Debbie’s Year of Reading, 2017

Hey folks, it’s that time again when I do a special shout-out of my favorite books I’ve read this year. This has definitely been the year of the indie – the first time when most of the books on this list are from indie authors.

So in no particular order, here are my faves (the six books I gave 5 star reviews to on Goodreads). I’m particular happy with this list as it covers a number of different genres and each one of these had a “wow” factor for me. In the comments I’d love to hear what your favorite reads were this year.

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Adored this book my Australian writer, Mirren Hogan. The story which follows the tale of the Night Witches, a group of Russian women who flew fighter planes during World War II is the type of story that should be on every school curriculum.

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Can we say awesome? I loved L. Woodswalker’s first book, Tesla’s Signal, and this second one was just as immersive and fun to read. Check out my review of Tesla’s Frequency here and pick up a copy.

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And now for something a little different. Not-Ready-For-Juillard Players is a literary mystery (sort of) set in a music school. It’s compelling with characters that draw you to them. I met Eileen in my local NaNoWriMo group and feel sad that I didn’t read her beautiful book earlier. I hope she writes more as I adored her writing.

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This one was oodles of fun! So Not a Hero is not your ordinary super-hero story. It’s fast paced with a awesome bad-ass woman as the lead character. Looking forward to reading book 2 that’s on my ever-growing reading list.

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Like cool urban fantasy with a kick-ass female protagonist. This is the one! I read the first two of E.A.Copen’s Judah Black novels this year and the rest are on my extremely long TBR list. Start with Guilty by Association and continue with Blood Debt.

So here we have it – my five star recommendations – BUT there are a bunch of other cool books I read this year, all of which I enjoyed. Check out my year of reading on Goodreads.

 

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Sins of the Past – Misha Burnett

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m nearly 52 years old, divorced with three grown children, and I work in the maintenance department of a small university.  I have been writing and self-publishing for about four years, and have four novels published, a series collectively called The Book Of Lost Doors.

Who are your favorite authors?

Mostly New Wave Science Fiction.  Tim Powers, Phillip Dick, George Alec Effinger, Samuel Delany, Thomas Disch, William Burroughs.  I am also a huge fan of G K Chesterton, and have a weakness for Romantic poets.

Tell us a bit about your story, We Pass From View

I love the schlock drive-in cinema of the 1960s and 1970s and wanted to write about a film crew making a low budget horror movie.  I am also fascinated by the Lovecraftian concept of books that are so horrible that they drive you insane if you read them.  “We Pass From View” combines those two ideas.  I also sneaked in a few references to my main series, but you don’t need to catch them to enjoy the story.

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

Honestly, I don’t think I would—I kind of like it right now.  I think sometimes about being able to travel back and talk to myself in, say, 1973, and explain a lot of the facts of life to the younger me, give some stern warnings and some advice, but knowing who I was then I wouldn’t have listened anyway.

What attracts you to writing horror?

The freedom.  Horror is supposed to be socially unacceptable. When readers pick up a horror story, they know that are going to be shocked, frightened, disconcerted, and maybe even grossed out.  That’s what they are there for. I get to make people really uncomfortable and get paid for it?  What’s not to love?

Tell us a little about your series, The Book of Lost Doors.

Recently I came across the phrase “slipstream fiction”, which seems to fit my work better than any conventional genre designation.  I use elements from science fiction, fantasy, horror, and psychological fiction.  It’s set in a world that looks like ours on the surface, but has a lot of odd little corners and hidden passageways where strange things from strange other places lurk. My main character, James, has an alien intelligence called Catskinner in his head and the two of them encounter a lot of other people with alien things about them.

Are you planning to write a story for Sins of the Future?

I’ve written it and sent it off.  Fingers crossed.

Any hints about your story?

It’s actually quite a departure from my usual style.  I tend to avoid moralizing in fiction—I go with the credo that if you want to send a message, call Western Union.  However, in this one case I am very troubled by a particular trend in technology and I set out to write a story specifically to point out some problems that no one else seems to be thinking about.  I think the story works but it’s very much a cautionary tale and that’s new territory for me.  I’d like to think that it would fit in Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions.

What do you like to do to relax?

Movies, television, and wine, mostly.  I’m very plebeian.

What are you currently working on?

I’m taking a bit of a vacation from writing, although I am noodling around ideas for the next novel in my series, World Edgewise. Right now my day job is very demanding—the students will be returning to campus in just a couple of weeks—and I am making preparations for Archon, a local science fiction convention that I’ll be attending in the fall.

How can readers connect with you?

My blog on WordPress is the easist—it has links to everything else and a page for sending me e-mail.  I do love hearing from readers and I try to reply to any mail I get.

http://mishaburnett.wordpress.com/

Ready to read a little from We Pass From View?

Josef Naamaire directed 47 films, beginning with The Congo Gunman in 1955 and ending with Mission: Asteroid in 1974.  All of his films were made for B-movie mill Spectacular Studios, mostly produced by Hymie Greenbaum. While several of his movies—notably Hellcats In High Heels (1964), and The Room Without A Door (1966)—enjoyed  a brief cult status for what were, for the time, shockingly explicit scenes of lesbianism, Naamaire is best known for a film that, it is said, no living person has ever seen.

We Pass From View was filmed in July and August of 1963, with principal photography on location in what is now Wildwood Canyon Park, outside of Burbank, CA.  The script was based on the book of the same name, written by a young man named Michael Chase, who would go on to found the cult, Clear Vision World.  Chase and his followers—including four children—were brutally murdered on April 23, 1982, by persons unknown.

How Chase’s book became the basis of a Spectacular film is an interesting story in itself.  In 1961 Robert Sterling, at the time the chairman of the studio’s board of directors, made arrangements to purchase the film rights for the entire catalog of the paperback original publisher Cupid’s Bow Press.  As a condition of the purchase, Spectacular was required to film We Pass From View.  It is believed that this unusual clause was made a condition of the deal by Cupid’s Bow publisher, Sabrina Erikovitch, who went on to join Michael Chase’s organization, and eventually to die with him.

Since Cupid’s Bow owned the rights to the popular Code Name: Hangman spy thriller series, Sterling agreed to the terms, and gave studio staff writer, Robin Wilde, the task of converting Chase’s book into a screenplay. (Spectacular went on to film six Code Name:Hangman movies, which were among the studio’s most lucrative films.)

No known copies of Michael Chase’s original book exist.  By all accounts it did not sell—only one edition was printed and the majority of it was likely sent back to be pulped.  Robin Wilde, in a letter to his longtime companion, actress Ellie Vance, called it, “this unreadable pile of shit.”

Even the Cupid’s Bow catalog entry is uncharacteristically terse. We Pass From View appears in only one edition, Fall, 1960.  The entry reads: “A fascinating look at the myths and realities surrounding death and dying, by professor of philosophy, Dr. Michael Chase.”  Michael Chase, it should be noted, often claimed a doctorate, sometimes in physics, sometimes in philosophy, however there are no records of him completing an advanced degree at any of the schools that he claimed to have attended.

Faced with the daunting task of transforming a “look at the myths and realities surrounding death and dying”, fascinating or otherwise, into a screenplay suitable for the drive-in movie market, Wilde chose to pen a tale of a group of college students who go camping in the woods and die from mysterious causes, one by one. (It will be remembered that Wilde is also responsible for the screenplay of Spectacular’s “adaptation” of Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil that contained, among other things, vegetable creatures from Venus who had come to Earth to harvest human males’ “vital fluids”.)

Since neither the book nor the screenplay is available for comparison, the question of how faithful the latter is to the former must remain unanswered.  Given what we do know of both works, however, the probable answer is “not very.”

There is, however, one section of the screenplay that seems to have been lifted directly from Chase’s book.  Shortly before her death from bone cancer in 1987, Bette Blowe, (born Elizabeth Tucker) the lead actress in We Pass From View and Josef Naamaire’s wife was interviewed in Playboy magazine.  While most of the article is concerned with her claims that she carried on numerous homosexual affairs with various female celebrities, towards the end of the interview she was asked about We Pass From View and the film’s alleged effect on the test audiences.  Her reply follows:

“It was that fucking Appendix B. They made me read the whole thing aloud. Robin refused to transcribe it—he just told me to read it out of the book. He said Bob [Sterling] told him that had to be in the movie.  That’s the part that made everybody go apeshit. It was bad.  I don’t remember what it said—I don’t remember reading it at all. It was like I was in a trance.  But I know it was some serious bad shit.  Joe didn’t let anybody watch the dailies of that scene, he just shipped it straight off.”

It was a very small crew who traveled to the campsite north of Burbank to film We Pass From View. Most accounts report that Naamaire operated the cameras himself (he had begun his film career as a camera operator, and frequently chose to run the cameras, both to keep costs low and to control the specifics of his shots.)  The sound technician was one Greg Donnely, who committed suicide in May of 1970.  It is likely, although employment records are unclear, that Alice Monroe served as assistant director on the film.  She worked with Naamaire on many of his other films, and at least one account of the location shooting refers to “Alice” setting marks during the shoot.  Alice Monroe died in September of 1968, also a suicide. Although there were almost certainly other crew members, no one else associated with the location shooting has been identified.

The cast was also small.  In addition to Bette Blowe (first billed on the released material), Ellie Vance (billed as Esther Vance for contractual reasons), Eve Eden, Neville Brook, and Hank Renck comprised the company. Bette Blowe’s sole published remarks regarding the film are referenced above.  Neville Brook is on record threatening the life of a reporter who asked him about the film.  None of the other cast members are believed to have commented about the film in print at all.

Eve Eden vanished without a trace in late 1965.  She had reportedly incurred very large debts to Las Vegas casinos, and it is believed that she either vanished to avoid her creditors or was murdered by them and her body hidden.  Rumors have circulated regarding her reappearance since then, but none have been confirmed.

All of the other cast members are now dead.

Ellie Vance was murdered in February of 1972 by Robin Wilde, who then killed himself.

Hank Renck died of complications from syphilis in November of 1975.

Neville Brook was found in a hotel room in Tijuana, in June of 1980, shot in the head.  The case is still unsolved.

At the time that the following interview was conducted, January 17th, 2014, Josef Naamaire was the only living person who could be reliably placed at the campsite north of Burbank during the filming of We Pass From View. He was 83 years old, and had recently been diagnosed with latestage pancreatic cancer. He would die within the month, on February 12th.

The interview was conducted by Aaron Tellman, a graduate student in film history at UCLA. Naamaire was residing at the time in a managed care facility in Anaheim, CA.  Tellman contacted the notoriously reclusive Naamaire without much hope that permission for an interview would be granted. The director agreed to talk, however.  It is likely that news of his impending death induced him to tell his story.

The transcript that follows is unedited …

To read this exclusive interview pick up a copy of Sins of the Past today!

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And don’t forget to check out the book of lost doors series – on sale today in honor of Misha’s bithday for just 99 cents a piece – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Sins of the Past – Traitor Coward Betrayer by Joseph Lofthouse

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Since Elijah left, Mary’s life had fallen into routine. She woke with the dawn and before she dressed or ate she reached for one of his letters. They told of the crackpot general who all the men loved and how he would suck on lemons to sustain his fortitude. Others were about the men Elijah had met from all over the confederacy and their odd habits. Men with strange nicknames like Stinks, Hoarder, and Saint Augustus.
As the years went by the letters became less frequent, and when they did come, they were powerfully somber. After reading one of his letters she would dress and eat a small breakfast of hard bread and fresh milk. Then she tended the goats, feeding them and keeping their fences mended before moving on to the garden. Her body had grown lean and sturdy from the constant work, but her face remained round and specked with a few hidden freckles of girlhood. She kept her wild black hair tightly bound and refused to let it become a nuisance. When it came time to harvest the small share of crops she would pay some of the local boys to help; boys who were either too young or infirm to be taken up in the confederate cause. As the day closed she would sit on the slim porch out front of the cabin and work at her needles.
Once she daydreamed that Elijah returned home, but could not see or hear anything. He wandered about the property, distraught, looking for her fruitlessly while she followed behind calling his name in desperation. Eventually he became exhausted, slumped to the ground, and slept. When such visions plagued her, Mary would sit gasping for breath as if wounded by some invisible dagger.
She woke in a dark mood. A dream filled with fire and the screams of men had haunted her sleep. On the bedside table sat the last letter she had received, stacked above all the others. It was now over a year old and she could recite its contents from memory, but even so, she carefully unfolded it and read it again. The sadness in the letter always weighed heavily upon her, but it was the last piece of him she had.
I have survived the battle at Gettysburg, though I cannot say the same for so many of my companions. We have all lost something here much greater than this battle, or even this war. I am afraid whatever it is, we shall never reclaim it as long as we live. We march ceaselessly towards home and safety, and move as if we are on our last legs. We meander, as an army of living ghosts. It takes all I can muster to write these few words and I apologize for my brevity. Mary, my dear, I promise you I shall come home, and that I will make up for every day we have lost. Always, you are in my heart.
Elijah Stone.
She neatly replaced the letter on the bed stand, and rose to begin the day’s work

Want to read more pick up a copy of Sins ot the Past today!

Sins Of The Past

Joseph Lofthouse is a cubicle dweller in the Washington, D.C. Area who moonlights as a writer

Sins of the Past – Introducing Kristin Roahrig

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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

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  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.

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Sins of the Past – Meet Sugar Weasel Wrangler Don Miskel

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 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.

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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

Sins of the Past – Introducing Sunila Vig

Sunila

Today on Paws 4 Thought we begin a special series of interviews with the authors of the historical horror anthology, Sins of the Past. Our first author is Sunila Vig. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Sunila.

I am from India and deeply connected to my land, its history, colours, food, culture and chaos. Today I live in Australia and enjoy the nature, calm and all that it has to offer. I teach yoga, write and sing amidst other things and try to stay open to the experiences and people that come to me.

Who are your favorite authors?

Hard to put them all down here, but a few are Tolstoy, Hardy, Shakespeare, Gorki, J. Krishnamurthy, Donna Farhi, Amitabh Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri and P.G. Wodehouse.

Tell us a bit about your story VishKanya (The Poison Maiden)?

It is about a young woman who is accursed to be a poison maiden and used by her masters as a tool to decimate their rivals. She falls in love and yet can only love from afar.

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

I would travel back in India to Buddha’s time, a few centuries before Christ.

What attracts you to writing horror?

I enjoy writing horror only when I can intersperse it with other elements like love-suspense-mystery, so that the end result is not gory but humane.

What are you currently reading?

Life. I just moved back to Australia and I’m in the throes of a variety of activity.

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

Yes, I certainly am going to write a story for Sins of the Future. It will be unique. That is all I can say at this point.

What do you like to do to relax?

Play with my little one, teach a Yoga class, watch TV, read, write, walk, meet like-minded people, indulge in any art form….

What are you currently working on?

On sprucing up a novella I’ve written.

Read a little from Sunila’s story, VishKanya (The Poison Maiden) here:

She ran her chocolate brown fingers through his hair. In an hour his body would turn blue and stiff, her poison washing through his every cell.

Two hours back the body had a name – a handsome nobleman she’d enticed in his own chambers in the dead of night. It had been easy, too easy, and now he lay on his carved bed, oblivious to life.

She looked bored. This was number hundred-and-two. She kept count by chopping off the little toe from each victim. She wasn’t finicky like that. A string angled from one of the rafters in her attic holding one hundred and one shriveled toes, embalmed with herbs to ward off the stench.

Vishkanya was her name. Actually it was the name of every poison maiden. She wrinkled her long nose, how about a special name just for me? But when she voiced her thoughts she received a rap on the head and was told crisply that she talked too much. The purpose of her life was to be efficient and lethal.

Connect with Sunila

Via email sunila108@yahoo.com

Twitter @whitefielder

Facebook page

Pick up your copy of Sins of the Past today!

Sins Of The Past

Also available in Amazon UK, Amazon India, and Amazon Australia.