Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mystery and Horror, LLC: Open for Submissions

I start with a tale of woe.

2011 was a great year for me. I had a bunch of short stories published, and my first novel, All This and Family, Too (vampire satire) came out. My wife, Gwen Mayo, had her own novel, a historical mystery. We had a house, jobs, health insurance, savings, and friends. We legally organized as Mystery and Horror, LLC to make our joint expenses as authors easier to handle.

Then came 2012. My father collapsed and it was clear that my mother needed help. My wife and I quit our jobs, sold our house to my stepdaughter (for the cost of the mortgage), and relocated to Florida to care for my dad in the last months of his life. Our writing came to a standstill.

Now, it's 2013. We're still in Florida, since my mother needs help maintaining the life we wanted to preserve. We learned, in January, that Pill Hill Press had closed. That was the publisher of our novels. We're still waiting to hear about their fate. 

So... we started our own press with some seed money. Since we're already legally organized, it comes under the banner of our LLC: Mystery and Horror. Guess what we publish?

Let me tell you about our first anthologies. Please note that contributors will each get a free print copy of the antho, plus a $5 advance on royalties.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

FCHNSblog: Finding Your Setting, Literally

Gwen Mayo and I recently joined the Florida chapter of the Historical Novel Society. Here is a link to my first post on their blog!

FCHNSblog: Finding Your Setting, Literally: Seeing the physical terrain helps shape a story.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

An Interview with Smitty

Today's guest is a gentleman who only goes by the name 'Smitty'. He's a private contractor in the field of personnel removal, and I don't mean 'downsizing'. Recently, we had a conversation via the medium of the Internet--a far safer way to meet a hit man than on the job!

Q. Did your parents name you Smitty? I'm picturing a cigar-chomping baby in a bassinet.

My parents originally named me John. For most of my life I was known as Johnny. I'm one half of a set of twins. Or to be more precise; I am the surviving twin. My brother, along with my wife, met . . . shall we say . . . a sudden and violent demise.  But you can read it in a story written by B.R. Stateham entitled, "There is No Johnny---Just Call Me Smitty."

It is fairly accurate in depicting the incident which permanently changed me into this persona you call 'Smitty'.

Q. You're a private contractor for jobs that don't appear in the Wanted ads. Do you enjoy your work, or are you training for a new career at the University of Phoenix?

My jobs come to me quietly. Someone needs help;  someone is in trouble. The kind of trouble the police cannot handle. The kind a priest of cleric cannot touch.  My name floats around in the darkness.  If you listen closely enough you'll hear a whispered voice.  That will be me.

As to whether I enjoy my work, all I can say is that I am not bothered by it. And I find I have a somewhat macabre talent for it.  But I will confess that sometimes . . . sometimes . . . a particular conclusion of an assignment takes place that gives me a measure of satisfaction.

Q. I've done a number of job interviews recently. They always ask me if there's a particular piece of work I'm proud of. Do you have a favorite bit of work in your past, and if so, what made it special?

One job comes to mind; I was asked to intercede in a family feud. A set of brothers from a family of mobsters accused each other of removing their father permanently from the scene. So each brother quietly hired me to bump off the other.

I did.  At the funeral of their father. Father, and his two sons, were each buried in the same cemetery that week. I laid a black rose onto the grave of each.

Q. What items are in your 'toolbelt' besides a Dan Wesson .357?

Whatever can be manipulated into a weapon. Guns, knives, baseball bats, detergents, bailing wire, even a Bic pen. Whatever is handy.

But I prefer a switch-blade. Murder should be up close and personal, don't you think?

Q. What makes you so sexy?

I've been accused of being a lot of things. But 'sexy' is a description that fails me completely. Women, for some reason, especially those whom I help escape from one danger or another, seem to hold this view about me.

I find it interesting.  But puzzling.

If you'd like to learn more about Smitty, perhaps in hopes of a future business arrangement, you can learn more via B.R. Stateham in Call Me Smitty: There Are No Heroes.


Friday, March 01, 2013

Author Interview: Michael Brookes

I'm pleased to welcome Michael Brookes, author of The Cult of Me, today. He resides in eastern England and is a game producer by day, but a novelist by night. I hope you'll enjoy learning about him as much as I did.


Q: Michael: Your day job sounds pretty interesting. Tell us a little about it.

I'm an Executive Producer for a video games company. I manage various game projects, helping bring them from concept to released game. It's a great job and I'm lucky enough to work with many talented and wonderful people.

You can see me doing work type stuff here:

I've been fortunate recently in being asked to write the official novel for one of our upcoming games - so I get to combine two of my great passions.

Q: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I've always enjoyed writing, but it's only in the last few years that I decided to try making my work public. Reception has been quite positive so far, which is nice.

Q: How did you pick the genre(s) you write in?

The story picks the genre. Although it can be loosely termed 'horror' I'll utilise tools from any genre to tell the story.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Cult of Me?

The original inspiration came from reading John Milton's 'Paradise Lost'. For me it's the greatest story ever told. I've wanted to do a modern take on it for some time, but from a more human perspective. But I needed a suitable protagonist. 'The Cult of Me' is the first book in the trilogy for that tale.

Q: Plotter or pantser?

Plotter. Although story is king, I do like to plan it out in advance. Of course it changes once you start writing!

Q: What makes you so sexy?

My blue eyes and firm jaw. And the beard. Definitely the beard.

Q: Okay, so you're an author. What do you enjoy reading?

I love reading. I think any author has to love reading, although it depresses me sometimes. I'll read a passage and think, I can't write as good ass that. But the good thing about writing is that you can always get better.

My favourite reading tends to be science-fiction and horror. 'Excession' by Ian M Banks is my favourite novel.

Thank you for visiting with me today. To learn more about Michael, visit his blog at: .