Love is Love Anthology Now on Amazon

Just a quick heads up to let you know the LOVE_IS_LOVE Anthology is now available on Amazon. This anthology was a project headed by editor Emma Eden Ramos. It features shorts and poetry and artwork for LGBTQIA+ teens. My short story THIS IS ME IN GRADE NINE can be found inside…

D9H7SMHXsAUM_9G.jpg large

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go to THE TREVOR PROJECT.

CLICK THIS LINK TO GET YOUR COPY FROM AMAZON!

HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

Love_Is_Love Anthology and I Will Tell the Night Aesthetic

Two things. The first, I’m thrilled to announce the release of an anthology in which I have a short story! Love_Is_Love released yesterday (Jan 24/19):

Love_Is_Love: An Anthology for LGBTQIA+ Teens

All proceeds from the sale of the anthology go to THE TREVOR PROJECT (The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. The Trevor Lifeline: 866.488.7386.)

My story is called THIS IS ME IN GRADE NINE and it follows a trans girl in the moments leading up to her first day of high school.

Here’s some cover love for you! The strength of the Rainbow Fist in the Air is divine:

 

 

YOU CAN PICK UP A COPY OF THE ANTHOLOGY HERE. PLEASE CONSIDER DOING SO, AS THE TREVOR PROJECTS NEEDS YOUR HELP IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO THRIVE.

The second thing? During part of the festivities on Twitter this month for #LGBTRelease I made a NOVEL AESTHETIC for my upcoming release I WILL TELL THE NIGHT. I wanted to share it here. 🙂

tell.jpg
Steven & Finn and their cross-country journey to healing, complete with BEETS.

The origin story for the title of I WILL TELL THE NIGHT can be found at this recent blog post HERE. Details on its release to follow, but it is SOON.

This Is Me In Grade Nine – Love Is Love

Look for an announcement regarding my latest anthology inclusion. My short story THIS IS ME IN GRADE NINE will be published this month in the LOVE IS LOVE  anthology. All proceeds from this anthology will go directly to the TREVOR PROJECT. Full details to follow. (-:

love is love

In the meantime, I will be re-releasing the 2nd of my novels that was once with Curiosity Quills Press. Half Dead & Fully Broken will re-release in February, 2019. Details to follow.

received_2264007010547991

love is love

Further details on LOVE IS LOVE will be forthcoming. Stay tuned!

Missed the Launch? And 100 Days!

If you happened to miss ID PRESS PUBLISHING’S book launch this past Sunday for the horror anthology PURGATORIUM, you can still pick up a copy at AMAZON and KOBO!

purgatorium
I still can’t tell if my friends like or dislike (okay, hate) my inevitable group-selfies at our gatherings. These are the Purgatorium contributors who were at the launch on Sunday at Copper Branch. Missing from the shot is Kate Arms, who was away on a retreat.

It was standing room only at Copper Branch in Brooklin, Ontario on Sunday, January 21st, for the launch of Purgatorium. Several of the contributors, myself included, read excerpts from our anthologized Purgatorium stories. I think it’s safe to say that fun was had by all. Many books were sold and signed, many lively conversations took place, announcements were made…things are coming up roses for ID PRESS. I’m thrilled to have been included in their inaugural anthology and look forward to their future projects!

As far as the venue goes, I eagerly anticipated Copper Branch for quite a while now…after seeing several of my friends Instagram and Facebook their Copper Branch meals. I was NOT disappointed. What a fabulous place. I LOVED their General Copper Power Bowl so much, I’d make the trip back to Brooklin just to have it again. Whether or not you’re vegetarian, you will LOVE this dish. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t chicken…I don’t know how they did it. Such a great meal! And try the shakes…also delicious.

copperbranch
GENERAL COPPER: Shiitake mushroom General Tao, broccoli, fresh avocado, organic brown rice, sesame seeds, sriracha coleslaw, Copper Branch General Copper sauce.

You can check out the full COPPER BRANCH MENU HERE.

They were lovely hosts for the book launch. You’d be surprised how unruly a handful of horror writers and their entourage can get! The restaurant staff took it all in stride. They were most gracious hosts for the wonderful event. I would recommend them to anyone.

mel
My good friend and fellow PURGATORIUM contributing author, Mel Cober.

Here’s where you can pick up your own copy of PURGATORIUM, should you wish to do so:

AMAZON USA AVAILABLE IN PRINT AND KINDLE EDITIONS

AMAZON CANADA AVAILABLE IN PRINT AND KINDLE EDITIONS

KOBO

staff
The staff and interns of ID PRESS PUBLISHING (L-R): Mel Cober, Pat Flewwelling, Tobin Elliott, Connie Di Pietro, Dale Long, and, Amanda Tompkins.

And if you choose to do so, I’m sure the folks at ID PRESS would appreciate a review of their anthology on GOODREADS. The very best way to thank an author is to post a review of their work.

connie
The proud and fearless leader – Connie Di Pietro, reading from her baby, PURGATORIUM

NOW, WHAT’S THIS ABOUT 100 DAYS?

That is the amount of days left to the countdown to my SELF-GUIDED NOVEL WRITING MARATHON in BRUSSELS, BELGIUM. I’m trying something different this year. Instead of participating in the 72-hour Muskoka Novel Marathon in Huntsville, Ontario in July, I’m attempting a one-week novel marathon in Brussels ALL BY MYSELF in May. Yes, I will check out some of the attractions the city has to offer. And, yes, I will be taking a one-day walking tour of BRUGES. But I am determined to marathon at least one full novel, and hopefully complete one or two of the ones I currently have as works in progress. We shall see how diligent I can be in a foreign country. BIC (Bum In Chair) is the goal, as it always is at novel writing marathons. I will try to find a balance between touring the city and locking myself away for hours at a time to write. When I set my mind to something, I usually find a way to reach my goal. I am determined to make this work. I can’t wait for May to come, now! Only 100 more days to go…tick, tick, tick…

100days
The countdown is on! BRUSSELS OR BUST!

I will definitely miss the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON come July, but I felt I needed a bit of out-of-the-box thinking this year, and maybe some soul-searching where my writing life is concerned. I feel like this is an important investment to make in my writing career at this juncture—TIME—with the added creative spark of being in a new place. I wish the 2017 MNM marathoners luck in their writing and luck in their fundraising. In 2016, we raised $36,000.00…which is quite an amazing feat! All funds go to the literacy programs of YMCA Simcoe County/Muskoka. Such a noble cause. Everybody deserves to be able to read. Please consider sponsoring one of the marathoners this coming year…I know I will!

Purgatorium Takes Over Brooklin at Copper Branch! Book Launch…

The Horror Anthology Purgatorium will officially launch on Sunday January 22nd, 2017! And ALL are invited to attend. The launch will take place at COPPER BRANCH in Brooklin, Ontario…just northeast of Toronto.

mel
Mel Cober (a fellow contributor) and I at Connie’s Halloween party– our first look at the anthology PURGATORIUM!

A few of the contributors to the horror collection, myself included, will be on hand at the launch to read from our short stories. You can pick up signed copies of the book and meet the authors. And while you’re there, you can pick up something to eat! I’ve heard some pretty amazing things about Copper Branch and I’m excited to try their menu.

Come out to Copper Branch on Sunday January 22nd from 2:00pm to 4:00pm to listen to some chilling words, pick up a collection of chilling words and treat yourself to a healthy meal in the process. Sounds like a great afternoon to me!

Check in to the event on Facebook!

purgatorium
I recently sponsored a giveaway for a print copy of Purgatorium. That copy went to Lori Twining of Owen Sound, Ontario. Thank you all for entering the contest!
play
My baby, DUBIOUS PICKLES AND THE CURIOSITY OF ARBOUR LEVESQUE, can be found in the first section of Purgatorium…aptly called PLAYTHINGS.

If and when you read Purgatorium, please consider reviewing it on Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, etc.

Visit GOODREADS to add PURGATORIUM to your BOOKSHELF!

EVENT: Purgatorium Book Launch

TIME: SUNDAY JANUARY 22, 2017 – 2:00pm-4:00pm

PLACE: Copper Branch Restaurant, 66 Baldwin Street, Brooklin, Ontario. L1M 1A3

Purgatorium was published by ID Press. You can find them on FACEBOOK HERE. Or on their WEBSITE HERE.

 

Purgatorium Releases! Horror Anthology Extraordinaire!

Today is the release day for the amazing anthology of Horror from ID Press called PURGATORIUM! Click on the cover below to be taken to AMAZON to get your copy of PURGATORIUM!

 

purgatoriumpic

 

I am thrilled to be one of the authors featured in this anthology. I have now had the opportunity to read Purgatorium from cover to cover and it was thoroughly enjoyable. You can pick it up yourself today from Amazon.

A fun fact for me, having the distinction of having the first story in the collection, is that the LOOK INSIDE feature at AMAZON gives potential purchasers a glimpse into MY story! Here’s the first page from the LOOK INSIDE feature on Amazon…

dubious

Dubious was such a fun character to create. Doing so took me out of all of my norms. I went into a fantasy reality where everything shifted and began to appear not quite right. It’s a lot of fun to let down your hair. For me, in this instance, it was about writing something that wasn’t simple contemporary fiction. It was a challenge to bring in the magical and the surreal…but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

There are 11 stories in this anthology. All offer a slip into the dark-side…all challenge reality. All are worth the price of admission. Pick up Purgatorium today! You’ll be happy you did so.

And keep your eye on ID Press. They promise to continue to challenge the norms of genres and offer up some great reading moments for your future enjoyment…

id

Back in October I did some fun Proustian Questionnaire Interviews with all of the contributors to Purgatorium. By clicking on the links below, you can read all of those interviews:

PURGATORIO DIALOGUES PART V – AMANDA TOMPKINS

PURGATORIO DIALOGUES PART IV – YVONNE HESS AND KEVIN CRAIG

PURGATORIO DIALOGUES PART III – KATE ARMS AND MEL COBER AND SAMANTHA BANIK

PURGATORIO DIALOGUES PART II – PAT FLEWWELLING AND TOBIN ELLIOTT

PURGATORIO DIALOGUES PART I – CONNIE DI PIETRO AND DALE LONG

 

id-press
Pat, Connie, Dale, and Tobin – The Staff of ID Press and 4 people I’m happy to call friends!

 

Good luck to PURGATORIUM! Happy BOOK BIRTHDAY! And Happy Launch Day to the folks at ID PRESS!

PURCHASE PURGATORIUM IN PAPERBACK AT AMAZON .COM TODAY!

PURCHASE PURGATORIUM IN KINDLE AT AMAZON .COM TODAY!

PURCHASE PURGATORIUM AT THE CANADIAN AMAZON SITE TODAY!

OR

PURCHASE PURGATORIUM AT KOBO TODAY!

The Purgatorio Dialogues – Meet the Writers of Purgatorium Part V

My last visit with the Purgatorium Anthology contributors! Amanda Tompkins is always a delight in person, and I find her endlessly interesting. She makes me laugh and she’s also über smart and tells fascinating stories. I’m really looking forward to her words in Purgatorium. I will not soon forget the motto she leaves us with here…one I think I may take as one of my own. “Expectations are just mind forged manacles”.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the release date of this sumptuous anthology of horror! November 19th, Purgatorium will be here!

IN FACT! If you come to BOOKAPALOOZA from 10am-3pm at Durham College Centre for Food/Bistro 67 in Whitby on November 19th, you can pick up a copy of PURGATORIUM…and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get quite a few of the authors to sign it for you! Bookapalooza is a free event and it’s ALL ABOUT BOOKS! You won’t want to miss it! It’s also the place where the Purgatorium Anthology launches!

2016-Flyer-no-tearoffs-791x1024.jpg
BOOKAPALOOZA

And now, Amanda’s responses to my Proustian Questionnaire…

 

Prugatorio Dialogues – X – Amanda Tompkins

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Curled up in my easy chair, with a good book in my hands, and my dog at my feet.

2. What is your most preferred genre as a writer?

Fantasy

3. What is your greatest fear?

Nothingness.

4. What is your most preferred genre as a reader?

I’ll read just about anything, but Fantasy is my favorite.

5. Which horror writer do you most admire and why?

I’d have to say Mary Shelley. She did amazing work and faced a lot of opposition.

6. What was your idea of horror prior to setting off on this adventure into Purgatorium?

Taking the mundane, the familiar, and making it threatening.

7. What do you consider the most overrate virtue?

Patience. Who needs it?

8. What is your idea of horror now that you’ve been to Purgatorium?

Word count limits.

9. What else have you written?

A few short stories, and several works in progress.

10. When and where were you most afraid?

When I realized that nothing is forever, and you can lose the people you love most.

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to read/speak every language.

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Something large and predatory. That probably says more about me than I’m strictly comfortable with.

13. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Being forced to watch a loved one suffer, and knowing there is nothing you can do.

14. What are your three deserted island books?

To kill a mockingbird’, by Harper Lee. ‘War for the oaks’, by Emma Bull. ‘The interior life’, by Katherine Blake.

15. Who are your favorite writers?

Usually whoever I’m currently reading.

16. Who is your hero of fiction?

Atticus Finch

17. What sound grates on you more than any other?

People chewing loudly with their mouths open.

18. How would you like to die?

Ideally, not at all. Realistically, in bed having just finished the last page of a good book.

19. What sound brings you deep joy?

The click of my dogs nails on the tile as he runs to greet me.

20. What is your motto?

‘Normal’ is a subjective judgement call, and expectations are just mind forged manacles.

 

LIFE IS CHANGE

Children become adults. Summer becomes winter. The old pass from life to death. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

But to some, life is purgatory. A place of temporary suffering between this world and the next.

In these eleven stories, every painful, frightening transition is driven by a single element.

That element is Purgatorium.

 

It’s coming!

 

The Purgatorio Dialogues – Meet the Writers of Purgatorium Part IV

 Another day, another visit with authors from the Purgatorium anthology coming soon from ID PRESS! Today, I have an interview with Yvonne Hess. One more to go. Amanda Tompkins has some writerly deadlines to meet, so she will be participating shortly. Writers ALWAYS have deadlines of one kind or another. It keeps us honest!
I also took the liberty of answering this Proustian Questionnaire myself…so you’ll find my responses here, immediately following Yvonne.
I love love love Yvonne’s response to the first question. It’s quintessential. Enjoy her interview and look forward to discovering her horror fiction in Purgatorium. It’s coming!

Purgatorio Dialogues – VIII – Yvonne Hess

 

yvonne.jpeg
Yvonne Hess

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

The moments when I become aware that I am experiencing true happiness in that moment.

2. What is your most preferred genre as a writer?

Literary/historical

3. What is your greatest fear?

Heights or being the centre of attention in a room full of people I don’t know.

4. What is your most preferred genre as a reader?

Impossible to choose! But if I have to pick one I’d say historical.

5. Which horror writer do you most admire and why?

I actually don’t read horror.

6. What was your idea of horror prior to setting off on this adventure into Purgatorium?

To me, horror could be anything from slasher/blood and gore to psychological thriller.

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

I’m not sure any of these can be overrated.

8. What is your idea of horror now that you’ve been to Purgatorium?

(Not answered)

9. What else have you written?

Several full-length manuscripts.

10. When and where were you most afraid?

I can’t talk about that.

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

Singer/musician.

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

The daughter of a multimillionaire!

13. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

I can’t talk about that either.

14. What are your three deserted island books?

Impossible to pick just 3!! But if I have to…Shogun, Outlander, anything by Jane Austen.

15. Who are your favorite writers?

Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Diana Gabaldon, Edward Rutherford, James Mitchener…the list goes on and on.

16. Who is your hero of fiction?

I don’t think I have one.

17. What sound grates on you more than any other?

People who make noise when they eat. GRRRRR!

18. How would you like to die?

Old and peaceful…with no regrets.

19. What sound brings you deep joy?

The voices of those I love.

20. What is your motto?

It costs nothing to be kind.
On the Web, Yvonne can be found:
I could not make all the other contributors answer this questionnaire without also putting myself through the ringer. So, as we await Amanda’s response…I give you my own:

Purgatorio Dialogues – IX – Kevin Craig

14441151_10153812836837021_3454726754010559245_n.jpg
Kevin Craig

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Laughing with my grandchildren, or being purposefully lost and wandering in a foreign city.

2. What is your most preferred genre as a writer?

Although not quite a genre, I would have to say coming-of-age. I love the young adult market, but I love that a good coming-of-age story can explore themes not quite young enough for the YA audience, and yet still have the youth aspect to it.

3. What is your greatest fear?

The theft of childhood

4. What is your most preferred genre as a reader?

I don’t have one. Story is king, genre are the clothes donned by the story.

5. Which horror writer do you most admire and why?

Stephen King. Because he is one of the best character writers in the world. He knows the importance of all aspects of storytelling, not just shock.

6. What was your idea of horror prior to setting off on this adventure into Purgatorium?

Scary. Must. Terrify. Reader.

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

FORGIVENESS. It is not imperative to offer forgiveness. Some are not worthy of it. Most often, when you are giving it, it is to free yourself from the wrong done to you anyway. I only consider forgiving when the one I am forgiving is worthy. Sometimes, they are not.

8. What is your idea of horror now that you’ve been to Purgatorium?

It’s the genre where you take the reader by the hand and lead them down the garden path they simultaneously do not want to be lead down and can’t help but go freely and eagerly. They have to trust you and be leery of your motivations at the same time.

9. What else have you written?

Plays, poetry, novels, articles, and memoir. And manifestos…many manifestos.

10. When and where were you most afraid?

November, 1977…the day my childhood was stolen.

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

Singing.

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I always picture myself as an aging Russian peasant farmer woman. I think getting there would be hard and tiring, but to just wake up one day as an 87 year-old babushka wearing peasant woman picking potatoes on her farm would be the loveliest of things. As it seems very unlikely this would happen, I’ll go with DOG.

13. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Not forgiving yourself for something that you could not possibly be blamed for…and having the kind of unhealthy mind that would allow this self-blaming to thrive and hold you hostage.

14. What are your three deserted island books?

I included this question because I hate it. The nature of the reader is that they love all the books. Their three go to books would change by the day, by the hour, by the minute. It makes for a conflict in the brain when they are asked this question.

Right this second, my answer is FRANNY & ZOOEY by JD Salinger, THE WONDER BOYS by Michael Chabon, and, THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS by Anne Rice.

But right this second, my answer is quite different!

15. Who are your favorite writers?

JD Salinger, Michael Chabon, Dr. Seuss, Charles Dickens, Jennifer Niven, Hannah Moskowitz, Sylvia Plath, John Green, Anne Rice, Mark Twain, Naguib Mahfouz, and on and on and on…

16. Who is your hero of fiction?

Zachary Martin Glass (Zooey)…because he is a king of sarcasm and a lover of life.

17. What sound grates on you more than any other?

The sound of a baby crying.

18. How would you like to die?

Any way other than the ways I have imagined in my darkest days.

19. What sound brings you deep joy?

A child laughing with utter abandon. And cicadas.

20. What is your motto?

I have several. This too shall pass comes to mind. As does Never quit and See beauty where others refuse to see it and LOVE.

The Purgatorio Dialogues – Meet the Writers of Purgatorium Part III

Welcome to the third installment of my series of interviews with the contributors of the horror anthology PURGATORIUM from ID Press! Now that we have the 4 members of ID Press completed, we can go on to the other contributors of the anthology.

tree.jpg

I have found each of these interviews to be highly entertaining and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did. Today we have Kate Arms, Mel Cober and Samantha Banik in the spotlight.

Kate is always eloquent and she stopped me in my tracks with one of her answers. On the subject of her favourite genre, she replied:

“Wherever I can find poetic language about philosophical ideas and questions about what it means to be a human being, with a preference for writers who are willing to look at the dark sides of humanity and find beauty there.” ~ Kate Arms

Now that’s something I can fully get behind! These interviews are peppered with beautiful and thoughtful insights. I’m glad I poked the contributors…they continue to delight me with their responses.

I must remember to bring Mel a nice pile of fluffy kittens the next time we get together. From the woman who thinks being nice is overrated. 🙂

And I think I may have fallen a little in love with Samantha after reading her response to question #16. So very true!

Enjoy Kate, Mel, and Samantha’s interviews! All are wise, witty and wonderful…

Purgatorio Dialogues – V – Kate Arms

kate.jpg
Kate Arms

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Feeling passionately alive in the present moment.

2. What is your most preferred genre as a writer?

The easy one to write – now, if I could just figure out which one that is…

3. What is your greatest fear?

Horrible things happening to my kids.

4. What is your most preferred genre as a reader?

Wherever I can find poetic language about philosophical ideas and questions about what it means to be a human being, with a preference for writers who are willing to look at the dark sides of humanity and find beauty there.

5. Which horror writer do you most admire and why?

The one that most recently gave me shivers. I’m fickle that way.

6. What was your idea of horror prior to setting off on this adventure into Purgatorium?

That too much is badly written and involves jump scares and gratuitous gore, but that the best stuff is marvelously disturbing.

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Prudence

8. What is your idea of horror now that you’ve been to Purgatorium?

A way to explore the dark side of humanity without actually hurting anybody.

9. What else have you written?

Personal essays, poetry, contemporary adult fiction, a manifesto on how to have healthy relationships, a book of writing prompts, and too much unpublished YA fantasy.

10. When and where were you most afraid?

I was held up at knife point outside my apartment one night in my 20s.

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to write a first draft that doesn’t need revision.

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

“A bag of groceries accidentally taken off the shelf before the date stamped on myself” (h/t They Might be Giants)

13. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

I need to ask my son. He’s writing the graphic novel “Death vs. Darkness”, and Misery is a central character. He probably knows.

14. What are your three deserted island books?

Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Huis Clos by Jean-Paul Sarte, and “Map: Collected and Last Poems by Wislawa Szymborska“.

15. Who are your favorite writers?

The ones I am reading at the moment who are captivating my imagination, the ones I get to hang out with, and Shakespeare.

16. Who is your hero of fiction?

The writer.

17. What sound grates on you more than any other?

The video game soundtracks from all the games my children play.

18. How would you like to die?

In a book written by a friend. Or my sleep.

19. What sound brings you deep joy?

Waves crashing on a rocky shore.

20. What is your motto?

Carpe the F*ck Out of This Diem. (Stolen from a mentor, Kristen Bentley, who took it from her mentor, L.A. Reding.

On the Web, KATE can be found:

Kate Arms

TWITTER

Purgatorio Dialogues – VI – Mel Cober

mel.jpg
Mel Cober

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Living at Disney full time.

2. What is your most preferred genre as a writer?

I prefer to write in darker genres, but I’ve written in many. 

3. What is your greatest fear?

Spiders. Oh wait- this could be used against me. Piles of fluffy kittens is my worst fear.

4. What is your most preferred genre as a reader?

I have no preference, I read it all.  (And I think everyone should as well)

5. Which horror writer do you most admire and why?

Is it cliche to say Stephen King? Because he gets it done, and he’s by far the best known.   (please don’t use this one Kevin)

6. What was your idea of horror prior to setting off on this adventure into Purgatorium?

Everything from things that go bump in the night, to an alien abduction to a demon peeling the skin off it’s victim. Anything can become a horror story, if told right. 

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Being polite. Sometimes, you need to stand up for yourself (or others) and be that bitch.

8. What is your idea of horror now that you’ve been to Purgatorium?

Same as 6

9. What else have you written?

I’ve written blogs for Boom 97.3, articles for small publications and many short stories.

10. When and where were you most afraid?

When my grandma had a stroke and I got the call from my dad. Sadly, she didn’t make it.

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able to finish a task w/o distraction. Oh look…is that a squirrel? 

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

A cat. I’d love to sit in the sun all day and nap, and have someone feed me.

13. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Misery without company?

14. What are your three deserted island books?

All the Bright Places, Eleanor and Park and a book that changes each time you read it. 😉

15. Who are your favorite writers?

Everyone in Purgatorium.

16. Who is your hero of fiction?

(Not answered)

17. What sound grates on you more than any other?

The beeping of our water softener that beeps constantly a full two weeks before it will run out of salt.

That or Dale Long. 😉

18. How would you like to die?

No one likes to die. So I suppose in my sleep is best.

19. What sound brings you deep joy?

The sound of the water lapping on a dock during a summer night, while I type away.

20. What is your motto?

If you ever leave me I’m coming with you.

On the Web, MEL can be found:

Purgatorio Dialogues – VII – Samantha Banik

samantha.jpg
Samantha Banik

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

That moment when I walk in the room to pick my daughter up from daycare and she first sees me. That look in her eye of unconditional love and happiness, followed by pure excitement as she runs into my arms squealing. That right there. That is my happy place.

2. What is your most preferred genre as a writer?

Apparently I have a few.

3. What is your greatest fear?

Losing my Mom or my daughter. And being abducted by aliens…clowns too. Hate clowns. 

4. What is your most preferred genre as a reader?

Anything. I will read anything.

5. Which horror writer do you most admire and why?

Bram Stoker. Dracula was the first horror piece I ever read. I love his style. It’s the first book I think of when I think about horror books.

6. What was your idea of horror prior to setting off on this adventure into Purgatorium?

A world in which chocolate does not exist. Oh, and smelling poop. You can’t trust the smell of poop. Ask any mom.

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Patience. Whoever made that list, did not have children.

8. What is your idea of horror now that you’ve been to Purgatorium?

A world in which writers do not exist.

9. What else have you written?

The Pirate – WIP, Fallen From Grace – WIP, plus many, many unfinished pieces. Several articles for the Orono Weekly Times.

10. When and where were you most afraid?

Standing outside of my father’s house the night he died knowing what I was going to find when I entered. 

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be able to sing well. Though, I do anyway even though I sound like a wounded guinea pig.

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Losing This was a hard one too. I think a cat. They have pretty good lives. Nine of them to boot.

13. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Losing a loved one. It’s a pain that runs deep and never truly goes away. 

14. What are your three deserted island books?

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, How to Build a Raft out of Sticks and Leaves by Samantha Banik (WIP), War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

15. Who are your favorite writers?

I have many, but a few are Jane Austen, Diana Gabaldon, D.H. Lawrence, J.R.R. Tolkien, and all of my writer friends 🙂

16. Who is your hero of fiction?

All the heroes and heroines of every story I’ve ever read. I had to think about this one and I couldn’t come up with any one character. 

17. What sound grates on you more than any other?

The sound of negativity.

18. How would you like to die?

Preferably in my sleep, but trying to save the world from an alien invasion would be cool too.

19. What sound brings you deep joy?

My daughter’s laughter.

20. What is your motto?

One is never served so well as by oneself, or – If you want something done right, do it yourself. 

 

On the Web, SAMANTHA can be found:

TWITTER

One more installment of Purgatorio Dialogues to come! Look for it next week!

In the meantime, LIKE ID PRESS ON FACEBOOK and don’t forget to ADD PURGATORIUM TO YOUR SHELF ON GOODREADS!

PURGATORIUM…It’s coming!

purgatoriumpic.jpg
Coming NOVEMBER 19, 2016!

The Purgatorio Dialogues – Meet the Writers of Purgatorium Part II

Welcome to day two of my interviews with the writers from Purgatorium. Today, I’m featuring Pat Flewwelling and Tobin Elliott. Together, with Connie Di Pietro and Dale Long, they make up the staff of ID PRESS. Pat had me laughing out loud in places. Especially when she spoke of her fear of flying and then let me know she was boarding a plane (sadly, I’m quite certain her fear amped up yesterday…as she experienced several delays at the airport prior to boarding said plane). What can I say about Tobin Elliott? Nobody makes me cry as often as Tobin does. He’s like that phone commercial that breaks you down and leaves you bawling and surprised that a 30-second vignette could cut you so close to the bone. He’s a funny guy…but he writes with an emotional poignancy I myself could only dream of owning. Even his Facebook updates often have me swallowing through the lump in my throat. Yes…a couple of his responses here left me in tears. Something in the way he writes…

The Proust Questionnaire was not penned by Proust, but rather made famous by him. It was a personality questionnaire that Proust famously answered in the most delightful of ways, and often. It was his answers to the question that caused the questionnaire to take off and become a favourite form of interview…it even had a life as a parlour game of sorts. I find that it reveals a lot about a person…it invokes personal insights as well as personality, sense of humour and one’s beliefs, etc. This questionnaire I composed is not entirely the same as the Proust version, but a lot of the original questions remain intact. Enjoy today’s insights into the minds of Pat and Tobin, two of the ten writers featured in PURGATORIUM!

Purgatorio Dialogues – III – Pat Flewwelling

pat.JPG
Pat Flewwelling

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Letting go.

2. What is your most preferred genre as a writer?

Anything but Westerns, Romance, and Poetry.

3. What is your greatest fear?

Flying. I go a little crazy before and during every flight. Like…I need to gnaw on people and scream and stuff, that kind of afraid. I hate flying.

4. What is your most preferred genre as a reader?

Non-fiction and mystery.

5. Which horror writer do you most admire and why?

Nancy Kilpatrick, because she’s not afraid to tell a new writer the painful, honest truth, without being discouraging – but as an editor, she is also willing to give new, unknown writers a chance.

6. What was your idea of horror prior to setting off on this adventure into Purgatorium?

That it was an easily maligned, but not easily defined, genre. It should, at the very least, make me shiver at the profoundness of the human soul – either as profoundly evil, or profoundly defiant in the face of utter horribleness.

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Temperance. All things in moderation, including moderation.

8. What is your idea of horror now that you’ve been to Purgatorium?

Horror doesn’t have to go to extremes – neither all-scary, nor all-gory, nor all-demonic/paranormal. Sometimes horror can use a soft touch.

9. What else have you written?

Three dark fiction novels (Helix: Blight of Exiles, Helix: Plague of Ghouls, and Helix: Scourge of Bones), two dieselpunk novels (The Fog of Dockside City series), a crime/biography (Judge Not), and a smattering of short stories. Those are the published ones, at least.

10. When and where were you most afraid?

Depends on your definition of “afraid”. If you mean anxious to the point of running away, the answer is “Any time I’m in Costco on a Saturday afternoon.” If you mean, jump-scared / ran away / screamed like a little girl, then it would be that time I tried to clean my first fish, and it wasn’t as dead as I’d thought it was, and it jumped clean off the plate, flapping tail-to-mouth in the air. If you mean “afraid for my safety”…that seems to be the times when I’m most focused and self-controlled, so I guess I would have to say, “n/a”…?

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

Is tact a talent? Because I’d like to have that. Mind you, I find talent overrated. If a talented gymnast won gold every year without hardly trying, and this other “talent-less” but hardworking gymnast won silver for the first time in sixteen years, I’d applaud the one who won silver.

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I’d like to come back as the incarnation of bad luck. I don’t know why I said that. I blame the lack of coffee. But it’s amazing what bad luck can do for you sometimes. A flat tire could save you from a five car pile-up.

13. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Convincing yourself that you can’t – and don’t deserve to – change.

14. What are your three deserted island books?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (aka Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick); The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (Howard Pyle); The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

15. Who are your favorite writers?

The ones I’ve met in person. Well, most of them, anyways. Also, Raymond Chandler, Sam Thomas, and Ellis Peters.

16. Who is your hero of fiction?

Brother Cadfael. Crusader turned sailor turned Benedictine monk / gardener and sometimes murder-solver. He’s completely anti-noir because he looks for the good in humanity, despite war, murder, profiteering, etc., and knows the value of a peaceful place.

17. What sound grates on you more than any other?

Power tools. Any power tool. Literally any. If they had faces, I would punch them.

18. How would you like to die?

Quickly, purposefully, and in saving someone else.

19. What sound brings you deep joy?

The overall harmony of nature in the morning, deep in the interior of Algonquin Park.

20. What is your motto?

Video et taceo. For the record, it was also Queen Elizabeth I’s motto, and it is not Latin for Netflix and tacos.

On the Web, PAT can be found:

Pat Flewwelling

TWITTER

Purgatorio Dialogues – IV – Tobin Elliott

tobin.jpg
Tobin Elliott

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Perfect happiness is having my family around me, lots of books to read, good friends who love me unconditionally, and my pets. Preferably on a lovely fall day.

 

2. What is your most preferred genre as a writer?

I love the horror genre, but it’s finding the horror in the everyday things. To me, the monster isn’t scary unless it’s in a position to take something cherished away from my human characters. A realistic character reacting to the loss of a lover or child or parent is more terrifying than a monster that bites his neck or kills him.

 

3. What is your greatest fear?

Not being able to be there for those I love. Whether that’s due to a debilitating terminal illness, or death, or just not being available when one of my kids or my wife really needs me. I never want to let down those that need me most.

 

4. What is your most preferred genre as a reader?

Oh damn. That’s tough. I love good horror, probably because I find it so rarely. But I also can say the same for good science fiction, or thriller, or crime drama, or mystery, or non-fiction books. I read constantly and widely, so for me it’s less about genre and more about the quality of the experience.

 

5. Which horror writer do you most admire and why?

Also a tough one. I admire Stephen King simply because he’s bucked the odds and become not only the most popular modern author, but he did it writing a much-frowned upon genre. But I also have great admiration for Jack Ketchum because no one—absolutely no one—has affected me like he did with some of his writing, particularly The Girl Next Door.

 

6. What was your idea of horror prior to setting off on this adventure into Purgatorium?

From a reading standpoint, usually something involving a supernatural element. I love my vampires and werewolves and demons. From a personal standpoint, it was—and remains—the answer to #3. Our greatest fear is always that thing that inspires the greatest horror.

 

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Physical beauty. Yes, I like attractive looks, just like everyone else, but I despise how they often give the person a pass to be an absolutely deplorable person and get away with it. I’m looking at you, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. Beauty fades, but the ability to be empathetic and honest and funny and loyal are forever.

 

8. What is your idea of horror now that you’ve been to Purgatorium?

Finding the horror in the everyday. As I said above, I love my vampires and werewolves and demons, but nothing matches the horror of a parent or role model who is more of a monster than any of them could ever hope to be. So, a bit more of a dovetailing of greatest fear and horror.

 

9. What else have you written?

I’ve written some ugly stories about awful people doing terrible things. I’ve had three novellas published through small presses, as well as a couple of short stories in anthologies. All are horror. But I’ve also written three interconnected horror novels and collaborated on a dark fantasy novel involving the Four Horsemen, a God who is mad (and angry) and the Biblical Apocalypse. Oh, and some blogs that made people laugh.

 

10. When and where were you most afraid?

Well, there was a time in Algonquin Park when a bear attacked our camp for about an hour and the only thing between it and my twelve-year-old tasty flesh was tent fabric. But I think the most terrified I’ve been…well, to be honest, I can’t even talk about it. That’s not a cop out, it’s the truth.

 

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

The power of persuasiveness. I’d love to be able to guide people to make better choices. From small things like helping my kids, to larger issues like preventing things like gun violence, racial crimes, sexual attacks, and better leadership for the countries of the world. As the old Coke commercial said, I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

 

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Probably a cat that my daughter would own, because I know I’d live like a freaking king.

 

13. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Losing a loved one. No question. Because there is no lowest depth when it comes to that.

 

14. What are your three deserted island books?

I hate this question. Still, I’ll play your silly reindeer game…

The Shining – Stephen King

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski

Boy’s Life – Robert R. McCammon

 

15. Who are your favorite writers?

Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Dennis Lehane, Robert E. Howard, Elmore Leonard, John Skipp & Craig Spector (when they collaborated), Douglas Adams, Harlan Ellison, Harper Lee, Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling, Carsten Stroud, David Wroblewski, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Chris Claremont, Warren Ellis, Terry Moore, Brian Michael Bendis, Garth Ennis, . And a bunch of others that I likely can’t think of off the top of my head.

 

16. Who is your hero of fiction?

You’re killing me here. Sorry, I’m going to have to stray from books because I tend to default to a character in a television series. Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce as played by Alan Alda in M*A*S*H always wins for me.

If I need to go from the written word, I’d likely choose Danny Torrance, the young boy from The Shining. There’s a lot that I can identify with in him: an abusive, alcoholic father who could never say no to his demons, a mother who desperately tries to swim the current of her husband’s madness and keep both her own and her child’s head afloat, and Danny himself, walking through the corridors of a manmade hell, doing all he can to understand and navigate away from the horrors…

 

17. What sound grates on you more than any other?

Anyone whining. Drives me absolutely batshit.

 

18. How would you like to die?

That’s an odd question. Would anyone really like to die? Not so much. Nor do I, and as I get older, the thought intrudes more and more as my mortality makes itself known. But if I have to go, I want to go out with those I love around me, and everyone laughing and joking and telling their most embarrassing or stupid stories about me…god knows there’s a lot of them.

 

19. What sound brings you deep joy?

The sound of my wife or kids saying they love me. The purring of my cats. My dog’s yipping in his sleep as he dreams. Wind through the leaves. Rain. The strange muffled silence after a snowfall. The Beatles. Pink Floyd. Heart. Boston. David Bowie. Cheap Trick. The Eagles. Steely Dan. Billy Joel. Elton John. Tom Petty. The Electric friggin’ Light Orchestra. And…absolute silence.

 

20. What is your motto?

I have a few…

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” – Robert Schuller

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

“Mommy’s all right, daddy’s all right, they just seem a little weird.” – Cheap Trick

“Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do.” – Unknown

“And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” – The Beatles

 On the Web, TOBIN can be found:

Tobin Elliott

TWITTER

Don’t forget to ADD PURGATORIUM TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF!

Watch this blog for more Purgatorio Dialogues! Six more to go!