For the final week of October, I will be participating in two blog hops. If you’ve never heard of this before, essentially it’s a way to find out about new bloggers with similar interests. To see all the bloggers participating in these two hops, click on the links below:
Which means I’m hosting my first giveaway! Three winners will be chosen to receive a free e-copy of my book The Imaginings. In order to be eligible, the requirements are simple.
1- Earn 1 entry for commenting on any of my posts. You can find the categories for my posts also in the right hand column. I do tend to ramble, though, so perhaps you want to check the “Free Fiction by Paul.” Since they are all flash pieces, I can guarantee they will be less than 1000 words. Plus, this way you will know whether or not you want a free copy of something I wrote anyway.
Other posts that have been popular for comments (my wife says it’s because they’re lists) have been:
2- You can earn an additional entry by subscribing to my blog via email (in the right hand column). I promise I won’t spam you, and at this point, I only post once a week, so your inbox won’t be that occupied by me. (Current subscribers are also eligible)
3- The winners will be randomly chosen at the end of the hops (midnight on October 31st) and posted the following Friday (November 4th). So be sure to check back.
What else does the future hold?
Next Friday, I’m hoping to have a new Halloween-themed flash piece available for your reading enjoyment. If I end up writing the idea I have in my head today, I can tell you it will be pretty topical.
But without further ado…
To be honest, I can’t remember how I met Hunter Shea, author of the recently released horror novel Forest of Shadows. Or maybe he found me first. Whatever it was, it’s been a pleasure getting to know him better. And even better than simply the written virtual world of bloggers and writers, Hunter and his amigo, Jack Campisi, also have a video podcast they do called “Monster Men.” And it’s just that. Two guys sitting around talking horror. The only thing missing is a six-pack of beer. Otherwise, I could imagine myself hanging out and having the same conversation.
So I looked forward to posing the Seven Questions to Hunter. And he provided some great answers.
So NOW without further ado…
1- As far as writing is concerned: a- your favorite hobby, b- your fiery passion, c- your full-time profession, or d- a combination of the above. Feel free to expand.
When I first started seriously writing in the early 90s, it was definitely a favorite hobby. Life was no bed of roses at the time, so it provided a great escape, and I got to let my evil little id roam free. Somewhere around the time that everyone was infected with Y2K needless panic, I realized it had become so much more than that. It is very much my passion and I feel a bit lost when I haven’t written. The goal now is to make it a full time profession, which means lots and lots of work ahead.
[PDD: Preachin’ to the choir, my friend. It is definitely a lot of work trying to make it the regular “day job.” And I wonder, has 2012 become our new Y2K? As I mentioned once, even though the rational part of me knows we’ll make it, I’m never entirely comfortable until these “expiration dates” have expired.]
2- What was the last book you finished reading? What are you currently reading? If it doesn’t seem obvious by title, what are the genres? Do either of these fall under your favorite genre (you know, the book you pick out when you’re going on vacation)?
I just finished reading Hunter Thompson’s The Rum Diary for the third time. I love his brutal portrayal of twisted news men in 1950’s Puerto Rico. I have a stack of horror novels thigh high for October and I’m going to start Tim Lebbon’s The Thief of Broken Hearts tonight. I read all genres, except romance, but horror is always my go-to. I’m addicted to getting the creeps. Every year I head up to Maine for vacation and every year I bring along the newest Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child thriller. All of their books straddle the horror line, and all are amazing reads.
[PDD: Why am I not surprised that you read Hunter Thompson? Loved Hell’s Angels (among others by him). Haven’t read The Rum Diary yet, but will put it on the list. And actually just saw yesterday that they are making a movie of it.]
3- What is the TV guide synopsis of your most recently completed project… or whatever project you’d like to talk about today? (I’ve heard several people say you should be able to hook someone in 25 words or less, but I’m not offering to represent your work professionally, so 30 words will be accepted)
Wow, 30 huh? Generous. My new book, Forest of Shadows, is about a man who wins the lottery on the day his wife dies in her sleep. Rich, yet broken emotionally, he turns to researching the paranormal for a living and gets in waaaay over his head. – Damn, that took 44 words!
[PDD: And to think I was generous enough to allow you 30 words. Seriously, though, I was drawn in by your first chapter of Forest of Shadows and look forward to reading the rest soon.]
4- Okay, now your book jacket version (200 words or less).
OK, here goes : The dead still hate!
John Backman specializes in inexplicable phenomena. The weirder the better. So when he gets a letter from a terrified man describing an old log home with odd whisperings, shadows that come alive, and rooms that disappear, he can’t resist the call. But the violence only escalates as soon as John arrives in the remote Alaskan village of Shida. Something dreadful happened there. Something monstrous. The shadows are closing in…and they’re out for blood.
5- What is one of the biggest obstacles you have to (or have had to) overcome in regards to writing? Could be about content, your process, or any other way you interpret the question.
When my kids were young, it was very difficult to find uninterrupted time to write. My wife did a phenomenal job herding them away when she knew it was time for me to hit the keyboard, but when I heard them laugh or cry, I had to jam myself into my seat to keep from going out to see them. Even though the kids are grown, finding time between work (which never stops thanks to Blackberrys) and family isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of discipline and an understanding partner. After a long day at work, it’s not always easy to muster up the brain cells needed to write, but if you want to make it at all in this business, you have to push yourself.
[PDD: Again, I can relate. I switched to only teaching part-time last year to “stay home with my baby daughter and focus more on my writing,” but since she started walking, it has been much less of the latter. But I agree with your other point, as well. It’s a task to stay focused and not want to be part of whatever they’re doing when they’re awake.]
6- What is something that your readers might be surprised to find out about you?
The very first book I ever wrote was a romantic comedy. That’s right, Mr. Horror had a grand old time penning a rom-com. And you know what? When I read it now, it’s still pretty funny. No regrets on that one. It did teach me what it’s like to have the discipline to sit and write a book for a year.
[PDD: That’s awesome. Were there some good bawdy scenes in it? I only have one sex scene in my book, and it was definitely a struggle making it passionate without being pornographic. I’m still not sure I succeeded.]
7- As we approach All Hallows Eve, I’m curious to know if you have a favorite Halloween memory? Could be a favorite costume you put together. Crazy party. Séance in a cemetery.
It’s kinda scary that you mention a séance in a cemetery. When I was in college, on a Halloween night, we gathered at a fraternity brother’s house that was across the street from a cemetery to make our own Ouija board and see if we could talk to some of the dearly departed. Well, it worked, and the person who spoke to us, Fran Turner, turned out to be someone interred in the cemetery (we roamed the tombstones the next day to verify).
The freakiest part was, Fran got tired of talking through the Ouija board and decided to speak through one of us in the circle. To this day, I swear that his face literally changed, along with his voice. None of us have ever messed with a Ouija board since. And the name Fran Turner still gives us, a bunch of grown men, chills.
[PDD: Yikes! That is a good Halloween story. I hope you’ve written down that idea for future use. If not for a horror piece, you might have an entertaining comedy about a woman who possesses a college fraternity member (sort of a modern All of Me, right?). Thanks for taking the time with me.]
And now my dear readers…
What do I want from you?
Any comments you’d like to add to Hunter’s answers? Or just say hi and tell him you stopped by?
Also, I would hope you would check out any of Hunter’s various performance venues. There are samples of his writing at his personal website, in addition to the Monster Men video podcast.
And don’t forget to come back next Friday for my Halloween flash.
Finally, if you have the time and enjoy perusing some good blogs, make sure to click on the blog hop links above and see who else is out there. Make sure you tell ‘em I sent ya.
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