What if God Dozed Off? Interview w Leslie Swartz

Good urban fantasy usually starts with a good, “what if?” For just one example, what if an average joe who wanted to be a detective happened to be a werewolf? That’s a pretty simple one. Other stories are more ambitious: what if all the evil characters–Lucifer, witches and demons had to band together to save the world? That’s the kind of thing that goes on in the head of Leslie Swartz, and her new Seventh Day series.

Leslie, who are you and what’s your deal?

I tell people I’m a poet-turned-novelist which sounds pretentious but I think it’s important if they want to get a sense of how I write. My style has been described as blunt, honest, and evocative. I don’t write beautiful prose for the most part. I don’t spend too much time describing things like what characters are wearing or what color walls are painted. I write to inspire emotion. I want the reader to feel something.

As for who I am outside of my work, I’m a 41-year-old woman in Indianapolis homeschooling three kids during a pandemic. I’m tired. I get maybe an hour or two of free time a day that I usually spend watching easy TV to calm my brain down. My favorite show right now is The Challenge. Team CT for life!

What’s the big idea behind the first book in your series, Seraphim?

The Seventh Day Series is seven books of rowdy angels, vampires, witches, and Lucifer fighting monsters and preventing one Apocalypse after another. Really, though, it’s a story of found-family, complex relationships, trauma, and redemption. It’s character-driven, dark, funny, and chock-full of twists.

That’s a lot going on. Where did the idea come from?

“Wyatt” came to me in a vision when I was sixteen. I can’t explain it so I won’t try but he was very clear to me; steely eyes, dark hair falling in his face, angry and depressed but like, resigned to it. I didn’t create him so much as I just kind of became aware of who he was. So, I spent years researching religious lore and different mythologies. I’d have an idea and start writing but inevitably, I’d throw it out. No story was ever good enough for the character. So, one day I was watching Guiding Light and this actor, Tom Pelphrey came on the screen and he looked exactly like the character in my head. It was uncanny. Obviously, I became a fan and watched other things he was in.

Over the years, his facial expressions and his very precise way of speaking became part of “Wyatt”. Years later, I was watching an episode of Iron Fist and Tom Pelphrey did this scene that broke me in half. I lost it. Complete meltdown, hysterically sobbing on my couch for forty-five minutes. When I got myself together, I had all this renewed gumption to get these books started. I had a ton of plot ideas but none of them made sense if “God” was who I said he was. So, I was going over everything with my husband and he looked at me with this how-have-you-not-thought-of-this-before face and said, “What if ‘God’ was asleep?” Mind. Blown. Everything else fell into place. It all worked. That day, I wrote character bios, a few scenes, and outlines for the first four books.

Inspiration is a funny thing, ain’t it? What do you read?

I love Shakespeare, Poe, and Dickens, as we all do, right? Anne Rice and Stephen King are, of course, huge inspirations for me. I remember being in the fourth grade and relating so hard to “Gordie” from The Body. I started writing stories when I was four, so that character was everything. My favorite newer authors are Evelyn Chartres and J. Edward Neill. I love anything creepy with lots of twists and they deliver in those departments in spades.

How do folks find you to learn more?

There’s my Facebook Page

Twitter

Instagram

And my Amazon Author Page

Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk is now available in paperback and Kindle, and available almost anywhere from #BlackRoseWriting. It’s an American Book Festival Finalist for Best Horror of 2020. “If Raymond Chandler wrote about werewolves.”

A Psychic Detective on a Mission- Chelsea Callahan

Mashing up mysteries with fantasy is a time-honored tradition. Patient Zero, of course is Harry Dresden, but also includes others like Nate Temple and (ahem) Johnny Lycan. A new addition to this crew is Alix Deveraux, the creation of this week’s interviewee, Chelsea Callahan.

Chelsea, what’s your story?

I am a hermit. I spend most of my time writing, because that is where I’m happiest. I’ve always loved stories, in any form I can find them. I’m that rare bird, who’s always watching something, or listening to something. Silence, even when I’m writing, just puts me to sleep, or if it’s late at night, silence just creeps me out. 

I didn’t start out writing stories. I’m an extremely visual person so when I learned in 5th grade that you could take beautiful words and create this thing called poetry with it, I started there. Poem after poem I wrote, and then as I got older, those poems became short stories. Things that felt so long at the time they had to be novels….little did I know I’d get to college and write papers twice as long. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school though, that I began writing a story with the intention of getting it published. I’d finally gotten to the point of wanting to write my own story. My head was so full of all the movies, and television I’d devoured, I had to make a story of my own. I had to play with characters swimming around inside my head. 

One problem. I’ve always struggled when it comes to writing. Looking at me now, you’d never guess I used to hate writing and hate reading. My dyslexia, made both of those things a major problem while I was growing up. I still have problems with them. It’s hard to feel confident about anything you produce when your brain tells you what you’re seeing is correct, and the person reading it sees something entirely different. I can edit a thousand times, read and reread every word on the page, and still miss the most obvious of errors. I’ve gotten better thanks to the support of my mother, and my friends. It is possible to get better, to improve, but I know I’ll struggle with it all my life. 

I just won’t let it stop me from telling the stories I know I was meant to tell. 

Good on you. So what’s the deal with Alix Deveraux?

My most recent release is called Wicked Raven. It’s the first book in my Alix Devereaux series. 

The main character Alix, has been away from home for three years. She’s been traveling the human world and the fae world desperately hunting for the thing that killed her fiancé and nearly burned her alive inside their New York City brownstone. But after three years she’s tired of the chase, and has decided to come home, and pay her respects to her fiancé on what would’ve been his thirtieth birthday. What she soon discovers through a dead body left for her on Rhys’s grave is that The Raven has returned and she might just be his next victim. 

It’s a thrilling ride full of emotional trauma, murder mystery, magic, romance, and general mayhem. Out of everything I’ve written it’s my favorite so far, but it’s also not my only Devereaux novel. The first book I published, Eyes of the Grave, is the first book in The Rebekah Devereaux series. Which centers around one of Alix’s many cousins. This one in particular living down in New Orleans. Rebekah is a P.I. with a unique talent. With one touch she can solve a murder or prevent one. The problem is that when she touches this latest body, her visions say she herself is the killer. Trying to figure out what exactly happened to the dead girl in the cemetery, Rebekah has to balance keeping her potential involvement a secret from the cops, and repairing the rocky relationship between her and her husband. I mean honestly though how do you tell the man you love, all you can think about when he touches you is killing him?

Then of course there are five short stories out that bridge the gaps between the novels and provide some fun side adventures to expand the world. 

What is it about the magic system or the story that inspired you?

I fell in love with Urban Fantasy when I heard someone describe it as magic in the real world. An idea that just fascinates me. On a deep level I’d love to discover that the world I see around me every day is hiding a much weirder magical world right beneath the surface. I mean who doesn’t reach for something across the room and just wish for a second that their magic powers would kick in and the object would just zoom right over into their hand?

After watching things like The Magicians, Harry Potter, and Buffy. Then reading books by Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs I found myself asking, what if all of that was possible? What if witches could be all of these things, do all these things? What if all the stories were true on some level? How do you control a world like that? Those questions proved to be extremely thought-provoking for me, and my books were born from the answers. 

The magic system that exists in the universe of the Devereaux witches is largely a person to person design. It all comes from inside the witch, and burns calories, because what better way is there to explain the thin beautiful people in the world that seem to be completely unreal when you look at them. But beyond that, each witch, or mage expresses their power in their own way. The weaker the witch is the more standard their power becomes, but for witches like my characters Alix and Rebekah things start to get a bit varied. 

For example: Rebekah’s powers manifest heavily in telekinesis, and through her touch. If you surprise her, and brush any bit of your skin against hers she’s overtaken by a vision of your death. Or at least how you will die based on the decisions you’ve made up to that exact point in time. Alix’s powers rely more heavily on spell work and sheer force of will. Then there’s a third cousin Shado that appears in Eyes of the Grave who’s power leans more heavily on healing energy, or healing auras. They’re all part of the same family, by blood, but each one has their own spin on their power. 

I love this type of magic, because it truly means you never know what to expect. Each person has their own identity, their own power. Which is also why the manifestation of that power comes with color, gestures, and words, or some combination of those things. People use spells in different languages. It’s all up to the user. Just as it’s up to each person in the real world how they handle themselves. Magic or not, we all have power, and we all use it a little differently than the person next to us. 

Who do you read, that people should know about?

Cassandra Thompson and Halo are two Indie authors I encountered through Twitter, who are not only wonderful writers, they’re also fantastic people. Julia Quinn I’ve gotten hooked on thanks to the new Netflix show Bridgeton. Jacka I discovered randomly on the shelf one day when Barnes & Noble didn’t have the Dresden Files book I needed, and I wasn’t able to put the series down until I ran out of new books. Sarah J. Maas is a true master at having her characters deal with emotional trauma. No matter how far from “Human” they are I’m always amazed at how real her creations feel. It’s inspiring. Holly Black is a fae queen in disguise I’m almost positive. Then of course, Anne Rice is a classic gothic horror, and supernatural powerhouse. How can you not love her work? Deborah Harkness and the All Souls Trilogy are brilliant. There’s so much history, and romance, and mysterious magical adventure. I can’t get enough. 

But it was Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs that really inspired me the most to get into writing Urban Fantasy books. Their work truly defines the genre. 

How can people find out more about you and your work?

Well, I am The Writing Druid on most social media platforms. You can find me in order of most active to least active on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tiktok, Facebook, and tumblr. 

You can also catch some reviews of my favorite tv shows or movies on my website, as well as any news about my upcoming books! That link is http://www.thewritingdruid.com 

All of my work is available through Amazon, but I’ve got some of the international links here as well. http://www.thewritingdruid.com/novels 

You can find the links to my short stories here. http://www.thewritingdruid.com/mybooks 

Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk is now available in paperback and Kindle, and available almost anywhere from #BlackRoseWriting. It’s an American Book Festival Finalist for Best Horror of 2020. “If Raymond Chandler wrote about werewolves.”

Paramedic to the Paranormal- Jamie Davis

One of the trends in Urban Fantasy that fascinates me (and makes me insanely jealous) is the number of authors cranking out series after series of fun reads. While they might not be great art, they’re fun. It’s kind of the Kindle version of the old pulp novels (and I mean that in the best way.) Ultimately, it’s what I envisioned for the Lucca stories and for Johnny Lycan, but you know… day job, life and stuff.

One such author is Jamie Davis, the author of 40 books including his new series, Extreme Medical Services. Imagine being an EMT and having to pick up an overdosing vampire and you get the idea.

Jamie, what’s your deal, man?

When I get the question “tell us a little about yourself” I’m usually stuck for an answer. I mean, there’s so much to tell. I’m a husband, father, grandfather, nurse, and retired paramedic who has been telling stories in one form or another my whole life. My wife puts it this way: “He embellishes every memory a little more each time. You never know which version you’ll get.”

I think it’s because I see so many possibilities in the world and people around me. “What if” is a way of life for me and that’s where many of my books begin. In fact, my first series, Extreme Medical Services, started in the back of the ambulance late one night when I dropped off a particularly hairy patient. I remarked to my partner, “What if that guy is really a werewolf? It is a full moon.” Thus was born my books about paramedics for supernatural creatures.

Now, I have more than forty books, most of which fall into the category of what I like to call Fun Fantasy Reads. All are family-friendly and suitable for young teens and up, even though they are written for adults. I have heard from several readers who enjoy my books because they can share them with their kids. It gives them something to talk about in a time when we’re always so distracted by our screens.

What’s Extreme Medical Services about?

Extreme Medical Services as I explained earlier is book 1 in a whole series about supernatural paramedics. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What happens if a vampire or a werewolf needs to call 911?” then these are the books for you.

Of course, now you’re curious, aren’t you? That’s okay. There are plenty of stories there to scratch that itch. With 8 books and a prequel in the series already, I’m also currently finishing up book 9. All the books are also available as excellent audiobooks. They’re narrated by the superbly talented Roberto Scarlato and he really brings the stories to life with his amazing voice.

What is it about this world that you enjoy so much?

Dean Flynn, the newbie paramedic in Extreme Medical Servcies is as green as they come. Don’t get me wrong. He’s highly trained, having graduated at the top of his paramedic academy class, he just didn’t exactly know what he’d signed up for when the chief told him he had a special assignment in mind.

He’s thrown into the deep end as he meets patient after patient on his first days on the job, uncovering a whole new world he never knew existed, right there under the surface in the city in which he grew up. Now he’s an ordinary guy, saving lives, and making some unusual friends along the way. That’s a good thing, because there’s something sinister lurking behind the scenes that could endanger the patients he’s sworn to protect.

If this was set in Chicago, it sounds like he might run into Johnny Lupul one night. That would be hilarious. Who did this to you? What do you read?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about authors who’ve influenced me. I could list off the big ones, Tolkien, Robert Jordan, or Heinlein. Yeah, I read them, but I think there are others who had a bigger impact on me in different ways. Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series was probably the first that set up a modern world with a hidden magical realm ordinary humans couldn’t see. The concept intrigued me then and still does today. I still reread those books from time to time. I highly recommend them. They’re not just for kids.

Another writer who impacted me was David Weber. His Honor Harrington Universe (and it is expansive) showed me how really strong characters could draw you into a story, making you care about them and everything they do. I’ve laughed aloud, cheered, and shed a few tears while reading his sci-fi epics.

I’ve read many others and they’ve all impacted my writing in one way or another. In the end, they’ve taught me to write stories about people you can care about, even amidst fantastical or futuristic situations. Who knows, I’ve always said we should all keep our eyes open because there’s magic all around us.

How can people keep up with you and your work?

The best ways to catch up with me and what I’m doing is first at my website, https://jamiedavisbooks.com, where you can get a free book, sign up for my active and fun fantasy newsletter.

Second, you can join the fun in Jamie Davis’ Fun Fantasy Readers group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/funfantasyreaders/). We don’t just talk about my books. It’s a place to talk about great fantasy (and sci-fi) stories on TV, in movies, and other great authors out there. I’m in there all the time and love chatting with everyone.

You can find the entire Extreme Medical Services series here: https://jamiedavisbooks.com/buy-extreme-medical-services-books/

And I’m also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/podmedic

Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk is now available in paperback and Kindle, and available almost anywhere from #BlackRoseWriting. It’s an American Book Festival Finalist for Best Horror of 2020. “If Raymond Chandler wrote about werewolves.”

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.

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.

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!

Fantasy and SciFi from Bangladesh- Saad Hossain

I love my Kindle. It allows me to consume books like jelly beans; the price is low and if I don’t enjoy it there’s another book waiting. An advantage of this is to try Urban Fantasy from unlikely sources. On the more well-known side, there’s Nigerian author Suyi Davies Okungbowa’s David Mogo, God Killer. It was great fun, but he’s been getting a lot of love in the press. One of the more pleasant surprises was an author from Bangladesh (and if you didn’t know they had sci-fi fans in Bangladesh you’re a stupid Westerner like me.)

Saad Hossain lives in Dhaka, and writes in English. His novel, The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, leans on South Asian fantasy- Djinn (Genies to most of us) and Gurkhas (the fierce soldiers made famous during the British Colonial times) and yet has great science fiction elements. Killer AI, the city of Kathmandu, Nepal, is one of the last bastions of civilization after a worldwide disaster… there’s a lot going on. It was crazy, inspired, and completely unexpected. I needed to ask him a few questions…

Please introduce yourself to the readers, Saad.

I think I’m pretty much an accidental writer. I live in Bangladesh, I write in English, there’s a very small readership at home, and when I started out, no publishers who wanted English fiction. The odds of anyone outside Bangladesh wanting genre fiction from me was slim to none, so it really took a series of lucky breaks and accidents to even get published. I feel like I get to write with a lot of freedom because I have no target markets to deal with or any expectations. For example, my first novel was about two Iraqi black marketeers in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam, and my next one was about Djinns in modern-day Dhaka. Gurkha of course, is about djinns in the future. Other than writing I have a full-time job. I inherited a factory from my dad, so I basically manufacture yarn and export it to various places around the world. It’s not as fun as writing but it definitely pays the bills. 

I was taken by surprise by the book. You can probably describe what it’s about better than I can…

This story is about a djinn who wakes up and finds the world wholly different to how he left it. In a way, its like leaping from a fantasy setting to a science fiction one. I enjoyed writing this one. The djinn is bombastic, he talks a great game and he is in fact very powerful but he’s actually not ambitious at all and if left alone he would be quite satisfied eating, drinking and carousing somewhere. 

It’s the humans around him who goad him into action, forcing him to escalate the situation until he ends up changing the very nature of the City he’s trying to rule. This is part of the djinn universe I’m working on, so some of the characters are recurring from my earlier novel Djinn City, as well as the sequel to it which I am currently working on. 

What is it about that magic or the story that drew you to it?

I always start with a character first. I have no idea what kind of story it will turn out to be, I never outline, and I very consciously avoid thinking about the ending because I find that plotting out everything kills my motivation to actually write the damn thing. So for me, the first step is always the main character and the story sort of accretes around them. The Djinn’s nature, his predicament, his dire threats against everyone he comes across, his bewilderment that force alone is not enough to dominate his environment–all these things were interesting to me, and everything else just kind of fell into place. For example, it was natural for him to meet a Gurkha as he was coming down the mountain, but other than general background information on the legendary soldiers, I did not really have a role for in mind. It kind of developed organically, that the main story hinged on this old retired Gurkha eventually, that the human element of the story is what forced the djinn into taking part in life. 

Growing up in another part of the world, who are the authors that inspire you?

Neal Stephenson, the Baroque Cycle, as well as Snow Crash, pretty much everything he wrote.

William Gibson: I love the older stuff, Pattern Recognition is my favorite, but again, I’ll read anything by him.

Terry Prattchett: Love the guard sequence, but all of discworld is amazing. If i had to live in a fantasy world I’d take discworld.

Iain Banks: Culture series. Love the utopian thing, and the ship names.

I love rereading the Count of Monte Cristo every few years, and also Jane Austen. My favorite is Persuasion, but normally I’ll read Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion in a row. 

Where can we find you?

The easiest way is on Goodreads

And my Amazon Author Page

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 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.