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…

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.

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!

The Glass Star Trilogy with Elle Lewis

One of the great things about writing fantasy and horror is worldbuilding. Unlike historical fiction, where you need to be faithful to the 1920s or make the Crusades feel like the Crusades, when you’re creating a world, you make the rules. Whether it’s an almost-regular Chicago with some magical elements, like in the Johnny Lycan stories, or you’re starting almost from scratch, like this week’s author Elle Lewis.

Elle is a fellow Black Rose Writing Author, and the creator of The Glass Star trilogy, beginning with the first book, Dark Touch and the latest installment, Genesis Rising.

Okay, so let’s start at the beginning. What’s your story?

I am a nurse by profession, but my heart belongs to monsters and imagination. While I enjoy the medical field, my true passion lies in the literary world. I began reading SF/F at a young age and was utterly captivated. These days I try to balance my career and my passion, but it is extremely difficult. I always want to be writing or collaborating with other authors on projects. I would like to go back to school soon, to obtain my masters in English/Creative Writing, so that I can spend my days talking about books and helping others create stories. 

What is the Dark Touch and your trilogy about?

The Glass Star Trilogy takes place in an alternate reality, similar to ours but also vastly different. The nature of the Universe is based on original lore that I created for the series. Readers will be introduced to many sentient beings, all powerful and complex. The main character Sloan, crosses paths with one of them- Darrow, a Dark One. Her interaction with him sets off a catalyst of events of cosmic proportion. Sloan is drawn deeper into their world with each book. As the story progresses, she learns the significance of her own power and also her true role within the Universe. Each book is a fast-paced read. The series is filled with action, suspense, and a touch of romance. 

What is it about the magic and world you write about that appeals to you?

Despite the cosmic scale of the series, the roots of the story are very human and relatable. Sloan has a tangled past, one that is painful and complicated. She is a character that is strong yet vulnerable. So while these big events are happening around her, internally she is struggling. Healing. Growing. Her character arch is inspiring and remarkable. But that’s what draws us in to SF/F isn’t it? The characters. Watching their journey. Recognizing something in them that is in us. It’s that moment that gives you goosebumps, when a character you love is beaten down, pressed into the dirt, and all hope is lost.

But yet…their eyes raise, their chin lifts, and determination makes them get back up and continue fighting. That was my greatest goal with this story. To reach out to readers that have a similar past to Sloan. To encourage them and root for them, and whisper through the pages that they are not alone. Our future is not our past. And we can change our stars. 

Who are you reading, or have read that corrupted you and made you what you are?

Of course the fantasy greats- Tolkein and Lewis. Orson Scott Card is also an author I greatly admire- Ender’s Game is one of my all time favorite books. Simply phenomenal. I have discovered some really outstanding authors recently. First and foremost- Martha Wells, the author of the Murderbot series. WOW. I’m so in love with every book in this series. To me it is SF perfection.

I have also been branching out to Horror lately, and I adore Grady Hendrix. His book- The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is one of the best books I have read this year. I also LOVED Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I gushed over every single page of this book. It is so wonderfully gothic and the ending was excellent!  

Small world! I just finished Mexican Gothic this weekend. The first 2/3 was just another haunted house novel with some fun Mexican twists, but the last hundred pages kicked my butt. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

My books are available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Dark Touch is the first in the series. The second is Genesis Rising. The third-Warrior of The Stars-releases 12/30/20! If you would like to follow me on social media, my Facebook Author page is- Elle Lewis@glass.star.trilogy.

Twitter @Elle_Lewis2 

IG ElleLewis5. You can follow my author page on both Amazon and Goodreads by searching Elle Lewis. And also my blog authorellelewis.blogspot.com – I post a lot of short stories here as well as some fun author/reader interviews! 

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.

In which the author pleads for bloggers, reviewers, and podcasters

Great oogly woogly, the publication date for Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is only 3 months away. This means I’m in that horrible limbo between relief that the damned thing is finished, and awaiting its emergence into the world.

Because I want the book to hit the ground running, I’m beginning to line up reviewers, bloggers, and other folks who can help spread the (hopefully positive) word. One of the ways Amazon deems a book worthy of promotion is if there are a lot of reviews early on.

Unlike all my other books, I’ve hired a publicist to help with this process. The talented Stephanie Caruso at Paste Creative and Frolic Blog Tours is organizing the blog tour (sounds fancy, doesn’t it?)

Here’s what you need to know:

We have PDF copies of the book available right now

Epub and Mobi copies are available probably October 1

Paperback ARCs are available now in very limited supply. First choice will go to those with established blogs, reviewers for magazines and press, especially in the Urban Fantasy/Horror area, or who are prominent reviewers on Amazon or Goodreads.

Sign up to get your review copies and be part of the blog tour which will run Noveber 12-26th By clicking here and going to the Paste Creative site. Or just drop me a line and request a copy.

You can pre-order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. The Paperback is available for pre-order at Amazon with Kindle and Audible coming in November. And look to the side of the page to sign up for my newsletter.

A Creepy New Tale About the Fountain of Youth- Maybe

A while back I really enjoyed a sort-of Urban Fantasy book called Markus, by an author I didn’t know, but share a publisher with. (Peace be upon Black Rose Writing.) I reached out to David Odle, and while nothing happened initially, he has a new book out and we arranged this interview. (Pro hint… if you want to get a response from an author, catch them in a pre-launch panic.)

This was a chance to talk to David about his newest effort, more of a horror/thriller thing called Kate’s Lake. Enjoy.

David, tell us about you.

Tell you about me? Whenever I’m asked this question, I always feel like there’s shockingly little to tell. Perhaps that’s why I write stories; to create fantastical characters who provide a vicarious escape into other worlds and interesting circumstances. But if it’s just me, my main love beyond family and friends (and craft beer), is simply a good story. Whether it’s a book, an article, a movie, or a TV show, a story well-told is what I find most satisfying.

I really enjoyed Markus, and was a bit surprised you shifted gears a bit. Tell me about Kate’s Lake.

I’m super-stoked about newest novel, Kate’s Lake, (released at the end of June)! I loved writing it and it may very well be the story that contains the most of my own personal characterization due to the military background of the character. The story is about a former Marine named Mick Smith, a recovering alcoholic and Iraqi combat veteran, who discovers what he believes may be the Fountain of Youth. While attending the funeral of an old friend, Mick’s dark past catches up with him as strange events spark a cascade of horrible circumstances that ultimately lead Mick to Kate’s Lake, where he discovers the horrific truth about its healing water.

You shifted away from Urban Fantasy a bit. I thought you’d be setting up a sequel to Markus, since the book ended as it did. What about this story attracted you?

Different than my debut novel, Markus, which is an Urban Fantasy, Kate’s Lake is a horror novel written in first person which allowed me to create Mick in my own image. The story is based loosely on one of my oldest friendships from the Marine Corps and was sparked one morning when I thought, what if I suddenly received a phone call that JT had died. Would I go to his funeral? And what if I decided to go and then learned that something strange was happening there. What if he wasn’t really dead? And the story began to unfold from there. I actually wrote the opening chapter several years before adding the story after it. 

The “what if” game has sent a lot of us in weird directions. It’s where Johnny Lycan came from after 3 historical novels. Who do you read?

My literary hero is Stephen King. I became hooked on books after reading Cujo when I was thirteen and from then on, I couldn’t get enough of Stephen King. I wanted to be just like him! But since then, I’ve grown more diverse and discovered a huge world of wonderful writers. Over the past year, I’ve really enjoyed Paul Tremblay, Alma Katsu, Brian Keene, Delia Owens, Pierce Brown, and Erik Larson (I love reading history). 

Besides ordering your books directly from Black Rose, where can people find your work and more about you?

Yes, I’m still learning to navigate this cyber-world, but I’m trying to establish multiple ways people can connect with me. Folks can find me at:

www.davidodle.com

Facebook – David Odle (@DavidOdleBooks)

Twitter – (@d.leroy1970)

Instagram – David Odle (@Odle.author)

Linkedin – David Odle

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.

A New Short Story: The Cutman and Why I Write About Boxing So Much

Today a new short story of mine was published at Storgy.com. The Cutman is the tale of a guy whose job is to put people together so they can be torn apart properly.

Yes, it’s another boxing story. It’s the third I’ve had published, after Bayamon, 1978 and The Towel. Fourth, if you include Los Angeles, 1952, a 2-part story about a date that takes place at a boxing match. What’s up with all the boxing love?

On one level, it’s simple: I love the sport. My grandfather was a silver medalist in the Canadian Golden Gloves, and fought half a dozen pro fights. My dad and I used to watch together, and he taught me to appreciate the lighter weight classes, as you’d expect from a guy who never really got past bantamweight himself.

A friend of mine once asked, “why do you like boxing so much? Your stories make it sound like it’s all blood and racism and toxic masculinity.” To which the correct answer is; “what’s your point?” If you’re looking for drama and high stakes, it’s a perfect crucible.

Me with former Super Featherweight champ Cornelius Boza Edwards

But there’s a more”writerly” answer. Each of my short stories is a writing exercise of a kind. Can I capture this moment, or this kind of action, or compress this scene into a specific period of time? Boxing is perfect for these little word experiments. Each round is exactly 3 minutes. You can compress a lot of action into that time period. There are a finite number of characters, which for short stories is great.

You’ll find choreographing the fight scenes has benefitted both Acre’s Orphans, and my upcoming novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. Practice makes…. well, better.

I hope you enjoy The Cutman. I am proud of it. Of course, you can find my other short stories here on my site, if you haven’t discovered them already.

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.

Johnny Lycan is Available for Pre-Order

‘Utterly original, beguiling in every sense of the word and as funny as hell – Turmel’s wit and visionary prowess is a force to be reckoned with; not since American Werewolf In London has the werewolf genre had it so good!’

Ross Jeffery – author of Juniper & Tethered

I’m very pleased that my new novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, is now available for pre-order through my publisher, Black Rose Writing.

It starts like nothing you’ve ever read from me, and I’m betting you’ll enjoy it:

“The Russian tasted like borscht and cheap cigarettes. Well, his blood did. It’s not like I actually ate him—I wasn’t that far gone. But with that much blood flying around, some of it got into my mouth, and as nasty as it tasted, I licked my lips and felt it fuel my anger.”

Official publication date is November 19, but you can order your paperback copy 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.

Cover Reveal: Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk

While there are far more consequential things going on in the world, I have news: Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk has a cover. If you WERE to judge the book by the cover, you might think this book is pretty cool.

Johnny Lupul is riding high. He’s got a PI license, a concealed carry permit, his first big payday and a monster of a secret. After rescuing a bookie’s daughter from Russian mobsters, the newly-minted PI catches the attention of a rich, mysterious client.

At first, it’s easy money. After all, magic isn’t real and those “occult” objects have to be fakes. But while chasing an Egyptian relic, an obsessed enemy from his past emerges. Johnny learns that the world is much stranger—and more dangerous—than he ever suspected.

Being a werewolf may be the most normal thing he has to face on this case.

This baby is out November 19 from Black Rose Writing, preorders available soon.

Cyberpunk & Behind Blue Eyes: Anna Mocikat

When I signed with my publisher, Black Rose Writing, I began reading some of my fellow BRW authors. One of my favorites is Anna Mocikat who has a backstory nearly as interesting as her books. I first read Shadow City (the sequel is out in the fall) and in going down THAT rabbit trail I realized her first five novels were written in German. Well, that sounds like someone I needed to talk to…

Give us the Anna Mocikat story.

I’m an author of Sci-fi, Dystopia, and Cyberpunk novels, with my latest book Behind Blue Eyes, just released this month. Before I started writing and publishing books, I used to work in the film industry for many years. I learned my craft as a writer at Film School Munich, where I studied screenwriting.

Behind Blue Eyes is my sixth published novel and my second in English. Before moving to the US in 2016, I published several books in Germany.

When not writing or reading, I love playing video games in my spare time. It’s a great source of inspiration for me. I’m a proud dog-mom of three rescues who keep me company when I’m writing.

I also produce cinematic book trailers for fellow Indie authors. Check out my Youtube channel to see my work!

I’ve read Shadow City, and look forward to the sequel, Dark City. Meanwhile, you’ve got a new book out. (Wayne’s note: dang, I thought I was cranking them out!) What’s Behind Blue Eyes about?

It’s a Cyberpunk Noir story. In a not so distant future, society has gotten rid of everything that made human life miserable in earlier times and has become a utopia. It is so perfect that it needs killer cyborgs to hunt down everyone who disagrees with it.

What is it about the story that compelled you to publish when you’re already in the middle of another series?

The roots of the story is the idea of three mega-corporations ruling the world, who are in constant war with each other. All factions have developed super-advanced cyborgs as the ultimate weapon, which they send out to fight each other.

One of my all-time favorite movies is Ghost in Shell and I took much inspiration from it for my story. But I’m also a big fan of Blade Runner and 1984.

So it’s ripped from the headlines, huh? Who did you read that corrupted you and got you writing?

I’m a big fan of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, who are the fathers of the dystopian genre. I also enjoy books by Isaac Asimov, Phillip K. Dick, and Stanislaw Lem very much. Lately, I have been mostly reading Indie authors. There are so many hidden gems out there if one steps away from the mainstream bestsellers and is willing to explore.

Where can we learn more about your work and see what you’re up to?

www.annamocikat.com

My Youtube Channel

www.facebook.com/amocikat

Twitter

www.instagram.com/annamocikat

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8072081.Anna_Mocikat

And Anna’s Amazon page

Sign up for my newsletter using the form on the left hand side of the page and get secret free stuff plus the first look at my upcoming book Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk. Of course, you can find all my novels on my Amazon author page.