Author Spotlight: James Chambers

  • award-winning, genre-hopping author and editor; who has never met a dog he didn’t like

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to James Chambers!

James Chambers received the Bram Stoker Award® for the graphic novel, Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe and is a three-time Bram Stoker Award nominee, with nods in the Anthology and Short Fiction categories.

He is the author of the collections On the Night Border, described by Booklist as “a haunting exploration of the space where the real world and nightmares collide,” and Resurrection House as well as the Corpse Fauna novella series and the dark urban fantasy novella, Three Chords of Chaos. Publisher’s Weekly gave his Lovecraftian collection, The Engines of Sacrifice, a starred review and called it “…chillingly evocative.”

He writes crime, horror, fantasy, pulp, science fiction, steampunk, and other kinds of stories and enjoys stretching different writing muscles in the process.

James, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

I already have the greatest pet ever, a boisterous Boston Terrier named Ace (after Batman’s dog, Ace the Bat-Hound). He’s sixteen pounds of pure personality and playfulness and the most affectionate dog I’ve ever met—and for such a small guy, he’s amazing at catching a frisbee. If had the opportunity to add anything imaginable to the home menagerie, I might go with a giant eagle, like those in Lord of the Rings. It would certainly save on airfare and would probably keep the neighbors at a comfortable distance. Of course, we’d have to reach an agreement about what small creatures it could and could not eat.

He sounds like an amazing dog! High energy, though. A sentient eagle transport is never a bad addition, though!

What do you write?

I write short fiction, novellas, and graphic novels in crime, fantasy, horror, pulp, science fiction, steampunk, and other genres. I started writing way back in childhood and simply never stopped—and then editors and publishers started publishing my work, and here I am today!

Along the way I’ve done plenty of editing, which has helped me as a writer, but once I started selling stories, I got hooked. Early on in my career I wrote a lot of non-fiction articles covering the comic book industry and then went on to write and edit comic book series such as Leonard Nimoy’s Primortals, Gene Rodenberry’s Lost Universe, and Isaac Asimov’s I*Bots before I shifted to writing prose fiction.

What an amazing mix of genres and mediums! That’s got to be fun, always switching it up and expanding your skills.

What do you like to read?

Anything and everything. I try to keep up with what’s going on in the genres in which I write, but I read widely and often read outside of those genres. I read a lot of history and non-fiction as research for my stories and out of general interest. The more random facts a writer has at their disposal, the better.

I’m partial to dark fiction, crime and horror in particular, and I read a lot of graphic novels and comics too.  I’ve never been afraid to pick up a new author or a new type of genre mix, and if you left me alone in a room with a hundred-year-old newspaper and tube of toothpaste, I’d read the news and the ingredients with equal interest.

What a great attitude, although I fear for the size of your to-read list. I know what mine looks like. I have to admit, I read the ingredients off a tube of toothpaste last week, for a bit of nostalgia.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Write what you know.

I get the overall, non-literal sense of that advice, but when I’m writing a fantasy or horror story, especially one that involves supernatural elements, there’s not much I can “know” about that stuff. It’s a good piece of advice that clashes with the requirements of writing fantastic fiction.

The idea is to draw on real life as much as possible to create a sense of authenticity in your characters and worlds, to find themes and emotional story points that will resonate with readers. At some stage, though, one must branch out into pure imagination.

You said it for me! Great intention… as long as you don’t take it too literally.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Write every day.

It’s not for everyone. I know excellent writers who only write when the mood strikes them or during certain times of year when their schedule permits it.

For me, especially when I have an active project, sitting down at the keyboard every day and making progress, however great or small, works wonders. It keeps me engaged and keeps my mind focused on the story. Writing every day keeps me energized. If a take a break, even after a long stint of sticking to a daily schedule, I start to miss it and get anxious, and find myself back at the keyboard pretty fast.

You’ve got excellent self-control. I’m definitely motivated by the goal of “not loosing a streak.” Although, I do try to do something for my writing several times a week, but excluding NaNoWriMo events, typically do a more metered approach.


Shameless Self-Promotion time!

On the Night Border

Dark things stir in the night. When the world sleeps and quiet settles in, shadows assume sinister shapes, guilt and regret well up from the mind’s deepest recesses, and the lonely face their greatest fears. Darkness bares the secret truths whispered on the lips of the lost and the desperate. At night, terrors come alive. For those who journey too far into the dark, no escape remains—but there is a place from which to view these nightmares, a place…on the night border.

The fifteen stories collected here come from the last edge of the light and deliver glimpses into the dreadful, the mysterious, and the strange. These stories offer readers unsettling and weird visions from across the border, visions out of history and from the world around us, visions of cosmic horror, personal madness, and agonizing heartbreak, including, by special arrangement, stories of Lin Carter’s Anton Zarnak and Kolchak, the Night Stalker.

“…a haunting exploration of the space where the real world and nightmares collide.”—Booklist

The Dead in Their Masses 

Volume Three in the Corpse Fauna cycle of novellas and stories. 

Cornell, Della, and Mason broke out of a prison overrun by hardened criminals, religious fanatics, and the walking dead. But what kind of world did they escape to? Seeking refuge in a forgotten corner of the Everglades where they hope to live out their lives away from the hordes of animated corpses, the trio faces a long, lethal road, where the dangers of the living pose as much a threat as those of the dead. An out-of-the-way community offers what appears to be safe haven until its dark secrets come to light… and open the way to the even more shocking secrets of what has brought the lifeless back from the grave. Soon the dead gather in their masses and the mysterious Red Man arrives to exert a strange influence over them. Cornell, Delia, and a scientist named Burke, must face a horrifying new chapter in this bleak new world, if only they live long enough to make sense of it.

“James Chambers breathes new life into the zombie genre with the riveting THE DEAD BEAR WITNESS! Weird, heartbreaking, funny, and exciting! Two decaying thumbs up!” —Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of PATIENT ZERO and ROT & RUIN

Project image for LUCKY DEVILS AND WITCHY WAYS

And funding right now on Kickstarter, I am also a contributor to Horns and Halos, edited by John L. French and Danielle Ackley-McPhail, with stories by myself, Michael A. Black, Russ Colchamiro, Hildy Silverman, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Megan Mackie, Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg, Robert E. Waters, John L. French, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.


Check James Chambers out across the web!

Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Author Spotlight: Cassandra Morgan

  • award-winning Author and professional cat enthusiast

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Cassandra Morgan!

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses

Cassandra has published works in two series, a short story in the Dreams of Darkness anthology, and her newest published work, Damsel in (Social) Distance, a Sweet, Quarantine Romance.

She has traveled throughout the Midwest USA speaking at conferences and conventions about writing, publishing and marketing, and has had the pleasure of working with Mary Robinette Kowal, Amal El-Mohtar, Mary Ann Mohanraj, and Jim Hines.

Cassandra, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

I come from a family of animal-lovers, many of which have/had careers with animals. My own career path started many moons ago working in Animal Husbandry, whether in veterinary, grooming, research, behavior and nutrition, training. I’ve worked in just about every facet of animal care you can think of.

So, it’s really hard for me to pin-point one animal. If I had to choose, I’d probably go with a Pegasus. It has the advantage of being relatively easy to house, a low insurance risk for injury or property damage (as opposed to something like a dragon), and has the added bonus of flight so I can by-pass traffic.

I live outside of DC and anything can can dodge traffic sounds like a good bet to me! Especially if they poop on the jerk-faces on the road…

What do you write?

I come from a family of writers, English majors, journalists, etc. I have several family members who have published works over the years. One of my earliest memories is banging out something on my uncle’s typewriter. I didn’t know my alphabet yet. I think I was around 3, so it really was just a bunch of gobbledy-gook, then running into the next room and demanding the grown-ups listen to the story I had just “written.”

In second grade, a friend of mine and I wrote a comic called “The Adventures of Super Pencil and Eraser Boy.” We had a silver, glittery diary we passed back and forth. I would write the story, then give the diary to her to illustrate (BTW, she is still an incredible artist to this day, and has even modeled for Vogue, so quick shout out to growing up with one of the coolest friends ever.). After a few weeks, the teacher’s confiscated it. In hind-sight it was probably because Super Pencil and Eraser Boy looked like a pencil and eraser to eight-year-old children, but not to adults. I wonder what happened to that diary…

I like to write a little bit of everything. Most of what I write has a touch of magic in it, and I really love happy endings.

Oh, dear, I can only imagine what the adults thought you were drawing!

I can’t resist a touch of magic, myself. 🙂 And the world could use more happy endings.

What do you like to read?

I try to read a little bit of everything. My husband and I listen to an audiobook as we go to sleep every night, and we alternate who picks the book. We recently finished The Lies of Locke Lamora, and are now listening to Delta-V. Michael Crichton, Agatha Christie, Michelle Maddow, and Michael West have all featured in my playlist.

Oh wow. I’m horrible at patiently waiting for the end of a story, but it’s great that your husband enjoys the same taste in books as you. Lamora is a great book.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

If you’re stuck, move on to the next scene/something else.

My brain works very linearly. It’s almost impossible for me to write a book out of order. If I’m stuck, have writer’s block, etc, it’s because something is wrong. Either with my story or with me (such as needing a self-care day), and it’s up to me to figure out what that is.

I completely understand! I took that advice at first, but I hated what I ended up with. I still might write some vignette about a side character or mythology to help me flesh out my world, but I don’t like skipping around on the plot.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Stop worrying about being a good writer, just WRITE!

Get rid of distractions! Urgh! I am the QUEEN of mindless social media scrolling. My mind wanders very easily, so when I write, I have to actually put my phone on the other side of the room where I can’t just easily grab it. I also have to turn my internet connection off as well.

The only time I will let myself onto the internet is if I really need to research something quickly in order to move on with the story that’s in my head.

You’ve got a lot better self-control than I do! Although, I do enjoy a writing sprint.


Shameless Self-Promotion time!

Damsel in (Social) Distance

Image may contain: text that says 'darnsel in (social) distance eR Morgan design by sleepyfoxstudio.net COVER REVEAL'

A global, viral pandemic forced them together. But a nationwide quarantine has forced them apart.

“Damsel in (Social) Distance” is a Sweet, Quarantine Romance about moving on from your past, and realizing that isolation doesn’t mean you have to do this alone.

This is my newest released, dropping for publication the first week of August, 2020!

The Kingdoms of Chartile: Prophecy and Magic

Prophecy: Book 1 of the Kingdoms of Chartile by [Cassandra Morgan]

An adventure inspired by Narnia with a stroll through Middle Earth. If you enjoy YA Epic Fantasy, and typical fantasy tropes that have been slightly turned on their head, you’ll love The Kingdoms of Chartile.

The Silver Fox Mysteries, “Dorothy Claes and the Prison of Thenemi,” “Dorothy Claes and the Prowl of the Yule Cat,” and the award-winning “Dorothy Claes and the Blood of the Tsar.”  It’s Warehouse 13 meets Encyclopedia Brown! If you enjoy uncommon heroines, exploring world cultures/travel, and cat myth/lore/history, then you’ll love The Silver Fox Mysteries.


Check Cassandra Morgan out across the web!

Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Author Spotlight: Scarlet Ingstad

  • a historical fiction and fantasy author who spends most of her time with her nose stuck in a book

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Scarlet Ingstad!

Scarlet Ingstad is a writer who is as obsessed with 18th-century history as she is creating worlds that never existed. When not writing, she can most likely be found on the piazza of Mount Vernon studying the American Revolution and the Golden Age of Piracy.

Scarlet is working on her second master’s degree and teaches online history classes to a group of teens. Scarlet was born in North Carolina but was raised along the coast of Virginia. She now lives right outside Washington D.C., exploring coffee shops, bookstores, and historical sites.

Scarlet, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

Growing up we had cats, fish, hamsters, and a turtle. But I would have to say, if I could have any pet, it would be a dragon. I am a pretty big Daenerys Targaryen fan, and the thought of having a massive dragon to ride around sounds pretty amazing. Although, I think instead of Drogon, I would probably prefer Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon…he seems like a safer bet. Dragons play a big role in my next fantasy book, so my head is always wrapped around what it would be like to actually “own” one.

You can’t go wrong with Toothless! Once he warms to you. 🙂

What do you write?

I have always written fantasy since I was a child, so for my first novel that’s the genre I selected. It’s the realm I know the most and am the most comfortable with. However, as I started working through this master’s program, I became more confident in the historical fiction genre. I now reside there primarily and am really enjoying the experience.

I started writing when I was very little (about eight years old) and wrote a story about my favorite hockey team, the Washington Capitals. After that, I started dabbling in the world of fanfiction just for fun and to share some of the things I constantly scrawled in my journals. A little over two years ago, I finally felt confident enough to try out the self-publishing route. It’s challenging, but also very rewarding.

I completely understand the childhood draw to fantasy. I’m fascinated by people who love the research and historical fiction as much as you seem to and am thrilled that you’ve found a home there.

What do you like to read?

I read mostly historical texts with some historical fiction and fantasy sprinkled in. Between school and my history interests, I usually have 3 to 4 books going at a time that I switch between for various research purposes. 18th-century revolutions are my favorite subject matter, and I am typically reading about pirates during that era, and the American Revolution. I have started dabbling in the French, Haitian, and Brazilian revolutions as well.

Oh wow, I’ve always been impressed by people who can switch between books, but I’m afraid I’m a serial monogamist when it comes to my reading habits.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Take a break.

I am probably the absolute worst at taking breaks. I have never, in any aspect of my life, known when to put the pen down and breathe.

During the first month of quarantine, I wrote out 75,000 words for my next historical fiction book centered around the Marquis de Lafayette, Benjamin Tallmadge, and Alexander Hamilton. Right after that, I went through two months of intense editing to complete and publish my Anne Bonny novel much earlier than anticipated.

I understand the importance of breaks and how they are needed, but getting me to actually take a break is quite the challenge. Ask any one of my friends or family members. They have stories.

Oh wow! You’re a writing power-house! I waffle between understanding how to take breaks and frustration/eagerness to get to the next stage with whatever project I have on the backburner.

If you can’t get yourself to take a full break, do what I do and hit your to-read pile while your beta-readers or critique partners are sitting on your manuscript.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Stop worrying about being a good writer, just WRITE!

It took me quite some time to accept this piece of advice, but now that I have, I am never letting it go. If there is a story in my head, I need to get it down on paper as fast as possible so as to not lose any details. The formatting, wording, style, flow, and grammar can all be revisited another time. Getting that story from your head onto a page is the most important part. After all, that’s why they make editors, right?

Even if the story is not perfect, even if the plot has holes or frayed edges, it doesn’t matter. That first draft is just about you getting that story out of your head. Furthermore, even when you are ready to publish, don’t stress about who will or will not like your story. Not every book is meant for every person. Getting beyond the “what if they don’t like me” thought process is absolutely vital.

That’s my philosophy as well! You can only get better at writing stories by… writing stories. At some point, you’ve gotta just sit down and write.


Shameless Self-Promotion time!


Debuting this month is: The She-Wolf, based on the true story of the sea-faring pirate, Anne Bonny.

The She-Wolf by [Scarlet Ingstad, Martina Matteucci]

Born as the result of a torrid affair, Anne Cormac is raised by a father who doesn’t want her, and in a world that won’t accept her. Rebellious and angry, Anne flees her father’s home and runs into the arms of James Bonny, a small-time pirate. But James proves to be as problematic as Anne’s father.

Stuck, yet again, by a man who refuses to accept who she is, Anne stumbles across the path of the notorious pirate captain, Jack Rackham: a man who will change her life forever. As Anne struggles to figure out who she truly is, one of Britain’s most successful privateers, Woodes Rogers, begins his quest to rid Nassau of the pirates for good.

Soon, Anne finds herself facing the British Empire head-on in a battle, not only for freedom for the pirates of Nassau but for her very life.


My first book I published is the YA fantasy Krekania.

Lydall Barron is stuck in a marriage pact between her kingdom and the neighboring kingdom of Westland. For decades the tradition of marrying a lord or lady of Westland maintained a peace treaty between the lands and aided in avoiding another catastrophic war. But for Lydall, it feels like a prison order. Desperate to escape her fate, Lydall flees Histair on the back of her stallion and races off into the highlands. Lost and confused, they stumble upon an unusual looking stone in the center of a clearing.

Curious, she reaches out a hand and touches the stone…and instantly Lydall is transported to a land much unlike her own: Krekania, the last land of magic. A world full of creatures like winged-wolves, unicorns, elves, firefoxes, and even mermaids, Krekania is a flourishing oasis for all who possess magic. Lydall is swept away by the glowing plants and beautiful landscape, but soon learns that something else also calls Krekania home…and that not all magic is good.

To save the last land of magic, Lydall must become what Krekania needs most: The Woman of Fire. Five elves, one Queen, and one human must fight together and overcome their past, or all will be lost. The Woman of Fire Shall Rise.


I plan to write a sequel to Krekania down the road as well!

My current project is a 2-part historical fiction series about the Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Tallmadge. The first book will be called We the Sons and the second We the Fathers. A young French aristocrat, poor Caribbean immigrant, and the son of a pastor — follow their journeys from when they first join the American Revolution through to the formation of America’s government.

Check Scarlet Ingstad out across the web!

Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Author Spotlight: Brent A Harris

  • a two-time Sidewise Award finalist for alternate history, author of A Time of Need (Insomnia Publishing), an MFA NUScholar, and Dad. And fan of dinosaurs.

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Brent A Harris!

A pale, clean-faced man with short light-brown hair, wearing a blue-ish polo shirt and holding an open book in front of a wood panel background looks at the camera.

Brent scours the universe searching for stories but usually finds them wedged under his couch cushions. Mmm, French fry.

He currently lives in Italy, which is great because he loves to travel—er, sit on his couch, eating. He has currently gained 5 Lockdown Pounds, which don’t count like regular pounds, he’s sure.

Brent, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

A pet dinosaur. Probably something small and manageable. I can’t imagine cleaning the litterbox for a Triceratops. Maybe a cute little compy. We could go on walks and it would chirp and skitter around all adorable-like.

In real life, I once had an albino cockatiel, which is like having a small dinosaur.

I love it! My favorite dinosaur is the Charonosaurus, (the best of the duck-billed dinos), but Triceratops are definately cute and stompy.

What do you write?

I write speculative fiction. I imagine ‘what if’ and then come up with what might have happened. The go-to example is something like, what if artificial intelligence gained sentience? And then you write a story about that, usually how it’s going to kill everyone.

However, I also do that to the past too. For example, what if the Roman Empire never collapsed? Or, what if George Washington wasn’t a Founding Father? And then you write a story, answering your own question. Writing speculative fiction is a bit like talking to yourself. Shut up, no it’s not. Yes, it is!

I love exploring the what-ifs, both for the future and the past. It’s a great way to explore what might-have-been.

What do you like to read?

I read a little about everything. Writing involves a metric crapton of research. My TBR piles are all related to the topic at hand, and they tend to by drier, first-hand primary sources or technical papers. I have a ton of history books on my bookshelf. My current reading is on the Victorian era, but for my last project, I dozed off read technical papers about computer programming. I read these so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

I’m actually a software engineer in my dayjob, so I read plenty of design documents and government regulations. I recommend bribing yourself with 1 chip or piece of chocolate for every so many pages you make it through.

It is impressive how much research making stuff up can need!

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Write what you know.

It’s not that it doesn’t work for me, but that it’s commonly misunderstood. Robert Louis Stevenson was never a pirate before writing Treasure Island. George RR Martin has (probably) never seen a dragon.

You absolutely should write what you don’t know, but you *should* know something about the emotions behind the journey your character is making. That’s the misunderstood part that gets lost in interpretation.

How well you know the experiences of your character makes it real and authentic to the reader. Dammit, Martin, we’re all a bit of Tyrion, aren’t we??

That’s the exact point I try to make when people come out either strictly for-or-against this advice. If I’m following in your footsteps, I must be on the right path. *winks*

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

There are no hard or fast rules.

Only Sith deal in absolutes.

(which, in itself, is an absolute and proves the absurdity of the Jedi—, you know what, nevermind).

Honestly, I don’t have a hard and fast rule I adhere to. What works for one project might not work for another. So, I guess it’s to be flexible, but if that’s your hard and fast rule, then you fall into Obi-Wan’s logic trap from above. Dammit!

Writing is hard.

So true! I have to admit that I kept waiting for the ‘balance to the force’ be by someone who balances passion and logic. Grey force users that have conquered the Jedi AND the Sith paths… and I digress.

I’ve heard so many writers share that what worked for the last novel, was completely the wrong way to go about things for the next novel. Being flexible and remembering that the process exists to help you get your work done, not the other way around, seems key on any project — writing or not.


Shameless Self-Promotion time!

A Twist In Time

Dickens Meets Steampunk.

2 feminine characters, one with short hair and goggles, one with long hair and goggles on her had, and a male character in front with a yellow vest. And maybe glasses, not goggles on his head.

Title: A Twist In Time

Foundlings are disappearing from the workhouse where Oliver Twist once begged for a second bowl of gruel. He sets out to save them, with help from tinkerer, Nell Trent, and a slew of fantastical contraptions – including a mysterious pocket watch that allows its bearer to bend the rules of time.

With Oliver’s childhood nemesis, the Artful Dodger, and her lethal bag of tricks dogging their steps, he discovers that there is more at stake than his own life and the missing orphans.

Can he save London from the flames?

A Twist in Time is available on Kindle Unlimited, paperback, and Audible!


Check Brent A Harris out across the web!

Website| Amazon | Facebook | Twitter |

Author Spotlight: Jacalyn Boggs

  • a free-spirited woman always looking for new adventures. And a writer who just can’t keep the fantasy out of her romances, or is it that she can’t keep the romance out of her fantasy novels?

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Jacalyn Boggs!


Jacalyn has too many hobbies, not enough time, and a dog that doesn’t understand her need to constantly be on the move.

She has traveled the world, hopes to travel more, and believes laughter is the best medicine.

Jacalyn, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

If I could have any pet in the world, it would probably be either an alicorn or a dragon.  They both flight and they both have ways of dealing with people who bother you. In real life, I have a lovable chihuahua who is absolutely convinced the world revolves around him and his cuteness.  I’m not really a dog person, but I love him like he’s my third son. 

Ooh! Fierce flying creatures are an excellent choice. And the world does revolve around dogs, so… your chihuahua isn’t wrong.

What do you write and how did you get started?

I like to tell people that I’m a science-fiction and fantasy author, but I have come to accept that I am really a romance author and that’s OK.  Honestly, I don’t know how because the latter is definitely more my forte, but these naughty characters say that they just want true love. So I primarily blend the two together, after all every story has some romance in it!

The first thing I ever really wrote was fan fiction (though there was no such name at the time that I knew about) of “The Happy Hollisters”.  I felt like the Hollister kids needed more science-fiction in their life so I wrote a short story called “The Happy Hollisters Meet Bad Luck Alien.”  I think I was in third or fourth grade. I honestly haven’t stopped writing since, though most of that early stuff is utter rubbish and/or been lost to the annals of time. 

Fanfic is a popular way to get started, despite the occasionally spotted stigma. And I do enjoy some fantasy (or at least urban fantasy) in my romance, so I’m your target audience. As the market for your subgenre is huge, ignore the naysayers and embrace it!

What do you like to read?

Yes. 

It’s probably safer to say what I don’t read.

I don’t read erotica.  I don’t have a problem with people who do, and some of the people closest to me write erotica. I just don’t personally consider sex a spectator sport.  Some things are meant to be enjoyed, not read about, and sex is one of those things. Hope that’s not too racy for your blog.

I’m also a fan of fade-to-black, myself. But, that’s a small category to exclude, leaving multitudes of books and genres to enjoy. They say being widely-read is always a good thing for writers, so keep at it!

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Outline.

I despise outlines.  Somewhere in Hell they make you outline for eternity.  I’m pretty sure the crime must be really bad because outline is awful.  I’m a pants-er all the way.  When I have outlined, it’s never ended well.  I studied journalism and I’ll full on admit now that I’m no longer in classes that I’d write my articles and papers and then build the outline and claim I did the outline first.  Not even kidding. 

Wow. I’m sorry that outlines don’t work for you. For me? I’m a plantser for life. I write very high-level, not-detailed outlines that I proceed to ignore unless I get stuck. Luckily, this is writing, where, as long as we write well enough, we can ignore any advice that doesn’t work for us.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

People watch.

Hmm, that’s a good question.  I’m going to say it’s “people watch”.

I have most definitely put people I’ve met in to my writing. It may only be a chance meeting as I watched an interaction from across a food court to something someone once told me that I tweak to make my own. 

Just know, nothing is off the record and so if I witness it and it is interesting, it’s probably going on in a book. 

You cannot stop me. 

Truth is most definitely stranger than fiction.

I’ve seen some lovely prose come out of people watching. The only problem is… novels have to be believable while sometimes reality stretches the bounds of understanding.


Shameless Self-Promotion time!

Jacalyn’s debut novel: Juan of the Dead: The Reanimated World Tour Book 1 was released May 1.

Juan of the Dead (The Reanimated World Tour Book 1) by [Jacalyn Boggs]

Go on a cruise, they said. Learn about other cultures, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

Yeah, I thought my birthday cruise would be all sexy pool boys with fruity drinks and me working on my epic summer tan. Instead, I sacrificed my favorite Jimmy Choos and my gorgeous Coach handbag to some awful earthquake while shopping in a crappy Mexican port. That place is getting zero stars.

Oh yeah, and I sacrificed my life. Lucky for me this totally hunky (but nerdy) anthropologist, Jon, hauled my hot corpse in to the nearby ancient Mayan or whatever temple and performed some sort of creepy voodoo ritual on me.

Forget all the garbage from Hollywood about shuffling, brain-obsessed, homicidal corpses. Maybe that’s how it was in the 70’s but those misguided souls also thought polyester was a good fashion statement. What the movies got right is that someone always wants to kill off the undead, and I’m no different. I’m too young and too hot to leave the party this soon. I’ve got a second chance, but Jon and I need to know what’s going on with my post-life situation before someone finishes me off for good.


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