Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An interview with Steven Donahue

Today the polite wordsmith Steven Donahue is put under the grill light. Enjoy!

Click here to visit the author's amazon page

JJ: When did you start writing?
SD: In high school I started writing a book about an NFL quarterback who was ambidextrous. I thought that ability would give a quarterback an edge. However, the story never fully came together.

JJ: What was the first story you remember writing?
SD: In seventh grade, I wrote a short story about a hero battling an evil warlord. I based the villain on my Social Studies teacher and handed it in as an assignment. The teacher wasn’t amused.

JJ: What genre is your most preferred?
SD: Science fiction.

JJ: What challenges you the most in your writing?
SD: Finding the time and the quiet place to write.

JJ: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
SD: The immense satisfaction I feel when I finish writing a new book.

JJ: What do you like least about being an author?
SD: The intense marketing efforts required by today’s writers. Unless you are signed by a major publisher, most of the marketing is left up to you.  

JJ: How many books do you currently have available?
SD: Four:

Amanda Rio

Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom

The Manila Strangler

Comet and Cupid’s Christmas Adventure


JJ: What projects are you currently working on?
SD: A historical novel about the Holocaust. 

JJ: Which book, or series, is your favorite?
SD: The Catcher in the Rye. I know that sounds clich├ęd, but it is a phenomenal book. Sadly, I think it’s the only good book Salinger ever wrote.

JJ: Who are some of your favorite authors?
SD: Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Earnest Hemmingway, Arthur C. Clarke. Matt Christopher was my first favorite. His sports books made me want to become a writer.  

JJ: Which book(s) inspire you the most?
SD: I love short stories, especially those by Bradbury, Asimov and Hemmingway. They are like mini masterpieces.

JJ: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what band(s) do you play?
SD: I write best in a silent room, which is very difficult to do in a small apartment with my wife, our two dogs and our cat.


JJ: Tell us some more about yourself including your website and where we can find you on social media sites:

SD: I was a copywriter for TV Guide magazine for 14 years. My first novel, Amanda Rio, was published in 2004. It has received critical acclaim from reviewers for Amazon.com and thebestreviews.com. I currently reside in Bucks County, PA with my wife, Dawn. I love football, and I am a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan.

Below are links to my social media sites.

JJ: Care to share a bit of one of your books with us?

SD: From Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom:

Amy Sutter tightened her grip on the yoke as she stared at the monitor on the console. Sixteen oval-shaped, purple objects dotted the screen. She took a deep breath, targeted one of the alien ships and fired her first missile. The enemy craft exploded and created a fireball that destroyed the ship beside it. Amy smiled and wiped some sweat from her forehead. The other ships began firing missiles at her as she turned the Liberty Bell to the right and dove hard toward the surface of the planet below. A proximity alarm sounded behind her as the missiles flew over the top of her ship. Amy then pulled back hard on the yoke and lined up her next shot.
She waited until the enemy fleet got closer before she fired the laser cannons mounted on the outside of her 150-foot long spacecraft. She obliterated two more vessels before the Liberty Bell took a direct hit of laserfire on the portside wing. The shielding held but the concussion of the blow caused Amy to smack her head against the console. Thankful she was wearing a helmet, Amy shook off the momentary dizziness and tried to line up another shot. Before she could, three more laser blasts wiped out her cannons. Two more blasts caused another alarm to blare. Amy looked at the console and saw that her life support systems were failing. However, her engines were still online. She sent out a distress call as the enemy ships started to surround her. She then steered the ship away from the fleet and initiated the Sprint Drive system. The Liberty Bell bolted through a gap in the enemy’s formation and the crafts disappeared from the ship’s radar as they fell far behind the spaceship.
Amy let out a sigh and quickly searched the digital maps for a suitable planet to land on. Before she could find one, the Liberty Bell began to violently shake. The temperature inside the cabin shot up. Before she should shut down the Sprint Drive, Amy heard a loud explosion behind her. Then all of her instruments stopped working and the cabin grew dark.

The exasperated pilot unbuckled her safety belt and flipped a switch on a side panel. The door over her head opened and the twelve-year-old girl climbed out of the simulator and down a ladder to the concrete floor. She took off her helmet and looked at her reflection in a small window on the simulator. She brushed back a lock of her dark brown hair and saw a welt forming over her right eye. Amy shook her head and smiled at her clumsiness. “Serves you right for sneaking in there,” said a voice behind her. Amy turned around and saw Lt. Yale Brown marching toward her. The officer had a clipboard in her hand and a relaxed look on her face.
Amy shrugged. “I got four of them this time,” she said. “Then the Sprint Drive exploded as I was getting away.” She handed the helmet to the lieutenant and walked with her toward the equipment storage room. Around them other pilots were training for various missions, while security officers stood guard at the building’s four entrances. Amy glanced at the busy soldiers and noticed their tense expressions.
“You can’t trust that engine,” said Yale. “They haven’t perfected it yet.” At 5’10”, the twenty-eight-year old woman towered over her young friend. Yale’s frame was lean and strong as a result of her military training and her short blonde hair fit neatly under her green cap. She wore a camouflage shirt and matching pants, standard issue for Union soldiers, and no makeup. Her light green eyes had a tendency to change colors in differently lighted rooms.
They reached the door to the storage room and Yale unlocked it by running a blue key card with a magnetic strip along a black keypad. Amy followed the lieutenant into the room and watched Yale tuck the helmet on a shelf next to other flight gear. Then she turned to face Amy. “Should I even bother asking how you got into the machine?” she asked. She put her hands on her hips and smiled.
Amy reached into her pocket and pulled out another blue key card with a magnetic strip. She waved it in front of Yale’s face. “Just got to have the right tools,” she said. Yale glared at her and yanked the card out of the girl’s hand. The lieutenant stuffed the card in her shirt pocket and pointed to storage room door. “I’m going, I’m going,” said Amy. The girl tiptoed past her friend and watched the lieutenant lock the door.
Yale chastised the guards on duty for letting Amy slip past them, before she handed another officer the clipboard. Then she escorted the girl out of the facility and they walked side-by-side toward the adolescent’s living quarters.
The crisp morning air was a delightful change from the normally arid atmosphere on Paldor, a small hot planet just outside the Milky Way. The Sutter family resided in building 400, in one of the more elegant homes in the 23 square-mile Pioneer Settlement.
A fighter jet flew overhead. Amy squinted at the tail markings for Earth’s Union Defense Fleet. She thought about their ongoing war against the Crownaxians, an alien species that no surviving human has ever seen. The highly intelligent warriors attacked a human settlement on the planet Blaros. More than 3 million people were killed in the attack and eight years later the human death toll had skyrocketed past 29 million, with no end in sight.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

My interview with Chasity Conley

Hey folks. Today I'm switching things up and interviewing a children's book author who I think is a wonderful person and I'm excited to say will be releasing her Ericka the Puppy series through Visionary Press (who have picked up my children's books as well as Bob the Zombie) also. Without further ado I present Chasity Conley.

Interview questions:

JJ: When did you start writing?
CC: I started writing when I was around 11 years old. 

JJ: What was the first story you remember writing?
CC: The first story I remember writing was called "Ella". It was about a young girl that lost her way home because she didn't listen.

JJ: What genre is your most preferred?
CC: The genre I prefer most is children's stories.

JJ: What challenges you the most in your writing?
CC: What challenges me the most is trying to decide on names for my characters.

JJ: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
CC: My favorite thing about being an author  is getting to create new characters and bringing them to life.

JJ: What do you like least about being an author?
CC: The least thing I like is not having enough time in the day to write.

JJ: How many books do you currently have available?
CC: I have written 3 children's books( Ericka The Puppy series)  and a poetry book.

JJ: What projects are you currently working on?
CC: I'm currently working on the next 2 books in the Ericka series.

JJ: Do you have any books coming out soon?
CC: I hope to have my books available soon.

JJ: Which book, or series, is your favorite?
CC: Harry Potter is my favorite book series.

JJ: Who are some of your favorite authors?
CC: Some of my favorite authors are J.K Rowling, JRR Tolkien, J.D Salinger and many more.

JJ: Which book(s) inspire you the most?
CC: The books that inspire me the most are the ones written to help children deal with life issues.

JJ: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what band(s) do you play?
CC: I don't listen to music when I write. I require silence in order to write.

JJ: Any hobbies?
CC: My hobbies are reading, writing, drawing, knitting, crocheting and skating.

JJ: Tell us some more about yourself including your website and where we can find you on social media sites:
CC: I grew up in a family of 4 brothers and 3 sisters. All 3 of my sisters write poetry. All of my brothers, except one, draw. I'm the only one that does both. I've always loved writing, but mostly just focused on poetry. I wrote the Ericka The Puppy series last year for my 2 year old daughter, who is biracial. I wanted her to be able to understand issues she is sure to have in the future. She enjoys the books a lot!

Monday, January 20, 2014

My interview with Timothy C Hobbs

Hey, folks. Today I get the pleasure of interviewing the very kind and talented Timothy C. Hobbs. Sit back and relax as you learn everything you wanted to know about him, or rather everything I wanted to know.

JJ: When did you start writing?

TCH: I started writing in the sixth grade after reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the first time.

JJ: What was the first story you remember writing?

TCH: After reading Dracula. I wrote a short story entitled The Vampire of England. The vampire’s name was Alucard, which is Dracula backwards. More imitative than original, but it started my love of writing.

JJ: What genre is your most preferred?

TCH: Horror and supernatural.

JJ: What challenges you the most in your writing?

TCH: Finishing the project. I have so many half or partial completed works it makes me crazy.

JJ: What is your favorite thing about being an author?

TCH: Bringing my characters to life and allowing them to meld with the landscapes I’ve thrown them in.

JJ: What do you like least about being an author?

TCH: Editing. Probably the most important aspect of writing, but the least enjoyable.

JJ: How many books do you currently have available?

TCH: I have four novels, Veils, The Pumpkin Seed, Music Box Sonata, and Maiden Fair, one novella, The Smell of Ginger, and one short story collection, Mothertrucker and Other Stories.

JJ: What projects are you currently working on?

TCH: I am editing a second collection of short stories, researching my next Once Upon a Time in Texas fairy tale reimagining, and working on a werewolf novel I started back in the late 1990’s.

JJ: Do you have any books coming out soon?

TCH: I have a collection of flash and short fiction, In the Blink of a Wicked Eye, due out this year from Sirens Call Publications, and a novel, Down in the Hollow There, to be published November 2014 by Angelic Knight Press.

JJ: Which book, or series, is your favorite?

TCH: My favorite horror novel is The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore.

JJ: Who are some of your favorite authors?

TCH: Guy Endore
Richard Matheson
Ray Bradbury
Charles Beaumont
Robert Bloch
Anne Rice
Bram Stoker
Robert Aikman
Ernest Hemingway
William Faulkner
W. Somerset Maugham
Vladimir Nabokov
Sherman Alexie
Thomas Hardy
Joseph Conrad

JJ: Which book(s) inspire you the most?

TCH: Dracula, Interview With the Vampire, The Werewolf of Paris, and The Modern Library’s Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural edited by Phyllis Cerf Wagner and Herbert Wise, originally published in 1944. The latter being what I consider the handbook for any budding or seasoned writer of horror and the supernatural.

JJ: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what band(s) do you play?

TCH: I sometimes listen to moody classical music, but most of the time I like silence around me.

JJ: Any hobbies?
TCH: Abstract and impressionistic painting. I also sing 50’s and 60’s rock and roll.

JJ: Tell us some more about yourself including your website and where we can find you on social media sites:

TCH: I don’t have a blog, but I am on Twitter, Visionary Press’ blog, and I have an author’s page at Amazon.com. My Twitter address is TimothyHobbs@TimothyHobbs8.

JJ: Care to share a bit of one of your books with us?

TCH: I’d love to. Here is an excerpt form my novel The Pumpkin Seed. The scene begins after Dr. Charles Russell has been bitten by his future vampire mentor Dr. Peter Lockley.

* * * *

I awoke to a strange bubbling noise. The pain in my head and
neck was excruciating. I was no longer restrained and could move my arms and legs. I stirred slowly as any attempt to reposition myself resulted in more pain.
I had been placed, ironically enough, in a blood donor chair.

Through nausea, I raised my head. Around me was a large laboratory. Lined against the walls were rows of aquarium tanks. It was the constant murmur of their water pumps I had heard before. The dim light in the room came from the bulbs inside the tanks. And there was something else in them.
I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. In the semidarkness, it appeared that each tank held two to three developing human embryos.

“Your eyes do not deceive you, Dr. Russell.” Lockley’s voice
came from the darkness. “What you see is very real.” He walked out of the shadows and stood in front of one of the tanks. “Don’t they look delicious?” he asked, tapping on the glass and pointing like a gourmet peering at a prospective lobster.

A strange urge rushed through me. For a dreadful instant, they did look luscious, so much so that I drooled.
My body shook and a flood of repulsion swept over me as I
realized I wanted to eat those things in the tanks. I tried to speak but my throat was sore and swollen. I touched it with my hand and felt a gash surrounded by puffy tissue from the bite. I managed to whisper, “What is happening to me?”

Lockley turned from the tank and smiled, the light from the
aquarium reflecting on his slightly prominent canines. He knew I had seen his teeth. “That’s right,” he said, his smile fading.

I tried to respond but a strong spasm seized my larynx. The agony of it was so intense I thought I would pass out again. I lay my head back and fought the spinning motion of vertigo.

“It would be better for you to remain silent,” Lockley said. “The
swelling in your throat is from the virus I introduced into your system. It is a cousin to the Rabies strain but not a killer. In fact, it is more of a resurrector.”

Virus? Rabies? What had this bastard done to me?
He approached and I made an attempt to turn my head away from him. He grabbed my face before I could, forcing me to look directly into his.

“You’ve been here for three days. That might be hard to believe, but it is a fact,” he said and released his hold. Too exhausted and ill to resist I could only gaze at him. He seemed pleased at my weakened state and actually patted my hand. “A captive audience,” he almost laughed. “How nice.”

Lockley moved to the tanks and stood with his back to me. He
clasped his hands in contemplation behind him. “I spared you for two reasons,” he said. “One is Maria. It’s not love in the sense you understand it, but you will learn soon enough what she desires. The other is something I sensed when I was drinking from you.” He turned and licked his lips. “By the way, your blood was exquisite. It has been ages since I have feasted on the blood of such a healthy young male as you, Dr.

His words made my body tingle with pain. I had the perverse
notion I wanted him to drink from me again. The sounds in the room became exaggerated. His voice and the bubbling tanks assaulted my eardrums. When I opened my eyes, the dim room light had turned into a blinding sun. All my sensations – smell, touch, hearing, sight, and taste - were exaggerated. I thrashed in the chair and my body shook violently.
Calm descended when I stopped breathing. My diaphragm would not move. My lungs screamed for air. I was dying.
I could feel what urine and feces remained in my body soil my
underwear. I sensed myself fading away with Lockley’s voice.
Then, oblivion swallowed me.

* * *

When I awoke, I was in my bed at home.
I felt wretched. Every muscle screamed with protest when I
moved. My mouth was dry and raw. My head hurt beyond reason.

The sun was just setting, and a purple twilight extended pastel
fingers through the partially opened bedroom blinds.
I had been stripped of my clothing. My body was hot and
clammy. I craved water to soothe the dryness in my throat. Gingerly, I got out of bed and made my way toward the bathroom. As I passed the dresser mirror, I gasped at the reflection confronting me. My hair had grown in length and was a mass of tangles. When I reached to touch it, I saw long fingernails that curled like animal claws. To avoid scratching my skin, I carefully parted the hair away from my face and was relieved to find my features haggard but unchanged. I thought it odd that I had no beard. With the abundance of hair on my head, I had expected to find a grisly face. The smoothness
made it appear as if I had just shaved.

I then did what anyone would reflexively do when looking in a mirror – I smiled. My upper canines were missing. What remained in their place were black gaping holes. I moved my tongue over and around the empty sockets and felt protrusions of new teeth working their way in.
The tips were sharp and rigid. The moment I touched them the gums around the developing teeth began to ache.

A parched throat, still mad for a drink of water, moved me away from the mirror toward the bathroom. I felt unusually light as I walked. Examining my body, I found the paunch around my waist had disappeared. Indeed, all the body muscles were tight against me like I possessed no residual fat.

Just as I was about to walk through the bathroom door, I slipped on something wet and sticky. A horrid stench made my stomach roll and my eyes water. To the side of the door was a silhouette of something on the floor. I flicked on the bathroom light to see through the falling gloom of evening. The decaying body of a large pig lay on the floor in front of me.

The animal’s body was ravaged with bite marks. Around the room were piles of dried feces and crystallized splotches of urine the pig had expelled trying to escape.
Fighting the odor, I moved closer for a better look at the carcass. I turned the head toward me and was met with a glassy condemning stare from the wide eyes. As I ran my fingers around the neck, I felt something stuck under the bloated skin and removed what looked like two thorny
objects. When I examined them closer, a feeling of despair and revulsion overwhelmed me.
They were not thorns.
They were my missing teeth.

I just made it to the toilet before vomiting a large mass of clotted blood. Dizziness struck me. I hugged the toilet afraid I would fly into space. As swiftly as it had arrived, the spinning sensation abated, and, like a dog, I consumed the blood I had vomited. It was a reflex action. No thought of the repulsive act occurred to me. My body needed nourishment and could not afford to have the undigested mass flushed away.

When I had finished, I scrambled back to the bedroom. The stink was no longer abhorrent. It was enticing and luxurious. I fell on the corpse and gorged myself. Rotten juices and tissue gas exploded into my searching mouth. My lips and chin were sticky with gore. I tore and ate until I lay swollen by the dead animal. Then, I slipped into a sated dreamless sleep.

JJ: I'd like to thank Timothy for answering these questions and giving us such a fantastic excerpt. I can't wait to read more. If you'd like to read more of his work you can click on either of the pictures to be taken to the Amazon page for them or you can view his Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

Crescendo of Darkness

Today I turn my blog over to the amazingly talented and seriously awesome folks at H...