Introducing Author P.D. Dennison

Dragon Soul Press proudly announces Author P.D. Dennison and his upcoming dark fantasy series, Legends from the Land of Shaarn.


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I would tell myself to be more diligent, to write more often and not to let outside interferences get in the way of my dream of getting published. I was always told I’d probably never get published and wouldn’t make any money as a writer so I kept it as a “once in a while,” hobby throughout my life instead of really focusing on it. My writing was only ever for my eyes. It wasn’t until I was forty-three that I learned this idea where you ask yourself what you would do without all the fears and anxiety standing in your way and the answer is of course that I would write stories until my fingers bled and become a published author, so I will tell myself to never give up!PD Dennison Facebook Profile

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Elric of Milnibone. This book was given to me by my much older brother back in the 80s. I absolutely loved it. I’d like to see Elric movies made. I think they’d blow people away.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I had a very detailed outline for a series of novels that I worked on for years but completely scrapped. Deleted all the files, threw out my notes. It was too close to the Prophesy movie series. I have a novella that I wrote in a weekend for a contest that never got judged because the hosting magazine went out of business. I’m very proud of it. It’s set in the future of my fantasy world the Land of Shaarn and is entitled Technomancer. (No it doesn’t have anything to do with the Technomancer novels.) I have a series of six short stories about a super hero I created called Skorpion X set in the 1980s that I’d love to develop into a TV series or a graphic novel some day. It crosses over with my fantasy world the Land of Shaarn as well in that the villain Graxxen makes an appearance. I have a ton of ideas for future novels in the Legends from the Land of Shaarn series after the first five books are written. I plan to take the history of the land through its “wild west,” days and then through industrialization, on into a modern era, an age of information and a future age. I’d really like to develop the history of the Land of Shaarn and I have a notebook full of ideas for it.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

I would definitely say I view writing as a spiritual practice. I’m revealing the most personal part of myself in my writing. I learn a lot about myself and my soul just as someone would during meditation. It’s a meditative practice for me and is very calming and relaxing. The rest of the world just fades into the background and it’s just me and the world I’m creating. My office which I call my den, is my temple and its filled with all sorts of geeky crap that I cherish. I have a collection of Batman stuff as I’m a huge Batman fan. I have a collection of Star Wars stuff, a small collection of Star Trek Stuff. Some LOTR collectables and best of all three book cases filled with all my favorite books board games and role playing games. So the place I write is even spiritual to me. It’s a very personal space filled with all sorts of things I’ve been interested in since I was a child and now I create things based off all those childhood interests that others will hopefully enjoy and cherish.

How many hours a day do you write?

It varies. I am off work at the moment for illness and have been trying to be at my desk by 7am. I write for 2 hours, take a break to give myself and the dogs some exercise, I write for 2 more hours, have lunch, write for 2 more hours and then I’m usually tapped out so about 6 hours. Some days more, some days less. I try to take off weekends to recharge my batteries. I’d like to get up to 8 hours per day and hope the Legends from the Land of Shaarn series gives me the financial freedom to make writing my full time job.

How do you select the names of your characters?

In different ways depending on what I’m writing.

For the Legends from the Land of Shaarn series, the mythology of Shaarn is closely based on Norse mythology with the names changed to protect the gods privacy of course. I’m one sixth Swedish so I try to pick Swedish names that would fit in with Norse mythology and then I might add a double consonant to give the name some Shaarnite flair.

For any modern short story fiction I’ve written I always try to choose names that would fit in with the region in which the story takes place.

In my Skorpion X series of short fiction I used the names of my close friends with fictional sir names and the characters are loosely based on us in our youth.

What was your hardest scene to write?

The hardest scene I’ve had to write to date was when I killed my favorite character, a dwarf named Postgaar Fireaxe. I rewrote it so many times. I kept rewriting it with him being raised from the dead by magic and then I didn’t like how it turned out so I’d rewrite it again. Finally I decided that it made for a better read if one of the main characters got the axe after that battle. It was a major battle and it didn’t make sense for all of the heroes to come out alive so Postgaar got crushed by flying debris from an earth wave spell, poor little bugger.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

My soul I guess? LOL Jimmy Page is rumored to have made a deal with the devil for his gifted guitar playing and I’m not above that. I want to write, I want to live off the proceeds of my royalties. I’d love it if movies and graphic novels were made based on my books, I’d like to see Funko Pop dolls of my characters, maybe even produce a line of toys or collectables. With a dream that big you’ve got to be willing to trade your soul I think. 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Probably the first half hour each day when I sit down to write. I type so slowly the ideas feel like they’re mired in the muck of my brains and I have to shovel them out. Once I’m roughly thirty minutes into the process the ideas start to flow more freely and I really get rolling.

Aside from that, the toughest part of writing a novel for me is outlining it and sticking to the outline. I have so many ideas that when I start writing they just spill out onto the page and I often stray from my outline and have to make major changes to the story that I hadn’t intended. It’s usually better writing than what I’d outlined so I don’t mind making changes. But the other day I killed my favorite dragon in the Land of Shaarn, Arken and I’m a little pissed at myself for that. But I had no choice it was either kill Arken or kill the main villain in the novel in chapter four. It would have made for a very short book!

Where can readers learn more about you?

Readers can find me on my website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and at Dragon Soul Press.

 

Introducing Author Aditya Deshmukh

Dragon Soul Press presents creator of dark tales Author Aditya Deshmukh! Ranging from poetry, short stories, and novels, all contain elements of spine-tingling horror. Continue reading to see our interview with the author.


Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Pseudonyms are useful when an author writes in a variety of genres. Yes, I’m a multi-genre author, but because the tone of almost all my stories fall under the same, wide umbrella of dark fiction, I never felt a need of a pseudonym. Psuedonyms are also used for hiding. I want to own everything I write. Putting pieces of my own soul under a fake name just doesn’t seem right to me. So unless I start writing something completely different than I’m used to (like children fiction or romance) and I don’t want that (delicate) audience going on a hunt to find my other (traumatic) stories, or unless I write something against powerful and corrupt entities which will put me on their radar, I have no plans to mask my identity.Aditya Deshmukh Website Logo

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly? 

I’m not a psychologist or a brain-scientist but I don’t think one needs to be an expert to understand that brain is a complex thing. And every person behaves differently when exposed to a certain situation. It’s a part of who we are, and every person is unique and so is their behaviour.

To answer this question, I’ll use myself as an example. I joke about being soulless (we dark fiction authors find it cool) but in truth I’m a sensitive person. I may not have a strong memory but I remember things. One never forgets the bad moments of one’s life. I believe crying helps. It’s kind of magical. The haunting memories surfaces, the pain erupts, you cry and you forget. That’s what I used to do. But my complex brain developed another layer of complexity. Now the bad things don’t quite affect me as strongly as they used to. It’s like there are walls around my heart filtering all the bad things. I willfully ignore them and it’s working pretty great.

I was a writer back then and I still am a writer.

It doesn’t matter how strongly you feel emotions. As long as you feel something (and you do because you’re a human), and you’re able to focus on that emotion, you can write that scene. In fact, even writers who feel emotions strongly sometimes struggle in writing that perfect scene. Writing is difficult. It’s a long process and there are no short-cuts. There are so many dimensions to it that frankly I think writing should be the most paying profession. It’s too much work and we’re expected to be good at everything. Don’t worry about any of your shortcomings. You can work on it and master it (and it’s going to be sooner than you think).

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Oh God, so many things! Because I just took my tea, I’m high on energy, so I’ll take the time to list them and elaborate on each point.

1) Just write it

This is perhaps the most popular writing advice ever. When I read it for the first time, I pictured a writer with black circles under their eyes staring at the blank screen, a pile books on writing on either side of the laptop and screaming, “Come on, just fucking write it!” There’s just so much advice available that it’s very easy to get distracted. We read so much about writing that we forget our topmost priority: writing. The worse thing is we actually feel satisfied after spending our hard-earned time (from work or college or family) on the articles and books and podcasts and YouTube channels and Twitter and Facebook and whatever. We feel happy about ourselves because we think we learned something new.

It’s just an illusion. Congratulations! You learned the same thing you read yesterday, or the earlier week, or the past month. I think if you read every day religiously for a month, most of the stuff you come across is a repetition. You still might learn something new. But is it worth your writing-time you spent on it?

That said, you should have some basic knowledge. Remember those 100,000 words of crap you wrote with zero writing wisdom which is so bad you cannot salvage anything? Yes, no one wants to read that shit. Spend a month in reading basic things. That will get you started.

 2) Discipline

Writing might have been your hobby. But now it’s a profession. Treat it like one. Set a routine and discipline yourself. Set small goals. Make them bigger as you progress. You must have a daily word count goal (it doesn’t have to be big. Mine is just 500 words). But you must strive to maintain the streak. Don’t think you can make it up on weekend. If you miss your daily goal, it will definitely kill your confidence.

3) Read

Once you’ve finished your word count goal, read books on writing. No, don’t roll your eyes. I’m not contradicting my earlier point. Read those books only if you’re sure it’s about something you don’t already know (and trust me there are many things you haven’t even heard. Don’t forget being a writer no longer means you just need to write. Today a writer is also a businessman. Learn about social media, marketing strategies, book distribution networks, how giants like Amazon work). Why not just skip “Just write it” and learn all this stuff first? That’s one way to do things, but then expect to spend at least a decade. As I said, these things take a lot of time. And the most effective way to learn is to learn in steps. It’s fortunately also the most fun way.

Articles are good, but I encourage getting a book (don’t just randomly pick any book. Go through lists of recommendations, compare them, see if they provide exactly what you need and only then start reading. This will save not only your money but also time.) You can then treat it like a subject and study every single element with dedication. Good articles are hard to find, and most of the stuff is repeated. When you finish a book, you’ll have more solid knowledge on that subject.

4) Have fun #1

Don’t expect your writing to get better just by reading about writing. Yes, it will certainly develop. You will not hesitate from calling yourself a good writer. But good is not enough. You want to be the best. You want to become a champion. And for that you need to read other champions’ books.

Read a lot and read widely. I cannot stress enough how exponentially your knowledge boosts up when you make this a regular habit. You get exposed to new writing styles, better dialogue, action, plots, fighting scenes, descriptions, pace, character development, you understand every little thing there is to writing just by conscious reading. Ask questions like why the writer didn’t write it this way? Why is it that the writer decided this ending when other endings are possible? Why did the writer trade good dialogue for what could have been an epic fight scene? Why these characters feel like real people? Why do I love this story so much? Yeah, analyze everything about your favourites. Go crazy!

5) Have fun #2!

There’s another way to have fun and sharpen your writing skills simultaneously: watching movies and TV shows. Yeah, don’t blink, don’t reread that sentence. I mean it. I don’t understand why it isn’t a very commonly heard advice. It has worked like magic for me. I’m a terribly slow reader. If I cannot finish a book in reasonable time, how can I learn from it? And on the contrary, I’m a binge watcher. I can devour an entire season in a night. Most of my understanding of fiction came from the shows I studied. All those questions I listed in the above paragraph can be applied here also. Remember that literature, films, all these are just different mediums of the same thing we want to tell: stories. As long as you actively observe and study, you can derive knowledge applicable to your writing from any source.

6) Build a platform

Internet is crazy. Make use of it. I’m an introvert and if you ask me to give a speech I’ll melt before your eyes. And yet here I’m, still talking something that (hopefully) makes sense. If you can socialize in real life, that’s great! But internet helps you reach audience who perhaps haven’t even heard about your town. Isn’t that great? Just imagine how wider your reach is now. What’s that smell? Something is burning. Must be our jealous writer-ancestors. 

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Research is a very important step in the writing process. It plays a big role in making stuff sound realistic. I do most of the research during outlining. I add comments to the document explaining the research elements and include links to the websites from where I got the information for future reference. I note down things which are yet to be researched.

I understand the importance of research, but I do not give it priority in case I’m writing a short story on a short deadline and lots of stuff is remaining. But I do make it a point to ensure that my guesses are reasonable. If you’re short on time, you can still create a realistic environment provided you haven’t included stuff that your audience know is 100% false. If you have time, don’t be lazy. Research matters. Now information is available easily and it’s everywhere. Books are still the best resource, but there are tons of blogs and vlogs and YouTube channels you can explore. Don’t forget to compare facts. If you can compare with standard sources, that’s good. Otherwise simply go with the widely accepted idea (facts many sources state in similar manner opposed to something only one source claims is the truth)

For my longer works, I spend months on research. My dystopian novella “Black Veins” is coming out this September, and for it I had to read about philosophies on society and recent development in robotics. Yeah, it’s going to be fun!

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

 I don’t suppose I can name one thing. Either they all are equally easy or equally difficult.

But yeah, diffidence is definitely something that bothers me. And I’m sure many writers face this problem. I stress a lot on quality. To the eyes of others the stuff I write is good, but I think it could be better. I know nothing can ever be perfect. But this knowledge is not enough. It’s kind of like a staircase with no end. You can climb it, every stair making your story more beautiful. But you have to stop somewhere and it’s hard to decide when. Fortunately my mind is not always bleak. The confidence returns. I just say fuck it and type ‘END.’

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Depends on the book. Few months back I finished a book in just two months. My very first attempt at novel-writing is four years old and nowhere near completion. As I said I focus on quality, not speed. If I write faster, I can see my quality deteriorating. So the wait doesn’t bother me much.

What’s the best way to market your books?

 I may not be the best person to answer this question. But I know that there is no universal best way. What works for someone may not work for you. The best thing to do is to attempt everything (social media, ads, mailing list, book tours), analyze the data, and then create your own strategy.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Oh no I can’t answer that question. Oops, by saying that I’ve already answered, haven’t I?

Yeah, each book stands on its own unless its a part of a well-defined series, but there’s definitely a common element regardless of the genres. It’s very subtle. And it’s going to be super fun when it becomes obvious. So let’s not ruin it now.

Where can readers learn more about you?

My Facebook page is pretty active. Do subscribe to my Newsletter and join my Facebook group. It’s a fun place. And yes, you’ll get free stories! DSP has added an author page to their website. Also check out my website. You’ll find free stories and poems from not just me, but also other talented writers I invite every week for a chat. Feel free to message me. I’m always finding new ways to procrastinate and will chat on almost anything.

Introducing Author Lydia Anne Stevens

Dragon Soul Press proudly announces Author Lydia Anne Stevens and her Hell Fire Series featuring six books! The first, Highway to Hell, releases August 19th! Enjoy our interview with this author below.


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

There has always been a part of me that has known I want to be a writer. Ever since I was a little girl, being drawn into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Series, I envisioned myself being Laura herself, living a life and becoming so immersed in the story that it had to be written and shared. The passion continued for story telling with the American Girl stories. Perhaps it was the quintessential idea of being an American and chasing a dream but it drove me to enter and win contests such as the Daughters of the American Revolution Essay and I used classics such as, Nathanial Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”, Paulo Coelho’s, The Alchemist, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to pen essays and papers which have since been used by professors as exemplars for outstanding academia.

As far as creative writing, I have always developed stories. I even have a note that I wrote to my parents telling them I was running away when I was ten. I wrote them the whole story of where I was going, what I was taking, and what I was going to do when I got there. To this day it still makes me chuckle. I even told them I was going to take the dog with me and how I planned on feeding him. I have boxes of papers and notebooks with stories I wrote which may never see the light of day again, but I’ve always been a writer from the time I could pick up a pen.

The passion for novels and writing has continued into adulthood through reading more classics like, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Dracula by Bram Stoker. It morphed into a love of “forbidden” romances when I was a teenager and then I discovered J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Ever since I fell into the fantasy genre I can’t get enough of reading and writing it. My favorites are now urban fantasy with or without subgenres such as, Karen Marie Moning, Kevin Hearne, Darynda Jones, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, Rick Riordan, J. R. Ward and of course, J. K. Rowling. I will write almost any genre in my freelance writing including horror, romance, commercial fiction, erotica, mystery, science fiction and suspense.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It takes me about three months to write a book. I do have to say that writing is what I do all day every day. I have a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and am pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing so I feel that to be clear, everyone has a different writing speed. For a client I can do a full-length novel in two weeks and average between 10,000 to 15,000 words per day; therefore, I can have a 75,000 word novel done in that time. However, there are different factors to this. Sometimes I am presented a plot by a client and sometimes I have to come up with my own based on a theme or genre for them so in some ways, the brainstorming has already been done.

With my own work, there is a lot of research that goes into the themes, mythology, religion, cultural facets etc. I am a panster with my own work so when I sit down to write, I have the story premise and then I just write, looking up the information I need about the aforementioned techniques and machinations of the process as I go. I am the writer who has notebooks, pens, sticky notes, napkins and receipts for whenever inspiration hits with my own work because I never know when the characters will start talking. So, for my own work I say three months to incorporate all of the things that have been conceptualized, brainstormed, inspired etc. and that is about one month of all of that, one month of sitting down and just writing and pulling in all of those bits and pieces and then another month for revising, editing, and re-writing to a draft that I feel is appropriate to hand off to an editor or beta reader. There is an additional editing process of course, which could take several more months depending on the editor or publisher, but for my own self disciplines I say three months.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have compartments in my brain for my story ideas. They are in neat boxes all lined up almost like a factory, and I can see it in my head. Depending on what work I want to focus on, I take the lid of that particular “Pandora’s Box” and let the inspiration and ideas fly. When I need to focus on a client’s work I put the lid on the box and ignore the rattling for an hour or two before I can open another box. I am very visual so being able to see where the twenty-six current story ideas are being stored is useful to me. Occasionally I have a character who rattles the chains on the box and breaks out, going through a stroll in my subconscious until my conscious self acknowledges him or her and then that is why whatever being resides in the seat of power gifted us puny humans with coffee. Those sessions with characters are often interesting depending on what they have to tell me and at what God-awful hour of the night they might decide to tell it. Those are also my favorite characters who refuse to follow my carefully crafted rules which are put in place to protect my sanity. But then again, any writer who claims to be sane is either in denial and needs more of the blessed caffeinated stuff, or they are lying. I also have two hats I wear when I write. One is a black top hat from England which belongs to my brother. The other is a straw hat I recently won which is embroidered with the phrase, “do not disturb.” My close friends who know my writing quirks remind me it’s too late for that, but the hats help contain the chaos within, so it flows through my fingers and onto the page. One hat is just for more formal writing than the other.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Life is my inspiration. I know this is the party line but it’s true. The people I meet, connect with, and interact with are inspiration. But it is more than that. I can look at a back lawn, sunflower littered with grass that most people would complain is too long and needs to be cut and yet I see the tiny village of fairy people whose homes are being threatened by the humans. The story starts to roll in my head and all of a sudden, I have Pixie, the fairy, who rides a bumble bee and they endeavor to save their home and the bees who have become endangered.

The point of that is, I see life as still being full of magic where others might see it as a lawn that needs to be mowed. Magic may not be classically defined anymore such as with Tolkien’s ideals of magic with wizards, orcs and flaming eyeballs, but fantasy isn’t just a genre to escape reality. It takes the harshness of reality and provides a place for a reader to cope with their own circumstances and realities. The magic is in the effect that humans have left on society either from the past or present and the essence of what humanity is. I see the magic in the places they have been and the things that they do and influence. In a world where technology allows us to see all of the bad things that happen, I chose to focus on the wonder of how humans en mass, are still beautiful and magical either together or as individuals. This inspires me and is where my ideas come from. Magic for me is still very real but more importantly, it is something worth writing about.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is something that can make a reader take a part of it into their life and either learn something from it, or use it to cope with their own life and any difficulties they may face or help them recognize the importance of the blessings they may have. How a writer tells a story doesn’t necessarily make it good or bad, that is just technique and technique is something any writer should constantly be working to improve. A good story is the idea that it is going to reach a reader, even if it is just one reader, and be profound enough to impact them in a positive manner. These are the kinds of stories that make a reader hurt, love, cry, laugh, rejoice, anger, and celebrate with the characters. They are the stories that even if it forces a reader to take a good hard look at their life and count the blessings of what they have or make them uncomfortable in the fact that they inspire that reader to change-they still make the reader think or say, “well, damn.” This is either good or bad, but the effect is the same. It brought the reader to a place that makes them actively engage with the story and apply themselves to the circumstances of the characters or the circumstances of the story to the reality of their own life.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Sound and attitudes are my Kryptonite. I can write with sound but prefer complete silence. It is difficult with an eight-year-old, but I write better at two in the morning when the only sound is the characters in my head. The worst, however, is people’s attitudes. Writers are underappreciated. It isn’t a “real” vocation because people tend to appreciate the humanities when it is someone famous or historical, but most writers and artists aren’t appreciated because family, friends, and fans, might not understand the process. They want to appreciate the completed work, but don’t understand that it takes hours of hard work which isn’t just sitting at a desk and suddenly words appear on the screen.

I’ve heard more than once that my job is sitting at a desk and that there is no manual labor, therefore it can’t possibly be real work. I disagree. Mental work is in some ways more grueling than manual labor, but without getting into all that is PC and right with the world, the fact remains that ignorance is often the culprit of malcontent. If one doesn’t understand what writers do, it is difficult to appreciate the contributions it makes to society and culture, and therefore breeds poor attitudes in general. People want the instant gratification. To be able to click a link and read some text is all they care about. Think about how much people read on a day to day basis for even menial tasks like traffic signs, work emails, social media posts, articles etc. Then think about creative writing and how much effort that takes. People want the words and they are integral to everyday life, even creative works which may be an escape from life, but they don’t care how they get there.

I find myself very depressed when I am told my writing isn’t real work or how this is a dream and not worthy of a real vocation. I remind them it isn’t a dream anymore since it is what I do on a day to day basis, but there is the misconception that real means lucrative success such as a New York Times Bestseller. Even then the moment might be fleeting, and I never became a writer for the money. However, people’s attitudes effect my writing if it is persistent or really negative. I have to carefully assess whether that person is beneficial to my life and what I want from my writing career, and then move on. As a human, I still feel the emotional highs and lows, so when someone attacks my high points in life, it can be my Kryptonite and I might not write for a few days. The beauty of superheroes, however, even writer superheroes is that we always get back up, dust the pen and cape off, and carry on with our badass selves.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Hahaha! Actually, don’t quit. Don’t you ever quit. You will want to. You will think about it, but don’t ever give it up. Everyone on this planet has a gift to give, whether the gift is good or bad and has a positive or negative impact on the fellow man, but writing is your gift and you gave up for a short spell and it was the worst time of your life. You forgot yourself and your gift, but don’t you dare ever give up again. You will be told you can’t do it. You will be told to get a real job like everyone else and it will hurt like Hell. But it is going to hurt a lot worse if you quit. There is a dark place in your soul where the creature who doesn’t write and appreciate your gift lives. Don’t ever let that creature take over again. Everyone has their demons they have to live with. You have two choices, learn to live with the demon or tell it to get stepping because you have things to accomplish in this life and with this gift. Besides, if you think about it, it isn’t your demon anyway. It is the preconceived judgements of others that moved in, took over for a spell, and then festered. Don’t you ever give up on yourself and your gift again. Ever.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I do read a lot of bestsellers so this one is a bit hard. I love Frewin Jones’ The Faerie Path Series. I typically read adult with a few YA ventures but there is something youthful and hopeful about this series that touches me. I think writers always retain a sense of youthful vitality. To be a writer one has to have a vivacious outlook on life, but this series really embodies the idea of fantasy representing the idea of hope within youth. Frewin Jones, a pen name for Allen Frewin Jones is a British writer who is 65 and has over 90 children’s, YA and fantasy novels. However, because he is a foreign writer, I’m not sure how well he is appreciated in America? If I were to choose an American writer, I would go with Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing. Being a native Mainer, it is nice to see the success one man from a small town can achieve. I think because he is the Horror King, his memoir is underappreciated, but I recommend it to any writer, aspiring or established because of how earthy and genuine his novel about his writing career has been.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Commas! I’m getting a little better, but generally the words come so hard and fast that I just don’t consider punctuation until it is time to revise. Then I am so focused on the characters, setting, plot etc. that I just don’t see them. Revising aside because I think every writer has something they can improve on; I find the most difficult part of my artistic process to be prioritizing the writing. Sometimes I desperately want to write on one of my novels, but I know I have the piece due for a client or an essay for school etc. I am finding more time for my own work now that my Masters Degree is completed. The PhD will be focused solely on a creative piece I want to work on, but my focus is now evenly split between clients and my own work, without the academic essays to include in that as well. The only other detriment is when I have a list of priorities which seem to all be at the top and then nothing gets done because I’m so frazzled, I forget to have coffee. Then I have a day assessing my life choices. The day one forgets coffee is the day they take off from work, writing, peopling and all other sorts of activities.

Where can readers learn more about you?

I’m everywhere! A good place to start is Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, and LinkedIn.

 

Introducing Author Galina Trefil

Dragon Soul Press proudly presents Author Galina Trefil! Stoically a Romani activist, she also specializes in women’s minority and disabled rights. To learn more, visit her website.

 

  1. What inspires you to write?
    I suppose the things which most inspire me are various forms of injustice that I see not being given the exposure which they deserve or major moments of history that have, though odd twists of fate, been catapulted into the obscurity of being footnotes.
  2. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?Author Logo DSP
    I don’t read anywhere near as much as I wish I could. I’m very fond of Anita Diamant, Susan Kay, Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Rule, V. C. Andrews, and William Shakespeare.

  3. Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?
    I generally have several works in progress at any given time. So long as I complete at least one novel a year though, I’m happy.

  4. What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?
    Presentation is immensely important, so I always keep an eye out for great new cover artists online. As for titles, they’re the method to hook your audience, so, even if they’re only a single word long, they necessitate a great deal of consideration. Personally, I always run my title past a few key friends and family that I trust.

  5. How much of yourself do you put into your books?
    A lot of my projects become intensely personal, particularly ones that touch on race, gender, and disability issues, which is why I sometimes need to take breaks from them.

  6. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
    Research. I absolutely cannot abide badly-researched historical or medical scenes in fiction. To my mind, it’s better to be stuck in limbo, studying to get a portrayal done correctly, than to go ahead, like a bull in a china shop, and write inaccurate shlock.

  7. What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about your specific genre?
    That depends. I write in several genres–mainly historical fiction, horror, and very recently I’ve broken into children’s books as well. Regarding historical fiction, one thing that I’ve encountered repeatedly is that a lot of people have concepts essentially set in stone in their mind about how things were during other time periods and they don’t like those concepts challenged. One needs to keep an open mind. Regarding horror, the question that’s popular to ask is whether or not writing it scares the author, like it scares the reader. For me, the answer’s yes. And, if it’s not yes, then it’s back to the drawing board. Lastly, regarding children’s books, I think that one of the popular myths regarding these brief, illustrated tales is that they have to be limited to non-serious subjects, as though children can’t handle anything else. Unfortunately, children live in a complicated world, many facing very complicated issues, just like adults, and they need literature and art to talk them through it.

  8. What do you do in your free time?
    I have a couple books that I’m very close to having ready for publication submission. Perhaps when those are done, I’ll treat myself to some time off. In the meantime, I’m a full-time author, housewife, and mother of two. Free time? What’s that?

  9. Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
    Firstly, learn to LOVE the editing process. When you’re starting out, sometimes editing can feel like the worst thing in the world, but you’ve got to get rid of that negative attitude and look forward to perfecting the piece. There is no such thing as an acceptable first draft. I’ve seen plenty of people refuse to edit their work and, to my mind, this is what separates the amateurs from the professionals.

  10. Where can readers learn more about you?
    In this day and age, being a writer means more than just writing. Success necessitates an online presence–twitter, blog, facebook author page; et cetera. To be honest, I’m a rather private person by these standards. That said, I do plan to be revving the engine back up on my blog in the near future.

“First Love” DSP Reader’s Choice Results

First, a ginormous thank you to the hundreds of individuals who took the time to vote for these twelve authors! The First Love Anthology released February 28th as Dragon Soul Press’ second official anthology. The DSP Reader’s Choice was created soon after.01

For those who are still new to the concept, the anthologies and novels are voted on for the entire year. Three stories are chosen from the anthologies and one novel is chosen. The full short stories are republished in a large collection along with a special preview of the novel chosen.

The voting for First Love has ended and provided us with the first three authors who will be featured in the 2019 collection. Congratulations goes out to Simon Dillon, Meg Beopple, and Galina Trefil!

Here are brief samples of their stories below. The next chance to vote is for the Sea of Secrets Anthology. Voting begins May 30th.

 


Papercut by Simon Dillon

The Paper Girl is here again.

She stands in the centre of my bedroom, staring right at me. I ought to be afraid, but I never feel scared of her. Nor do I ever question how she got into my house in the middle of the night. Instead I stare at her beautiful face, completely mesmerised. Her eyes are blank like a statue. Long strands of paper hair flow down her back – not white, but cream-coloured, like the kind of paper you get in novels. Why does she keep appearing? I sense she wants to tell me something, but what?


Message in a Bottle by Meg Boepple

I’m lonely. Come find me. Before it’s too late.

Moira stared at the slip of paper she’d pried out of the plastic Coke bottle.

How long had the message been floating before it landed on the beach? Where had it come from? And how desperate must the writer be to omit the required apostrophe?

She had not expected a mystery when she’d signed on for a week long “Eco-Mission” trip. Cleaning environmentally sensitive beaches like Padre Island wasn’t glamorous, but it was necessary. At least, that’s how she’d looked at it until five minutes ago.


The Rusalka of the Murashka by Galina Trefil

It was said that a crown of flowers would protect its wearer from evil spirits, but as Svetlana watched her lover gripping her by the back of the neck and forcing her face into the shallow, slender undercurrent of the Murashka river, her eyebrows knit in frantic confusion, knowing this was not so.