Παρασκευή, 25 Οκτωβρίου 2013

What I think About Stuff-Capes & Clockwork Mega-Interview

Spandex and Steam and Ether and Lead-Spitting repeaters. This…is Capes & Clockwork.

What I think About Stuff-Capes & Clockwork Mega-Interview

A while ago, I stumbled on a submissions call for an anthology called Capes & Clockwork. The idea of getting to write a story about steampunk superheroes was more than a welcome challenge, but getting my stuff accepted in it? Hot diggity damn.

Artist’s reproduction of my victory dance

In the interest of getting to brag about this instance of excellent news, I have decided (after some careful consideration) to get you, the reader, to know some of the people behind the awesome stories in this. And while my original intention was to get every single one of the good people in this anthology in one room and shine a cold, hard light on each of their faces as I bombarded them with questions, circumstances forced me to adopt an entirely different approach:

The classy kind.

So imagine it’s the 50’s in your head (minus the asbestos and the racism, of course), get your behind nice and comfy on your chair and come with me to meet four of the authors I will be appearing along with in this very anthology!

and get some smooth jazz on, because that always helps.

With me tonight ladies and gentlemen, are the authors Jeremy Hicks, John McColley, Alexander Brown and David J Fielding! But first, a quick introduction to each of these heads full of ideas.

Jeremy Hicks is an archaeologist by day and a fantasy adventurer by night. Along with his trusty companion (and some say, clone-machine buddy) Barry Hayes, they are setting up the fantasy world of Faltyr, one novel at a time. One of his films (placed as a finalist in the 2011 Cherub Films Horror Screenplay Competition), is called Night of the Living Rednecks and it involves methed-up redneck zombies on a rampage. We are scheduled to go out for drinks and get shitfaced soon as portal technology is perfected (or I stop being broke all the goddamn time).

John McColley is a tinker, a cobbler, a mender, a born writer and, above all, a dad. His stories have been published in a number of magazines, including (but not limited to) a short essay on maintaining your carnivorous defense-plants for your supervillain lair. He has also managed to complete the NaNoWriMo contest 10 years in a row. The SFWA is currently hard at work trying to decode (and weaponize) his mutant writing power.


Alexander Brown is a horror writer with a head full of spiders. He has written numerous short stories, all of them equally horrifying, leaving a pipin’ hot gumbo aftertaste in your mouth. His newest collection of stories, Traumatized, is currently up for grabs on the interwebs. When accused of having no reflection by a nosy journalist, Alexander cackled maniacally for fifteen minutes and then left the room. The journalist was found walking through the streets of Vicksburg that same night, flayed and screaming. 

And last but certainly not least, David J Fielding. Voice actor, superhero enthusiast and emissary of a hyper-advanced (and currently defunct) alien civilization, sent to Earth in the interest of documenting our lives and tutting at all the obvious misgivings. His stories have appeared in the Alter Ego anthology by Source Point Press, but his legacy will always live on as the Big Blue Head That Gave Those Teenagers Those Awesome Robots.

Because he was fucking Zordon.

Fuck. Yes.

So break open that pack of Carcinoma Angels and let your kids bum you a couple, crack open a beer, kick off your slippers and let’s get it on!

Kostas : So tell us, Jeremy, who is your mysterious man in the mask? Where does he come from? What does he want? What does he do for a living? What secrets does he hold?
Jeremy: In my C&C story, there isn’t a man in a mask but the point-of-view character is quite mysterious.  Yax’Kaqix (pronounce Yash-kah-keesh) is a character from my first fantasy novel, The Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers, and The 6’s story for C&C is a prequel of sorts to it.  It provides some back story on Yax and even about his homeworld of Faltyr.  Yax is a full-blooded elf who has lived for a number of centuries.  During that time, he’s been a noble son, a monk, a pirate, a convict, a gladiator, a mercenary, a war wizard, and even a general.  He’s never satisfied with doing the same thing for long due to an insatiable curiosity that gnaws away at him.  He always wants to learn more, experience more, and to see what’s over the horizon.  One of his biggest secrets comes into play in this story, his ability to use necromancy.
Kostas: From what I have surmised about your story's title Deep Diving Death Defying Dwarves of the Deep , it's about a band of death-defying dwarves. But is that all there is to it?
Jeremy: The literal vehicle for The 6’s is a steam-powered submarine operated by a crew of dwarves.  Yax is employed by their superiors to act as a military advisor as he is more adept at the use of Aethyr magic than anyone in the Free Dwarf colony.  But this story has as much heart as it has action.  It’s about what people from disparate backgrounds can accomplish when they put aside their mistrust and work together toward a common goal.  There is also a theme about moments and missed chances that lead one to regrets and meditations on what could have been had fate not intervened.  But ultimately it is about sacrificing oneself for the greater good, for the betterment of all.
Kostas: Was writing for Capes and Clockwork a challenge for you? If so, what was the hardest part about coming up with victorian-style superheroes?
As this was my first attempt at Steampunk, yes, I considered it quite a challenge.  In fact, my first story outline was much more conservative and fit neatly into the body of Victorian-style Steampunk that dominates the genre.  However, inspiration hit me like a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster courtesy of a Beatles song.  Looking back on this story now, it’s hard to believe that it started with my singing, “We all live on a dwarven submarine.”  But that’s how The 6’s was born.  I started studying submarine evolution, design, combat tactics, and terminology, and less than a month later, I had a novelette entitled Deep Diving Death Defying Dwarves of the Deep.  I hope readers enjoy Steampunk Faltyr-style.
Kostas: Was this also your first attempt at writing superhero fiction?

Jeremy: Yes, and I managed to Kobayashi Maru that quite I think.

Click here to find outexactly what the hell a Kobayashi Maru is

Kostas: And I must say you did a pretty bang-up job. By the way, how long have you been a writer? How much longer do you think you can keep it up?
Jeremy: I have written as long as I’ve had a rudimentary grasp on the English language and storytelling…which wasn’t long after I could hold a pencil.  In fact, my first published story was a little horror tale in my elementary school newspaper.  How much longer can I keep it up?  I guess we’ll find out.
Kostas: You mentioned earlier that you’re not a stranger to steampunk. Tell me a few things about your own brand of steampunk and your approach to the genre.
Jeremy: My sincere hope is that my version of Steampunk blows a few gaskets.  As my story not only takes place on a world that I helped create but actually inside of it, The 6’s is not exactly in the mainstream vein of Steampunk.  I sat down and tried to develop a sensible evolution of a technology that combines the utilization of steam-power, alternative (even living) energy sources, and what we call Aethyr magic.  So what you get is a pretty mind-bending blend of biology, technology, and magic that propels this story to the farthest depths of Faltyr’s inner Abyssal Sea.  Contrasted with this is our point-of-view character who is a bit more old school in his approach to magic and technology, so he’s trying to get a grasp for the wonders and marvels around him.

Kostas: This is more of a pessimist’s eye approach, but what do you think of the current state of the fantasy genre in general? Do you think it's taking itself too seriously, becoming too grim for the sake of grimness or is it simply expanding into new, unknown directions?
Jeremy: My belief is that the fantasy genre is broad enough to include everyone and everything.  If there’s a market for it, write it.  If there’s not, create it.  Everyone has a niche to find with their writing, but once they find it, there are a lot of people out there eager to read it and be entertained by it.  With the rise of ebooks and self-publishing, the sky is truly the limit for the writer’s imagination.  If you can’t find a publisher for your fantasies made fiction, become your own.  Now that’s what I call fantastic.
Kostas: So what’s cooking over that there keyboard, son? I am sorry, that came out terrible. Um, do you have any current projects?
Jeremy: At the moment, my co-writer Barry Hayes and I are trying to finish our second novel.  The Cycle of Ages Saga: Sands of Sorrow continues the adventures of Kaladimus Dor and the mercenaries of Finders Keepers while they search for missing pieces to the Hallowed Vessel.  When Dor returns to the place that spawned the mysterious object in his coveted chest, disaster strikes.  We hope to have it finished, edited, and out for our readers in early 2014.
Kostas: Awesome! What have you got planned next?
Jeremy: As COAS: Finders Keepers and even its sequel originated as screenplays, we’d like to find the producers to develop them for the big screen.  We’re also looking to sell two more completed screenplays as well as start our outline for the third Cycle of Ages Saga novel.  I’ve got a few side projects that I’m developing as well, but most of those are in the early stages.
Kostas: Next up, we got John McColley, a fellow sf and fantasy writer and a dad! So tell me John, where are you from and where have you been?

John: Hey, Kostas, thanks for having me here today. I’m from New Hampshire, a state in the northeast of the USA. I’ve lived most of my life here, though I went to college in Oklahoma and recently spent half a year in Virginia with my fiancée for work. I’ve only traveled a little outside the USA, and never left the continent, though I’d like to see more of the world someday.

Kostas: And I’d like to come over to yours, perhaps permanently, Tezcatlipoca willing. Your C&C story is about three Greek Gods, if I'm not mistaken. Care to give me a quick rundown?

John: While I use the names of three characters from Greek myth, Aeolus, ruler of the winds; Chiron, the centaur who mentored a young Hercules (not a satyr as Disney would have you believe, but they never stick to the original script) and Medusa, who we all know is the snake-haired gorgon who turns people to stone with her gaze, they are actually the names of my superheroes and villain. I chose their names based on the characters’ powers.

Kostas: It’s always good to see a reference to the old gods. Warms my heart. Was this story your first brush with superhero fiction and steampunk in general?

John: I never wrote any of it down, but my first attempts to tell stories were superhero fanfics when I was very young. I would watch Superfriends and go out to play, reenacting and expanding the stories I saw on TV. While I’ve had a passing interest in Steampunk and even did some worldbuilding and scripting for a Steampunk web comic, this is my first completed Steampunk piece.

Kostas: Goddamn, fanfics. That’s a dark, bleak chapter of my life. So, I hear you're gonna try your hand at NaNoWriMo. Brave man. Can you tell me a few things about your project?

John: This will actually be my eleventh time doing NaNoWriMo, and I’ve won every time so I’m fairly confident that I’ll hit the fifty thousand word mark. Last year, I did it in 9 days. The key for me is planning, but also be able to let the outline go and run with the story when you need to. My project this year is a scifi story about the mutation of oil-eating bacteria into plastic-eating lifeforms which evolve and create a whole new ecosystem beside our own, first consuming our waste, but then eating the plastic still in use and the conflicts the eco-clashes produce.

Kostas: 40k in 9 days? Good God, man, what ARE you? But no, seriously, how did you do it? 5k a day is way, way more than most of us can pull off, at best.
John: Actually, I was just shy of 55k. Ended with about 81k because I got off track and wasn't feeling very good about the work. Still feel like I should have finished the story as soon as it hit 100k. How? I always try to do as much as I can the first day or two, usually shooting for about 10k. I have an outline and scene breakdown going in and at the time I didn't have a job as we were about 12 hours drive away from the place I usually work. Sadie (my wife) was training for her new job, which is nearby, but the training was in Virginia for some reason. Also, I'd have to say practice. Last year was my 10th NaNo.

So far as writing that much in a day, it's partly not having work, though I've done this many times while I was working, just not so drastically. I prepare, outlining and feeling like I know the beginning of the story pretty well. I write some in the morning, then again in the afternoon and again in the evening. Sometimes doing word wars with people on Skype or at a write-in helps. It allows you to really tune everything else out and just write for ten or twenty minutes. Breaking up the writing over a few shorter chunks instead of staring at the computer for hours at a time really helps me. I usually write about 1k/hr unless I'm on fire.

Forcing myself to focus hard the first day and get way ahead is both good for my numbers and my morale. I tend to perform worse under pressure and better when I feel like I'm ahead.

How John goes about his NaNo (artist’s representation)

Kostas: When did you start writing and what made you go on your hiatus? But most importantly, what made you get behind the keyboard again?
John: I began actually writing down my stories in junior high, when I was about twelve years old. I had a summer school class specifically about short story writing. I was glad to be able to take that class, as it was the most interesting English class available at the time and it was the last time it was taught, as the teacher moved away shortly after.
I would say that I stopped because I got discouraged. I sent stories to a few magazines without any luck and let myself accept defeat rather than pushing on and continue trying. I truly regret that now. No one starts out at the top. Writing is a difficult field filled with rejection for all.  It’s not the end. Hopefully, those rejection letters will have useful feedback, but even if they don’t, keep writing and keep reading.
Kostas: Tell me a few things about your recent publications, now that you’re back on track, keyboard drawn.
John: I’ve just started publishing this year, so they’re all pretty recent, but I really enjoyed working on a Ray Bradbury tribute piece I did for an anthology from Whortleberry Press, continuing his Mars stories as seen in The Martian Chronicles. I also have a fun one coming out October 21 on Mad Scientist Journal, which discusses which carnivorous plants (made up and modified, of course) one should use to defend their laboratories or spooky old castles.

Read the Mad Scientist's Guide to Botanology here

Kostas: Your blog post about Stop Working For Free really caught my eye. Do you think that writers and artists in general should completely turn away from exposure-only markets?

John: Every website, newspaper, magazine needs pictures for their own use or articles to fill their pages. Providing content for “exposure” might seem harmless, but it creates a culture of devaluation. Your hard work researching, writing, learning your craft are somehow not worth the same money someone gets for figuring out how to arrange all that content on a page. Without the content, though, they have nothing. If they can continuously get their content for free, they won’t pay, but keep taking and giving nothing in return.

“Exposure” can be looked at two ways- 1: the publication is small, just starting out or what have you, and doesn’t have the funds to pay you. They probably don’t have much circulation (copies being sent out to newsstands or traffic on their website) therefore, not giving you real exposure. 2: the publication is larger, prestigious or has a large circulation, in which case, they’re making money or doing something wrong in-house. These types of publishers are just greedy and think they can save a few dollars. Writing doesn’t pay that well in the first place, so it’s more insult than injury, but how often do you want to do favors such as giving away first publishing rights to your work or writing something special for someone who insults you?

Kostas: I'm new to the publishing scene. You're more seasoned than I am (hiatus or not) so I guess you're the one most suited to tell any starting writers: should you aim for exposure or paid work, right away? 

John: I say know the market. Look for websites like http://ralan.com/ and http://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/ or if you have the $50 to spend on a 1 year subscription, https://duotrope.com/ which has the tools of The Grinder, but is better established so may have more listings. These sites will allow you to find the markets that are right for you, starting out. For instance, when I began, I shot myself in the foot by sending my very first, poorly edited and sometimes trite stories to places like Asimov’s and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction because those were the magazines I read. When I came back to trying to publish, I used the above sites to learn about the hierarchy of market pay: token, semi-pro, pro. I should have started with token markets and so should you. They give you a chance to get your feet wet, have some success and give you that moment of seeing your work in print a lot sooner.

To get back around to your question specifically, always go for a bit of cash or at least a copy of the anthology or magazine your story would appear in. These offerings show the editors value your work, at least a little, and will be easier to break into than higher paying markets. I think we know how I feel about markets which don’t pay, or worse, charge to read your work (never do this! It’s usually some kind of scam, and these editors value you only for your money.)

Kostas: Let's say you got an infinite budget and all the time in the world. What will your dream project be like?

John: Assuming we’re sticking to writing here, I have a long term, nine book series for which I’ve only written the first book.  It’s actually part of a much larger project which explores a world I made up many years ago, from its start to its finish. If I could just sit and write, I would work on that world and the world which came after and create something I hope would last like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.

Aside from writing, I’ve always wanted to build robots, and I’ve dreamed of seeing films and an immersive MMORPG set in the above mentioned fantasy world.

Kostas: And following John’s advice for newbie writers, here’s Alexander Stephen Brown, a horror writer of the disturbing (and most effective) kind. But who is this mysterious horror writer and what does he do, when he's not pumping out stories?

Alexander: When I am not writing or editing, I am attending conventions and meeting the public.  My relaxation time involves reading other horror authors and watching horror movies.  So, I guess you could say, my world is literally a world of horror.

Kostas:  It’s always good to meet a man who’s engrossed in his work. Tell me about Traumatized, your short story anthology. 

Alexander: Traumatized is a short story collection that was first independently published in 2008.  It is a collection that I hold dear to me because it is a good throwback to old school horror--the best kind of horror.  Next year, Traumatized will receive a special edition release from Pro Se Publishing.  There will be five illustrations in this book by artist Robert K.

Kostas: Now tell me a couple things about all the other disturbing, gushing and writhing things you've written over the years.

John: This upcoming winter, my first novel, Syrenthia Falls, will be released by Dark Oak Press.  Although it is a werewolf novel, it isn’t a romantic werewolf novel and is fairly grotesque in nature.  Next year, Seventh Star Press will release the short story anthology that I am composing with Louise Myers, Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness.  This anthology is the sequel to the book Southern Haunts: Spirits that Walk Among Us.  Seventh Star also has in their hands the first novel of a fantasy/horror trilogy that I have written called Looking Glass Creatures.  During Halloween of 2014, Pro Se Publishing will release my book The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out which will be a throwback to vintage Halloween and Halloween folklore.

Kostas: Did you have any trouble writing a story about someone who cannot be destroyed, even though you horror writers can't go a chapter without making your characters bleed?

Alexander: Not really.  Creating Hester, in a sense, was my Frankenstein.  I was satisfied with her elements enough that destruction wasn’t necessary.

Kostas: Was this your first go at steampunk, or superhero fiction in general?

Alexander:  I have written steampunk before.  My steampunk stories can be found in the Dreams of Steam books by Kimberly Richardson and Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells by Hericka R. Raymer.  This was my first shot at writing a superhero story.  I have always wanted to write one and Capes and Clockworks allowed me the freedom to experiment.  I’m hoping to write more stories regarding Hester.

Kostas: Tell me a few things about Southern haunts and Syrenthia Falls.

Alexander: Syrenthia Falls is not a delicate piece.  Although it is a werewolf story, the novel focuses on child abuse, peer pressure, and bullying.  Syrenthia Falls was somewhat hard to write because so many of the characters were inspired by actual friends I had in high school.  Syrenthia Falls is the first of a seven book series.  The sequel has nothing to do with werewolves but the horror fan will have their blood thirst quenched.

Southern Haunts is a collection of 16 stories composed by 16 authors.  J. L. Mulvihill and I composed the anthology of ghost stories by telling our authors to go to an actual haunted location, become inspired, and then create a fictional account of what would happen there if their characters were to visit.  Southern Haunts is suitable for ages 15 and up.  Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness will be released next year by Seventh Star Press.

Kostas: As a horror writer, do you prefer working with short stories or novels? Do you think horror literature has changed in any way that matters? 

Alexander: I enjoy writing novels as much as I enjoy writing short stories.  It just depends on what subject I’m working with.  I do believe horror literature has changed over the years.  I believe it has become more psychological and, in some cases, more graphic.  Examples of this are Scott Sigler, John Ajvide Lindqvist, and Joe Hill.

Kostas: What are you working on at the moment?

Alexander: I’m editing The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out and outlining the sequel to Syrenthia Falls.

Kostas: So let's say you had an infinite budget and every famous actor at your disposal. Tell me what your dream project would be like.

Alexander: I would like a movie to be made of Syrenthia Falls.  I would like Rob Zombie to direct it and I would love to have it filled with horror veterans and new talents.  The effects would have to be old school and I could see either Mia Wasikowska or Abigail Breslin playing Syrenthia.
Kostas: Alexander, thank you very much. And now, I would like to take a moment to introduce to you David J Fielding, the man behind the big Blue Head that made both me and my brother shut up when he’d show up on our screens at half-past twelve on the kids’ weekend program, David J. Fielding! The man behind the brave teenagers who saved the world countless times from the menaces of the Moon-Witch Rita Repulsa and Lord Zed, who I think was her husband. But what did he do, when he finally ejected himself from his stasis chamber?

David: Zordon’s energy was dispersed in order to counter the evil/negative energy of the villains that the Power Rangers were facing – a noble sacrifice to help the teenagers he had so long tried to guide and teach.
Well, that’s what we are told happened. I like to think that Zordon actually retired to a resort planet in some sector of the galaxy where he was actually able to walk around, drink mai-tais and chat up the ladies ;)
Kostas: I hear you had a brief stint as the voice of a dangerous and disturbed psychiatrist in SANITARIUM (which I must say was my second favorite point and click game ever) and a horrible caged demon in Anvil of Dawn. What was it like, being the bad guy for a change?

Old school point and click games: when writers were kings, graphics designers kept asking “but can we make it crazier?” and programmers were (then and forever) keyboard-slaves.

David: Playing the bad guy is always fun – having the freedom to ignore the rules and to let the ego loose always allows for broader more colorful choices. It’s this “no restraint” factor that informs the basis of your portrayal of the character – and from that base all the over-the-top, maniacal, wicked and ruthless facets of villains take shape and challenge the heroes to stand up to them and their unbridled hate or lust for power. Finding the right voice for characters in video games is challenging, because it’s you alone in the booth with the writer and/designer, the sound engineer and the text… but it’s also a chance to explore and to craft a performance that will be remembered. Wow. Sanitarium J I hadn’t thought about that for some time!
Kostas: Oh I never forgot about it. So I just saw Super Task Force One and it was the best Power Rangers spoof I've ever seen. What was it like, parodying on the footsteps of a legendary show?
David: Steve Rudzinski is the young man responsible for Super Task Force. I had very little to do with it except for the cameo and tag at the end. But I was there for the first screening of it and thought it was a great tribute to the show and to the genre. If you want to know more I’d message Steve and let him know you enjoyed it!

Kostas: I would love to. And now, to the story at hand: what is At the Quiet Limit of the World about? 
David: At the Quiet Limit of the World is a pulp story essentially, in the same vein as those of Doc Savage or The Phantom. It draws heavily on the tropes of the genre and tells the story of a hero in a steampunk version of New York who confronts a villain who has attacked the dirigible mooring station atop the Empire State Building… I don’t want to give any more away, but hope you enjoy reading it J
Kostas: Is this your very first steampunk or superhero story? (Or both, for that matter?)
David: It’s not my first superhero story, nor my first steampunk one, though it is the first steampunk story I’ve had published. My other steampunk stories are unfortunately squirreled away in with notes and pages in my RPG folders – snippets and ideas really for a game that told a tale concerning Tesla, Time Travel and the spaces between our world and that of some very unsavory and terrifying Lovecraftian beings.
Kostas: When did you first start your adventures in writing and how long do you think you can keep it up?
David: I started writing, I guess about the age of 14 or 15? I remember telling stories to my brother and sister, accompanying them with illustrations. I also spent a lot of time as a kid mimicking the panels from my favorite comics and adding my own stories and dialogue. I hope to keep writing until I can no longer see or type J
Kostas: What are you working on, at the moment?
David: I have a number of short stories in the works, and am gearing up for the NaNoWriMo in November. I am working with Source Point Press on other projects and a series of tales that involve a reluctant paranormal investigator-like character who finds himself traversing the country unraveling the stories behind hauntings and the like.
Kostas: What was the best part, about writing for this anthology? Actually, forget about that: what was the best part (for you) about writing in general?
David: The best part is discovering where the stories take me – whether its writing an exciting action sequence or uncovering new worlds or those surprising twists when you think the story is going one way and then it veers off into a place that is surprising and emotionally jarring. But in a good way. Those moments when you know the story is going to touch someone.
Kostas: So I just ordered Alter Ego from Amazon. What should I expect, when I start reading? Also, will there be a sequel?
David: A very interesting collection of superhero stories and some really nice art work J
The guys at Source Point have been great to work with.

Kostas: On a closing note (and in a shameless attempt to let everyone have the last word), let’s get back to all of you, in turn.
Jeremy, I understand that you are kind of a tabletop gaming nerd. What system did you start with?

Jeremy: Actually, “kind of” is a bit of an understatement.  I played as well as ran tabletop RPGs for a couple of decades.  The Cycle of Ages Saga is a fusion of worlds created by me and my co-writer during our old D&D campaigns.  In fact, Gary Gygax is one of the people listed on our dedication page, since he was such a big inspiration for us over the years.  Dungeons & Dragons was definitely my first RPG.  I remember sitting down to play 1st edition when I was in the sixth grade; by the end of the year, I was designing my own maps, worlds, characters, and stories.  Over twenty years later, I still am.

Kostas: Always good to meet a fellow nerd. Moving on to John. Fromwhat I have a surmised, you're a fantasy nerd. What were your favorite series, the ones that influenced you the most?

John: I’d have to say I straddle the fantasy / scifi line pretty tightly. I love Ray Bradbury’s work. His collections were some of my first introductions to science fiction.  Alan Dean Foster’s Flinx of the Commonwealth and Spellsinger series were also big influences, the first scifi, the other fantasy. On the fantasy side, while I read Lord of the Rings, I really identified with Robert Lynn Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye’s Myth Series. These were both engaging fantasy and humorous. I think humor is important in any kind of writing unless it interferes with the story.

Kostas: Alexander Brown, list me your favorite movies. Sequels don’t count.
Alexander:  My all-time favorite horror movies are Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, American Werewolf in London, Carrie, The Shining, Pet Semetary, The Hills Have Eyes, I Spit on Your Grave, Dracula (original), The Wolfman (original), Freaks, House on Haunted Hill, and many more.
Kostas: David, from what I have surmised, you are what we would call a comic-book nerd. Which titles are your top three favorites?

David: I love superheroes, though to be honest I was never a collector of comics. I do own them and a number of graphic novels. I have friends who are comic book creators and I love the way the medium merges art and storytelling. It’s also a great time to see some of my favorites making their way to the big screen in ways that make them look really good – and being treated with seriousness and respect. So as far as titles, I can’t say I have follow any titles – however my all-time favorite characters are Captain America, Batman and John Constantine.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, we conclude our review. It has been an honor to be published along with the lot of you. Here’s to a great publication and a quartet of bumpy, but lucrative writing careers for each and every one of you!
This is Konstantine Paradias wishing you all ‘Good Write and Good Luck’.

I’m so sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Jeremy Hicks is on Facebook and you can add him so you can say you knew the guy before he was famous (https://www.facebook.com/jjeremyhicks?fref=ts). His Cycle of Ages Saga website is at: http://www.cycleofagessaga.com/

John McColley also has a Facebook account (https://www.facebook.com/john.mccolley.7) but he’s barely ever there as he’s fawning over his brand-new boy. You can, however, catch him rambling on Twitter @JohnAMcColley and on his blog (http://johnamccolley.wordpress.com/

Alexander Stephen Brown is always standing at the very edge of your vision. His Facebook Fan Page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alexander-S-Brown/47904064687) is filled with horror-y goodness.

David Fielding maintains a blog, called Greymane’s Veil, just brimming with zen wisdom (http://greymane.wordpress.com/) he also has a FaceBook account, but he’s keeping it on the hush-hush.


And on a lighter note, my story "The Grim" published in Third FlatIron Publishing's Lost Worlds anthology, is among the six to be nominated for a PushCart Award! Holy crap, them's good news.

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