Author Spotlight: Steve Lowe

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 15, 2013 by royalmanaball

I’m really high on codeine right now, so bear with me. It’s not for recreational purposes, I swear, but that’s not important. Shoot, I’ve been listening to Spacemen 3 all night and I think they are pretty awesome. Right, then…

When it comes to Bizarro fiction, a reader can experience anything from demonic pancake assaults to rabid unicorn attack battalions. This genre offers real treats for a consumer in a literary sea of trite, overdone plots, glittering vampires and, well, a bunch of zombies. Fucking lame. But not all Bizarro needs to be fantastical on its surface. Sometimes the very characters themselves and their behaviors are irreal enough to garner a Bizarro badge of merit.

Steve Lowe is an author whose works fall in this latter category. Lowe’s characters tend to suffer odd circumstances – people who fall into a doughnut hole of absurdity – thus thrusting them into situations that only this writer’s mind could devise.

The man. The meat.

The man. The meat.

Despite these strange events, Lowe’s stories are more character driven. Prepare to read tales about a neighborhood that wakes up one morning to find their sexual partners’ identities have been swapped. Enjoy the life of a pushover who competes in a game that not only stretches his limits, but the limits of sex in general; not to mention a case where a slacker awakens to find he has morphed into a three-toed sloth.

As said, Lowe’s novels are character-centric and this factor makes you care for them all the more. No matter how abject their behaviors (oh, and they can be disgusting), Lowe always injects a tenderness in every one featured, and it’s no wonder that his plots usually deal with the theme of personal change and redemption.

Lowe is very well aware that modern life can suck a sweaty peen for most. With his finger on the pulse of today’s society, he acknowledges that Middle American existence is, by default, bizarre.

The following is a quick glance of all of his books (to my knowledge) that are available for purchase and you can find them right now on Amazon and other fine book vendors:

Muscle Memory: This book answers the question of what happens when you have an inexplicable switcheroo of being with your nearest and dearest. Yes, one character does swap identities with a barnyard animal. Deal with it.

King of the Perverts: Loved this book. Erotica subverted. Dennis is the ultimate mangina whose wife hates his guts. Being newly unemployed, he decides to participate in a reality show where he vies to become king of the perverts for cash and prizes. Under duress and coercion by East-Euro brute “Mongo,” Denny must endure one vile sexual encounter after another from blumpkins to Alabama Hot Pockets. My only complaint is that Lowe left out the Romanian Rollercoaster and the Polish Bikeride. Whatever.

04974-spanish-fly

Samurai Vs. Robo-Dick: Benson opts out of society and won’t leave his parent’s basement. A take on the monomyth, one day, he is coaxed out of the house only to find that the world has suffered some sort of apocalypse and the only “safe” place left is the stupid, suburbanoid gated community in which he squats. He’s forced to take a shitty job with the neo-Fascist neighborhood watch and things get worse for Benson from there.

Mio Padre, il Tumore: Ciao Bella! This book is probably my favorite. This tale is basically a spaghetti western set in… Northern Indiana?!?!? Yes, blend The Godfather, Sergio Leone flicks, Henenlotter’s Basket Case and some Lucio Fulci. Now, set it to a soundtrack by Claudio Simonetti and you have a fine tale of bizarre revenge. Very suspenseful and a departure from some of Lowe’s usual gross-out fare. I really enjoyed this and could see it being directed by Cronenberg one day. So, if you want something a little more sober, this might be a good book of Lowe’s catalog to begin with.

You Are SLOTH!: You wake up one day from your subsistence slackerhood and realize that you are SLOTH! Yes, in a Kafka-esque turn of absurdity, you have transformed into one of God’s stupidest animals next to the platypus. This tale really maximizes great characters and wonderful dialog. It had me in stitches! My favorite denizen of these pages is pussy-begging, PUA asswipe Chris Cross. His banter and one-liners are worth every penny of the purchase. Beware the “death-by-bukkake” part.

A freelance sports reporter by day, Lowe’s books don’t focus on sports, but I would love to see him tackle such a saga sometime in the future. Like, a fucked-up rendition of Slapshot (one of my fave movies) or some such thing. You can do it, Steve. You can do it!

-30, bitches!-

Review: “Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2013 by royalmanaball

In this transmission, I will review Mercedes M. Yardley’s terrific novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love.

Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu

Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu

There are only a few books I read that deserve a blog review, and this is one of them. This tale is one of those gems you might find somewhere just above the Underground and hail, “Eureka!” when you are finished with the final page.

Essentially, this story is a romance – remember that. But… it’s also a comic book without the pretty pictures. Allow me to explain:

Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu is a take on the origins of a duo of super-villains. An issue of Marvel Team-Up inverted and subverted. Take Andersen Prunty’s Sociopaths in Love and J.G. Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition then set it to a Helios Creed soundtrack, and you’ll enjoy the great story Yardley has written.

Poor Montessa has been having a rough go of life. She subsistence-strips to support her loser, cheating boyfriend who won’t even give her a ride home during the wee hours of Last Watches. To boot, her upbringing was a nightmare of sexual abuse.

Enter Lu. This guy is a Transcontinental trucker and serial killer who so happens to have Montessa on his hit list. Once he abducts her on one of her early-morning jaunts home, things don’t go as according to plan…

As Montessa gains Lu’s trust, a demonic duo forms and they wreak havoc across the country. The pair decides to get revenge on Montessa’s abusers past and present with their combined powers, and, yes, these lovers are supernatural.

Montessa can alter wind currents with a type of psychokinesis while Lu is a pyrokinetic. Together, they form a power-packed combo that complements each other. These powers are hinted at only to suddenly appear. Yardley unveils these supernatural abilities in a very subtle, by-the-way manner, and I really enjoyed this. The source of their irreal abilities is never truly explained, but I’d elect to think of them as coming from Beyond rather than from within.

Yardley’s wordsmithing is what keeps you turning the pages. Effervescent, surreal and ethereal, you’ll see how much love the author has for these characters, and this especially comes across in the narrative.

As for dialog, it too is dreamlike, and one of the odd things that powerfully works is that most of it is just between Montessa and Lu. Yes, there are other characters, but they are deliberately kept silent for the most part. This factor aids in rendering Yardley’s West Coast journey more like a trek across an alien landscape. Lu’s truck almost becomes a pocket dimension where these lovers pop in and out of our reality to kill.

Apolcalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu is a great read, and despite its short length, you’ll want to savor every word of it. Well written and decisively paced, it puts you in a dreamlike mood regardless of all the blood. Get it today on Amazon!

Author Interview: Ksenia Anske

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2013 by royalmanaball

Ksenia Anske is an author of reckoning. Probably the first writer to ever be interviewed by The Huffington Post – without having published! How cool is that? She is the proud author of the brave trilogy The Siren Suicides. It’s an irreal, bizarre and sad tale of Ailen, a teen who commits suicide in order to escape her morbid home life only to transform into a siren, or rather, a vengeful mermaid upon her death. Despite her new-found existence, her problems fail to cease…

This transmission, we are interviewing Ms. Anske and are going to pick her wild brain about her writing process, her books and her coping mechanisms with life, love and happiness as an author. Let’s begin!

The author in her natural environment.

The author in her natural environment.

Hello, Ksenia! So nice to have you on Royal Manaball. We have a few questions that we and many of your fans are sure to be interested.

This is a question I must ask about the nature of Ailen. Is she undead or has she been reborn?

She is undead, kind of like a watery zombie, and she can only be killed by a very high frequency noise that will literally blow her up. It could be done two ways, either the classic old-style way (they’ve been blowing up sirens like this in the Middle Ages) by a whip, cracking it so what it produces a sonic boom, or by a special sonic gun, blasting her at close range into her chest.

Speaking of death and undeath, what does death mean to you? How instrumental of a concept does death hold for your writing?

I was very close to death when I wanted to take my life, but when I decided not to go through with suicide, I sort of felt reborn, but better than reborn, I felt like I was a clean slate, a clean piece of paper, and that I could build my life anew any way I wanted to. Because of this experience death is a very big topic in my books, I suspect, it will be in the future. I tend to have a birth and a death in every one of my novels, so it might become a recurrent theme? In any case, birth and death are two things that are part of life, so I think they have to have central place in any story. And a clock, because life is ticking away and we are closer to our end every minute . I think Chuck Palahniuk said at one of his book tours that I attended that every story needs a birth, a death, and a clock. I took this advice to heart.

Now, as we talk about life, how has your life changed since publishing The Siren Suicides? Does it feel like a rebirth for you?

It felt like a beginning of something new. I couldn’t believe I wrote a whole trilogy (still pinching myself), and because of it I feel like I can write books now. I mean, if you have written 3, then the 4th one doesn’t seem so scary, does it? I have also connected to people on a level the depth of which I couldn’t imagine. These are people I have never met, these are my readers from all over the world, from France, to Australia, to Egypt, to UK, to even Russia (yes, I am from Russia, although I write in English). These people said that they felt EXACTLY like Ailen, and they so far have sent me in the mail: postcards, checks with money, boxes of chocolate, shoes painted with an image of the siren, t-shirts with my quotes, and even flowers. I mean, my readers became my family, and I love them to pieces, and they love me too, across the boundaries of space and time! What else could one ask for?

Once a saga is complete, how does it feel for you? I mean, how do you feel in that it’s over and the main event has passed? Is there a sense of grief that you and Ailen aren’t playing together anymore, or do you feel fine putting her back in the toybox?

I feel relieved. It was very painful to go back into my own memories, extracting my feelings, and writing about them. I had to drag myself almost by the hair every day into my pain, to get it out. I felt cleansed and happy every day after writing, but to start was torture, because everything I’ve written about I have felt for real. Now that it’s over it feels like I cut it out of myself and gave to the world, leaving a hole behind that is already healing, and hopefully is helping others heal as well. So to me it’s a stage of my life that is over, but to every new reader it’s current, happening now, so when I get their feedback, I go back to my story, and think, wow, did I really feel all of this, did I really do through this Writing, like nothing else, has helped me see my own change and growth. It’s an amazing feeling, really. I recommend to everyone to write a novel, just for therapy.

In regard to my previous question, do you feel the characters of your saga are like toys or dolls and your books are the “dollhouse?” I see it this way with my YA work. No matter how grim or grotesque the plot gets, I still have fun playing with my characters and wondering what they might do next.

No, they felt real to me when writing. In general, when I write, I dive into the story fully, as if scribbling down complete scenes of a movie. I get fully submerged into it, with music, images, smells, and touch. That’s why it is hard for me to start sometimes, because to me writing is like acting, I have to get into character, only then do I produce good work. The down side of this is, of course, getting out of character, but that’s a whole another conversation.

Tell us a little about your upcoming release, Rosehead. Does this tale hold similar facets of The Siren Suicides? Is it YA?

It’s very different, on the surface. But deep underneath it has the same longing of a child to have a family, something I never had. So, on the surface, it’s YA. There are no swear words, no nudity, no sex scenes, as there are in Siren Suicides. The main character, Lilith Bloom, a twelve year old from Boston, is very polite, likes ballet, books, and handmade knit berets. Her pet whippet Panther can talk and is her only friend. They typically engage in a very sarcastic banter, imagining themselves Holmes and Watson. Lilith and Panther to Berlin, to Lilith’s gradnfather’s mansion for the family reunion. Alfred Bloom is the owner of BLOOM & CO, the company that grows and produces exclusive roses, shipping them fresh all over the world. And so, the entire book happens in the Bloom property, in the mansion and the rose garden, which eats some very strange things, as Lilith and Panther discover. They embark on an investigation of the mystery, that is both funny and bloodcurdling.

The author in her not-so-natural environment.

The author in her not-so-natural environment.

Now, I do this with all my interviewees – Word Association. I give you a word, and you tell me what comes first to your mind. Shall we?

Russia.

Vodka.

America

Flag.

Lightning

Thunder.

Dolphin

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Water

Ocean.

Flower

Bloody rose.

Speed

Motorcycle.

Monkey

Zombie monkey chasing me across the field.

Okay, that was painless, yes? Thank you for your time, Ms. Anske and I do appreciate your time with us. We at Royal Manaball wish you all the best of luck with The Siren Suicides Saga and Rosehead. Below are all of the relevant links to Ksenia’s work including her magnificent blog. Be sure to pick up The Siren Suicides today!

Click the pic and get your copy!

Click the pic and get your copy!

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Google+

YouTube

Instagram

Flickr

Goodreads

Sociopaths in Love

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2013 by royalmanaball

This here’s story about Billy Joe and Bobbi Sue…

I was going to give this a run-of-the-mill review on Amazon, but there is too much to cover with Andersen Prunty’s Sociopaths in Love, that I had to blog about it. It’s mean and, if it could have emotion, just sad.

And that’s a good thing!

Note the badly-drawn penis.

Note the badly-drawn penis.

In a nutshell, two sociopathic serial killers hit the fuckin’ road, shack up in beautiful Dayton, Ohio and get down to business. Don’t expect a “based on Fugate and Starkweather” revue just because they are a terror couple. Their gender and relationship are the only factors comparable.

This book is really the examination of getting everything you want and still becoming a suburbanoid blob. You will get into a routine, you will get fat, and you will get lazy. You will still need to get drunk because your awesome, new reality still doesn’t cut the mustard. It doesn’t matter if you are immune to society, law, economy, morals – you still will develop an idful value system.

This book will be compared to American Psycho. But please, readers… don’t. Just don’t.

Oh, shit, here I go anyway…

Patrick Bateman is a psychopath. Totally different animal. In Ellis’ novel, it is my firm belief that this character didn’t harm a fly. A psychopath has a rich, overly-fulfilling fantasy life that sometimes seeps into our prime material reality. Like sociopaths, they don’t have to be deadly, but the headspace is a much different place for their ilk.

I’d elect to compare this work with Alissa Nutting’s Tampa. Both Prunty and Nutting render the internal views of sociopaths. Many reviewers decry Nutting’s character of Celeste as one-dimensional. Well, she’s supposed to be. Unlike a psychopath, a sociopath (usually) doesn’t have much going on in the heart department, so don’t expect much more than repetitive obsessions. You know – hot cars, dope shoes and fucking people’s skulls. I’m not saying these folk are stupid, not by any means, but dimensionality in character would be slow and sparse, if existent at all.

In Sociopaths in Love, skulls are indeed fucked and pounds of human flesh are devoured. Yet, Prunty manages to (mostly) avoid the explicit sex and graphic gore, and I like this. Such stuff usually happens “off camera” and the stomach turns with his descriptions of the very liquid aftermaths. Erica Haha is illustrated with a deeper diligence than Nutting’s Celeste, but still, he crafts sociopathy to a “T.”

I give it five inverted pentagrams. Prunty’s rendition of Erica and Walt Haha is well nailed for these personality types and it’s a drama that will stick with you for a long time after you have hit the final page. Just buy it.

Oh, and for your listening pleasure:

 

 

Getting that Shorty Published – Who’s Got the 5K?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2013 by royalmanaball

Shorts, poetry, and flash are great opportunities to exercise your writing skills as well as getting your name on a bookshelf. Yes, we all have a magnum opus either in our heads or on Amazon, but those aren’t written in a mere week. Large works are tough to sell – and guess what? So are the small works!

It’s true, but if you are new to the writing biz, you’ll have a better chance of publishing exposure beyond the indie/vanity presses if you gather the guts and submit. But first, there are a few pointers I’d like to share with you Manaballers. After all, I’ve been published a whopping THREE times this month with a fourth and fifth hopefully on the way. Ahem… So, here’s what worked for me:

Where to Find Calls for Submissions?

Facebook. I know, everyone secretly hates the damn thing, but as an author, this is a powerful tool. Yes, you get to first meet really cool people on Twitter, but hog calls for collections and anthologies don’t always pop up on the feed. It scrolls past faster than goose turds through a tin horn and you only get 140 characters to advertise. Every time I’ve been published (or attempted to publish), I had heard the battle cry on Facebook. It’s as detailed as the publisher wants it to be and it allows other applicants to hook up and compare notes.

Get to Know the Publisher.

I’ve been published by James Ward Kirk’s horror anthologies three times so far. First, in Serial Killers Tres Tria, then in his anthology Bones, and just the other day I had secured a story for Ugly Babies. James and his fleet of editors are now my friends on Facebook and we not only talk about books, we also sit around and bullshit about anything, really. I don’t even consider him anything more or less than a friend now (Heh, I like to call him Cap’n – Trekkies will understand why). I’ve just become part of his scene.

Follow the Rules.

When you read the Facebook post for submissions, you must, and I cannot stress this more, MUST follow the submission guidelines to a “T“. The safest bet is to format your manuscript in the time-honored SHUNN style. If you have any questions about the submission’s parameters, email the publisher and ask. Yes, your story may rival the wordsmithing of Edgar Allan Poe, but don’t send the damn thing in between two pieces of white bread with mayo. You’re not Julian Schnable. Here is the precise format for the SHUNN style. Follow it. You will be thankful you did!

http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

Newbies – Don’t Showboat.

This is just a piece of advice, but not set in stone. Say if the submission guidelines allow for twenty thousand words maximum, I’d err on something smaller. Look at it like this: You’re an indie or self-publisher new to the game. Fair enough, but if you write a tale that is 19,999 words and then Neil Gaiman submits against you, you’re going to get knocked out of the running no matter how tight your story. Why? Ink. Mr. Gaiman is a bigger draw than you just by name alone. A publisher will be hesitant to feature and spotlight an unknown over a bigger, better-established name. Sorry, that’s just business. I’d do the same thing if I were in their position. Don’t be afraid to submit a short story, but I’d keep the language economical until your name generates more buzz.

Submit Early!

You’re a newb and you see the call on Facebook and you check the date. THREE DAYS UNTIL DEADLINE! Sure, give it a shot, but expect nothing. By this time, Stephen King and Tom Clancy have signed, sealed and delivered their contracts. I made this error when submitting to Neverland Library at the last minute. The good folks there said: “Yo, M.C. We loved your story, but we could not fit you in because so many well-established names are in the hopper at this point.” They even advised me to submit early in the future. I see their point. These babies fill up FAST! Work!

Don’t Go Broke on Edits.

I have a proofreader I pay to clean up my novels. These are 400+ page books. That really adds up to a pretty penny. For flashes and shorts, find other authors you trust in your social network and have them beta read it. My friend, the U.K. Horror/Bizarro author of Darke Times, David Eccles and I have an unsaid relationship to beta read each others works. Thus far, our efforts have worked well and this is very important. Every thing we’ve beta’d for each other has been published. Not bad. Use the buddy system. Find that author-friend you trust and develop that beta relationship. It really works in the end.

Stick with Your Fave Genre.

If you are a horror writer, I’d advise against branching into an erotica collection. The publisher will probably call the cops on you. (Of course,that would be pretty fuckin’ cool). But, yeah, you’ll have a better chance of acceptance if you stick with your usual mindset, and style. Besides, you’ll get a better buzz in the future if you huddle to your own ship than trying to jump the shark.

The Rule of Cool.

You do understand that you will get rejected in this business, right? Okay, glad we’re on the same page. My friend David Mack, yes, the author of Kabuki, says to always obey the Rule of Cool. Rejection is a part of any business, but definitely common for writing. Again, you WILL get rejections. Don’t take it personally. I’ve gone over the reasons you may not get the ink. but just like McDonald’s, it’s a business. Deal with it. But remember not to be an asshole when you get the boot. The publisher may not accept you THIS time, but maybe tomorrow? Keep your connections in your back pocket. Don’t chew-out a publisher who says “no.”

Kabuki by my dude David Mack

Kabuki by my dude David Mack

Okay, you’ve read this and you’re solid. Find it, write it, submit! Godspeed, you!

UPDATE: James Ward Kirk has informed me that he and Shawna Leigh Bernard are the sole editors for James Ward Kirk Fiction. Ms. Bernard is the mastermind behind the anthologies Ugly Babies and Cellar Door. This addenda was posted for clarification. Thank you.

Serial Killers Are GO!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2013 by royalmanaball

Living in Des Plaines, Illinois isn’t easy. It’s like the Beverly Hills for serial killers. Why, I only live a mile away from John Wayne Gacy’s House of Horrors! Robin Gecht of the Ripper Crew is from here and even Speck and Dahmer hung out in this burg. I suppose that’s why I felt compelled to submit a story to master of horror James Ward Kirk’s anthology Serial Killers Tres Tria.

Serial Killers Tres Tria

Serial Killers Tres Tria

It’s the third installment of the series, and I was lucky enough to have my short story, Conduct Disorder accepted! This ditty is a take on the early years of a young (and very spoiled) girl who becomes a powerful serial killer. In it, I give play to the current “Illuminati Panic” which is permeating our culture right now with a heavy nod to generational Satanism. So, not much of a leap from the themes of my YA novels when you really think about it. As an added plus, my story won the Editor’s Choice Award!

James Ward Kirk - the man with the plan.

James Ward Kirk – the man with the plan.

If you have an unorthodox sense of humor, you’re gonna laugh your ass off at my story. But the rest of the book is chock-full of poems, art, nonfiction and other talents ranging from all over the globe. The brilliant cover art and design was concocted by author and artist William Cook. I love it! The thing gives me nightmares! I cannot wait for my copy to arrive in the mail. And you can’t either! Order your copy of Serial Killers Tres Tria from Amazon today!

“Darke” Side of the Moon – Author David Eccles Interviewed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2013 by royalmanaball

It’s time for Royal Manaball to give a little back. Yours truly has been interviewed loads of times already. The Vinny Eastwood Show, The Jeff Daugherty Show, The Silver Bullet Sunday and Maria DeVivo, but now, I’m going to pay it back (and forward). This transmission, we will spotlight British author David Eccles.

July has been a big month for this chap. A debut collection of short stories titled Darke Times and Other Stories plus simultaneous releases in various anthologies – all in one month! We at Royal Manaball can only congratulate him on his skill and luck for this great time! Without further ado… David Eccles!

Author David Eccels

Author David Eccles

So, David. Darke Times. Read it. Reviewed it. Loved it. It’s quite eclectic. You seem to be able to tackle any genre thrown at you. How does this work for you? What is your process?

“It’s not something that I normally share with anyone, but I do tend to suffer bouts of depression from time to time, and for the most part, I am generally thought of as a moody person, and I rarely smile. I do not, however, take any medication for my depression. Don’t get me wrong, I can have a good laugh with people and get drunk and make a fool of myself, but mainly I prefer my own company, and my bedroom is where I like to be when I write.

“I have a fantastic imagination, and when I get a good idea for a story I play it back in my mind as if I am watching a movie (I’m also a huge movie geek). The areas I like to focus on when it comes to writing are horror, science fiction, and fantasy, with a little zany humor thrown in, of course!”

One common thread with Darke Times is that it is out of the ordinary. I’ve not really read any take on these genres featured quite like it because you have a talent to twist and subvert them. It’s almost like you’re fed up with genre and have decided to take a fun, intelligent poke at them. Am I right?

“It’s not that I’m bored with genre itself; it’s more that I don’t want to be thought of as a one-trick pony; someone who can only write in one particular genre. For me, sometimes it feels as if it’s the stories themselves who control me, and that I have no control over what I write. It’s like they need to be written, and that I’ve been chosen as the conduit. I can choose to write a horror story when I sit down to write, only to find that when I’m done for the day it’s turned out to be a science fiction story! At other times, though, I can come up with an idea and know right away from beginning to end just what it’s about and where I want to go with it and I just hammer it out!”

Would you consider yourself Bizarro? I’d say so, because these tales are unlike anything I’ve read – and I’ve read loads.

“I’ve not read too much Bizarro, and have only recently become aware of the genre, but I do tend to write some really freaky shit sometimes, so if you say that what I write is Bizarro, I’ll happily go along with that if it means that I get grouped with the likes of Jeremy C. Shipp, Andersen Prunty, and Carlton Mellick III!”

Speaking of Bizarro, fellow British author Steve Aylett is considered the godfather of Bizarro (as well as the possible inspiration for the film The Matrix). Are you a fan?

“To my shame, I’ve not read anything by him – yet. But I’ll get around to it. It’s hard both reading and writing, but as they say: if you don’t read, then you’re not a writer!

I shall remedy the situation a.s.a.p.! I love where Steve says books just appear in his brain like a visual “glob” that looks like a piece of gum. That’s great imagination!”

You and I are both being released later in horror master James Ward Kirk’s anthology Serial Killers Tres Tria (which may have recently been retitled). What’s your thoughts? It’s a bit like waiting for Christmas, yeah?

Serial Killers Tres Tria

Serial Killers Tres Tria

“We are indeed! I think that the title remains the same. You may be confusing it with the second volume, “Serial Killers Iterum”. The waiting for the date of publication to come around is always a killer, yes. It’s normally the waiting to hear whether one’s submission has been accepted that is usually the cause of many a sleepless night! I was fortunate enough to be accepted for two of James’s anthologies within a week, and the longest that I had to wait to hear of my acceptance into the anthologies was two days!

“The first anthology of James’s that I was accepted into, “Sex, Drugs & Horror” has to date not yet appeared as an e-book. I bought myself a copy of the paperback and actually received it this morning!”

Sex, Drugs and Horror

Sex, Drugs and Horror

So, you’re on the H.M.S. Bounty. You throw Captain Bligh into the drink and wind up marooned on an unidentified island in the Outer Hebrides. What three books must you take ashore? Friggin’ in the riggin’! I know, this is a tough one.

“From a practical point of view, they’d be survival books, like “No Need to Die – Real Techniques of Survival” by Eddie McGee. He’s a legend when it comes to survival techniques! I used to be into all kinds of stuff, including survivalism, but I guess you mean books of a true literary nature that I couldn’t live without. In that case, my three choices would be: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, and finally, if I may include an omnibus, The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.”

Wait! Not letting you off the hook here. I used to be a shrink, so we’re going to play a bit of word association. Answer as best as you can:

Clive Barker or Stephen King?

“Stephen King.”

Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman?

“Terry Pratchett.”

Alan Moore or Grant Morrison?

“Grant Morrison, definitely. Alan Moore has gone “weird” as of late.”

Rolling Stones or the Beatles?

“The Beatles.”

Sex Pistols or the Clash?

“Most definitely The Clash! I saw them in 1978 on their “Give ‘em Enough Rope” tour and came away from the gig with one of Joe Strummer’s badges off his shirt!”

Pretend it’s the ‘90’s again. It’s Blur versus Oasis. Who should win?

“Blur. I cannot stand the Gallagher brothers, and could happily punch Liam in the face all day and not get bored in the slightest!”

All right. Done with that. Speaking of music, I’ve learned you are a fan of Prog-rock. Me too. Who are some of your faves?

“Yes; Pink Floyd; The Moody Blues; Focus, Emerson, Lake and Palmer; The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, and Supertramp, to name a few.”

You have a shitload of beautiful tattoos. I have none. Do they hurt?

“Tattoos do hurt, and anyone who tells you that they don’t is a liar! Some areas are very sensitive indeed! When I had Poison Ivy done as part of my Batman sleeve, I really felt it in my armpit! For the most part, though, I tend to tune out the pain and have been known to fall asleep while being tattooed! It’s a very strange kind of pain; a pain that you can endure, and it is very addictive! Once you have one tattoo you want more!”

Have you any advice for new writers? Any pitfalls to avoid or has it all been a fun journey?

“Wow! That’s a hard one, seeing as I’m a noobie myself! I guess all that I can really say to anyone is to read as much as you can, so that you can learn how it should be done and can recognize a writer’s style, and to write as much as you can, whenever you can and develop a style of your own. I’m like a ferret, and will root out any information that I need to know. I’m always looking to learn new things, and that’s why I designed my own book cover too, instead of hiring a professional. I wanted the skills to do it all myself. I guess I’m a perfectionist and don’t like people telling me what I can or can’t do, and what I should or shouldn’t do. And you should get involved with as many writers and authors as you can, because they’ll always help you out, as you have done for me, Mark. Twitter is one of the best resources for writers to find help and new friends. It’s where I met you!

“As for pitfalls: I’m fortunate enough to not have experienced any pitfalls whatsoever–unless one counts finding out that my book had been uploaded to a website without my permission on the very same day that I published it, forcing me to issue a notice of copyright infringement to the website. My book was removed within a couple of hours, so that was a relief!”

Thank you, David. Had a fine time here. Please look below for all of David’s relevant links and follow him! Get Darke Times and Other Stories – now available from numerous retailers!

All details for contacting David can be found on his about.me page here.

Visit David’s blog, Fresh Crumbs From An Old Loaf.

“Darke Times and Other Stories” is widely available. A list of vendors can be found by clicking on the image below.

Darke Times and Other Stories

Darke Times and Other Stories

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