Guest post by Catherine Cavendish: The White Lady of Porcia Castle

Last year, the terrific Catherine Cavendish visited my blog with a very fascinating read. She returns here with her latest book, and more wonderful reading. Thanks, Catherine!
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The White Lady of Porcia Castle

My latest book – Waking the Ancients – centres largely on sinister and ghostly activities within a magnificent haunted house in Vienna, Austria’s elegant and fascinating capital.

Vienna is the sort of city where ghosts walk by your side at night through quaint, winding streets in the old part of the city. Music forms the breath of the city and you can almost hear the haunting strains of The Blue Danubeas you wonder at the grandeur of its many palaces.

But Vienna isn’t Austria and all over this picturesque country, you can find echoes of its imperial past when the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled over so much of the European continent.

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Today, I want to take you to a haunted castle. Situated in the centre of the town of Spittal an der Drau in the Austrian state of Carinthia, stands the magnificent Renaissance edifice of Schloss Porcia.

Built at the instigation of Count Gabriel von Salamanca-Ortenburg, in 1533, the castle’s splendour was designed to reflect the achievements of its owner who was treasurer and confidant to Archduke Ferdinand I of Austria. Sad to say, the Count never lived here as construction continued on until 1598 – some 59 years after his death.

Ghost stories abound today, as they have for most of the castle’s life. In a forgotten banana box in the town’s archive, employees found the bones of fifteen members of the Salamanca family dating from the 17thand 18thcenturies. In 2010, these bones were ceremonially reburied and everyone hoped that would put an end to the ghostly sightings. It didn’t. Both the bead of the castle’s museum and the town’s mayor engaged in ghost hunts, inviting several teams of ghosthunters to mount investigations and get to the bottom or precisely who was haunting the castle.

Almost certainly, one major contender is Katharina von Salamanca. She was the last descendant of the Count and was infamous for her miserliness. She walled all her treasures up in the castle and so that no one would ever discover their hiding place, she had the bricklayer murdered. Not only that, an unfortunate maid felt the full force of her wrath when Katharina discovered her discussing the whereabouts of the fortune. Her mistress killed her with a clog.

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Many visitors claim to have heard strange noises in a number of rooms. She appears and disappears apparently at will in one courtyard and floats through the arcaded courtyard.On occasions, her shape has been seen manifesting in the window glass. She has also appeared in photographs as a ghostly figure. She is known as the White Lady and no prizes for guessing why.

The reason she haunts is disputed but she may have been cursed to eternally wander the castle in penance for her remorseless behaviour toward her employees.

Since 1951, the castle has been owned by the municipality of Spittal an der Drau and is open to the public. Maybe, if you visit, the White Lady will accompany you on your tour…

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Waking the Ancients

Legacy In Death

Egypt, 1908
University student Lizzie Charters accompanies her mentor, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus, on the archeological dig to uncover Cleopatra’s tomb. Her presence is required for a ceremony conducted by the renowned professor to resurrect Cleopatra’s spirit—inside Lizzie’s body. Quintillus’s success is short-lived, as the Queen of the Nile dies soon after inhabiting her host, leaving Lizzie’s soul adrift . . .

Vienna, 2018
Paula Bancroft’s husband just leased Villa Dürnstein, an estate once owned by Dr. Quintillus. Within the mansion are several paintings and numerous volumes dedicated to Cleopatra. But the archeologist’s interest in the Egyptian empress deviated from scholarly into supernatural, infusing the very foundations of his home with his dark fanaticism. And as inexplicable manifestations rattle Paula’s senses, threatening her very sanity, she uncovers the link between the villa, Quintillus, and a woman named Lizzie Charters.

And a ritual of dark magic that will consume her soul . . .

You can find Waking the Ancients here:

Kensington Press

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple

Google

Kobo

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About the Author:

Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy– Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plusThe Devil’s Serenade,The Pendle Curseand Saving Grace Devine. She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here:

 Catherine Cavendish

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO WRITE?

HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO WRITE?

We all live busy lives. Every single one of us. With the amount of distraction out there, it seems there’s even less time than ever to devote to a craft you love. People have classes, families, work, and every bit of life commitment towering above their time to write.

Last night, at a Halloween party, me and a few friends were discussing this very issue. My ten-year-old son was running around jump-scaring people. My eyes and ears were tuned to him, even as our group chatted. That’s testament to how much information processes through my head at any moment. And my situation is less extreme than many other people.

“How do you find the time to write all those stories and novels?” That’s a question I get often, as I’m seen as rather prolific.

The very first thing to realize is that you have to want to tell your story or stories. If you’re not passionate about them, no one else will be, either.

Which leads into my own method. It’s been years since I’ve had the luxury of prolonged writing sessions. I’m lucky to get an hour occasionally.

But . . . don’t writers live by the ocean in a big house, overlooking the sea, and sit behind big wooden desks with their only worry being their brilliant creations?

If only. Very few authors get to that level. That’s some sort of myth that’s somehow crept into the collective consciousness. The other big myth that’s out there is that one day: “. . . I’m going to finally get time to retire and become a writer, and all the money and acclaim will come to me when the world reads my stuff.”

Well, like the man sings: “ . . . if dreams came true, wouldn’t that be nice!”

Back to reality. Or at least my reality.

I’ve figured out my best, most fruitful time is the morning, right after I wake up. Your brain may work differently. But this works for me.

Before I get out of bed, before I do a damn thing, I write. I grab my iPhone and open Google Docs, which is free. Very often I’m transcribing a dream. If it’s not a dream, then it may be a song I heard in my head, and sometimes even story fragments. If none of those have manifested, then I will continue on a writing project I’ve already started. It could be a short story, or a novel, or what have you.

The important thing is to get words down. I don’t worry much about punctuation. I can fix that when I’m exhausted. Same with formatting. Although the thing I love about Google Docs on the iPhone is the way it scales the text to the screen size. It actually looks good. There are other programs, but none of them look as elegant to me. Again, the choice is yours. I like that it syncs right then and there. I don’t have to worry about data loss. I can pick up later on my iMac or my Chromebook and it’s all there.

ASIDE: I always, always check my stuff in MS Word on a real computer before sending it out. I’ve been burned when simply exporting to a DOC from every other word processing program and not at least doing a check. The most common thing that happens to me is that when track changes gets used, all the deleted stuff ends up back in the document, making it quite a mess.

Here’s the important part. I use my built-in timer. Within about ten minutes or so nature calls. That seems kind of gross writing it out here, but it’s a signal that the day is about to begin. Everything switches. People hear you’re up. Your pets know you’re up. The business of living begins and pulls you out of that comfortable zone of creation.

And if nothing else, you’ve gotten something down that day. That’s how I always feel. If the day starts, and there’s fire after fire to put out, I’ve gotten something done that advances my writing.

And it can sure add up fast. In novel writing mode, I can get out 500 words or so in ten minutes. That’s a chapter every two and a half days. An entire draft in two months. Not bad. It’s amazing how much you look forward to your time once you start. While you’re busy during the day, your thoughts are working. The story unfolds. You even sometimes write in your head before you can even get back to putting it down. Then it goes quicker, and you’re very productive.

This method can also spill into other times. Say you take 15 minutes of your hour long lunch break and do the same. Or 15 minutes at the end of the night. Whatever works out, works out.

It’s my hope this helps some folks find the inspiration to follow their hearts and find even the smallest bit of time to write their stories. Happy writing. If you use this, please comment here and let me know. I’d love to hear the story about how you wrote your story!

Crystal Lake author interview for “Perrollo’s Ladder”

Tales from the Lake Vol. 1
Here’s a short interview with me over at the Crystal Lake site. Here I’m talking about the genesis of “Perrollo’s Ladder”, the story that appears in TALES FROM THE LAKE, VOLUME ONE. Hope y’all dig it! This is a great collection of short fiction, and am honored to be included. Volume Two promises to be just as great, and there’s a writing competition, so all you writers, juice up those pens and processors!

http://www.crystallakepub.com/blog/tales-from-the-lake-vol-1-author-interview-john-palisano

 

13 Questions with Joan De La Haye

Tales from the Lake Vol. 1 The Crystal Lake crew are a pretty awesome bunch. My stuff has appeared alongside Joan De La Haye’s in both HORROR 101 and TALES FROM CRYSTAL LAKE, VOLUME ONE. Here, we have a great probing interview about a few things horror, a few more creative, and a bunch about writing. Hope you dig it. I did, and South Africa seems pretty interesting from afar. http://joandelahaye.com/2014/05/24/13-questions-with-john-palisano/ Horror 101 The Way Forward

Here’s a neat interview with the talented Joan De La Haye: http://www.crystallakepub.com/blog/tales-from-the-lake-vol-1-author-interview-joan-de-la-haye.
The Goodreads page for Tales From The Lake Volume One: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21844506-tales-from-the-lake-vol-1?from_search=true
Tales from The Lake can already be purchased directly from Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/4784430

1. What drives you to write?

It’s an exorcism for me to write. I have terrible nightmares that give me insomnia. They’re extremely vivid. I have a very over active imagination. I’m always thinking something terrible is about to happen. Writing gets that out. Writing smooths the edges. Writing takes a lot of my head, and gets rid of them. Sometimes.

2. What attracted you to writing horror?

Every minute were alive, there’s a threat to us. I felt this pull to the Darkside at a very young age. Always been fascinated with what’s beyond. I think it ties into my spirituality,  in a way. There’s a lot of fear living in this world, a lot of uncertainty. Horror helps put that in its place. Or allows you to transcend. That’s what’s always fascinated me. I’m not big on slashers or where people are captured and tortured, but rather, journeys into the unknown. Things in the shadows. Things unseeable

3. Who are your favourite horror writers?

Most of the classic big names, of course, but I’ve been really interested in a lot of contemporary horror. I love the new weird fiction crop, including Laird Barron, Jeff VanderMeer, Thomas Ligotti, and those people. I also love bizarro fiction, like Carlton Mellek and Cody Goodfellow. It’s been an embarrassment of riches for dark fiction over the past few years. There’s so much good stuff, I just wish I had more time.

4. Which horror novels do you think every horror fan should read?

I think they should read the contemporary novels that appeal to them first. Then, if they like something from Laird Barron, for example, then go out and seek Lovecraft and Poe. I think it’s important for people to be engaged, and not feel like they’re doing work. I highly recommend going to library or bookstore and going into sections you’ve never been before and exploring. There’s horror to be found everywhere. Also, there are fantastic stories and writing to be explored all sorts of genres.
5. Ebooks or paperback?

I think they’re both fantastic, actually. The new Kindle that’s backlit is my main reading device. Practically? It’s backlit, so one can read it in the dark without disturbing anybody else in the room, and I can read extremely fast. It’s quite pleasurable. On the flipside, reading on an iPad is okay, but in the middle of the night, even with the brightness turned all the way down, it feels to me like looking into a flashlight. It’s just a little bit much in comparison to a Kindle.

Paper books can be great. If the book is bound well, and put together nicely, I’m apt to read it. I love the John Steinbeck millennium additions because of the ragged edges, great design, and great feel. To be honest, I’ve never liked reading a lot of books because they were heavy and uncomfortable. And in the indie press, so much are so uncomfortable to read, format-wise, that I often stop, so it all depends.

6. What would make you pick up a novel by a new author?

A great cover’ll grab me. I’m not going to lie. I judge book by covers. We all do, even though we wish we didn’t. I have found gems that were horribly put together. I Will Rise by Michael Calvillo was one such book. The first edition I had sported a dreadful cover, and the layout left a lot to be desired. But his writing shone through.

7. Who is your favourite fictional character?

That would probably be the idealized version of myself, although I think that’s shattered when I see myself in the mirror, or see a picture of myself that someone’s posted.

8. Do you plot your stories or does it just unfold before your eyes?

I studied plot and structure so much, and so extensively, at Emerson in Boston, and AFI in Los Angeles, that I usually don’t write things out. I usually have a pretty good idea early on where things are headed, and what I usually do instead is write out a character form, like I do if I were acting and developing the person. That process usually informs me, and tells me most everything I need to know about the story to come. Knowing the characters is everything in my process.

9. Do your characters take on a life of their own and do things you didn’t plan?

They certainly do, and even in something that is plot driven, like a screenplay, it leads to some better surprises.

10. Do you listen to music when you write or do you need silence?

You may notice that I’m quite moody, and this is no exception. There are times when I’m writing a fight scene, and I’ll crank Van Halen. There will be other times when I prefer dead silence. Or sometimes I put on something like Coldplay just to get a kind of flow and rhythm.

Often when I’m writing a book or story, I’ll actually compose music to it. This helps my free-form thinking, and forms the story in ways I never predicted. I wrote an entire album of songs for my first novel because one of the characters had a famous album in the 1960s. I had to know what it sounded like, and had to write the lyrics. It was very important to the story to know all those details. I do all sorts of styles of music to make soundtracks for my books. It’s part of my writing process in a major way.

11. Do you do a lot of research for your stories?

In fact, I often do. Many people believe they’re in my books. Friends I grew up with. People I’m in relationships with. But what they don’t understand is my writing is like a collage. I grew up during the rap generation, where you take one element and then put it on top of something else, and make something completely different out of it. I’ve always loved that concept, but often felt that rap music fell short of really using it to its potential, of massaging found elements and making them new. Public Enemy was one of the only groups I felt that really brought that to an apex. But in writing, I do that with almost every story.
I’ll take elements from my life that I know are real, pieces of the conversation, descriptions, locations slightly altered, and then use that as a springboard to something completely different. So character may have one or two traits I’ll borrow from myself or friend, but I will twist it so far left and right, that by the end, it’s unrecognizable, it goes back to writing what you know. You’ve got to sprinkle enough reality to ground the reader, to make your story living, so that when the horrible things start happening, you’re right there.
12. Facebook or Twitter?

Mostly Facebook, but I’ve been dialing it back. Trying to cut down on the noise. And I’m not so wholly interested in what people had for dinner, or that they drank too much last night, or that they’re mad at going to work. It just feels extremely narcissistic, and I’m growing increasingly uncomfortable. Maybe I’m just growing older, but more likely I just crave simplicity. I have notebooks filled with stories I’d like to tackle, albums I’d like to write, and I don’t want to waste my precious time on nonsense. That being said, sometimes people have laughed at me because I watch five episodes of something stupid like Judge Judy to tune out. There’s that moodiness again.
13. What really pisses you off about writing?

The act of writing itself doesn’t piss me off. Not at all. I love it. The business of writing drives me batty. There’s so much garbage out there that gets in the way of writing time. People love to talk about writing endlessly. Everybody that can string two sentences together has a theory, a plan, or a book, or story in them. That’s all fine, and I’ve gone through that all myself, but there’s nothing as wonderful as sitting at a desk or in a coffee shop with a blank notebook and  pen and finding the rhythm. Those are the precious moments that make me most happy. It’s frustrating when that time isn’t respected by others, or when people don’t think you’re actually working, and especially when everybody thinks they can do exactly what you do. That is obnoxious. It’d be like me going to a hospital, putting on gloves, and operating, because I’ve seen every single episode of ER that’s ever been on the air. We may have a good idea, but there’s intricacies, muscle memories, that come into play that are actually crucial to making an operation a success.

I blame novel in a month for this new plague. When they started that project, it got out that writing 1300 words or so a day was ideal so that you could make a goal of writing a novel in a month. That thought spread like wildfire. I see writers all the time talking about their word counts. To me, it doesn’t tell me if those are good words, bad words, and especially, the right words. Writing is rewriting. Just because you can vomit out 60,000 words in a month doesn’t mean they won’t need tending to. It’s what you do during the rewriting process that really counts. And I know most people are just writing their stories top to bottom, and then pressing upload, and they’re on the Kindle. While I don’t believe in having writing  un-accessible, I think this lack of a vetting process has become a problem. And it’s also stripped a lot of the magic out of having a book out. I can’t tell you how many times I tell people I have a book, and they’re later surprised to find out that it’s actually with a traditional publisher, and I haven’t just put it out myself.

But I think the thing that makes me angriest about writing, is that there never seems to be enough time to do so. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that sentiment.

13 Questions with Joan De La Haye

Tales from the Lake Vol. 1

The Crystal Lake crew are a pretty awesome bunch. My stuff has appeared alongside Joan De La Haye’s in both HORROR 101 and TALES FROM CRYSTAL LAKE, VOLUME ONE. Here, we have a great probing interview about a few things horror, a few more creative, and a bunch about writing. Hope you dig it. I did, and South Africa seems pretty interesting from afar.

13 Questions with John Palisano

Horror 101 The Way Forward

Here’s a neat interview with the talented Joan De La Haye: http://www.crystallakepub.com/blog/tales-from-the-lake-vol-1-author-interview-joan-de-la-haye.

The Goodreads page for Tales From The Lake Volume One: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21844506-tales-from-the-lake-vol-1?from_search=true

 

Tales from The Lake can already be purchased directly from Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/4784430

 

Reviews of “Forever”

Recently, there’s been some great reviews of “After Death”, an anthology edited by Eric G. Guignard. I’m thrilled that “Forever” has been touching readers. It was a very difficult story to write. Not technically, but just going to such a place and bringing up some serious emotion from me. Very happy people are reading. I’m biased, but I really love so many of the stories in this collection. Death and dying has always fascinated me, and exploring different ideas of what happens is equally so. I’m not one of those who believes that this is it. Fascinating to think about what it all might mean.

SHOCK TOTEM:
“And in “Forever,” the strongest story in the lot, John Palisano weaves a quilt of sadness, loss, and heartbreak that will leave you reeling. I have no words to express the emotions this tale stirs, but stirs it does and quite violently. Brilliant!”

AMAZING STORIES:
“Some were even emotional like “Forever” by John Palisano. I admit I cried reading this tale about a woman on her death bed being guided to the afterlife by her pet dog.”

OTHER REVIEWS:
“It was no surprise to me that the John Palisano story “Forever” is as good as it is. I loved Palisano’s novel Nerves, and his stories “Available Light” (Lovecraft EZine) and “The Tennatrick” (Midnight Walk) are some of the best Lovcraftian stories I’ve read. But I wasn’t prepared for how sentimental and wonderful “Forever” is.”

“Forever by John Palisano is a bit different from the other stories in the book. It is a touching, heartwarming, heart wrenching tale that will make you smile and make you cry.”

The original articles are here:
http://www.shocktotem.com/08/23/2013/after-death/

Review: After Death edited by Eric J. Guignard

AFTER DEATH can be grabbed at:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0988556928/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0988556928&linkCode=as2&tag=shoctotepubl-20

13 & 1/2 Things You Didn’t Know About Jeremy C. Shipp

Here’s a little fun thing Jeremy C. Shipp has given to us. Instead of the usual Q & A interview, we’re trying something a little bit different here. Enjoy. And be sure to check out Jeremy’s writing. It’s a lot of fun.

 

Jeremy Shipp photo

 

13 & 1/2 Things You Didn’t Know About Jeremy C. Shipp

 

1. Everything I know about the past and future I learned from the Flintstones and the Jetsons.

 

2. My shoe size is 9.5. My elf shoe size is 12 twinkles. But in truth I don’t often wear shoes. I’m like a Hobbit, only my feet are hairier and I’m less likely to go on adventures.

 

3. The “C” in Jeremy C. Shipp stands for one of these words: Curmudgeon, Calvin, Christopher, Cacodaemon, Crispy, Cookie, Cullen, Crabapple, Chubasco.

 

4. I live in a semi-haunted Victorian farmhouse full of lazy ghosts who won’t even help me with the dishes.

 

5. None of my toes have much of a personality, except for the middle toe on my right foot. His name is Roy. He speaks in riddles and he sings like the toe of an angel.

 

6. My first memory is the memory of a nightmare about a monster.

 

7. The clowns in my attic look a lot like me, but I don’t know why.

 

8. When I was in 4th grade, I wrote my first short story. The tale is about UFOs and aliens and a planet called “Bad,” where good things go bad and bad things get worse. I have visited this planet on a few occasions, and let me tell you, it’s not much fun.

 

9. I believe in unicorns, but they don’t believe in me.

 

10. In my opinion, the meaning of life is to get so wrapped up in living that you don’t care about the meaning anymore. Oh, and the meaning of life is also French fries.

 

11. I love talking dogs, but not the racist ones.

 

12. Years ago, I found a parrot on the street and nursed him back to health. As soon as he regained his strength, he laughed like a mad clown and knocked over his food dish. Then he flew behind me and bit the back of my neck, again and again. I don’t blame him. The back of my neck is a jerk.

 

13. I am, in fact, a giant yard gnome. I have lived so long among humans, I often forget that I’m not one of you. More often than not, I eat human French fries and I wear human T-shirts. However, on the gnomic holidays, I wear the traditional pointy red cap with pride.

 

13.5. You’re not going to believe this, but in my spare time, I like to wrap myself in–

 

http://www.jeremycshipp.com

Free stories: http://jeremycshipp.wordpress.com/free-stories/

Books: http://www.amazon.com/Jeremy-C.-Shipp/e/B002BM34KS

Welcome to ‘Dungeon Brain’

Today I’m interviewing author Benjamin Kane Ethridge about his new book DUNGEON BRAIN. To me, it’s one of his wildest books to date, and this coming from the person who won a Bram Stoker award for his fantastic first novel BLACK & ORANGE. Please, if you enjoy this, click on the links below and grab some of Ben’s stellar works.

1. What was the first story you remember reading? Does it still influence you today? 

I remember “The Marvelous Land of Oz,” which included different hero characters than “The Wizard of Oz” and it always intrigued me how I didn’t mind at all—considering how much I loved the characters from the first novel. I was blown away, barring some returning characters like the Scarecrow and Tin Man, by how these new characters, the boy Tip and the evil witch Mombi, could be put in a sequel and the story still wasn’t a let-down. Even at a young age I had certain expectations of my return trip to Oz and it was amazing to me that I didn’t need to meet those expectations to be thoroughly entertained and consumed with the story. Of course, I was probably alone in this because Frank Baum brought Dorothy back into the mix for the next four books and in subsequent books down the road. I was influenced by all these tales though, but particularly “The Marvelous Land of Oz” because I gained awareness that some stories didn’t have to follow the same rules every time.

2. If the world ends tomorrow, would you be happy? Why? 

No. I have more stories to tell, but more importantly, my children have their lives ahead of them. I’d like to witness those lives unfold. Now, have I lived a good life? Definitely. But there’s still too much growing left to do. Happiness upon imminent death will need to occur at another time!

3. You’re walking with friends along a street in broad daylight. Everything is just perfect, until you see a group of kids ganging up on another one and beating him. What would you do? 

I’d call the police. I’ve broken up fights before and that’s a bad position to be in; the peacekeeper is normally the person who gets his or her ass kicked the most. I recall being soundly punched by both the bully and the victim while intervening in a fight that broke out in a high school classroom. So yeah, I’d get the cops involved. That’s their speciality.

4. Is it true that everything a person does in life has to center around the sexual impulse and procreation? 

Yes. The buried, panting animal of my subconscious hopes someone reading this interview is thinking, “Oh, I’ve just got to mate with this guy!”

5. Are you opposed to eating dog or cat meat? It is common in other cultures. Does the thought revolt you? 

If I was part of those other cultures, it wouldn’t bother me I’m sure. Otherwise, I couldn’t bring myself to eat Fido or Fluffy. Weird thing is, I wouldn’t be grossed out if someone else did it right in front of me. Meat is meat is meat. I just have too many memories of my pets that would prevent me from enjoying those two species without some measure of remorse.

6. ‘Dungeon Brain’ is quite an intriguing, twisted story. Can you enlighten us about its creation?

I woke up one morning with Metallica’s song ONE in my head. I had black and white images of war still in my memory from a dream I couldn’t quite recall. I began to jot down notes about what I believed the dream could have been about. That’s where DUNGEON BRAIN manifested from.

7. What is your writing area like? Details, please. Desk with a computer? What kind of computer? What programs do you use? Do you write by hand? A certain time of day? 

Writing area. Beware! These parts are cluttered and dusty. Since I’ve become a novelist, I’ve been horrible at keeping anything in order. Just above my keyboard, in the general desk area: various pens, pencils, flash drives, a never-used candle, a shot-glass, post-it notes, business cards, cough drops, paper clips, a few wrist watches with dead batteries, some Oral B Satin dental floss (in the container, I’m not that dirty), Altoids, and a series of USB cables I can’t part with yet. I also have a writer’s lamp with a green glass shade and a fake gold stand; stylish beyond reason, I know. At the level of my eyes sits a Sony Vaio All-In-One computer, with a Windows Vista 64-bit OS, and Microsoft Word my devil of choice. It does everything I need it to do. My only complaint is I have no idea how I would go about modifying my computer like I used to with my tower desktops. However, I’ve been happy with the performance so hopefully no mods will ever be required. On the act itself: I seldom write by hand, but I enjoy it when the occasion strikes me. I usually write very early or very late at night, and I almost always write on my lunch breaks at work.

 8. You’ve just received an unlimited check. What’s the first thing you do? 

Buy all media (radio, tv, internet, movies, newspapers, etc). I would refuse to let political functions advertise anything misleading. And since I’d have some power now, I’d say that any lies circulated for the express purpose of gaining an elected position would be cause for everlasting dismissal from the political process. I’m sick of people buying into lies without investigating the facts. It’s depressing and dangerous and as long as money is involved, it is permanent.

 9. One of the biggest fans of your work happens to knock on your door. Do you answer? What happens next? 

Sure I would answer and I would have that person start up a fan club. Hopefully they are a go-getter and can spread the good word. This is all after I stop weeping on his/her shoulder, of course.

 10. What can we look forward to you in the near future? 

NIGHTMARE BALLAD, the beginning of a trilogy from Journal Stone books. Should be arriving in February 2013. And later in the year, next Halloween in fact, will be my latest Black & Orange book, entitled NOMADS.

11. Where can we find Ben online/offline/upline/downline?

Thank you for these unique and entertaining questions John. I appreciate you having me! Below are some sites where you can check out my work online. Offline, you’d have to live in Rancho Cucamonga and have a very loud voice. Upline, my info is printed on the hook in the fish’s mouth. Downline, the fisherman has all my details tattooed on his hands, which was a silly impulsive thing he did because he thought it would get him laid. That, and trying to catch the biggest fish in the lake, all in the name of increasing his odds at procreation. What a spaz.

www.bkethridge.com

Amazon author site: www.amazon.com/author/benjaminethridge

Twitter: @bkethridge

Following the light

Over the past day or so I’ve been working hard on a new screenplay. I’m at page 70, and it’s been hard won. With this one, I’m trying to make each scene sing, be funny, and be entertaining. I’m trying to cut out as much fat as I can during the process. Not easy. I’m used to throwing it all down and then going back and editing later. It’s really good to edit, but in making smart choices early on, I’m trying to minimize that, and make it as enjoyable a draft right out of the gate as possible.

I really don’t think I have a muse. I used to. I believed girlfriends were my muses. Then my wife was my muse. But then it dawned on me that it’s all coming from me, and that there’s nothing wrong with being in love with someone, and they can be very inspirational, but ultimately, John was steering the ship.

In fact, when I shared the reigns and let people in, the results were always disastrous. I should have listened to Springsteen when he said how very important it is that art is coming from one true voice.

Okay. So it took me a long time to know that, and make it happen. The results have been excellent. My book NERVES was uncompromised– my first major work that made it to the world with no one else but me to blame. It was terrifying. I couldn’t point any fingers. Its success and failure resided inside me.

Gratefully, it’s been met with almost overwhelmingly positive reviews. I’m so relieved.

I once heard a pastor say that if you are following your correct path, that it will bear fruit for your efforts. Writing has done that, and continues to. Every moment feels like I’m following the light.