Category: Interviews

An Interview Like No Other.

I had the pleasure to sit down will Jason Wayne Allen, author of Celebutante Meat House and fellow author in Zombie! Zombie! Brain Bang! for an interview.

What’s the result of letting him dig through my twisted mind?
This interesting yet messed-up interview about writing, Shania Twain, clone sex, Canadian housing security and much more.

He even added photos of me which feeds the ego I try so hard to keep contained.

Check it out, I can’t guarantee it won’t change your view on me, nor do I supply the brain bleach for once you’re done.

Who knows?
You might just enjoy it.

MDG

Kettle Whistle Radio Podcast #12 – Nelson Pyles & Mandy DeGeit

I was contacted by David Fairhead, broadcaster at Red Horse Radio, and asked to call in as a surprise guest for his upcoming Kettle Whistle Radio show. (Podcast #12).

David was interviewing my fellow author friend and broadcaster of Story Time at the Wicked Library, Nelson Pyles.

Here’s the link for the broadcast.
We chit chat about Nelson, me, writing, hockey and whatever else comes to mind.

Check it out!

(Oh yeah and I’ve been asked to appear on the show again in the near future, so I’ll keep you all posted.)

MDG

STOP: It’s the Haunted Halloween Blog Tour 2012

I was recently asked to be part of the Haunted Halloween Blog Tour 2012. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I love to be part of things, so it was no surprise I said yes. I had the choice to either host a blog or interview. I picked the latter, mostly because I always have something to ask someone.

The recievers of said questioning were none other than:

Armand Rosamilia:

and

Tonia Brown

(Now you know what they look like… Just in case.)

I suppose I should be fair (and conceited)… This is me:

Alright, enough wasting time with pictures… Let’s get on with this interview!

Hi! *shakes hands* I’d like to first start off by saying thanks for asking me to be part of this.

Now, I’m not going to guarantee my questions are “normal” but I’ll try to keep them as sensical as possible. I’m going to start with a writing question, since I’m just a newbie writer and am still learning A LOT from the more seasoned authors.

1 – Whenever I’m on vacation I seem to fall off the writing wagon when I’m away from the house. How are you guys in this respect to discipline? Do you try to keep on schedule or make up for missed words when you’re back to the grind?

Tonia Brown: I usually take two vacations a year, a week at May Day and a week for Halloween. Both are functional because our church stays busy at these times of year. (We have a big gathering at both Beltane and Samhain.) I need to be off of the night job so I can get other stuff done. In respects to that, when I am off for these weeks, I don’t really have time to write. It’s sort of a vacation from everything else so I can focus on this one thing until it is done.

Armand Rosamilia: I just came off a 10 day ‘vacation’ with Biketoberfest being down here in Florida. I spend my time eating out, drinking way too many beers, and hanging out until 2 am and then having to still get up at 6 am to take my son to school. Didn’t get any writing done worth a crap, and now I’ll spend the week trying to play catch-up. But it is so worth it to make pretend I am a bad ass biker dude for a few days before driving away in the beat-up Kia Spectra. It’s red, by the way… very bad ass color.

Tonia, I think I need to get myself on a better schedule and Armand, I made your answers red because of the bad-ass colour comment. (I am Canadian, so bear with my extra vowels…) Okay, here’s one more “Help-Mandy-Write” question and this one’s about writer’s block or how you deal with said blockage.

2 – When the ideas just aren’t flowing, what’s would be the strangest thing you do (or have done) to get yourself back in the word groove?

Tonia Brown: When a book is being particularly difficult, I talk to myself, or rather I talk to the character that I am struggling with. I clean house or take a walk or drive, and while I am doing this mundane task I interview my character and take mental notes on their reactions to my questions. I don’t do this in my head, I do it aloud. And yes, I switch voices back and forth. How else would I know when it is me talking and when it is the character?

Armand Rosamilia: I once wrote an entire short story on napkins, sitting in a diner by myself, and mumbling it out the entire time. The waitress must have thought I was crazy, with me grunting dialogue and jumping around like I was drunk. Hell, I now remember I was drunk when I wrote it. I must have looked insane… 3 am, smelling like beer, talking to myself and asking for more napkins.

Ahhh, so it’s focus I require. Hmmm focus eh… I think I can work on, ooooh look, A SQUIRREL!
Off writing now and onto Halloween! (There’s that lack of focus again…)

3 – What are your Halloween plans for this year? Do you usually go all out with the decorating and costumes or do you keep it more low-key and save the scares for your writing?

Tonia Brown: The husband and I decorate the house a bit, but we live out in the sticks so it’s just for our benefit. Fifteen years we’ve lived here and we have never gotten a trick-or-treater. We went to one party this year so far, and should hit a few haunted houses closer to the actual day of Halloween. My husband had a silly idea to be the pope as a werewolf, or as he called it the Lycanthropope. (Long story, don’t ask!) I was left with little choice but to be his Papal Bull.

 

Aside from that, our church has a big Samhain service planned that should be awesome. It always is. We reenact the descent of Inanna into the underworld, and have a dumb supper and everything. It’s so much fun.

Armand Rosamilia: I need to go to Tonia’s for Halloween. Living in Florida for the holidays is so boring. No one goes out and trick or treats, I take my daughter to the mall for candy. My two older kids aren’t even interested anymore. I’d love to say I run a haunted house or chase the neighborhood kids with an axe, but I treat it like every other day.

I’m heading to Tonia’s with you next year, all I do here is chase kids with an axe… and it’s not all it’s cut out to be. *Shrugs* Maybe it would be better if I could catch the little bastards, but I just figure “Hey, at least I’m exercising!”

My stomach just growled… On that note, here’s question #4 😀

4 – Have you ever eaten/tried brains? (Maybe not a good idea to divulge if you’ve eaten human brains… I’m thinking animal…) If not, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever tried? (I wanted to say “put in your mouth” but opted for the cleaner version. Hehe!)

Tonia Brown: I have never had brains, but only because I’ve never had the opportunity. I would probably try them if offered. I will pretty much try anything once. (Yes, read into that as much as you like, it’s all true!) I think horse is the weirdest thing I have eaten, mainly because folks don’t eat it anymore like they used to.

Armand Rosamilia: So many dirty, dirty thoughts about Tonia and Mandy went through my head… I am such a wimp when it comes to food. I’ve never eaten anything strange or stuff I don’t absolutely know what it is. Hell, I don’t even eat condiments: no ketchup, mustard, relish, mayo… boring. Why am I starting to see a pattern to this interview? Tonia does crazy cool stuff and I am so damn boring…

They sell horse meat here in Quebec but not in Ontario, so I’m not too sure about it, but my good friend loves it. I’m a foodie, so I tend to try everything once. Yes, brains are on my list.

Last question. A correct answer here is worth 1000$ dollars!
(Okay, there’s no money, but I figured it would make a good lead in.)

5 – You find a genie in a bottle, but the cheap bastard only gives you one wish… What do you wish for? (More wishes or another genie do not count.)

Tonia Brown: The ability to know just what to say to resolve any conflict. I’m not saying I would always do it, but it would be useful to know how to help. Either that or a never-ending bucket of fried chicken. Yea gods, I love fried chicken.

Armand Rosamilia: World peace and to end hunger. Nah, screw that. I want the ability to either eat anything I like but to suddenly be totally fit and even hotter than I am (if it’s even possible)… or the power to move you.

Well, I’m about 160lbs… Pretty sure you can move me just by shoving me. If you catch me unaware, I’d probably catch air. How’s that for the power to move me? And Tonia, I’ll be over with chicken as soon as possible… 😉

And that concludes my five question interview with Tonia Brown and Armand Rosamilia.
Thanks so much for including me in your Haunted Halloween Blog Tour and taking the time to chat with me.

MDG

 

 

Having Words – Bob Ford

Bob FordOne of my first experiences with live readings was at Horrorfind 13 where Bob Ford read the introductory chapters of Samson and Denial. As I finished the novella at home, I could hear the characters in my mind, just as he read them. His animated reading lent voices to the already amazing characters and I burned through the leftover pages.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Bob to chat about life, his writing and what’s coming down the pipeline.

Mandy: Thanks for taking the time to answer my inane and not so inane questions. Let’s start with inane. What are five words your friends would use to describe you?

Bob: Creative. Strategic. Hippie. Mentally unstable.

Mandy: Ha, I believe the mentally unstable part lends well to writers in general. Aside from writing, what do you do for your day job?

Bob: I’ve done advertising and graphic design for the last twenty-two years, fifteen of which have been on my own. I handle projects for Fortune 500 companies, as well as small businesses. It has its perks, but also it’s headaches like any other job.

Mandy: Unfortunately headaches and jobs seem to go hand in hand. Here’s a somewhat job-related question for you, if you could get any one thing, money is no option, what would you buy?

Bob: Even if money wasn’t an option, I don’t think “technically” I could buy a midget. I might be able to rent one for a while though. The honest answer though, is if money wasn’t an option, I’d build my parents a new home and horse barn. They’ve worked hard through their life and I’d love to be able to do that for them.

 Mandy: Maybe you can get a midget barn… Ha! Time for a change of topic methinks. 😀 Like most authors, when we’re not writing or working, we’re probably reading (or sleeping). What’s in your to be read pile?

Bob: I am poorly slacking this year with reading a lot, but (and yes, it’s a sad truth), I have yet to read Kelli Owen’s “White Picket Prisons”. Since seeing the movie “Savages”, I really want to read Don Winslow’s book and the prequel “The Kings of Cool”.

This year I’ve been reading a lot of things for the day job instead of fiction. Exciting things about bituminous asphalt and hydraulic industrial piping in factory lines.

Mandy: Sounds fantastically interesting. *Insert sarcastic smile here.* I just finished reading Samson and Denial and loved it for the second time round, maybe even more this time. Aside from Samson what other work have you published?

Bob: I’ve published a handful of short stories. Off the top of my head, “Free Ride Angie” in Insidious Reflections magazine, “Georgie” in a Halloween issue of Shroud, “In Darker Waters” in the anthology “Fell Beasts”, and in a limited edition Christmas gift Brian Keene gave out to his fans one year, I had a short story titled “Bloodlegum and Lolliknives” published. That was a lot of fun. Hmmm, let’s see. Oh, my short story “The Tastes of Our Indiscretions” was in a chapbook accompanying the anthology “Dark Faith” by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon.

I turned from writing fiction for a few years and focused on screenplays but Hollywood is a tough path. I had a few close calls where everything was lined up on a script, but didn’t work out. I think I’ll be sticking to prose fiction for the foreseeable future.

Mandy: I’ve read Free Ride Angie, it was in the chapbook with a short story called “Bluebottle Summer” and loved both stories. Is there anything else coming down the pipeline?

Bob: As I write this, I’m about seven thousand words away from finishing a novel titled “The Compound”. I was swamped with work from my day job this week and the chapter I’ve left my characters hanging in is…well, to put it bluntly, the shit is hitting the fan in the worst way. I can’t wait to get back to them and finish it off.

After “The Compound”, I’ll be working on a novella and then the novel-length sequel to “Samson and Denial” titled “The Crimson Sisters”. A lot of people have asked me if there’s going to be a sequel and I love the character of Samson Gallows. I understand him as a person very well and I can tell you in the sequel, he’s got some problems headed toward him in a very big way.

I’ve got another novel in the works as well titled “No Lipstick in Avalon” that’s completely out of the horror genre. The title came to me one day and rattled around in the back of my head until the story concept decided to present itself. I’m about a third of the way finished and I think readers will really enjoy the story because the main character has such a strong voice.

Mandy: Wow, that’s a lot on your plate, I have trouble focusing on one thing at a time. How do you set your writing goals?

Bob: I suppose the goals themselves come from the strength of the story idea for me. Like any writer, I’ve got pages of notes that include titles, bits of dialogue or exchanges between characters. Some of those ideas, as a writer, you just know they have some meat to them and are going to be a novella or a novel. Other ideas come off as only a short story and others…others should be left on the page of notes where they are.

I write the ideas that interest me enough, regardless of the genre. If the story is enough to hold my interest and become involved with the characters, I can only hope that translates to the reader being interested and involved with the story as well. It’s worked for me so far at least.

Mandy: When you are writing, it there a certain type of music you write to?

Bob: I’ve got a seriously eclectic taste in music but it’s usually a mix of Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Jack White, Beastie Boys, N.W.A., The Black Keys…pretty much anything that I can find a serious rhythm to as I’m typing. Once I get into that zone and can crank out the words, the music helps me keep the rhythm of typing. It’s an amazing mental state of mind to be in.

Mandy: Follow up question… Who inspires you to write?

Bob: Readers inspire me. I love doing readings to a live audience to see their emotional reaction. Remembering if they laugh or cried or got a certain look in their eyes always helps me with whatever I’m working on next.

Mandy: Do you have any upcoming appearances for 2012 where the above mentioned readers might be able to find you?

Bob: I’m laying a little low this year for appearances as I’ve been focusing on the pages more than anything, but I’ll be at HorrorFind weekend in Gettysburg, PA and if finances can swing it, you might see me at a few other conventions.

Mandy: And the final question–the one I seem to ask with every interview–do you have any advice for other writers?

Bob: The best advice is the advice most often repeated by other writers who have been doing this way longer than I have. Ass in chair. Write. It’s the only true way to get anything done.

As for my own personal advice, I’d tell other writers to not put it off. If you think you have a talent and a gift to tell stories, don’t put it off or else time will slip by and before you know it, you’ll be the person in their late sixties telling someone else how you had a great idea for a book when you were younger but you never got around to writing it.

Don’t die with your music still in you.

Mandy: Excellent advice. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me and I am seriously stoked for the sequel to Samson.

To the readers, if you haven’t read Samson and Denial, do it. You don’t want to be behind when the sequel is released. Trust me. 🙂
Get it here for Kindle.

Having Words – The Boys of StrangeHouse Books

When I decided to start running interviews on my blog, I knew I’d run into some very interesting people. Never once did I think I would meet authors, (not one but TWO of them), who parallel my level of weirdness.

After having read Strange Sex and Scary Fucking Stories, (both books put out by StrangeHouse Books and right up my twisted little alley), I got in touch with Kevin Strange and Don Noble to find out what makes them tick…

***

Mandy: Hi! or Bonjour! as some of us Canadians say. Thanks for taking the time to answer my sometimes inane, yet fun questions. (I’ll try to keep my eh’s to a minimum throughout the questioning…) So tell me about yourself, one paragraph each of awesome explanatoriness.

Kevin: First up thank you beautiful authoress Mandy for doing this interview with the ones them call StrangeHouse Books! I’ll let Donnie Boy go first. Take it away, beautiful!

Don: I was born poor and have successfully stayed that way with dreams of being an artist. At a young age I started reading comics, I learned to draw and fell in love with creating my own stories. As I got older, I started playing music, toured, released a couple albums, and found that my writing was easily translated into song. I spent almost a decade doing the sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll bit (mostly tampering with psychedelics) and now find myself going full circle, back into my original love. Telling stories.

Kevin: Well, I used to make movies. Really offensive gore/sex/comedy indie movies. I did that for years and years. I made 5 feature films and over a dozen short movies. But shooting guerrilla style, ultra low budget indie movies, while extremely fun, is also extremely limiting in terms of scope and storytelling ability. Eventually I burnt out and felt like I’d told almost everything I had to say at that level of storytelling. So I started StrangeHouse with this beautiful, blue eyed lumberjack. And the rest is extreme horror history!

Mandy: Speaking of history, how did you two meet? I’m sure there’s an interestingly wicked story there… 😛

Don: I think I first met Kevin through a crazy chick. I mean…she was nuts. She told me that she used to fly jets for the mafia to deliver heroin. When I asked her when she did that, she replied, “1992.” I counted it up. She would’ve only been twelve at the time. Super hot girl, though. Just crazy. She had psychic powers, the whole shebang. Good times.  She was playing in one of Kevin’s short films (Dead Shit) and I came along to play a Steak ‘n’ Shake zombie. We might have met earlier, but you have to understand, it was my early twenties, I was always drunk. It gets a little foggy.

Kevin: That’s about right. I’ll add that the reason I stayed in touch with the bastard, and eventually asked him to join me on the StrangeHouse adventure, was that when we hung out together (through the crazy girl. Beautiful. Big ass tits!) All Don wanted to talk about was shit like Robert Anton Wilson, psychedelic phenomenon, ancient aliens, alternative history and just a ton of other non mainstream shit. The dude was obviously well read and intelligent, and his love for the arts made it a no brainer when I was ready to start a new chapter in my artistic life, to ask this dude to come along with me and help me re-shape the face of indie horror literature, for better or worse! And 6 months in, I have to say, I have not regretted that  decision once. Dude is a workhorse man. He takes everything I have to throw at him and keeps asking for more. (full homo)

Mandy: Gotta love the crazy girls… we do good work sometimes. 😉 Crazy girls aside, you two have paired up and created Strangehouse Books. Tell me (and the readers) a little about Strangehouse Books and it’s two current releases. (Strange Sex and Scary F*cking Stories.)

Don: Well, for a while before Kevin came up with the idea to start a publishing house, we had both started writing. He had transitioned from doing movies, and I had left music. We started this race to see whose short stories could get rejected the most, and then by sometime in late 2011, he proposed the idea of StrangeHouse Books. I said I wanted in, and in January (I think?) we pulled the trigger, and started emptying our wallets.

Strange Sex: A Strange Anthology was purely Kevin there. He wanted to come out of the gates just raunchy and provocative as hell. Since I have no shame, I agreed it was a fantastic fucking idea and immediately began writing a load of short stories just in case no one submitted. Since he’d built a lot of relationships with other artists through Hack Movies, it was the exact opposite. Greatly disturbed and talented folks came out of the wood work. I was very proud to be in those ranks. I keep telling people that book is like the penthouse forum in hell, so much dark, cynical humor in there, and so many great gross out scenes.

Scary Fucking Stories was the accumulation of my bump in the dark, more straight-forward horror. I grew up with the horror genre, and I always knew I could tell a good yarn. I spent a few years three-shits-deep in psychedelics, mainly fresh, wet, super potent fungi, and luckily I was a horror fan and had a good sense of humor, otherwise I might have gone absolutely mad and not just quasi-mad like I am now. Some of the story concepts in that book are blended in from those visions, and hallucinations. I took the big taboo- Death- and tried to weave a new spin, using mysticism and science to create what I thought were creepy, and suspense filled paranormal stories. When I started getting some great responses from them, the idea to make a book of short fiction came to mind. Guess I’m a creepy guy, just finally had to put it on paper.

Kevin: I spent 6 years, starting when I was just 19 years old, managing a chain of indie porn shops in the mid west. I’d been a pervert LONG before that, but the shit I saw and heard in those stores for the better part of a decade, I’ve used as much of my subject matter for my films and now my fiction. Since the Hack Movies (my indie film label) are extremely offensive horror/sex comedies, I wanted to help ease that fan base into StrangeHouse by keeping the subject matter as close as I could. Weird, offensive, totally crazy sex horror stories were the natural progression into StrangeHouse Books. I fucking love Strange Sex. There are so many stories in there that will just fuck you up if you’re not ready for them. It’s the perfect flagship book for our label and if you haven’t read it, you’re missing the fuck out, for real.

Mandy: I have to say I’ve read both books, really enjoyed them and recommend them to friends all the time. Strange Sex was even my coffee table book for a little while. Inquiring minds want to know who or what inspired you to start writing?

Don: I was a huge fan of the comic Spawn and Preacher when I was growing up and every terrible and great zombie movie you could think of. Hellraiser, Nightmare on Elm Street, Gremlins. All those things were constantly playing in my childhood. They were huge early influences in storytelling. I was an avid fan of the old Conan books and Stephen King. As I got older guys like Robert Anton Wilson and books like the Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy appealed to my quirky nature. I think it was my earliest love really, and I’m such a hard-headed fuck I refuse to give it up.

Kevin: As I said earlier, ultra low budget film does not offer the same type of creative outlet as fiction. I’ve been an avid reader my whole life, starting with Choose Your Own Adventure books, moving into Goosebumps as I got older (I sometimes read two a day!) and finally when I got into high school, shit like H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker. But what inspires me creatively? (now I’m interviewing myself!) Porn, Saturday Morning cartoons, John Waters movies, Troma, Full Moon Pictures, comic books, ultra gore Japanese flicks like Ichi the Killer and Tokyo Gore Police, cheese-ball 80s horror flicks like C.H.U.D., Chopping Mall, and Street Trash. Just anything generally considered low brow and only technically artistic.

Mandy: We must be around the same age… A lot of those are very familiar to me as well. Now to the extreme opposite side of inspiration, what do you think has been your biggest challenge as an author?

Don: Typos and motherfucking dyslexia. Ha, no really, I think it’s just finding a place away from the world where I can concentrate and not be bothered, or suffer from interference.  With a world filled with cell phones and Facebook, electronics can be like heroin.

Kevin: My biggest challenge as an author is picking one idea to stay excited about. A lot of authors claim to suffer from writers block, or a shortage of ideas that haven’t been done before. I say bullshit! There is no such thing as writer’s block! I get inspired with new ideas while taking shits or jacking off (sometimes both at the same time. Hey! Let’s keep it classy here!). And there hasn’t been a fresh idea since the god damn bible (see what I did there?). Writing is all about putting your personal spin on shit. Thinking outside the box, not in terms of new ideas. Everything you ever write is going to have an intro, a conflict, a climax and a conclusion. There’s only so many ways to tell that story. The thing you can add to it, and make your own, is the flavor of toppings you use on your story pizza. Want to tell a vampire story? Throw in mutants, the apocalypse, ultra gore fight scenes, feral vampires that look more like Predator than Edward Cullen and lots and lots of toxic goo! Except don’t do any of those things cause those are the plot elements of my new novel Vampire Guts in Nuke Town. Steal that shit and I’ll sue the fuck out of you! (not really. Yes really. No, not at all, go ahead, just call it part 2: Return of the nuke! I’ll write an intro for you!)

Mandy: Ha ha, electronics and masturbation… Those are two of my biggest distractions as well. 😉 Change of subject… Who are your current favorite author(s)? Favorite novel(s)?

Don: S.M. Stirling and the “Dies the Fire” series.  The “Dark Tower” series by Stephen King. “Death Lands” series by James Axler. Anything by Chuck Palahniuk. Brian Keene’s “The Rising” and “City of the Dead.”

Kevin: I’ve recently (believe it or not, it took this long) gotten into the bizarro/hardcore horror authors like Ed Lee, Carlton Mellick, Jeff Burk, Jordan Krall, etc. I’ve also read a lot of Brian Keene and Jeffery Thomas lately. I’m also into lovecraftian writers like W. H. Pugmire. I’d have to say, my current favorite novel, and the one I’ve been recommending to all of my writer friends, is Mellick’s Ape Shit. It’s just a crazy, ultra offensive 80s horror send up that does not skimp on the shock and awe. Very simplistic but very well done if you’re into schlock.

Mandy: Bonus brownie points for me as Strange Sex is one of my favourites at the moment, which would put the two of you (as well as 11 other authors in this category for me). You know I’m going to ask for a poster when I meet you guys… 😛 I seriously hope there’s more coming down the pipeline from StrangeHouse Books. What are your current or upcoming projects?

Don: So far I have “Scary Fucking Stories” and “Beer Run of the Dead” out. My next upcoming novel is called, “Grownups Must Die,” a tale that follows how tribes and clans of children survive after an apocalypse of sorts. It’s a darker, more serious work. Ultra-violent. After that, my next novel will be totally bizarro. It’s called, “Apocalypse Meow.”

Kevin: The aforementioned Vampire Guts in Nuke Town will be my debut novel. It follows the main character, Guts, through a post apocalyptic nuked-out wasteland full of deformed mutants, motorcycle gangs, and big, nasty, feral vampires. It’s like my version of Conan. Guts is a character I can always come back to and explore. Writing this novel has been some of the most fun I’ve had in the decade I’ve been writing professionally (Can you really call writing/directing movies like COCKHAMMER professional? And how many times can I use parentheses in this interview?) After that, I’ve got another ultra-gore, super sexual novel coming out called, Face Melting Pizza Freaks. It’s a send up to all the cheesy 80s goo movies like Street Trash, The Blob, Slime City, and The Stuff. You’ll definitely feel like taking a shower after you’re done with that one. Also sometime in there, I’ve got a collection of short fiction called, Murder Stories for your Face Meat coming out. All these should hit in 2012.

Mandy: Hooray! More to add to my bookshelves. I happen to like “real” books, so I usually order the paperbacks. What about you guys, do you prefer Print or Ebook and why?

Don: I haven’t tried the Ebook thing yet, so I can’t really say. I think I’m more old-school. I like having the book on my shelf, and plus, I don’t have to worry if I forgot to charge my book’s battery or not.

Kevin: As both an author and a fan, I’ll always enjoy the tactile sensation of owning and reading a hard copy of a book. I have two bookshelves full of books at home. The eBook thing, just like the digital music craze, it just cheapens the artistic effect. Songs stop being albums, they just become MP3 files to randomly listen to, catalog, and eventually delete. There is no soul in digital art. You can’t connect with an artist through an LCD screen. You can’t have your favorite author sign your Kindle. It’s rubbish man. Fuck eBooks. (Pick up Beer Run of the Dead, and soon the entire Strangehouse Books catalog on your Kindle by surfing over to Amazon.com today! Thanks Joel!)

Mandy: Sign… the… books??? Great idea! I’ve always just gotten my boobs signed, but it always washes off and you can’t not shower. (Lol! Totally just kidding.) I’m sure I’ll have a few things for you guys to sign when I meet up with you guys at a convention somewhere. I’ve noticed on Facebook you guys have been hitting up a lot of cons lately, which is your favourite convention and why?

Don: All the conventions have been a blast. I can’t really pin-point an exact one, but I think I was most surprised by the St. Louis con. Since it’s sort of our hometown, there was a sense that maybe we would be a flop (because people like to think STL is a dead zone), but so far, that’s been our best show. Plus, a good chunk of our friends could make it down, and it’s always nice to burn through some vodka with the locals. Honestly, the biggest, meanest show so far has been HorrorHound. Those guys did it up.

Kevin: I’ve done over 20 shows since 2006, but my favorite show as StrangeHouse on this first year’s worth of book tours was hands down Contamination in St. Louis. We got lots of love and made a shit load of money dollars! But my favorite con town, and the place I’m super stoked to go to next month for Flashback Weekend, (featuring a From Beyond cast reunion!) is Chicago. We’ve had nothing but success up there. Chicago loves to support indie art. I can’t fucking WAIT to show them these twisted ass movie books in color! (It’s a movie book cause it plays in your head…. in color…. get it?)

Mandy: Follow-up question to the con one: What’s your favourite drink? (We’re authors… it’s a valid question.)

Don: Tequila, lime and salt. Although… that is not my “writing” drink. That’s my party-time drink. Vodka or Whiskey, or some cheap beer, PBR will usually do the trick. I’m not a materialist, nor do I have a taste for the expensive stuff. I’m a lush.

Kevin: I didn’t drink for 7 solid years. The entire catalog of Hack Movies was created stone sober. I used to be proud of that fact, until I was so stressed and beaten down by the cold, unforgiving indie art field, that I was driven to start drinking again. And guess what? I’ve found that near a decade of sobriety helps one deal with moderation. (Or maybe it’s that I’m 32 and not 25) I don’t know. But suffice it say, I enjoy my drinky time now. Oh yes. Especially at cons. Find me sober at a show. I dare you! Any hard liquor will do, but lately I’ve been drinking a shit load of Vodka Sprites thanks to my lovely lady friend Kristen Lugosi. (Take a drink every time Kevin goes parenthetical. You’ll be hammered by now!)

Mandy: First rounds on me when we meet. Topic change! Time for something more serious… Everyone seems to be up in arms over reviews at the moment, how important are reviews to your work?

Don: Since I’ve only been published this year, reviews to me are more about learning about my works through the eyes of others. I want to see how my work has affected someone, whether it’s good or bad, that doesn’t really matter. I know I can’t please everyone. Shit, the best responses have been from older family members who decided to buy my stuff. The older folks couldn’t really handle it. “It’s written well, I mean you’re a great writer, but Jesus, it was too fucked up to get through.” That’s been the best so far. Plus they’ll never ask me to baby sit again. I enjoy that.

Kevin: Reviews have always been integral to my indie art. I don’t have the budget to advertise, so it’s always been the word-of-mouth from die hard horror fans that has spread my perversion around the globe and allowed me this tiny bit of cult infamy that I’m grateful to possess. BUT! Having said that. Don’t ever, EVER take these things to heart. It’s just one fucko’s opinion. I’ve had one critic call a scene from a Hack Movie the worst thing he’d ever seen in a film, hands down. And another say, of the exact same scene mind you, that it was the funniest thing he’d ever seen on film, and that it made him an instant fan for life. I’ve been called the worst filmmaker of all time. I’ve been called a poser trying to BE the worst filmmaker of all time. (How’s that for a kick in the nuts?) I’ve been called the next Kevin Smith and one of the most original voices in indie horror. You just NEVER KNOW! So don’t let the bad reviews get you down. Don’t ever let critics question your writing ability. Write for your damn self! If you put something out into the world you’re not proud of and happy with, then it’s your own fucking fault and maybe you deserve to be put in your place. Calm down and write shit that you want to read that nobody else is putting out. Like a mutant gangbang with tiny deformed humanoids that shoot green squirmy jism all over a porcupine girl (again, from Vampire Guts in Nuke Town). Otherwise, do what I do. Look for any sentence that can be construed as a positive and use it on your cover art all big like, then send the snarky asshole a picture of it in an email. 🙂

Mandy: Since you both have stories and books out or coming out, you must be doing something right. Would you have any advice for other writers?

Don: Learn some mechanics of telling a story. Really, brush off some of the English classes, and just write. One word at a time, every goddamn day. I would never worry about being original, completely original. Everything has been done. Between the Greeks and the Simpsons you’re already fucked on that. Find a story you want to write, and tell it your own way. I’ve read tons of stuff in the same universe, tons of zombie and apocalyptic shit. A lot of the basic ideas are the same, but it’s in the new characters, and the new scenes. Those things keep drawing me back in.  Add your own spice, and really, just write.

Kevin: Yeah. Quit fucking trying to re-invent the wheel. You’re not going to write the next Fight Club or The Rising. Those guys didn’t sit down to write a cult classic. They set out to write a fun story. Write shit that makes you whoop and pace around your desk when you finish it. Get fucking excited about writing instead of acting so insecure and passive/aggressive about it! You’re a fucking artist of words. Be fucking proud of it! Yes anyone can open a word processor and write fiction, but not everybody can rape, torture, and kill the same chick in a novel 5 separate times! (Guess what post apocalyptic vampire book that’s from? Oh and take another drink.)

Mandy: I’m not playing the drinking game. I’d never get this interview posted… Okay so we all know that I’m no fortune teller, I wish… but I’m not. In this case, I’ll need you to tell me what are your plans for the future, either writing or otherwise?

Don: I plan to keep writing, and building StrangeHouse Books with ol’ Kevin Strange. I want to write till people beat me to death with my own literature. Eventually, I would love to get back into film, and I’m sitting on an unreleased album I might put out in a year or so, but I’m at home here. Until I can build an Iron Man suit, this is what I plan to do.

Kevin: Writing, writing and fucking more writing. And when I’m not writing? Touring the books I write. And in between those things? Signing other bad ass authors and taking them out on tour with me to the great mid western USA where it is still, and will always be, 1985. The mid west, where you can meet 80s action stars like Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds, 80s porn stars like Seka and Ron Jeremy, AND see crazy motherfuckers like StrangeHouse Books all at the same show!

Shout out to our newest partner and head editor of StrangeHouse Books, Nicholas Day! (who will no doubt cringe at the amount of grammatical mistakes in these interview answers) Shout out to Mikey Lombardo at ReelSplatter.com! (who gets horribly murdered in Pizza Freaks!) Shout out to StrangeHouse editors Sean Ferrari and Joel Blair! Shout out to those two chicks from Fright Night Film Fest! Shout out to the motherfucking Sexsquach! Peace Bitches! Strangehouse fo Life!

Mandy: I’d like to thank Kevin and Don for participating in my second instalment of Having Words, here on MandyDegeit.com. It’s comforting to know there are other writers just as weird as I am. I shall end this interview with pictures of the boys in their natural habitat. (Just so you know who they are and can either seek them out or avoid them. Whichever one fits your needs more.) ~MDG~

Don Noble

Don Noble

Kevin Strange

Kevin Strange

Having Words – Summer of Zombie Blog Tour

When I decided to add interviews to my blog, I wasn’t thinking I’d have the chance to talk to six authors at one time, especially for my inaugural interview post. Being in the right place at the right time (also known as being on Facebook, all the time…) allowed me the chance to host The Summer of Zombie Blog Tour, featuring Armand Rosamilia, Dave Jeffery, Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, John O’Brien and Todd Brown.

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The Summer of Zombie Blog Tour has the six authors making their way around the blogosphere throughout the month of June, today just happens to be my place.

I’m a new writer breaking into the writing industry. How did you guys get your start and when? 

Dave Jeffery: To be honest, I’ve been pretty lucky. My first published novel (a mental health related text) was acquired by a specialist publisher who was looking to expand into general fiction. From this the Beatrice Beecham series was released. At this time I was experimenting with the eBook market and self-published Necropolis Rising via this platform in September 2010. The book attracted a small following which appeared to grow with invites to several zombie related anthologies. By spring 2011 the book was a #1 bestseller on Amazon and paperback rights to both book one and book two were acquired by Dark Continents Publishing. It’s been a whirlwind eighteen months with regular invites to zombie anthologies. I really am a lucky guy.

Mark Tufo: Tried the whole ‘traditional’ route, when I had enough rejection letters to go into the wholesale paper business I decided to try the indie way. Really had no clue about marketing and promotion, my first book languished for almost 18 months, I guess I kind of thought it would sell itself, naive me. I put Indian Hill out on Amazon in February of 2009.

Armand Rosamilia: I ‘sold’ my first short story around 1992 to a side-stapled zine for a free copy and never looked back. Since then I’ve been a publisher (Black Moon Magazine and Carnifex Extreme Metal Zine in the mid-90’s), then Carnifex Press in 2005 and Rymfire Books the last three years. All the while I submitted stories to magazines and anthologies. Sam’s Dot Publishing released my Death Metal novella in 2009 and I started self-publishing soon after.

What was the theme of the first thing you wrote for publication? If not zombies, when did you decide to start writing about the undead?

Ian Woodhead: I first started on a scifi epic, chronicling two races of intelligent sauron predators who had managed to throw off their primitive chains and develop two civilizations.  I put years into that piece. I even thought (some of the time) that it really was going to be an epic. Yeah right. One day, I may even dare myself to dig it out and read it again.

John O’Brien: This series is my first foray into the writing world.  Technically, the antagonists in the books aren’t undead so I’m not sure I can say I have started writing about the undead.  The stories in my head were about various survival scenarios.  The post-apocalyptic world creates the ultimate survival situation in my opinion and the creatures were thrown in for added dangers.  I will say that my son and friends had a great deal of influence on my decision to write about the series as they were, and are, very much into zombies.

Todd Brown: Not counting a high school job writing for a police and fire department news magazine (consisting mostly of having the after action reports transcribed into some sort of new story format) my first story, Dakota, involved two modern day DEA types being thrown back in time to just prior to the start of the Civil War. They are in Charleston, South Carolina, and one happens to be African-American.

The zombie thing happened when my college instructor pulled me up after class one day. I’d written a zombie short for fun. She told me that it was clear that I loved the genre. She also told me that it had much more depth than she was used to seeing for “that sort of fiction.” That was the nudge that sent me this way, and I have loved every minute of it since then.

Any words of advice for aspiring writers?

Mark Tufo: This is not an easy field, I think a fair number of new writers think this is a get rich quick scheme. ‘I’ll pound out a few thousand words and I’ll be a bazillionaire!’ It is a ton of work, writing the book is the easy part, editing, re-writing, art work, proofreading, marketing and promotion and probably ten other things I forgot all go into making your book successful. I easily spend 60 to 70 hours a week on all of the above listed items. You can be successful, but it’s like anything else in life, nobody is going to hand you anything, you need to go and get it.

Dave Jeffery: Keep at it. Read lots of different genres and authors. Learn how people put sentences together, then experiment and don’t be afraid of pushing the grammatical boundaries. You will get people criticising grammar that moves away from convention. This is not to say that you should not learn how to be grammatically accurate. Learn the tools of writing and then bend the boundaries. It makes for a better narrative.

Ian Woodhead: Keep writing. That’s it, just write and write and write. Write at work, write at home, go for a walk, and take a notepad with you. Go to the toilet, jot down a few notes (You may need to carry a pen too). Just write. Oh, read as well, if you aren’t writing, read. Call it revision.

Who inspires you to write (authors or people in your life)?

Todd Brown: I was influenced at an early age by Stephen King. Now, I try to gain a little something from every author I read. However, some of my greatest inspiration now comes from my readers who send me letters and email telling me that I made them laugh or cry. That is the rush.

John O’Brien: My readers.  And I would sincerely like to thank each and every one of you.  I enjoy getting your messages and reading your reviews – good and bad.  I truly do write the books for them to be enjoyed.

Dave Jeffery: I draw inspiration from all over. I have favourite notable authors, Steinbeck for example, but I also enjoy plenty of work from independent writers who tell tales in a wonderfully refreshing and un contrived manner.

If you were given the chance to rewrite any part of any zombie movie/book, which would you choose and what would you do?

Armand Rosamilia: I would take all the zombie books written by Mark Tufo, Dave Jeffery, Ian Woodhead, Todd Brown and John O’Brien, put my name on the cover and title page and simply watch the bucks roll in. Why change a thing? (Oh, except the publishing rights to me)

Mark Tufo: You know I really wouldn’t want to mess with anyone else’s vision, BUT in the Walking Dead, I would have so OFFED Rick’s wife and kid and kept Shane, I don’t think the exchange rate was worth it there.

Todd Brown: I don’t know that I could rewrite anybody else’s work. However, I’ve learned so much since Zomblog, I wish I could have another crack at that one.

Do you believe a zombie apocalypse could really happen? Are you prepared for it?

Ian Woodhead: Anything is possible I suppose. As for being prepared? Hell no.

John O’Brien: I definitely believe an apocalypse of some nature can happen and I’d like to think I am pretty well prepared for it.  Most of the survival aspect, besides having some of the right tools, is attitude.  I’m also out in the country so there will be little direct, immediate impact.

Armand Rosamilia: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I hope I die immediately. Patient Zero would be perfect, so I don’t have to worry about important stuff: supplies of M&M’s.

What’s your favorite book/story/piece you wrote? (If I were to go buy one, which should I start with…?) Self-pimping is allowed and expected here! 😀

Ian Woodhead: My favourite zombie book has to be The Unwashed Dead. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004U34WXE

Armand Rosamilia: Dying Days has been my best seller and best received. Start here! http://www.amazon.com/Dying-Days-ebook/dp/B004RVZXN2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340397495&sr=1-1&keywords=dying+days+armand

Dave Jeffery: Necropolis Rising (Zombie)

Ascension? (In ALT-ZOMBIE anthology)

Daddy Dearest (In Holiday of the Dead Anthology)

Beatrice Beecham’s Houseful of Horrors (Not zombies but worth a look if you want a chuckle)

John O’Brien: Each of the books fold into the next so I would definitely start with A New World: Chaos.  It admittedly starts off slow but builds. 

Todd Brown: Hands down, for me it is my DEAD series. Dead: The Ugly Beginning is character rich and I feel has my strongest work. The 4th book in the series (Dead: Winter) just landed on May 30th and is having the best opening month’s sales of any of my previous titles. However, I wrote a short story not too long ago titled That Ghoul Ava, and for some reason, I have been drawn back to the title character. I have finally decided to begin work on a full length piece in Ava’s world. This is a horror/comedy bit and a different angle for me that I am excited to see where it goes.

Mark Tufo: Man this is honestly like trying to tell you which one of my kids is better, they all have strong points and they all have faults. (My books – well and I guess my kids too!) But since this is a zombie tout it really is kind of a no-brainer (rim shot please!) Zombie Fallout! Thank you for the opportunity to spend a little time on your blog!

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All six of us – Todd Brown, Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, Armand Rosamilia, John O’Brien and Dave Jeffery – hope you’ll keep following us on the Summer of Zombie blog tour, and comment as we go along.

And… one lucky commenter for each blog will receive a Free eBook or Print book from one of the authors! Simply leave a comment with your e-mail address and we’ll pick a random winner each day! Simple as that!

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Thanks for helping me through my first interview as the interviewer. I hope to one day meet all of you at an upcoming convention.

Thanks for stopping by 😀

MDG