Wednesday, October 29, 2014

J.B. Christopher in the Noir Room

J. B. Christopher
Leaving the Blog Mansion a little lighter
J. B. Christopher has a new book out, see? On the Edge. It’s a crime novel. A noir, full of bad guys and a gumshoe with a badge, so I guess you’d call him a copper. J. B. dropped by the blog mansion and we had a little chat in the Noir Room.

J. B. Christopher: Why is it so dark in here?

Johnny: Wait a minute. Let me get the blinds.

JB: Slats of light. Still hard to see.

J: Let me turn on the fan with the backlight. How’s that?

JB: Really? That’s your solution? A slowly spinning fan with a light behind it?

J: That’s it.

JB: Everything’s in shadow.

J: And black and white. I even have filters on the windows to make the outside black and white. Look.

JB: It’s raining. When did it start raining?

J: It’s always raining out that window. Watch the water bead up and run down the panes in monochrome.

JB: The whole room is black and white. How’d you —

J: Stop beating around the bush. Tell me about your book or do you want me to get rough? What’s On The Edge about?

JB: It’s about a man who has some pretty tough choices to make. The main character, Detective Oliveras, is tested after a landmark Reno casino is nearly destroyed with a failed bomb-extortion plot.

 The police brass are under pressure from the mayor’s office, want to pin the crime on the casino’s owner. During the investigation, Oliveras learns that the casino housed a sordid off the books club frequented by politicians and business men alike. Drugs, kink, gambling.  The story tracks the investigation of the bombing and Oliveras figuring out where was all the money going from the club. He keeps the second part secret from his partner, and the reader doesn’t know until the end if Oliveras succombs to temptation and makes off with the cash.

That’s a long way of saying it’s a story about a man who has to make a choice after he learns the system he was so loyal to, had failed him so badly.
J: Tell me something I don’t know. Here have a cigarette.

JB: Federal informants are well paid when compared to their local counterparts.

J: That's good to know actually. Thanks. Here’s a highball. If that doesn’t loosen your tongue maybe the boys down by the docks will have something to say.

JB: It’s nine in the morning. Who drinks this early?

J: Maybe Oliveras?

JB: As long as it was with a beer back.

J: Nobody’s that clean. What’s his dodge?

JB: He is pretty clean, almost naively so. He was stubborn with his personal code which manifested itself with anger issues.

J: A crappy high stakes poker game is nothing to get worried about. Where’s the edge in On the Edge? Now if there’s a girl, a woman, a real woman, like this one, then maybe it gets interesting.

JB: Who’s this?

J: This is Sylvia.

JB: Her cigarette holder is a yard long. She makes Jessica Rabbit look demure.

J: She’s got the gams. So who’s the femme fatale in On The Edge?

JB: Susan Vega. She’s as sultry and duplicitous as they come. A con artist who had previously done time for identify theft, she seduced casino owner Jacky Murray, and learned how Jack was skimming moneyfrom his own casino and was running an off the books club. She learned the money was hidden somewhere in the casino. But with the failed bomb plot (it partially exploded), access to the casino was closed to the public as the building was structurally unsafe. She needed Oliveras to help her get the cash.

J: What is the JB about? What’s the real name behind the alias? What are you hiding?

JB: I have a very uptight day job, so keeping the identities separate seems like a good idea.

J: That’s suspicious. Are you on the lam? My sources tell me you hop between Portland Oregon and Hawaii. What’s up with that?

JB: My work is in Portland. Wife and family are in Hawaii.

J: Suspicious. How’d you get into this writing racket anyway? What’s your story from scribbler to author?

JB: I always wanted to write fiction. Lying is a fun way to turn a buck.

J: So true. Will there be a sequel to On The Edge or are you moving on, you dodgy running rebel?

JB: There is a sequel (Bridgetown). I’m pimping it out to publishers as we speak.

J: What’s your writing process?

JB: I primarily write in the evenings.  Work, kids, dinner, sit down around ten and write for a few hours. Go to bed, wake up, repeat.  I keep a notepad (or evernote on iPhone) with me at all times I’m constantly jotting things down - bits of dialog, concepts, etc.  That sounds like more of a routine than a process.
J: Where on the internets can folks find you?

J: Another drink?

JB: No. That was pretty strong. I’m getting dizzy.

J: Yes it was. I slipped you a Micky Finn.

JB: You did?

J: Easier to fit you with some concrete loafers.

JB: Why?

J: You’re a snitch. A stoolie. You talk too much. Give you a dark room and mood lighting and you sing like a canary. I can’t risk you running around ready to drop a dime on me. Best to bump you off. Make you croak. Capiche?

My patented Micky
JB: But…

J: Ah, I’m just kidding.

JB: Oh good.

J: I’m not going to kill you. But I will be taking your kidneys. Noir rooms aren’t cheap and I’m into Sylvia thirty C’s.

JB: That was unexpected.

Worth ten large - EACH.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

St. George Book Festival - see you there!

Hey cool cats. I have a couple of great author interviews stewing but they’re not soup yet.

This weekend I’ll be down in fabulous St. George at the fabulous St. George Book Fest Festival (Warning: if you click on this link, you're going to get a song about reading.)

Friday October 24th

4:00 p.m. The Writer's Journey: One Day Workshop
Dixie State University, Holland Bldg
225 S 700 E, St George, UT 84770

Class topic: Symbolism
in your writing. It's there. Use it.

6:00 p.m. Literacy Charity Dinner
St. George Children's Museum, 3rd floor
86 S. Main Street, St. George UT

Saturday October 25th

9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. St. George Book Festival Book Expo
St. George Children's Museum, 3rd floor
86 S. Main Street, St. George UT

My hour to shine. Please come out and support me. Please. Pretty please.

I’m teaching and schmoozing and selling and just being cool. It’s a celebration of the Humanities and words. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Johnny Worthen interview on The Writing Mama Show

Next week I'll be down in St. George for the St. George Book Festival. I'll be chilling and talking symbols and writing, publishing and how freaking wonderful the Humanities are. As part of this endeavor I did a fun Blog Talk Radio Interview.

Since I'm otherwise distracted and you really need to hear this, today's Blog Mansion is a fantastic link to the Inknetwork. Sit back for an hour and find out what makes me think.

Also, check out my Events page to see where and what I'll be doing in St. George

The Writing Mama Show with Tie-Dye Author Johnny Worthen.

Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with WorldOfInkNetwork on BlogTalkRadio

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Seasonal Staff with F.J.R. Titchenell & Matt Carter

F.J.R. Titchenell
I just had F.J.R. Titchenell (Fiona Carter) over to the Blog Mansion last May for the release of her book of Zombie defamation. Now with her husband, Matt Carter, she’s back and libeling shapeshifters.
Matt Carter

They dropped in at an opportune time in October just after the Dark Portal in the basement burst open with its annual cries from hell and brimstone smoke, a sign of the season. I let my regular staff off and let the “newcomers” earn their keep.

Johnny: I’d offer you a sandwich, but my staff won’t serve you.

Matt: Why not?

J: Well some of them are zombies, as you can tell, and they’re a little miffed at Fiona for Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of).

Fiona: So I took a few creative liberties! Not all zombies are subject to your benevolent rule, you know. Besides, not all the servers are zombies.

J: No. It’s an assortment, but the devils and werewolves, slime monsters and Amway salesmen are refusing to serve you in support of the Zombies.

M: What about those people? They look normal.

J: Them. Oh, I don't think they want to... Oh, they do. Okay. Would you like a sandwich? I’m famished.

J: Well that works out then.

M: Why are the zombies smiling now?

J: It’s just rigor mortis. So, two books out with Jolly Fish Press this year? Wow. I thought I’d be the first to do that. Who’d you sell your soul to?

F: Other than Jolly Fish Press? Just kidding, we sold to Cthulhu, of course. Best deals on the soul market.

J: You got movie interest in Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) right? Tell us about that.

F: Yes, there’s been interest, in Splinters as well, but we’re currently in that contractual limbo where we’re basically not allowed to talk about anything. Hopefully not forever!

J: I don’t want you to think I’m jealous.

F: Wouldn't think of it.

J: My servers though want to thank you for coming with a little kiss. They’re so sweet.

F: That was creepy.

M: I kinda’ liked it.
J: Yeah, so now you have a new book out. Splinters, released just last month. Tell us about it.

M: A coupla kids fight a race of shapeshifting aliens in a creepy small town. At one point they chop up a deer and set it on fire. So you can say this book’s got something for everyone.

J: So now you malign shapeshifters?

F: There might be a few Splinters who are misunderstood. We shall see as the clash between our species intensifies. But the way they kidnap innocent humans to steal their earthly lives can’t be overlooked.

M: Only the bad ones. It just so happens that in this book, there are a lot of bad ones.

J: I happen to know a very special shapeshifter who’s lovely and humane, confused and scared and doesn’t like the idea of being hunted down by young adult vigilantes.

F: Yes, I think it’s probably best if we don’t introduce Mina and Eleanor. Any resemblance between her kind and the life-stealing Splinters who plague Prospero is an unfortunate coincidence, but after all Mina’s been through, she might be a little prejudiced. Do send my love, though.

Dark Portal in the Basement
M: Yeah, Mina’s kind of a “burn all the shapeshifters to ashes and ask questions later” type of gal. Ben might give her a chance though, since he’s a nice guy. A little too nice, if you ask me.

J: I'm still partial to shapeshifters. Loyal bunch. So, is Prospero, California in Splinters a real place?

M: Strictly? No. But we’ve based it on a number of small towns. Where I grew up, where she grew up, places we’ve seen on road trips, Roswell (which we have actually been to and gotten out of sans a rectal probing), Castle Rock, Derry, Dunwich, Arkham… the list goes on. Like the latter half of that list, Prospero’s one of those places you’ll be glad doesn’t really exist.

J: This is the first of a trilogy – The Prospero Chronicles. How are they coming?

F: We’ve actually got five books planned in the series, though only the first three are under contract so far. We just sent the final edits for book two back to our editor at Jolly Fish, and we’ve written the third but plan to do one more editing round ourselves before publisher’s edits. Since we’re ahead of schedule with Prospero, we’re taking a break right now to work on some separate projects. As for mine, do you have any objection to the disparagement of genetically engineered cosmetic parasites?

J: Actually-

F: Sorry I asked.

M: How about the trials and tribulations of up and coming supervillains? Anyway, where’d the servers go? I’m still hungry.

J: I think they went to the kitchen to have a snack. They get really hungry sometimes.

M: Now the devils are smiling too. And the Amway salesmen.
Amway Salesmen
The darkest of the damned

J: Must be the new lotion. So, uhm, you two are married and write together. That sounds like a living hell. How does that work out for you?

F: It’s actually great. Our strengths are thankfully freakishly complementary. Matt takes most of the world building and outlining (which he loves and I struggle through) off of my plate, and I get to focus on my favorite parts, like properly traumatizing, dissecting, and reconstructing our poor characters.

M: We have a great time writing together. Sometimes, yeah, we’ll disagree, but we’ll talk it out until we do agree and then we get an awesome story finished in half the usual time. And no, all that blinking right now wasn’t me trying to send you a message in morse code saying, ‘HELP, SHE HAS CHAINED ME TO THE COMPUTER CHAIR AND REMOVED MY FEET SO I CANNOT RUN’. One of your servers splashed gravy in my eye, and that stuff burns.

J: It's the slime monsters. They have no dexterity. The others are,... uhm, busy. Who gets the final edit?

Slime Monsters are crappy servers
M: The fine people at Jolly Fish Press? Well, when you’re talking about the two of us, we tend to bat it back and forth until we’re both happy about it, but since we both tend to notice different things, it still works out pretty quick.

F: Nothing gets through to the final draft until we can both live with it, no matter how long we have to debate it to get it there, but Matt writes Ben’s perspective and I write Mina’s, and for the most part we each call the shots for our own character.

J: Where on the internets can people find out more about you?

F: There’s my blog:, my Facebook:, and my Twitter:,

M: My blog:, my Facebook:, and my Twitter:,

F: And Splinters of course is on Amazon and Goodreads …and pretty much anywhere online where books are sold. You can also find out more about how to protect yourself from Splinters on The Prospero Chronicles official website:

J: I wish you great success and just know that in the end shapeshifters will be shown to be good guys and you’ll name me as the primary inspiration for all your success.

F: What? Why?

M: Is that our car?

F: We’re… I mean, they’re – us – in the car – we’re driving away. That’s us in the car! What the….?

J: Looks like you’ll be here for a while. My new servants will show you to your rooms in the basement.

F: But we have a book tour!

M: And deadlines!

F: And a snake that someone needs to feed!

M: And a kidney transplant!

J: Don’t worry. You’ll make your deadlines and all your appearances. You'll snake will eat and I have a spare kidney in a jar somewhere. We'll look for it later. No one will know the difference.

F: But they looked so nice...

J: Things are often not as they appear.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Max Booth III – Of Telekinesis, Writing and Publishers

Max Booth III agrees to my demands.
You might remember Max Booth III from before when he came over all upset because I fed his girlfriend to fire ants. We’re friends now, so when he got out a new novel out, The Mind is a Razor Blade, I invited him over to talk about me.

Johnny: Man what summer. I’ve been named Writer of the Year and Eleanor, The Unseen won best in state for Young Adult in Utah -the Golden Quill from the League of Utah Writers. That’s pretty cool, don’t you think?

Max: Oh yeah.

J: And I woke up this morning with telekinetic powers. Is this great or what?

M: What?

J: I’ll show you.

I did this with my MIND!
<coffee cup floats above dish>

M: Oh. I see.

J: I was hoping you could tell me where it came from. Your new book, The Mind is a Razor Blade, covers this stuff right?

M: Yeah, the main character wakes up in the woods, no memory, surrounded by dead bodies, stuck with a telekinetic superpower that he can't control. It's all pretty wacky.

J: Hold on – a sneeze.

M: Did you just tip my coffee cup over? Damn it’s hot.

J: Yeah, I can’t control it very well yet. Does your protagonist ever get the hang of it?

M: Not so much in the beginning, but yeah, he starts getting the hang of it. The book very much follows themes found in superhero comics. Our hero is given a new power, a new responsibility, then he goes through many trials trying to perfect his powers.

J: He kills people with it though, right?

M: Oh, yeah, lots of head explosions, definitely.

J: So that’s normal? Whew, that’s a relief.

M: What?

J: I like how you mix genres.

M: I like how you avoid questions.

J: The Mind is a Razor Blade, has to be called a horror, but what else is it?

M: Neo-noir is the genre I've been calling it. A little bit of science fiction, too. It's very similar to films like Dark City, Total Recall, and Blade Runner. It has that same apocalyptic dystopian setting. That same atmosphere.
J: It’s only your second novel right? Toxicity was before. Wow, that was a something.

M: At conventions, the publisher of Toxicity calls it "The Dog Fucking Book". So, yeah. It certainly is...something.

J: That's how I remember it. But still your Amazon author listing is four pages long. What’s up with that?

M: I'm...I'm sorry? Magazines and anthologies keep accepting my short stories. It's a burden.

J: What else do you have your plate?

M: Nothing. Everything’s floating in mid air.

J: Oh. Sorry.

M: That knife came awfully close to my… uhm… to hurting me.

J: Yeah. So what else?

M: I'm currently writing a novella about a fictional bizarro press. It will be the literary version of Spinal Tap. I'm also doing a novel about a hotel night auditor. Besides that, I'm doing two-to-three columns a month over at LitReactor. So go check those out.
J: You’re a busy guy. I’m a little jealous.

M: That would explain the knife.

J: Totally subconscious though.

M: Totally.

J: How is it at Kraken Press?

M: It's pretty great. The founder, George Cotronis, pays me with Kraken Rum, so I won't remember even answering these interview questions probably.

J: Where on the internet can my peeps find out more about you?

J: Hey check this out. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

M: <choking> I get it. Star Wars. Very good. Stop now.

J: So do I get an introduction into Kraken Press?

M: gurgle….

J: I can’t hear you.


J: Cool. thanks for coming.

M: (gurgle)