A Haunting of Words to be published in July 2017!

Folks, A Haunting of Words, featuring my story Only the Dead Go Free, is now slated for a July 2017 release. Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available!

17580146_426927567699793_1261155030_n

It has also been announced that I will be one of seven authors featured on the front cover!

AHOW

Advertisements

Writer’s Spotlight Episode 5: M.R. Ward

For this fifth episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have M.R. Ward – another ‘A Journey of Words’ author and member of the Scribes’ Circle whom I have gotten to know recently. With his quick wit and pleasant demeanor, one might be surprised to learn he is quite the terrifying horror writer.

17274744_10154834881691226_1917253279_n

 Give us a short introduction to you.
I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, and will probably spend my entire life here, which I’m fine with since I’m really close to my family. I don’t have kids, but I love my two small nephews as if they were my own. I have three cats with my partner, but one day soon I hope to have another dog. They bring a special kind of love you can’t find anywhere else. 

How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
I first put pen to paper in 1990 when I was twelve and spent two years writing, but I didn’t have the proper skills at such a young age. I didn’t pick it up again until 2011 when I began a novel (The Carrier) I had been outlining and thinking about for years. I got about thirteen thousand words into it before I lost confidence. In 2015 I decided it was now or never and began writing a short story (“A Letter from Home”) for a competition in Glimmer Train magazine. I didn’t win, but it got me back in the game. I picked up The Carrier again and wrote more of that until I came across another short story competition in 2016, this one for Scout Media’s A Journey of Words. “The Open Road” became my first (and so far only) published piece. Since becoming published I have written two more shorts (“Tootsie” and “The Road Back”) and began a new novel called The Children of Halloween.

In what genre(s) do you write?
Horror, but have also dabbled in Paranormal Romance (“Tootsie”) and Sci-Fi (The Carrier).

Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
I outlined The Carrier so much that I never started writing the story because I didn’t know all of the details or ending, but finally just started writing it, and turns out it started completely different than I had anticipated. Since then I just let my stories grow as they wish.

Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
R.L. Stine and Stephen King. I read most of Stine’s Fear Street stories when I was a teenager, which were the types of stories I loved. I graduated to King naturally, and it was actually after reading Under the Dome that I began The Carrier.

Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I wrote poems from 1992-1995, two of which were entered into competitions. “Remember Me” and “River Moon” both received Honorable Mentions, and the former was published in 1994’s Odysseys by Iliad Press

How has your life experiences affected your writing?
In “The Open Road,” Dean Carrington’s car is a burgundy 1967 Chevelle Super-Sport. My father had the same car when he was young, but it was gold. I used to play in it for hours. For “Tootsie” I wanted to do a tribute to my deceased relatives. The main characters are named after my mother’s parents, while the supporting characters are from my father’s side.

What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
There’s a scene in “The Open Road” where James and Lenoir are trapped in the car and the Deer Man’s head just keeps ramming the windshield as they’re trying to get away. The image of that still creeps me out.

Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
I’ve used them a few times to get a feel of how people will receive a story and get their advice on what works and what doesn’t.

What inspires your story ideas?
Most of the time I don’t know where I get my ideas. Other times, like for “Tootsie,” the idea came to me as I was trying on one of my dad’s suitcoats.

Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I am a member of the Scribes’ Circle, Fiction Writing, and Writing Without Drama. I plan on becoming an active member of Horror Writers Association at some point.

Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
The Carrier – After waking up with amnesia on a mysterious island, Greg Walters must put his trust in strangers in order to stay alive. Lisa Monroe awakens in a motel room and quickly realizes she is unable to account for the past year of her life. The two stories intertwine and lead Detective Marc Rodgers on the most twisted case of his life.
The Children of Halloween – Patricia Price loves spending Halloween drinking wine, passing out candy, and watching scary movies with her friends, but when six strange children show up in 1970’s costumes her love turns to fear as Heath Grant eats the last piece of candy in front of them. The Children stalk Patricia and her friends, leading to a bloody showdown.

Have you been published?
I only have one short story published, and it appears in Scout Media’s 2016 anthology A Journey of Words. “The Open Road” is about four friends on a late night road trip who find themselves on a looping collision course with a supernatural creature.
https://www.amazon.com/Journey-Words-Brian-Paone/dp/0615934293/ 

How can readers follow you?
I’m pretty active on Facebook and Instagram, but I do have a Twitter account as well. I try to bring something different to each platform, so be sure to check out all of them.
www.facebook.com/mrwardauthor
www.instagram.com/m.r.ward_author
www.twitter.com/mrwardauthor

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
I may write about blood and guts and things that’ll devour your insides, but I love puppies and chocolate too. My favorite television show ever is The Golden Girls. How’s that for variety? 

Thanks, M.R., for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!

Writer’s Spotlight Episode 4: Lucie Guerre

For this fourth episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have Lucie Guerre – another member of the Scribes’ Circle that I have gotten to know well over the past year. Like Marlon, she is an author and published poet. She also has a pretty big heart, and is one of the first to offer her help and support.

Lucie

 Give us a short introduction to you.
Lucie Guerre is a twenty-nine-year-old author whose work greatly reflects the stories of her life. Much of her experiences flavor the poetry she writes whereas she writes fiction as an escape from reality. She is a romantic, a dreamer, a paradox.

How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
In general, I have been writing since I was seven-years-old. I began to write poetry seriously when I was about fourteen or fifteen, but fiction was my first love. I have only begun writing professionally within the past year.

In what genre(s) do you write?
I write poetry, short stories, and various genres of novels including a subgenre of science fiction known as slipstream, LGBT fiction, coming-of-age stories, and more

Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
For short stories, I tend to write without any outline, just a tentative plan as far as where my stories will go, but I outline my novels. My notes for my novels tend to be all over the place from the backs of receipt paper to a scattering of notebooks I keep around my home. Regardless, it is important to me to keep these notes to make sure my novel is progressing the way I want it to. A lot of my outlines are vague though to leave room for inspiration and potential growth as I write the novel.

Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
When I was about sixteen, a friend of mine handed me a book of short stories and told me I wrote in a similar style as the author of the short stories. This author is Jeanette Winterson. I love her playful, poetic use of language and strive to write in a way that is similar to hers but still wholly unique. I also love the works of Janet Fitch. If you ever want to read a beautiful yet dark novel, do yourself a favor and read White Oleander. Her writing inspired some of my own works, as has Neil Gaiman’s. As far as poetry writing goes, I am inspired by spoken word poets such as Shane Koyczan and Neil Hilborn. Additionally, when I was in college, I fell in love with the poetry of Anne Sexton. I realized that poetry did not have to be beautiful and the stuff of love sonnets and nature poems. Instead her poems were raw and gripping, and she inspired me to write darker, more honest poetry, and in fact, inspired me to write some of the poems featured in my volume of poetry and photography, Soulstice.

Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
As I mentioned above, I do write poetry. I have tried my hand at screenplay writing as well, with pretty shitty results, but I do write poetry, fiction, and some day, I plan on writing a fictionalized version of my memoirs.

How has your life experiences affected your writing?
My life experiences play a huge role on the poetry I write. Most of my poetry is semi-autobiographical, and it is hard to reread some of the darker poems because they explore parts of my past that are extremely painful, but honestly, that pain has helped me to enjoy the beauty of life more. My fiction, on the other hand, is influenced by aspects of my own life as well. Most of my fiction features female protagonists who are searching to understand themselves and come to terms with reality versus a strange world. Having mental illness [Author’s Note: I struggle with Bipolar and PTSD], often times it feels as though I am struggling to come to terms with reality versus a strange world.

What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
A scene that moves me the most is the very ending of my work-in-progress. It is a very emotional scene, and everything that happens in my novel leads up to this one very pivotal moment. It is a scene that allows the readers to truly feel and understand the psyche of the main character.

Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
I have a small selection of alpha readers who are currently reading my work-in-progress, and they insist I must finish my novel because they adore the characters, the plot, and are fascinated to see where the story leads. It helps me to stay focused because I know I have someone to be held accountable to, but also, they help me to see the flaws and faults in my manuscript. Currently, I have not finished my work-in-progress, but once I finish it and get it edited, I have a team of beta readers I plan on sending my work to. I feel it is a necessary component to writing a powerful story. My number one alpha and beta reader, of course, is my fiancé.

What inspires your story ideas?
Most of my story ideas are based on powerful dreams I have had or ideas, simply wondering and thinking about “what if XYZ were to happen”.

Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I am a member of Scribes’ Circle, Fiction Writing, and a few other writing groups on Facebook.

Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
I am writing a novel with the working title of Catching Dreams. It is about Aisling McHale, a young woman who has recently taken an interest in dream interpretation. When her dreams begin to blur with reality, she needs to figure out where the dreams are taking her and why before the stakes get to high, and her loved ones face the consequences. Meanwhile, she is also searching to understand herself and her mysterious past.

“Aisling did not remember falling, but she felt herself hurtling backwards. Her stomach lurched, preparing for the impact of the concrete. Her arms wheeled around her, and it felt as though she were falling in slow motion. She squeezed her eyes shut, bracing for it, but when she landed, she felt a strange, comforting softness beneath her. By the time she cracked her eyes open, gone were the buildings and the sun shimmering in a tranquil sky. The only light she could see was the one streaming through her bedroom window from the streetlamp outside. Aisling yawned and flipped over in her bed, lolling her head to the side of her pillow. She stretched her fingers out as she fell into another deep slumber. They grazed something metallic, yet she was already falling into another dream.”

Another work-in-progress is a novel tentatively called Angels of Dusk. It is the coming-of-age story of Charlotte Benson. When her father goes missing for the last time, she learns her world is not what it seems and instead consists of mysterious figures, magic, and much, much more.

“Charlotte’s hazel eyes drifted toward the corkboard in the cloakroom. More specifically, she found her eyes traveling toward the list of Nevers. In the past, she had always followed the list and been rewarded with a sweet wrapped in crinkly gold paper. One “Never” stood out tonight as being especially unfair. The rule stated in Lillian’s careful cursive, Charlotte was never to go outside on her own.

Charlotte was tired of following the rules and felt as though the Nevers had to be broken. The girl was fairly certain at the old age of ten, she was a grown-up herself and no longer needed to follow a silly list on a sheet of faded floral stationery. The prize of a caramel or a truffle no longer outweighed her curiosity of what went on outside. She was particularly curious as to what went on outside after she went to bed. How long had these midnight parties been going on? What was the purpose of them? Why were there only grown-ups and no children? Why did they all look so serious? She needed to know what was going on outside of her home. If finding out entailed punishment, that was a risk Charlotte Benson was willing to take. Fortune favored the brave anyhow.”

There are others, but those are the top priorities as of right now.

Have you been published?
Earlier this year, StarkLight Press published my first volume of poetry and photography, Soulstice. https://www.amazon.com/Soulstice-Lucie-Guerre/dp/1542865263/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486416548&sr=1-1&keywords=soulstice+lucie+guerre

How can readers follow you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LucieGuerre22
G-mail: lucie.guerre@gmail.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1bQ3RCPePabrkqiYM2c3Sw
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lucie_guerre
WordPress: https://lucieguerre.wordpress.com/

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments! I love discovering new readers of my work.

Thanks, Lucie, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!

Writer’s Spotlight Episode 3: Marlon Hayes

For this third episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have Marlon Hayes – another member of the Scribes’ Circle that I have gotten to know pretty well over the past year. Like Jacklynn and Amy, he was also in A Journey of Words, and his story “Daddy’s Boy” is a heartwarming journey with a gut-wrenching twist. Marlon is a very accomplished and ambitious author, with many books under his belt, both in prose and poetry. He is a master story-teller.

17238837_10211218067779822_1870479_n

 

 Give us a short introduction to you.
 I am a poet, writer, essayist, blogger, and author, inspired by everyday life.

How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
I’ve been writing as a hobby since I was 6, professionally since 2014.

In what genre(s) do you write?
Poetry, horror, suspense, erotica, sci-fi, romance, fantasy, and I think that’s it. I write in most genres.

Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
I outline occasionally, but mostly I “pants” my stories. I usually know the beginning and ending, then connect the dots.

Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Stephen King, and Elmore Leonard.

Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
Lol. Poetry is my first love, and I’m a decent blogger and essayist.

How has your life experiences affected your writing?
Pieces of my life seem to sneak into my stories. Lol. The dark stuff, the beautiful things, they have inspired my stories for the most part.

What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
My story ‘Daddy’s Boy’ moved me the most. The ending when my protagonist walks his father down to the river. Tears every time.

Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
Yes. Betas let me know when something doesn’t click, helping me to make adjustments.

What inspires your story ideas?
Life, observing people, and the “what if?” thought.

Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I’m a co-founder of The Scribes’ Circle, an international group of writers, artists, poets, and editors. We’re breaking new ground on a daily basis.

Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
Alright, you asked for it! I’ll go in order of release dates. ‘Sippin’ Life at Lucky’s Bar and Grill’ is up next. It’s an anthology featuring an idealized bar, Lucky’s, as the backdrop. I finished writing it, uploaded it, then found two more stories swimming in my head. Lol. Planning on releasing this book in April. After that, either ‘Eleven Fifty Nine’ or ‘The Love Project’ will be published. A novel and a coffee table book. Stories in progress are ‘House of Illusory Dreams,’ a novel. ‘I Found My Reason’ and ‘Juanita’s Fried Chicken’ for ‘Sippin Life.’ Also working on a Western, ‘Over the Horizon,’ an erotic novel ‘Long Overdue,’ plus outlining/pantsing a story for The Scribes’ Circle’s next anthology. My story is called ‘The Death of Good Time Charlie.’ It’s going to rock. Lol.

Have you been published?
Yes, I have been published. All my work is available on Amazon if you search for Marlon S. Hayes. The Colors of my Mind was my first book, a collage of poetry and short stories. View from the Sidelines was second, a poetry collection. Touching Myself was the third book, an erotic anthology. Perceptions of Beauty was my fourth book, a coffee table book of poems and pictures. Watching for Potholes was my fifth book, a collection of short stories. I have also contributed to two anthologies, A Journey of Words by Scout Media, and Unbound by The Scribes’ Circle. Three more on the way by the end of 2017

How can readers follow you?
https://www.facebook.com/marlonswritings
https://www.facebook.com/ScribesCircle/
http://marlonhayes.wixsite.com/author
@twitter.com marlonhayes63
Email me at marlonshayes@gmail.com  I always respond, unless you’re trying to sell something.

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
My favorite color is green, I love baseball, and I write every day.

Thanks, Marlon, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!

Writer’s Spotlight Episode 2: Amy Hunter

For this sophomore episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have Amy Hunter – another member of the Scribes’ Circle I have gotten to know pretty well over the past year. Like Jacklynn, she was also in A Journey of Words with me, and her story “Core” I found to be especially moving. Amy is one of the most dedicated writers to the craft I have come across. Couple that with her tight writing skills, and she is a force to be reckoned with.

17102046_409304106128806_1905142868_n

 Give us a short introduction to you.
I was hatched in 1983, the third of a clutch. I have several other siblings, including maybe one who talks to me, but I’m not sure because I haven’t spoken to him in over a year. I was born in Orange, Texas, and since then I’ve lived in pretty much every small town in the immediate area. I don’t sit still for long. I’m always packing. It’s my goal to find someplace by the water where I can fish in the mornings and write at night. Unpack, you know? Throw away the boxes.
I’ve been married once. Can’t say I miss that. Except maybe the part where I didn’t have to take the garbage out all the time…
I have a fat Corgi and a Mini-Schnauzer who needs some female attention. Badly. I’m thinking of finding a canine dating site for him. Maybe something along the lines of www.ilikeitruff.com. ‘Cause he really does. P.S. Help. My leg can only take so much.

How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
I’ve been hobby-writing since I was about thirteen. I’m thirty-#@%&* now. I told you the year of my birth. That’s all you’re getting. Professionally? About a year and a half.

In what genre(s) do you write?
I normally have no clue which genre I’m writing in until I’m finished, and sometimes, I don’t even know then. I prefer the freedom of closing my eyes and taking that leap into the unknown. My style is to come up with a storyline and write it blindly. That might seem amateurish, sure. So be it. But honestly, most of the stories I write aren’t that easy to categorize.

Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
Not only do I love to outline, but I would be lost without the outline. I plot everything. I make outlines and lists of how to clean my room. My grocery lists have footnotes.

Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
J.R. Ward, Neil Gaiman, and Chuck Palahniuk. I wish I could claim to be attracted to the classics, but really, I’m not. No, some are great—hear me out. Charles Dickens. Mark Twain. Those are great authors, but I don’t think to myself, “Wow, they influence me.” They just don’t shape my style.

Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I used to write poetry. I wrote dark, angst-filled poetry when I had no idea what life was about. Haha. I was a black-wearing, cigarette-smoking, woe-is-me teenager who bitched about everything. Oh, I still smoke and wear lots of dark colors, but now I know more about life, so it’s somewhat justified. *smile* I also helped write a few lyrics for my ex-husband before my divorce. Crap. Utter crap. I was so bad at it.

How has your life experiences affected your writing?
“Core,” my first published story, was creative non-fiction, so as you can tell, it was based somewhat on fact. Since then, I’ve branched out and written about my experiences in the mental hospital, my misspent youth… There really isn’t a lot that I won’t talk about or write about. Maybe one day someone will find my experiences helpful.

What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
Which scene has moved me the most? I can tell you which was the hardest to write… The last scene of “Core,” when the angel of Lucas visited Corey in the hospital. She fell to her knees. She was “broken” mentally, and Lucas put his finger to his lips trying to calm her. He didn’t tell her who he was, because she was too far gone to understand.

Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
Beta readers are great when I can find one or two who have time to read my stories.

What inspires your story ideas?
My past. I’m very nostalgic.

Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I am the co-founder of The Scribes’ Circle.

Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
Monster’s Edge—I don’t have a snippet, because it’s in the outline stage. It’s about a young woman, Coralie, who falls in love with the wrong man, Cole. She wants to run away with him and go to school, but her rich, snob family won’t hear of it. Coralie and Cole stage a home invasion to take the money from her father, but things go South when Cole, takes things too far. Coralie tries to back out of it, so he turns on her, too. Things escalate, and before the evening is over, Cole makes Coralie’s father choose which of his children for him to kill.
Cemetery Music—Again, this is in the outline stages. An elderly man brings a stereo to the cemetery every night to play music for his deceased bride, and an onlooker fantasizes about what their life may have been like.

Have you been published?
My story “Core” was published in A Journey of Words in 2016. “Core” is a story that drives the reader through domestic violence, mental illness, and the unbreakable bond between siblings. To purchase AJOW: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-journey-of-words
Another story of mine, “Salted Ground,” will be published later this year in “A Haunting of Words.” Marley was convinced she had found happiness with Adam when he helped her escape an abusive relationship. When tragedy strikes, will she find hope or torment?

How can readers follow you?
Readers can email me: amyshunter@yahoo.com
Follow me on twitter @amyhunterauthor

Follow me on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15700724.Amy_Hunter
Like my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyUnleashed/
My blog: www.amyhunterauthor.com

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
I think everyone is sick of me by now. 🙂

Thanks, Amy, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!