I can’t even remember how long ago I wrote “Stuffed Pikachus.” It was a writing experiment to see about creating a traveling carnival world that may or may not be a setting for a future longer work. I like it, even though it defies categorization. Maybe that’s why it took so long to place.
This is a lovely way to start 2023. 2022 was a mix of highs and lows both personally and for my writing. Yes, I managed to take The Duchess to Paris and London, which was quite literally the last major thing on my bucket list. It was also kind of a crap year financially, for the dreaded day job, but sales is cyclical and the training business is as well. That also explains that I am behind on Johnny Lycan 3 but hard at work, and it will be worth it, as Cthulu is my witness.
There were lovely visits with old friends, balanced out by Covid and a lovely case of shingles on my face (fortunately, my least valuable body part.)
Writing-wise, 2022 saw the launch of Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, from Black Rose Writing. It’s off to kind of a slow sales start but people seem to really like it. (Reviews, people. If you’ve read it and liked it please share!) It’s also wound up on a couple of best-indie book review lists, and I’m deeply grateful.
I also had two short pieces published (if you don’t include Stuffed Pikachus which technically came out in 2023). A flat-out horror piece called The Voyeur appeared in the aptly named Horror Sleaze Trash mag, and my very personal flash piece, A Simple Purse, not only appeared in 300 Days of Sun, from the folks at Nevada State College, but it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, for which I am proud and grateful.
Thank you for joining me on my writing journey so far, here’s to more good stuff in 2023 and I wish you success and happy reading.
Recently, as part of a price promotion, I came across a few fantasy authors I really enjoyed. One is LS O’dea and her Lake of Sins series. It’s a unique combination of the races in the Time Machine meets Doctor Moreau. Figured you might enjoy meeting her…
Okay, lady. Tell us about you.
Hmm. I hate this question because I’m not very exciting – on the outside. Inside my head is where the excitement happens.
Internal conversations are a constant for me. They aren’t always stories but there’s always talking going on in my head. When I started writing, almost everything was dialogue. I had to go back and add description and scenery. I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but those parts of the stories don’t come easily for me. Dialogue, on the other hand, just flows.
Because of these conversations, I was an odd-ish child. Even my mom said so. ? Like most people, I didn’t realize I was odd because I am who I am. It’s normal to me. When my mother mentioned that I was a bit different as a kid (I was an adult when she said this), I was surprised, but I believe her. She had seven kids, so she knows what “normal” children do, and that wasn’t me.
Unlike my annoying (my words not my mom’s) siblings, I entertained myself. I’d sit for hours and play, talking to myself. What she didn’t know was that I was actually talking to the characters in my head. I never realized that everyone doesn’t do this until she mentioned that. I’d be so lonely without those voices.
So…besides for being an odd child, I was also a tormented child. Growing up the youngest of seven in a time before 24/7 TV, computers, the Internet and video games, kids had to be more creative in their entertainment. Unfortunately for me, that meant teasing and tormenting me. In some ways I can’t blame my siblings. One of them was always stuck with me tagging along. I’m four and a half years younger than my closest sibling. That means nothing as adults, but as kids…that’s a lot of years.
The easiest way for them to not have to watch me was to get me to go home on my own. That always meant teasing me until I cried and ran home.
One would think that they would’ve gotten into trouble for this, but this was also before there were pre-made meals, fast food five minutes away, and dishwashers. My mom was busy. Really, really busy. Unless we had a broken bone or we were bleeding profusely she didn’t deal with our tears. Plus, if she’d punished my siblings for making me cry, she would’ve had to make them come home and then she would’ve had more kids under her feet and in her way.
Instead, when I came home crying my mother would make me take a bath and then I was in for the evening. The good thing was that when my siblings did come home, they still had to take a bath (we didn’t have a shower) and they always missed some of whatever TV show we were watching before bed. It wasn’t much, but I relished that small vengeance.
The other good and bad things were that I learned to deal with their teasing because I didn’t want to go home and take a bath. That was good because I was well prepared for life. The bad thing was that they had to escalate the torment in order to get the result that they wanted. It was kind of a vicious cycle.
With all that being said, I get along very well with all of my siblings. We are a close family. Was I teased and tormented? Yes, but they also played with me, and I knew that they always had my back against anyone outside of the family. Inside of the family it was every kid for themselves. Lol.
What is your series about?
I’ll tell you about Escape, which is the first book in the Lake of Sins series.
This book takes place on the earth of the future, but instead of a story filled with new technology, this world is more forest than city. It starts hundreds of years after the Great Death ravaged the world, killing most humans, all domestic animals, and most other animals. The humans who survived had to rebuild and in doing that they changed – genetically.
As far as the characters know, the only descendants of the human race are the Almightys. The other classes are something else, but the characters don’t know what they are. Just like a dog doesn’t know it’s a dog; it just is who and what it is.
The first book gives a very narrow view of the world of the Lake of Sins because the story is told from the point of view of two Producers. The rest of the books build on that world view with new POV characters.
The two POV characters in Escape are in the class of beings that produce all the food for the other classes. Every year after harvest, the teenage Producers are either chosen to stay and assigned a mate or removed from the encampment. Trinity knows she’s not going to be picked to stay because she’s not a good specimen. She’s not even all Producer. Her father is a House Servant, but that secret will get them all killed.
Trinity escapes into the forest one last time, hoping to find her friend who was taken last year. She has a good idea of where her friend might be, but she doesn’t plan on being chased and hunted by Guards and predators that shouldn’t even exist. When she’s surrounded by a River-Man in the water, a team of Guards in one area of the forest and an unknown predator in the other direction, she must choose which enemy she thinks she may be able to escape.
Where did this come from? What are the roots of your story?
The roots of my stories vary. I’m not one of those writers who has trouble coming up with ideas. I am flooded with ideas from things I see, articles I read and many other things that happen in my daily life.
The roots of the Lake of Sins series goes back a long, long time to the movie Soylent Green. I saw the movie when I was a kid. I don’t remember much about it except the horror of the main character finding out what Soylent Green was.
Add to that, my personal decision to become vegetarian and you have the beginning of the main theme in the Lake of Sins series. I began to ponder what us humans would do if some catastrophic event killed all domestic animals and all other larger animals.
I’m also fascinated and a bit horrified with our tinkering with genetics. These things were tossed together in my cauldron of a brain and the Lake of Sins series was born.
The Chimera Chronicles series is a spinoff of the Lake of Sins series. There was a lot of interest by readers in the Rive-Man character in the first book of the Lake of Sins series, so I decided to tell his story. Rise of the River Man is Mutter’s story of how he is genetically modified and turned into a River-Man.
Once that book was written, I realized that I had to tell the stories of the other “monsters” that appear in the Lake of Sins series.
I’m not positive how the Immortal Defiance series came about. It probably stems from my love of Greek mythology. One of my favorite things to read as a kid were the various stories of the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology. I started to wonder how they felt about going from being revered and worshiped to being nothing more than a myth. These thoughts rolled into A Demon’s Gift.
Iatee is a Punishment Spirit who refuses to conform with the times. He has no interest in becoming a kinder, gentler spirit, and he is punished for his disobedience to the gods. When the story starts his spirit is trapped inside a stuffed teddy bear.
Where can people learn more about you and your books?
I’ve created a series page that will give you an idea about the books in that series. The Chimera Chronicles and the Immortal Defiance series are standalone. The Lake of Sins series needs to be read in order.
At long last, Book 2 of the Werewolf PI series, Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, is available. If you’ve preordered, blessings upon you and you should get it soon. If you haven’t, you can buy it at BlackRoseWriting (my publisher) The ebook is available at Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited,and the paperback can be ordered pretty much anywhere you buy books.
What are people saying about it?
“I loved this book. A rollicking, clever ride with a story so good you forget it’s a genre novel. If Jack Reacher was a werewolf, he’d be Johnny Lycan.” -John Wing, Jr., comedian and author of A Car to Die For
“Witches, a Werewolf, and a Berserker. Only in Vegas, Baby! Johnny, Shaggy, and the gang are back in this page-turning, magic-infused thriller of epic proportions. Beware: Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker will cast a spell on you!” -Jean M. Roberts, author of The Heron and The Frowning Madonna
“As usual, Wayne’s fast-paced writing style draws you in immediately. Johnny Lupul is in fine form once again as he tries to keep some of Shaggy’s darker instincts in check and help those who can’t help themselves. If you’re hankering for a hairy good time, pick this novel up now!” -Katie Berry, author of the Claw and Abandoned series
If you’re reading this, you’re probably securely in my orbit, and I”m grateful for it. In exactly 8 days, my fifth novel, Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker enters the world. Here’s how you can help, if you’d be so kind:
If you’ve already ordered the book from my publisher, blessings upon you. If you’ve ordered it from Amazon, or plan to, I’m going to make a big ask. Here’s how you can help me:
If you haven’t yet ordered the book: If you have kindle Unlimited, you can download the e-book for free. If you’ve already ordered the book, thanks. PLEASE leave a review as a verified purchaser.
If you’ve ordered the book from somewhere else, like from Black Rose Publishing or from me personally, you can still review on Amazon if you state where you got the book from.
Wherever you purchase the book, you can review and rate the book on Goodreads Early reviews are accepted there. Then there’s Facebook groups, TikTok or wherever you communicate with your friends.
Finally, if you can share on your tweetfacelinkbloggram pages and social media and tell your friends. I’d love to make this the biggest launch yet ( a low bar, to be honest) and you play an important part in that.
If I haven’t said it before, I appreciate each and every one of you. I hope my stories are worth your precious time. Here we go…
One thing I have learned about the Urban Fantasy genre is that it is incredibly generous. There are a number of folks I’ve crossed paths with and they all seem to support each other (or at least aren’t intentionally vicious.) One such person is C L (Courtney) Cannon.
Hello, I’m C.L. Cannon, aka Courtney Cannon. I am an author, publisher, editor, formatter, graphic designer, and lots of other occupations with the -er sound at the end of it. I’m basically a huge dork that enjoys reading and fandom. I’m a meme hoarder, and I communicate best via GIF! I write Fantasy and Science Fiction, and I really enjoy adding themes of love and friendship to those genres.
Once Upon a Wicked Heart sounds like a blast. What’s the theme of the book and what can we expect?
Our anthology is all about the villains! The collection includes dark fantasy retellings and origin stories of villains from fairy tales and myths. There are some truly gifted authors in this book, and I feel privileged to be able to publish them!
Here are some short descriptions of each story: ‣ a Faerie queen with a score to settle ‣ a jilted goddess who starts a bloody war ‣ a heart of ice that will either thaw or shatter ‣ a cursed maiden who finds worth in her affliction ‣ a serial killer who might have just met her match ‣ a nymph who seems to have found true love at last ‣ a mechanical heart that could be a young woman’s undoing ‣ a sister who seeks vengeance against those who wronged her ‣ a betrayed witch who vows retribution for the slights against her ‣ a mistreated queen will take her rightful place, no matter the cost ‣ a sea witch who learns that love cannot be so easily manipulated ‣ a god who takes back what was stolen from him in a gruesome fashion
What is it about villains and fairy tales that intrigues you so much?
I’ve always been a huge fan of fractured fairy tales, particularly tales told from the antagonist’s point of view. I love exploring the why of every character I write. What made them the way they are? What events molded this being into its current form? That is fascinating to me. Probably also the reason that one of my guilty pleasures is watching trashy reality tv! I love analyzing what makes people tick!
Who do you read?
I am a bit of an eclectic reader, so keep that in mind! I love J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, Sabaa Tahir, Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Casey L. Bond, James Lovegrove, Neal Shusterman, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, and so many more!
If people are interested in learning more about you and all the cool stuff you have going on, where can they find you?
Indie writers are a tough breed, and the best and smartest know how to help each other. That’s how groups like #goindienow come together: authors banding together so they don’t all starve separately. Lately, I’ve been asked to play in the sandbox (you can watch the interview here.) with some of them like Madilynn Dale and today’s guest, Bob McGough.
Bob is the author of the Jubal County urban fantasy saga that stars a meth-addicted redneck wizard. Makes me wonder if Howard Marsh and Johnny would get along or just try to kill each other… but I digress. Here’s my conversation with Bob McGough.
Bob, here we go. Tell us about yourself.
I’m Bob McGough, an author born in the backwoods of Alabama. I trekked out from the wilds to get a couple of perfectly useless degrees, then decided to become a writer, because I must enjoy poverty. I’ve lived a pretty wild and varied life, but balance that by being a boring technical writer by day. I do a lot of other projects beyond writing however, from podcasting and indie ttrpg game design to short filmmaking and running an arts supporting non-profit, because I like to compensate for my lack of money with lack of sleep!
What should new readers know about your work, man?
My main series is the Jubal County Saga, which is about a redneck wizard with a crippling meth addiction solving backwoods occult mysteries. The main character, Howard Marsh, is this thoroughly inept wizard who does everything he can to avoid honest work, instead opting to support his lifestyle by water witching and stealing copper from air conditioners. But along the way, you start to get hints that under his prickly, thieving exterior is the core of a good man who’s simply forgotten that fact. Each book is actually made up of two self-contained novellas, each tackling a different bizarre mystery, though the scale tends to be fairly small. Marsh is not the man you call in when lives are on the line, or the world needs saving.
Where the great oogly-woogly did the idea come from?
The genesis of Howard Marsh and the world of Jubal County is heavily based on the people and places I grew up around. The deep south has this stereotype of genteel life I think, but for those of us who live here, we know that there is a lot of dirt under the fingernails, and a lot of abject weirdness if you know where to look. I like to play with expectations where I can, showing that the south isn’t this monolithic culture of evangelical white conservatives by any stretch. There are people here from all walks of life and political leanings, and I want to showcase that. My focus though tends to be on the forgotten people, the outsiders living on the edges of society, for whatever reason.
As for the magic, it’s a mix of folk legends, spell jar hoodoo, and a lot of mythology, usually celtic. I based Jubal County on an area that has a large scots-irish immigrant heritage, and I play with the idea that the ancestral memories sort of inform the mystical, hidden world that Marsh finds himself having to handle. One of my degrees is in Anthropology, and that has informed a lot of my interests over the years. In college I used to take people on what were essentially ghost tours (even though I wouldn’t consider myself a believer), and on one of those treks I stumbled on a spell jar in a graveyard. Finding it, which spurred a lot of research on my part, was really the first step on what would eventually become the magic of Jubal County.
Who did this to you? Who do you read that influences your work?
My favorite author is Glen Cook, especially his Black Company series, which to this day is still my favorite fantasy series. In the Urban Fantasy space I enjoy a good number of my indie/small press peers, like Ben Meeks, Alexander Nader, VK Fox, John Hartness, and Bobby Nash. I also read a ton of horror, with Paul Tremblay and Adam Neville being some of my more recent favorites. I think Frank Herbert’s Dune is the best sci-fi novel ever written. A couple of small presses everyone should check out are Crone Girls Press and Falstaff Books.
Where can people learn more about your books, games and all the wonder that is you?
The one-stop shop for all things Bob related is my website: talesbybob.com. On Goodreads and Amazon, a search of Bob McGough will guide you to me and my works. And finally, I am on all the major social media platforms and Patreon as talesbybob. I love to hear from folks, especially other authors, or people working to become one, so feel free to reach out on the contact form on my site.
There are parts of social media I enjoy. Finding out what my writer friends are up to, meeting readers, learning stuff. It also sucks out part of my soul every time I tweetfacelinkblog something in hopes of getting attention for my work. I have basically kept it to Twitter and Facebook, and my work-related stuff like The Long-Distance Leader stays on LinkedIn.
All of this is to say that with the future of Twitter as a platform so uncertain, I need something else. Thus, I am now on Instagram.
If you’re there, I hope you’ll follow me and teach me by example, because I. Have.No. Idea. How. To. Use. It. or how to make it work as an author.
So, go ahead and follow me here https://www.instagram.com/turmel.wayne/ interact, comment, share and give me suggestions on what you’d like to see. I don’t want it to be a constant barrage of “buy my book,” but I’m there so someone will, you know, buy my book.
This is the worst humble brag ever but I can’t tell you how many books I’ve written or contributed to. If you just count books with my name on the cover as author or co-author it’s 14 (you can check my Amazon Author Page for yourself.) But I’ve also contributed to a bunch more, both fiction and nonfiction. The point is, that moment when the box or envelope arrives and the first time you hold your baby in your hands… it never gets old.
That said, here’s the latest story filling the house with that new book smell. Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker is officially born on December 8, but I got some early copies for reviews and the like.
I love all my children equally, but this is some of the best work I’ve done and certainly has a couple of the best new characters. In particular, Lemuel Collins, the Las Vegas psychic pawn broker, and Cree Jensen, a badass witch who trains in MMA. Johnny is in all kinds of trouble. The kind you’ll love.
If you are a reviewer and want a copy, drop me a line. If you want to buy a signed copy, I can hook you up. If you want to wait til the due date, God love ya. I hope you enjoy Johnny’s latest adventure. I mean, how much trouble can a guy get into in Las Vegas, right?
One thing about being with a publisher like Black Rose Writing, rather than publishing myself, is that you become a community and get introduced to plenty of other writers. One such person is Oklahoma author Luke Swanson. I got a chance to read his new thriller, Epicenter, and thought it would be great for you all to meet him as well.
Luke, what’s your deal?
My name is Luke Swanson, and I’m a fledgling author from Oklahoma City. I currently have three books published—a mystery, an action thriller, and a tragi-comedy—with a fourth coming in July. If I had an agent, they would tell me, “Write a consistent genre, you dolt!” But I don’t, so I do what I want.
I feel you. Moving from historical fiction to urban fantasy was hardly a career move. What’s your latest novel, Epicenter, about?
Epicenter is a standalone sequel to my first book, The Ten, which is a murder mystery. Epicenter shifts into full-on action mode—I’ve had a reviewer describe it as a Die Hard movie, which is high praise (as long as they’re talking about 1, 3, or 4). On a hot day in Los Angeles, Detective Jason Flynn finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. He needs to keep a witness and a hostage safe as a brutal cartel is gunning for them all. And on top of that…the “Big One” hits. The worst earthquake in US history rocks the city, and Jason and his reluctant allies need to survive.
As someone whose life got upended by the Northridge quake, I thought that was a great twist, and you caught some of the chaos that would naturally follow while just trying to do your darned job. Where did the idea come from?
I love Jason Flynn, who I created as a lead in The Ten. I could have made a continuing crime series with Jason solving a murder every week, but I didn’t feel I would do very well in that space. Michael Connelly and others have already mastered that genre. Thus, I took Jason and tossed him into an action movie. Epicenter specifically came from a few daydreams. For one, I wanted to put Jason through the wringer. In this story, he has the worst day imaginable, and his character arc reflects that. Also, I was inspired by the breakneck pace of Mad Max: Fury Road, as odd as that might sound. There’s no stopping for a breath, there’s only survival. I loved that idea. Being from OKC, I also am constantly toying with the idea of a mystery set during a tornado…and since Jason lives in LA, I transposed that obstacle onto him, with an earthquake.
What inspired you to be a writer?
I’ve always been a huge reader, and the idea that someone somewhere someday might be inspired by a book I’ve written is what motivated me to put words onto a dauntingly blank page. I love stories, and I hope to share that love with my readers.
Who did you read as a kid that inspired (or corrupted) you?
As a young reader, my bread and butter was the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz…and as a modern reader too, since I still keep up with that series. I love Steven James’s thrillers too.
How can people contact you or learn more about your work?
You can follow or reach out to me on Instagram! I’m fairly reachable, and I’d love to chat with readers. You can also follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading and Letterboxd to see what I’m watching—after all, the media one consumes tells you a lot about them.
Speaking of Black Rose, the second in the Johnny Lycan series, Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, is coming out on December 8. If you want to be the first kid on the block to receive swag or news about the book, sign up for my newsletter by clicking the link on the side of the screen. Meanwhile, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk is available now in paperback or Kindle.