MeerkatPress @MeerkatPress / #QandAs : The Attic Tragedy #TheAtticTragedy – J. Ashley-Smith @SpookTapes

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

TheAtticTragedyBlogTour-BANNER

Today I’m on the ‘The Attic Tragedy’ blogtour, organised by Meerkat Press.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Authorphoto-josephashley-smithJ. Ashley Smith is a British–Australian writer of dark fiction and other materials. His short stories have twice won national competitions and been shortlisted six times for Aurealis Awards, winning both Best Horror (Old Growth, 2017) and Best Fantasy (The Further Shore, 2018).
J. lives with his wife and two sons in the suburbs of North Canberra, gathering moth dust, tormented by the desolation of telegraph wires.

Website | Twitter

Synopsis :

TheAtticTragedy-CoverSylvie never called them ghosts, but that’s what they were—not that George ever saw them herself. The new girl, Sylvie, is like a creature from another time, with her old-fashioned leather satchel, her white cotton gloves and her head in the clouds. George watches her drift around the edge of the school playing fields, guided by inaudible voices.
When George stands up for Sylvie, beating back Tommy Payne and his gang of thugs, it brings her close to the ethereal stranger; though not as close as George would have liked. In the attic of Sylvie’s father’s antique shop, George’s scars will sing and her longing will drive them both toward a tragedy as veiled and inevitable as Sylvie’s whispering ghosts.

Meerkat Press | Amazon | Indiebound | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m a British–Australian author who finds solace from the seething terror of existence in writing and reading dark fiction.
Even back when I was a child of ten or eleven, I wrote stories, gory little skits about terrible things. I studied film and creative writing at university and got distracted for years by the lure of the ‘real’, starting but never finishing several of those tedious, transparently autobiographical novels that everyone (rightly) mocks middle-class white male MFA students for penning. Then I moved to Australia and didn’t write a word of fiction for ten years.
It was the birth of my second son that prompted me to start writing again. Not the pretentious Booker-Prize-aspiring waffle of my twenties, but my first love, those stories of my childhood, weird dark stories about terrible things. The first story I wrote was published in an Australian horror anthology and it’s been all downhill from there.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I was sick a lot as a child and spent many school days reading in my half-dark bedroom. My favourite books when I was young were by Roald Dahl. He is one of those authors who speaks directly to the soul of a child, simply by portraying the absolute horror and unfairness of the world. His stories are unflinchingly brutal, unashamedly terrifying, and refreshingly, searingly honest. The stories that stuck with me the most from childhood are The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine, and the unspeakably wicked The Enormous Crocodile.
I’ve been revisiting all of his books now I have children of my own. It’s strange to read them from the perspective of a parent, but wonderful to go back into those worlds with first one then the other of my two boys (now ten and six). Every story of Dahl’s is like a gateway drug to darker, more monstrous works. They’ve already graduated onto Goosebumps, and from there on in the slope becomes even more slippery and treacherous. (If you listen carefully you can hear me gleefully rubbing my hands together.)

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Ira Levin, author of Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives and A Kiss Before Dying. Levin’s books are some of my all-time favourites, and I’ve already devoted too much time pulling them apart, trying to figure out the mechanics of them, how he achieves those incredible effects. The trouble is, every time I start trying to analyse his books as a writer, he sucks me in and before I know it I’ve raced to the end, dragged along that wind-tunnel of suspense by his spare prose and immaculate dialogue.
Now, if only I had direct access to his brain – a jar, and a scalpel…

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d invite Merricat Blackwood, from Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In The Castle. I’d have to make the tea, of course – you never know what she might put in it. But after a cup or two, and perhaps some biscuits baked by Constance, we’d run out into the grounds and bury this and that. Old coins. A marble. Perhaps one of the nosier villagers.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
While I would love to have a regular writing practice, always turning up at the same time and place every day, lighting a scented candle and offering a sacrifice to the various dark gods, my life as a working parent tends to get in the way.
Sometimes I’m up before the crack of dawn, trying to cram down as many words as I can before I hear the patter of little feet. Other times I’m up into the wee small hours, trying to fill as many pages as I can before my vision goes blurry. I do have a desk, but mostly end up writing with my feet up on the couch and a dog on my legs.
If there’s one thing I’ll do without fail before starting to put words on the page, it’s boil the kettle and make a cup of tea.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
My friends and family would only have to worry if I ever stopped writing down my ideas. If that stuff was left unchecked to just rattle around inside my head…? Now then they’d have a cause for concern.
As to where the ideas come from, the demon king of the nether realms whispers to me while I sleep.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
It varies, depending on the story. Sometimes I know exactly where I’m going and all the steps to get there are mapped out in detail. Other times it’s more vague: I’m exploring an image or a feeling, or getting settled in with a character, just setting things in motion and seeing where they lead. For the most part, though, I pants my way in and plot my way out.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
The most important thing is the writing itself. Learn to love the act of writing, relax into the uncomfortable joys of each stage of the process. Commit 100% of your energy to the story you’re working on right now and it will reveal its secret self to you. Don’t get distracted by worries about whether or not you’ll ever be published. Forget about growing your author platform. Just do the work. The writing is its own reward.

What are your future plans as an author?
I’m on the home stretch of a suburban suspense novel I’ve been writing on and off for the last few years – imagine if Patricia Highsmith had written Lord of the Flies. It’s set on an Australian beach holiday and is about an eleven-year-old sociopath coming into her full power.
As well as The Attic Tragedy, I’ve got a couple of shorts coming out this year, including another novelette, The Black Massive, about teenage ravers who fall in with an eldritch crowd. That will appear in the October issue of Dimension6. And, next year, I have another novella, Ariadne, I Love You, coming out from Meerkat Press.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Why, certainly…

Sylvie never called them ghosts, but that’s what they were.
The day we became friends, she walked me through the darkened rooms of her father’s antique shop, trailing her fingers over the objects. All of them were lovingly cleaned, none with even a trace of dust. There were old books and reliquaries, trinket jars and model ships, barometers, credenzas, compendiums and lamps. There were music boxes and what I now know was a Minton hand-painted jardinière. Sylvie brushed them with her long pale fingers, her eyes aflutter, her voice so soft it was almost lost to the tinkle of the overhead chandeliers, the tick tick tick of the many hidden clocks.
“The woman who wore this lost her husband to madness.” Sylvie fingered an ornate ring, curlicued silver bordered with diamonds. “He disappeared when she fell pregnant and everyone thought him dead. He’d been gone three years when she read about him in the paper. He was living rough in Centennial Park, running naked and wild, biting the heads off geese.” She slipped the ring back into its padded velvet tray. “Her mother always said he’d come to no good.”
“Or this,” she said, and her fingers moved to the stem of a burnished brass telescope. “A lover’s memento. The woman who owned this took a keepsake from every man she fell for. Not one of them ever knew of her love. And none loved her in return. She died of loneliness and an overdose of laudanum, lifted from the Gladstone of a doctor she’d set her heart on.”
Sylvie swam between display cases with fluid movements, her touch as delicate as a butterfly. I hardly dared move, afraid my bulk would knock over some priceless curio, topple some fragile ancient thing.
“How do you know?” I asked and followed, squeezing between a bookcase and a mahogany sideboard. A blue glass vase wobbled on its shelf and I reached out to steady it. “D’you find all that on the Internet or something?”
“No, silly,” said Sylvie, eyes laughing. “They tell me.”
I thought she was teasing, so turned away, pretended I was examining the collectables. Beside us was a heavy leather-top desk, the surface inlaid with gold leaf that glittered faintly in the half-light. There was an old-fashioned cash register and a marble bust and, beside them, a black-and-white photo in a silver art deco frame. It was a portrait of a dark-haired woman with round faraway eyes and a haunting smile; just as Sylvie would look in ten years, twenty years—beautiful and tired and sad. But there was a spark in her eyes, as though she were smiling through the sadness, like a single beam of sunlight glimpsed through brooding clouds.
“And this one?” I said and reached to pick it up, but felt through my sweater a delicate touch. Sylvie’s hand on my arm.
I felt hot all over and prayed I wasn’t blushing. Every one of my scars was tingling. “What do you mean they tell you? Like you can . . . hear them?”
Sylvie looked up at me and frowned, her eyebrows furrowed and serious.
“Of course,” she said. “You mean you can’t?”

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, J. Ashley-Smith.

Giveaway :

$50 Book Shopping Spree!

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #BeastHeartBlogTour #MeerkatPress @MeerkatPress / #GuestPost : Beast Heart #BeastHeart – Kyle Richardson @KyleWritesBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

BEASTHEART - BlogTour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Beast Heart’ blogtour, organised by Meerkat Press.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

BEASTHEART - Kyle Richardson - Author PhotoKyle Richardson lives in the suburban wilds of Canada with his adorable wife, their rambunctious son, and their adventurous daughter. He writes about shapeshifters, superheroes, and the occasional clockwork beast, moonlights as an editor at Meerkat Press, and has a terrible habit of saying the wrong thing at the most inopportune moments. His short fiction has appeared in places such as Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology and Daily Science Fiction.

Website | Twitter

Synopsis :

Title: Beast Heart by Kyle Richardson
Release Date: 3/31/20
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Steampunk

BEASTHEART - COVERWhen the girl with the clockwork hand meets the boy with the beast heart, sparks fly in this poignant, adventure-filled debut.
Book 1 of the Steambound Trilogy.
When Gabby’s hand turns to steam, her mom hires an engineer to build her a clockwork glove. It’s the last thing Gabby wants—if only she could be normal. But when her mom is attacked by something monstrous, normal is no longer an option. Now the only person she can turn to is a grizzled detective, who promises to help her become something … more.
Meanwhile, Kemple’s foster dad treats him like a slave. And the beatings are getting worse. So when a rebellious girl named Josephyn arrives—with a plan to escape to the city—he doesn’t hesitate. But there are creatures in Iron Bay whose slashes are worse than skin-deep. And as Kemple evolves into something inhuman, his search for a cure begins.
They are strangers in a city where carriages rattle, airships rumble, and where their own dark pasts continue to haunt them. Soon their paths will collide, and the girl who slays monsters will come face to face with the boy who is becoming a beast.

Meerkat Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Guest Post :

What’s the biggest challenge of writing from the viewpoints of two different characters?

I’d say the biggest challenge of a dual-POV narrative is a matter of harmony. How do these perspectives compliment each other? How do they challenge each other? How do their edges fit, when nestled side by side?
The easiest writing path is, of course, to simply not worry about such things. To tell the characters’ stories naturally, and to let the chips fall where they may. But a lot of readers expect more than that. They want cohesion. Meaning. Purpose. They might not be consciously aware of these things while reading, but the desire for some sort of purposeful story architecture is still there. Without it, readers are likely to complain that the tale felt “confusing”, “aimless”, or, worst of all: “boring”!
There’s a risk, however, of a writer trying too hard to make a story line up in a meaningful way. If the structure is too obvious, then readers are likely to complain that things felt “forced”, “unnatural”, or “preachy”.
So what’s a writer to do?
For me, the key is to focus on something simple: something small and distinct to keep in mind when dealing with both characters. In Beast Heart, that happened to be their self-identities. How does Gabrielle see herself, in relation to the world? How about Kemple? And how do they view themselves, in relation to each other?
The reader is being asked to travel on a journey with two different POVs as their literary “eyes”, so it makes sense to treat both perspectives as two ends of a scale: push and pull. Weight and counterweight. Opposite ends of a spectrum, with the reader in the unique position of existing in the middle.
Usually, readers expect two perspectives like this will eventually come together, either in a clash of conflict, or in a unifying merge. Possibly a mixture of both. Whatever the outcome, the story needs to reach some kind of satisfying cadence, one that can only be created by the combining of notes that, until that point, seemed completely discordant.
I’d like to say that I achieved that in Beast Heart, but a lot depends on the reader. What sounds like steam whistling through gears, to one ear, might very well sound like claws tearing through skin, to another.
And in the end, they’d both be right.

Giveaway :

$50 Book Shopping Spree!

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #MeerkatPress @MeerkatPress / #QandAs : Deprivation #Deprivation #deadisthenewsleep – Roy Freirich @RoyFreirich

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Deprivation-BlogTour-Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Deprivation’ blogtour, organised by Meerkat Press.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Authorphoto-RoyFreirichRoy Freirich leads multiple lives as a writer. He adapted his novel Winged Creatures for the film Fragments, and has written screenplays for Fox Searchlight, Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, and Sony. His lyrics have been sung by legends Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, and Patti Labelle, among many others. He lives with his wife, ever-patient editor and frequent cowriter, Debrah, in Malibu, California.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Synopsis :

Deprivation-BookCover-BIGA gripping psychological thriller from the author of Winged Creatures.

August, Carratuck Island, New York: a silent child is found abandoned on the beach clutching a handheld video game, and residents and tourists alike find themselves stricken by relentless insomnia. Denied the outlet of dreams—fears, guilt, and primal urges find other ways to surface. A teenage girl competes in an online game: who can stay awake longest? The bleary police chief struggles to keep order. The local doctor battles the ghosts of his past to find the cause and a cure for the epidemic, and face down the violent mob that blames the child. Cut off from the mainland, the island plunges into chaos, murder, and suicide.

Meerkat Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I began writing as a self-pitying, pretentious 11-year-old “poet” inspired by Simon and Garfunkle.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
The early books I was taught stuck with me: Call of the Wild, Mice and Men, A Farewell to Arms. My touchstones turned to poetry early on, with poems I certainly couldn’t comprehend but which for some reason moved me deeply: The Waste Land, Four Quartets, poems by Wallace Stevens. I still revisit them, but when I began writing fiction I explored authors whose writing made me most envious: Lie Down in Darkness, As I Lay Dying, Tender is the Night. Lately, Enchanted by Rene Denfeld, the Rabbit books by John Updike, H is for Hawk, by Helen McDonald, Jazz by Toni Morrison, everything by Colum McCann, Cormac McCarthy. Everything by Keith Rosson.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
William Styron, whose poetic prose is unmatched for exquisite lyricism that never strays from serving the moment.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d invite Dr. Sam Carlson from DEPRIVATION, if only to try to save him from himself.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I bite my nails and sigh.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I start with the vaguest sense of a truth I want to tell, reaching for a theme — though this will hopefully deepen and become truer as I excavate through layers of resistant substrata — facile formulations, cliche, etc.
I don’t consciously borrow anything from those I know. And if I do, unwittingly, I suffer from a surfeit of compassion for my characters. No one will be merely villainous. (Well, except for that one, maybe.)

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I outline, and it’s always the first casualty of writing.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Spend weeks if not months writing every possible thought about your idea; do not edit any of it. The ghost of an organizing principle may emerge, and from there, an outline, perhaps a character. But the initial inchoate document is your chance to be out of your own way and simply explore.

What are your future plans as an author?
A vacation, first. Then back hard at my next novel, Bright Noise.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
One of my main characters, Cort, has been competing on Twitter: who can stay awake the longest? After receiving increasingly unhinged Tweets from her friends, she seeks them out…

Past the worn boardwalk steps that climb the last dune to the beach, Cort recognizes Sioux’s gray cedar and glass beachfront house where they all took X last year and ended up huddled in Sioux’s bedroom laughing and crying until finally they crashed, thank God, sprawled across each other with sweaty hair and blotchy skin and sour breath from the awful speed rush of it.
Cort crosses the lane and heads up the wooden steps to the landing by the glass front door. She peers through the sidelight at the skylit foyer, past the broad stretch of light wood floor to the kitchen where she remembers everything possible was made of stainless steel, like a chem lab or a slaughterhouse.
Halfway down the gallery, it looks like a painting has fallen from the wall, one of those big rectangles of solid color that cost more than Cort’s whole house. Cort drops her gaze to the door in front of her and sees now it’s actually open a few inches.
“Hellloo?” she calls out, nudging it open a few more inches.
A whisper, a giggle, like children hiding.
Cort steps carefully inside, wary.
Sioux Klein and Madison Schone are standing on the granite kitchen island counter in their underwear, toes painted alike with dumb glitter polish, giggling hysterically, dirty hair hanging in their faces. Their bodies look loose and blotchy beneath orangey tans. On the floor, a bottle of vodka lies spilt sideways, a puddle shining.
Cort slows, finally seeing the single clothesline they have draped over an overhead beam, the ends tied into rough nooses around their necks.
“Hey, what are—let me—” Cort rushes forward, but Madison stops giggling long enough to slur:
“No, we’re doing this. Get away!”
Sioux fights a blurt of giddy laughter, loses. She sways, her shoulders shaking, straightens, sways again, the rope tightening with a faint creak, the flesh on the side of her neck bulging around it, reddening.
“Owwww,” Madison whines, clawing at the rope around her neck, the slack gone as Sioux staggers. “Wait . . .”
Cort’s already clambering up the counter, grabbing Sioux by the waist: “Wait, stop. Let me, okay? And then, you know what? We just leave.”
Sioux tries to pull away, tightening the rope around Madison’s neck again. “There’s no ferry!” Her voice is a shrill, wet sob.
Cort shakes her head, tightening her grip. “There will be.”
“It’ll be too late! It’s already too late! We stopped the game, but we can’t sleep. We can’t!” Her mouth twists into an ugly smile as tears begin to stream.
Cort counters, “What about the boats, the marina? Somebody will give us a ride.”
“To where, somewhere we aren’t? Where is that place? To someplace, but why, when we would be there, just the same, with this light. This noise. With my stupid fucking brain frying!”
Madison shouts, “Shut up! Jump! Now! Or I will!”
Sioux twists out of Cort’s grip and simply steps off the countertop. How can she be so heavy that she falls so impossibly quickly, like some huge, invisible thing has smashed her downward from above?
On the countertop beside Cort, Madison gasps and sputters, arching up on her tiptoes as Sioux’s counterweight pulls the rope taut. Her hands scrabble at the noose that has become too tight around her neck for her clumsy fingers to grab. Her nails claw at her skin, streaks of blood appearing as she sputters, eyes bulging.
Where is—something—anything—to cut the line? Cort’s eyes dart over the cabinet faces, drawer fronts, countertops. There! A wooden knife block offers up black handles. Cort leaps down and pulls one, which turns out to be a bread knife, but there’s no time to turn back for another. She rounds the island and grits her teeth and stands on her tiptoes to reach above Sioux and saw at the rope—some kind of boat rope, thick and braided, it turns out, not clothesline—and slick and waxy enough for the blade at first to skid rather than bite.
Seconds are all. How many does anyone have without breathing?
But even with the rope laid out like a loaf on a cutting board it would take a good minute to saw through with a bread knife, and meanwhile Sioux’s feet have begun to kick against Cort’s shins, heels hard, searching for purchase. One of her hands claws Cort’s hair and face, the other stabs at the air like a terrified blind girl’s. Cort dares to look upward, and Sioux’s swollen face is a light purplish color, her lips white.
Cort drops the knife with a sob to grab Sioux around her waist again, trying to lift her to create some slack, but there is none, by a missing foot or so of clothesline, there is none.
The sound that comes from Cort is lower than a scream, a long senseless shout that begs and denies and climbs as she struggles to lift Sioux higher into the impossible air.
They embrace, slow dancing. Sioux’s feet never touch the ground, kicking at nothing, and her hands find a will of their own to grasp trembling at the clothesline choking the life from them.
Hold her, Cort thinks. Just hold her up. Just long enough for her to get her fingers under the noose.
Behind them, above, Madison has grabbed the line just above her noose and has pulled herself upward, like climbing rope hand over hand in gym class, but without the wrap and belay around the leg. Her toes dangle just above the counter; slack sags the line between her grip and the noose, and she lets out a startled grunt, as if at her own good idea.
But then her arms begin to quiver and twitch against failure, failure surely killing her a fraction of an inch at a time as gravity wins and she drops slowly back, the rope tightening again.
Cort has Sioux in an upward bearhug, like a clumsy skater’s lift, but Cort’s arms, too, begin to shudder until the taut desperate urging of Sioux’s body against hers stops, and a new unmovable heaviness prevails.
Behind her, toes skimming the countertop, Madison makes a last sound like a thick, wet sigh, and dangles limply to one side, turning ever so slightly, one eye still seeming to gaze at some distant point, the other simply empty.
Cort’s arms give way now, too, and Sioux’s feet ghost the floor, one foot sideways, the other straight and so lightly barely touching down just ahead of her, a marionette’s.
Cort stays bent, squeezing her eyes shut.
Now, this is the time to finally wake. With a start, gasping to catch your breath while everything returns to the way it was before.
She opens her eyes.
Sunlight makes a shadow of a leaning girl across the floor.
A faint sound like creaking begins and stops. Begins again.
A thin smell like ammonia floats in the air.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Roy Freirich.

Giveaway :

$150 Book Shopping Spree!

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

 

#CoverReveal @MeerkatPress : Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons – Keith Rosson @keith_rosson

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m super pleased to be on the blogtour, organised by Meerkat Press, to reveal the cover of

Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons
by
Keith Rosson

But first some information

About the Author :

radio_rosson_keith_5491-1-e1474903961116_upm1ssKeith Rosson is the author of the novels The Mercy of the Tide and Smoke City, and his short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, December, The Nervous Breakdown, and more. He’s been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a finalist for the Birdwhistle Prize for Short Fiction. He’s also an illustrator and graphic designer, with clients that include Green Day, Against Me, the Goo Goo Dolls, and others. A fierce advocate of public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at his website or on Twitter.

Synopsis :

With the Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson delves into notions of family, grief, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and in “High Tide,” a grieving man ruminates on his brother’s life as a monster terrorizes their coastal town. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes a number of Rosson’s unpublished stories, as well as award-winning favorites.

After this great teaser I hope you are still excited for the cover reveal, because this is happening

right now!

9781946154521

Did this all pique your interest in reading the book? It will be released in 2021 by Meerkat Press.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds