Interview: Michelle Renee Lane, Author of INVISIBLE CHAINS

Michelle Renee LaneMichelle Renee Lane started writing stories at the age of twelve and won a short story contest in elementary school. She really started exploring different kinds of writing in her mid-teens—poetry, fan fiction, short stories, and even a bit of erotica, “which,” she says, “I’m sure I would be embarrassed to read at this point.”

Lane now writes under the speculative umbrella, so her stories usually mix genres—horror, fantasy, often with a romantic/erotic element as well. “But,” she admits, “most of my stories don’t end with a happily-ever-after, unless you really dig monsters.” We do.

Michelle, what have you published so far, and where?

My first publication was actually in an academic journal. I presented a paper comparing the AIDS epidemic to vampirism for a colloquium at Shippensburg University many moons ago.

But my first short story, “The Hag Stone,” appeared in the anthology Dark Holidays (Dark Skull Publications). Earlier this year, my short story, “Crossroads,” appeared in Terror Politico: A Screaming World in Chaos (Scary Dairy Press). And my debut novel, Invisible Chains is available July 22 from Haverhill Housing Publishing LLC. I have a few other short stories coming out later this year, and next year as well.

Tell us about your new novel, Invisible Chains. What’s the most important thing you’re trying to say with this book? How does it express your experience as a human being that is uniquely you?Invisible Chains by Michelle Renee Lane

What am I trying to say with this book? That’s a great question. And honestly, for long time I didn’t know what I was writing about. I didn’t have any lofty goals or an agenda in mind. I wanted to write a vampire novel set in antebellum New Orleans told in the voices of several characters.

However, Invisible Chains evolved into a first-person narrative told by Jacqueline, a young Creole slave. In her quest for freedom, she encounters real monsters while dealing with the everyday horrors of slavery.

Jacqueline’s voice became the strongest voice in the story and I soon realized it was her story to tell. As I wrote her story, I realized she was experiencing many things that women of color are still experiencing today: racism, sexism, and violence against women. While history tells us that much has changed since Jacqueline’s time, there are several things happening in the novel that connect with the current state of our society that I hope will resonate with readers.

I also tried to create a vampire who was truly a monster. Despite his good looks and charm, I didn’t want to maintain the current trend of casting vampires as romantic leads. Personally, I love a good vampire romance. The bloodier, the better. But I often wonder how dangerous it is to keep creating male characters that normalize stalking and the threat of violence (sexual or otherwise) against female characters. While I enjoy reading about sexy vampires “wooing” their potential mates, I’m also aware that vampires are undead creatures who prey on the living. And, if you want your happily ever after with a vampire, your love interest must literally murder you.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

My tuition to attend Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction Program. Not only did the program reignite my love of writing fiction, but the experiences and connections I made with mentors and fellow students gave me the confidence to really think of myself as a writer. I gained knowledge of the industry, an invaluable education in genre fiction, and friendships that have led to important introductions to the people who have decided to take me seriously as a writer and publish my work. SHU changed my life.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania in the 1970s and 80s as a racially mixed kid meant that I heard racist epithets and jokes on a regular basis. I didn’t enjoy hearing this disgusting use of language, but it was common and, unless someone was targeting me, I tried to ignore it. Which seems odd now that I think back to how I coped with racism as a kid. People said a lot of hurtful things around me when they thought I wasn’t listening. Sometimes, I felt invisible. And other times, people said things directly to me that were more painful than any injury I’d experienced.

When I was fourteen, I was dating a boy I had known since first grade. We weren’t a couple in public. He cared about me, but it was a secret. I didn’t think much about that until I called his house one evening and his dad said, “Mark, your nigger is on the phone.” I remember the physical effect those words had on me. It felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach. I couldn’t swallow. My skin felt hot and feverish. I was stunned into silence. When the boy I cared about grabbed the phone from his dad, he told me that he would be right over and hung up the phone. About an hour later, he showed up at my house with visible signs that he had had a fight with his dad. He apologized to me, and my tears made him want to cry. Seven words changed both of our lives that day. And even though our young romance didn’t last, we both learned that regardless of whom you choose to love, love is worth fighting for.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

Ha! I’m almost afraid to answer this question. Carlos Velasquez is based on a real person. When I was fifteen and very impressionable, I had a pen pal that was ten years older than me and more obsessed with vampires than I was at the time. He dressed like Barnabas Collins, fantasized about becoming a vampire, wrote extremely inappropriate love letters to me with erotic fiction that featured our vampire alter egos, and he even sent me a vial of his blood. I met him in person three times. The second time, he tried to convince me to spend the weekend with him in New York when I was sixteen. Can you say sexual predator?

Perhaps unwisely, I maintained contact with him until I was about twenty-five. So, it was a long and strange friendship. He never hurt me though or tried to do anything inappropriate beyond the fantasies he shared with me in his letters. As you can imagine, he made a lasting impression.

What does literary success look like to you? Do you think you’ve attained it?

I suppose success is something my favorite writers have achieved—publishing multiple books and stories, establishing a writing career that pays the bills, gaining a following of readers who look forward to their next book. Writers I admire who immediately come to mind as successful are Toni Morrison, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Joe R. Lansdale, Anne Rice, Octavia Butler, and Joe Hill. With these folks who inspire me in mind, no I haven’t attained it, but I’m going to keep writing in the hopes that I do.

Have you read anything that really made you think differently about fiction?

Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories (1991) had a major impact on how I thought about my own writing and the kinds of stories I could tell as a woman of color. I wanted to write about vampires, but as far as I knew, women of color weren’t writing about them.

I had read a lot of vampire fiction, seen a lot of vampire movies and TV shows, but there weren’t many black characters in these stories. Aside from the Blaxploitation film Blacula (1972) and Akasha and Enkil, the original vampires in Anne Rice’s The Queen of the Damned (1988), I wasn’t seeing a lot of black vampires. To be honest, I didn’t really think of Akasha and Enkil as black even though they were Egyptian, because their skin had turned to the color and texture of marble. Gomez is not only a woman of color, but she wrote a vampire novel about a black bisexual female vampire that challenged many aspects of the traditional vampire myth. Gomez’s book gave me the green light to write the kinds of stories I wanted to write. So, a few months ago when Jewelle Gomez agreed to read Invisible Chains and had some very positive things to say about the book, I was beside myself with joy. I think I actually squealed when I read her feedback.

What was your hardest scene to write?

There were a lot of scenes that were hard to write, because they deal with some very difficult subjects. But, oddly enough, one of the hardest scenes to write is when Jacqueline takes back her power and stands up to the vampire. I don’t want to give too much away, because I hate spoilers. While I was writing that scene, I felt like I was Jacqueline summoning the strength she needed to protect herself and establish herself as a formidable and powerful woman. I had to dig deep and exorcise some of my own demons to write that scene. It took me three months to finish it, and I had a lot of encouragement from my mentor, Lucy A. Snyder, and my critique partners, Patricia Lillie and Amber Bliss. They gave me the support I needed to make that scene happen.

Does your family support your career as a writer?

Very much so. I am extremely fortunate to have such a supportive family who believes in me and encourages me to keep following my dreams.

How often do you write?

Not as often I should. I’ve been struggling to make writing a top priority for quite some time, but I know that must change if I’m going to take myself seriously enough to keep cranking out fiction. I work full-time and I’m a single parent, so there are plenty of days when I don’t write a single word. But I’ve come to realize that writing is one of the few things that makes me happy and, unless I’m doing it every day, I’m not happy.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

At the moment, finding the time and motivation to write every day. I get hung up on all the other things happening in my life and I neglect the thing that matters most to me.

What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?

Finding story ideas. My brain is constantly coming up with plotlines and snippets of dialog for characters I’m writing about or who want to be written about. I live in a fantasy world inside my head much of the time, so coming up with stories is easy. Making the time to write them, not so much.

Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?

I mentioned some of the writers I admire earlier, like Charlaine Harris, Toni Morrison, and Jim Butcher. I try to read often, but lately I’ve been listening to audiobooks because I can do other things while I listen. In the past three years, I’ve listened to every novel in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost, and her Night Price series.

I dove into the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I enjoyed listening to Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box, Horns, The Fireman, NOS4A2 and Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, so I’m well-acquainted with Inscapes.

Some of my guiltier pleasures include the 50 Shades series, which is great to listen to on long drives because the books are very entertaining and can make you feel much better about yourself as a writer. I have some biographies lined up to read later this summer to research some new characters while plotting the sequel to Invisible Chains.

You can connect with Michelle Renee Lane at Girl Meets Monster blog: https://michellerlane.com/.

Her Amazon author page is https://www.amazon.com/Michelle-Renee-Lane/e/B07Q7XSJR5

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Interview: Justin Bienvenue Releases THE WAX FACTORY

Justin BienvenueJustin Bienvenue considers himself to be an author and poet. He lives in the New England area and became interested in writing in 2005 but has been writing on a more professional level since 2010. He says, “I mainly write horror and poetry although I’ve also written westerns and a crime thriller, so I try writing in other genres as well.”

Tell us about your latest project, Justin.

My latest novel is a gothic horror called THE WAX FACTORY, which is due out on May 31, 2019. It’s about a group of college students who, as part of a school project, go to an old factory for a tour. Along the way they realize this isn’t a normal tour, and the deeper into the factory they go, the more sinister and dark things become. Soon they are fighting for their lives and the project doesn’t seem to matter anymore. It’s the first part of a three-book series.

The Wax Factory by Justin BienvenueWhat have you published so far, and where?

I have five other published novels that are all published and available on Amazon. There are my two horror poetry books, THE MACABRE MASTERPIECE and THE MACABRE MASTERPIECE: REPRESSED CARNAGE. I’ve also written another poetry book, LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES and then a western horror, A BLOODY BLOODY MESS in the Wild Wild West and a crime thriller, OPIUM WARFARE. I’ve also written short stories and poems in over fifteen anthologies.

What is your writing schedule like? Do you write every day?

My writing schedule is pretty wide open, and I can write anytime I want. I try to write every day whether it’s a story, poem, or just a blog post, but sometimes I admit I become too lazy or end up doing other things. When I do write, I want to make it count, so when I write I devote all my time to whatever piece I’m working on.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I read a lot of Shakespeare in high school, and while the rest of the class seemed bored and uninterested, I was intrigued. Shakespeare is one of those people who you either love or hate. Some of his works really spoke to me and still resonate with me today. He practically had his own language and his works really speak to people and have a lot of power, so since I started reading Shakespeare, it was then I learned early on that language had power.

People believe that being a published author is glamorous. Is that true for you?

Yes and no. I’m not famous; people don’t come up to me on the street asking for an autograph, and I’m not a bestselling author, but when I tell people I’m an author or that I have published books, they seemed pretty surprised. In some ways it is glamorous because I get to do what I enjoy, what I love, and being an indie author gives me one hundred percent creative control, and it’s all me. So being published is even more of a great feeling. At times it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as I’m still trying to make it, but glamorous is a good word because at times it feels totally like that.

What does literary success look like to you? Do you think you’ve attained it?

Literary success to me is partly what I wrote above. It’s becoming a best-selling author, having people recognize you and it’s making a lot of money off your books and having a big fan base that love you and your work. Do I think I’ll attain it? I want to but do I think I will? Well never say never but I’ll just keep doing what it is I love and do best, writing and if that type of success happens? Great, if not then I can always keep hoping.

Have you read anything that really made you think differently about fiction?

To be honest not really. I may write but I’m not much of a reader. When I started writing and became a published author I found a new appreciation for reading but it’s died down as of late and I haven’t read many of the classics or beloved fiction that most people swear by. Perhaps I will come across such a book when I decide to read, but so far, no.

What was your hardest scene to write?

I don’t think I’ve had any scene that was hard to write. I write whatever pops into my head. I map and plan it out before writing or write on the spot, and if I feel it’s unworthy, I delete it. I guess fight scenes at times have been hard to write just because it’s hard to really use the right words to explain what’s happening without it sounding like a fight in the 1960’s Batman TV show. I want to be describing the right things but I don’t want to use lackluster words or go over the top with it, so fight scenes are hard and challenging at times. Also love and sex scenes just because that’s not my type of genre, so that would be hard to write if I actually wrote such things.

Does your family support your career as a writer?

Yes, they are very supportive of my career. My mother enjoys all my work although it may be because she’s my mother and not just because she liked horror. They know I work hard and I’m really trying, and they know how creative I am, so they are supportive and hope the best for me.

Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?

My detail in describing things and my dialogue. I wouldn’t say I was bad at dialogue but it wasn’t my strong suit. I feel I’ve improved on that aspect and am getting better the more I write. Also describing things. I had a tendency in the past to either not write about something enough or too much, so now I have found a good balance.

If given the opportunity to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?

I can change anything in my books right now if I wanted to and nobody would really know unless I told them. I stick by what’s already been written and I believe in it and believe my audience will enjoy it. I’ve thought about changing small things, but that’s my own little issue. I’m proud of the work I have written and put out there.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

The marketing that comes after! Lol. Don’t get me wrong, writing has its issues such as sticking with the topic you want to write about, writer’s block, but the thing nobody tells you is that you have to market your book after. Not only did you write it, but now you have to get people to see that your writing is good enough for them. I would also say I have an issue with commas that I’m really trying to fix.

What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?

Planning what I’m going to write; the basics seem to come easy to me. By this I mean I have an idea in mind and I get started right away and for the most part I’m able to think and create without experiencing the dreaded writer’s block. Creativity and inspiration in writing come easy to me.

Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?

As I said I don’t read much but when I do read, I have my favorite authors like everyone else. I like Edgar Allan Poe, Rod Serling, Elmore Leonard, David Haynes, Vincent Hobbes, and Bettina Melher.

Justin’s website is http://jbienvenue.webs.com/
Follow him on Twitter @JustinBienvenue

Book Release: TALES FOR THE CAMP FIRE

NorCal Horror Authors Support Wildfire Relief with New Anthology of Scary Stories

Horror authors across Northern California have come together to release Tales for the Camp Fire, a new anthology of short stories, to support wildfire relief efforts. All profits from the sale of the anthology will be donated to wildfire relief funds administered by the North Valley Community Foundation.

On the morning of November 8th, 2018, the worst wildfire in the state’s history erupted in the foothills of Northern California. While emergency efforts were immediate, the Camp Fire burned for seventeen days before it was finally contained. It destroyed the town of Paradise and burned over 150,000 acres. At least 85 people died in the blaze. The impact of the fire was felt across the entire region as air quality became the worst in the world.

Tales for the Camp FireWhen a group of local horror authors got together, they asked what they could do. “We’re writers,” said San Leandro resident and author Ben Monroe. “How can we can help with our stories?” Soon they formed a plan to produce a charity anthology, contacting horror authors across the region to ask them to donate stories. Some wrote new pieces for the book, while others submitted favorite reprints for inclusion. In the end, the anthology topped out with 24 great stories totaling over 300 pages.

“Tales for the Camp Fire is a brilliant collection of truly creepy tales by horror’s hottest voices! Dark, funny, heartbreaking, and bizarre. Highly recommended!”
—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars and Glimpse

Tales for the Camp Fire is edited by Loren Rhoads and is being published by E.M. Markoff’s Tomes & Coffee Press. It is now available in both paperback and ebook formats through Amazon. Members of the publishing team are attending the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley on May 4 & 5, and will have copies of the book available for sale there. All profits from the book will be donated to the North Valley Community Foundation efforts to support the ongoing wildfire relief efforts.

“A brilliant editor and author, Rhoads skillfully weaves together a collection of new and old yarns to create an exemplary tapestry of horror literature that will spook fans of the genre for years to come.”
—Moaner T. Lawrence, author of “The Great American Nightmare”

The book includes stories by Clark Ashton Smith, the grandfather of horror in Northern California, as well as by Bram Stoker Award winners Nancy Etchemendy and Gene O’Neill. Tales for the Camp Fire ranges from fairytale to science fiction, from psychological terror to magical realism, from splatterpunk to black humor, all rounded out by a messed up post-apocalyptic cookbook. Through these pages roam werewolves, serial killers, a handful of ghosts, plenty of zombies, Cthulhu cultists, mad scientists, and a pair of conjoined twins.

You may purchase Tales From the Campfire here: https://amzn.to/2V1ZTo0

About the Editor: Loren Rhoads served as editor for Bram Stoker Award-nominated Morbid Curiosity magazine as well as the books The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, Death’s Garden: Relationship with Cemeteries, and Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual.

About the Publisher: Tomes & Coffee Press is an independent publisher of diverse and dark literature. Operated by Latinx author E.M. Markoff, it previously published The Deadbringer and To Nurture & Kill.

About the NCVF: The North Valley Community Foundation provides visionary community leadership by identifying emerging challenges in our region. NVCF brings together diverse groups of problem-solvers, mobilizes resources, and equips community leaders. We build and energize a community of engaged citizens and philanthropists who strengthen the common good.

Book Release: THE BEDWETTER by Lee Allen Howard

Dark Psychological Thriller Available Now in Trade Paperback and Ebook

“Lee Allen Howard’s The Bedwetter is an inventive psychological horror novel with a voice that’s as stylish as it is dark.” —Dustin LaValley, author of The Deceived

Armed with electric hair trimmers and a military fighting knife,
Russell accepts his dark commission.

His urination led to ruination.

The Bedwetter CoverRussell Pisarek is twenty-six years old and still wets the bed. He grew up different from other young men because his vicious mother punished him for wetting by shaving his head. When he confided this to his girlfriend Tina, she betrayed him by advertising his problem to all their high school classmates. He took out his frustration by skinning neighborhood cats.

Now Russell fantasizes about finding just the right woman—so he can shave her bald. He struggles to overcome his dark tendencies, but when his sister discovers he’s wetting again, she kicks him out of her house.

During this time of stress, the mythical Piss Fairy appears in his dreams, and Russell is driven to satisfy his twisted desires with his innocent coworker Uma, who also needs a new roommate.

When his plans go awry, the Piss Fairy commissions him for a much darker task that graduates him from shaving to scalping—and worse.

“Highly disturbing and electric.” —US Review of Books

“A brutal, dark, compulsive read… stark, powerful, and satisfying.” —Online Book Club

Read trigger warning below.

THE BEDWETTER is available now in trade paperback and ebook formats.

Purchase options

VENUE ORDER LINK
B&N Nook
B&N Trade Paperback
Amazon.com Kindle
Amazon.com Trade Paperback
Abebooks Trade Paperback
Alibris Trade Paperback
IndieBound Trade Paperback

“Grotesque, bizarre, and uniquely written, The Bedwetter will shake you and scare the piss out of you.” —Stephanie M. Wytovich, Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Hysteria: A Collection of Madness

Warning!

This novel depicts intense violence, hardcore horror, and disturbing psychological terror in the vein of such works as Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door, Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God, Joyce Carol Oates’ Zombie, J. N. Williamson’s The Book of Webster’s, and Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me.

Although THE BEDWETTER is a fascinating in-depth character study into the mind and actions of a misogynistic and homophobic psychopath, the story events are vicious and brutal, the language coarse, and the approach to their reporting is cold and unflinching.

This book is not for the faint of heart or those easily offended by language, sex, or violence. Read at your own risk.

Read the first scene…

My mother’s lying on the basement floor of our house, where we lived when Becky and me were in school, fugly and naked on the red linoleum, with the electric hair clippers jammed up her cooz. They’re plugged in and running, eating her alive on the inside. She’s diddling herself with her big manly hands, yowling like a cat, and I can’t tell if it’s from pleasure or pain. Till I step up and piss on her. Then it’s all pain.

My arc of hot whizz hits her right in the face and splashes over her buzzed head & the pile of gray hair like dirty laundry on the tile. She gasps and spits and curses me like she always does.

I say, “Shame on you, now. Shame on you! SHAME ON YOU, YOU FUCKIN EVIL BITCH!

I spray a golden fountain down her body, over her flat tits, the bunched hysterectomy scar, and onto the mound of matted gray fur between her ricotta thighs.

When my piss hits the trimmers, she’s electrocuted and bucks like a rhino getting shock therapy. Sparks fly. She spews blue lightning out her hole, and then she bursts into flames, screaming like a demon. The flame dances up my piss stream like it’s lighter fluid, an unquenchable fire climbing the stairway to heaven.

But in the dream I never get electrocuted, I never get burned. At least I ain’t yet.

I always wake up. And I always wet the bed.

___

Please share this post in email, on Facebook, Twitter (@LeeAllenHoward) or Instagram (@LeeAllenHoward1).

Cover art by Jeffrey Kosh.

Trade paperback, 246 pages.


Goodreads Giveaway of THE BEDWETTER

I’m giving away ten paperback copies of THE BEDWETTER, my new horror/psychological thriller.

Follow the link below to enter. Good luck!

Enter Goodreads Giveaway


Interview: Matthew Brockmeyer Releases UNDER ROTTING SKY

I recently interviewed horror writer Matthew Brockmeyer. He lives in the redwoods of Northern California and has been writing about all of his life, although the path to making a career out of it, he says, has been a long one. “I write dark fiction and horror, usually with a both literary and transgressive edge to it.”

Under Rotting Sky by Matthew BrockmeyerTell us about your latest project. What’s it about?
Under Rotting Sky is a collection of short stories I’ve written over the past four years, including previously published tales and new work. It’s a good example of who I am as an artist, for it really runs the gamut from literary fiction to historical fiction to classic horror to extreme horror and splatterpunk.

What else have you published, and where?
I have one novel out: Kind Nepenthe, a ghost story set in the far back hills of Humboldt County. It’s gotten a lot of critical acclaim and done pretty well. I’ve had short stories published all over, in anthologies, magazines, journals.

What are you working on currently?
I’m working on a new novel about a young runaway punk-rock girl who falls into a cult of blood-worshiping pornographers. It takes place in San Francisco in the early 1980s.

Kind Nepenthe by Matthew BrockmeyerDo you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Both, actually. I’d like to have each of my works stand on their own, but there are connections that run through them. Most of my stories take place in Northern California, so there is always an interconnection of place. But there are also recurring characters as well. Like the work of Irvine Welsh and Louise Erdrich, all the stories take place in a shared world.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I don’t think it really did, honestly.

How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
Hmmm, interesting question. I want the story to be clear. I don’t want readers confused, but at the same time I like to drop red herrings and have some misdirection, the way a magician will divert your attention for a moment during a trick. Surprises and twists are great, but clarity is extremely important as well. It’s a balancing act, I suppose.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do pretty exhaustive research. I’ve written a couple of historical fiction stories and became a member of the historical society, visited local history museums, sought out experts. I’m a voracious reader and will search out books on particular subjects, both fiction and nonfiction. I also love documentaries. I’ve been having a blast researching the early punk scene of San Francisco for my new novel.

What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
I find myself writing about kids and childhood a lot, but I’m also a parent so a lot of that comes from there. I’m also obsessed with subcultures, hippies, punks, beatniks, goths, back-to-the-landers and cults of sorts.

How do you select the names of your characters?
Oh, I have some fun there. I have some wild character names: Coyote, Calendula, Diesel, Slug, Garbage, Roach, Eight Ball, just to name a few. I like nicknames that stand out and are unforgettable. But I also like to juxtapose names, for instance in my novel Kind Nepenthe, while most of the characters have crazy names, the main protagonist is simply Rebecca, because I wanted to show that she was lost in this crazy world.

Sometimes the names I choose are references to books I love; sometimes the names just have a great ring to them. Dickens always had the greatest names: Ebenezer Scrooge, Uriah Heep, Pip, Fagan, Artful Dodger. He even had a Master Bater!

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I usually read them, but it’s all subjective, so I don’t take bad reviews badly. People either like things or they don’t. It’s just the way it is; nothing is universally liked. Positive reviews are an affirmation, though, so they’re nice. You’ve got to have really thick skin to be an artist and put your work out there.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
White bread and soda pop.

What is your favorite childhood book and why?
As a wee child Where the Wild Things Are. The theme of releasing your inner beast is one I return to often. I see it really as a werewolf story.

From my teen years, Lord of the Flies. It’s really a horror story. It’s an amazing look at the ease in which humanity falls into tribalism. The scene with the talking pig’s head on a stake is so surreal and wonderfully grotesque. Extremely well-defined characters. That enigmatic ending. Just a fabulous story.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you and your work?
Although I like to entertain, I also strive to say something about our existential nature and what it means to be human. But while many of my stories are nihilistic, I’m actually a pretty positive guy. Many times I am literally writing out my worst fears, which is why some pretty horrible things often happen. In the end it’s just a wild rollercoaster ride.

You can connect with Matthew Brockmeyer at his website: http://www.matthewbrockmeyer.com

Kind Nepenthe on Amazon


Demain Publishing Releases Short Sharp Shocks! Series

Writer and editor Dean M. Drinkel recently opened a horror press called Demain Publishing. On March 1 they launched the Short Sharp Shocks! Series with the first six ebooks on Amazon. Six more will be published by the end of March with another twelve coming in April. Drinkel’s been busy!

The first six books out now are:

Short Sharp Shocks! Series 1-6

Amazon is doing a deal on Books 1–5 at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NZXH9B3/.

Books 6–11 will be released March 29 and are available for pre-sales on Amazon:

Short Sharp Shocks! Series

All covers are by Adrian Baldwin.

You can learn more about Demain, submission calls, interviews with all the authors, and up-to-date news at https://demainpublishingblog.weebly.com/.