Tuesday, December 20, 2011


My new book, Learning to GIVE in a GETTING World is officially released as a trade paperback and an eBook.  Co-authored with Marc Farnell, Senior Pastor of CrossRidge Church in Little Elm, TX, this book explores the topic of obedient stewardship even in times of economic turmoil.

You can find it at CreateSpace as a paperback, Amazon as a paperback and a Kindle eBook, Barnes & Noble as a nookBook and at Smashwords in a variety of electronic formats.  Paperback is priced at $13.99 and the eBook versions are $8.99.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Author Interview with Corie L. Calcutt

It HAS been a while hasn't it. 

A number of projects, not the least of which is my day-job, have monopolized my time, but be not afraid.  I have not forgotten the blog.  And I have some pretty exciting stuff coming up, so stay tuned!

And to bring the blog back to life in style, I'm posting an interview today with Untreed Reads author Corie L. Calcutt, who just recently released a new suspense/thriller novella entitled TAKEN.

The Accidental Author:  Obviously, this tale is a nice mixture of macabre and mayhem. Where did you get your inspiration for TAKEN?

Corie Calcutt:   Honestly, I was inspired by a mix of things. I had heard of several real-life abduction cases in which more than one state line was crossed (I am, sadly, a true-crime junkie); however, in all of those cases the victims were women. I was interested to see what might happen if the victim was male; more specifically, a young man who might statistically have a better chance of fighting off their abductor.

Another thing I was interested in was seeing an abduction tale told specifically from the victim's point-of-view. In so many plots like this, readers see it from all sides: the victim, the abductor, the party or parties working to resolve the crime. I was curious to see if a story told from only the victim's point-of-view would work; to see the crime unfolding through only one pair of eyes. I felt it gave more mystery and was more suspenseful if the reader had to learn the information in the same way a potential victim of a crime like this would.

AA: When you set out to write, do you tend to have a strict outline, or do you allow the story to evolve organically?

CC: All of my work evolves organically. Sometimes it doesn't even evolve in the right order! :)

In the case of TAKEN, it was not only an organic process, the story really almost wrote itself initially. I just couldn't stop writing the first draft of it; like a good suspense thriller, I too was sucked in right until the end!

AA:  Do you feel that your works are more character-driven, or more plot-driven? In other words, do you allow the strength of the characters to bend the plot to their will, or does the strength of the plot transform the characters?

CC:   It's a little bit of both, actually. Most times I find that the plot will sometimes drive the characters; in some cases, the characters are SO strong that the plot bends around them.

One example of this from TAKEN is the character of James: in all three versions of this story that I wrote, I found readers were more drawn to him than they were the main protagonist! In writing for James's character, his personality really determined what would happen next, even though I usually had a rough idea of what that next step would be.
AA:  In terms of mechanics, when do you know a work is complete (or at least, ready to submit)?

CC:  Actually, I am a horrible judge of when my stories are good enough to shop out. Oftentimes I rely on a very small circle of friends in the art and writing world to proof and give me feedback on my works, and when they like it, it's done.

With TAKEN, it was a twofold process: there were three different versions of the story written. As far as the plot of the story went, I simply wrote it until I felt it needed to stop. Originally I (and the main characters) was going to Saskatchewan; once I hit Omaha, the story was telling me to wrap it up.

Two of my versions were nothing more than a perspective change: I found that writing it in first-person POV was much easier storywise than the third-person POV I was accustomed to writing in. Much less thought italics. :)

As with my other works, I had it looked over by my small circle of writing friends. Once they liked it, I shopped it out.

AA:  Do you revise while you write, or do you complete a full draft before you go back and revise?

CC:   Usually I revise as I write, but it honestly depends on the project. In this case, I did both, making my own changes and accepting the suggestions of my writing friends. If I were to write out a full draft before revising or requesting feedback, I'd never finish anything!

AA:  When you write things like TAKEN, do you write about things that you fear personally in a sort of personal catharsis, or is it something else entirely?

CC:  It's not so much what I personally fear rather than it's what piques my curiosity. As I stated before, I am a true-crime junkie; I grew up on mysteries and the like. I tend to write more tales about false confinement (kidnapping, hostage situations, etc.) because I find that the mindsets of those involved fascinate me, both the criminal's and the victim's POV's. There's just so many outcomes and things one doesn't normally consider unless they are in a situation like that that is worth exploring.

AA:  What are you working on now?

CC:   Right now I am working on two different projects in the midst of Real Life: one is a collaboration with a graphic-artist friend to turn one of my previously published short stories, "Consolation Prize" (first published through Kasma SF) into a short graphic novel. The other is a more fragmented work consisting of several short stories that, when read together, create one overarching story involving the meaning of family and the costs of obsession and vengeance.

Corie L. Calcutt is the author of several short stories, including Consolation Prize, Hostages at the Kitchen Table and TakenShe has a bachelor's in Creative Writing, is a lifelong Michigan resident, and has a very active imagination.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Jeff Strand Interview

Ah, it's been a while, I'll admit.  I've had a number of things on my plate that have conspired to monopolize my time and pull me away from posting on my blog.  But, the past six weeks haven't been entirely idle, and now you can see the fruits of that labor:  an interview with bestselling thriller/horror/comedy (or, what I liketo call "thrormedy") author Jeff Strand.  In addition, he was this year's Bram Stoker Awards Master of Ceremonies, as well as a nominee for his novel Dweller.

Jeff talks about his writing process, but more importantly, he moves us into the third quarter of the year, where I will focus on the editing/revision/submission process in the yearlong series "Inspiration to Publication".  I hope you enjoy reading about his process as much as I did during this interview.

The Accidental Author:  In a recent interview with F. Paul Wilson, he stated that the line between horror and hilarity is very thin.  However, with books like The Sinister Mr. Corpse, you like to blur and smudge that line into what could be described as horror comedy.  What inspires you to meld horror and comedy?

Jeff Strand:  Any genre I wrote in would be melded with comedy. So if I decided to become a romance novelist, I'd write romantic comedies, and if I did mysteries, they'd be comedic mysteries. It was never a case of "Eureka! If I combine the elements of a comedy with the elements of horror it will create a glorious reading sensation!" but rather my natural desire to write funny stuff combined with my love of horror fiction.

AA:  Speaking of The Sinister Mr. Corpse, let's talk about Stanley Dabernath.  Is he at all based upon anyone you know (that you are willing to admit), or is he a complete conjuration?

JS: Fortunately, he's a made-up character. It would suck to have to actually hang out with him. It's a traditional character arc--he starts off as an obnoxious creep, and by the end of the book is significantly less of an obnoxious creep--applied to a guy who happens to now be a resurrected corpse. There's also the theme of being famous without actually having any real accomplishments of your own, but that wasn't based on any particular celebrity.

AA:  This seems like as good a time as any to start talking about the writing process.  This year, on my blog, I’m devoting the entire year to an arc of interviews I’ve titled “Inspiration to Publication”, and I’m currently in part two:  the actual process of writing.  Focusing further on Stanley Dabernath, did you have a real sense of his character in its entirety before you set out to write the novel, or did he significantly evolve as the story arc progressed?

JS: I had a pretty good sense of him from the beginning. Without throwing a great big spoiler out there, I can say that I knew how the book was going to end, so the story was all about taking Stanley from the kind of person he is in the first chapter to the kind of person he is in the last chapter. It's a very character-driven book, so all of the plot twists were to support Stanley's growth as a human being...even though he's a zombie.

But that's all in a general sense. Though I had the major character beats mapped out, and they didn't really change while I was writing the book, there were a lot of smaller things that I came up with as I was writing. You're supposed to be rooting for the guy, and you're supposed to feel that there's genuine peril, so while I was writing I came up with the line at which his wisecracks stop. It wasn't planned out beforehand. For example, there's the early scene where the scientist is being sadistic and showing Stanley the pictures of when he was dead. That's where I said "Okay, at this point Stanley is no longer able to use jokes as a defense mechanism."

So there was certainly character development that happened while I was writing, but overall I knew where the character was going.

AA:  This is actually quite interesting, because I recently interviewed your friend F. Paul Wilson, who basically allows the plot to mold his characters.  Do you tend to let your characters' needs for certain types of transformative steps dictate the action in the plot (in general)?

JS: It varies from book to book. For example, I didn't write Wolf Hunt so that I could explore the emotional growth of George and Lou; I wanted to write a kick-ass novel about two thugs chasing a werewolf! Same thing with Benjamin's Parasite, which was not inspired by "I wish to write about the inner journey of Benjamin Wilson," but rather "What if this guy had a really horrible parasite inside of him, and it was totally screwing with his mind and body, and dangerous people who wanted the parasite were chasing him across the country?" Memorable characters are always important, but books like Fangboy and Mandibles are very much plot-driven.

Kutter is on the other end of the spectrum: a vicious serial killer finds a lost Boston Terrier, and his unexpected love for the dog gradually changes his life for the better. My personal challenge in writing that book was to start with a character who was completely reprehensible and unredeemable...and see if I could make the reader like him by the end.

Dweller was a mixture, because the premise (a boy befriends a forest-dwelling creature that lives behind his house, and the novel follows their friendship from childhood to old age) was pure character. But the book was sold before it was written, and the publisher wanted an outline. For me, outlines tend to be "Here's what happens in the book" rather than "Here's what's going on in the characters' minds" so I took a character-based premise and turned it into a plot-focused outline.

AA:  When you are writing a novel, do you have a tendency to revise “on the fly”, that is to say, do you revise while the draft is still in progress, or do you wait until the entire work is complete to go back and make revisions?

JS: Oh, I'm constantly revising while I write. I don't really do official second, third, fourth, etc. drafts. When I type "The End," the book is pretty much done except for a final polish, but I've been rewriting and editing throughout the entire process. 

AA:  When you sit down to write, are there any “staples” that you require, whether it is copious amounts of coffee, background music, or some other item that helps your writing process?

JS:  There is usually caffeine involved, though it's in Red Bull or Mountain Dew form rather than coffee. No background music--I need relative quiet to concentrate. There's no special time of day that I write or anything like that...the only consistent schedule is that the closer I get to my deadline, the more I write. The deadline for my next book is August 1st, so I will write much less today than I will write on July 31st. Beyond that, I don't have any weird elements that need to be in place to write!

AA:  Let's go back in time a little bit (I didn't tell you I had a time machine, did I?).  What is your earliest memory of your desire to write, and when did you know that you wanted to write professionally?

JS:  The desire to write goes back so far that I literally can't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer. And I always wanted to do it as a career, though when I was in grade school my work really wasn't up to professional standards. I started submitting my work when I was in high school. Back then and through college, I mostly focused on writing screenplays (I wrote a dozen and sold zero) and then in my early 20's I began writing novels. And that's where I've mostly stayed, because I know I can sell a novel or a short story, whereas something like a screenplay or a comic book script is a crapshoot.

AA:  I know that you do a good amount of self-publishing.  Do you think this is the true future of publishing?  Do you think that legacy publishing will survive, or will it be one of those cute nostalgia things like vinyl records?

JS:  I have no idea, which is why I'm playing both sides now! For my next three books, one is with a large publisher, one is small press, and one will be self-published. I think there are advantages to both, and I don't think one is going to destroy the other anytime soon. The fourth book in my Andrew Mayhem series is going to be self-published (the e-book edition, at least) because I'm marketing it to an existing fan base, and a publisher really can't get the book much wider distribution than I can get myself. I might as well keep total control and receive significantly higher royalties.

For my upcoming Young Adult novel...well, I'm out of my area of expertise and the publisher can offer a lot. I want them to worry about the cover and getting the book into stores and getting the reviews, and I want a vicious cold-blooded editor to hack it up.

I plan to continue both methods, depending on what makes best sense for an individual project.

AA:  In terms of publishing through any method, self-publishing or otherwise, how do you know when a book is ready?  Do you have friends or other authors who provide feedback?

JS:  By this point, I have a pretty good handle on what's working or not, but each book goes out to five or six readers, who hunt down those last pesky typos and continuity errors and offer general feedback. Though they're all fans of my work, it's a good mix of the people who like the "serious" stuff versus the ones who like the comedies, so I always get a wide variety of reactions.

I'm known for turning in very clean manuscripts, so the process for self-publishing a book isn't much different than when I hand it over to an editor. I'll have more test readers, and they'll have time to give it a leisurely read, and I'll add a couple more intense read-throughs to my usual process. There's some great editing in the small press, but also some not-so-great editing, so I've gotten used to taking responsibility for the final product!

AA:  Do you encourage writers just entering the field to explore self-publishing?  Should they seek out an agent?

JS:  They can explore it, a little, but when you're starting out, you're probably not producing material that you'll still be proud of in a few years. Self-publishing gives an author a lot of power and ends those long, frustrating waits for your work to make it through an editor or agent's slush pile...but it also makes it very easy to get published before you're ready. When I finished my first novel, I thought it was awesome. Now, the idea of somebody actually paying for that piece of crap, even 99 cents, fills me with horror. I am very, very, very, very glad that the Amazon/Smashwords model did not exist back when I was writing terrible books, because I would have used it, and now I'd be sorry.

So, yeah, I think authors should try to find an agent, if only because it forces them to spend more time perfecting their craft. And also, for every newbie writer whose first book is making them thousands of dollars a month in Kindle sales, there are many more who are selling a few copies a month, if that, and wondering what the hell happened.

AA:  Finally, if you had one nugget of wisdom for someone who is toying with the idea of transitioning from “writing for fun” to “writing for fun AND profit”, what would it be?

JS:  Write a lot. If you're Jonathan Franzen you can spend a decade on a novel, but if you're trying to make a living at this without being a NY Times bestseller, you need to build up a body of work. This doesn't mean to crank out garbage as quickly as you can, but you should always have something else in the pipeline.

Jeff Strand is the author of a bunch of novels, some serious, some not so serious. You can visit his Gleefully Macabre website at http://www.jeffstrand.com.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The F. Paul Wilson Interview: Outtake (SPOILER ALERT!!!)

WARNING:  If you have NOT read Harbingers in the Repairman Jack series, DO NOT read the following question and subsequent answer.  It contains a GIGANTIC spoiler.  If you wish to read it, having been warned, please scroll down:

The Accidental Author: I remember a point in the Repairman Jack series where Jack's impending fatherhood decidedly took a turn for the worse, and I remember being very disappointed.

FPW: [The pregnancy] was actually something I threw at myself. I can't remember whether it was in the outline stage or it just came to me. I simply had Gia tell him she was preggers, and I had no idea where I was going from there. I asked myself, “Do I want to do that?” Yeah. To keep the series from getting stale for me, I figured I'd just go with it. And from there, it became part of the story...a very big part of the story.

Then, I realized in the next novel, I had to deal with the question of how does [Jack] even become a father. He has no official existence. So that became a subplot that ran for a couple of books. And so it was a good thing. But then, I didn't see Gia with a baby in Nightworld. Without the baby present in Harbingers, I could have simply hurt Gia and Vicky. But with the baby in the story, there had to be a sacrifice.

It's strange. I'll be at a signing or a bookstore, and somebody will pick up Harbingers and say, “I've never read one of your books. Should I read this one?” And I'll say, “NO! NO! Do not read that one. Read any of the first nine, but do not read Harbingers until you've read the first nine.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Infamous Letter from Stephen King accusing F. Paul Wilson of "literary value"

If you remember from the interview with F. Paul Wilson, I have a letter from 1992 from Stephen King that lists the book The Touch as a book that taught him that "literary value of horror".

For those of you who want to see the evidence, here is a copy of the letter.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Things to look forward to in the coming weeks...

1.  More interviews with other authors at Untreed Reads publishing regarding their writing process.
2.  An interview with Jeff Strand, co-author of Draculas (with F. Paul Wilson, Blake Crouch and Jack Kilborn/JA Konrath) and author of such books as Mandibles, The Sinister Mr. Corpse, Pressure and the 2011 Bram Stoker Award Finalist, Dweller.
3.  A few left-over tidbits from the F. Paul Wilson interview...spoilers included, so I will make sure and announce which ones have spoilers.

Join me in June for these exciting posts!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Winners of the F. Paul Wilson signed book giveaway!

The moment you've all been waiting for.  The winners are:

Signed copy of Fatal Error:  Phillip Overton

Signed copy of trade-paperback of The Keep:  Mike Paladino

Congratulations to you both and thanks to everyone who entered.  If you entered and didn't win, you can always FEEL like a winner by going out and picking up one of my eBook short stories at any of the following places:

Untreed Reads Store (my publisher)
Probably just about any other one of your favorite online retailers

I was just kidding about it making you feel like a winner...but if you like literary short fiction, why not give it a shot?

SIDE NOTE:  Stay tuned in the next couple of days...I'm going to post an "extra" of my interview with F. Paul Wilson...it contains a spoiler from the Repairman Jack series (from Harbingers to be exact), so if you haven't read it, don't read the blog post.  Also, I have been asked by a few readers about the letter from Stephen King that I mentioned...I'll post an image of that as well in the coming days.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The F. Paul Wilson Interview: Final Installment

Well, it's hard to believe that May is almost over, and with the end of May comes the final installment of the F. Paul Wilson "Breakfast Interview" from World Horror Convention 2011.  I would like to express my gratitude to Paul for being so gracious as to allow me over an hour of his time to have this interview, and the subsequent time he spent going over my transcriptions to make sure that everything accurately reflected his responses to my questions.

So, without further delay, enjoy the final installment of my interview with F. Paul Wilson.

AA: So, since you still practice medicine on a part-time basis on Mondays and Tuesdays, do you have a concrete writing schedule for the rest of the week?

FPW: Yeah. Basically, I get up in the morning and I write, and I write until I run out of gas. Usually, by 3:00 in the afternoon, I'm ready to quit. Sometimes, I'll go to the gym and work out for about half an hour, and if the juices are flowing, I'll write some more. And, of course, there are times when I'm on a roll, and I'll skip the gym.

At the minimum, I try to do 1,000 words every day on a novel. Once I do that, I feel like I've done my duty. Then I can do other things. I used to work on a short story here and there. But now I'm scripting these graphic novel adaptations, or I'm proofing something. I've got the proofs for Reprisal sitting there, and they want them back by May 6. And they'll get the back on time, but I can never go through with the kind of care that I'd like. I mean, I go through it as carefully as I can, and try to make it as consistent as possible with everything else I've written. But then, reading it again is like “Ugh!” So that can be a chore, but it's something I have to do. And it can pay off. Sometimes I'll find a glaring error, and I'm really glad I caught it.

AA: Do you tend to wait till a chapter, a section or the entire book is complete before you go back and do revisions, or do you tend to “revise on the fly”?

FPW: No. In fact, I do my best not to go back until the entire book is finished. I start out not knowing my characters very well. They're much more a function of my story. But then, as I go along, they become more real. By the end of the book, I know them well. So then I go back and re-write what I know about them. I can include things earlier in the book about their characters that will be consistent with what they'll have to do later on. It's a matter of retro-fitting the characters with the rest of the story.

AA: It's interesting that I actually read The Haunted Air shortly before I read the book Superstition by David Ambrose, which also deals with the tricks of the psychic trade. I actually learned more about the underbelly of that industry reading these two works of fiction than I ever had anywhere else.

FPW: I learned from The Psychic Mafia [by M. Lamar Keene and Allen Spraggett]. It's an outdated book, because now they use computers and email now to share all this information.

AA: So, when you're setting out to write a novel, do you tend to be more compelled by your plot or your characters?

FPW: I like to think of it as “the story,” which is everything together. Plot doesn't move without characters. And characters running around without a plot? I guess it could be interesting for a while, but during 100,000 words or more, they have to do something.

But basically, as a rule, my characters serve my plot. I work hard on the characters to make them likable and accessible. Or reprehensible, if that makes the story work better. I like symmetry when I'm writing a story, so I work very hard to achieve that symmetry. And if [the symmetry] works, even if you fail a little bit with the characters, the reader still comes away feeling like they've had some sort of satisfying experience.

So, I'm a story guy rather than a pure character guy.

AA: So the story itself tends to have power over your characters, rather than the other way around?

FPW: Yeah, they serve the story. I mean, I may have to have someone jump in the river to accomplish something in the story, and I didn't know they were going to have to do that in the outlining stage. Then I have to go back [during revision] and include the fact that they were on a swim-team in high school to make the scenario plausible.

Sometimes I'll start off with a strong character, like Lyle in The Haunted Air. I wanted a very cynical—at the risk of sounding redundant—fake psychic. He wasn't kidding himself. He was in a very likable role, as opposed to the other psychics that Jack deals with.

AA: What book in your repertoire are you MOST proud of?

FPW: I would say Black Wind. The Keep is also up there. For some reason, it hit all the notes that I wanted to hit. And it's also frozen in a very crucial point in world history. So it doesn't get old and dated. I did a lot of research, and I got everything right as far as the period. So, I'm very pleased with that. Thirty years in print—I must have done something right.

I also really like The Haunted Air. That's one of the few novels I've written where I actually went in with a theme: knowledge versus belief. That was the theme that I clung to during the whole novel. It is very rare that I approach a novel with an idea as the engine. Save for my science fiction novels. Those books are very idea-driven, except maybe Dydeetown World. That was character-driven. I wanted to write Raymond Chandler-esque book, and that was it. I love that book.

AA: Do you get to do a lot of reading these days?

FPW: Nowhere near as much as I would like. That's why I like these trips. I can get on a plane and I can read. I can also write, because I don't have the internet or a phone to distract me. I can pound out my thousand words without much trouble on a plane. On the flight here I finished a .pdf of the last book of Sarah Pinborough's The Dog-Faced Gods trilogy. Which, by the way, you can't get here in the United States, so she was nice enough to send me a copy so I could load it onto my Kindle. I believe Tor will be publishing it here soon.

AA: Who is the most exciting writer in your estimation to come out recently?

FPW: Well, Sarah is awfully good, but she's been out for a while. She wrote for Leisure years ago. Even her books there were a cut above the rest. I think she has really hit her stride with the supernatural thriller like The Dog-Faced Gods. She's got the procedural down cold. She's got the underlying “Otherness-type” stuff. I really look forward to reading her books. Women seem to be writing the more innovative fantastica these days. Rhodi Hawk, Alex Sokolov, Mary Sangiovanni, Sarah Langan, Kelli Owen—they’re not recycling the same old tropes.

I get a lot of books from people who are looking for a blurb or whatever. Some are good; some are not. Nowadays, I spend a lot of my reading time doing research. Searching for New York in the 1990s has taken up a huge amount of my time. I thought it would be so easy. You know, Life in New York in 1990: The Book...Nope, doesn't exist. So, I have to go to all these different sources to do my research. I have to think about all the popular places in New York City. You're walking down Seventh Avenue near Times Square—is CATS playing yet? Is Les Miserables still playing? And all this just to add a little color to the narrative. It amounts to ten throw-away words, but it can take me hours to do the research to get it right. I'm anal about all that, so that's where I “waste” a lot of my time, rather than reading. Believe me, I'd rather be reading for fun.

AA: I'm going to ask you a question similar to one that I ask almost every other author that I interview for my blog, and that is--

FPW: Do you like Marvel or DC?

AA: [laughs] I was thinking more along the lines of “Do you prefer The Who or Led Zepplin?” Actually, the question is: if you were sitting across the table from a young F. Paul Wilson, and you were advising him about the directions that he should take to become a successful bestseller, what would you say to him?

FPW: Well, if we're talking about writing for profit, I would tell him to write that second Repairman Jack novel. Then again, maybe not. I mean, I earned a seven-figure advance for The Select, and if I had been writing Repairman Jack [instead] where would I have been? But, I went and wrote The Select because I had finished Nightworld and The Adversary Cycle as a whole, and I wanted to try something a little different. So, if I'd continued with Repairman Jack, I wouldn't have had that advance.

But who knows? It's a tough question to answer. A successful film could have made a huge difference. I look back and the movie technology of the 1980s was pony-cart compared to today. They could not have made a good version of The Tomb back then. Roger Corman optioned it, and re-set the story in Pasadena. And you just know [the Rakoshi] would have been guys in rubber suits. I always say the line between horror and hilarity is very thin. They would have made a very bad movie out of [The Tomb]. He came up with a terrible script, plus there were complications with rights to the title (a long story involving Fred Olen Ray that I won’t go into here). All in all, a mess.

But I digress. [If I'd stayed with Repairman Jack], I might be on Repairman Jack #27 right now, and I could have run him into the ground, and I would be so locked into Repairman Jack that I couldn't do anything else. I could have been like Lee Child. He's very happy writing [Jack] Reacher novels. And for him it works, because they are all very stand-alone in nature, so he can go on writing those forever. But if he wants to take off in another direction, he might have some trouble—not because of the quality of the writing, because he’s tops, but because readers would say “I want a Reacher novel.”

Robert Parker got out of that with Spenser by cloning Spenser. Jesse Stone is Spenser in a small town. He even talks the same. So, people who want another Spenser novel can just go out and pick up a Jesse Stone novel. They're exactly the same.

It's easy to get locked in, especially if the character is successful. Jack started off with a bang in The Tomb. It was on the New York Times bestseller list, and I certainly could have kept doing that. People kept saying, “I want another Repairman Jack book.” And I would just raise my hands and say “No, no, no. I want to do The Touch. I want to do this really cool book about World War II called Black Wind.”

F. PAUL WILSON is the author of forty-plus books and numerous short stories spanning science fiction, horror, adventure, medical thrillers, and virtually everything between. His novels regularly appear on the New York Times Bestsellers List. He was voted Grand Master by the World Horror Convention and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers of America. He has also received the Stoker Award, the Porgie Award, the Prometheus and Prometheus Hall of Fame Awards, the Pioneer Award from the RT Booklovers Convention, the Inkpot Award from San Diego ComiCon, and is listed in the 50th anniversary edition of Who's Who in America.

Over eight million copies of his books are in print in the US and his work has been translated into twenty-four languages. He also has written for the stage, screen, and interactive media. His latest thrillers, Ground Zero and Fatal Error, star his urban mercenary, Repairman Jack. Jack: Secret Vengeance recently concluded a young-adult trilogy starring a fourteen-year-old Jack. Paul resides at the Jersey Shore and can be found on the Web at www.repairmanjack.com.

JESSE S. GREEVER is "The Accidental Author" and CEO of eLectio Publishing, a digital publisher for Christian authors.  If you are a Christian author and have a manuscript that you think is worthy of publication, check out the submission guidelines and follow the directions for manuscript submissions.

Greever is also a co-author of the book, Learning to Give in a Getting World, and numerous fiction titles from Untreed Reads publishing.
You can become a fan of eLectio Publishing on FaceBook:  http://www.facebook.com/eLectioPublishing
You can follow eLectio Publishing on Twitter (@eLectioPubs):  https://twitter.com/#!/eLectioPubs

Friday, May 20, 2011

The F Paul Wilson Interview GIVEAWAY Rules

Okay, as promised, for the finale of my World Horror Convention Breakfast Interview with FPW, I am going to be running a giveaway of signed FPW books.

Here are the rules:

You can enter one of four ways:

1.  Become a follower of this blog (The Accidental Author). 
2.  Become a follower of me on Twitter (@tisafire)
3.  Become a fan of my author page on FaceBook (http://on.fb.me/l1gtNI)
4.  Post a MEANINGFUL comment to any one of the portions of the interview.  You can make ONE entry this way PER DAY (but you can only enter ONCE PER DAY this way...for example, if you post five comments in a day, it still only counts as ONE entry).  I will reserve the right to reject an entry if it is not MEANINGFUL...ie, if you just post your name or some random word that has NOTHING to do with the interview, that WILL NOT COUNT.

You CAN garner multiple entries.  If you do #1, 2, 3 AND 4, that will count as FOUR entries.  So, conceivably, any one person could have 15 entries maximum (one each from #1, #2 and #3 and 12 entries by posting one comment per day).

Any time you complete any one of the four, email me at entries@accidental-author.com.  Each entry will be assigned an integer.  The very first entry will be given the number 1, the second, number 2 and so on.  You will receive a reply with your entry number for that entry.

NOTE:  If you already ARE a follower of my blog, follower of mine on Twitter, fan of mine on FaceBook, email me at entries@accidental-author.com stating this and I will assign you entry numbers for each.

The deadline is May 31.  On June 1, using true random number generator at www.random.org, I will draw TWO winners, based on the number assigned to their entry (or entries).

The FIRST prize winner will receive a hardcover copy of FATAL ERROR, signed by F Paul Wilson.

The SECOND prize winner will receive a trade paperback copy of THE KEEP signed by F Paul Wilson.

If you win, you will be contacted via email to get your mailing address.  Prizes will be mailed out around June 15, 2011.

If you have any questions, post them here, or email me at jesse@accidental-author.com.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The F. Paul Wilson Interview Part Three

It's time for yet another installment of the face-to-face interview I had with New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson.  In this segment, he responds to a very complimentary comment from Stephen King about his work, the road to publication of his most ambitious novel, Black Wind, and the evolution of the publishing industry as it rapidly makes the conversion to more digital-based publishing.

Also, read the note following this installment...I'll be having a very exciting contest to commemorate the final part of the installment with F. Paul Wilson!

Welcome back...F. Paul Wilson...

The Accidental Author: I'm going to ask you to respond to something. When I was a sophomore in high school, I worked at the library in my hometown. We had a display case, and every month, a different library employee had to do some sort of themed display. When it was my month, I decided to do a Stephen King display, since I was a huge fan at the time. I wrote him a letter and asked him to send stuff for the display case, and to my surprise, he sent back a whole box of promotional materials. And included in that was a personal letter to me, where he detailed many of his influences and inspirations. In one of the final paragraphs, he specifically states that The Touch is a book that taught him the “literary value of horror”.

FPW: My book?

AA: Yup.

FPW: Well, he never told me.

AA: Are you surprised that it would be The Touch?

FPW: I’m just plain old surprised. I’ve never been accused of “literary value” before. Let’s not spread that around too much – don’t want to sully my pulp cred. But literary or not, The Touch became an example of an ongoing problem with my work: Publishers didn't know what to expect from me. The Tomb after The Keep was not what Wm. Morrow wanted. They turned it down. Then, I wrote The Touch, and it wasn't really horror, per se. I mean, it was horror in the sense of what was happening to [the main character]. But I had all that gothic stuff in The Keep. Then I had what Ginger Buchanan, one of the editors, called “the blue meanies” in The Tomb. Then I did The Touch, which is what I would call “quiet horror”.

AA: Your editors must have really had to pick their collective jaws up off the floor when you sent them Black Wind, right?

FPW: That's why Black Wind wound up at yet another publisher. Putnam/Berkley turned it down. They said they didn’t know how to publish it. As for The Touch, we had a bit of a falling out over how it should be published. They saw me as a paperback author. They published the paperback of The Keep, and they sold a ton. They published the paperback of The Tomb, and they sold a ton. I insisted that they publish a hardcover for The Touch, and they didn't want to do it. I don't know if it was by design, or whether they didn't have enough advanced warning, but the spring catalog for that year did not list The Touch as a hardcover. Didn't list it at all. I’d go to bookstores and they would say, “You’ve got a new hardcover? I've never even heard of it.” But I had my vindication when this “stealth” hardcover went through three printings.

But then I threw Black Wind at them, and that was all she wrote.

AA: I would say [Black Wind] is your most challenging work. I think it demands a lot of the reader.

FPW: I don't know if I would say that it requires a lot of the reader. It’s my longest novel and not paced like Repairman Jack, and that puts some readers off. I’ve been told it reads like it was written by someone else. But if they let the story happen, they usually love it.

AA: What I mean is that it's clear that you spent a lot of time researching it, so the reader has to come up to speed with all the history and cultural aspects, so they get an education as they're reading. But I would also say it's one of your most gratifying novels to read.

FPW: It definitely has the broadest sweep of any of my fiction. Truly my most ambitious novel. It's got so much going on in it – the conspiracy theories surrounding the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the love quadrangle, the clash of cultures, the black wind itself. It's a difficult book in the sense that a lot of people were turned off by the children as the focus of the winds. And the self-mutilating monks. Definitely a lot of horror in it. But, it's also a family saga as well as a historical novel. And it starts off with a lot of human drama. So publishers were saying “How do we market this?” Tom Doherty did his damnedest, but the book never caught fire. I call it my “lost novel.” But people keep finding it. I met Joe Hill for the first time at a BEA a couple of years ago and the first thing he said to me after hello was, “I loved Black Wind, man.” That was nice to hear the next generation of writers. With the help of the ebook revolution, it will never be out of print again.

AA: Switching gears a little, you've written a number of articles for the journalistic website True/Slant regarding digital publishing and the problem of piracy. It seems like the publishing world is going through the same growing pains that the music industry went through a little over a decade ago. Do you think that this issue of piracy is something that the publishing industry is just going to have to learn to live with, or do you think there is a way to avoid piracy altogether?

FPW: Unless there is some sort of new “zapping” technology that allows us to fry the offending websites, I think we're going to have to coexist. When I put up my own eBooks for the Amazon Kindle, I put them up DRM (Digital Rights Management) free. Number one, I don't think there is a DRM that can't be hacked. Number two, I think that if you buy an eBook, you deserve to be able to read it on any platform you wish. It's like saying if someone buys a book, they can't read it on the train, they can only read it at home. Even though I know [the lack of DRM] could lead to more piracy.

I mean, I have a Google alert set to look for pirated copies of my books, and new ones show up every single day. And the servers are in places like Vietnam, so you're never going to catch up with them. I always compare it to Whack-a-Mole: you knock one down, and another one pops up. Most of them are bottom-feeding pirates; some will dress themselves up and say that they're providing a service, or that they're just like libraries. But they're not. With a library, a patron has to return the book, and there's only a finite number of copies. But with these pirates, there's no finite amount.

These parasites essentially have set themselves up as publishers without the permission of the content providers. They're appropriating the work of living authors, publishing and selling it without permission, and without compensating the creator. It’s flat-out thievery. The lawyers call it “copyright infringement,” but you can’t let lawyers define reality: it’s thievery and they’re thieves.

AA: One of the things that I've noticed with the digital revolution in the music industry is that some artists are actually moving away from the full-length album, and they're releasing single songs or shorter collections of songs, and they're thriving on that. Do you think that we're going to see the same transition in publishing, where more authors will be selling stand-alone short stories and novellas?

FPW: We're starting to see that now. Barry Eisler has got a couple of short stories that he's put up from his Rain series. They're selling very well, and they're selling for the same price that many of us are selling our full-length eBooks. I don't know if I would personally pay $2.99 for a short story, but I guess a lot of people have more discretionary income.

Draculas is a good example. We wrote that over a period of about six weeks, and we were all writing at once. But [in the eBook version] we included all the emails we sent back and forth. It's an 85,000 word novel, but there's 80,000 words of extras. And a lot of readers enjoy reading all the emails we traded, because it gave them insight into the process of writing it. You know, one of us would say “Well, I always intended to kill this character.” And [one of the other authors] would say, “No, you can't kill that guy. My wife will kill me if you kill that character.”

So, to include all that in a paper book, you'd essentially have to double the price. It's twice as much paper, and twice the amount of shelf-space, and so on. But with an eBook, it's just a bigger file, and so you can do it for the same price. I see the inclusion of bonus material as a huge advantage for eBooks.

And when the technology evolves a little more, and it’s easier to include images, I think it will really take off. I’ve found the inclusion of images very useful as I'm scripting graphic novel adaptations of the Young Adult Repairman Jack books. If I'm not sure if the artist knows what I'm talking about, I'll just search out an image and insert it in the script. The artists we're using are Spanish. A lot of people are using European artists these days, because they work cheaper, and they're VERY good. But when I mention that we open up with a panoramic view of the New Jersey pine barrens, and the artist is in Barcelona, does he know what I'm talking about? It doesn't matter. I find an image, and insert it in the script.

But the technology is evolving where we will soon be able to enrich the text of eBooks. Right now, formatting and inserting JPEGs can be problematic, because of the different screen-sizes of the various eBook readers. I mean, when you're reading an eBook on your iPhone as opposed to some of the other platforms, what is it going to look like? But that will all evolve very quickly.

AA: That's one of the things I enjoyed about the eBook version of Draculas. There were a few images sprinkled in that gave the reader help in envisioning these creatures.

FPW: Yeah, we commissioned four illustrations for Draculas.

Note:  Stay tuned for the fourth and final installment from the F. Paul Wilson interview, which should be up around the end of next week (the week of May 23).  As a part of the conclusion of this interview series, there will be a giveaway of a SIGNED copy of an F. Paul Wilson book to one lucky reader.  You DO NOT want to miss it!

F. PAUL WILSON is the author of forty-plus books and numerous short stories spanning science fiction, horror, adventure, medical thrillers, and virtually everything between. His novels regularly appear on the New York Times Bestsellers List. He was voted Grand Master by the World Horror Convention and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers of America. He has also received the Stoker Award, the Porgie Award, the Prometheus and Prometheus Hall of Fame Awards, the Pioneer Award from the RT Booklovers Convention, the Inkpot Award from San Diego ComiCon, and is listed in the 50th anniversary edition of Who's Who in America.

Over eight million copies of his books are in print in the US and his work has been translated into twenty-four languages. He also has written for the stage, screen, and interactive media. His latest thrillers, Ground Zero and Fatal Error, star his urban mercenary, Repairman Jack. Jack: Secret Vengeance recently concluded a young-adult trilogy starring a fourteen-year-old Jack. Paul resides at the Jersey Shore and can be found on the Web at www.repairmanjack.com.

JESSE S. GREEVER is "The Accidental Author" and CEO of eLectio Publishing, a digital publisher for Christian authors.  If you are a Christian author and have a manuscript that you think is worthy of publication, check out the submission guidelines and follow the directions for manuscript submissions.

Greever is also a co-author of the book, Learning to Give in a Getting World, and numerous fiction titles from Untreed Reads publishing.
You can become a fan of eLectio Publishing on FaceBook:  http://www.facebook.com/eLectioPublishing
You can follow eLectio Publishing on Twitter (@eLectioPubs):  https://twitter.com/#!/eLectioPubs

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The F. Paul Wilson Interview Part Two

This week's entry in the F. Paul Wilson interview sees a discussion of the current state of vampire fiction, the status of the Repairman Jack movie and what on earth went wrong with the film version of The Keep.

The Accidental Author: Not too long ago, I read your eBook Draculas, which you wrote with Crouch, Strand and Kilborn/Konrath. I found it in stark contrast to what seems to be very popular today, which is the “sexy vampire”. Based on what you wrote in Draculas, and also your previous vampire novel, Midnight Mass, your vision of the vampire is decidedly “unsexy”. Why do you think there is such a gravitation towards these glamorized creatures, whether they are vampires, werewolves or witches?

F. Paul Wilson: Well, it started with Anne Rice. Even before that, there was always something seductive about the vampire.

AA: Even with Bram Stoker.

FPW: Yeah, who I referred to as an English author in one of my books, and I've heard about it from Irish readers ever since. I think it was The Keep, come to think of it, where I referred to [Stoker] as “that English writer”.

But, there was always a good amount of eroticism in there. I think it makes it more dramatic, in that [the vampire] isn't just sucking your blood, he's sucking your soul. There's that other level of destruction. And basically, that's what I did in The Keep, where [Molasar] figuaratively sucked out Cuza's soul. It wasn't through sex, though. He seduced [Cuza] by unmooring him from all of his values, leaving him morally and spiritually adrift. It’s a recurring theme in my fiction: Being lured into becoming something less than you are. The seduction occurred, but it happened without romance and without sex. I think it is much more invidious that way.

But clearly, the easy way to achieve that seduction is with sex. And once romance writers grabbed onto the vampire mythology, they're now screwing everybody in sight.

AA: Are you okay with that? I mean, do you begrudge them that?

FPW: Not a bit. They actually kept horror alive through the last decade. So, good for them. But my reaction to that whole thing was Midnight Mass, and that's how I've always pictured vampires. I mean, if you're dead, and your interest is really in blood, then you're not going to shower a lot. And after you've sucked a lot of blood, you're pretty likely going to be a filthy mess. So, I don't see how that can be terribly attractive.

Everybody wants a series these days, so I'm getting emails that ask when I'm going to write the sequel to Midnight Mass. But I don't have one. If I had one, I'd write it, because I really liked working with that type of threat. I came up with the priest being the twilight man, and that was something I could work with. But, I've got so many other things on my plate right now, I just can't do that.

I probably should, to be honest. It would be a good move, career-wise. Since I'm moving away from Jack, it would be a great way to solidify another audience. When I finish writing [The Repairman Jack series], I'm going to lose a certain audience that doesn't necessarily read me, they read Jack. They won't read my medical thrillers. You know, they're just not interested in anything I do that isn't Jack, or that isn't related to The Otherness in some way.

AA: If memory serves me, you mentioned on your website that you recently had a meeting in the seemingly endless string of meetings regarding the Repairman Jack film. Did anything come of that? Is there any exciting news to share on that front?

FPW: It's not new, necessarily, in the sense that I'm always hearing the same thing. I don't like to talk “out of school” so much, because a lot of these things are told to me in confidence. But, they have an A-List director who is interested in doing it, and then, they don't move on it. Or, they're about to move on it, and someone else comes along who is a bigger name, and says “I'm a huge fan of Repairman Jack, and I want to do it.” So they dance with him for a while, and then a while later the music stops with him.

And at some point, you're just sitting there thinking, Come on, just make the movie already.

AA: It seems to me that any studio that could successfully pull it off would have a potential franchise on their hands. You look at the book series like The Harry Potter Series and The Twilight Saga that have been successfully made into really successful franchises...these things have brought in billions of dollars. If this film does well, a studio could have a pretty long and lucrative series on their hands.

FPW: Yeah, well, it would never be as big as Potter. Not even close. But the thing is, if it is a successful money-making movie, they'll do another one. It doesn't necessarily have to have a gross of $250 million, but it has got to make a decent profit. They need the right star; they need a guy who can carry [the role of Jack]. Ryan Reynolds has been interested in it for a long time. I think he would be great. I was at WonderCon and I saw him promoting The Green Lantern. And, it was like The Beatles. But he's a cool cat. He would do a really good job.

Obviously, you have to get a good action director. And we've already got a wonderful script. Chris Morgan did a great script. By the way, there's a video that I'll put in the next newsletter. Chris wrote the new Fast and Furious movie, Fast Five, and the Onion did this parody of a morning show interview with the screenwriter of Fast Five, and it's a five-year-old. And they ask him things like “How do you go about writing these scenes?” and he takes little toy cars and crashes them together and says, “Then they explode!” So, I sent the link to Chris, and he wrote back that he had seen it. But then he said “That's exactly how I pitch these things.” So he's a good sport about it.

The elements are all there [for the Repairman Jack movie]. But all the elements were there for The Keep. We had a hot new director in Michael Mann. We had Ian McKellen, Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne and Jurgen Prochnow. And Alberta Watson. We had a great special effects team. We had an award-winning set designer. But then, everybody goes over there and gets coked-up, and the special-effects guy dies. They shoot way over budget, and Paramount says “No. No more money!” Then, [Michael Mann] hands in a three-hour cut of the movie that needs even more funding for more effects. And again, they say “No. Cut that down to an hour and a half, and we're going to release it.” And it was on their “B-list” for publicity. There were a few trailers on TV, and that was about it. They knew it was a turkey.

F. PAUL WILSON is the author of forty-plus books and numerous short stories spanning science fiction, horror, adventure, medical thrillers, and virtually everything between. His novels regularly appear on the New York Times Bestsellers List. He was voted Grand Master by the World Horror Convention and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers of America. He has also received the Stoker Award, the Porgie Award, the Prometheus and Prometheus Hall of Fame Awards, the Pioneer Award from the RT Booklovers Convention, the Inkpot Award from San Diego ComiCon, and is listed in the 50th anniversary edition of Who's Who in America.

Over eight million copies of his books are in print in the US and his work has been translated into twenty-four languages. He also has written for the stage, screen, and interactive media. His latest thrillers, Ground Zero and Fatal Error, star his urban mercenary, Repairman Jack. Jack: Secret Vengeance recently concluded a young-adult trilogy starring a fourteen-year-old Jack. Paul resides at the Jersey Shore and can be found on the Web at www.repairmanjack.com.

JESSE S. GREEVER is "The Accidental Author" and CEO of eLectio Publishing, a digital publisher for Christian authors.  If you are a Christian author and have a manuscript that you think is worthy of publication, check out the submission guidelines and follow the directions for manuscript submissions.

Greever is also a co-author of the book, Learning to Give in a Getting World, and numerous fiction titles from Untreed Reads publishing.
You can become a fan of eLectio Publishing on FaceBook:  http://www.facebook.com/eLectioPublishing
You can follow eLectio Publishing on Twitter (@eLectioPubs):  https://twitter.com/#!/eLectioPubs