Ginger Nuts of Horror
Today's installment of % Minutes With... features Trent Zelazny. Trent is an American author of crime and horror fiction. His work includes To Sleep Gently, Fractal Despondency,Shadowboxer, the short story collection The Day the Leash Gave Way and Other Stories, the novel Destination Unknown, and A Crack in Melancholy Time. His short story "The House of Happy Mayhem" received an honorable mention in Best Horror of the Year 2009. His novella Butterfly Potion will soon be released by Nightscape Press
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m living here again. I’m a suicide survivor, surviving my own attempt after my fiancé successfully took her own life in 2010. I was a serious alcoholic for quite a while, been sober a little over two and a half years now, with no plans to return to that life. I’ve written several books, a surprising amount of short fiction when I look back at the list, a couple of short plays and some screenplay work. I have a deep love of NBA basketball, a love which can’t be explained simply, but it runs deeper than the mere love of the game. I have a sixteen-year-old son named Corwin, who totally rocks.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I know we do need—to some extent—to label fiction, but I’ve never been super comfortable with any of them. Maybe because, while I’m close, I still haven’t been placed into a specific category. But if I had to pick one of ones mentioned, I’d go with Dark Fiction. It can encompass the other two or neither of them. It simply feels broader to me.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
So many. I’m gonna go with the folks that come immediately to mind. Joe Lansdale, David Goodis, Jonathan Craig, Dean Koontz, Cornell Woolrich, Robert Bloch, Donald Westlake and Lawrence Block. Those are the guys, I think, for the most part, who really helped shape my writing, for better or worse.
What are you reading now?
A few things. I just started Balance by Peter Giglio. I love Pete, both as a writer and a person, so I know I’m in for a good time with it. Also reading Criss-Cross by Don Tracy, from 1934, which they made into the cool Noir film with Burt Lancaster and Yvonne De Carlo. Also reading the Bayou Trilogy by Daniel Woodrell.
Which book do you wish you had written?
For the most part, I’m happy with what I have written, even if I’m not especially fond of some of them. I’m sure there are times when I read something and think that thought, “Man! I wish I wrote that!” But if I’d written it, I wouldn’t get that same reaction that evokes so much in my mind and heart (or at least it would be in a different way). Back in high school, I, like so many other kids, played music. One kid I jammed with opened me up creatively one day while we were driving around and I had Paul McCartney on the stereo. I said, “I wanna cover this song,” or something to that effect. My friend said something like, “Why cover it? Just let it influence you, maybe write something with a similar feel.” I love that, though sometimes I let myself be too influenced, I think.
If you could use any other author’s creation in your own work, who or what would you use?
Though I’ve never been there, I would probably want to use Philadelphia in the 1940s or 50s, where most of David Goodis’ books took place. It conjures a dark but pleasant magic in my mind.
Describe typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m pretty loose about it, though I work every day, for the most part. I write better in the early morning. If I get a good start early in the morning, sometimes I don’t realize I’ve skipped breakfast lunch and dinner. I used to bounce a tennis ball, but that seems to have kind of stopped. I keep myself surrounded by books of all kinds. Turning my head just a little to the right, I see a stack of books that include my father, Kierkegaard, Leigh M. Lane, Louis L’Amour, Cornell Woolrich and Sylvia Plath. I also usually need a lot of coffee.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
It’s always the work in progress, but out of my catalogue that’s available, I think I might, overall, go with Butterfly Potion. I like it because writing that one in particular really helped bring hope back into my life—something I’d been lacking for a couple of years.
What is the hardest lesson you have learned with regards to your writing?
I’m not my father, nor do I much write like him.
What do you like to do to relax?
Watch NBA basketball. On occasion try to play basketball. I love movies and certain Television shows. And of course, I love to read.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
The last book I wrote is called Too Late to Call Texas, a book heavily influenced by crime, westerns, and existential philosophy. I think it’s pretty damn entertaining. If you want action and so forth, I think it’s there; if you want it to speak to you on a deeper level, I think (or at least hope) that that’s there too.
Then I’m currently working on two novels simultaneously, one with no title but I’m really having fun with, and another tentatively called Voiceless, which I think includes some of the best prose I’ve ever written. Hopefully I’ll get those done before too long.
It's been a while since I conducted a in depth interview, not sure why I fell of the horse, however it's been good getting back into the swing of things. So it gives me great pleasure to have Rena Mason over a chat. Rena Mason graduated from college with a SUNY nursing license, started her career in oncology, did some home healthcare work for Visiting Nurses, and then went on to work in the operating room for over twelve years in Denver, Colorado.
A longtime fan of horror, sci-fi, science, history, historical fiction, mysteries, and thrillers, she began writing to mash up those genres.
She is a member of the Horror Writer's Association, Pacific Northwest Writer's Association, and International Thriller Writers. She writes a column for the HWA Monthly Newsletter, "Recently Born of Horrific Minds" and writes occasional articles. She is also a volunteer for the Bram Stoker Awards® awards committee.
An avid SCUBA diver since 1988, she has traveled the world and enjoys incorporating the experiences into her stories.
Hello folks, and welcome to the second of what I hope will be a regular feature of this blog, the Publisher Spotlight. The aim of this feature is to spotlight the work of some of the best Small Press publishers working in the genre today. Today Peter Coleborn's Alchemy Press is under the spotlight.
The history of The Alchemy Press comes in two parts. Part the first:
I had long been associated with the British Fantasy Society (secretary, treasurer, chair, convention organiser, editor) and by the late 1990s I decided it was time to branch out a little, do something outside the society. The BFS had taken up so much of my “fantasy time” that I needed to do something for myself. Thus, with the aid of a National Lottery grant (see, your pounds do – or did – go to some good causes) I created The Alchemy Press. I wanted to take things slowly at first so I persuaded Mike Chinn to supply a handful of Damian Paladin short stories – and The Paladin Mandates was launched in 1998. Bob Covington supplied both the cover and interior artwork – I have some of it hanging on my walls as I type. The Paladin Mandates was described as having “generous dollops of The Scorpion, The Shadow and Dominic Fortune ... old airplanes ... [and] a taste for '30s detective fiction.” And a decade or more later, Mike Chinn’s taste for pulp noir resurfaced with The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes.
The main aim of my blog has always been one of lending support to the Small and Independent Presses. With the rise in recent times of Amazon it has become an ever increasing task to find the real gems of the genre.
From what I have read so far Anachron Press, is one of those gems, and it is a great honour and a pleasure to offer Colin F. Barnes a chance to talk about why he set up his press, it's aims and where he hopes to take it.
Award-winning author and graduate of Northwestern University, ROBERT W. WALKER created his highly acclaimed INSTINCT and EDGE SERIES between 1982 and 2005. Rob since then has penned his award-winning historical series featuring Inspector Alastair Ransom with CITY FOR RANSOM (2006), SHADOWS IN THE WHITE CITY (2007), and CITY OF THE ABSENT (2008), and most recently placed Ransom on board the Titanic in a hyrid historical/science fiction epic entitled Titanic 2012 – Curse of RMS Titanic.
The original Ransom trilogy straddles the Chicago World’s Fair circa 1893, and has had enthusiastic reviews from Chicago historians and the Chicago Tribune, which likened “the witticism to Mark Twain, the social consciousness to Dickens, and the ghoulish atmosphere to Poe!”
Rob has since published DEAD ON, a PI’s tale of revenge as a reason to live—a noir set in modern day Atlanta, followed more recently by Bismarck 2013, an historical horror title, The Edge of Instinct, the 12th Instinct Series, and a short story collection entitled Party of Eight – the one that got away.
It is always a very happy day when Mark West pops over for a chat. Mark is one of my favourite authors, he has a rare talent for filling his stories with a heart and soul that resonates beyond the confines of the page. Mark has also just seen the publication of his first multiauthor anthology. Details of which can be found by clicking the links at the bottom of this interview.
Today’s victim is Tonia Brown. Tonia Brown is an author with a penchant for Victorian dead things. She has been writing since 2007, and has several novels as well as short stories published in a variety of markets. She lives in NC with her husband of many years. She likes coffee and fudgesicles, though not always together.
Today’s victim is John Claude Smith. He is a writer of novels and short speculative fiction in all variations of darkness, from weird to horror to magic realism and more.
Blaze McRob has penned many titles under different names. It is time for him to come out and play as Blaze.
In addition to inclusions in numerous anthologies, he has written many novels, short stories, flash fiction pieces, and even poetry. Most of his offerings are Dark. However dark they might be, there is always an underlying message contained within.
It seems like an age since I last did one of these Five Minutes With Interviews, so today I am proud to have John McCuaig over for a wee chat.
John is a huge zombie and horror fan.He has short stories published in around twenty anthologies and four novels, one a collab with Sean Page.