Author Spotlight – Wesley Southard

Wesley Southard pic


Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Horror Author Wesley Southard. He gave us his own introduction, and here it is:

My name is Wesley Southard.  I am an author from central Pennsylvania, and I live with my wife, Katie, and our cavalcade of animals.  I write mostly horror fiction, but I’m always looking to expand my horizons in genre literature.

We asked him where people can find his work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)

My work can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com.  I try to have updated links on my website to every book.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

Everyone can visit me on my website (wesleysouthard.com), on Facebook (Wesley Southard), Twitter (@wessouthard), Instagram (wesley_southard_author) and on YouTube (Wesley Southard).

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from One for the Road?

I tend to always lean into horror fiction.  It’s something I’ve been passionate about for most of my life.  I enjoy writing a wide range of dark fiction, from extreme to quiet to literary.  My newest novella ONE FOR THE ROAD leans a bit more into the surreal, weird side of the genre.  I think readers can expect a bizarre story with this one, not knowing exactly where it’s going to go.  It’s a definitely a wild ride, like ALICE IN WONDERLAND on a bad acid trip.

What kind of research went into writing this book?  What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

To be honest, not a whole of research had to go into this book.  The story is about a heavy band full of twenty-somethings, traveling the country and playing music.  Being a musician myself, it wasn’t hard to write about other musicians or the difficulty of touring and putting up with others in a small space.

What was the inspiration for One for the Road ? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

The initial inspiration for ONE FOR THE ROAD came just after I moved back home college.  My friend from school was traveling with a band, and they needed a place to crash after they played at a bar in my home town.  Before the show they came to my apartment and ate all my food, and individually lamented to me how much they hated all the other guys in the band.  They desperately wanted someone to vent to, and ultimately the first nugget of the story began to develop.

One for the Road cover

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out [newest release/spotlighted release]?  How did you overcome that challenge?

This was my first release under an actual publishing house.  I had previously self-published my other two books, but I wasn’t happy releasing my work on my own anymore.  I had always wanted to be published by traditional publishers, and when the opportunity came to submit this book to Deadite Press, I jumped at the chance.  I think the hardest thing was waiting to hear back about whether they’re accepting it or not.  I’m honestly not a very patient person, so the four months or so of waiting on pins and needles was excruciating.  Luckily, it all worked out.

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?

I hated writing the character of Steve, the lead singer of the band Rot In Hell.  He’s a misogynistic, loud-mouthed, racist, violent pig.  Nearly every scene he’s in, he’s berating someone or saying something awful.  I hope I never meet someone like that in person.

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?

I think I enjoy horror fiction because, unlike many other genres, limits don’t exist.  When you add a vampire to a romance story, then it forces it into another genre.  If you add aliens to a fantasy story, then it changes the rules and parameters of that category.  With horror fiction, it’s wide open.  You can add just about anything―romance, science fiction, fantasy, western―and the story doesn’t change.  Horror is a limitless genre, and it’s all the better for it.

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Of the whole writing and publishing process?  What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?

My favorite parts are finally just getting the story out of my head and onto the computer screen.  After dwelling on an idea for so long, there’s no better feeling than purging it out of your thought bank, so you can make room for other stories.  The only other feeling that’s just as good are holding the new book in my hands and hearing from my readers.  It makes the whole process worth it.

What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?

I always tell writers to know their contracts and read their galleys.  Take your time with reading those galleys, because there’s nothing worse than a book full of errors.  And get to know the publisher you want to work with beforehand.  It could save you a lot of heartache.

How important has the New England setting been to your writing?

I’ve only been living in Pennsylvania for two years now, so it hasn’t been a huge part of my writing yet.  I’m originally from Indiana, and most of my stories, even if it’s not location specific, have always been set in the Midwest in my mind.  I imagine the North East will creep into my writing at some point.

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

In the near future, I have a few releases to look forward to.  My first short story collection, RESISTING MADNESS, will be out on December 15th 2019 from Death’s Head Press.  It contains thirteen short stories and a brand new novella.  I’m really proud of the novella, and I hope others like it as much as I do.  After that, at some point the collaborative novella I co-wrote with author Somer Canon titled SLAVES TO GRAVITY will be out.  We’re currently waiting to hear back from a couple of publishers about it.  Other than that, I’m always working on something new.

What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?

When I’m not writing, I’m a massive hockey fan.  I try to watch every game my team plays.  I’m pretty passionate about it.  So when it becomes hockey season, I have to write as much as I can between games, that way I don’t fall behind.

What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?

I have a home office that write in, which I prefer to do most of my work in.  It’s got all my bookshelves and artwork, and I love it.  I like to be surrounded by books when I work; I find it very motivating.

What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?

Most people don’t know that I’m a graduate of the Atlanta Institute of Music with a guitar degree.  I don’t play a whole lot anymore, but it’s still something I’m proud of.

What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?

My favorite adventures have always been traveling around the country to do signings and conventions.  I love to meet other authors and new fans.  I really enjoy talking about books and sharing experiences.

While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!

I’ve always preferred silence when I write.  I get distracted very easily.  But I have recently discovered I can edit with music on at a low volume, so that’s nice.  I’m a big metal head, so I’ve been listening to Lacuna Coil’s new album a lot lately.

Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work.  Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?

There are usually one or more of our animals with me in my office.  We have two dogs and three cats, and as I type this I have one dog, Brody, on the floor next to me and my cat, Ozzy, on my lap.  I love having him on my lap, but I tend to lean forward as I work, so I eventually have to put him on the chair behind me.

Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?

I tend to eat very terribly when I work.  I like to have a soda and an open bag of chips next to me, but I know that that’s really bad.  I’ve been trying to switch to water.

What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?

The hardest part of the writing process is just making yourself sit down and get the writing done.  Sometimes I’d rather be watching a hockey game, reading a book, or spending time with my wife, but the words don’t write themselves.  It’s a challenge to balance your life and writing, but if you want to get anywhere in this business, you have to put the work in.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?

I’ve always been told to be yourself and write what you love.  Write what make you happy.  If you’re not happy with what you’re working on, it will show in the writing, and readers will pick up on that.

Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?

I think finding a community of writers and creatives to surround yourself with is incredibly important.  Where I lived in Indiana I didn’t have much of that, and my creativity suffered for it.  Now that I live in Pennsylvania, I’m always around others like me: writers, creators, filmmakers, artists.  I always feel inspired now, and my work and creative drive has thrived.  It’s so much more important than most people realize.

 Wesley, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer ALL  our questions!

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Speculative Fiction Tuesday: Sherlock Holmes In Space, The Ever-Encroaching Internet, The Power Of Music, And More!

Welcome back to our regular feature Speculative Fiction Tuesday, after its holiday hiatus.

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We’ve gotten in an excellent spread of horror, fantasy, and science fiction releases to start off the New Year… there’s bound to be something for every imaginative taste.

  • First are the Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts book club selections for January and February… THE AFFAIR OF THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER by Alexis Hall, a spacefaring take on the Sherlock Holmes mythos, and SWORD DANCE by A.J. Demas, a fantasy novel full of intrigue and espionage.
  • Next is BURN THE DARK by S.A. Hunt, first in the Malus Domestica horror action-adventure series about a punk YouTuber on a mission to bring down witches, one vid at a time.
  • A BOY AND HIS DOG AND THE END OF THE WORLD by C.A. Fletcher deals with the search for a beloved family dog who has been stolen; her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of a post-apocalyptic world.
  • Author Sarah Pinsker has just been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award for the short story collection SOONER OR LATER EVERYTHING FALLS INTO THE SEA. The novel A SONG FOR A NEW DAY deals with humans struggling to keep the power of music alive in a totalitarian regime that forbids it.
  • COME TUMBLING DOWN by Seanan McGuire is the fifth installment in the Wayward Children series, a portal fantasy work with gothic overtones.
  • Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden team up to present THE HIVE, a chilling look into how social media can ruin lives when sanctioned by a shadowy sinister government agency.
  • TIME’S CONVERT by Deborah Harkness, author of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, tells a tale of vampire romance that transcends centuries and continents.
  • And, finally, A GATHERING OF RAVENS by Scott Oden is a dark fantasy set in Viking times, centered around Grimnir, the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

All titles are currently in stock or expected to arrive no later than Friday, January 17th.

Thank you, as always, for making our shelves your destination.

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Events Buzz Monday: January Thaw, January Snow

The extremes of weather in our corner of merry New England are definitely out on display, if this past weekend’s sunny warmth and this upcoming weekend’s snowy forecast are anything to go by.

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Here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside, however, we’re here to serve you no matter what the weather!

A reminder that our hours for Winter 2020 are as follows:

MONDAYS & TUESDAYS 10AM-9PM

WEDNESDAYS & THURSDAYS 10AM-8PM

FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS 10AM-9PM

SUNDAYS 10AM-5PM

Our thanks to our additional helpers who assisted in doing our hand-counted inventory and in processing our wholesaler and publisher returns… this allows us to bring you even more fresh product in new titles and pre-read books.

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Our daily themed blogs will be making a return now that the holiday season has wound up.  Keep an eye out for:

Here’s our schedule for upcoming events… As a reminder, the majority of our events here at ABSW are free and open to the public. Check out our page on SocialWeb.net!  


RECURRING EVENT: TONIGHT!  Monday, January 13 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: TOMORROW!  Tuesday, January 14 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, January 18 at 1PM – Book Signing with Jean M. Grant!  Join us in welcoming Jean M. Grant, author of WILL RISE FROM ASHES, SOUL OF THE STORM, and ONE HUNDRED KISSES.

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, January 18 at 6PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses THE AFFAIR OF THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER by Alexis Hall. The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that meets once a month. All are welcome!

SPECIAL EVENT: Monday, january 20, 11AM–2PM – Craft Day – Animals!  Join us for animal-themed crafts for ages four and up! Pre-registration suggested so that we can be assured of having enough supplies for everyone. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

RECURRING EVENT:  Monday, January 20 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: TOMORROWTuesday, January 21 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

RECURRING EVENT: Sunday, January 26 at 2PM – Doctor Who Monthly Meetup! Join us for a monthly meeting of fans as we talk about the world’s longest-running science fiction series and its classic and modern incarnations – television, novels, audios, comics, and more. This is a kid-friendly and adult-friendly gathering; all are welcome.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, January 27, 7PM-9PM – The Free People’s Artists Workshop! This critique group meets on the fourth Monday of each month. Networking and feedback from other artists and creators of all types. Co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association.

SPECIAL EVENT: Friday, January 31 at 6PM – Online Astrobiology Presentation With David Warmflash! Join us for a virtual event with science writer David Warmflash, author of MOON: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY.

Exciting things are happening at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside… more opportunities to serve the Worcester community… more book talks, more author signings, and more workshops.  Keep an eye on the Events Calendar on our website for more details.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

 

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Author/Filmmaker Spotlight – Izzy Lee

Izzy Skeleton pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on filmmaker and short story author Izzy Lee.

I asked Izzy where people can find her work, and she replied:

Mostly you can keep up at my website here: www.nihilnoctem.com  

Here are two of my shorts found online.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_BhlMbFCjQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki1bCJ6KY60

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

 www.nihilnoctem.com, which has links to my social media

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you do?  What can readers expect from you next (Latest cover, book, comic, movie, etc?) or what is the last thing you worked on?

I recently wrote a short film that deals with the dark web, drugs, and a neglected child, as well another about sadistic Internet videos, murder, snuff films, and sex trafficking. I go real heavy sometimes, then I swing light. (The next idea I want to write is a comedy with horror elements.) For example, the film links above are two wildly different films. One is about a trio of nuns who decide to take out a bad priest, and the other is a horror-sci-fi-rom-com about a woman who’s harassed by an inter-dimensional being every night.

What was the inspiration for your new releases? What were the steps you took to bring them from initial inspiration to the finished piece of art?

Funny, another example of going light-dark, light-dark in terms of theme for me happen to be embodied in this year’s short films. Some years, I’m a bit of a maniac and I have two shorts instead of one. One this year is “Re-Home,” which is about a Latinx woman living in a world pretty similar to ours if we’re not careful. With rampant discrimination and income inequality while living in the shadow of the US-Mexico border wall, she’s out of options. She brings her infant to a re-homing institution, and because I write horror, things go horribly wrong.

re home poster

The short film is called “The Obliteration of the Chickens,” and I wrote it as kind of a existential “bleak-omedy.” It was inspired by Werner Herzog and his disgust of chickens, as well as nihilism, hope, Nietzche, and clowns. I have a strange sense of humor. Fun fact: author Bracken MacLeod is my narrator.

Oblit of chickens poster

 

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you create? What do you think draws readers to these works?

Horror is psychological boot camp, and offers catharsis. We are all addicted to it.

What is your favorite part of being an artist? 

Sharing my work and discovering that of others’ and having meaningful conversations. We can grow by seeing how other people live. Film is empathy.

What piece of advice would you want to share with other artists?

Don’t take most things personally. Your brain is probably lying to you, conjuring bullshit from anxiety, so step outside of yourself.

How important has the New England setting been to your artwork?

Since I live here and grew up here, I’ve written films here and have made them here. New England is its own character. The history here is immense.

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

I don’t even know what I’ll do next, but maybe one of the shorts I mentioned above. I also work for a new streaming app called Ficto, and we launch in the spring. My job is to travel and find new series and films at film festivals, and partner with festivals to support emerging filmmakers and get the word out.

What has been your favorite adventure during your career?

Friendship. When you travel the genre film festival circuit regularly, you run into the same people and bond. Sometimes, at least for me, you make the closest friends of my life.

While you’re working, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!

I love soundtracks like “Sicario” and anything from Trent Reznor. Chelsea Wolfe and Nick Cave are also great to write to.

Izzy, Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. Good luck with your next film!

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Events Buzz Monday: Best Wishes For 2020!

The owners and staff and Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester would like to thank their customers and friends for all their support in 2019, and look forward to continuing to serve you in the New Year at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside.

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Come in out of the cold and enjoy a complementary cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate with us!

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The monthly book special for January 2020 is REBECCA by Daphne DuMaurier; our mass market paperback edition is discounted 41% off cover price.

rebecca

Our mission has always been and continues to be the value proposition for central New England and beyond.

  • Our New Arrivals shelf is overflowing with used book trade-ins, and we continue to add to our publisher displays of new books for children, teens, and adults, as well as our  vintage titles from the 1890s to the 1970s.
  • Our new books are ALWAYS discounted at either 20%, 25%, 30%, 40% and 50% off list prices for your shopping needs.  As always, our used books range from 50% to 90% off of cover price, and there are additional savings for our newsletter subscribers.  We also offer an educator discount for teachers, certified homeschoolers, and licensed daycare centers.
  • We stock comics and magazine preservation supplies… comics bags for Golden Age, Silver Age, and Current Age titles, as well as Current Age backing boards. Our prices are $3.75 per 100 bags, any size, and $7.50 per 100 backing boards. Compare that to the going rate of $14.00 to $18.00 per hundred.
  • Our selection changes daily, with customer trade-ins of used titles as well as shipments from publishers and wholesalers.  You are bound to find something for any interest, and we take special orders and do book searches as well.
  • Don’t forget! We also offer “from our door to your door” mail order fulfillment, just one of the many ways in which we serve you, our customers, as Worcester’s full-service bookstore.

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Here’s our schedule for upcoming events… As a reminder, the majority of our events here at ABSW are free and open to the public. Check out our page on SocialWeb.net!  


RECURRING EVENT: TONIGHTMonday, January 6 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: TOMORROWTuesday, January 7 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

RECURRING EVENT:  Monday, January 13 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT:  Tuesday, January 14 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, January 18 at 1PM – Book Signing with Jean M. Grant!  Join us in welcoming Jean M. Grant, author of WILL RISE FROM ASHES, SOUL OF THE STORM, and ONE HUNDRED KISSES.

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, January 18 at 6PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses THE AFFAIR OF THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER by Alexis Hall. The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that meets once a month. All are welcome!

SPECIAL EVENT: Monday, january 20, 11AM–2PM – Craft Day – Animals!  Join us for animal-themed crafts for ages four and up! Pre-registration suggested so that we can be assured of having enough supplies for everyone. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

RECURRING EVENT:  Monday, January 20 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: TOMORROWTuesday, January 21 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

RECURRING EVENT: Sunday, January 27, 2PM-3PM – Doctor Who Monthly Meetup! Join us for a monthly meeting of fans as we talk about the world’s longest-running science fiction series and its classic and modern incarnations – television, novels, audios, comics, and more. This is a kid-friendly and adult-friendly gathering; all are welcome.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, January 28, 7PM-9PM – The Free People’s Artists Workshop! This critique group meets on the fourth Monday of each month. Networking and feedback from other artists and creators of all types. Co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association.

owlathome

Exciting things are happening at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside… more opportunities to serve the Worcester community… more book talks, more author signings, and more workshops.  Keep an eye on the Events Calendar on our website for more details.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight – Steve Martini

Steve Martini pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Legal Thriller writer Steve Martini. Steve is the author of numerous New York Times bestselling novels, including Shadow of Power, Double Tap, The List, The Judge and Undue Influence, the last two of which were produced as network television mini-series on NBC and CBS. In all he has written seventeen novels, fourteen of them in the “Paul Madriani” series, most have appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list.  Mr. Martini has worked as a newspaper reporter and capital correspondent. He has practiced law in California in both state and federal courts handling civil and criminal matters. You can find Mr. Martini and his books at Stevemartini.com.

I asked Steve where people can find his work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!) His response was:

My books can be found at books stores across the country, and at bookstores online and in ebook format.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness? 

 Readers can go to Stevemartini.com to find information on all of the published works as well as background on the author. I am old school and do not use social media a great deal.

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from you?

I write what are termed legal thrillers, and though many of the stories take place outside of the courtroom they all have a legal background. My stories, except for three are all part the Paul Madriani series.  Madriani is a California criminal defense lawyer located in the San Diego area of Southern California who with his partner Harry Hinds and his sometime investigator Herman Diggs, inhabits a world of suspense and high crimes. The stories while centered in California have also involved far flung areas of the world, places where I have traveled and at times have lived including Costa Rica, Thailand, the American Virgin Islands, Columbia, the environs of Mexico’s Pacific coast as well as the Yucatan Peninsula. I find that the cultural color of vivid foreign locals can often drive a good story. Characters and locales are keys to my writing. My stories have at times been referred to as beach books with riveting plots.

Blood Flag cover

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?

Of all the characters in my stories the one that was the most intriguing was a Mexican assassin named “Liquida”.   He allowed me to dabble in dark humor and tighten the tension of my stories in new and exciting ways.  Liquida was part of three book trilogy that included Trader of Secrets, Rule of Nine, and Guardian of Lies, in that order.  To a large extent he drove those stories through the suspense that was created when he began to target Madriani, as well as his associates and family members. Many of the books also deal with high tech weaponry, edging toward weapons of mass destruction and the history surrounding some of them. Readers should find this interesting as the stories are well researched in these regards.

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write?

Having been a practicing lawyer for a decade or more prior to my first novel it was natural that I should write about what I knew. The Simeon Chamber, my first book was a mystery with a legal backdrop set in the San Francisco Bay area where I was born and lived until I was ten, though I returned to Northern California for college, law school and later to practice law. The cardinal rule is to write about what you know and then rely upon research and travel to extend your grasp of the world and events. My second novel Compelling Evidence was a story set in the courtroom and steeped in the law.  It was populated with characters ripped from real life and landed me on the New York Times bestsellers list, the first of many bestselling novels. You learn new techniques and venues for story telling as you write, and it is important not to permit yourself to be boxed into a rigid genre that denies you the ability to tell a good tale. One of my rules is to always maintain flexibility in this regard. If a publisher asks me if I can write a good legal thriller the answer is always yes.  Then I write them a good well plotted story with real characters, vivid locales, some realistic legal underpinning and the confidence that when the editor reads the manuscript he will know that readers will not be disappointed.

What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?

Writing is a lonely undertaking, especially when it comes to the long form of a novel. It is you, the four walls of the place where you work and the characters that inhabit your story. After nearly three decades of doing this, I can tell you that it takes a toll. You can find yourself talking to yourself. You must also come to terms with the grind of meeting annual deadlines, a book a year, a stress that as you grow older can take a big bite out of your health. Any endeavor involving commercial publishing of popular fiction is not retirement, semi-retirement or any other form of leisure. It is hard work, stressful and at times when deadlines draw near carries its own forms of terror. But if you have a compulsion to express yourself in the written word, and to create your own world, writing is the only medicine that treats the disease.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule to be with us, Steve.

 

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Author Spotlight – P.D.Cacek

 

 

P.D. Casek pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on Horror author P.D. Cacek. (In case anyone is curious, P.D. tells me that her initials stand for Prematurely Decomposed!)

I asked her to please tell us briefly a little about herself and her writing. This is her story:

I knew I wanted to be a writer from the age of four. I was always scribbling “stories” in my Big Chief notebook and “read” them back (even though I couldn’t read yet). And decided, at age five, that the kinds of stories I wanted to write were scary stories…after accidently walking in on the movie FRANKENSTEIN just as Boris Karloff (aka Monster) turned around. That was six+ decades ago and I still like to unnerve my readers. What fun is life without a good scare (or at least a little shudder) now and then?

Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)

Well, naturally at Annie’s first…but also on Amazon.com as well as Flame Tree Publishing for my newest book, SECOND LIVES, and it’s follow up (SECOND CHANCES, coming out in August).

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

Ah, there you have me. I unashamedly admit that I am a bit of a Luddite (Google it, folks) and tend to kick and scream and claw at the flooring every time someone tries to drag me into the 21st Century. I don’t have a website (as yet), but do have a general Facebook page (P.D. Cacek) and Facebook Author’s Page (Prematurely Decomposed). And I do, on occasion, Twitter. Luddites…right?

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from Second Lives?

    • When I was little I always wondered what happened after the prince and princess lived happily ever after or if the big, bad wolf ever came back. What can I say, I was a weird kid…and the weirdness hasn’t left. I’m still fascinated about what happens after a story ends, which is probably why I begin my newest novel, SECOND LIVES, with what would be an ending.
    • Without giving away too much, let me ask: What would you do if the person you loved most in the world—parent, lover, child—died and then miraculously came back to life…but with the soul of a complete stranger?
    • A natural ending becomes a whole new beginning.

What kind of research went into writing this book?  What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

    • Because I have four characters who come various historical time periods I had to do a lot of research, which I loved. I minored in cultural anthropology in college and find that I generally go back into that mind-set when I begin to flesh out a character. Because I picked times and places with some historical significance, even if it’s only a TV show, I had to be very careful to get not only the facts, but the “flavor” of the time correct.
    • I have to admit there were many facts and flavors I wasn’t able to include. This is always the danger when doing research—you can’t cram every piece of information in, no matter how interesting it is. It becomes a balancing act, but that’s what first drafts are for. Put everything in and then take out everything that doesn’t move the plot forward.
    • I probably have enough information about the time periods I used to write four more books.
    • But I won’t.

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out Second Lives?  How did you overcome that challenge?

    • I hate to admit this, but there was no challenge when I wrote SECOND LIVES. It’s massive and has, give or take, upwards of twenty characters, each with his or her own voice and problems.
    • If I had actually thought about what would be involved in writing the book, I probably wouldn’t have started. But that was never the case. The novel was one of those that came to me fully formed, all I had to do was write it down.
    • This has only happened to me a few times and it’s something I can’t explain. But when it does happen it’s one heck of a ride.

 What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?

    • I didn’t hate any of my character (although Crissy could get on my nerves from time to time, teenaged girl that she is <g>), but think I felt closest to Nora, an elderly woman who becomes the sole caretaker for the child who now inhabits her husband’s body.  While the other characters struggled with what had happened to them, Nora saw only her duty and did it without question. She was a rock…and I hope there really is a little bit of her in me.

Second Lives

 What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?

    • Writing isn’t easy. It requires determination, thick skin, child-like optimism and an unrelenting belief in your dreams and in yourself, so the only advice I can give you is: Don’t give up.

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

    • SECOND CHANCES, the follow-up novel—NOT a sequel—to SECOND LIVES, is due to come out in August 2020 from Flame Tree Publishing and follows the live and death and reawakening of a girl named Jessie.

What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?

    • I belong to a group of costumed storytellers called the Patient Creatures East and play the part of Moria the Screaming Banshee. I’m not sure if I’d list this as a hobby or passion, but for those who’ve heard it, my scream is pretty loud.
    • I also build sets for local community theaters, something I’ve been doing since high school, and have been known to even appear on stage…talk about scary!

What are some of your writing-related hobbies, crafts, addictions?

    • I’m a regular contributor (real ghost encounters) to “What Are You Afraid Of?” [iTunes, Spotify, Libsy and YouTube] podcast, hosted by T. Fox Dunham.

 What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?

    • I’ve been trained in Wilderness Survival…and will NEVER appear on Naked and Afraid. First rule, people: if you’re ever in a wilderness situation and want to survive—DO NOT TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES!

 While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!

    • I can’t work in silence so there is always music playing in the background and always instrumentals.  My tastes range from classical to movie soundtracks, with a healthy dose of Celtic tunes thrown into the mix.
    • One of the things I do before I sit down to write a new novel, is buy a new CD (yes, CD…remember I’m a Luddite) that I feel is a good match to the plot. That CD will play nonstop throughout the writing of that novel, from first draft to final edit.
    • I have a lot of CDs.

 Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work.  Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?

    • I adopted two cats in January 2018, Pooka and Banshee, sisters, who must have been editors in a past life. If they aren’t stretched out across my desk, with head or paws draped down over the keyboard, one or both will walk back and forth in front of the screen.
    • This wouldn’t be a problem if I hadn’t thought having a touch-screen monitor was a good idea. More than once the flick of a tail has minimized the screen when I was in the middle of a very intricate scene.
    • Good thing they’re both so cute.

 Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?

    • Coffee! Coffee, coffee, coffee, COFFEE! Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee. COFFEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
    • I’ve been known to go through an entire pot in a day while working.
    • Sleep is so overrated.

Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions, Prematurely Decomposed!

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