Thursday, May 30, 2013


knows about PornHub
I met horror author Dean Harrison at The Love Nest Motel“clean sheets, hourly rates, mirrored ceilings – ask for Vern.”

Dean: What’s this all about?

Johnny: That? You put quarters in it and the bed –

D: No. The room. The motel. I thought we were meeting at your Blog Mansion.

J: Do you visit Pornhub? What am I saying? Of course you do. There was just a study that showed that three of the top ten cities who visit PornHub are in Alabama including the first and second spots. Congratulations! Anyway, I thought you’d be more comfortable here.

D: Yeah, sure. Let’s just get to the interview.

J: So what kind of porn do you like?

D: I don’t like porn. I read books.

J: Like Fifty Shades of Grey?

D: No. Books. We’re here to talk about books, not porno.

J: Right right. Sorry. Uhm, okay. Your book, These Unquiet Bones. Tell me about it.

D: It’s a Southern Gothic horror story about a girl named Amy Snow who tries to get behind the uncover the truth of her mother’s murder but instead unleashes the grisly skeletons lurking in the dark of her father's closet, and learns a terrible, twisted truth about her family tree. Meanwhile, a man named Adam is on a mission to restore Paradise to its former glory. To accomplish this, he must find "The Lost One," a girl he calls Eve, and sacrifice her to the god she betrayed the day a talking serpent slithered into the Garden of Eden.

J: I gotta admit I don’t know much about the south. I fed one Southern author to fire ants and my gardener pummeled her boyfriend thinking he was me. Have you lived in Alabama all your life? What’s that like?

D: I was born and raised in Alabama, and it’s not how Hollywood likes to portray it. We have big cities, some rich with history and culture. We have running water and electricity (most of us, anyway), and we don’t all live in trailers or shotgun shacks. A lot of us are literate, too.

J: Living right in the buckle of the Bible Belt, I shouldn’t have surprised to see religious references in These Unquiet Bones. Without giving me spoilers, can you tell me how those tales helped to shape your story?

D: I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school, so religious references will always be a part of my storytelling because it’s what I know. I also like to take stories from the Bible and see if there are interesting ideas I can get from them, and themes I can play off of. From what I’ve already said about These Unquiet Bones, I’m sure you can gather that I took some inspiration from the Adam and Eve story. In a novella I wrote a few years ago, I played off the story of Cain and Abel, expect instead of brother against brother it was brother against sister. I try to avoid a retelling of a Biblical story. Instead I take bits and pieces of what I find interesting about one particular tale and use it to help tell the story that I want to tell.
The Love Nest Motel – ask for Vern

J: Lie down. You should try this. It’s very relaxing.

D:  We’re getting off course here.

J: Is there sex in your book?

D: Yes, but the sex is not in there without purpose. I’m not one for the obligatory sex scene. If it’s important to the story, it’s in there. If not, it’s out. For example, there was a masturbation scene that I cut because I could find no point to it other than to induce shock and disgust. There was also a fellatio scene in the first chapter I cut for the same reason. Now don’t get me wrong, there is some very intense and graphic subject matter in my book, but there is a reason for it, a plot-advancing purpose. I’m not out to disturb for the sake of disturbing. I’m out to disturb for the sake of making you think.

J: Blood and gore or spooks and suspense? Any balloons and whipping cream?

D: Blood? Yes. There are scenes where it would make no sense not to have blood. Gore? It depends on your definition of gore. If you mean the former vice president than no, no gore. Spooks? I believe the title says it all. If not then yes, there are spooks. Suspense? Well, I guess you’ll have to read it.

J: What age group would you say These Unquiet Bones is targeting?

D: While some might call it a young adult novel because the lead character is a teenager girl, it is actually targeted towards college-aged adults and up. I have to admit, however, that I never considered an age group when writing These Unquiet Bones. I was just writing for people who enjoy the kind of horror fiction I do.

J: Do you have any quarters?

D: I beg your pardon?

J: Never mind. It has a credit card reader. Do you have a day job?

D: Yes. Unless you’re a writer like Stephen King, it is a necessity if you want to eat and keep a roof over your head.

J: Are you married? Does she know what you do on the computer?

D: Yes, and for the most part.

J: You studied Criminal Law along with English. Were you planning on being the next Joseph Wambaugh or just hedging your bets?

D: I actually studied Criminal Justice, not law. I had it in my head I wanted to be a cop and make my way to detective. Long story short, I had a job as an investigator at an Alabama District Attorney’s Office for six months, and got laid off right in time for the Great Recession. After that, I landed a job as a loss prevention detective. I did that for over two years before I decided to go back to school for journalism, which is another long story.

J: Who are your favorite authors?

D: At the time I was writing These Unquiet Bones I was reading a lot of John Farris, Tom Piccirilli, Rick Hautala, Stephen King, and William Faulkner. They are certainly some of my top favorite authors. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of T.M. Wright and Charles L. Grant.

J: Oh shit. This isn’t hand sanitizer. It’s lube. Hand me that towel.

D: Here. Now can we get on with this interview? I have a schedule to keep.

J: Is that what I think it is?

D: It’s worse.

J: If it’s any consolation, Utah has two cities in the top ten PornHub list.

D: That’s good to know.

J: Tell me your journey to getting published.

D: When I started compiling a list of potential publishers, a friend and fellow horror writer gave me the contact info of Kate Jonez of Omnium Gatherum. She was the first (and only) publisher I submitted my novel to and she accepted it after a little revising. I think tears came to my eyes when I read the acceptance email. These Unquiet Bones was three years in the making and there were times I was afraid I’d never get it done, let alone published.

J: How is your relationship with Omnium Gatherum?

D: Pretty good. I’m happy with them.

J: I’m told you play the guitar. Who’re your influences there?

D: When I started playing guitar at 14, I wanted to be the next Billy Corgan, so The Smashing Pumpkins were my first influence. Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath was another, followed by Eric Clapton. I don’t play guitar as much as I used to, unfortunately. Writing and family stuff takes up most of my free time. But I still pick it back up once in a while to jam.

J: Where on the internet can the cool kids find you?

D: Info about my writing can be found on my website:

or my Facebook author page:

J: Here I got you something. It’s a med-alert bracelet. Stylish and useful.

D: “Delete my Browser History” ?

J: You’ll thank me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Max Booth III is Angry and Armed

Max Booth III appeared at the Blog Mansion angry and armed.

Max: You fed my girlfriend to fire ants!

Johnny: Yeah, so? Whoa whoa, Uhm, hey, uhm. I thought that was a Texas thing? You know like big hats and long horn steers. I thought that fire ant bites would make her feel at home.

M: Barbecue tofurkey?

J: I have no excuse for that. I’m sorry.

M: What happened to your lawn?

J: Napalm. Fight fire ants with fire I always say.

M: Did it work?

J: I think so but my gardener’s missing.

M: I’d check that pile of ash over there, if I were you.

J: So I read your book – True Stories Told By a Liar, let’s talk about that.

M: Okay, what do you want to know?

J: Tell me about it. Did you have to get permission from the magazines your stories first appeared in? What was the process?

M: True Stories Told By a Liar (published by Numen Books) consists of 10 previously published short stories and 11 original never-before-seen stories. Of the 10 that were previously published, only one of them had even been published within a year of the book’s release, so I didn’t really have to worry about copyrights or anything.

J: There. Feel better? Good. Now put the gun down there on the ground. Have an iced tea. Cool. We’re all friends now.

M: I think I’ll hold onto the gun for now.

J: What’s your relationship with Numen Books now?

M: I saw a call for single author horror short story collections and decided what the hell, wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot. So I pitched them a collection, with a few sample stories attached, and they ate it right up. They asked me to send the whole collection and within a month it had been accepted. Numen Books is an Australian publishing company, so obviously they know a thing or two about horror. If you don’t understand that comment, then obviously you’ve never read anything about the kind of creatures that can be found in their waters. I mean, they’re no fire ants, but still.

J: You moved from Lake Station, Indiana to Cibolo Texas. Why would you do that? For the free gun? Doesn’t every Texan get a free gun? Is that the one you got?

M: I was actually raised in Lake Station, then I lived in a bunch of different small towns around Northern Indiana before taking a bus solo across the country to San Antonio. And yeah, guns actually come in the Happy Meals over here. It’s crazy. Anyway, you’re asking a whole lot of questions for someone who just fed my girlfriend to fire ants. I don’t know the keycode to the garage door and I am sick of sleeping outside. She had the only house key! This is your fault, Worthen.
Some people have pink flamingos in their yards.
Texans often have Fire Ant mounds. Quaint.

J: What do you have against fire ants anyway? I mean you live in Texas, the fire ant capital of the country. Aren’t they the state animal?

M: When I first moved into this new house here a couple months back, I walked up to the park in a pair of flip flops. Within seconds my foot was completely covered with fire ants, and by the time I picked them all off me, it was swollen and blistered all over my skin. Those bastards haunt me until this day.  And plus, you know, now they’ve eaten my girlfriend. Which isn’t the best thing to happen lately. Not the worst, but definitely not the best.

J: Your name, Max Booth III is interesting. Are you angry that your family couldn’t think of a different boy name for three generations?

M: That’s actually why I left everybody and moved to Texas.

J: Okay, we’re going to take this one at a time. Tell me about your relationship with Dark Moon Digest.

M: I am the assistant editor of the digest, which was founded by Stan Swanson. I story edit some of the submissions (as do the six other editors we have on staff), and make decisions on the really iffy stories about whether they should be accepted or not. I also help handle social media and other miscellaneous stuff. But really, Lori (serving as Managing Editor) does most of the work on it. Well, she DID. Thanks to your little fire ant friends I have no idea what the hell is going to happen now.

J: Tell me about Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.

M: PMMP is the publishing company I co-founded with Lori Michelle (hey, she gets around). I serve as editor-in-chief, which means I read all the submissions we get, edit most of the books we publish, handle social media, etc. Lori does the book formatting and designs, budgeting, back-up editing, and other fun stuff. Also helping out is Jay Wilburn, who keeps the blog alive, and T. Fox Dunham, who is our assistant marketing guru. Both Jay and Fox also have novels coming out through PMMP in the future. Keep an eye on them, if you manage to survive this interview.

J: And last on my list of things busy Max Booth III does in his spare time is Dark and Bookish. Now what’s got in your head?

M: Since this is Jay Wilburn’s idea, I will let him speak for me:

“5 authors are featured on a summer 2014 tour across the United States followed by a documentary crew. The tour promotes for the authors and publishers while serving as a stage for exploring the worlds of small authors, small publishers, and small bookstores.

"The tour would cover approximately 30 days from the beginning of June through possibly mid July of 2014. The tour would cover 8-10 cities including 4-5 horror, sci fi, and general fandom conventions. The tour would include events at local, independent bookstores in the convention cities and in cities in between conventions. There would be 5 featured authors traveling for the entire tour with guest authors included for short stints or single events. The documentary,
Dark and Bookish, will focus on struggling/ rising authors in the horror and speculative fiction genre, the work and struggles of small presses within these genre, and the experiences and struggles of independent bookstores within the current age of publishing.”

We are currently doing an indiegogo campaign to raise funds to make this crazy idea a reality. We appreciate anything you can spare to give.

J: You edited So It Goes: A Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut. What was the genesis of that?

M: I’ve had the idea for a while to edit a series of anthologies that pay tribute to different authors I love. Vonnegut seemed like the obvious choice for the first volume. The second volume I’m putting together, Long Distance Drunks, will be a tribute to Charles Bukowski. It will be opened for submissions until December 31st.

J: My patented question: how did you go from writer to published author?

M: I spent a few years on a writing website called (it no longer exists sadly). It was basically a community for aspiring writers to post stories and poems online and people would comment and leave feedback on them. It was the best thing for me at that time, as the constant feedback and communication influenced me to write more and more. The amount of practice and experience I gained is incomparable. After the website died a tragic death, I began submitting to actual markets. I had about 5 rejections before my first acceptance. I’ve been lucky enough to get more since then, too.

J: And now you have a new book coming out, They Might Be Demons. Is there a chapter about a Triangle Man demon in it?

M: They Might Be Demons (published by Dark Moon Books) is my second book. It is kind of strange, really, as far as conventional books go. It is a mix between a novel and a story collection. The book consists of about 60 flash fiction stories, and each story is loosely connected, forming one big plot. However, you can still read them all out of order, and they’d make sense as stand-alone stories too. It is my first attempt at bizarro fiction and I have to say it was a lot of fun. I do have to caution future readers, however, that despite what some rumors may be claiming, this book is not actually edible.

J: You’re going to New Orleans for the Horror Writes Association/WorldHorror Convention with Lori, right?

M: Yeah. I’ll have plenty of copies of They Might Be Demons at the Dark Moon Books table ready to sign. I’ll also be on a panel about small press publishing. Oh, and the Dark and Bookish crew will be throwing a huge party Friday night of the convention, so that will be fun. Or it may be a disaster. Yeah, probably a disaster.

J: Yeah, I’m jealous. I'm kinda' wishing I had more ants now. Who do you like for the Bram Stokers’ this year. We’ll check your accuracy in June.

M: My predictions:
Inheritance by Joe McKinney (Novel),
The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief by Charles Day (First Novel),
Flesh & Bone by Jonathan Maberry (YA Novel),
Witch Hunts
by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton (Graphic Novel),
I’m Not Sam by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee (Long Fiction),
“Bury My Heart at Marvin Gardens” by Joe McKinney (Short Fiction),
The Cabin in the Woods by Joss Whedon (Screenplay),
Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations by Eric J. Guignard (Anthology),
New Moon on the Water
by Mort Castle (Fiction Collection),
Trick or Treat: a History of Halloween
by Lisa Morton (Non-Fiction), and
Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls
by Marge Simon (Poetry).

J: You hear about Crazy Ants? They don’t bite but they’re worse in many ways than fire ants. Guess where they live?

M: My answer to most strange questions is typically “my pants,” and this question is no exception.

J: Where on the internets can my peeps find you?




Max Booth III 
They Might Be Demons on Amazon



He just needs a little moisturizer.
And maybe a raise.

J: Oh, there’s my gardener.

M: He looks angry. And burned.

J: But not ant-bitten.

M: I don’t think he cares.

J: Yeah, here, give me your gun.

M: I can’t. The ants took it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Brent Kelley Michael can remove an organ with plastic scissors

can remove an organ
with plastic scissors
After a series of setbacks, including not getting a plumb editing job with a dumb company I didn’t want to work for anyway, Brent Michael Kelley, author of one of my favorite books Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater, dropped by the Blog Mansion to help me plan my future.
Johnny: No Brent, cat food. I need cat food coupons. I don’t have a dog.

Brent: But you get more meat in dog food, I mean, you know, if it gets that bad.

Johnny: It’s not going to get that bad.

Brent: If you say so. Here’s one for cat litter?

J: Scoop?

B: No, Crystal.
J: Okay, that’ll do.

B: Tofurkey’s on sale at Safeway –

J: NO!

B: Tuna?

J: Dolphin Free?

B: Doesn’t say.

J: Cut it out. I’ll check when I get there.

B: These scissors aren’t very sharp.

J: They were free.

B: Where’s the “Davis Cuddle-Hug Daycare”?

J: Okay, I borrowed them. Let’s talk about your book Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater . How would you describe it to someone who hasn’t read it?

B: I’ve told people it’s like Fear and Loathing in Middle Earth. That’s not quite right, though. I think that suggests there’d be knights, dwarves, elves, and orcs and stuff. There’s none of that, and hopefully it’s exactly like nothing folks have read before. Monsters, madness, babes, blood, and booze! Why, it’s even got elements of science fiction.

J: What genre would you say it is?

B: I’d call it dark fantasy. I heard somebody call it “Neo Post-Modern Hyper-Minimalist American Revival Splat-Fantasy Funk.” I’m sorry, nobody’s ever called it that. I was lying just then. Anything on this page you want me to cut out?

J: Not with these scissors. Hey, grab that one for hand lotion. I go through lots of that. And tissue. Look for tissue. That's always good to have. For colds and such. What age group is Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater?
Fear and Loathing in Middle Earth,
but without the dwarves, elves & hobbits –
  kinda' like a western but with horror too.
Hunter would have liked it.
B: I originally met Chuggie when I was in college. When I think about age groups, I always think about the kids at good ol’ UW-Stout. I still feel like one of them. Only until I go there for a visit, though. They’re all walking around with boomboxes on their shoulders and parachute pants… I tell ya, back in my day we listened to tiny mp3 players with discreet headphones! We wore blue jeans, and our hats were all on frontways! As a responsible adult, I say Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater is for people 18 and up. It would be irresponsible to say that 14-year-olds would probably enjoy it, so I won’t. I’m gonna be responsible and say KIDS! DON'T READ CHUGGIE!

J: Yeah, that'll scare them off. Was Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater your first book?

B: No. I mean, yes.

J: How long did it take to write?

B: I dunno. Like a decade or something. Like I was saying, I started tinkering with Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater in college. I didn’t really know I could get published, but I kept chipping away at the story. Mostly on my voice recorder cruising across the state of Wisconsin with the windows down and Tom Waits barking gravel through my speakers.
J: How did you get a blurb from Piers Anthony?

B: Got lucky. Well, whaddya know! They got coupons for sweet, sweet alky-boozes in here.

J: Skip the PBR. Cut out that MGD one though.

B: Hey, look at this one. MD 20/20 is two-for-one. Oh, it’s select flavors only.

J: What was the inspiration of Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater?

B: Mostly Mr. Tom Waits. Without his music, there’d be no Chuggie. Everybody should stop reading this interview right now and go listen to Tom Waits for the next eight days.
Tom Waits.
The real creative force behind Chuggie
J: When do we get more Chuggie, when’s the next installment?

B: Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways should be out later this month, May of 2013. The only hold up is that I’m in the middle of a campaign of cyber-attacks directed at the publisher’s computer systems. I’m not sure why I’m doing this, and I’m even less sure why I just confessed to it here. I guess I should expect a phone call once this interview goes online.

J: What’s your day job?

B: Graphic Designer, I guess. If you wanna get real technical, I’m the Creative Director for a marketing firm in Northern Wisconsin. I’m basically Don Draper, only without all the affairs. And I have to do a lot more work. And we’re a much smaller company. And my wife isn’t as cool with me drinking hard liquor all day as Don Draper’s wife. Also, I make less money than he does.
J: Are you looking for help?

B: Not right now, but if this book thing takes off the way I want it to, I imagine I’ll have to do some extensive book touring around the world. I’ll need an entourage for that. What would you bring to the table in an entourage-type situation?
J: I can stir brandy with a nail. Tell me about your art?

B: I like to paint strange things that are brightly colored. I’m pretty awesome at doing art. Some say the best.

J: I love your abstracts. Do you do drugs?

efs Scarecrow by Brent Michael Kelley
B: Thanks! I’m not sure what you mean by “drugs,” though. I took a semester off college to live in Florida back in the first part of 2001. There was this guy there who always said DRUGS stands for “Developing Reality Understanding Gamplezican Solarmachy.” I think the DEA got him right after I moved back to WI. That, or he never existed in the first place. Whenever somebody mentions “drugs,” I think of that guy and his technicolor screams.

J: So you couldn’t hook me up with anybody? I could be a mule. That pays well right?

B: They really make it sound like being a drug mule is the sweet life, don’t they? What they don’t tell you is the other cartels like to make examples of the mules. So, yeah, it’s damn sweet while it lasts. Then comes the inevitable day when you wake up in a piranha tank with your head in a vise. Or, I don’t know, your face sewn to a pig butt or something. Because that totally happened to this guy I knew once, but you probably never heard of him. If you’re serious about getting an interview to be a drug mule, I’ll get you the number for the cartel’s HR department.

J: I hadn't considered the downside. Piranhas, huh? Maybe I could rent out the servant’s quarters here at the blog mansion. Do you think I could get them to bunk up?

B: They don’t look happy now.
J: There’s nothing wrong Top- Ramen®. And the weather’s getting warmer. They’ll get over it.
Taste the rainbow

B: OR ELSE, right? Ha!

J: How did you get a publisher? What was your journey from writer to author?

B: It was an adventure! Man, if I told you, you’d be on the edge of your seat. Let me sum it up… No, I can’t sum it up. I’ll just tell the whole thing. Okay, the year was 1979, and a young man named Robert rushed his wife Sheryl to the hospital. The morning air was crisp as – Dammit! Paper cut. This is why I don’t cut coupons at my house.

J: Are you getting along with Omnium Gatherum?

B: Absolutely. It’s great to be lumped in with the other OG authors. Chief Editor Kate Jonez has been great to work with. I wish you could listen to our editing sessions, because we have truckloads of fun. But you can’t listen. No one can.

J: What do you do for fun, beyond novel editing?

B: Why, snuggle with Mo and J.P., of course. What else is there? Making wine, that’s what! I even made a batch of wildberry shiraz recently that’s an exact replica of the wine Chuggie enjoys throughout Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. It’s called “Borjo.” That will make complete sense after you read the book.

J: Where on the internet can my peeps find out more about you?
J: Ah shit. These coupons are all expired! Dammit. That’s it. I’m going to have sell another organ. How important is your pancreas, do you know?

B: I don’t think you need it. If we fill a tub with ice real quick, I can have that pancreas out and over to my guy by 2 o’clock. By 3, you could be $500 richer!

J: Okay. I'm desperate and we already have the scissors.

Look for CHUGGIE AND THE BLEEDING GATEWAY this month from Omnium Gatherum.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lori Michelle is Scary Busy

Horror writer, editor, mother, and dancer Lori Michelle drops by the Blog Mansion for some of my Texas hospitality.

Johnny: I don’t know much about Texas, but I’ve done my best to make you feel welcome. Here try this.

Lori: What is it?

J: Barbecue. Texans like barbecue don’t they?

L: I was born in California.

J: So what brought you to Texas?

L: It’s a long involved complicated story that probably includes kidnapping and subterfuge, and quite possibly drugs or a concussion.  I am not sure.  It’s not a bad place to live, but not where I would have picked given the choice.

J: So… barbecue?

L: Of course, what kind of meat?

J: Tofurkey.

L: That’s not meat.

J: It’s all I had left. After the ants. The ants ate everything else.

L: I guess I’ll try it.

J: It’s hot. I found a special sauce.

L: It’s not so bad. Oh…. Oh…. OH! OUCH! AAAAHHHHH! All I can taste is the heat. I can’t feel my tongue!

J: That’s the Zombie Repellent Hot Sauce . Get it? Because of all the horror you do.

L: Arrggghhhh Gaaarbbbllle… ohhhh tofurkey...

J: Buttermilk will help. Here.

L: Gross.  But it will have to do.  What in the hell possessed you to give me anti-zombie sauce on tofurkey anyway?  Everyone knows that tofurkeys need anti-vampire sauce.

J: Sorry. All the anti-vampire sauces had glitter. Better?

L: I think I hate you.

J: Wait ‘til you get to know me! Tell me about Dark Moon Digest. What is it?

L: Dark Moon Digest is a revolutionary horror quarterly that features stories from new and established horror writers.  The unique thing about DMD is that all the stories are picked blindly, meaning we pick the stories based on how they are written rather than who has written them.  Seriously, the first thing I do is remove the author’s name from the story before sending it to my associate editors for reading and rating.

J: How often do you publish Dark Moon Digest?

L: I do the printed quarterly, get this, once a quarter.  :P  But then we do the emagazine, Dark Eclipse, once a month.  So I am continually busy.

J: How many submissions do you get?

L: I get at least 3-4 short stories a day.  Some days I get up to 10.  To put it into perspective, we are just now getting to submissions we received in January.

J: Who do you work with?

L: Stan Swanson is the creator of Dark Moon Digest.  I am now the co-owner, but everything I do gets run past him first.  Unless he feels like not making a decision, then he likes to remind me that I am the managing editor.  Max Booth III is our assistant editor.  I have several copy editors and about nine associate editors (I can name them all if you want).

J: How did you get involved with Dark Moon Digest?

L: On a fluke, honestly. I was looking for places to submit short stories to after my online writing group disappeared and I came across a contest for vampire stories.  I started to follow Stan’s newsletter.  Then one day, he sent out a mass email looking for editors.  I emailed back that I wasn’t much for editing, but his website sucked.  Obviously I made a good enough impression that he “hired” me as a technical consultant.  From there, I started to format the emagazine, give final proofs the once over, and do whatever assignments came up.  He discovered that I really can edit, even though I tried to hide it.  Last year at the World Horror Convention, he told me that he needed me to take over DMD completely or he was going to let it go.  Since I believe in the quarterly, I felt honored that Stan trusted me to take over.  Last August, he offered me a partnership and I took it. Stan and I work really well together, so it’s one of those mutually beneficial business decisions.

J: What are the challenges of editing a digest?

L: Well, you never get to stop reading submissions. I am lucky though, since I have such a great editorial staff, that I actually don’t read the submissions until they have passed the first round of cuts.  But it’s always a time crunch to get it all formatted correctly at the end.  My least favorite part of the job is sending out rejections. My favorite part of the day is getting the thank you emails from new authors. 

J: How can you deal with all the horror you face every day?

L: After the crap I have faced for the past 4-5 years, it is easy.  I get a lot of zombie stories, and they don’t bother me. My favorite kind of stories are all psychological horror.  Mostly because they could happen, and that’s what’s scary.

J: I was talking about Max Booth III. But that’s good advice.

L: Surprisingly, Max has been the savior and not the horror.  I know, it’s shocking.  My mouth is still on fire.

J: Wait until tomorrow.

L: Yes. I definitely hate you.

J: Are you going to New Orleans for the Horror Writers Association, WorldHorror Convention?

L: YES, I wouldn’t miss it for anything.  Dark Moon will have a vendor table again this year and I am looking forward to seeing writers that I talk to on a daily basis. Plus I get to be a part of the autograph session this year and I am excited by that.

J: I hate you right back. Besides editing, what else takes your time?

L: I have time? Well, I attempt to write, I am the CFO and Interior Layout Guru for Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, I try to take on some freelance web work since I am now technically unemployed, and I take care of my two kids, one 13 and the other 5.  My five year old is still undergoing chemotherapy for his leukemia, so that takes some time.  Luckily, he is doing really well and should see the end of chemo in another year. But since I obviously don’t do enough, I am putting together an anthology where the proceeds are going to go to the Children’s Cancer Fund.

J: Tell me about Dual Harvest, it’s your first novel right?

L: Yes it is.  What do you want to know about it?  I actually wrote it for the National Novel Writing Month challenge one year.  It is an erotic thriller involving a female serial killer, her roommate and a cop.  I am proud of it and was excited when Joe McKinney actually read it and liked it.  Either that or he thinks I am a freak now.

Tigger-Bear knows my tears
J: I ask everyone this; tell me how you went from writer to author. What was the journey to writing a book and getting it published. Did you expertise as an editor help? Did you get rejections? Was it karmic for you to get rejections? Did it hurt your feelings? Did you coil up into a little bawl and cry, holding on to Tigger-Bear and binky until the neighbors complained and you were put on a prescription cocktail of seven different pills and yogurt?

L: I am lucky since I have a built in editor in Max.  He is really good about finding my flaws and making fun of me for the next 6 months about them.  I first attempted to go the route of finding an agent, which is next to impossible.  I found out later that I needed to have some publications under my belt, so I was doing it sorta backwards.  The first place I submitted it to in the independent arena was really nice in their rejection.  He actually told me what he did and didn’t like about it and why he didn’t choose it.  My novel was accepted by the second place I submitted to.  I knew that it would be hard to place genre wise since it is overly erotic.

J: Who are your writing influences?

L: V. C. Andrews, and well...VC Andrews.  Ok I really liked her works.  Not the crap they put out now under her name, but the original stuff. I even wrote a paper once comparing Flowers in the Attic to Wuthering Heights. Oh yeah, I am that cool.

J: What’s one piece of advice would you give authors?

L: Learn how to spell.  Learn how to read and follow instructions.  And learn how to express yourself different than anyone else expresses themselves.

J: Tell me about Dance. Did you really want to be a ballerina?

L: Yes I did.  I was really good, but then when I was 14, I fell and ended up needing knee surgery. I still continued even after that, and taught for a long time.  Some of my groups placed well at National competitions. I miss dancing a lot.  One day, I would like to be back performing on the stage, but I know my chances of that are slim and none.  It’s a nice fantasy though.

J: My fan (hi Mom!) likes to follow up on my guests. Where are you on the net?


TWITTER — @authorlmichelle

(Hi Johnny’s Mom!)

J: You’re drooling a little there.

L: Sorry. My face is numb. Now I feel it in my legs.

J: Burning and stabs?

You can buy all kinds of things on
L: Yes.

J: That’s not the hot sauce. Those are the fire ants I had imported for you.

L: What?

J: I told you. The ants ate all the meat, that’s why we had tofurkey.

L: You imported fire-ants? For me?

J: Yeah, I got three-hundred pounds brought in special for you. It was a deal on I thought it would make you feel at home.

L: Ahhhh!!!! I’m allergic!!!

J: I think you should really hold still. They’re attracted to the sugar in the sauce. I can see you’re a dancer. Very graceful. Don’t go that way - that’s the rattle-snake pit.

L: They’re everywhere!

J: Just like home.