Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Thomm Quackenbush - Speculative Fiction Writer

I'm thrilled to be introducing a new writing friend this week - Speculative Fiction Writer, Thomm Quackenbush. Over to you, Thomm.

Q: Where are you from, and what do you do when you're not writing short stories or novels?

I live in Red Hook, New York, where most of my books take place.  I moved here for a teaching job coincidentally after Danse Macabre was published.  Living in one’s fantasy universe does make it a bit richer.  My fiancée and I wander or bike the town often, especially now that the weather is improving.  I am also a voracious mocker of drive-in movies, blessed as I am to live within forty-five minutes of three.  

Q: If you had to choose five books to send to an alien civilisation, what would they be and why?

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, because it would help explain the mistakes, the reasons, and the insatiable drive of humanity.  I have long said that I believe that science is the language of the divine.  If one wants to talk to God, head out to the forest with a microscope.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, because it is gorgeously written.  It is one of those books I can (and do) reread and always find something new.  Plus, Humbert Humbert requires the reader to commit to a sort of moral gymnastics.  He is reprehensible in his actions, yet so beautiful in his descriptions.  I have encountered literate, young men trying to seduce their lovers with passages from the book.  I almost cannot blame them, but might want to redirect them to some poetry that isn’t about raping a teenager.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare (which I acknowledge is something of a cheat), because Shakespeare was instrumental to our language, both in words and concepts.  I cannot imagine aliens grasping Western culture without thumbing (or tentacling) through Hamlet.

Gun, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, because I think that it will frighten them away from ever wanting to invade us.  We are filthy and violent.  Best give us a wide berth.

And, finally, The Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini, just to keep the aliens guessing.

Q: What is your favourite writing quote?

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
— Toni Morrison

I continue to try to write the book I want most to read.  I haven’t done it yet, which gives me incentive to be more daring and, frankly, stranger.

Q: What three words best describe your writing?

Researched, occult nonsense.

Q:  I notice from your website you are a prolific writer, having penned short stories, three novels, and several scripts. How do you make the time to write?

I think that it helps that I see writing as my way of processing the world.  Writing isn’t even second nature to me.  It is the only nature, everything reducing down to words and phrases.  It is rare that I am not writing something in my head, trying to learn how best to phrase pain and boredom in such a way that I will smile in rereading it later.  I do allot myself at least an hour of uninterrupted writing a night, which is to say that I glare at my fiancée when she interrupts it inevitably because she missed me. 

Q: Can you tell us a little about your Night's Dreams Series?

Overall, the books take place in a world that operates my consensus reality, heavily reliant on actual historical curiosities.  Human beings are the most powerful magical beings ever, but we have given away the vast majority of our power in the creation of gods and their children, called daemons within the book but essentially the satyrs, devas, fairies, and the like that litter mythology.  Even were you to see an act of true magic, you would rationalize it away or cancel it out with the force of your disbelief.  Thus, I have descendants of gods who act as waiters and baby-eating ghouls who are nurses, because it is better to keep a low profile than to be destroyed through disbelief.

Q: Would you like to share an excerpt?

From Artificial Gods:

Jasmine slouched in the backseat. This was not so bad, she figured. They could just look up at the stars and would be easily dissuaded from searching the town further. Jasmine had gone for most of her life without seeing anything in the sky that should not be there. Statistically, it was unlikely a ship would appear that night, no matter the reputation Pine Bush suffered thanks to Dr. Devareux's book. It would be a relaxing night of stargazing with three people she, on average, endured well.
Once home, she purloined a couple of quilts from the linen closet and set to making hot cocoa. True to her expectations, their talk of aliens and UFOs transitioned into general scary stories, then idle philosophy, and finally into contentedly and silently cuddling as the night found its chill.
Jasmine looked up at the stars, charting for Greg what constellations she could recall from her freshman astronomy class. She heard more amorous sounds coming from Kathleen and Sid, twenty feet away, but put these out of her mind. Greg nestled against her, resting his head on her chest, and she found herself stroking his hair as he fell asleep on her. As she listened to his light snores, the gasps coming from farther afield, she began to look at the stars with wonder for the first time in a decade.
The stars were so simple when she was a kid, a smattering of glowing dust circling the Earth. She did not then know that each was a sun, most considerably more massive than the daylight one she knew. The night sky made her feel infinite before she knew the word. More than once when she was a child, her parents had found her asleep on the back porch with no more covering than the night gave her and would tuck her back into her bed before she woke again.
It changed when she hit her teens, as her body developed into that of a woman before her mind could catch up. Adolescence impelled her eyes to stay at an even keel, to deal with the ground before flickering to the heavens. Night became not dotted with fairy clouds of celestial brilliance, but simply the time when the sun was out of sight.
Until very recently, she never felt any real fear from the night, though she did go through aggravating insomnia for much of puberty. In retrospect, she blamed it on any number of issues: rampant and undiagnosed pet allergies, a bad diet, a vitamin deficiency.
She was desperate for sleep then and even now a little envious Greg snoozed blissfully on the pillows of her breasts. As a teen, she had made an art of creeping around her house, as though sleep were contagious, or in hopes that, in supine states, her family would be more susceptible to the magnetism of her dark-rimmed eyes, and she would not have to be alone in the night. But no one ever woke, and she eventually managed to get a few hours of sleep before waking for school each morning.
Jasmine, for fear of waking Greg, stayed still, staring at the stars until she, too, fell asleep outside, watched over by the heavenly lights.

Q: What do you know now that you wished you'd known at the beginning of your writing journey?

The biggest lesson is that it is much easier to edit a finished book than it is to rewrite individual sentences to “perfection” before moving on.  We Shadows took me years to write and most of the “perfect” sentences (60,000 words worth!) were deleted prior to publication.

Another is that publication is well within the reach of writers.  I frequently speak to beginning writers who are fed the worst sorts of urban legends; how one has to have connections, how publishers only want Twilight clones, how authors only get 2% of their sales.  Last night, I spoke to a presumptive fantasy author who claimed to have never heard of Tor or DAW and assumed these were scammers rather than two of the biggest names in speculative fiction publishing.  Do your research before believing someone else’s lies.  All you have to do to get published is not give up. 

The last is something that big emotions came from big words, to paraphrase Hemingway.  We Shadows is a bit clumsy with my attempts to write beautifully rather than well.  My publisher’s editor actually complimented me on my vocabulary, which should have been a warning sign.

Q: What are you working on now?

I am doing final edits on my fourth book in the Night’s Dream series, Flies to Wanton Boys.  I did a final read through on my Kindle and it is now a matter of making those changes to the actual text.  Tedious, but it is the best way I have found to make myself do it.  After this book is sent out, I intend to take a small break from my series and write a novel based on my coming wedding, along with a few other projects I have on the back burner. 

Thomm Quackenbush is a novelist and teacher in the Hudson Valley. This is his third novel with Double Dragon Publishing. He has been previously published by Cave Drawing Ink, the Journal of Cartoon Overanalysis, and Paragon Press. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. He finds that friends do not enjoy the extremes he goes to in order to research books, as these involve mortuaries and UFO support groups. He posts his work at
You can Thomm here: FacebookGoodreadsTumblrTwitter.

Thank you, Thomm. It was wonderful having the opportunity to get to know the writer behind the books. Being from the UK, I've never been to a drive-in movie. It's something I'd like to experience one day. I agree with your choice of sending The Complete Works of Shakespeare - how many words was he responsible for introducing to the English language? I think it's over 400.

That's it for today. I'll be back on Friday to help Simon Kewin celebrate the release of Hedge Witch. Have a great week.

A to Z Blogging Challenge - Z is for Zombie

We've reached the end of the alphabet and the A to Z Blogging Challenge.
If you haven't heard of the A to Z Challenge, check out the A to Z blog. Why not visit a few of the participants or look back over some of Untethered Realms creature-themed posts?

The members of Untethered Realms, took part in the Challenge as a group. Each day, one of us shared with you a fantastical creature that may be from one of our books, a favorite movie, or something we just came up with as entertainment.

Z is for Zombie. Check out my post at Untethered Realms.

Monday, 28 April 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge - X is for X Factor

The A to Z Blogging Challenge is three letters from the end. Sob.
If you haven't heard of it, check out the A to Z blog and join in the fun.

My writers group, Untethered Realms, are taking part in the Challenge as a group. Each day, one of us will be sharing with you a fantastical creature that may be from one of our books, a favorite movie, or something we just came up with as entertainment.

X is for X factor

Today, we're holding an X Factor competition to find the creature with the most X. Check out the entries at Untethered Realms and meet our illustrious judge, Rex.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Want To See Where Alex J. Cavanaugh Writes?

On the last Friday of every month, one of my writing friends will be giving us a sneak peek at where they weave those magical words into the books we love. I'm beyond thrilled to have Alex J. Cavanaugh as my first Where I Write guest. Over to you, Alex.

Hey Ellie! Thanks for asking me to kick off your new feature. I’m honored.

NaNoWriMo taught me to construct first drafts on the computer, so that’s where I do most of my writing. I try to keep the area clean and my StarCraft figures stand guard against intruders.

I can’t talk about writing without showing you my guitars though. (Well, a couple of them. I own many. Probably too many.) I always practice before I begin writing to clear my mind. Nothing like a good jam session to put me in the right frame of mind.

I’m currently working on another space opera, which is set apart from my Cassa series. Ironically, I never intended on becoming an author. But this journey has been nothing short of amazing.

Thanks, Ellie – you rock!

By Alex J Cavanaugh

 From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 $16.95
eBook ISBN 9781939844019 $3.99

Find CassaStorm: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Amazon Kindle / Goodreads / Book trailer

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

You can find Alex here: websiteTwitter & IWSG

Thank you, Alex. It is I who is honoured. Your desk looks cool and a great place to write. Seeing a picture of your guitars reminded me of the recording of you playing I won. I've just listened to it again. You rock! I can understand how playing helps to clear your mind and focus you on your writing.

That's it for this week. I'll be back on Monday. Until then, happy reading and writing.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge - T is for Time Demon

The A to Z Blogging Challenge is nearing the end. Where did the time go?
If you haven't heard of it, check out the A to Z blog and join in the fun.

My writers group, Untethered Realms, are taking part in the Challenge as a group. Each day, one of us will be sharing with you a fantastical creature that may be from one of our books, a favorite movie, or something we just came up with as entertainment.

T is for Time Demon. It's also stands for my turn. Check out my Time Demon at Untethered Realms.

X is for X factor

On April 28th, Untethered Realms will be holding an X Factor competition to find the creature with the most X. You can help to pick the creature that wins by voting.

For the X Factor, I'm entering my Time Demon. Each creature entered will be asked three questions. Don't forget to stop by and vote.


The mighty Alex J. Cavanaugh will be kicking off my new monthly feature - Where I Write. Call back Friday to take a peek at his writing space.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Book Launch: White Hellebore by Nicole Zoltack

I'm thrilled to be part of the celebrations for the release of Nicole Zoltack's latest release. Over to you, Nicole.

Hey, howdy, hey! Nicole Zoltack here and I'm so happy to share with you the cover for WHITE HELLEBORE. The second book in the Heroes of Falledge trilogy kicks off with an amazing cover.

All right, all right, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. I know you're dying to see it!

Told you it was awesome! I'm not biased at all. Nope. Not even a little bit.

BLURB: After destroying Skull Krusher, Nicholas Adams thinks Falledge is safe and becomes a security guard at the museum, watching a valuable statue. Unfortunately, the Egyptian statue houses the soul of a scorned witch, biding her time to have her revenge on the descendants of her cheating lover.

Kiya the witch isn't the only new foe in town as the drug that created Skull Krusher has now transformed a scientist into yet another monster, forcing Nicholas to don his Black Hellebore mask again and save Falledge.

Nicholas has no help this time as Kiya gains possession of his love Julianna's body and brings the soul of Justina, Nicholas's high school sweetheart and Julianna's twin, with her. Despite himself, Nicholas is torn between the sisters. If he can't stop the fiends from taking over the world and destroying humankind, he'd never be able to find lasting, true love.

Add it on Goodreads!

So I'm sure you're dying to know the release date and luckily it's not that far away! WHITE HELLEBORE releases April 21st! Be sure to grab it on the 21st! :D

Amazon Kindle Kindle

BIO: Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit her here.

That's a stunning cover and intriguing blurb, Nicole. Congratulations.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge - N is for New To Me

The A to Z Blogging Challenge is over the half way mark.
If you haven't heard of it, check out the A to Z blog and join in the fun.

My writers group, Untethered Realms. are taking part in the Challenge as a group. Each day, one of us will be sharing with you a fantastical creature that may be from one of our books, a favorite movie, or something we just came up with as entertainment.

N is for new creatures to me. Check out the creatures we'd like to write about at Untethered Realms.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Destruction: The December People, Book One

It's the launch day for book one in Sharon Bayliss's exciting new series, The December People. I'm a huge fan of Sharon's, having loved her debut novel, The Charge. You can bet Destruction is high on my TBR list. Congratulations, Sharon.

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.


An independent family-owned bookstore. The ONLY place to buy signed copies!

A locally owned book store in Austin, Texas.

The Author

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies. 

You can find Sharon here.

I'll be back on Wednesday, when Vicki Keire will be this week's Speculative Fiction Writer.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Mike Robinson - Speculative Fiction Writer

This week's Speculative Fiction Writer is Curiosity Quills Press author, Mike Robinson. His first short story collection, Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray, will be published on April 10th. 

Hello, Mike. Thank you for joining me. It's a rain-soaked and wild day here in Devon, so I hope you brought your raincoat. I thought we'd brave the elements and take a stroll down to see the fishing boats bring in their catches, and then treat ourselves to a fried breakfast at the Docks Cafe.

Right. Time for some questions:

Q: Which three words best describe you?

A: I suppose curious, passionate and social. I’d toss in “creative”, though it’s a little obvious (after all, it’s why I’m here!) and sounds a tad pompous. Though I guess I did just toss it in....wait...

Q: Do you have a favourite movie quote?

Yikes. Not sure. Being a native of Los Angeles, and a writer to boot, I have celluloid blood in my veins. Hmm. A hurricane of possibilities fly through my mind, from “I know exactly what I think about [the topic of God’s existence], but can never find a way to put it into words” (Woody Allen, in his Shadows & Fog) to “You think that’s air you’re breathing?” (Morpheus, in The Matrix) to the exchange: “It’s a mess, ain’t it, Sheriff?” .... “If not, it’ll do till the mess gets here.” (the Coens’ No Country for Old Men).

Q: Stephen King or Dean Koontz? Why?

A: Stephen King, if only because he has longer roots in my reading history, and influenced me far more in my younger writing life. Reading IT was what fired me out of one career path and back into writing. King is also a little more in my wheelhouse as far as his outlandish knack for the supernatural and his thematic concerns. I still feel, though, that both King and Koontz wrote their best stuff in the eighties and early-to-mid nineties. That’s not saying they’re past their prime, necessarily, just that in my judgment the best books of that particular era have yet to be surpassed.

Q: Have you always been a writer?

A: Pretty much. I’ve always been a creative person, since I was two years old and poised myself for several hours over a canvas, much to the amazement of the harried painting teacher. I’ve always been transfixed by the process. I told stories visually before I could put them into words. I wrote my first “real” story when I was about 6 or 7, and haven’t really stopped since. It was not something I decided to do, just my brain or my soul’s version of needing to go to the bathroom.

Q:  I see you belong to the second largest writers' group in Southern California, GLAWS, which lists Ray Bradbury among its many honoured speakers. Did you have the opportunity to speak to Bradbury? If so, what was he like?

A: Very infectious, a big silvery-haired stuffed animal come to boisterous life. I met him when he was already in a wheelchair, but when he spoke the immortal fourteen-year-old in him took over. I introduced myself as a fellow writer and dinosaur buff, and he chuckled. In an industry strewn with famous alcoholics and suicides, it was refreshing to see a literary giant so joyful at the end of his life. And he hardly denied the troubles and sadness he’d seen -- instead of retreating from them, he embraced them, and was as grateful for the low points as he was for the high.

Q: You've already published five speculative fiction books. Did you always know you wanted to write spec-fic?

A: Not always, technically, but certainly most of my life. I started out writing sport stories, sagas in baseball, basketball, golf, etc., until I read Bruce Coville’s My Teacher is an Alien series and wrote “Aliens In My Backyard!”, which pretty much put me on an irreversible path into the wide, octopoid world of speculative fiction. My first classifiably horror story was called “When the Moon is Full”. Which of the following do you think was the featured beast? -- A. Vampire, B. Dragon, or C. Werewolf?

Q: Your first short story collection will be published on April 10th. What is it about?

A: Many things! Universally, though, it celebrates infinite mysteriousness, and meditates on the possibility, or reality, that the irrational is the seat of the rational, that our brains (gray matter!) are ill-equipped to fathom the world’s innate weirdness. In the book, that weirdness takes on many forms, in varying genres, from science fiction to horror to magical realism, yet all of it sources back to some dark, unknowable namelessness.

Q: Would you like to share an extract with us?

“The sky was a luminous blue, a band of twilight between the waning redness at the horizon and the growing blackness of the celestial night. The air had that ripe, wintry smell to it.
          As I walked, my brain became a black hole, sucking into oblivion all else around me as it reran current issues I was having in my work, which dealt, fittingly, with black holes. I’ve been obsessed with the phenomenon since I was a kid and realized they were real, not cool ingredients in science fiction. To me nothing in the universe was as mysterious. To think that these invisible gluttons of light truly hang out there as open wounds in nature, bullying physical logic, possibly existing as passages to some other realm or realms into which they excrete their voluminous intake―it jazzed me. Hell, these things eat stars―if that isn’t a monster to end all those of the comic panel or movie screen, I don’t know what is. The din of my thoughts receded once I reached the store. There was more pressing business afoot. When I started trolling the aisles, picking out the booze, I noticed something was amiss. However, I found it hard to focus past the huge selection of bottles and six-packs before me. Everything looked good.
          Having grabbed a basket, I realized I'd need more space, so I retrieved a cart and wheeled away, loading up.
          The sky darkened as I approached the counter.
          I paid, bagged everything, trying to ignore a strange buzzing deep within my very marrow, as if my body were gearing up, being primed for something.”

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering publishing a short story collection?

A: Be selective with the stories you choose to include. Obviously, if you’re working with a publisher or editor, their two cents will be helpful, as well. If you’re like me and have among your files a Corinthian column of stories you’ve scribed over the years, the decision process can be intimidating and difficult, even with a theme in mind (and you should have a theme, especially if you’re prone to experimentation, to bending or breaking genres). A chunk of the stories in Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray were published elsewhere, but I didn’t include all my previously-published stories, either because they didn’t fit thematically or they just weren’t “me” anymore. Literary longevity is a curious thing. I have stories from 2003 that, for whatever reason, are truer and deeper rooted in me than some I wrote in 2008 or 2009, though of course I always give them a stylistic spit-shine.  

Book blurb:

Award-winning speculative fiction author Mike Robinson offers up 19 of his creepily provocative short stories in his new book, Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction.

A beer run becomes an interdimensional excursion. Two men settle their differences after discovering an extraordinary secret in the wilderness. A woman faces the bureaucratic logistics of a digital afterlife. A grieving man seeks to know where his wife was reincarnated. Strange lights in the sky begin to transform the lives of a small town. God and the Devil play billiards for people's souls. A teenage deity's science fair project sprouts a startling discovery. 

These and more dream-like detours into the surreal, interstitial and inexplicable await within the pages of Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction.

Author bio:

Mike Robinson has been writing since age 7, when his story Aliens In My Backyard! became a runaway bestseller, topping international charts (or maybe that was also just a product of his imagination).

He has since published fiction in a dozen magazines, literary anthologies and podcasts. His debut novel, Skunk Ape Semester, released by Solstice Publishing, was a Finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Currently he’s the managing editor of Literary Landscapes, the official magazine of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society ( His supernatural novels The Green-Eyed Monster, Negative Space (both part of The Enigma of Twilight Falls trilogy) and The Prince of Earth are all available. He also co-authored Hurakan's Chalice, the third installment of Aiden James' bestselling Talisman Chronicles.

You can find Mike here.

Thank you, Mike. Stephen King would also be my choice. It was one of his books - The Stand - that opened me up to the wonders of both reading and writing stories. Congratulations on the publication of your short story collection. The cover is stunning. I will be adding it to my TBR list.

That's it for this week. If you're still plowing your way through the A to Z Blogging Challenge, keep going. The journey is worth it. Happy blogging.

Monday, 7 April 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge - F is for Favourite Creatures

The A to Z Blogging Challenge is underway.
If you haven't heard of it, check out the A to Z blog and join in the fun.

My writers group, Untethered Realms. are taking part in the Challenge as a group. Each day, one of us will be sharing with you a fantastical creature that may be from one of our books, a favorite movie, or something we just came up with as entertainment.

F is for favorite creatures. Check out our choices at Untethered Realms.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

An Interview With Vampires Don't Sparkle Author Amy Fecteau

This week's Speculative Fiction Writer is Vampires Don't Sparkle author, Amy Fecteau. She came out of her writing cave to answer a few of my probing questions, and what fascinating answers she gave.

Hi Amy. Thank you for visiting my small part of the Universe. We'll walk down to the sea and throw a few pebbles, before heading to a local pub for a pint of brew. Make yourself comfortable on a bar stool. Here goes:

Q: Are you a day or night person?

          Definitely a night person forced into day person behaviour by cruel fate. Cruel fate being the fact that my electric company gets very tetchy when I don’t pay them.

Q: The Lost Boys or Interview with the Vampire?

          Interview with the Vampire. Quite possibly the only Tom Cruise movie I’ve ever enjoyed. Plus, 18th century New Orleans trumps 80’s hair any day of the week.

Q: When faced by a horde of zombies, which weapon would you reach for - a baseball bat or samurai sword?

          I’m partial to the baseball bat. Samurai swords are cool, but I just know my first swing will get snagged in Zombie Bob’s spine, and while I’m trying to work the blade free, his pal Zombie Sue will start gnawing on my calf. Baseball bats are idiot-proof. Just keep whacking until you’re the only one standing.

Q: I see you live in Maine. It seems many writers are born in or live in there. Is this just a coincidence or are special powers at work?

          Well, Maine is fairly isolated. It’s a little like the lonely writer’s garret of the U.S., tucked away in the attic all by itself. There’s a lot of space to spread out. People tend to be independent. Plus, if you’re not outdoorsy, there’s not much to do, especially during the dear-god-why-does-the-sun-have-to-set-at-3-in-the-afternoon winter. So, I think it’s the perfect place for breeding storytellers, really.

          Or, it might be the LSD in the water. It’s a toss-up.

Q: You've just published your first book. Can you tell us a little about it?

         Sure! It starts with Matheus, the main character, being turned into a vampire against his will. The book follows him as he deals with his new controlling maker, his new confusing feelings for said controlling maker, and in general his new, confusing (un)life. There’s hunters with cross-bows, buried secrets, a genocidal arsonist, family drama, and just buckets and buckets of sarcasm. I’m a fan of witty banter and dark humor, and Matheus’ view on the world really reflects that. He’s the snarky best friend, plopped down into the starring role.

Q: Would you like to share an extract?

          Absolutely! This scene takes place during Matheus’ first hunting trip with Quin.

            “Oh, god,” Matheus moaned. Dizziness set in as he followed Quin into the club. Multi-colored lights flashed over the dance floor, but did little to drive back the dimness. Despite the dark, Matheus saw easily. So many people, warm and pulsing. He sensed the rush of blood through their bodies,the taste of salt and copper in the back of his throat.
            “Concentrate,” Quin said, one hand still gripping Matheus’ arm. “Don’t lose control.”
            “There are so many of them,” Matheus whispered, grateful for Quin’s grip holding him back. A part of his mind sat separate, horrified by the overwhelming hunger.
            “Yes, they do breed like rats.” Quin pushed him toward a table in the corner. “Sit.”
            “I need a drink,” said Matheus.
            “Don’t we all,” said Quin. “No more alcohol. You’d just throw it up.”
            “Are you telling me I am going to have to spend eternity as a teetotaler? Just stake me now.”
            Quin laughed, low and rumbling. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. He looked around the club with a lazy expression. He could have been any young man, looking for a partner for the night.
            “You’ll get used to it,” he said.
            “You keep saying that.”
            “It keeps being true.”
            Matheus traced circles on the table. He wished Quin would get on with it. Amazingly, Quin had found a way to make crowds even more horrible than they had been when Matheus was alive.
            “Search the room,” Quin said. “Who would you pick?”
            “What do you mean?”
            “You have to learn how to pick your prey.”
            “Don’t say it like that,” Matheus said. Quin’s casual attitude did not help.
            Quin ignored him. He kept one hand on Matheus’ arm as he scanned the room.
            The music had a heavy bass beat overlaid with moaning female vocals. A dance floor took up the majority of the club, although Matheus was confused as to what part of writhing around like a porn star constituted dancing.
            “Come on, now,” Quin said. “Pick.”
            “I don’t know,” said Matheus. “That girl at the bar.”
            She was the kind of girl they made reality TV shows about. Short skirt, barely-there top, high-end extensions, and strappy heels. She glittered with sweat and youth. The real-life stand-in for the women Matheus thought about late at night, groping the dark for release before giving up in favor of sleep.
            “Her? Try thinking with your brain and not your cock,” Quin said.
            “What’s wrong with her?”asked Matheus.
            “You’re looking for a meal, not a date. Don’t confuse the two.”
            “I thought that was part of the package.”
            “Tell me, did you usually make out with your hamburgers before you ate them? The answer better be no, or you are on your own.”
            “But the whole Dracula—”
            “It’s a story,” said Quin. “Forget what you saw in the movies. We don’t turn into bats, we don’t sparkle, and we don’t have sex with our prey.”
            “Fine.” Matheus folded his arms, drumming his fingers on his biceps. Why bother dying if he couldn’t even use his newfound status to pick up slutty club girls?

 Q: Real Vampires Don't Sparkle has a stunning cover. Who designed it, and how much of an input did you have?

          The amazingly talented Alexandria Thompson designed the cover. She can be found at I had the vague idea of having Matheus and his scars on the cover, but Alexandria is really the one who took my incoherent mumblings and made something fantastic.

Q: When will volume two of Real Vampires Don't Sparkle be published?

          Soon! I’m proofing volume two right now before sending it off to my publisher. (well, not right now. Right now, I’m typing answers to these questions. But now-ish).

Q: What is your favourite writing quote?  

         “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”  -- Ray Bradbury. 

Amy Fecteau grew up in the wilds of suburbia, along with a younger sister and brother. As a child, Amy wanted to be a doctor-farmer-princess, but unfortunately the market for doctor-farmer-princesses just isn’t what it used to be. Also, Amy was born in the United States, severely limiting her chances to become royalty.

Amy wrote her first story at age twelve, the stirring tale of friendship and witch burning.  She was cruelly robbed of first place in the district writing contest, although it’s not like she’s still bitter about that or anything.

Amy lives in southern Maine. She collects keychains, owns a cat (named CAT) and creates eclectic art in her spare time. Currently, she is studying computer science. She blames her love of sarcasm and snark on her large, strange, wonderful family.

Thank you, Amy. LSD in the water. I knew there was a logical answer for all the writers in Maine! I loved the excerpt and the book's title. Real vampires don't sparkle. At least in my humble opinion. I shall be adding it to my TBR list.

That's it for this week. If you're taking part in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, don't forget to check out Untethered Realms on a daily basis. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge

The date Bloggerland has been waiting for has arrived. 

It's April 1st. 

It's the start of the A to Z Blogging Challenge!

Three cheers for the Challenge founder, Arlee Bird, the co-hosts, and all their minions. This annual event would not happen without them. Last time I checked there were 1944 bloggers taking part, so it's no small task they're undertaking. 

So, what am I doing for A to Z?

This year my writers group, Untethered Realms, are taking part in the Challenge as a group. Each day, one of us will be sharing with you a fantastical creature that may be from one of our books, a favorite movie, or something we just came up with as entertainment.

A is for Alien. Check out Bonnie Rae's entry at Untethered Realms.