Sunday, September 22, 2013

All Hallows' Evil Authors: Meet Daniel Hale!

Today, we're talking to Daniel Hale, author of "Pact of the Lantern". It's a great story, and especially appropriate for a Halloween anthology. That anthology, All Hallows' Evil, is now available in print and Kindle format. We're also doing a giveaway on Goodreads.

Q. Tell us about your inspiration for the story. It is very much a 'reason for the season' tale.
A. I wanted to write a Halloween tale that would illustrate the evolution of the original holiday traditions to the ones we know today. I envisioned Halloween as a parallel realm that once a year becomes connected to our world, allowing its beastly denizens to cross over for a short time and spread their celebratory havoc. From there I needed to show why they would follow the rituals of protection—the Jack o’ lanterns lit as a symbolic OFF LIMITS—and the consequences of dishonoring the Pact.    

Q. How did you pick the genre/setting/era you write in?
A. I had no specific location in mind for the setting: just an anonymous small town with strong community feelings and prejudices towards Halloween traditions. It saddens me personally to see the celebrations die a little more every year, harmless fun sacrificed for narrow definitions of decency. A place like that would be a windfall to a trio as troublesome as Pintley, Founger and Scabus, and their looting and plundering would only serve to feed the cycle of distrust. 

Q. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A. When I first started college. I knew I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and it just occurred to me “Hey, I read so much. Why don’t I try writing?” So I’m still trying my hand at that, seeing where I end up. 

Q. What is your current project?
A. I like to keep an eye on submission calls for contests and upcoming anthologies, and focus on a number of projects. At the moment I’m trying to finish a story for the “Midian Unmade” anthology of Clive Barker-inspired stories. I’ve also got a story appearing in “The Last Diner” anthology by Fringeworks, which will be coming out soon. After that I want to buckle down and write my first Big Debut Novel. Wish me luck! 

Q. Plotter or pantser?
A. All writers are plotters. It’s only in our stories that we have the courage to pants. 

Thanks for talking to us today! And, good luck!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

All Hallows' Evil Authors: Meet DJ Tyrer!

Today, we meet multitalented DJ Tyrer, the person behind UK small press Atlantean Publishing as well as the driving force behind The Yellow Site, the King In Yellow wiki. He also figures prominently in the sold-ouSorcery and Sanctity: A Homage to Arthur Machen, coming out in late October from Hieroglyphic Press.

He is also the author of "An Echo of Samhain", one of the stories in All Hallows' EvilAll Hallows' Evil is now available in print and Kindle format. We're also doing a giveaway on Goodreads.

Q. In "An Echo of Samhain" the crime and its investigation are both supernatural in nature. I'm curious about the magical system. Did you draw from actual practices, magic in popular entertainment, other sources..?

The magic system behind "An Echo of Samhain" is intended to evoke the feel of real-world occult and folkloric beliefs, although I have drawn inspiration from those sorts of fiction that are closest to it, mainly horror and the magic of the Shadowrun setting. Although there is a lot of fun to be had with the sort of fantasy settings where wizards can toss around fireballs, I've always be most drawn to the idea of a wizard as a manipulator and magic as something that is difficult to use and comes with a price, rather than something that can be tossed around casually and on a whim.

Q. Tell us more about The Yellow Site.

I became involved with The Yellow Site, a wiki of anything and everything to do with the Yellow or Carcosa Mythos inspired by the works of Ambrose Bierce and Robert W. Chambers, after editing a small press anthology of "King In Yellow" fiction and poetry. My involvement spiralled from there and I ended up, entirely unplanned, as the major driving force behind the site (although, as a wiki, anyone is free to work on it) due to the feedback nature of the process – the more I added, the more topics I realised needed to be added. Even though there is still a great deal more work to be added and the project, by its nature, is open-ended, I believe that it is currently the most comprehensive collection of information on this sub-genre.

Q. Who is your favorite author (I could take a guess) and what really strikes you about their work?

In terms of the authors who have most impacted my writing and dominated my time, Chambers is, of course, there at the head of the list, along with the other greats of weird fiction such as Lovecraft, Machen and Clark Ashton Smith. There is something about the dream-like ambiguity of Chambers' "The King In Yellow" that bewitches me. I suppose it is the desire of the mind to impose order even on the most nebulous of things. There are an infinite number of stories that could be told from that same basic template, each interpreting the source material quite differently.

Q. What is your current project?

I've just finished writing my second "King In Yellow"-inspired novella (the first, "The Yellow House", was released in a limited edition that received some amazingly positive feedback) and am currently in the midst of submitting short stories to a variety of anthologies, both on spec and by request.

Q. What was the first story you wrote? Did you try to publish it?

What I regard as my first 'proper' completed story was "The Legend of Harley", a horror story that I first wrote in my early teens, then reworked in 1996 (according to my records). I included it in an early issue of Monomyth in 1999 and it has been republished since (and there is even a heavily reworked and expanded version of the legend currently under consideration for an anthology at the moment). The location of the story, Harley's Mount, and its environs have gone on to feature in a number of published and unpublished poems and stories, even an article on conlanging. In fact, around 1995/96, I wrote an as-yet-unpublished novel set on The Mount (recently rewritten), which, by coincidence, was the first appearance in my fiction of Paul Starling, who features in "An Echo of Samhain".

Thanks for talking to us today!

Learn more about DJ Tyrer via his personal blog at , and check out The Yellow Site if you're a Chambers fan.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

All Hallows' Evil Authors: Meet Erin Farwell!

Mystery and Horror's second anthology is out! As of today, All Hallows' Evil is now available in print and Kindle format. We're also doing a giveaway on Goodreads.

Today, I'm introducing you to Erin Farwell, author of Shadowlands and "The Carver". This mystery takes place in a Halloween maze set up in a corn field - illuminated by the Jack o' Lanterns of the soon-to-be-victim. Erin's descriptions brought back memories of one of my favorite Samhain celebrations which had a corn maze with interesting encounters. Fortunately, that one was lethal for no one. So, let's learn more about Erin:

Q. I really enjoyed reading about the pumpkin walk. Were you drawing from personal experience when you wrote it?

A. The general setting is from a local farm with a great corn maze, haunted barn, hayride, bonfire, etc., but no pumpkin walk. I know many places that line paths with pumpkins but not one specifically like this. I’m sure they exist; I’ve just never had the pleasure of experiencing one.

Q. What made you decide to start writing your own stories?

A. I’ve written stories since I was a child but set that love aside when I started college. After law school I worked as a consultant, a job I loved, but my writing consisted of reports and articles. I dabbled with fiction writing until about eight years ago when I buckled down and got to work. My first novel wasn’t very good but I learned I could write a beginning, middle, and end. This may seem obvious but I had several friends who wrote great beginnings, then became bored and moved on to the next story. Even though my first book wasn’t good, I learned from that process and my second novel became my first published one.

Q. You've done a lot of traveling. Is there still a place you haven't been that you'd like to go?

A. LOL. I have an entire pinterest board devoted to places I’d like to visit. I would love to ride the Orient Express, visit the Lake District in England, and tour the pyramids. I need to start setting stories in these places so I can have an excuse to go and a tax write off as well.

Q. What is your current project?

A. I’m writing a sequel to Shadowlands. My protagonist, Cabel Evans, took his first steps back into the world in the first book. Now he must deal with his greatest challenge, his family.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your writing process?

Generally, I start with my setting. Many writers begin with their plot or characters but I need to know where the characters live, work, and since I write mysteries, die. Once I have the where, the rest of the story unfolds. When I start a project I know my beginning and my end as well as specific plot points along the way. I find that if I am too structured my writing becomes stiff and the story predictable. When I let things happen more organically the story flows better and I find that small things I put in for background are just what I need to get myself out of a corner I’ve written myself into. These happy coincidences make my stories richer and my characters more natural.

Thanks for talking to us today!

Read "The Carver" and twelve other great mysteries in All Hallows' Evil, and check out Shadowlands as well.