Thursday, April 18, 2013

Charles Day and an Evil Jester
Artist, Author, publisher, teacher, jack-of-all-trades, and Bram Stoker award® nominee Charles Day dropped by the Blog Mansion the other day to help me clear a sink.

Charles: Really? We’re doing plumbing?

Johnny: Hand me that bucket quick.

Black brackish water - none dare call it sludge - oozed out of the open pipe into the plastic bucket.

J: So Charles, you’re the biggest name I’ve ever had to the Blog Mansion. Can you hold this? Yeah, just like that. I’ll see if I can find a rag.

C: What’? Are you kidding? Me? Have you read my bio? Here read this.

J: Okay, I’ll read, you stick your arm up there and see if you can find the clog.

C: Ah….

"Bram Stoker Award®-nominated author Charles Day A.K.A, the evil Jester, is the Mentor Program Committee Chairperson for the Horror Writers Association and co-chair for their NY/Long Island chapter. He is also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association.

"His biggest success to date is the recent sale of his first YA western horror trilogy Kyle McGertt, Destroyer of the Indian Curses, Book One: The Hunt for the Ghoulish Bartender (Blood Bound Books, Spring 2013)

"He's written the Bram Stoker Award®-nominated YA novel, The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief (Noble YA Publishers LLC,) which has garnered tons of praise from both young and old. His mystery novelette The Plan: A Mystery (Naked Snake Press) and his horror novella LOCKDOWN (Included in Hannibal's Manor, Wicked East Press) which received an endorsement from four-time Bram Stoker award winning author, Lisa Morton, is also available.

"He's also edited his first anthology Tales of Terror and Mayhem: From Deep within the Box (Evil Jester Press, August 2012) compiled with 23 terrifying stories by amazingly talented authors, including four-time Bram Stoker nominated author Jeremy C. Shipp. Includes the debut, never before told story of just how his alter ego, the evil little jester became so damn evil, titled THE GIFT, by Charles Day, edited by Hollie Snider & Jessica Weiss.

He is the founder/owner of Hidden Thoughts Press- Nonfiction collections where the primary focus involves mental wellness and recovery.

"He is also the owner of Evil Jester Press and Evil Jester Comics & Graphic Novels.
 He's proud to mention that owes much of his success to the little guy in the Jester's box, his alter ego, his muse, his best friend. Welcome to his twisted world. You can visit them at or on facebook."

J: That's a long CV, sorry it got wet. Wait. No. That's not water really, is it? I think I ruined it. Here.

C: Keep it.

J: Thanks. How did The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief get a Bram Stoker nomination? Who’d you have to kill?

C: No one actually. It started when my book was placed on the Horror Writer Associations (HWA) “Recommended Reading List” and received a bunch of votes. It was then pulled over to the preliminary ballot with nine other “first novels,” and then was voted by the active members to be pulled over with four others and placed in the “Final Ballot,” which awards you a certificate for a” Bram Stoker award® nominated author,” title. Now I have to wait until the red carpet for horror author’s event and see if my book is in “the envelope,” at the Bram Stoker Award night down in New Orleans on June 15th, 2013.

J: What is it like to be a Co-Chair of the NY/LI Chapter of the New England Horror Writer’s Association? Does that mean it takes two people before anyone can sit down?

C: Too funny. Actually James Chambers and I held our first informal meeting last October while we were in NYC for the NY COMIC CONVENTION. We are looking to hold our next meeting in May. We have some great ideas for our fellow New York/ Long Island region writers.

J: Your KYLE McGERTT series is a “young adult, western, horror.” I heard they had to invent a new Dewey Decimal just for it. What do you have against librarians?

C:  Again, you got me. It’s a trilogy that will be released by Blood Bound Books soon. It is also in the process of being developed into a comic book series.  Here is a working synopsis, but this is not set in a gold nugget.

“A NEW LEGEND IS BORN! Spawned in the Old West from the discovery of a magical gold medallion, now in the hands of a vengeful Indian tribe known as "The Redeemer's." They've summoned a new curse, a terrible evil using a lowly bartender as their bait. However, they only have a piece of this magical gold. The other half is in the hands of eighteen-year-old, Kyle McGertt, who's just taken over responsibility of the medallion since the untimely death of his father, killed in a gunfight by a ruthless gang of marauders, The Dark Riders. Will he take what his Pa taught him to stop this latest curse? Or will the Ghoulish Bartender continue to grow his army of ghouls, destroying and killing innocent townsfolk in their path of destruction? Hell, Kyle's just a boy, still wet behind the ears, weeping and shouting revenge on those who killed his Pa. Can he take on the rule of his father, destroyer of the Indian curses?”

J: That sounded rehearsed, but okay. Crawl a little further under the sink there and see what that gray thing is. Don’t get any in your eyes. Here’s a wrench. When did you start writing?

C: I started writing years ago as a teenager, but only wrote stories that were never completed. My first real writing occurred while employed on a psychiatric ward for 12 years, the last couple of those I would spend my evenings while most of the patients slept, penning my psychological horror Deep Within, which was sold to Alter Press, and hopefully will be out this coming fall, 2013.

J: So you spent twelve years in a psychiatric hospital. What was that like? Why’d they let you go?

C: I’ve been employed in the mental health field about 25 years now (need to feed the family with a good day job) and I’ve met so many interesting people, so it’s easy for me to come up with some characters for my novels. But the years I spent on a secured psych ward where at times, seriously dangerous. When people are at their worst, they tend to do bad things. If not for the big burley male nurses, and the female nurses on my shifts, I may not be here writing and talking. Some of the patients were extremely dangerous when they were first admitted to our floor.  However, most were quickly medicated and there were many enjoyable moments as well, watching people recover from their illness or at least become stabilized so they can go back home.

J: What I always want to know is how you went from young handsome, sexy, handy with a wrench surprise plumber to author. How did you get your first work noticed? What was your path to print?

C: I spent the first two years getting tons of rejections but I also got me 14 acceptances, where my stories were placed in various small press anthologies. It was then I wanted to write, and began penning The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief .

J: That’s bleach. I wouldn’t drink that.

C: Oh, okay. I’m thirsty. Do you have a beer or some juice in your fridge, over there?

J: Might be some beer left over from Jessica's visit. Or shampoo. I'll see. Do you have an agent?

C: Not yet. I have a few bites though.

J: Yeah, I don't know what's in that sludge. I'll get you some lotion.

C: A tetanus shot too.

J: Okay, so not only do you write horror, young adult, western, mystery, blogs, posts, letters and to-do lists, you also edit anthologies, are half a chair and a writing teacher. On top of this you are also a publisher three times over, if I’m counting right, you have your fingers in Evil Jester Press and Evil Jester Comics as well as Hidden Thoughts Press, a non-fiction publishing company. How do you have enough time for all this and what’s next, a movie studio?

C: Shit, I’m still trying to figure all that out. How do I do it? You forgot to add, I have a sweet little four- year-old girl who loves to paint, draw, play pretend, and write. I also need to keep the wife happy too, you know.

J: That slime just moved. Burn it with your flashlight before it gets away.

C: Got it!

J: Besides me, who’re your favorite authors? Who inspired you in your career?

C: Stephen King and Tolkien were big for me in my younger years. Today, I have so many authors who I love, if I had to name a few, I would say Joe Hill, Joe McKinney, Gary Braunbeck, Jonathan Maberry, etc.

J: Do you want to get into the whole “state of the industry” thing? Self-publishing, eBooks, Amazon vs. Barnes & Noble vs. mom and pops?

C: All I can say is the writer has soooooo many choices today to see their work published. No longer does an aspiring writer have to mail out queries to publishers and editors and wait months for an answer. The explosion of small presses, self-publishing opportunities, and more awaits an eager writer. However, I will say this. Do your research, go to conferences, meet people, and fall in love, woops! I meant connect with fellow writers who have done some of the research already, and strategically plan your career.

J: What’s your writing process? How much do you edit? Who gets to give you input?

C: I write the first draft, sometimes with an outline first, or scenes written down on paper, and then its two full edits at least, before I send it off to beta readers.  I also have like four mentors, key to your survival as a new writer.

J: What’s the best thing you ever wrote?

C: I really feel this whole ADVENTURES OF KYLE MCGERTT series is my best. I have so much I want to do with this. The comic book series will take us to new frontiers beyond my book trilogy, and the reader will be introduced to some cool new creatures as well. I’m in the process of getting some great artists to work with me on this. I am an artist too, but want to bring in top talent to bring this imaginary western horror/fantasy world alive. I’m also in discussions with a co-writer.

J: What scares you?

C: The bullshit that’s going on in this world. Terrorism, global warming, mass killing. This is the real horror.

J: Do you know how to do drywall?

C: Not really.

J: Well, there's one thing. What else?

C: I’m not a swimmer, I can’t do interior designing, I leave that to my wife.

J: So where on the interwebs can my faithful readers find out more about you?

C:  I’ll post some here, but I’m an addict of Facebook, so you can find my page, and many of my author pages here. I do need to get a website going . . . someday.
FB: Legend of the Pumpkin Thief
FB: Kyle McGertt Ghoulish Bartender
Evil Jester Press
Evil Jester Comics
Hidden Thoughts Press
J: I think you fixed it. This thing hasn’t worked in years - never actually. You got the faucets to work, you cleared the clog. What was wrong?

C: You had a serious clog!!

J: We should get you to a shower and maybe a safe room.

C: I need it!  Look at me, I’m drenched in slime.