Sins of the Past – Introducing Kristin Roahrig

Kristin

It’s Sunday and that means it’s time for our weekly Sins of the Past interview. Today we talk to Kristin Roahrig, author of the story, Melusina. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Kristin.

Generally my days are spent either chasing toddlers or dusting off old records in the archives of a courthouse.

Who are your favorite authors?

I have a small list which includes Leo Tolstoy, Elizabeth Hand, and Nathaniel Hawthorne to name a few.

Tell us a bit about your story, Melusina?

The story is a mixture of revenge and a ghost tale. It centers around a Swiss soldier in Paris during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution.

If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?

Either England or Italy during the Renaissance era.

What attracts you to writing horror?

I enjoy the subtle unexpectedness to be found in many horror stories.

What are you currently reading?

Samurai-The Last Warrior by John Man

What do you like to do to relax?

I do either meditation or practice playing my cello.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a young adult novel, Afflicted. The novel is about the Salem Witch Trials. The story is inspired by events in my family history where one of my ancestors was a juryman of the trials.

Read an excerpt from Melusina:

I had just shot a rabbit dead when I first saw her. I was ten years old, struggling to fit most of the animal into a sack, its hind feet dangling out.  A river rushed nearby. The sky showed only winter, but the air and bright colors promisedspring. The dry leaves left from last autumn crackled under my feet while I breathed in the air that smelled faintly of burning logs and the recent discharge of gunpowder from the rifle Father had lent me.

To take my kill home I needed to find a place to cross the river. The waters swelled with snow melting in the mountains, and today they rushed past me with no rhythm.

I spotted a section of the river where the water appeared green. Near the edge I could make out sand lines overlapping each other, and the dark water showed the mountains in a fuzzy image. They were mirrors of a landscape I already knew too well in the limited world in which I lived.

The wind began to blow along the ground through the leaves around me. The sky changed to a pale violet, unusual for an afternoon. I continued on my way, the rabbit’s feet hitting against my back with each step I took. A strong wind came out of nowhere and stung my face.

Jerking away from the blast, I saw the figure of a woman walking ahead in the distance.She was on the other side of the river and moved in a stooped manner. I didn’t recognize her, and would have thought her just a passing traveler or beggar, only our region in Switzerland seldom received either. Our town was too far from any important destination for a traveler to pass through, and the roads, difficult even in the summer, were impossible in winter. I crossed the river, paying little attention to the stranger ahead. But whenever I happened to notice her, the woman was always the same distance away. If I walked faster, the stranger would not be any nearer than before. If I stopped and stood still for a few moments, she would be no further ahead. Her pace never quickened or slackened.

I ran ahead, only to find her no closer than before.

Want to read more? Pick up a copy of Sins of the Past today.

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Sins of the Past – Say Hello to N.M. Scuri

NancyScuri

  1. Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome N.M. Scuri. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve always loved books and stories. I grew up on Hammer films, Dark Shadows, and Stephen King. Everything pretty much came from that.

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

In addition to Mr. King, I tend to run the gamut. Right now, I’m reading the Brontë sisters. I wrote my dissertation on Oscar Wilde and James Joyce.

  1. Tell us a bit about your story, It’s All Good News?

I was inspired by the story of Preston Castle. It’s also known as the Preston School of Industry and is located in California. It was a reform school that is alleged to be haunted due to the violence that occurred there over the years. I set my story during the Great Depression. It was a dark time in America, and I could see people clutching for hope in pretty much any form. I see Dr. Weatherbee as a man with a vision for the future, but no humanity.

  1. If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?

An interesting question! It’s easy to romanticize things. We’ve struggled in one way or another throughout history, so wanting to go back to the days of chivalry, or whatever, would probably be disappointing to some. So, what experience would I want? Would I go back and watch Shakespeare act in one of his plays at the Globe? Would I wander through da Vinci’s work room? Maybe watch my grandparents make their way to America, or tell my younger self that I shouldn’t let negativity get to me, and let my light shine? To (finally) answer your question: I honestly don’t know.

  1. What attracts you to writing horror?

It’s just how my mind works, to be honest. We could all be sitting on the beach, watching the sun rise, and I’d be imagining sea monsters coming up for a snack. I’ve learned to embrace it.

  1. What are you currently reading?

I’m editing a lot these days. Right now I’m reading a collection of short fiction from Crystal Lake Publishing. I’m also going back and forth between Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman; Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, and World War Z by Max Brooks. Thank the heavens for e-readers.

  1. Are you planning to write a story for Sins of the Future? Any hints about your story?

I wrote some short fiction for a collection with illustrator Byron Rempel called Thirteen Stories and Paintings. In it, you’ll find a story called “Debbie Does the Apocalypse.” I’ve been playing around in that universe for a while. It’s fun seeing where all this goes.

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

As the spring is slowly breaking winter’s death grip on the North-Eastern US, I’m trying to get outside with my dog. I like seeing the world shake off the ice and snow.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I have an ongoing Two Sentence Horrors project with Byron. We produce two illustrated stories per week. He’s amazing. Please check out his work.

  1. How can readers connect with you?

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. You can find the links, as well as Two Sentence Horrors, on my website: www.nmscuri.com

Read a snippet from It’s All Good News:

He wanted us to put him to work. I’d been here a week, sent away for breaking windows, when we were brought into the courtyard to hear the doctor. They call it the Gladston School of Industry, but they have walls and guards like any other jail. It was early, before breakfast, but it was going to be as hot as a fire, and dark circles were already set into the warden’s white shirt. Not the doctor, though. He was dressed in his gray suit and hat. His tie was set so nice, and not a lick of sweat was on him. We were all dying out there. It just wasn’t natural. The rumble in the yard got louder the longer we all stood. A few of us had a smoke, and I was missing mine. Rules say no smokes for new boys, so I stood and sweated and waited.

Finally, the warden put his hand up, and everything got real quiet. “Boys, you are all very fortunate. Very fortunate indeed. For the benefit of the new boys, I introduce Doctor Weatherbee. I expect your undivided attention.” A few of us shuffled uneasy in the dust, but the screws saw to it that no one interrupted the doctor. His voice carried like the preachers my mam would take me to see when I wore short britches, not that it did any good, mind.

“What fine young men,” the doctor started. His eyes were closed, and he took a deep breath in, like he meant to suck us all up. “Boys, today is a great day. We live in an age of wonders. There will come a time when we will transport people across this great land of ours in a day! Do not be fooled by appearances or the ignorant mumblings of naysayers. We await our deliverance from the old, my boys. Remember, it is all good news!” I didn’t know about any of this. I wouldn’t turn down good news, though. I remember the look in Mam’s eyes when the big dust came to Kansas. Weren’t no good news then.

Want to read more? Pick up your copy of Sins of the Past today.

Sins Of The Past

Imminent Danger Free to Download this Weekend!

Imminent Danger – free this weekend. Highly recommended.

Michelle Proulx - Author

Hey peeps! Just popping in to let you know that Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It is free to download again this weekend. So if you haven’t picked it up yet, now’s your chance!

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

It’s actually available on all the Amazon sites — so if you’re not American/British/Canadian, hop over to your favorite Amazon site and search the book name. Happy reading!

Unrelated media of the day:

Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/TJb3H0Y

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Have a Book that Doesn’t Fit in? -or- Want to Read Something Different?

Do you have a book that doesn’t fit into any of the Amazon categories – try this!

ReadTuesday

Images from ShutterStock Images from ShutterStock

NONEXISTENT BOOK CATEGORIES

There are two related problems from two different perspectives:

  1. Many readers may enjoy reading a totally brand new kind of book. But how do you find such a book when everything is listed in standard preexisting categories?
  2. Many writers are naturally creative, and wish to extend that creativity toward writing a totally different kind of book. But when you proceed to publish your book, how will readers discover it? When you need to select categories, e.g. at Amazon, the option just isn’t there.

Amazon really missed out on a golden opportunity here. Why didn’t they think of creating a Cool & New category, and making such a category visible? It would have been great for both readers and authors. (It’s not too late. Feel free to send in a suggestion. Seriously, the more similar suggestions a business receives, the more apt they are to…

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Sins of the Past – Meet Sugar Weasel Wrangler Don Miskel

DeadAssets

 Tell us a little bit about yourself, Don.

Well, Debbie, I am a wrangler of sugar weasels and a writer of tall tales. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Actually, the former is a running joke and the latter is a lot closer to the truth! Add to that, I am obviously a joker.

On a more serious note, I like writing horror, though I am not stuck to any single genre. When I was a kid, my father used to watch a show called Creature Feature, which played classic horror movies. As it came on, Henry Mancini’s creepy, electric-guitar-driven theme from Experiment in Terror played. Though the images of Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, and Boris Karloff were scary enough, the music alone was enough to make me want to jump out of my skin with fright. My father thought this was funny.

In my teenage years, I became fascinated with the same types of monster flicks, which played on The Son of Svengoolie television program (I grew up in Chicago) every Saturday afternoon. I guess I was more like my dear old dad than I thought.

As an adult, I took to writing like a fish to water. Up until my mid-twenties, I’d done more drawing than writing. I decided to change filling my sketchbooks to transcribing the short stories I’d handwritten in dozens of spiral notebooks. That was the beginning (though my mother says I was trying to manipulate language to tell stories before most babies could even speak, so I guess I was born to this!) of me getting serious about writing.

Once, I wrote a story that featured a very surprising and disturbing twist ending. The folks who’d read it were in awe. I got more questions about how I’d come up with that tale than any other I’d penned up to that point. The horror bug had bitten and the rest, as they say, is history.

Who are your favorite authors?

Though I think I’ve read more Stephen King than any other novelist, I also love Elmore Leonard and Walter Mosley’s crime fiction offerings. I also love Octavia Butler’s take on sci fi. However, it is the drive, determination and great storytelling by my fellow scribblers in the Fiction Writers, Scribbling Siblings, and Authorpreneur’s Corner groups that keep me inspired and let me know I’m not completely crazy. I have much respect for established authors, but the independent ones deserve special recognition.

Tell us a bit about your Sins of the Past story, Blood Tribe.

Gladly. There is imagined horror and real horror. I took the realistic monsters of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and added a creature of my own. Nameless and vengeful, she metes out some much-needed justice.

As a kid, I remember seeing the Roots miniseries and was mentally blown out the water. How human beings could kidnap, enslave, and dominate other humans was beyond me. As I considered writing, I wondered what would happen if the slavers never got the chance to leave the harbor in one piece. After that, the story just wrote itself.

If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?

In a romantic sense, I’d like to travel back to the times of the Malian Empire, the glory of Timbuktu, and witness the marvel of the Great Pyramid right after the beaten gold had been applied to its capstone. I’ve been to Rome in modern times and would be interested in spending a few days in the Eternal City in its heyday. I’d check out Greece, Babylon, and the Olmecs in Central America. I’d spend a few days in each place, so I could have some questions answered. When my time machine was done with seeing the ancient world, I’d probably just go back to the ‘70s and ‘80s, when I was a kid and play that on a continuous loop. I had a happy childhood, for the most part. But there were even some real monsters to be found there…

Tell us a bit about your novel, Dead Assets.

Ah, good ol’ Assets. I wrote the original, eponymous story while on holiday break from a crazy college class schedule. When I showed the story to my wife (who is NOT into horror at all), she challenged me to expand the entire thing into a full-fledged novel. I decided to create a book that told several stories of an introduction of zombies to a metropolitan area. Turns out, the city still finds a way to function under quarantine, though the undead are not the worst monsters on the block…

I released my book quickly—maybe a bit too quickly. When I reread it, I found that it needed editing (Note to Independent Authors: GET YOUR WORK PROFESSIONALLY EDITED IF YOU WANNA BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY!!!).

A few months later, I was nearly jumped at a function where a certain former classmate stalked me, demanding to know when a sequel was going to be produced. She was one of the first to purchase a copy and give a review, not long after it debuted. I pay homage by immortalizing Rhonda when I released the expanded second edition; she is the basis of the main character in a wraparound story I added to the mix during the next go-round.

When I entered my book into Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, I was surprised that it made it through the first round of eliminations and began hoping I would win the grand prize. When it didn’t make the next cut, I was almost devastated. My darling wife, ever bluntly supportive, asked if I thought it would really be that easy. She told me to pick up my bottom lip, learn the lesson, and continue forward motion. I haven’t looked back since.

Oh, and the rather handsome, though blood-splattered ghoul on the second edition cover is none other than Yours Truly!

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading a wonderful independent novel called Anchors No More by David Edward Wagner. There are two problems with that: (1) I am, by nature, a slow reader; (2) I have so much other stuff going on in my little world that it’s hard to find time to read in the first place. Crazy, right? Anyway, his sci fi novel is about two time travelers who take a leap with some rather interesting and potentially deadly results. Good stuff and I suggest that everyone check it out! Next up will be Fatima Stephens’ Doppelganger. I have a serious backlog going on…

Are you planning to write a story for Sins of the Future? Any hints about your story?

I am going to contribute to Sins of the Future, though I am not sure what I will cook up for it yet. I promise you it will be good, though!

What do you like to do to relax?

I rarely have time to relax. I think it’s unfair that I am forced to sleep each night. That’s four or five hours (because I never sleep long—a holdout from my past military career) I could be doing something else. I am a family man, so I spend much of my spare time in direct support of that. I occasionally get to do something fun, like play a video game or watch a really interesting TV series. Currently, The Walking Dead and Empire have my undivided attention, whenever I can sit still long enough.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently compiling several of my horror stories to release in an anthology of my own. I have several other projects in development, including a detective series and two YA storylines. Also, if I can ever finish it, I also have a sci fi novel I’m coauthoring. All this while on the verge of pursuing higher education, setting a new career path, and possibly relocating. As I said, not enough time to get it all done.

DonMiskel

How can readers connect with you?

Even with my busy schedule, I check my Facebook account throughout the week. I am ALWAYS eager to hear from my readers, as I wouldn’t be a storyteller without an audience! To find out what crazy little story ideas I come up with, check out my blog (www.donmiskel.wordpress.com). That’s where many potential projects of mine will get their start. Fans should feel free to share their thoughts and opinions. As I said, I love hearing from my readers!

Want to read a little Blood Tribe? Sure you do!

I was perched atop my favorite palm tree, basking in the glow of a bright moon, sampling the different scents on the salty coastal breeze.  What came to me nearly singed my nose hairs with a sharp, long-forgotten stench.  The tribal members in my village were too caught up in their activities which focused on sitting around a fire and listening raptly to the griot’s tale.  The children guffawed and hung onto every word that filtered through his cola-nut-stained teeth as he spun tales of the trickster spider god, Anansi, and of creatures like me…

But I’m getting too far ahead too quickly.

It is true that I am not quite human, but you’ll learn more about that as I unravel the tale.  Where was I?  Oh yes, the smell that hung in the air…  The villagers were more concerned with libations brought in calabashes by beautiful dark ladies whose breasts hung free.  The men stood around in the background, also bare-chested, sharing rumors and tales of their own.  Nobody else had picked up on that smell.

My senses are keener than those of humans.  Not to say that I am not human at all.  I am just something…more.

Want to read more? Pick up your copy of Sins of the Past today!

Sins Of The Past