Monday, October 31, 2005

Lisa Renee Jones

Today I give you Allure Author Lisa Renee Jones. You may recall I did a full interview with Lisa before, but to refresh your memory, here's a bit about her. Lisa owned and operated a temporary staffing agency for over ten years earning numerous awards. Of these achievements the one she is most proud of was being recognized by Entrepreneurial magazine on the top ten growing Women owned businesses list in 1998.

The corporate world offered only limited opportunity to explore her creative side so she began writing Romantic Suspense. Since starting her career, she has placed in numerous contests including winning the Romantic Times Aspiring Writers contest for her Romantic Suspense, Hidden Instincts.

A Mother of two, she lives in Austin, Texas where she writes on a daily basis, eagerly working on her next plot, and discovering new depths to her writing.

Excerpt from Lisa's HEALER:

“Diego.” She said his name as if it was a question.

He answered by gently easing her knees apart, fitting himself in the V of her legs. Her hands slid to her sides, fingers digging into the blanket as if she fought the urge to touch him. She sucked in a breath as he pressed his body against hers. “You belong to me.” One of his hands slipped from beneath her skirt, sliding up her side, following the curve of her sultry form to her back. Pressing her closer to him, easing her full breasts into his chest. He felt her shiver. “I know you feel our connection.”

Her hands went to his shoulders “Yes,” she whispered, “but why? I don’t know why.”

Lips lingering just above hers, he could almost taste her without touch. “One mate for life,” he explained, feeling the possessiveness of knowing she was that to him. You are that person for me. I cannot live without you. ”

“This is crazy,” she whispered, her voice holding a breathless quality. “I shouldn’t be here. How can I respond to a stranger like this? So…”

“Potent,” he said, but it wasn’t a question. It was merely giving voice to what he felt. His mouth closed down on hers, needing what only she could give. The first touch of her soft lips melted him inside out. He was on fire, yet, he felt relief, as if a flame had been sprayed with water and ignited at the same time.

His tongue slid past her teeth, soaking in her flavor with one deep stroke, and then another. How he managed to be gentle he wasn’t sure. The last he wanted was to scare her. The beast inside begged to be unleashed, yet somewhere, somehow, he found the will to contain it. For her.

But the beast would only wait so long.

End Excerpt

For more info on Lisa, please visit her website or her blog. And to order Healer, please see here!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Allure Authors -- Sylvia Day

Today, meet Allure Author Sylvia Day.

Sylvia Day is the multi-published author of highly sensual romantic fiction set in historical and futuristic settings. A wife and mother of two from Southern California, she is a former Russian linguist for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence. She is also the President and founder of Passionate Ink, Romance Writers of America's first and only erotic romance special interest chapter.

Some of Sylvia's highlights:
2004 IRW Golden Opportunity
1st Place Historical & Best of the Best Winner

2004 Lori Foster/Brava Contest Reader's Choice Winner

2004 Gateway to the Rest
Historical Winner

2004 Some Like it Hot Finalist

2005 Amber Heat Author Winner

2005 Silver Rose Website Contest Finalist

For more info please visit Sylvia's website or blog.

And excerpt from Sylvia's book Misled:

Misled by Sylvia Day

Sable had found her prey. She could smell the fear pouring from him in misty waves, even over the odors of stale beer and cigarettes.
He knew she was hunting him.

Her mouth curved in smile so feral the men who watched her with lusty eyes looked away, their interest doused instantly. Stepping further into the dimly lit bar in the Deep Space 12 concourse, her hand dipped automatically to the lasersword held in the holster on her thigh. It was illegal to use weapons in the concourse, it was illegal even to carry a weapon but she had docked in the waste removal bay, affording her the opportunity to slip past security.

Scowling, she sniffed the air to check on her fugitive, Butch Castle, but also to search for another scent—one so masculine and virile it drove her to madness. In fact she could still smell it on her skin and it was keeping her hot and horny, distracting her when she needed to be the most focused. She forced herself to concentrate, tuning out the background music in the small bar and the paging of flight information echoing in the terminal behind her. Her focus narrowed, a huntress closing in for the kill.

Her shoulders relaxed when she confirmed she was the only vampire in the room. Still, Sable knew she didn’t have long before Derek caught up with her. The handcuffs she’d used to shackle him to the bed would hold, but the bedposts wouldn’t. She’d be damned if she’d let him steal another fugitive from her, even if he was the best fuck she’d had in over a century.

She stepped further into the bar…

“You know,” purred a deep velvety voice behind her. “A guy could take it personally when his woman fucks him senseless and then leaves without a kiss goodbye.”
Heat pooled instantly at the top of her spine and spiraled downward. Shocked, Sable spun around. “What the hell?”

Derek Atkinson stood barely an inch away, his strong hands gripping his narrow hips as he eyed her with his silver stare—a stare still molten with desire for her. “I wasn’t done with you yet. I was just taking a power nap before we started again.”

A shiver went through her body at his words. His raking glance stripped her of her clothing and left her naked to his view. He’d wanted more of her? After two days straight of mind-blowing sex? The man was an animal.

Her nostrils flared. Standing this close to him she could finally smell his delicious scent buried under the overwhelming smell of herself. No wonder she hadn’t detected him sooner.

His eyes danced with devilish amusement. “I thought I was in pretty good shape, but I guess not if I’m falling asleep and you still have the energy to get up and chase my fugitive.”

That arrogant comment penetrated her astonishment. “He’s not your fugitive!”
He cupped her cheek with a warm hand. Instantly her skin grew hot, her pussy wet, her nipples hard. Even after two days straight of Derek’s addicting carnal attentions she was still ready fuck him again. Immediately. Her fangs slid downward in anticipation.

“Sable, sweet.” He smiled, his sensual lips curling upward to reveal pearly white fangs even longer and more deadly than her own.
Her mouth dried instantly.

His voice lowered and she knew he smelled her arousal. “You’re a talented hunter, baby, no doubt about that. But your operation is small and you’re often ill-equipped. If you just let me—”

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Butch Castle edging toward the exit to the main concourse. Faster than the human eye could see her, she leapt over the tables between her and her prey. She tucked the man, easily twice her body weight, under her arm and left Derek without looking back. She heard him shout after her as she crawled along the wall to the traffic-free ceiling and ran to her ship. And then she couldn’t hear anything with Butch screaming in terror as they flew through the concourse upside down, his human eyes unable to see more than a blur.
Sable could sense Derek swiftly gaining ground and cursed under her breath. She was no match for him physically, as he’d proven on several occasions in the past, and she was weighted down with the screaming human. She saw her turn coming up but maintained her lightning speed, feinting to the left at the last possible moment. Derek blazed past them. The ruse bought her only a few seconds but it was long enough for her to enter her transport and shut the cargo bay. Just as the portal locked with a hiss of air, she felt a thud as Derek slammed into the door. He’d probably dented the damn thing.

Sable shoved Butch Castle into the brig. “Take a shower,” she ordered. “Wash the stench of fear off you. I’m hungry, so after we take off I’ll be back to feed.” She saw his eyes widen in dismay and smiled. “Don’t worry, you’ll enjoy it. Humans always do.”

Moving to the deck, she sat in her captain’s chair and secured the five-point harness. Then she activated the exterior communication link. “Move away, Derek. I’m about to take off.”

“Damn it, Sable,” he growled. “You bitch! Didn’t the last two days mean anything to you?”

She swallowed hard. Mean anything? They’d meant everything.

What an idiot she’d been to give in to her longing to have him. Burn this thing out, he’d said, and she’d leapt at the excuse to have him even though she’d known deep inside that it would only get worse.

Glancing up, she saw him standing in the loading bay, one hand plunging through his thick raven hair in frustration. He was undeniably gorgeous. Tall, broad-shouldered and thickly muscled, he took up her entire view screen from the chest up. Her heart pounded against her rib cage and her chest grew tight. “Don’t play me, Derek,” she said in a voice that betrayed her with its hoarseness.

He glanced up sharply and bore his metallic gaze into hers through the video screen. He couldn’t see her, but his gaze still searched for answers. “It seems to me that I’m the one being played. Was I just a convenient fuck for you, baby? A couple dozen orgasms and I’ve outlived my usefulness?”

“Go to hell,” she bit out, even as she shivered at the memory. “You were going to do the same to me, I just beat you to the punch. Now back off!”

He backed away a few steps, affording her a clear view of the massive bulge of his cock straining his suit. His handsome face was set in harsh lines, his gaze piercing in his fury. “If you believe that, Sable, after all the time I spent inside you, you don’t know anything about me at all.”

Sable closed her eyes for a moment, willing away the burning behind her lids that would prevent her from seeing her way out of the narrow docking bay. If only things could be different.

“Goodbye, Derek,” she said softly as she terminated the audio. When she opened her eyes and looked at the screen he was gone.

And with a skilled tug on the controls, so was she.

Misled available at Ellora's Cave

Allure Authors

All this week I'll be posting excerpts from a new writer's group: Allure Authors, which has generously agreed to include me. We're gonna get together and try to spread the word about each other. So stay tuned and keep a watch for that. Also, our group website will be going up later this week. You'll be able to find it here: But it's not up yet! So stay tuned.

Cyndia Depre


Cyndia Depre is earning rave reviews for her romantic thriller, Amanda's Rib. From the book's jacket:

Is Amanda Winslow a grieving widow or a cold-blooded killer?

Attorney Jack Lindsey has mixed feelings about Carlisle, Illinois', newest resident. When he discovers Amanda was recently acquitted of murdering her husband, he thinks that is the cause of his unease. Is Mandy a killer? Mandy. He never has nicknames for people, so why does he think of her as Mandy? Why does he think of her at all? She's not his type. Still, the killing has piqued his interest. He wants to learn more, even if that means frequent contact with Amanda.

Jack delves into the murder and trial. His actions set off a shattering string of events, putting his and Amanda's lives in danger and resulting in the death of another. Jack is forced to question his strict beliefs.

Is murder ever justified?

With strong sales and outstanding reviews from everyone who picks up the book, it's clear that Cyndia has a winner on her hands with this one. Friendly and talented, Cyndia has also managed to distance herself from the pack with her concerted promotional and marketing efforts, which are now paying dividends for her.

Cyndia is currently hard at work on her second novel, but I was able to catch up with her to toss a few questions her way.

1) Who are some of your favorite writers, and how do you think they've influenced you?

Martha Grimes, Minette Walters, Elizabeth George and Dennis Lehane lead the pack. They all write deep, three-dimensional characters. Trite as it sounds, books really are about people. The more I can get into a character's head, and feel they are real, the happier I am. These authors not only tell a good tale, they do it with people who are flawed but always trying to be better. They make mistakes, and try to fix them. In other words, they are human. A perfect protagonist is a boring protagonist. Give me a heroes and heroines who can be jerks, and I understand them. Hummmm....I wonder what that says about me.

2) What do you think is your greatest strength or asset in your writing? Your biggest weakness or flaw?

My strength would be dialog, and I include inner thought when I say that. I love reading what characters say and think, and that's probably why I like that style of writing. Whenever I can use dialog instead of narrative to move plot, character, setting etc, I do. I aim for very different voices in characters, so even without a tag readers will know who's line they just read. I am absolutely horrible with description. It usually bores me when reading, and writing descriptions is darn near painful to me. I don't really care if the sky is cerulean blue and someone is driving a white Mazda which still has that new smell and on and on and on. That's just me, though. I have a friend who can fill two pages describing a teacup and do it beautifully. Some people love that. I skim ahead.

3) You've effectively mixed suspense and romance in Amanda's Rib. Did you find this a tough balancing act while writing it? Where did you get the idea/inspiration for Amanda's Rib?

The idea came from talk shows and America's constant need to blame someone for everything that goes wrong. In the case of abuse, I was aghast how often the victim is blamed. I didn't think that was fair, and decided to write a novel about how a woman could find herself in such a situation. I gave Amanda every advantage, yet it took her two years to get out of an abusive relationship. How are people with no family, no money, and children to feed supposed to escape? Balancing suspense and romance was very hard in Amanda's Rib. I wanted her tough and able to take care of herself, but soft and vulnerable on the inside. Although I wanted people to like her eventually, my main concern with the first chapters was making her interesting. Also, I didn't want a 'mushy' romance. If Amanda is taken seriously, her relationship with Jack would have to evolve. Jack is a man coasting through life and used to getting his own way. Amanda is still in love with her second husband, the one who was murdered. Jack isn't a blip on her radar screen. I liked making him work to understand himself, then have to scramble to win Amanda's heart. When asked to describe it in one line, I said, "Amanda learns to trust and Jack learns to love." All this is probably way more than you wanted to know.

4) Amanda is a very complex character, which is part of what keeps us turning the pages in the book. Did you have any specific goals in mind when you were creating the character of Amanda Winslow or did you pattern her after any other characters/people?

Amanda is completely made up. I'm happy you think she's complex, because I wanted her to be real and people are complex. In some ways she's who I'd like to be. I'd like to be smarter and braver. There are parts of me in her, but not much. Amanda never loses her composure (I do), and her mind is always working (mine only occasionally). Like me, she never lets anyone see her cry. She has my necklace and plays with it when she's upset. I found myself doing that and gave her the twitch or whatever you call it. When writing Amanda I'd put her in a situation and imagine what I'd like to do rather than what I would do. They often aren't the same, so it was fun living through her for a while.

5) What do you find to be the most difficult part of writing and/or publishing? What's the greatest reward? Is it worth it? Or is writing something you'd do even if there was zero payoff?

The most difficult part of writing is starting each day. Then, when I've gotten going, stopping. When I hit the writing zone, I don't know what time it is. The toughest part of publishing is getting people to know I exist. I knew it would be hard, but wow. Thankfully I've got thick skin or I'd be a puddle most nights. For example, the owner of a grocery store where I've shopped once a week for ten years wouldn't let me put a small stack of bookmarks near the store window. I was stunned. It never occurred to me that shopkeepers wouldn't jump at the chance to help a local author. But most won't. I'll wear them down, given enough time. It's just a matter of nonstop nagging. The greatest reward is hearing from readers. I just love that. One wrote that I'd written her life (except for the murder part) and said the book helped her understand herself and her husband. I treasure all the letters and email, but that one really hit me in the heart. Is it worth it? I don't know. Writing is worth it because it's such fun. But I'm not sure I'll try to be published again. I'll finish Oblivious, my next novel, and decide then if I want to go through this again. I think it was Lawrence Block who said if you feel like writing a novel, take an aspirin and lie down. He may be right as far as publishing, but writing is wonderful.

6) Stock question: Dinner with anyone, dead or alive. Who is it?

My first thought was my husband. But I have dinner with him every night! I'm not going to give some deep answer like Einstein or Abraham Lincoln. The truth is I like dining with my husband because he makes me think and he makes me laugh. Why change that? So I'd pick someone like Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker. Others can figure out the secrets to the universe. I just want to have some fun while I eat.

7) One CD, one book, one DVD and a desert island. What book, CD, and DVD do you take?

DVD is easy...Camelot. Book...that's a toughie. Trattoria, of course. Then probably something about how to build a raft out of sand and coconuts and navigate using only my watch and ankle bracelet. CD...I'd burn my own with tunes by Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Bob Seger, CCR. Upbeat stuff. Who needs 'I Am A Rock' or '100 Years' on an island?

8) When did you first get the feeling not that you wanted to write, but that you could be so successful at it? What are you working on now?

I still don't feel I can be successful at it. I'm working on a screwball mystery/romance. It makes me laugh. I'm probably the only one who will laugh at it, but there you go. Sometimes I have to amuse myself.

9) Suppose you can't have both: Would you rather have respect from your peers and critical acclaim (but not making cash from writing), or would you rather be a bestselling author with the fat coin?

I'd like respect. The older I get, the less money means to me. How many purses can one gal own? I've gotten respect from my husband and parents just through Amanda's Rib. When they say they are proud of me, I feel happy down to my toes. I guess that answers the earlier question. Was it worth it? Yep. My family is proud of me.

Friday, October 28, 2005

APPLEWOOD at Amazon!!

The fabulous Ellen Meister has her first book up for pre-order at Amazon! Check it out here, and be the first on your block to own this sure-fire bestseller:

Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA

Monday, October 24, 2005

Maria Isabel Pita

Maria Isabel Pita is already a literary force to be reckoned with. With two highly successful memoirs, seven novels, and a collection of short stories under her belt, she's one of the premier names in erotica writing today. But don't let the genre term of erotica fool you. Pita's writing is elegant and lyric she seems to effortlessly bridge the gap between sex and literature. Her memoirs, The Story of M and its follow up, Beauty and Submission vividly detail her life as a love slave. And that's literal. M is the story of her meeting and falling in love and being initiated as her master's slave. Sometimes shocking, but always thoughtful, M and Beauty and Submission give a rare glimpse inside not only the BDSM lifestyle, but also inside the mind and heart of a woman who lives it. Her novels range from romantic (Recipe for Romance, Fabric of Love) to more traditional BDSM (Eternal Bondage, To Her Master Born) but all carry the Pita stamp where love and submission become intertwined and where her prose and passion shines. She's been featured in some of the premier anthologies (Hot Women's Erotica) and has recently branched into the online world with her first e-published novel, Whips & Whispers. In her own collection of shorts, Guilty Pleasures, Maria truly shines. It's a complex and varied collection that ranges in time and settings from ancient Egypt to the near-future. All of the worlds are beautifully rendered, and the tone and feel of each story is unique. But Pita's writing pulls all together into a cohesive, stunning collection.

1) Who are some of your favorite writers, and how do you think they've influenced you?

Joan Grant is my all-time favorite writer. She wrote a series of “Far Memory” books which for her were memories of past lives, but whether you believe that or not, when you read her books you really feel you’re somewhere else in time and space and her writing is beautiful. I hate historical fiction where the characters just transport their modern brains and feelings into a bygone culture, which misses the point entirely. Working on “Guilty Pleasures” I “felt” the time and place I wanted to write about and then just started talking into my digital micro-recorder, and I swear I don’t know where some of that stuff came from!
Barbara Michaels & Ellis Peters are also two of my favorite writers, which might explain the strong element of romantic suspense in my work. I love mystery, and I guess I substituted sex for murder as the heart of the plot.

2) What do you think is your greatest strength or asset in your writing? Your biggest weakness or flaw?

I really don’t know if I can look at my writing so objectively, that’s just how it comes out, but I think my greatest asset is the poetry of my prose, all the metaphors through which I express thoughts and feelings, which IMO reveal how the human soul is reflected in everything because it is everything, but I’ll stop there; I have a very metaphysical mind. My weaknesses were once quite great. At first my novels were full of “pet words” I used over and over again, like “mystery”, but as I began to define what I meant by that, I avoided pet words and clich├ęs more and more to the point where I have to say I’m pretty damn happy with my writing right now. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am now.

3) You've written novels, short stories, and memoirs. Which form do you enjoy the most? Do you ever feel more freedom in writing fiction as opposed to the memoirs? Do you think the brevity of the short story is more confining and harder than a novel, or is it more difficult to come up with and sustain the longer plot?

The memoirs were extremely painful to write because I was dredging up everything and being painfully honest about it and, frankly, I’d be happy never to write another memoir! For one thing, it disturbs me to have times in my life “set in stone” so to speak which gives the wrong impression, because whereas everything I expressed in those memoirs is true, life is change and in many ways I like to think I’ve continued growing and developing. I much prefer writing fiction. I think it’s more difficult to write a good story than a novel, but I like the fact that in a story you can be totally intense and not worry about filling the length out with dialogue and perhaps unnecessary scenes, yet I also love the development possible in novels and how you can sustain one suspenseful tale, whereas sometimes a story just teases you by making you want more.

4) In your memoirs, you're quite honest and forthcoming about the conflicts and struggles you've felt when it comes to certain aspects of submission in your relationship, and in much of your fiction we see the conflict of characters struggling with their own desires. Do you wrestle with these same conflicting feelings while writing your novels and stories? In other words, as an artist, do you ever struggle between writing what you want and what you feel would make a better narrative and better serve the reader?

No, I just can’t separate what I want and feel from the narrative because what I’m experiencing as I write is the whole point, not what anyone else thinks. When I write fiction, I start with the “seed” of a feeling, a desire, an image, and I just start writing without any idea what’s going to happen; I never have a fully developed outline, I’m just as intrigued and surprised as I want my readers to be by what happens to my character, which makes writing a lot of fun! After one scene ends I see an image like the frame of a movie and I “step into it” into the next scene, and the book unfolds as naturally as a seed germinating and sprouting and ending up as a tree.

5) In your short story collection, you criss-cross many "genres", even though overall it's primarily about erotic love. Do you ever feel like you have an obligation to approach these more erotic subjects, or do you always write solely to please yourself? Do you think this broadens your appeal, or do you think it could possibly harm your future "marketability"? Or do you not really care and you write it cause it suits you at the time?

That’s a lot of questions, but I don’t feel I have an obligation to do anything, so I guess that yes, I write to please myself, because I’m a very demanding reader and if I’m pleased, I’m pretty sure other people will be, too. If I’m not thrilled and engrossed and consumed while I’m writing something, I don’t think it would be worth anyone’s time to read it. As far as marketability goes, writing erotica definitely harms my ability to be taken seriously as a writer by mainstream literary critics, but I feel I have something important to say about our sexuality, which is a mystery still very much to be fathomed and properly understood and lived, IMO.

6) Stock question: Dinner with anyone, dead or alive. Who is it?

There are many people, mostly dead, some alive, I would love to have over for dinner. Joan Grant and Deepak Chopra would be a great combo! (LOL).

7) One CD, one book, one DVD and a desert island. What book, CD, and DVD do you take?

The CD would have to be Curve’s Greatest Hits, the DVD Excalibur, and the book Eyes of Horus, by Joan Grant.

8) When did you first get the feeling not that you wanted to write, but that you could be so successful at it? What are you working on now?

I’ve been writing since someone handed me a crayon! There was no doubt that someday, one day, I would be published because when that’s all you really passionately want to do in life, the odds are in your favor, even so, it took me years and years to get where I am, often with very little encouragement from anyone, but at least my family – my mother and brother are both poets – understood, even though they are rather shocked by my books! (LOL)

9) Suppose you can't have both: Would you rather have respect from your peers and critical acclaim (but not making cash from writing), or would you rather be a bestselling author with the fat coin?

Respect and critical acclaim. I think how I feel about writing makes that obvious.

Frigg, Quiction, TQR

A new edition of Quiction is online this week, featuring some nice work from G.C. Smith and Ginger Hamilton Caudill, among others.

There's also the fall edition of FRiGG up now. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but the artwork is as amazing as always.

And TQR: Total Quality Reading is now accepting submissions! Remember, this is a magazine catering to longer pieces of work (4 - 12k) which is a rarity. So polish up your best and send it in!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Justin Holt

Justin Holt is a talented guy with a novel out that's sure to please. Stylistically Palahniukian but with its own quirky flavor and unique plot, check out the very entertaining and enlightening Payday, and say hello to Justin.

1: Who are some of your favorite writers, and do you think they’ve
influenced you?

There is stuff I like from Chuck Palahniuk, Max Barry, Stephen King, Hemingway, Nick Hornby, and there are the Canadian writers that I found in college, writers like Alistair Macleod, Wayson Choy, and Sheldon Currie, all of whom I find amazing. And a friend of mine, Jason Kane, I enjoy his stuff just as much, if not more than anyone else I listed. But my favorite writer hands down is Bob Dylan. His songs are leagues beyond anything else out there, and his memoir Chronicles: Volume One is brilliant.

As for influence on my own writing, I don’t know. I write to my own attention span. If something runs too long, I get bored. I like concise writers. Jay McInerney’s books, especially Bright Lights, Big City were huge when I was writing Payday. I probably read that book a dozen or so times over the course of two years. And the second person narrative of Bright Lights gave me the idea to do that with Payday.

2: What do you think is your greatest strength or asset in your
writing? Your biggest weakness or flaw?

My greatest strength as a writer probably stems from my greatest fault as a reader. Since I have no attention span, I write to cater to my own deficiencies in a way. I don’t waste time describing the stuff I don’t notice in real life. But what I do write about, people say that I do it in a way that’s familiar, that they can visualize and sort of touch it, even if only to a memory they have of something similar, and I do it in a way that’s concise. I like that, because then whatever they are reading isn’t something that it’s not. It just is what it is. The chapters in Payday are rarely more than a couple of pages. When I’m reading a book, the first thing I do when I get to a new chapter is to look and see how long I’m going to have to commit to it. If it’s too long, the letdown is quick, and I’m more apt to give up on it. In my writing, I try to avoid that feeling.

I have many faults. I’m overly critical. I’m disorganized. I’m not that good at editing my own stuff. I tend to overwrite the scenes I don’t understand. And a lot of people tell me that the one thing I claimed as a strength is a flaw. Apparently people want to be told every last detail about everything. I’m too damn stubborn/disinterested to do that.

3: Where/How did you get your initial inspiration for PAYDAY?

My ex-girlfriend got a speeding ticket and had to attend a Defensive Driving Course. I went with her, having nothing better to do with a Saturday morning/afternoon. After I dropped her off I needed to kill time so I drove around for a while. After realizing that I still needed to kill five more hours I headed over to the community college, but found it more or less empty, with everyone away on Spring Break. The library building was unlocked though, so I went in. On the upper floor there was a giant neon sign on the first door that said something to the effect of Theft Prevention. The people inside left the door open so I sat outside and listened. These people were telling some really incredible stories about their lives as thieves, describing their addictions to stealing, and their methods. The meeting was, I guess, a sort of a class for them to attend to keep them out of jail. I was blown away. I worked in retail, so a lot of what they were saying; I thought about, trying to think if I’d ever seen anything like that before. After they took recess I went off into one of the classrooms and just sat down with a pen and a pad of paper. Within ten minutes I had two pages of drivel about the classroom I was sitting in.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, a teacher of mine called and told me that I had to send her writing samples of mine so she could forward them to Chuck Palahniuk, who was going to teach a writing workshop at my school. It was really last minute, and the first thing I found was that bit I wrote while killing time in that classroom, so I sent that off. When the workshop rolled around Chuck and I talked about the piece. He wrote Genius Description on the top of it, but said that it needed more. That was all it took for me to want to keep going, so after the Conference was over, some fellow writer friends of mine and I started a writing workshop. The bit about the classroom and the bit about the Theft Prevention sort of meshed together early on and I felt right away that I had the foundations of something.

A couple of months into the workshop, after I’d moved back home for the summer, I continued to work in retail, and one day while a fellow associate and I were sitting around, she told me this story about someone who used to work in that store, who would steal big ticket items by pretending that he was doing carry outs for customers. He was taking televisions, and entertainment centers, and DVD players. I laughed, but as I drove home that day it hit me, she gave me the perfect catalyst that I needed for my story. The main character was going to work in retail and he was going to be a thief. And while I wasn’t a thief, I figured I could get my frustrations about working in retail out through this character at the same time. So that’s what I did.

The initial bit about the classroom and Theft Prevention eventually fell out before it became Payday, but as my ex-girlfriend said, that was the best speeding ticket of all time.

4: Other than fiction writing, what’s the biggest lie you’ve ever

Its probably involved love. Most of my dating life has consisted of me dating women that I had no real connection with. I knew it each and every time going in, and I always had my “I’m sorry, but this isn’t going to work” line ready to go. I just never used them. Next thing I’d know, months or years had passed by and I was still with them, screaming inside to get the hell out. I guess there is a bit of that in Payday, in regards to a relationship the main character has with one of the women in the book. But I suppose it wasn’t so much a lie as it was the fact that I had no real backbone to just be honest. And in the end it wasn’t a series of lies, just one big one that I couldn’t stop telling myself. Love is a tricky thing. Especially when you know that it doesn’t exist in the situation you’re in. But, like most lies, it caught up with me when I finally did find love and didn’t know how to deal with it.

5: What can you tell us about what you’re working on now?

I got about 25,000 words into my next project before I realized that it had gone completely Adaptation on me, and I’d written myself into the story. I’m deciding what to do, whether to keep going, trash it, or find a way to totally funk the entire thing up. What I will probably do is write a novel that no one will ever read, and take the parts of it that I like and infuse it into something else that isn’t me.

6: Stock question: Dinner with anyone, dead or alive. Who is it?

My ex-girlfriend, hands down. I have no hero worship towards anyone, and I’m not intrigued enough by famous people, or even people whose work I respect, to ever want to meet them/have dinner with them. But my ex-girlfriend, she was the one person in this world I felt 100% comfortable around, even when I wasn’t comfortable with myself. And she called me on my bullshit. I’ve always respected that.

7: What do you look forward to most in the summer?

That’s easy. New York Yankee baseball is as close as I will ever get to religion. And after the last five years of futility, I’ve lost a good decade off my life from stress. I take it way too serious, but I’ve always been that way. Ever since I started playing baseball, I fell in love with it. And to be honest, since I stopped playing it after college, there’s been this enormous void that I can’t seem to replace. Watching the Yankees helps. But watching them lose doesn’t. And the worst part isn’t really them losing as much as it is having to hear all of the idiot “fans” who latch on to other teams just because they hate the Yankees and want to see them lose. If you’re a fan of a team, stay a fan of the team. And if your team isn’t the one who beat the Yankees, shut the hell up already, you have no place to say anything. These “fans” are always the same people who can’t name five players on the Yankees (they always stop after Jeter and Arod), let alone two people on the team who beat them. Ignorance fires me up.

This was supposed to be a happy question. See, I do take this stuff way too serious.

8: One cd, one book, one DVD and a desert island. What book, CD, and
DVD do you take?

My one material vice are CDs. I’ll cheat and say that I would burn a compilation that would include Dylan, Ani Difranco, dredg, Flogging Molly, Fiona Apple, Nas, Frank Sinatra, and others. But if I couldn’t do that, the album would be Blood on the Tracks by Dylan. The DVD, Braveheart. The book, if you mean novel, would be either Choke by Palahniuk or Empire Falls by Russo, depending what type of mood I’m in when it’s time to vacate to the island.

9: You can't have both: Would you rather have respect from your peers
and critical acclaim (but not be making cash from writing), or would
you rather be a best-selling author with the fat coin?

We all take the same amount of money with us when we die. I wouldn’t want the expectations or responsibility that money and fame involve. Respect and critical acclaim come with expectations too, and you’re set up for the inevitable fall when you put out something that someone with pen doesn’t like. Peers and acclaim are just as fleeting as money. If I can make the one person I care about most in the world smile, that’s enough for me.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Edward Moore in new anthology

My pal Edward Moore has a story in the just released anthology Friends. I can't wait to get hold of it and check him out!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Tobacco Road by Myfanwy Collins

Read this:
Tobacco Road by Myfanwy Collins.

What a stunning essay in a top-notch magazine. Congrats Myfanwy!

Ink Pot and Bob Arter

Some sad literary news: The final issue of Ink Pot is now available. A long round of applause to the generous Beverly Jackson for doing such a wonderful job with this magazine. It will be sorely missed.

On the bright side, Ink Pot is also now offering a limited edition "The Collected Works of the Inimitable Bob Arter". Bob Arter is inimitable. And fabulous in every sense of the word. Order here: Ink Pot

Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz

One of the most talented, and prolific, writers I know of is Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz. Her range is incredible. She can turn up to the heat and send ice through your veins. Her blog is up and running, and it should be a great to keep up with her, cause she always has something new going on and being published. (Most writers would KILL for her credentials. It just makes me insanely jealous, but that's mitigated by the fact that she so richly earns her credits.)

Fall In Love

Angie Ross graciously invited me to participate in an anthology she's putting together. I read her book, False Security, and really enjoyed it, and I dig her idea, so I'm going to jump on board with a contribution. If you're looking for something to submit to, here's the deal, we'd love to have some solid contributions!


Have you ever fallen in love? Have you smiled so much that your heart aches with happiness? Have you been pulled under so completely that you feared you might drown under love’s vicious waves?

Author Angie Ross, along with authors Susan DiPlacido and Kate McGee, invite female authors to tell their fictional stories on love for a short story collection. We are looking for truly innovative stories about realistic and unique female characters falling in love, whether that character wins over the guy, has a torrid affair, or experiences heart wrenching rejection.

If you are an up-and-coming female author and feel you have a story inside you to share with the world, submit approximately the first 1,000 words of your story to Please put “short story submission” in the subject line. All stories must be told from first person point of view and in present tense, and be between 8,000 to 12,000 words. We will select the top stories to join us in this collection. Once the collection is complete, we will seek agency representation and publication of the collection. Thank you and good luck!

Website redesign

Well. I'm in the midst of a big overhaul on my website. I hope to have it uploaded this evening. If you get a chance, drop by and check out the new look and tell me what you think. My Website

Monday, October 03, 2005

The War Bug by Biff Mitchell

Biff Mitchell's The War Bug is now available in paperback!

Biff is the author of some fantastic novels. Among them, Team Player, Heavy Load, and now available in paperback, The War Bug.

The War Bug
In just a few hours, Abner Hayes' wife and daughter are going to die, and the only way he can save their lives is to team up with a deadly computer virus and travel through time and space in a virtual universe that itself has only hours to live. Through suicidal game worlds, virtual landscapes that threaten to devour the unwary, and a series of insidious cyber traps, Abner and the virus must stay one step ahead of sinister forces that will stop at nothing to destroy his family in order to steal their incredible secret. Spliced with dark humor and intricate characters, The War Bug is a non-stop roller coaster thriller into a terrifying future.

The War Bug at Amazon, or go here for a plethora of buying options such as B&N, Powells, and discounted price at Shockwave.