|Jessica McHugh |
author and beer connoisseur
drops by The Blog Mansion
Jessica McHugh: Beer’s best fresh.
W: Oh? Really? I paid a fortune for this just yesterday in your honor. It’s from 1538.
M: It’s tar.
W: That’s what they drank back then.
M: No. It’s actual tar. How much did you pay for this bucket of tar?
W: Let’s not talk about that right now. MGD?
M: I brought a selection. Let’s drink those.
W: Works for me.
First Beer: Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA
W: This is good. Strong. So Song of Eidolons is being re-released this month. Are you changing the dedications to include me this time?
M: I included you in the first dedication. I went on at length about how I love the cozy perch I've made outside your bedroom window and how the binoculars don't do you justice and---I mean, no, all dedications are for my mom.
W: Tell me about Song of Eidolons.
M: "Song of Eidolons" is a story about a 22 year old girl named Delaney Lortal who has never left her grandfather's house. She was raised believing it was normal. When she discovers her grandfather's deceit and finally leaves the house, she starts down an incredible path that reveals many secrets, including why she's been the lifelong target of a group called the Orisanima.
W: How does a re-release work in this day and age?
M: I'm rewriting a lot of the book. Or rephrasing, at the very least. I've gotten great reviews on the book as is, but having grown as a writer since its original release in 2009, I can't stand a lot of the narrative. It's not surprising. I went from writing a fantasy series to writing an Arthurian Legend novel to writing "Eidolons." Everything sounded way too...epic, for lack of a better word. I'm in the auditory revision stage right now, and I hope the book will be released within the month. I'm letting eTreasures Publishing deal with all of the other wackiness.
W: Will you be having a sale on Song of Eidolons?
M: I certainly hope so! But I'm just happy that it will finally be released on Kindle. Song of Eidolons, despite the required prose tweaking, is my favorite story. It was the most effortless writing experience of all of my books.
Second Beer: Flying Dog Underdog Atlantic Lager
W: Cheers! You’ve been writing your whole life. How old were you when you had first book published? What was it? Who published it?
M: Despite many years of childhood, and then drunken, writing, I didn't try to get published until I was 24. My first novel Camelot Lost was released when I was 25 by PublishAmerica. Yeah, yeah, I know.
OW!!! You don't have to throw bottles at my head! I said, I KNOW. PublishAmerica is not a reputable place, and they'll accept anything. Shut up.
The thing is, no one would give me a chance on my Arthurian Legend book. Everyone kept saying it was Mists of Avalon, which proved to me that they didn't bother reading it. Camelot Lost is more about Arthur's sons, Mordred and Amr, than the women in his life. I really loved the story and felt it was original, but I kept getting rejection after rejection. So, despite everything I knew about PA, I decided to submit. OF COURSE they accepted it. The price is too high, and it's not in ebook, but I believe having that one publication helped me get my next one. I finally had "experience." I didn't mention it was a PublishAmerica book in any of my query letters, though. With good reason.
|"Five Hundred Year-Old Beer" spilled in Arkansas|
W: So do I get a dedication?
M: I'll dedicate my brain damage to you. "For Johnny: thanks to you, I can smell purple."
W: Give me another bottle. You call yourself a speculative fiction author. Why?
M: Speculative Fiction was the only label I could find to describe what I do. I like to dabble in every genre, and I find that my stories are often answers to wacky questions I ask myself. What would happen if a mysterious man showed up in 1600s London with a brand new, super advanced science? That's how my alternate history novel "The Sky: The World" began.
W: Tell me about your alternate history, The Sky: The World.
M: The world is changed by Dr. Azaz, who introduces a crystalline science/technology called Picoepistemology. It allows for the production of planes ahead of the real timeline, as well as regenerative material, but the biggest change is that children are no longer conceived through intercourse. Instead, women bathe in Fertilization Pools filled with programmed picocrystals that allow them to have children with longer, stronger lives. Those who still conceive through the old methods are looked down upon. Captain Jack Racine and his brother are such offspring, known as "triaps." At the start of the book, Jack's brother is killed in a plane crash--under mysterious circumstances. As a lush, cad, and laudanum addict, Jack isn't the noble man his brother was, but he sets out to find out why his brother was killed. The journey leads him and his aerobatic team, The Sherwood Six, down many dangerous paths, including one that leads to Dr. Azaz's door.
W: What should we drink now?
Third Beer: Laudanum...er, I mean, how about some Flying Dog Raging Bitch?
W: PINS is now out. I bought a copy for my six year-old niece and got a terrible phone call from my thirty-three year-old sister-in-law. Would you like to tell me why?
M: Hmm, I'm not sure. When I was young, my mom bought me a book called What's Happening to My Body: Book for Girls, which contained just as many euphemisms for "vagina." I used it as research, actually. But I guess descriptive nudity, sapphic scenes, and brutal murders involving malfunctioning pinsetters aren't quite as tame as Goodnight Moon. A horror novel set in a strip club might be more for 6th graders than 6 year-olds.
W: This one is my favorite. I can’t feel my feet anymore.
M: They’re still there.
M: We should make some nachos.
W: Buzzkill. You do some acting right? What’s that about?
M: I haven't done any in a while because I didn't think I could juggle a full-time "real" job, a full-time writing job, and a play. But I still feel like an actor as a writer. I think creating compelling characters and dialogue requires some acting ability--in solitude, at the very least. Writers have to live as their characters, speak in their voices, and make realistic decisions based on each one's personality and past decisions. I tend to speak aloud as I write dialogue, usually in an inexplicable British accent. Although I loved my time on the stage, I've come to realize that I'm much better as a playwright, hence winning "Best New Play of 2011" from Baltimore Broadway World for my play "Fools call it Fate."
Fourth Beer: I feel fat. Let's drink some Bud Light Lime.
W: Your bio says you write short stories and poetry and plays too? Gawd… what don’t you write?
M: Blog posts. I'm terrible at that kind of stuff. I'd rather write about my thoughts and feelings through characters than as myself.
W: What’s your favorite genre, Miss do it all?
M: Don’t get surly.
W: I’m sorry. I’m just envious. I love you, you know? You’re tha bethst. I really love you.
M: Stop crying. Thanks. I do love writing horror. For some reason, I really enjoy describing blood and broken skulls. It might stem from that time I broke someone's skull with my Playskool record player and rolled around in their blood while listening to "Bert & Ernie's Sing Along". But I'm no psychiatrist. I'll leave that up to the pros.
It was the dog, I swear
W: I gotta tinkle.
M: Hurry back.
W: No. I'm done. What’s our next beer?
Fifth Beer: Back to good stuff. Flying Dog Woody Creek White.
W: With all your writing I’m surprised you have a day job. Is that necessary or just to keep you plugged in?
M: Actually, this is my first week sans day job. It's terrible. Oh, wait, did I say "terrible?" I meant: IT'S THE BEST THING IN THE WHOLE WORRRRRLLLLDDD. My beer bottle is an awesome microphone, by the way. I learned that since quitting my day job, too.
M: It was so tough working a full-time biotech job and jumping straight into writing as soon as I got home. I did it because I had to, but after my husband scored a new, better paying gig, we decided this was the perfect opportunity for me to go freelance. I will have to get a PT job eventually, but right now, I'm just enjoying getting tons of work done. With 7 active works-in-progress and 12 on the back burner, I really needed it.
W: Who helps ya’ with promotion, networking, editing and all that stuff?
M: Well, there's Evil Jess, Funny Jess, Drunk Jess, Honest Jess, and Attention-Whore Jess. And, believe it or not, they're all super hot.
I have an active official Facebook page where I post "DeepThoughtsys" and "McTruths," along with lots of other fun stuff for my fans. I think engaging the audience is extremely important, so I try to keep my posts entertaining and helpful. As far as editing, I usually revise a book/story at least 3 times before I even think of submitting. I also have a few friends who have helped as beta readers and editors in the past, and the publishers' assigned editors are a huge help, but on the whole I do a lot by myself.
I write my stories by hand, type the pages into the computer, print out the manuscript, edit it by hand, type in the changes, lather, rinse, repeat, and lastly, I do an auditory revision on the computer so I can hear the mistakes my eyes missed. It's a long process, but it's worth it.
W: I hear you’re looking into self publishing. Why would ya’ do tha’? Are you drunk?!
M: I'M NOT DRUNK!
W: Then why are you lying on the floor.
M: For inspiration.
M: Face down? Works for me. Okay, embracing the self-publishing monster. Really?
M: Yes, I'm jumping into self publishing with my collection, "Virtuoso at Masturbation, and More McHughmorous Musings." The collection will contain DeepThoughtsys from my Facebook page, creative prose/poetry prompts inspired by those DeepThoughtsys, AND fan-submitted illustrations. If anyone would the chance to submit, please send me an email at JessicaMcHughink@live.com or check out the guidelines at http://www.jessicamchughbooks.com/virtuosoartsubmissions.htm.
W: I athume you’re a Lovecraft fan, but who else, besides me, are your favorite authors?
M: Roald Dahl is my favorite author. Of course I love Matilda and The BFG and all of the other kids books, but his macabre short story collections are the best. I love a brilliantly twisted short story, and to me, he's the master.
I also love Bret Easton Ellis. He's a prick, but he's my prick. And how can you *not* love my prick?
W: So, uhm… like, yer links and stuff… what are they?
WEBSITESixth Beer: I think this might be shampoo, but let's go with it.
Post Mortem Press
W: are my feet still there?
M: Nope, now you have meters.
W: Do you like to write drunk?
M: Does a bear shit in the woods for Charmin royalties? OF COURSE.
W: wahgrgbul imtoble?
M: You have a phone contract with Warg Mobile? Tsk tsk, it's prepaid Virgin Orc all the way. Heh, virgin...all the way...this shampoo is good.
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Jessica McHugh is an author of speculative fiction that spans the genre from horror and alternate history to epic fantasy. A member of the Horror Writers Association and a 2013 Pulp Ark nominee, she has devoted herself to novels, short stories, poetry, and playwriting. Jessica has had twelve books published in four years, including the bestselling "Rabbits in the Garden," "The Sky: The World" and the gritty coming-of-age thriller, "PINS." More info on her speculations and publications can be found at JessicaMcHughBooks.com