Team Writing, Series, and Furious Claws with Ben Zackheim

One of the trends in e-books, especially Urban Fantasy, are series that are co-written with others. That’s how some of these folks crank out multiple books in a year, as opposed to some of us (ahem) who are trailing on book two. John P Logsdon (who you met a couple of weeks ago) is one such practitioner, Michael Anderle is another.

Apparently, I’m the only UF writer still doing it solo these days.

Donald has paired up with someone who also writes books on his own, Ben Zackheim. I came across him and his RELIC series a while back. His latest book is with Logsdon; Furious Claws.

Ben, what’s your deal?

I’m a recovering author whose recovery isn’t going too well, so I still write. A lot.

Well, a lot as far as I’m concerned. 

As far as my peers are concerned, I’m slow as hell. 

I write in the Urban Fantasy genre, which has readers who ask a lot of authors, including daily book launches of new 300 pagers. I got into the business of telling stories after leaving a koosh corporate job. It was 2011, around the time the Apple App Store was really taking off. I noticed small devs selling their $1 games and thought, “I wonder if this Kindle thing could be the same kind of opportunity for writers.” I did some research and found that, indeed, Kindle authors could do very well. So the first chance I got, I quit the job. Would I do it again? Hell no. Not without some more planning. It’s a tough biz with huge ups and downs. Writing full-time actually means marketing full-time, and writing when you get the chance. It may sound like I’m complaining, but I love it. 

I hear ya. I like the marketing but it’s for smarter brains than mine apparently. I originally reach out about the Relic series and was surprised to find you working with John P Logsdon. What’s Furious Claws all about?

My latest book is Wild Claws, book 5 in a series I’m writing with John. P. Logsdon. It’s part of the Paranormal Police Department series, which includes other authors like Orlando A. Sanchez. It’s been a blast to write. This will be the last book in the story, so it’s a bit bittersweet. I’ll move on to my own series next, which is the RELIC series of Supernatural Thrillers. That series is up to book 9, with a planned 10. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop there, though, because I love the two main characters so much. Kane and Rebel are a motley duo. He’s a sharp-shooting relic hunter who is charged with tracking down supernatural treasures before the vampires do. Rebel is Kane’s partner. She’s a Magicist who provides the spells and the sass. 

They are a great pair. What is it about the magic or style of story that drew you to RELIC?

The magic in RELIC is part of the plot. What I mean by that is magic is being defined a bit more in each book. It’s a risk, of course, because sticking to the rules of magic is a big part of making a story read well. But I wanted the main adventure to include revelations about how magic works. This has led to some plot twists that were tough to write because they broke the rules of magic as I’d established them. But I think the payoff will be worth it. We’ll see within two books! RELIC includes humans, supernatural beings like vampires, Magicists (my word for beings with magic abilities) and gods. The way magic is used and impacts each of these parties will play a big part in the finale. I have strong feelings and philosophies about magic. RELIC is my attempt to suss that out in a fantasy setting. I plan to write a sci-fi series that tackles magic from a different pov. It’s an obsession of mine, frankly.

Who did this to you? What have you read and who do you read for pleasure?

I consumed everything with Stephen King’s name on it when I was younger. He showed me I could play around with the language more than my teachers were telling me I could. His strong characters and moments of horror really resonated with me. There was a hot steam to his stories that made me uncomfortable, but entertained me, and stuck with me for a long time after I closed the book. These days I’m reading a lot of books by people in my genre. Hunter Blaine, Kimbra Swain, Orlando A. Sanchez. These authors are such gems. I love being in on the ground floor of careers that are going to go BOOM. I’m also waiting for Patrick Rothfuss to drop a story bomb on us. C’mon Patrick! 

Well, if you’re bored I have a book for ya. How can people learn more about your work?

You can find me at benzackheim.com and on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6434226.Ben_Zackheim

My Amazon Profile is here https://www.amazon.com/Ben-Zackheim/e/B0087OYFVG

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/benjaminzackheim/

Furious Claws (Book 4 of the New York Paranormal Police Department) can be found here 

Relic: Spear (book 8 in the RELIC series) can be found here 

Not to be THAT GUY, but if you are interested in the debut of an Urban Fantasy Series full of violence and snark similar to the Paranormal Police Department books, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk fits the bill. “Like Dresden Files with teeth,” they say…

Send in Your Johnny Lycan #Bookselfie and Win

If you’ve bought your copy of Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk since pub date, you’re probably in the middle of it now. Send me a selfie with the book (or your Kindle, I trust you!) and you might win one of 3 “Don’t let Shaggy run the show…” coffee mugs.

Adam Larson and Astrid are reading in Minneapolis

Of course, you can always send a pic AND leave a review as well, like Ariana in Las Vegas did…

The deadline to enter is December 11th. Don’t delay.

You can order it anywhere books are sold online, but here’s the purchase link to Amazon and to Black Rose Writing.

If you want a SIGNED copy of Johnny Lycan, drop me an email and we’ll hook you up.

Today is Publication Day for Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk

“If Raymond Chandler wrote werewolves–and why hasn’t he?”

“If you like The Dresden Files, you’ll love Johnny Lycan”

“Turmel’s move from Historical Fiction to Urban Fantasy is a howling success

Today is the day that the world finally gets to meet Johnny Lupul, a young wannabe detective with a monstrous secret. Huge thanks to the team at Black Rose Writing for seeing what I saw in him.

To all my loyal readers, how can you help?

Buy the book at Amazon or through Black Rose Writing

Leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads or wherever you find good books.

Tell your book buying friends, and if you know any bloggers or reviewers, let me know.

Take a selfie with your copy of Johnny Lycan, and let me know where in the world you are. You can win a genuine “Don’t let Shaggy run the show…” coffee mug. Just like Bryan from Las Vegas:

I hope you all enjoy this tale, it’s the first of a few. Don’t let the weasels get you down, and don’t let Shaggy run the show.

Chicago, The Ghost of Jamie McVay, and Ray Ziemer

Whoever said writing is a solitary activity is doing it wrong. Yeah, I said it. Typing, actually putting the words on paper or the screen is a lonely business but writing activities like getting feedback, brainstorming ideas, and hanging with other smart people is social. One of my favorite writerly people is Ray Ziemer. He’s a teacher, poet, novelist and all around good egg.

When I still lived in the suburbs of Chicago, we were both members of the Naperville Writers Group and I was lucky enough to see this book, The Ghost of Jamie McVay being workshopped. Now it’s out in the world. Any excuse to talk to a buddy.

Ray- tell folks what they should know about you.

I’m South Side of Chicago born and bred. Funny when I look back and realize I’ve spent most of my life now in the suburbs, but my youth in the city left me with an accent, an attitude, and a certain psychological shape. When I left the south side, I grew in many ways – in liberal views, intellectual range, hunger for landscape — but at my core, there is always the bungalow under the elms in the old neighborhood near Marquette Park.

Ghost of Jamie McVey is a good YA read. What’s the book about?

The Ghost of Jamie McVay is a classic ghost story of redemption and atonement, set in a contemporary suburb of Chicago, a world of young adult tribulations — bullying, first love, family dysfunction. The narrator uncovers family secrets,  weathers father-son conflict, and clue by clue unravels the mysteries of the ghost of Jamie McVay.

You really capture the Western Suburbs of Chicago in it. Where’d the story come from?

The story came out of regular bike rides and walks with my sons on the Illinois Prairie Path, a disused railroad right-of-way turned bike trail. I fantasized about old railroad disasters, which led to stories about ghost trains and hauntings along the path. When I first conceived the story, I was teaching junior high English, and I always felt there could be more and better novels for adolescent boys to read. So I tried to imagine a first-person narrator for that audience to relate to, and a strong female character everyone would like. Some might suspect there’s a dash of autobiography in there somewhere, too.

Totally unfair question. What’s your favorite scene?

Through multiple rewrites and revisions, two things that never changed were the beginning and the ending. The most dramatic scene is the climax at the end, when the main characters — and the ghost of Jamie McVay — confront each other on Halloween night, with explosive action and (I hope) satisfying resolution. 

That’ll work. You’re a poet and short story author as well as a novelist. Where can people learn more about you?

My author web page, with samples of my poetry and other fiction, is https://rgziemer.com

The book is for sale on Amazon.com  and Barnes & Noble.com. I also have a Goodreads and Facebook author pages.

SHAMELESS PLUG FOR MYSELF: So I am hanging tight for more reviews of Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, which I’ll gladly share. But if you want to help spread the word, I’m having a contest. Send me a picture of you with your copy of Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk and where you’re at. You’ll enter a drawing for a Johnny Lycan, “Don’t let Shaggy run the show…” coffee mug. (Yeah, I know, it’s missing an apostrophe. Call it a collector’s item…)

Advance Word for Johnny Lycan & The Anubis Disk

Turmel manages to thoroughly explore the detective, mystery, supernatural, and horror genre conventions. With some thrilling gore and satisfying werewolf violence, Turmel imbues his storytelling with a sense of humor and edge.

Jose Nateras, Windy City Reviews

When you send a book out into the world, you never know how people will respond. I’ve said before it’s like telling a joke and waiting a year for the laugh. So with the November 19 Launch Date for Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk rapidly approaching, some of the advance reviews are starting to come in. It’s possible people like it.

Windy City Reviews (quoted above) was very kind, and you can read the entire review here. I love that they picked up on the “Chicago-ness” of it. In fact, you can purchase a copy pre-pub date at Centuries and Sleuths in River Forest. Augie and the team have been supporting my work for years.

Over at Books Delight, author Jeanie Roberts even awarded it a Reader’s Choice. “Turmel’s leap from historical fiction to fantasy is a howling success!”

There have also been plenty of interviews, with more to come. Teri Polen and I had a great time on her Bad Moon Rising blog, where we talked writing, haunted houses and tequila.

And my good friend Vital Germaine and I talked about creativity, getting older, and making relationships last on his video blog, Another F Word.

Praise from other authors is always appreciated, and if you read the post and review of This Ragged, Wastrel, Thing by Tomas Marcantonio you know we admire each other’s work. This is what he said on Goodreads: “The gritty Chicago setting, with its cast of well-rounded, down-to-earth likeable characters, feels entirely real, and by the time the plot is in full swing you find yourself checking the phase of the moon through the window and half-expecting it to affect the behaviour of your loved ones.”

So I am hanging tight for more reviews, which I’ll gladly share. But if you want to help spread the word, I’m having a contest. Send me a picture of you with your copy of Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk and where you’re at. You’ll enter a drawing for a Johnny Lycan, “Don’t let Shaggy run the show…” coffee mug. (Yeah, I know, it’s missing an apostrophe. Call it a collector’s item…)

Two weeks to go. I’ll be very grateful if you’ll spread the word on Goodreads (add it to your “To Read” list) and however you share what you read with others.

Don’t let the weasels get you down, and whatever you do, don’t let Shaggy run the show.

Las Vegas Paranormal Police with John P Logsdon

Before I wrote a word of Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk, I was a fan of Urban Fantasy. My favorites included silly humor as well as genuine thrilling action. So when I found the Las Vegas Paranormal Police Department series, I was hooked. Besides sharing a sensibility with my newborn book, I am in awe at the marketing community John P Logsdon has created. It’s a master class for writers in the field. All I need now are 10 more Johnny Lycan stories and it will all be fine.

To celebrate the final episode in the LVPP series, I got to fan-boy and talk to John. This is a long interview but worth the read.

Okay, let’s start with the basics. What’s your deal?

Oh boy. Well, I guess I’m kind of what you’d call a renaissance person. I’m an author, entrepreneur, programmer, game designer/developer, musician…basically, I can’t seem to sit still for more than five minutes without going insane. My wife simply loves the fact that I have this many hobbies. It’s great for the pocketbook. ::cough::

The way I see it is that we’ve only got one trip through this thing called life, so why not do as much as possible during the ride?

Still, of all those things, writing is the one that sits at the core. The characters living in my head all want their stories to be told. That makes writing so much fun for me because it feels like I’m just a conduit for typing their words. Now, anyone who has read my stuff probably feels bad for me, seeing that I’ve seemingly been gifted with a bunch of characters who have their minds perpetually in the gutter, but I love it! It’s how I tick, and it’s how all my steady fans tick as well.

Some of those fans hide in the closet, secretly chuckling, but I tell them to not be ashamed! Nobody should be. If you giggle when you hear the number 69 get called out at the donut shop, be proud! It’s funny! And if you do find yourself find laughs in the silly or downright naughty, you are one of us. Become part of my Dysfunctional Family, put on your Homer Simpson slippers, and join us in relishing the ridiculous in life. It’s much more fun than focusing on the crap…unless that’s in the form of a bird crapping on someone’s head, which is hilarious (assuming it’s not happening to you, of course).

I admit when I switched from historical fiction to UF, I was a bit embarassed so thanks for letting me know there are others out there like me. For the uninitiated, tell us about Las Vegas Paranormal Police Department. (And since I live in Vegas you’re not far off the mark from the real thing here.)

This is the wrap-up book for the Las Vegas Paranormal Police Department mini-trilogy. It’s actually book number ten, but it’s the epic conclusion of Ian’s battle with his sister, Wynn.  It’s available for Pre-Order October 29th.

I’ve brought in major players from other PPD precincts to help with the show down. We’ve got Zeke Phoenix and his crew from the Badlands PPD, Piper & Payne from the Netherworld PPD, and Evangeline and the gang from Sinister.

So it’ll be one big mama of a war!

Since I get asked this all the time, it’s your turn: where did THAT come from?

Honestly, I’d never even considered writing urban fantasy before. I’d been doing some mentoring work with a few authors who happened to be all about UF. They were ramping up and doing really well, and they kept pushing me to try my hand at the genre.

I gave it a shot, but after seventeen iterations of Ian Dex, I just didn’t like it. Note, it wasn’t seventeen full books, just some super short stories that were used to give me the feel of things.

I was just about to give up when one of the gang said I should just bring my normal crazy comedy feel to the series and just have fun with it.

So, I did.

The series took off like gangbusters, which honestly shocked the hell out of me. Since then, there have been nearly fifty books written in the Paranormal Police Department, including books by some great authors in the UF space.

The root of the character came from the fact that I was allowed to just play and not worry about “doing the genre perfectly.” I knew I couldn’t do that, so instead of just picking a vampire or an immortal or whatever, I decided to create a character (Ian Dex) who had all of the genetic pieces from the various supernatural races.

Doing that gave me the freedom I needed to get my feet wet in the genre. I got to experience different aspects of his makeup across a bunch of supernatural backdrops. It gave me a canvas that was incredibly free to paint on.

Who did this to you? Who do you read that inspired this madness?

Everything started with Isaac Asimov for me. The book cover for Robots of Dawn drew me in instantly and I devoured everything by Asimov at that point, along with tons of other s.f. writers…a massively notable nod going to Douglas Adams. 

I didn’t really move into fantasy until reading the Myth Adventures series by Robert Asprin, though. It was fun and full of laughs. From there, I got my hands on a bunch of different comedy authors, including John DeChance, Harry Harrison, and John C. Moore. Surprisingly, I didn’t find Terry Pratchett until I’d already written one and half books in my Ononokin series. A lot of people assume Sir Terry was the influence for that series. He wasn’t, though. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Discworld (why can’t there be another 500 of them to read?!?!?), I’d just not read any of them until well after Ononokin was underway.

Another author who majorly influenced me was Steven Erikson. His Malazan series taught me that multiple character POVs was not only awesome, it was also incredibly fun. I use that style all over my writing because it’s freeing and I totally love writing that way. You won’t see it in the early Vegas, Netherworld, or Shadow PPD books, but it’s in the latest three Vegas books and Sinister, and I’ve even gotten a few of my co-authors on the bandwagon with their PPD precincts as well. Honestly, though, it’s not really book authors who are my major influencers. My actual muse comes from TV shows and movies. Favorites include a mixture of TV and movies, such as Benny Hill, Monty Python, Airplane!, Naked Gun, Loaded Weapon, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Archer, and so on and so forth. Those are the true foundation of my nutty brand of humor.

I suspect that, like me, Mad Magazine may have contributed, too. Your marketing is amazing and you’ve created a real community I can only aspire to with what I’m jokingly calling The Johnnyverse. Where can people see what I’m talking about?

Here are all the spots you can find me:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/John-P.-Logsdon/e/B00EWNWLSK

Audiblehttps://www.audible.com/search?keywords=john+p+logsdon

I have my Dysfunctional Family group on Facebook here, for those of you who want to really belong to something that fits who you are (even if you remain in your juvenile-minded-humor closet).

Facebook Dysfunctional Family Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/john.p.logsdon.books/

And if you head over to my website, you can sign up for my newsletter and get a bunch of freebies. Plus, you can also join my community, which is via an old-style message board system that’s got a bunch of nifty bells & whistles, including realtime chat!

Look, I’m not ashamed to ride coattails here. If you enjoy John’s work, may I humbly suggest Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. Werewolves, haunted relics, and silly jokes. Preorders available now, it comes into the world November 19.

Want to win a Johnny Lycan coffee mug?

I’m having a bit of fun with the launch of Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk. Launch date is November 19, and here’s the kicker: Everyone who lets me know they purchased on that date will enter a drawing for one of 3 Johnny Lycan coffee mugs. Specifically this one:

Yeah, I know there’s an apostrophe missing, but the important thing is not to let Shaggy run the show. If you don’t know what that means, you’ll have to read the damn book. Trust me, they’re words to live by.

How will you let me know? Maybe post a picture of you with the book (or your e-book reader) from wherever you are in the world to social media and tag me. Or email me a receipt from Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, Chapters or Black Rose Writing.

To learn more, sign up for my newsletter on the left hand side of this page.

Turmel’s leap from historical fiction to fantasy is a howling success!

Jean Roberts, Books Delight Reader’s Favorite Award

Storm’s Child with John Ortega

Everyone has their thing, especially in genre fiction. I’m going to be honest, one of my least favorite groups of characters in Urban Fantasy are the Fae. Fairies, Pixies, all that stuff. That said, they are important to the world of UF like spunky female detectives and magical runes. It can’t all be werewolves and ghosts and hot vampires, and if you like Irish music and culture even a little, then they are just part of the landscape. Some people get it right. John Ortega has successfully tackled the whole Faerie thing head-on in his latest novel Storm’s Child.

John, tell us about you.

My love for fantasy started at a young age. To be honest I never liked reading, hated it to the point where I asked my mom to read my school assignments and give the bullet points later. Then one day I walked from a movie into borders and saw the Percy Jackson Series and it blew my mind. It was a complete change from running like hell from a book to devouring three and four a day. My mom thought I had been switched for a pod person. One thing led to another and soon I found myself reading about every mythological creature and story out there. From Greek to Norse to Celtic. Then as I got older my appetite got bigger and I would read Sci-fi, crime. Basically fantastical or magical that would catch my eye I would buy.

During the day I work in the customer representative department for a health insurance company and every other hour of the day I spent it either writing, reading, or looking up stuff that sparks my imagination.

What’s your book (and future series) about?

Storm’s Child is an urban fantasy novel where we meet Nathan, the owner of an inn for supernatural creatures in Portland, Oregon. He lives a quiet life with his dog Sabine until one of his employees is found dead under strange circumstances that prompts Nathan to do his own investigation that leads him on a collision course with the Fae. An ancient magical race that has a sordid history with Nathan and thinks he is dead. So he has to make a choice to risk exposure or let the killer go free.

Despite his troubled past, Nathan is optimistic at heart and likes to see the bright side of life but also its not above getting his hands bloody if the situation calls for. I’ve always been fascinated by the original version of famous fairy tales, The Grimm’s Brothers, Edmund Spencer, William Shakespeare and that led me to create a fae-centric world with a characters that had intimate knowledge of the fae, what they’re really like and what we humans have gotten wrong at the behest of the rulers of their race. You’d be surprised how much of our knowledge has been molded by them. 

But while the fae are an integral part of the world, we see magic everywhere. I wanted to explore a rich magical community so we see mages, shifters, nature spirits and how they interacted with the world around it. Storm’s Child is an urban fantasy story but it has elements of a murder mystery and a smidge of romance. So while we only explore a bit of the world as we follow Nathan in his investigation you get the sense of the larger world or worlds I should say.

Running a hotel is a great hook for a series like this since you need a good reason for all these creatures to cross paths. Where did the idea come from?

The basis of the story comes from the Irish myth of Tír na nÓg, the land of young. I was driving in my car one day and was listening to Youtube and the song Tír na nÓg by Celtic Woman came on and the story sang impacted me so much I researched the myth behind it and it’s the love tragedy that this human falls in love with a fae woman and goes to the land of the fae but after years he wants to go back and his love tells him that the world has forgotten him but he insists and goes back to the mortal world where centuries had passed and he dies as time catches up to him. So I asked myself what would happen if a mortal that lived with the fae for so long escapes to the mortal world and doesn’t die. What would that do to their psyche? Would they consider themselves human or something else? All those questions came to mind and the road to the story just appeared on my mind. 

Since you weren’t much of a reader as a kid you’ve obviously changed your ways. Who do you read that people should know about?

As I mentioned before, I started with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and while I go back to him at times. I immensely enjoy Ilona Andrews (a must read for any Urban Fantasy fan) as well as Patricia Briggs, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jeaniene Frost, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Kevin Hardman and Peter Clines. 

Of course I can’t leave the Bard out as well as Spencer and the Brothers Grimm whose stories I’ve read time and time again. 

Not to hijack the interview, but if folks love Jim Butcher, you’ll probably enjoy Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk, which is like Dresden Files with no Fae and more teeth. (It’s available for preorder now, just saying.)

Where can folks learn more about you and your work?

Storm’s Child is my debut novel and you can find it on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Kobo.

As for the easiest way to find me would be: 

Amazon Author Page: 

Goodreads: 

Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk is coming out November 19TH. Join my newsletter now to win a fabulous prize. Also, if you are a reviewer and want an advance e-copy of the book, drop me a line and let a brother know.

Southern Gothic on Shrooms- Jill Hand

I have a bunch of writers I’ve come to know through social media that The Duchess refers to as “my invisible friends.” Even though we’ve never had the pleasure in person, I “met” Jill Hand when my first short story Tio Fernando’s Field Trip (read it here) was published in eFiction Magazine, along with one of her stories. I don’t know if she ever saw the money (the mag went broke after that edition), I know I didn’t.

Still, we stayed in touch, supporting and enjoying each other’s work. She skews towards horror with a serious dose of snark. When her first full-length novel, White Oaks, came out I referred to it as “The Little Foxes meets 7 Psychopaths.” I stand by that. Oh yeah, besides the family hysterics there are ufos. Just saying. Now we share a publisher at Black Rose Writing, and the sequel to that book, Black Willows is out in the world. Any excuse to get the word out…

I’m a little afraid to ask, but what’s your story?

I never knew my real parents, having been kidnapped as an infant by a band of roving Presbyterians. We travelled in Fords and Chevrolets. We danced with wild abandon to the music of Perry Como and Tony Bennett. We ate exotic foods like meatloaf and tuna-noodle casserole, with crumbled pieces of potato chips on top. It was an exotic life, one which ended all too soon, when I went off to college and became a teacher.

Teaching wasn’t for me. It was worse than being a cop or a prison guard in that I was tasked with bringing order to a group of hyperactive, insolent, miscreants without being allowed to swear or threaten them.

I ditched teaching to become a private detective. That was more fun. I got to sit in my car outside sleazy motels with a camera, drinking coffee and waiting for a guilty spouse to emerge after making whoopee with his or her side piece. Then I’d take their picture and get paid. That ended with the mafia wedding. Shots were fired. I decided to get into a safer line of work. That line of work was newspaper reporting. I took to it like a duck to water. Nobody shot at me, although one lady tried to hit me with a broom.

I had a shortlived journalism career. What did being a reporter teach you?

Being a reporter means you can pry into other people’s business and ask lots of questions. They have to answer or they look like they’re hiding something. I learned a lot during my years working for newspapers. I brought a lot of what I learned to my writing. I learned that people are hilarious, even the ones who think they aren’t. Especially the ones who think they aren’t.

Okay, so Black Willows…

Black Willows is the second in the series of Trapnell thrillers. It follows the further adventures of a group of bumbling, siblings from Georgia as they try to collect their inheritance while being stalked by a tulpa. There’s arson, and alligators. It’s a wild ride.

You’re a born and bred (and even proud) New Jerseyite. Why write Southern Gothic?

I write about Georgia because it’s a world onto itself. I thought New Jersey was weird but it can’t hold a candle to Georgia. My in-laws are from there. None of the characters I write about are based on my in-laws. Honest.

Since we’re spreading the writer love, who are you reading that people should know about?

I’d like to shine a spotlight on Brandon Barrows, who has a book about to be released by Black Rose Writing called Burn Me Out. It’s about a mobster who’s looking to change his life. Here’s the link to his Goodreads page:

Where can people find your short stories and more about you?

Here’s the link to my author website page: JillHandAuthor.com

Here’s the link to my Amazon author page:

Here’s my checking account routing number and social security number.

Just kidding.

Not to crash the party, but Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November. And look to the side of the page to sign up for my newsletter.

The Other Inside with JM White

There’s something evil inside me trying to get out. That premise is as old as mankind and has served as the basis of a lot of dark fantasy and horror stories. Hell, it’s why I have a thing for werewolves and what inspired the character of Johnny Lycan in my new book. It’s also the idea behind JM White’s new novel, The Other Inside.

J M, great to talk to another Black Rose Writing author. Besides the fact we share a publisher, what should we know about you?

My love affair with horror started when I was a kid. I was never much into reading. In fact, I hated it. One day I stumbled across the Goosebump series at the library, and my life changed. I went from dreading library days to stuffing three or four Goosebumps books into my backpack at a time. I realized then I didn’t hate reading—I just hadn’t found my genre. It just so happens my genre involves monsters, ghosts, and lots of blood and guts. As I got older, I graduated from R. L. Stine to Stephen King, and so on. 

When I’m not working on fiction, I am a freelance writer. I specialize in video game news and other entertainment topics like film and TV. It’s a fun gig that allows me to flex my pop culture nerdiness. My background is in psychology. I don’t do much with my degree but enjoy using it in my novels. 

What is the story about?

The Other Inside is a psychological horror novel. It follows Billie. He doesn’t have a family. Eleven years ago, his mother was murdered, and his stepfather was locked up for the crime. Because of this trauma, he fled to a small New Hampshire town to start a new life.

But Billie isn’t like everyone else. He struggles to control an animalistic thing inside him that needs blood. His affliction becomes harder to hide when his childhood best friend shows up. As Billie reconnects with her, secrets of his past unravel. He is left wondering if his stepfather really did kill his mother. And if he didn’t, who did? 

For me, the idea of having something creepy inside an otherwise normal person creeps me out. What are the roots of this story?

Despite Billie’s affliction, he is relatable. The reader knows from the get-go that Billie is a killer, but they are still rooting for him. I wanted to explore a character that viciously kills but would be the type of person to back down in a fight because they know it’s wrong. That required me to create a vampire-inspired story with a character that broke stereotypes, so no seductive good looks and sparkling skin. In fact, vampire lore is left out of the book almost entirely. Instead, I focus on a disorder I learned about in my undergrad called Renfield syndrome or Clinical Vampirism, which involves an obsession with drinking blood. Although Renfield Syndrome is not acknowledged by the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it’s an interesting disorder documented by psychologists for over a hundred years. 

The Other Inside is a horror story with elements of mystery and the tiniest bit of romance. My main goal was to keep readers guessing. Is Billie an actual vampire, or is he afflicted with this disorder? While writing, I also kept in mind that there is a large “vampire” community. People that engage in the vampire lifestyle are not synonymous with having Renfield Syndrome. As I say in my Note From the Author—this book is vampire friendly, and I have no intentions to offend. 

Good luck with that- I have found there’s always someone who will be miffed, but that’s half the fun. Who did you read that inspired you?

Well, as I mentioned before, my framework started with R. L. Stine and Stephen King. I’m not sure you’ll ever meet a horror author who doesn’t pay tribute to King. It’s almost a cliché at this point.

Other than those legends, I enjoy classics like Thomas Harris (he is a must-read), Robert Bloch, Jack Ketchum, Shirley Jackson, and Nathaniel Hawthorn. I also really like Grady Hendrix, Josh Malerman, Kealan Patrick Burke, Ania Ahlborn, Gillian Flynn, and Riley Sager for some fresher names. 

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give a shout out to the vampire man himself—Bram Stoker—whose novel Dracula I’ve read probably five times thanks to school. If it weren’t for him, I might never have thought up Billie. 

Shameless plug time. Where can people find out more about you?

The Other Inside and my debut novel Shattered can both be found on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

Links to all my books and socials can be found on my website jmwhitefiction.com. 

While on my website, check out my blog, Thirst for Thrillers, where I pair books with cocktail recipes.  

Instagram is where I am most active thanks to the lovely people of the #bookstagram community. I always post book updates, sales, giveaways, and, of course, the results of my somewhat artistic book photoshoots. Follow me on IG @jmwhitefiction

Hey everyone, just a note that we are a month and a half from the launch of Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. If you are a blogger or reviewer on Goodreads or anywhere else and want a review copy, drop a brother a line. Preorders for EBook and on Amazon and other places start in early October!