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!

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.

Sarah Tasz- You Think Dead Malls Are Creepy? You Don’t Even Know

I’ve said before that there is a surprising amount of writing talent here in Las Vegas. One of the more prolific and involved folks is Sara Tasz. We met through Sin City Writers, which is a growing and eclectic group. She heads up the efforts on the Tuesday night group (Check Meetup for details) and heads up the online critique group that’s gotten us through this time we can’t meet in person. I’m a Thursday person, so I don’t get to see her or read her stuff in utero as I’d like. But, she has a new installment in her Dead Mawl novellas, so this was a good time to introduce her to all of you. BTW You can pre-order it here.

Sarah, tell the nice people about yourself and what you do.

I wrote my first (what I would consider) “professional” piece when I was in the eleventh grade. It was a one-act comedy play for my community theatre group. When I saw people interacting with the story I’d written, both the actors putting their own spin on the words and the audience laughing and smiling as they watched, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to tell stories that people wanted to engage with and experience. I did a fair amount of scriptwriting through college and shortly after, both for stage and film, but fiction is the one place I can make anything happen regardless of time or budget—both of which are pretty big roadblocks when you’re writing in fantastical genres, like I tend to do. Maybe I’ll return to scriptwriting at some point, but I think that would only be for the fun and collaboration. But novels, novellas, etc give me the freedom to tell the stories I really want to tell.

Your new book is “The Mourning Sun.” What’s the deal there?

The Mourning Sun, will be the fourth book in the Dead Mawl novella series (technically, it’s the fifth, but only if you count the prequel/origin story released in the omnibus and just recently as a standalone). The series is about a group of blue-collar workers—custodians and security guards—who strive to vanquish the evil entities lurking in the partially-abandoned Edensgate Shopping Center. The town they live in was once a prosperous mining city, but it was wrecked by these entities. Our heroes managed to trap the creatures (somewhat) in Edensgate, but they still try to escape again pretty much nightly.

It’s an ensemble cast—it jumps around into a few different heads depending on the installment—but it mostly focuses teenager Cari Hembert who stumbles onto the secret in the first novella and who we follow continue to follow in some capacity throughout the series. The Mourning Sun picks up right where the third book left off, and without giving too much away, on the morning after a very intense night that culminated in Cari arriving home to see her mother being attacked by a monster.

I love that your heroes are janitors and regular Joes. I mostly deal with the same kind of folks. What is it that inspired you to write this?

The heroes in Dead Mawl don’t really have magic powers in the traditional sense—they are more like D&D fighter class heroes, if that means anything to you. They each have a weapon proficiency that gives them extra skills in combat (accuracy, strength, etc), and the longer they work at the mall they gain higher endurance, faster healing, and even the ability to go for a long time without sleep. The villains, on the other hand, have a lot of magical abilities–summoning monsters and creating illusions are the big two we have seen so far—so there’s an element of research and experience that affects our heroes’ chances of being successful too. I think I like that part the most. I really don’t favor stories that have a superpowered badass just show up and fix things immediately (or they could fix things if his/her personality didn’t get in the way somehow). I like uneven matchups where the good guys must rely partially on knowledge and grit to get through it. And these heroes get hurt, even with the healing—I think every installment has seen at least one injury to a major character—so the stakes are personal as well as metaphysical.

As far as roots—the quick answer is that back in 2014 I wrote a couple pieces of Army of Darkness fan fiction. They were just for fun, but I liked the characters I created so much I cut out all the borrowed IP, reconfigured the plot, changed the setting from an S-Mart in Michigan to a semi-abandoned mall in Nevada, and here we are.

The longer answer is that I worked several blue-collar jobs when I was in high school and into college, including cashier and custodian, and I’ve had it in my head to do a hero story about characters in those fields ever since. These jobs are physically demanding, they are often boring and repetitive, they are looked down on as unskilled, and yet without people in these roles we would be lost. With everything that has happened over the past few months I think people are starting to get it, which is nice. Hopefully, it translates into higher wages, but we will see.

I’m going to smile, nod, and pretend I know what a D &D Fighter Class whatever is, but I get it. And Fan Fiction has started the careers of a lot of writers. Who do you read that people should know about?

This is always a tough question for me because I’m pretty all over the place. As far as writers in and adjacent to my genre, I’m a big fan of Grady Hendrix, Drew Magary, Jim Butcher and Stephen King (of course). I also enjoy some of the more delicate contemporary fantasies that have come out in recent years, like The Night Circus, An Unkindness of Magicians, and The Rook. Currently, however, I’m reading through James Ellroy’s L.A. Quarter series—I just finished The Big Nowhere and will move on to L.A. Confidential next–and I’m loving pretty much every minute despite having no magic at all. There’s very little genre-wise that I won’t try, except for maybe straight-up romance—and even then I might roll the dice if the premise sounds interesting enough.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

ou can preorder The Mourning Sun on Amazon or buy my books on my website: www.sgtasz.com. That’s where I have my blog, which I try to keep up with once a week or so. I also have a Medium publication (https://medium.com/the-uglycat) where I exclusively feature pieces about Vegas/by Vegas writers.

And here is my social media:

Twitter: @ugylcat24

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sgtaszauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sgtasz/

Amazon Author Profile link: http://amzn.to/2EvT4oV

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18849380.S_G_Tasz

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.