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Sunday, September 2, 2012

An interview with Author Eric Johnston

1.Tell us a little about yourself.

I live with my 8-month-old daughter, my fiancée, and her two daughters, who are 11 and 7. I received a BA in History and English from University of Michigan-Flint, and subsequently received a certification in secondary education from there as well. I have been writing my whole life, but I seriously began tackling this passion in the fall of 2009 when I began the novel Harvester: Ascension with my friend, Andrew Utley. Upon completion of that work, I wrote An Inner Darkness, a novel started my Series of Darkness books.

2.Tell us a little about your book.

The book I have coming out September 15, 2012, is called A Light in the Dark, and is the second book in my Series of Darkness. It is the direct sequel to An Inner Darkness. I used the term “direct sequel” because this series will not necessarily go in a strict chronological order. Meaning, there will be books later on in this series that can be read before these beginning volumes. For example, I am nearly complete with a novel called City of Darkness that is the third book in the series but can be read before the first two with no problem. A Light in the Dark takes place 18 years after the events in An Inner Darkness. The twins from the previous book are now adults. Julian, the one who was raised in Noremway Parish, knows there is something mysterious about his life that no one is telling him, that no one is willing to talk about. Not only that, but he discovers that almost everything he was raised believing was a lie. This novel is really about someone who isn’t sure about his place in the world, who he is, or who he can trust. It is this journey of self-discovery that makes this novel worth checking out. All of us have, at one time or another, felt like Julian.

3.What writer has inspired you the most through your career?

More than any other writer, Stephen King has influenced my work. His Dark Tower series is really the inspiration for my fantasy-based writing. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Stephen King’s work is all really one big story all connected together with The Dark Tower series right at the center, holding them all together. It is King’s use of a reoccurring villain—Randall Flagg, who is the villain in The Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon, and The Dark Tower series (SPOILER: Walter O’Dim (i.e. The Man in Black) and Marten Broadcloak—who that is really the inspiration behind my character Falcon, the villain of An Inner Darkness. His status as villain in A Light in the Dark is somewhat debatable however, but he will be back in full power for City of Darkness. I will not ruin anything for anyone, but I can tell you, those who have read An Inner Darkness know that Falcon may not be in the best possible position as A Light in the Dark begins, and he embarks on a journey of his own, exploring his feelings of inadequacy and experiencing for the first time what it feels like to love.

4.What’s your advice for beginning writers?

Many people give up just when it gets hard or because someone puts them down. Just keep at it. Rejection is part of the game, so don’t get discouraged. You may end up writing something you think will win you the Pulitzer, but it will get rejected and rejected and rejected. It may be that your Pulitzer-prize-winner really is junk, or it could just mean that your novel didn’t make the cut, whether in luck, quality, or what have you. Yes, luck does play a factor in getting published and selling well. Think of rejection this way. Stephen King got numerous rejections; so did J.K. Rowling, and many other successful writers. The Beatles also got rejected for record contracts, believe it or not. Although The Beatles aren’t novelists, the idea is the same. You can have the potential to be the greatest thing the world has ever seen, but you may still face rejection. Art is subjective, and those who make those decisions aren’t clued in to some divine sense of what’s good and what isn’t. They are just regular, fallible human beings who make mistakes. So don’t give up. Keep cracking at it, and don’t let a form rejection, that implies by its coldness that your manuscript was never even read, bring you down.

5.What’s your all-time favorite novel and why?

The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass. It came out in the fall of 1997, just when I was starting high school and really embarking on a journey of self-discovery. I started listening to music that wasn’t necessarily what my parents listened to, and reading more challenging books, including novels, history, and heavy-handed science. We had just moved into an old farmhouse that was spacious enough for me to have a place to be alone. I come from a large family, and it was the first time I’d ever had my own room. I have many pleasant memories of cranking up Metallica and reading Wizard and Glass, while going on this journey of self-discovery. In the novel, Roland Deschain details his own journey of self-discovery as a fourteen-year-old boy. I wholly identified with that. It was the perfect book for me at that time, and it will be with me always.

6.Where do you see yourself and your writing career in the next few years?

I am trying something different now than I have ever done before. I am trying my hand at some middle-grade fiction, and finding that I really enjoy it, even more so than the adult-oriented novels that I have been writing. One of my favorite type of stories as a kid was that of the haunted house. I am trying my hand at my own version of that type of story. Depending on how this book does, I may primarily focus on this audience in the future.

7.Care to share any quotes?

Thoughts on writing? Yours or otherwise. Stephen King said something to the effect that if you don’t have
time to read, you have neither the time nor the tools to write.

8.How about you share a few passages from your new/upcoming book…

The Prologue to A Light in the Dark

It had been eighteen years since Tomias Waterman and his wife, Lynn, were killed by wolves in the field outside the Mayor’s Residence, a large, antiquated “Gothic Revival.” Those were days long gone, and the current mayor, Franz Phoenix, did what he could to ensure that nobody missed the former leader and his wife.

As part of a nightly ritual, a game of Texas Hold ‘em was underway. After the river card was dealt—the last card in the hand—Franz flipped his pocket cards to reveal. “Royal flush,” he said. He swept the large pile of chips toward him. There were five others playing the hand in the Mayor’s Residence, including Chancellor Joe Carne, Sheriff Brian Forbes, and the future friar, Julian Morgan.

Julian flipped his cards. “Quad aces,” he cried with a mixture of joy and frustration. The rest of the table laughed. “The only time I’ve ever gotten four-of-a-kind aces, the mayor has to get a royal flush!” He was indeed frustrated, but he quickly joined his companions in laughing about the bad run of good luck.

“I think I’m going to go,” Julian said, standing up. The rest of the group was still laughing and didn’t notice him standing, nor did they hear him, so he just walked away and headed to the door. He was nervous about tomorrow, when he would officially become Noremway Parish’s newest friar. It was something his mother, Rita Morgan, had encouraged him to do all his life. “Good men must come and lead. You are a good man, Julian,” she had said.

His long, red hair flowed over his shoulders almost like a woman’s, but he didn’t mind the comparison, or the jokes. He was secure in who he was, but the one thing that did bother him was that he was, and had been, on a road to becoming the friar and supreme religious leader of all of Noremway Parish, but didn’t know a damn thing about the religion they practiced. He received lessons in the holy word from his mother, but where did she get her information? Some of the things she taught him couldn’t possibly be more than sheer fantasy.

“Hey, Morgan, where you going?” Franz called. “The night’s only just begun.”

“Nah, I should get home. Hit the sack, you know? Big day tomorrow.” He continued to the door.

“Friar Julian Morgan. Brother Julian. I kind of like that, don’t you guys?” Brian Forbes said, holding up a glass of beer—an apple concoction sometimes referred to as “Morgan’s Delight.” The others around the table raised their glasses too and let out a loud shout. Despite the good cheer, Julian detected a hint of mockery in Brian’s voice, as was to be expected, he supposed. Brian’s girlfriend, Nora Plague, was absolutely in love with Julian, but since he was to be friar they couldn’t be together. No man liked being the backup plan. No man liked his girl loving someone else, either.

Despite the accolades—fake or not—he wasn’t happy about becoming the next friar. Preaching a gospel he’d never read first-hand seemed to him a precarious circumstance, but not one that anyone else in Noremway Parish seemed at all concerned about. Why was this? The Book of Ragas, he had been told, was not to be read. “It is too sacred,” Rita Morgan had told him. How would they know if they had never read it themselves?

Franz Phoenix stepped around the table and blocked his way out the front door. “You aren’t leaving. There’s still more to do before tomorrow. You’ve more training.” The other men around the table laughed and cheered in their drunkenness. Julian was uncomfortable, but he sat back down and played another hand, all the while sipping on the sweet beer that he only drank because water wasn’t available. The drought was five years old and counting. It appeared the harvest rains had finally left this region of the Earth for good.

What did that say about the future of Noremway Parish? Indeed, what did that say about its past? As of tomorrow, he would be the friar, keeper and preacher of all things religious and historical (with the exception of the parochial vicar, who shared some of these responsibilities) within the parish.

“All right, Franz, I’m in for another couple of hands.” Applause went up around the table. “But only a couple more. I seriously need to get some rest.”

“Lighten up, Julian,” Franz said. “You’re starting to sound like your mother.” Julian smiled in spite of himself. He knew Rita Morgan was hard to swallow sometimes. She didn’t hold an official position in the parish, but she did operate the only orchard, something that she never failed to remind her fellow parishioners despite the fact that the orchard tapped into the already heavily taxed water supply.

“You calling or folding, Jules,” Joe Carne said. He hadn’t noticed cards had been dealt.

Julian looked at the two cards in front of him: a seven of hearts and a two of clubs. “Folding.” He tossed his cards in, not really caring about the game. “You know, I think I’ll just stretch my legs. You mind if I take a look around? There’s a lot of history in this house.”

“Be my guest,” Franz said. “There is most definitely a lot of history here, but don’t go just anywhere you like. If a door is closed, it’s probably closed for a reason. Got it?”

“Of course, what do you think I am?” He walked away from the table. The cigar smoke hung heavily in the air. He just needed to get away…he needed to breathe.

“Just don’t take too long, because you’re not done here tonight.”

Sure he wasn’t. Since he’d turned eighteen a few weeks before, all Franz Phoenix wanted to do was hang out with him. It was getting a bit infuriating because he was preparing to be an adult with real responsibilities, and he ended up spending many of his nights drinking, smoking, and playing poker. It was not something he enjoyed, and it wasn’t his idea of being a responsible adult.

The house was large, the largest within Noremway Parish. As he wandered away from the card table, he immediately saw that most of the doors (in the immediate vicinity anyway) were closed. There was nowhere he could go in this historical exploration. That was the story of his life. He could never learn on his own, find anything out for himself. He’d had to rely on others for all the information he had ever learned. Was this a good thing? Likely not. As he grew up, he matured and didn’t want to have to rely on everyone else for his learning. It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate the knowledge his elders could share, but they all seemed to be telling the same story, a story that he wasn’t sure he believed.

He’d learned that Noremway Parish was founded by Ragas Moliere, a man of great power, a man they all should worship. Life in the parish was peaceful until Friar Decon Mangler, Brother Decon, forged an alliance with the evil that saturated the world, bringing about death and destruction over much of the parish.

It all happened on a night nearly eighteen years before. Decon Mangler raped and murdered the parochial vicar, Teret Finley, and then murdered the chancellor, Ghora Urey, while taking others with him including, but not limited to, Ortega Gool and Rita’s own husband, James. Decon Mangler had been publicly executed by hanging, and as he swung on the noose, his neck broken, he shouted to all who were watching, “The Darkness comes! You cannot escape!” before expiring.

The story, although something he had believed his whole life, seemed to make no sense to him at all. He didn’t even have a clear understanding about what “the Darkness” was. It was something often talked about but never explained. When he pressed his mother about it one day, she seemed to tighten up, a frightened look of guilt washing over her, and then told him they would talk about it when he was older, that he was too young to understand. Even now that he was eighteen years old and to be sworn in as the Friar of Noremway Parish, she still treated him as if he was nothing more than a child incapable of understanding the world’s harsher realities.

These thoughts were always on his mind, especially now as he observed every closed door in front of him. Doors were closed to him both metaphorically and literally.

He walked through the foyer and stood in front of a door that he believe probably led to a parlor. It was closed just like all the others. What was behind this door? He tried to imagine it. His imagination had kept him company throughout his life.

The doorknob turned and unlatched quietly, but the low creak of the hinges was clearly audible. The door mysteriously began to creak open ever so slowly. He stood there, knowing that the door couldn’t possibly have been opening of its own accord. The deeply engraved oak door swung away from him to reveal darkness. Musty, stale air rushed out. It smelled as though fresh air had not entered this room in ages.

“You have finally found me,” said a voice in the dark. The door continued to swing open, revealing a figure draped in a grey cloth. She was female, but her features were indiscernible.

Fear struck at his heart, and he tried to cry out but couldn’t find his voice. She raised a scarred hand to her lips in a gesture of silence and shook her head. “Find the book. Find the answers.” Then the phantom woman was gone.

When he saw the apparition, the initial fear dissipated as a feeling of warmth swept over him. This was someone he knew, someone he loved, even though it was no one he knew and no one he loved. The feeling was eerie, odd. She was so familiar he must have known her.

Either way, she was gone now, a circumstance that was at once bizarre and comforting. He stood outside the room for several moments, perhaps longer, before entering.

He walked into the parlor and saw several bookshelves and an old piano beyond where the apparition had been. The room was dark, with no lanterns lit inside. He seized one from a large hook on the wall, lit it, and examined the books on the middle shelf. Newly made books and paper were very rare in the parish these days, so it was clear on the outset that these books were old. Paper used to be made from the yellow grass that had also been a staple crop, but those days were long gone.

He knew the house was old, but this had to be a collection stretching back to its construction. It was a miracle that some of the older ones still looked intact. A particular one caught his eye; a red leather-bound tome, The Life and Moral Teachings of Ragas Moliere of Noremway Parish.

“The Book of Ragas,” he said in awe. He’d been told no copies of this book still existed, that the only teachings of the great Ragas Moliere came down through oral histories; that all copies of the book had been destroyed by the enemies of the parish, those enigmatic beings that wandered the vast expanse of desert outside the parish wall. The Caravan-Folk…the Ujimati.

He removed the book from the shelf and leafed through it. The book was certainly old, but the condition was perfect, as was expected, he supposed, in air as dry as this. There was no water vapor to corrode the paper.

A small piece of paper fell out of the book as he opened it. He picked it up and read the contents.

We have our own story to tell.
 —The Chaos of the Outer Dark

What is this about? he thought. The Chaos? The Outer Dark? These were phrases that had been thrown around his whole life as something that he never had to fear. Ragas had vanquished these devils about 2,000 years ago, but there would always be signs of their presence, “because of that Decon Mangler,” his mother had always told him. “He tried to bring the Darkness back, but we stopped him. It’s sad that my precious daughter, your sister Abigail, lost her life as a result of his devilry.”

But there was more. He could see a faint line scratched over that message, and a new one written below it.

The story will be revised.

What did this mean?

He didn’t think about it for long before he saw there was writing on the back of the paper and flipped it over:

Julian, my son,

Please do not despair. Do not listen to anything anyone tells you. They all lie. The knowledge you seek is in the book. A revision is underway, and some things may not make sense to you now, but I assure you, in time they will. Do not give in to the darkness around you. Look within and find salvation. Do not trust Franz Phoenix. —Teret Finley, Parochial Vicar, your mother

Teret Finley? Parochial Vicar? Mother? One of the victims of Decon Mangler’s wrath?

“My son?” he said under his breath. Am I her son? “Teret Finley was my mother?” He was confused and scared, needing to take this back home, to think this over.

Slipping The Book of Ragas into his cloak, he left the room and saw Franz Phoenix still playing Texas Hold ‘em with the other guests. “Mayor Phoenix, I think I’ll be heading out. I really don’t feel well,” Julian said. He didn’t have to feign illness. He truly felt sick to his stomach.

“No,” Phoenix said. “I insist you join us for another hand.” So he did. One hand turned into three, which turned into nine, and so on until the sun thrust its first light into the morning sky.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Promotion: Booklets (Chapbooks)

I'm a writer. But writing is so goshdarn easy in comparison to selling books. Unless you have something in universal demand--something everyone needs right now for whatever reason--it's going to be a challenge. Nonfiction books may be easier to sell. I don't know. I don't write nonfiction. Making stuff up is where I excel at.

So, what are booklets? They're a small version of your novel you give away for free. Yes, for free. Why? So you can pique someone's interest so that they will buy your book. They're not your whole book, of course. Maybe a chapter, maybe just a few pages--but they must be some of the most exciting parts of your story. It shouldn't take a lot of ink, and just a few pages, max. It works as an appetizer. If you can grab your reader with some bait, you may have a sale!

It's not difficult to do. I don't use Word, I use Open Office. First, you'll need to make the text larger. I set mine from 12 to 20. Then I go to file, printer settings, properties, and look for "booklet printing" under page setup. Then print. That's all there is to it. Instead of your text going down the page longways, it will be in columns sideways. The first page will print on the right-hand side, and the second will print on the back of that same page. All additional pages will be front and back, two columns on each side (four altogether). You arrange these pages in such a way that they'll open like a real book (a miniature one). Then, get a cardstock cover, print the title on it, and there you go. Lastly, staple together! Done!

Don't forget to put your book title and name somewhere on or in your booklet! And DON'T forget to put the buy link or your website address in there! Now, whenever you go somewhere where you meet people who you think might be interested in reading in your genre, hand them a booklet. Even if they decide not to buy, maybe you'll meet a new friend... maybe you'll even meet a new fan :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012 After Bobby Gradison blows a hole in an old oak tree with an illegal firecracker, he discovers an ancient treasure chest that contains more than mere treasure; it is a portal to another world, to a future infested with demonic beings hell-bent on dominating Earth. Bobby, along with his brother, his cousin, and a couple of friends, become trapped in this other world with nothing but their wits and Bobby's explosives to survive. Can Bobby save humanity from this evil threat? **** This is a non-stop thrill ride about a 'demon' apocalypse instead of a 'zombie' apocalypse. Whereas zombies are slow and weak, demons are fast and strong. They both love meat, the demons just have much sharper teeth! LINK:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Harvester Ascension by Eric Johnston and Andrew Utley

Available April 15, 2012

The media dubbed it “The Meteor.” As an object roughly the size of the moon is discovered hurtling toward Earth, hysteria brews and doomsday prophets call forth their sermons of death and destruction, but is this “meteor” what it seems?

Charles Wallace, a sociology professor at University of Michigan, is crippled with debilitating headaches that his doctor is at a loss to explain as dreams torment his sleep with images of an alien landscape littered with monuments to a god known as The Harvester. Are these dreams the source of his headaches?

Nightmares plague people across America, and they all say the same thing: there is an incoming extraterrestrial threat. But one person's dreams are even more dreadful: Charles’s friend, Sebastian Irvine. “The Harvester exists in Charles’s mind,” an mysterious voice whispers to him in the dark. “You must kill your friend.”

As nightmares and paranoia threaten to tear America apart, Lou Bryan, host of America’s highest rated cable news show, takes advantage of the hysteria. The frightened look to him for wisdom and guidance, a responsibility he takes too light-heartedly as he convinces the American people to riot in every major city, making the planet ripe for invasion.

An unlikely group of heroes come forth to defend the planet from imminent invasion. Can they overcome the things that separate them to fight for the common cause of humanity?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

M.R. Gott! and Where the Dead Fear to Tread!

Where The Dead Fear To Tread

“The world of William Chandler starts out dark and grim and M.R. Gott is not afraid to make it darker and grimmer with every page.”
Dana Fredsti author of Plague Town

“…a combination old time detective pulp story, a revenge story and a good old fashioned horror story.”
Famous Monsters of Film Land

“Where the Dead Fear to Tread is an immensely enjoyable read; jam-packed with great action sequences and wonderfully horrific monsters that will chill you to the bone.”
Dark Rivers Press

“Four and a Half Stars…with enough of a horror element to keep you cringing and maybe looking around for a set of eyes watching your every move.”
Double Shot Reviews

“The book starts out fast and violent, and ratchets up the intensity and carnage from there.”
Literary Mayhem

A police officer and a serial killer search separately for a missing child while running a malevolent labyrinth populated by creatures they never knew existed.

Former prosecutor William Chandler, disgusted with his past inaction, spills the blood of those who victimize children to correct the ills he sees in the world. A self-admitted serial killer and uncomfortable with his actions, Chandler attends the funerals of those whose lives he has taken in an effort to retain a true understanding of the nature of violence.

The carnage left in his wake is investigated by Detective Kate Broadband, who becomes progressively more comfortable with the corpses left by Chandler. Envying the power she sees in him, she pursues Chandler as each search for Maria Verde, a missing eight-year-old girl.

As Chandler and Broadband draw closer to discovering what happened to Maria they are forced to confront The Devourer, an unnatural being trafficking in stolen children.

Where the Dead Fear to Tread is a tale of hard-boiled macabre, bridging numerous genres to reveal a story of horror, crime and revenge.

Available from the Untreed Reads Store and most major e-book retailers for $4.99

Author Bio
M.R. Gott is the author of the novel Where the Dead fear to Tread and the forthcoming sequel Where the Damned Seek Closure. You can visit M.R. at his website Cutis Anserina at Aside from contacting M.R. you will find his book and film reviews, as well as a collection of author interviews from established genre masters and up and comers. M.R. lives contentedly in central New Hampshire with his wife, and their three pets. Aside from writing M.R. enjoys dark coffee, dark beer and fading light

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What is the scariest experience you've ever had in your life? (It can be anything)

I don't know what I'd consider as the most frightening experience of my life. Having severe panic attacks is definitely high on the list; so is flying in airplanes. So were some of the dreams of Hell I had when I was more into religion as a teen. I don't think I have a specific experience that made me almost crap myself and die of fright. But I will say that fear plays a great factor in the way I live and in the way I think and feel. It is also why I love to write the things I write.

So, what I want to know is what in your life terrified the pants off YOU....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Q and A with Author Jonathan Maberry

TROY McCOMBS: When did you start writing and why?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I’ve always written. Actually, let me rephrase that –I’ve always been a storyteller. Even before I could write I was telling stories with toys. All through school I wrote for school papers and journals. I began selling magazine articles while I was in college, then began writing nonfiction books (mainly on martial arts and self-defense), and then in 2000 I wrote a nonfic book on the folklore of vampires and other monsters. That book, THE VAMPIRE SLAYERS FIELD GUIDE TO THE UNDEAD was the only thing I ever wrote under a pen-name (Shane MacDougall).

Then in 2005 I wrote my first novel, GHOST ROAD BLUES, which won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. That gave me a taste for fiction. I did five more nonfiction books, VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (2006), THE CRYPTOPEDIA (2007, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best Nonfiction), ZOMBIE CSU (2008), THEY BITE (2009) and WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (2010). Nowadays I concentrate on novels, short stories and comics.

TROY McCOMBS: Can you tell us a little about your book?

JONATHAN MABERRY: My latest novel is DEAD OF NIGHT, a standalone thriller about the outbreak of a new kind of zombie plague. A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave.  But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects.  Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up.  Hungry.  Infected.  Contagious.  Small town cop Dez Fox and her partner JT are caught in a wave of murder as everyone they know and love die...only to rise again as the ravenous living dead. If Dez and JT can’t contain the plague inside the town limits, the infection will spread beyond all control. This is the way the world ends.  Not with a bang…but a bite.

TROY McCOMBS: Care to share a brief excerpt or line from your book?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Here’s a link to read the opening of DEAD OF NIGHT

TROY McCOMBS: How many books have you written/published? Are currently working on any new ones now?

JONATHAN MABERRY: So far I’ve written over twenty nonfiction books, ranging from college textbooks, martial arts handbooks, karate school training manuals, and several books about monster beliefs around the world and throughout history. I’m currently writing my thirteenth novel.

TROY McCOMBS: Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and have you/are you ever going to try another genre?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I write in a lot of different genres –horror (GHOST ROAD BLUES, DEAD MAN’S SONG and BAD MOON RISING), thrillers (PATIENT ZERO, THE DRAGON FACTORY, THE KING OF PLAGUES, and the forthcoming ASSASSIN’S CODE), movie tie-ins (THE WOLFMAN), young adult post-apocalyptic thrillers (ROT & RUIN, DUST & DECAY, and the forthcoming FLESH & BONE), and zombie horror (DEAD OF NIGHT). I love edgy stuff, and I love the strange and weird.

I have projects in development in other genres as well, including Steampunk, mainstream thriller, urban fantasy and others. I’ll try anything that sounds fun.

TROY McCOMBS: Who is your favorite writer, and why?

JONATHAN MABERRY: My favorite writer of all time is probably John D. MacDonald, author of the brilliant Travis McGee mystery series. My favorite living author is James Lee Burke. His novels are a nice blend of brilliant writing, deeply insightful character development and great storytelling.

TROY McCOMBS: Do you have a favorite book? If so, what is it?

JONATHAN MABERRY: My favorite novel of all time is I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson. It was the first true blend of science fiction and horror. None of the movie adaptations come close to capturing what that story is all about.

TROY McCOMBS: Tell us a little about your creative process…

JONATHAN MABERRY: Most of my stories start with a quirky idea that pops into my head. Sometimes it’s a line, sometimes a character will start speaking in my head, or sometimes a scene will just appear. When the idea has some real pop to it, I’ll sit down and write an outline. I always outline my novels.

I write for a living, so I have a routine that works for me. I usually write in a coffeehouse in the mornings –I wander from Starbucks to Starbucks. Then I head home to write in the afternoons. When I’m not facing a tight deadline I’ll work on one project in the morning and a different one in the afternoon.

I also teach writing classes and go on extensive book tours which includes guest appearances at writers conferences and genre conventions. It’s a busy life but a very happy one.

TROY McCOMBS: Where can readers find you or your books online?

JONATHAN MABERRY: My books are available everywhere online, at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at any bookseller.

TROY McCOMBS: What’s the best and worst experiences you’ve had as a writer?

JONATHAN MABERRY: My worst experience as a writer was getting involved in a business arrangement without a contract. That was a disaster that did a lot of damage, although it taught me some good lessons about the business. As a result I’ve become quite a successful businessman within the publishing world.

As far as my best experience as a writer? Selling my first novel was an incredible high point. But there have been so many high points since: winning the Bram Stoker Award (twice), seeing my novels hit the New York Times best-seller list, getting scouted to write for Marvel Comics, and so many others. I’m having a tremendous amount of fun!

TROY McCOMBS: What’s your ultimate goal as a writer?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I hope to see my books and stories transfer to TV and film in the near future. That’s the next goal.


Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and Marvel Comics writer. He’s the author of many novels including Assassin’s Code, Dead of Night, Patient Zero and Rot & Ruin. His nonfiction books on topics ranging from martial arts to zombie pop-culture. Since 1978 he has sold more than 1200 magazine feature articles, 3000 columns, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, poetry, and textbooks. Jonathan continues to teach the celebrated Experimental Writing for Teens class, which he created. He founded the Writers Coffeehouse and co-founded The Liars Club; and is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries, as well as a keynote speaker and guest of honor at major writers and genre conferences. Jonathan lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sara and their son, Sam. Visit him online at and on Twitter (@jonathanmaberry) and Facebook.


Praise for DEAD OF NIGHT:

“Jonathan Maberry is the top gun when it comes to zombies, and with DEAD OF NIGHT, he's at the top of his game. Frankly, I'm shocked by how effortlessly he moves between the lofty intellectual heights of T.S. Eliot's poetry and the savage carnality of the kill. DEAD OF NIGHT develops with the fevered pace of a manhunt, and yet still manages to hit all the right notes. Strap in, because Maberry's latest is one hell of a wild ride. I loved it.” - Joe McKinney, author of Dead City and FLESH EATERS

“Jonathan Maberry has created an homage to death itself and an homage to the undead that is as poetic as it is terrifying. It's a brand new and intriguingly fresh slant on the zombie genre that we all love!” -John A. Russo co-screenwriter of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

“Maberry is a master at writing scenes that surge and hum with tension. The pacing is relentless. He presses the accelerator to the floor and never lets up, taking you on a ride that leaves your heart pounding. It’s almost impossible to put this book down. Dead of Night is an excellent read.” —S.G. Browne, author of BREATHERS

"It would be enough to say that Jonathan Maberry had topped himself yet again with an epic zombie novel that is as much fun as it is terrifying.  But that he has also created a story of such tremendous heart and social relevance only further cements his place as a master of the genre.  It also doesn't hurt that in DEAD OF NIGHT he has created one of the most compelling heroines I've read in years.  Dead of Night blew me away!" --Ryan Brown - Author of PLAY DEAD

“Once again, Jonathan Maberry does what he does best; Take proven science, synthesize it and create something truly terrifying. In DEAD OF NIGHT, Maberry lays the groundwork for a Bioweapon that could very well create zombies in the real world. Combining great characters (I fell in love with Dez Fox from the moment she was introduced) and taut, blindingly fast action, DEAD OF NIGHT, is a runaway bullet train of a ride. This is Jonathan Maberry's best writing yet.” –Greg Schauer, owner Between Books, Claymont, DE

“Dead of Night stands drooped head and lurching shoulders above most zombie novels. The nightmare increases exponentially - from minor outbreak to major crisis with unstoppable speed, building to a heart-stopping climax you won't be able to put down.” --David Moody, author of the HATER and AUTUMN books

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Q and A with Author Eric Johnston

1. When did you start writing and why?

I have been writing my whole life. I wrote my first story when I was ten years old. It was about a group of kids in a haunted house. I was really into scary stories and completely obsessed with the horror genre—in fact, I would read nothing else.

I took a more ambitious approach to storytelling when I was in 8th grade when I wrote a story about a group of teenagers who were mourning the death of their favorite super model. They went to the cemetery where her body was laid to rest, held a séance, and did what they could to conjure up her spirit with hopes of seducing her.

I majored in History and English at University of Michigan, which really improved my writing and research skills. I have a broad knowledge base in American Literature and American History, which inspires my current writing projects.

In 2009, I began work on a novel with my friend Andrew Utley. This novel is not yet published, but it should be coming out sometime in 2012. It is titled Harvester: Ascension, and is a science fiction novel inspired by the inflammatory political rhetoric of the past few years.

I began my new novel, The Twins of Noremway Parish, shortly after completing Harvester. And I had a blast writing it.

2. Can you tell us a little about your book?

The Twins of Noremway Parish is a novel that takes place in the distant future. The world is run-down; the land is dry, parched, and dead, and there are only a few human settlements left in the world. There was a war with beings collectively known as the Darkness. They have one goal: bring chaos to the world. In the beginning, there is mention of a goddess named Moria who had departed Earth for reasons lost to history. This is a direct reference to Harvester: Ascension. When Moria left, it opened the door for the Darkness to come to Earth and destroy it.

There is one being from a group of god-like entities that had survived since the beginning of existence that attempts to restore order to this chaos. He is a Story Teller. These Story Tellers spin tales, making sense of all the disparate things around them, developing a cohesive narrative that has a certain elegance, a pristine order.

The Twins of Noremway Parish begins with the Story Teller narration, but he is soon captured by the Darkness who seek to use his powers to tell another story, one that will tear apart the fabric of the universe. The story changes, becoming dark, evil.

The Twins of Noremway Parish deals a lot with tradition and injustice. These people have their own religion, one that I made up, but it is an off-shoot of Christianity and Catholicism. I have borrowed phrases, titles, roles, and religious edicts from a variety of places to create something unique, yet familiar.

The story itself really follows the parish Friar, Decon Mangler, often referred to as “Brother Decon” and the Parochial Vicar, Teret Finley, known as “Sister Teret.” They are the male and female religious leaders of the parish, and being such must keep a certain innocence about them. When a pair of infant conjoined twins are found in the cathedral, they decide it would be best for the twins if they raised them as mother and father themsevles. This leads to a social uproar as it becomes clear that, to some within the parish, tradition, even a tradition that makes no sense, is more important than thinking about the actual well-being of these children.

3. Care to share a brief excerpt or line from your book?

We have our own story to tell.

—The Chaos of the Outer Dark

4. How many books have you written/published? Are currently working on any new ones now?

This is my first published novel, but I have written two others. Harvester: Ascension, which I listed above, the one I co-authored with Andrew Utley. I have also written the sequel to The Twins of Noremway Parish. That book is titled The Book of Ragas, and takes place eighteen years later when the twins are adults.

I am currently working on three novels. One is a science fiction story that explores the fundamentals of time itself. That one is called Temporal Winter. I am also working on one that explores the concept of the afterlife, called Orchard Hills. And I am currently working with Andrew Utley on the sequel to Harvester: Ascension, Harvester: Evolution.

5. Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and have you/are you ever going to try another genre?

I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror. These are the genres I’m most familiar with. It’s what I read, and quite frankly, it’s probably the only thing I can write.

I am going to try some young adult fiction. I started a young adult story a few years ago to try to jump into the Vampire-craze market. It’s about Santa Claus becoming a vampire. And, as we all know, a vampire cannot enter your home without first being invited in. This fact makes delivering presents on Christmas Eve very frustrating when no one will wake up and answer their doors to let him in.

6. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

I absolutely love Stephen King. I think he has written some of the most brilliant material in the past forty years. Especially his Dark Tower series. I also really enjoy Chuck Paulaniuk, Jeff Lindsay, Ray Bradbury, Anne Rice, and Peter Straub.

On the non-fiction end of things, I really enjoy Joseph Ellis and David McCullough, two of the greatest wordsmiths of today.

7. Do you have a favorite book? If so, what is it?

I’m going to cheat here and go with an entire series. The Dark Tower by Stephen King. It is an amazing series that explores a world that has moved on. The eerie connection with other worlds, one of them being ours, is staggering especially as the series progresses. It touches on many of other King works. For example, in The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass, you find the characters at one point walking down a highway in a world wiped out by a flu referred to as “Captain Trips,” a direct reference to his novel The Stand. Also, King’s experimentation with meta-fiction in the last few books is top-notch.

8. Tell us a little about your creative process…

I usually think of a basic idea for a story and begin writing right away, focusing on creating characters that I want to take this journey with. If I don’t like my characters, I stop and work on something else, possibly never coming back to that particular story again. But if I fall in love with these people I create, I hand them the reigns to the story and let them tell it to me. I become the medium through which they tell their tale.

9. Where can readers find you or your books online?

They can find them on or at

10. What’s the best and worst experiences you’ve had as a writer?

The Best

Writing The Twins of Noremway Parish was the best time I have ever had writing something creatively. I love the characters so much. Every time I sat down to write, it was like I was visiting my friends. Like I was stepping back into their world and they were there waiting to tell me what they’d been doing while I was gone.

The Worst

Co-authoring a novel has to have been the most frustrating thing ever. I was laid off in the summer of 2010 when most of Harvester: Ascension was written, but Andy was working full-time. Having to sit on my hands, waiting to get the material back from him because he was working a lot, drove me nuts. We would just wrote what we felt, and let the story takes its own course with no clear outline, but in many cases, I ended up overshadowing his writing, because I just wrote much more. We got in many arguments about it, which has led to us using a different approach for the writing of Harvester: Evolution, in which we have the whole thing completely outlined, and we each have our assigned parts of the outline.

11. What’s your ultimate goal as a writer?

I want to change the world.

Time Travel day--March 14th


By no coincidence, it is also the birthday of Albert Einstein, author of the “space and time bend" theory.

Join ten Time Travel Authors across North America as they celebrate International Time Travel Day with great giveaways!

Visit the following blogs/websites on March 14, and leave a comment on each for your chance to win free books/ebooks that celebrate time travel in all its guises:

Funny or scary….sexy or sweet…rollicking adventure stories…


Participating Authors:

Madeline Baker
Melodie Campbell
Pauline B. Jones
Chris Karlsen
Laura Martello
Troy McCombs
Theresa Regan
Terry Spear
Lizzie Starr
Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Ghosts... there are tons of movies about them, and television shows. Some people believe. Some don't. Some are torn between belief and disbelief. What do YOU think? And why? What obscure world within this one do they belong... that is, if they exist at all? Have you ever seen one? Would you want to? If you did, would you be afraid?

Feel free to discuss. Speak your mind. Above all, have a good time!! Simply post a comment below to engage :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sweeping Me horror/thriller reading challenge!

Well, I joined this reading challenge. Thought it was a killer idea. Now I've got to get to reading! :) Anyone who wants to join, go ahead.

My reviews will be linked to Goodreads. The reviewer will say 'Troy's review of'. I've already reviewed The Gunslinger. Many more to come!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fans of horror, allow me to introduce myself...

George R. Lasher, at your service. Frequently seasoned with a dash of supernatural flavor, my short stories have appeared online in Suspense, Slurve, and The Ink Bean. Also, in paperback anthologies, The Writer's Bump, Under the Stairs, and Damn Faeries. What began as a hobby in 2000, is now a passionate obsession. World Castle Publishing has recently released my international thriller, THE FALCON AND HIS DESERT ROSE, in eBook and paperback. Read the 3 chapter preview before you buy, on

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Author Q & A with writer Joann H. Buchanan

1. When did you start writing and why?

I started when I was a kid. My parents would ground me and I was only able to read or write. I literally can thank my parents for starting me on the path. I have always loved to read. When I discovered I could put whoever I wanted into stories and go where I wanted, I was hooked. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. It has changed my life and saved me a time or two.

2. Can you tell us a little about your book?

It’s a coming of age story about Jonah, who is about to find out he has the ability to become a wolf. He meets up with some old friends and soon learns they know more than they were telling him. When he meets Alaynee, he falls in love and is ready for life to be normal again. That is until Ralph, a poacher in the woods, decides he is going to kidnap Alaynee’s younger brother. While rescuing Squeaks, Alaynee’s baby brother, Jonah breaks the cardinal rule the clan has…never bite a human.

This is where all hell breaks lose. Ralph is then turned unto an Unnatural and is connected to Jonah. Now Jonah must track down the Unnatural and destroy it.

3. Care to share a brief excerpt or line from your book?

We all have those, the points where the line between reality and dreams blur. They still our hearts and make us all feel the warmth from within. They spark the angel within all of us and make us not only want, but need, to be better than we ever thought possible.

The girl Jonah had seen in the distance at the station was real. She had stolen his heart, and he didn’t even know her name.

With his shower finished, Jonah dried, dressed and raced down the stairs. There was a strong possibility she would be in town. Maybe I can find out who she is.

Bobby Joe and Jonah climbed into the newer looking red dodge truck.

“I forgot to ask your mom, but do you have a license?” Bobby Joe asked.

“I do, why?”

“You will need to get it changed over to Sisters before you can drive one of my trucks,” Bobby Joe replied. “I think I want to see how much practice you need.”

Bobby Joe handed Jonah the keys to the truck and got out. Jonah sat stunned for a second, then with eager delight jumped out and raced around to the other side. He climbed into the driver’s side, put the key in the ignition, and adjusted the mirror and seat. Bobby Joe cleared his throat and Jonah sheepishly put his seatbelt on. His heart raced at the thought of driving a car. From the time he’d gotten his license, Jonah had wanted a car–any car–to drive without the hassle of adult supervision. The prospect of attaining that sense of freedom was too much to pass up.

Jonah put the truck in reverse and turned it around, then headed out onto the two-lane highway into town. The grandeur of the mountains didn’t compare to the pride Jonah felt from being behind the wheel of his grandfather’s truck. He drove with ease through the winding roads. Normal, was the word that came to his mind when he maneuvered the truck like he had done it for years. The lack of traffic helped ease any anxiety he had about the fact that he was driving Bobby Joe’s truck. The undisclosed desires of all are often those we seek without realizing it. Jonah hadn’t realized until this very moment how much he wanted the freedom of having his own car.

They passed around the bend leading towards Broken Top Mountain and everything in Jonah’s mind faded. With what little control he had left, Jonah pulled the truck over. Rhythmic drums followed by a soft pitched single male voice echoed all around him. When Jonah peered off into the distance, he witnessed the heavens opening up just above Broken Top Mountain. The spirit of a shaman danced the warriors dance around the mountain top. Spiritual winds carrying the shapes of wolves rushed passed the old shaman in the sky. A dark ominous smoke rose up from the mountains then slammed down into them, causing a sound loud enough to wake the seven sleeping spirits from heaven. Jonah reached up and cupped his ears from the sound. A light touch crossed his hand.

“Jonah, can you hear me?” the voice asked.

The images disappeared with a clap of thunder and a single word, ‘TIBOLT’. Jonah looked over at his grandfather, who had a proud look on his face. “You are going to be fine,” Bobby Joe said.

“I feel like I’m losing my mind,” Jonah said, fighting back tears.

4. How many books have you written/published? Are currently working on any new ones now?

Written, 4. Published 2 . There are some stories that will never see the light of day. I’m currently working on book 2 of The Children of Nox series. I’m also working on two stand alone novels, one is called Dragon’s Eye and the other is Chaos and the Beltane.

5. Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and have you/are you ever going to try another genre?

I don’t think we pick the genre we write in. I think in some ways it chooses us. We are nothing more than conduits, receiving the story and translating worlds that already exist.

6. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

WOW that is a loaded question…I have to start with Stephen King and David B. Coe then Frank Herbert.

Each one great story tellers in their own right and hopefully one day they will read something I have written. Although Frank Herbert would be a little harder to hear from…lol.

7. Do you have a favorite book? If so, what is it?

There are too many.

8. Tell us a little about your creative process…

I write the bones first. Then I start with a blank page again and do the rewrite. At this point I know that it is clear what is going to happen in the story. Also I can play with the style more and have more fun with the words. I don’t use an outline. I can’t stand losing the surprise when I read or write.

9. Where can readers find you or your books online?

My twitter @JoannHBuchanan

My FB is


I Am Wolf Book 1 Children of Nox you can order it at any book store. Also it’s located on Amazon

Soulless Light

10. What’s the best and worst experiences you’ve had as a writer?

The best experience was getting my first contract for Soulless Light. That was the first publication I received and it was a novella so I wasn’t expecting it at all.

The worst part is the waiting. You are constantly in a waiting game in this field. You are waiting to receive notice from agents, publishers and editors. You never know what to think and if people are going to take you on. All of it is a risk in this business. You never know what people are going to like. It takes a lot of time and in that time, just keep writing. That is the best way to take care of the waiting game.

11. What’s your ultimate goal as a writer?

I would love to see inspiration come from what I write. I would like people to really enjoy my work. That’s really what it’s all about. Ultimately I would love to see I Am Wolf turned into a movie. I mean what writer doesn’t want that…lol. Seriously though, I just want my readers to love what they read.

Deep Screams Giveaway by G. R. Holton

My name is G. R. Holton and I am a Science Fiction/Horror Author. I am going to giveaway four pdf copies of my novel Deep Screams.

Deep Screams has won the 2011 Best Science Fiction form and at points is more horror than Sci/Fi.

Enter a comment about this between now and the 19th and you too could win an award winning copy of a novel one reader called "the most horrific science fiction he ever read." for more about me and my writing.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Troy McCombs is giving away FOUR Free ebooks (in Kindle format) of his new horror novel, 'The House on Mayberry Road'

Enter to win yours! Giveaway begins Monday, February 13 and ends Sunday, February 19th.

To find more information about this fresh take on the old haunted house story, please click HERE


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Attention! Horror/sci-fi/fantasy writers! Definitely check this out!

Love horror? The supernatural? Those things that go BUMP in the night? Horror is about to get a revolutionary new makeover. A new door is about to open. Care to learn more? Keep reading.

Hello. My name is Troy McCombs, and I am a horror author. I’ve created a blog for and about authors of the horror/supernatural/science fiction/dark fantasy genres. I’m sending this letter to as many of those authors as I possibly can so they too can promote their, as well as other people’s, books.

Every Monday we will feature a new book to giveaway from one author who joins the blog. At the end of the week, they will either send a free paperback copy to the winner, or an ebook copy.

Every week I will send a questionnaire to one writer, asking a variety of questions about their published/upcoming book. After I receive the answers back, I will post them on the site.

Every day one chosen writer will post up info about his/her book, a small photo of it, a description, where it can be bought, and anything else they might want to add. If possible, also include a brief excerpt of the book.

NOTE: Every day, it is the responsibility of EVERYONE who belongs to the site to promote the book of the writer chosen for that day. You can promote it anywhere: FB, Twitter, Myspace, Amazon (by clicking YES on the 4/5 star reviews/recommendations), Goodreads, your own friends/followers--anywhere you like. You don’t have to spend the whole day promoting it; just do what you can, and it will be appreciated by the writer. J

Every day, I will also hold a poll on the site, asking all those who’ve joined to vote on whatever the day’s topic might be, whether that be favorite science fiction movie, best John Carpenter movie, etc.

Additionally, every day, one person will be in charge of writing a post about whatever he/she feels relevant to the subject of our genre, whether it be about the facts about/dangers of cloning: science fiction; whether we’ve ever experienced any supernatural activity in our lives: horror; and whether elves or unicorns exist: fantasy. It could be anything under the genres of this site, but it has to be fact-based, or at least possible in the scope of reality. Anything you are interested in posting.

I will also set up one or two Facebook groups to handle our business: posting dates doc., giveaway week doc.; author info doc/ promo.

Feel free to invite as many friends and followers to the site so they can join in on this fantastic event. It begins Monday, February 13th.

--Troy McCombs -------(this will be our site)