#TBT Character Interviews

I was skipping through the archives of my computer the other day and I ran across one of the more amusing moments from my promotional history. This tidbit was originally given to my friend Amy Ravenel for promotion of the first story in the Soul Collectors series, Devil’s Daughter. She sent me the first character interview I ever did, and reading it made me smile. I’m sharing it here for fun (and totally blaming Amy). Enjoy…and while you’re at it, go buy a copy of Devil’s Daughter. It’s a great story at a great price.



Character Interview: Lydia St. Clair

A: Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Lydia St. Clair and I’m a bounty hunter for the Devil. I know that sounds a little cliché, but it’s true. When I was eighteen, I made a pretty sloppy deal with him because I did something stupid. A few years later he came back and I ended up selling my soul to him to make that first deal right.  Think of me as a sort of rogue from Dungeons and Dragons. I can sneak up on people, pick locks, steal things… oh, and my car never runs out of gas. How’s that for awesome?

A: What’s the strangest bounty you’ve ever collected?

Tough question. My first was a Nephilim, which in retrospect was probably the tamest thing I’ve encountered.  Since then there have been some real doozies… vampires, werewolves, a warlock… but the strangest one was probably the necromancer that carried Medusa’s left eye in a jar on a chain around his neck. Lucky for me I didn’t get turned to stone.  The eye is in a mirrored bottle on a shelf in my house. It still freaks me out.

A: What kind of man is the Devil?

He’s the Devil. That’s really the best explanation. Most people think He’s evil but really… well, yeah, He’s evil. But it’s not all hellfire and brimstone like some would have you believe. He’s a smart ass mostly, and He has an agenda. Like with the Nephilim I went after – His methods are pretty underhanded but it probably was for the best that He had me catch the guy. After all, the spawn of a fallen angel with the powers of absolution could cause huge problems in all sorts of areas. Sometimes His actions are for the greater good, but He would never, ever admit it.

A: How do you like to relax and unwind after a tough night?

Relax? Unwind? What are these things you speak of?

Seriously, though, when I finally get free time, I like to spend it with my Dad. Every now and again we get to go fishing – I don’t really like to fish, but I like being out on the lake, and I like being with him. If I don’t have time to blow like that, I’m always good with sitting down on my couch in front of the TV with a bottle of wine and a bag of chips.

A: Now for the fun questions: What is your favorite word?

“No.” I love that word, and there are times when I really wish I could use it more often.

A: What is your favorite color?

Peacock Blue. It makes me happy.

A: Books or movies?

I wasn’t much the reading type when I was a teenager – I was more the get drunk and get laid type. Didn’t remember many movies either because I was usually high as a kite. My favorite movie to sit and watch now is Labyrinth. It’s one of the few things I have from my childhood and it still makes me smile. I still don’t get to read much, but I do have a copy of Gone With the Wind next to my bed.

A: Favorite animal?

I used to love Unicorns until the necromancer sent one after me… now it would probably have to be my cat, Charon. Except when he wakes me up at 3am for food.

A: Why should my readers pick up your story?

Because I’m awesome? Isn’t that reason enough?  No? Oh, all right… people really should read this story because it’s intensely personal. There’s tragedy and triumph, and even some humor in the darkness.  It’s also the beginning of my adventures and it tells a little bit about how I got to be who I am today.

A: Where can they find this book?

Devil’s Daughter is available for $.99 from Amazon right now!


So This Happened…

Armageddon Rising - Cover

I wrote this book. and Seventh Star Press released it. And the world is right.
And because it’s awesome, everyone should go out and buy a copy right now. Seriously.


At eighteen years old, Lydia St. Clair made a deal with the devil. Three years later, she made a second deal to save her father’s life. Now a bounty hunter by trade, she uses her skills to locate missing monsters and find any object Lucifer desires.

When she wakes from a memory-based nightmare, she follows the smell of brimstone to her kitchen where she discovers a single clue regarding her next job: a half-burned slip of parchment with the word “Armageddon” scrawled upon it. Lucifer can tell her little about the job except how the Scroll of Damnation, a holy relic prophesized to bring about the end of the world in the Book of Revelation, has been stolen from its home in Odin’s vault in Asgard. Gaea’s Council, unsure of the thief’s identity or location, prepares for war, and the fate of the outside world hangs in the balance.

With a hobgoblin named Nix as a sidekick, a series of gifts from the Council, and her own street smarts, Lydia embarks on an impossible quest and a race against time. If she succeeds in finding the scroll and returning it to the council before all seven seals can be broken, she saves the world. If not…

Armageddon Rising is Book One of The Soul Collectors Series.


Amazon (Kindle & Paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Kindle & Paperback) | Kobo

TCM Presents: Shadows Over Somerset by Bob Freeman

Good mornin’ Creeps… time for another round of 20 Questions, courtesy of the good folks at Seventh Star Press. Today’s victim is the ultra-talented Bob Freeman, here to talk about himself and his new book, Shadows Over Somerset. This book is gorgeous, kids. Start to finish, it’s one of the prettiest books I’ve ever held. Haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but it promises to make me very happy.

But enough about me… come on in and let’s see what Mr. Freeman has to say…


About Shadows Over Somerset

ShadowsOverSomersetCoverMichael Somers is brought to Cairnwood, an isolated manor in rural Indiana, to sit at the deathbed of a grandfather he never knew existed. He soon finds himself drawn into a strange and esoteric world filled with werewolves, vampires, witches… and a family curse that dates back to fourteenth century Scotland.

In the sleepy little town of Somerset, an ancient evil awakens, hungering for blood and vengeance… and if Michael is to survive he must face his inner demons and embrace his family’s dark past.

Shadows Over Somerset is the first Cairnwood Manor Novel.

Buy It:
Kindle | Print



20 Questions with Bob Freeman

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

Or, I’m a husband and father by day, and an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer by night. I live on the outskirts of a tiny little rural town in northern Indiana, roughly two miles from the farm where I was born and raised.

I studied anthropology in college, with a focus on witchcraft, magic, and religion, and have been something of an amateur occult detective since 1983.

 How long have you been writing?

43 years, give or take, if you count me writing short stories as a weeling by cribbing from Mighty Thor comics. If we’re being more honest and using first publication as the high-water mark, then a little more than ten years.

What is a typical day in your life like?

I work seven days a week, either in office or on call, as the manager of the tech support office of a small ISP. That equates to roughly 96 hours a week. My typical day is me trying to talk your grandma off the roof of her house because she either hasn’t received the latest church newsletter in her inbox or Farmville has locked up her computer and she desperately needs to water her strawberries.

In between that, wrestling with my 10 year old son, and gazing lovingly into my wife’s pretty blue eyes, I manage to squeeze out some writing time. Luckily I type fast. Sometimes.

Favorite author?

Robert E. Howard, without a doubt. I discovered Howard as a boy, when I snatched up a Boris-covered copy of Conan the Freebooter in a Marion bookstore. The first story I read was “A Witch Shall Be Born” and it blew me away. It literally changed my life. I have been Howard obsessed ever since.

Howard, for me, embodies that kinetic prose that fires the imagination and drips blood off the page. It is fierce and brutal and bristling with a feral energy unmatched by any author since.

And the characters — Conan, Solomon Kane, Steve Harrison, Kull, Bran Mak Morn, and so many more… In twelve short years, Howard had more than 100 stories published in pulp magazines. The vast majority of them were pure freakin’ gold.

Favorite book?

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

When people emigrated to America, what happened to the gods they left behind? This is the question Gaiman tackles in his ambitious American Gods. But more than that, through Shadow’s eyes we see America for what it really is, in the undercurrent of reality, and we see what shape reality takes when the blinders come off.

A brilliant, evocative piece of work, and one I revisit often.

Favorite movie?

Spectre — a 1977 TV Movie (Failed Pilot), Directed by Clive Donner, Written by Gene Roddenberry and Samuel A. Peeples, Starring Robert Culp as William Sebastian, Gig Young as Dr. Amos Hamilton, and John Hurt as Mitri Cyon.

I’d already begun to have a fascination for occult detectives prior to Spectre. There was The Night Stalker, The Norliss Tapes, The Sixth Sense on Night Gallery, and a host of stories I’d fell upon by Howard, Hodgson, Quinn, Wellman, and the like. But there was something altogether special about Robert Culp’s potrail of criminologist and occult detective William Sebastian. Sure, some of the symbolism is dodgy and the effects rather cheesey, but the essence of the tale, the heart of the matter, was pure.

Favorite song?

The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin

When I was younger, I referred to this as the song one should be married and buried to. Richly textured, the song defies classification. At its core, it is a ballad, but it swells between melancholy and triumphant elation, beautifully orchestrated and performed by these legendary and iconic rock gods.

Page’s guitar is sublime and magical. Plant’s lyric and vocal, transcendent.

Before I die and drift off into the great hereafter, it is this song that I want to carry me over the Abyss.

What’s worse for you: a bad reader review, or a bad review from a fellow author?

Neither. You can’t be a slave to the opinions of others. You have to write for yourself and be true to your vision. To pay too much attention to reader and peer reviews is the way of madness.

When choosing reading material, what factors are important to you?

World-building, internal consistency, and emotional resonance.

 Tell us about your most recent book and how we can get it:

Shadow Over Somerset is a gothic romance with testosterone.

Michael Somers is brought to Cairnwood, an isolated manor on the outskirts of the sleepy little town of Somerset in rural Indiana, to sit at the deathbed of a grandfather he never knew existed. He soon finds himself drawn into a strange and esoteric world filled with werewolves, vampires, witches… and a family curse that dates back to fourteenth century Scotland.

Shadows Over Somerset, the first novel in the Cairnwood Manor series, is available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble in electronic and trade paperback formats..

Of your backlist/coming soon agenda, what’s your favorite story? Why?

Mourn Not the Sleepless Children, originally published in 2009 by Burning Effigy Press in the anthology Fresh Blood.

Mourn was the first story I’d written that got serious critical acclaim. It, likeShadows, had a gothic romance feel to it, and I think it really showcased the kind of prose I was capable of.

Mourn Not the Sleepless Children will be republished in First Born, the first book in my Liber Monstrorum series, in 2015 by Seventh Star Press.

How many genres do you write in?  Which is your favorite? 

All the stories I have published thus far have been in the horror genre, though many might rightly be called urban fantasies, gothic romances, or the like. My preference is to write within the occult detective genre, and is what I am best known for. I do have a keen interest in the sword and sorcery genre and hope to address it more fully in the future.

Your inspiration – is it from your imagination or from personal experience?

If I were to guess, I’d say it’s in the neighborhood of 30% imagination. 70% personal experience. I live and die by the old adage, write what you know.

Are the blood and guts necessary? Why or why not?

Not by a long shot. For me, it’s mood. It’s atmosphere. Gore is all about shock factor. Without the proper ambiance, it rings hollow and untrue.

Plotter of Pantser? Is there an advantage to either?

Seat of my pants, all the way. I enjoy the sense of discovery one gets from not knowing where the story is going. I’ve never been able to follow an outline and hate pitching synopsis’ for unwritten stories. I don’t know how plotters do it, to be honest. For me, an outline sucks the energy write off of the page.

How do you go about researching your stories?

Research? Is that a thing? Honestly, I’ve been investigating the paranormal for more than 30 years, I just cull from the best cases and, sometimes, amp them up a bit.

I also, typically, write about places not too far removed from my backyard, or, at the very least, locations I’ve spent a fair amount of time in.

As an author, what’s next for you?

From Seventh Star Press, I have two Cairnwood Manor novels on the horizon,Keepers of the Dead and Shadow of the Wolf, and the Liber Monstrorum series, which will consist of First Born, Descendant, Born Again, and Afterbirth.

For Permuted Press, I am co-writing a horror novel with Brendan Deneen calledUnderhill.

 Best monster ever: vampire, werewolf, or zombie?

Werewolf. Traditionally they’re terrifying, feral creatures, cursed with a ravenous hunger for human flesh, enslaved to the course of the moon overhead. Theirs is an existence of horrific torment, forced to live as man andbeast, but never being able to fully embrace either.

If you could live in any period throughout history, which would it be and why?

I have a fondness for modern conveniences, but I can’t help but wonder what it might have been like to live during the late 19th and early 20th Century. I would have dearly liked to have been a part of the Hermetic and Spiritualist movements of the time period and to have rubbed shoulders with the giants of that era. And later, to have wormed my way into the Lovecraft Circle, by hook or by crook.


About Bob Freeman

BobFreemanBob Freeman doesn’t just write and draw occult detectives, he’s also a card carrying paranormal adventurer who founded Nightstalkers of Indiana in 1983.

A lifelong student of witchcraft, magic, and religion, Bob’s studies are reflected in his art, both as an author and illustrator.

Bob lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.

He can be found online at http://www.occultdetective.com

Website: www.occultdetective.com

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

Twitter: @OccultDetective



Be sure to to check out the rest of Bob’s Blog Tour at:


TCM Presents: Death’s Dance By Crymsyn Hart

Death's Dance Tour Badge

Well hello again!

It’s time for another victim…and this one, well, she’s near and dear to my black little heart. She’s a writing buddy, a friend, a partner in crime… and she’s one of the lovely Seventh Starlight Angels. I love this chick. She’s awesome. I should probably tell you who it is, huh?

The lovely Crymsyn Hart is with me today to talk about her new horror novel with Seventh Star Press, Death’s Dance. So take a seat, have a drink, and listen to what she has to say. On, and you might want to leave a light on. Just sayin’.


Death’s Voice


The Handwriting on the wall. Six Feet Under. Keeling over. All in…

Basically Death.

Let’s face it, we are all going to die. I’m not trying to be morbid and I’m not fixated on death or dying. I just have a thing for grim reapers. Why? Well…I’ve asked myself that question many times. First, off I’m a Scorpio so according to my astrological sign I’m drawn to death. Chalk up my pull toward death with my ghostly encounters or my psychic abilities, who knows. But I can say I did have a profound experience that pushed me in the first of liking reapers.

A friend of mine let me borrow her copy of Our Name of Melancholy by Leliah Wendell and I read it when I was nineteen. It took me a while because it’s a dense book, but the subject matter stuck a chord within me. Was it real? I don’t know, but the author wrote with conviction and it just felt right. It hit home so much I went to New Orleans and met Leliah, briefly collected her artwork, and the Tarot deck she did. However, the most interesting experience I had was well, my own encounter with death. I won’t go into details, sorry folks, but it was a spiritualty moving moment and cemented my view and attachment to death.

I took Azrael and made him more than an archetype and constructed a story around him to make that part of him mind and wove him into the Soul Reaper Series, but the more I wrote other books in the paranormal genre, the more Azrael popped up to remind me was one of my muses and that death is everywhere. Over eighty books later Azrael is in at least half of them, building a little bit more on his previous appearances and giving me more insight. It was a clear progression from there that I would write about grim reapers.

And that is how Death’s Dance was born. My “obsession” with death doesn’t drive me to sleep in a coffin, although I have one in my dining room, or invite reapers over for dinner. I’m not killing people, in real life, I just wanted to give Death a voice.

We all have one, why can’t he?


About Death’s Dance

Death's Dance CoverBeing a psychic, you would think talking to the dead was a walk in the park. However, it’s not always that simple. The hooded specter haunting me is one I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid. One day, he appeared in my bedroom mirror. Good. Evil. I don’t know what his true intentions are.

Enter Jackson, ghost hunting show host extraordinaire, and my ex, to save me from the big bad ghost.

From there…well…it’s been a world wind of complications. My house burnt down. I’m being stalked by an ancient evil and gotten myself back into the world of being a ghost hunting psychic. Jackson dragged me, along with a few other psychics, to a ghost town wiped off the map called Death’s Dance.

From there things went from bad to worse.


Death’s Dance Buy Links:

Amazon           Barnes & Noble          Kobo



About Crymsyn Hart
Crymsyn Hart

Crymsyn is a National Bestselling author of over seventy paranormal romance and horror novels. Her experiences as a psychic have given her a lot of material to use in her books. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her hubby and her three dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s curled up with the dogs watching a good horror movie or off with friends.

Website: http://www.ravynhart.com
Twitter: @crymsynhart
Blog: http://www.crymsynhart.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crymsynhart
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Crymsyn-Hart/e/B002BMJ1Z0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1405515745&sr=8-1
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Don’t miss the rest of Crymsyn’s Tour!
Check it out at Tomorrow Comes Media!

Writer Wednesday: Hellscapes Review

Mornin’ kids… I’m on a roll!

So y’all know I like to read. A lot. And then I like to talk about what I read so other people can read it too. Today’s post is all about something I read. My good friend, Stephen Zimmer, published a collection of short horror stories last year entitled Hellscapes. (By the way, he totally doesn’t know I’m doing this, so his reaction will be big fun!) When it went on sale earlier this year, I snapped up my copy, and over the last few months I’ve been reading the stories one at a time.

One at a time is good for this collection. Trust me. More than one will give you nightmares.




First, let’s talk about the book:

Hellscapes by Stephen Zimmer

Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Seventh Star Press
Cover Artist: Matt Perry

Journey into realms of darkness and explore the regions where angels fear to tread! Welcome to the Hellscapes, featuring tales of the infernal in settings where the horror never ends and the inhabitants experience the ultimate nightmare.

In “Blood Dreams” follow the tale of a woman who knew great political authority and influence in life, as she discovers the reward awaiting her in the next world.

“The Grove” welcomes a new arrival, a wealthy man who is looking forward to a weekend of indulging in lust and libation, as he has for many years in this secluded convocation for the elite. Something is different this time, though, and he soon finds that his visit will be taking a very different turn.

In “The Smallest Fish”, the story is told of a ruthless business mogul who finds himself in an abandoned, ruined version of the city he knew well, in life. This city won’t be remaining vacant for long.

“Drowning in Tears” tells the story of a young man’s unhealthy obsession for a suicidal girlfriend that leads him on a path of severe transformation.

The final tale of Volume 1, “Lords of War”, follows the story of a man who wielded military power on a worldwide scale as a Secretary of Defense, who now learns the deeper nature of war and what kinds of monstrosities it breeds.

Hellscapes, Volume 1 is the first release in an exciting new themed horror collection from Stephen Zimmer.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |iBookstore

And now…my thoughts.

In a word: TWISTED. This book is dark, kids. It’s creepy, it’s scary, and it’s deeply poignant. Psychological and situational horror combine to bring you a brand new set of nightmares. Just as the title promises, each story is a glimpse into the personal Hell of its main character. There’s chaos and destruction, debauchery, and even a little bit of a sad love story. Human emotions are powerful things, as is evidenced in every story in this collection.

If I had to pick a favorite, I think it would have to be The Grove. I knew what was happening long before the main character did, but that just made the anticipation even sweeter. A close second would have to be Drowning in Tears. It’s a horrifically beautiful display of obsession. To be honest, there isn’t a bad story in the bunch. They’re all good, all frightening, and all perfectly executed.

The reason I said reading them one at a time is wise is because they truly are frightening.  More than one is almost guaranteed to induce nightmares in even the strongest of minds.

Overall, an excellent display of literary terror.

Monday Mix Tape: The Soul Collectors

Mornin’ creeps!

I figured we’d kick this thing of right. As y’all know, thanks to Seventh Star Press, Devil’s Daughter is back in the spotlight, and its sister novel, Armageddon Rising is coming up fast behind it. I’ve spent a lot of time in this world over the last two years (we won’t rehash the story, I promise), so I thought it fitting to share a taste of the playlist that’s building this world. It’s a four-and-a-half hour playlist right now, and while it’s metal-centric, there’s some interesting variety.

The whole list can be found here through Spotify: Soul Collectors


Apocalyptica: Worlds Collide

Melodic, heavy instrumental with cellos. One of my favorite contemporary instrumentals, and it definitely sets the mood for when I climb into Lydia’s head.


REM: Losing My Religion

I’ve loved this song for years, but it’s sort of the anti-theme song for Lydia. I think through her trials being the Devil’s right hand, she’s actually gaining a little ground there.

Slayer: Raining Blood

Vicious, violent, and excellent for writing a good fight scene.


Black Veil Brides: Wretched and Divine

It fits the theme. Beautifully. And I just love this song in a big, stupid way.

Nine Inch Nails: Meet Your Master

We’re not going to talk about my longstanding and unhealthy love affair with Nine Inch Nails. We’re going to talk about how this is pretty much the theme song of Devil’s Daughter. The master becoming the servant and the end is nigh? Yeah. Works pretty well. And this man has quite possibly the sexiest voice ever. But we weren’t going to talk about that…

Shinedown: Second Chance

This one is self explanatory for anyone who knows the series, the characters, and the story. I do love this song too.

God Module: Levitation

Yeah. This just sort of says it all. Have a listen. Read the lyrics. Yeah.

TCM Presents: “Haunting Blue” by RJ Sullivan

Haunting Blue tour badge

It’s that time again, kids! RJ Sullivan is in the house today and pimping his new book!

It promises to be a good one too…check it out!


Haunting Blue by RJ Sullivan

Punk, blue-haired “Blue” Shaefer, is at odds with her workaholic single mother. Raised as a city girl in a suburb of Indianapolis, Blue must abandon the life she knows when her unfeeling mother moves them to a dreadful small town. Blue befriends the only student willing to talk to her: computer nerd “Chip” Farren.

Chip knows the connection between the rickety pirate boat ride at the local amusement park and the missing money from an infamous bank heist the townspeople still talk about. When Blue helps him recover the treasure, they awaken a vengeful ghost who’ll stop at nothing–not even murder–to prevent them from exposing the truth behind his evil deeds.

Haunting Blue is Book One of the Adventures of Blue Shaefer.

Buy it Here:
Amazon | Print

20 Questions with RJ Sullivan

Favorite author?

Isaac Asimov.


Favorite book?

The Foundation Trilogy


Favorite movie?

Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan


Favorite song?

My answer to the mundanes is Time after Time by Cyndi Lauper. It is the less known Fearless by Cyndi Lauper.


Best daydream ever?

Six Months on the New York Times Bestseller List. *sigh*


When choosing reading material, what factors are important to you?

I am not exploring new authors. I’ve been sticking with familiar series and books by peers. For a new, random SF read, I am getting very tired of the dystopian trend and lean toward optimistic futures, such as space opera or heroic adventure.


Of your backlist/coming soon agenda, what’s your favorite story? Why?

I have a weird western tale I hope to find a good home. It’s unlike anything I’ve done before and I am always pushing myself to try something new and different.


How many genres do you write in?  Which is your favorite? 

Broadly speaking, two, Paranormal thrillers and science fiction space opera. I am known for my paranormal thrillers and I love the attention that has brought me, but I hope to expand my footprint in SF because it’s my first love.


Horror Authors: Which type of horror holds more appeal for you and why: situational or psychological?

I suppose the psychological state of a character in a situation? The horror of a tale that I like to explore in stories such as Haunting Blue is watching how a character makes the decisions that put them in their dilemma, and then joining them as they cope with the consequences.


Horror Authors: Do you prefer to scare your audience with a subtle build of terror or a big monster-behind-the-door reveal?

Horror to me is about a series of choices that seem like a good idea at the time, and then dealing with the consequences. So a subtle build of terror.


Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors: World building: fun game or awful chore?

The setting should only intrude on the story as much as it has to. If the story stops to tell us how future money transactions work or to go over the specs of a megaweapon, it’s getting in the way of the story, which is the character and the consequences of their choices. If it’s a chore for the author, it’s probably a chore for the reader as well.


Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors: Do you feel non-human characters are required for a good story?

They can be incredibly fascinating. A fun challenge in my short story “Robot Vampire” was showing the waking of the first truly sentient artificial intelligence and making that character relatable and sympathetic to the reader. Robot Vampire is in Vampires Don’t Sparkle edited by Michael West.


Your inspiration – is it from your imagination or from personal experience?

I’m an avid reader (and that includes comic books as well as classic genre) and junkie of genre TV and classic//current movies. I rarely just watch something as a casual viewer with “my brain turned off just to be entertained” as I hear so many people say, but as exhibits to study.

Of course, not everyone will agree on the benefits of TV, and even less with what I’m about to say. I don’t go out of my way to watch bad television, but even horrible TV can be a teaching tool. By knowing what came before, knowing what’s current, knowing what’s being tried, a storyteller is best able to know what direction has not been explored. I could write about punk girl Blue and paranormal investigator Rebecca Burton without having seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the classic TV show The Night Stalker. But by knowing what’s come before, I can better gauge what qualifies as a new direction of an old idea, what ends up being derivative and what idea had been done better before the latest attempt. (*koff-koff* Almost Human *koff-koff*)


Give us your opinion:  Editors – are they friends or enemies?

Any writer who thinks that “they have arrived” and that their stories are beyond the need of an outside point of view is on their way to a fall. That said, every editor is offering an opinion–sometimes a highly qualified one, sometimes not. We have to judge each source. An editor can help a storyteller enhance a vision and bring it to greater life. Where an editor may cross a line is when they try to change a storyteller’/s vision for their own. If I reject an editor’s input, it’s usually for that reason.


Plotter of Pantser? Is there an advantage to either?

I’m a “plants-er”, that is, option three that combines both. I follow a basic outline but leave myself open to inspiration to where the characters may take you. I didn’t start that way. I used to be 100% seat-of-the-pants, and have learned the hard way the headaches of writing myself into a corner without a plan to get out. Now, a short story might begin as five or six bullet points that I feel I need to hit, then I start writing, going in the direction of each one, but letting the characters wind around on the path a little. That’s where the magic happens.


How do you go about researching your stories?

I try to stick with what I know, or where I have an expert I can ask. I picked up on this through my business writing, where I interview experts in a variety of fields. If I need to know about the techniques of EMTs, for instance, I have a person. I’ll use the internet for research, and I’ll admit, I’m a bit lazy about it. That’s why I’ll never write good historical novels. It’s not worth the work to me.


What comes first, the plot, the characters, or the setting?

I start with a character and a situation, exploring how that situation affects that character. The setting is usually defined by the genre I’m writing in.


Think fast: give me the silliest plot line you can think up!

Title: Inheritance. Cockroach scientists discover evidence the Earth used to be populated with pale monkeys that destroyed themselves in a nuclear war.


Religion in fiction: useful tool, dangerous weapon, or better left unsaid?

I play with religious backgrounds in my story quite a bit. I think religion, or lack of religion, can be a powerful influence on who a person is and how they perceive their world. Religion and the supernatural, particularly in Virtual Blue, is a major influence on many of the characters within. I’m not sure I came to any conclusions, but it’s a topic I’m still exploring. Stay tuned.



RJ Sullivan

Haunting Blue is the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer. This is the 2014 revised edition by Seventh Star Press. Seventh Star also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale. R.J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith: Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes.

R.J. resides in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks coffee from a Little Mermaid mug and is man enough to admit it.





Writer Wednesday: Selah Janel

Yes, ladies and germs, Selah Janel is back for another round of fun. You guys should all know her by now as one of my best friends in the world. She’s a cohort, a partner in crime, and a horrible, horrible enabler. That having been said, I have absolutely NOTHING to do with what happens from this point on. It’s all her.




Disclaimer from SJ: Please for the love of all that’s holy don’t do this. Just don’t. This is not advice, this is Ippick trying to start something. Seriously, remember that he’s a troll and don’t blame me if you decide that he should be your new patron saint for social activity. Just…just don’t.


Online Security an’ Etiquette in a Modern Fantasy World

By Ippick Bonecrusher

The thing ye gotta worry ‘bout these days is online safety. Ye never know what kinda idjit is bein’ a busybody over yer shoulder, so ye gotta think ‘bout these things. Luckily, ye got me t’teach ye all bout safety on the spider web realm wide web.

First off, get yerself a club. I like the ones that ye can fold up and put in yer pocket. That way, no one suspects ye know they’re up t’somethin’ until ye whomp ‘em over the head. They don’t get in yer business and ye can go on bout yer day. I like the proactive approach, meself, but I’m told that in some parts it’s frowned upon, so practice responsibility an’ all that hogwash.

Now then, the thing ye have to remember about online behavior is that ye wanna be proactive and offensive here. No defensiveness and creepin’ round. Ye gotta get at others before they get at ye, especially if they have stupid opinions. Not everyone knows if their opinions are stupid, so ye need to tell them. Put it in language they understand. For example, if I were to see someone talkin’ about how curses and magic are made up, it’s my responsibility to get in their convo and reply somethin’ like


A lot of exclamationy points and making it all capitals and in a big font helps so that they pay attention and definitely know that they’re wrong.

Now, sometimes ye gotta be subtle. I don’t recommend bullying, but sometimes ye gotta tell people if their shirts are dumb looking or their dogs look like their wives. Ye want yer hints to be real strong-like, but this is when ye don’t want the capitals and the all the punctuation right away.

I’m sure ye think I’m being mean since I’m known to be a little sneaky on forums to stir things up. To that I say YER WRONG YE STUPID IDJITS. I HAVE A RIGHT TO MY OPINIONS AND TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE SEE WHERE THEY’RE BEING DUMB.

So what happens if someone tries to get cute and throws things right back to ye? Do ye cry and shut yer laptop? Bluebeard’s balls, of course ye don’t! That’s when ye go with somethin’ like “Yer dumb and yer grammar’s dumb and yer clothes are dumb and ye obviously can’t type right because yer hands are yer girlfriend.” What if they say somethin’ stupid like they have a right to their opinion? Well I have a right to walk around without pants if I want to, but folks have problems with that, so if I have problems with yer opinion I’m gonna point it out! I find that’s fairly effective, but then again I like to aim to the subtle side, myself.

If ye combine that sense of helpfulness with a vigilant eye and a good, sturdy, hidden club, ye shouldn’t have one jot of problem muckin’ about online. An’ if ye do, well, yer probably not doin’ it right anyway and need the advice of all those smarter than ye yelling at ye in all caps. After all, if yer seeing it aimed at ye, there’s prolly a reason.

Ippick Bonecrusher - Olde School

Ippick Bonecrusher is a mean sonofadragon who resides in Kingdom City, The Land. A real estate agent by trade, he also occupies many odd jobs to make up for his poor people skills.

Although this is Ippick’s first attempt at freelance writing, he is very prone to giving unsolicited advice. You can find him in Olde School, book one of The Kingdom City Chronicles, which can be found in Print, Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.




Olde School by Selah Janel

Olde School by Selah Janel

Book One of the Kingdom City Chronicles


Available at:

Kindle       Amazon Paperback   Amazon UK  Nook    B&N Paperback     Kobo


Cross-Genre: Fantasy, Fairy/Folktale, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror


Kingdom City has moved into the modern era. Run by a lord mayor and city council (though still under the influence of the High King of The Land), it proudly embraces a blend of progress and tradition. Trolls, ogres, and other Folk walk the streets with humans, but are more likely to be entrepreneurs than cause trouble. Princesses still want to be rescued, but they now frequent online dating services to encourage lords, royals, and politicians to win their favor. The old stories are around, but everyone knows they’re just fodder for the next movie franchise. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as magic. It’s all old superstition and harmless tradition.

Bookish, timid, and more likely to carry a laptop than a weapon, Paddlelump Stonemonger is quickly coming to wish he’d never put a toll bridge over Crescent Ravine. While his success has brought him lots of gold, it’s also brought him unwanted attention from the Lord Mayor. Adding to his frustration, Padd’s oldest friends give him a hard time when his new maid seems inept at best and conniving at worst. When a shepherd warns Paddlelump of strange noises coming from Thadd Forest, he doesn’t think much of it. Unfortunately for him, the history of his land goes back further than anyone can imagine. Before long he’ll realize that he should have paid attention to the old tales and carried a club.

Darkness threatens to overwhelm not only Paddlelump, but the entire realm. With a little luck, a strange bird, a feisty waitress, and some sturdy friends, maybe, just maybe, Padd will survive to eat another meal at Trip Trap’s diner. It’s enough to make the troll want to crawl under his bridge, if he can manage to keep it out of the clutches of greedy politicians



Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. The many people around her that supported her love of reading and curiosity probably made it worse. Her e-books The Other Man, Holly and Ivy, and Mooner are published through Mocha Memoirs Press. Lost in the Shadows, a collection of short stories celebrating the edges of ideas and the spaces between genres was co-written with S.H. Roddey. Her work has also been included in The MacGuffin, The Realm Beyond, Stories for Children Magazine, The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, The Grotesquerie, and Thunder on the Battlefield. Olde School is the first book in her new series, The Kingdom City Chronicles, and is publishedthrough Seventh Star Press. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own.


Selah’s Links:

Blog – http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

Facebook author pagehttp://www.facebook.com/authorSJ

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/SelahJanel

Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/Selah-Janel/e/B0074DKC9K

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5622096.Selah_Janel