10 stories – 10 authors. 100% of proceeds go to The Hunger Project.
Have You Considered Voodoo by Wayne Zurl
Good Boy by Jonathon Kane
Accidents Will Happen by Maria Savva
Wish List by James Everington
Kellie Takes A Mulligan by Joe Schwartz
The Story by Julie Elizabeth Powell
The Waxed Jacket by Geoffrey West
Jane Doe’s Last Straw by Mitsuki Yoruichi and Max E. Stone
Wednesday’s Child by Jay Faulkner
True Colors by Darcia Helle
Here’s a video I made to help promote our cause, and open people’s eyes to the prevalence of hunger, poverty, and homelessness. I hope you’ll take the time to watch and share:
I hope you’ll consider buying a copy. Please help us help the hungry.
My sincere appreciation goes out to all the authors who contributed a story, and also to our fabulous editor Robert Helle. All of these people gave their time and hard work to help me put a dream into motion. I am forever grateful.
Remember this name: James Everington. If you like dark, weird, warped, horror, and edgy fiction, you’ll want to read his work. I recently read his short story collection The Other Room, which had me on the edge of my seat throughout. James is here today to talk to us about this collection. First, a little about the man behind the words:
I’m a writer from Nottingham, England- most of what I write is dark, supernatural fiction, although not necessarily ‘horror’ in the blood and guts sense. My main influences are writers like Ramsey Campbell, Shirley Jackson, and Robert Aickman. I enjoy the unexplained, the psychological, and the ambiguous in my weird fiction.I think a lot of the best such fiction has been done in the short story form (although that’s not to say I won’t be trying a novel at some point…)
The Other Room is a collection of weird horror fiction, containing twelve stories of the uncanny and the surreal.
A naive student finds that his crumbling bedsit can be as haunted as any Gothic mansion.
A man stumbles across another world which is the mirror image of his own.
A young woman who everyone thinks is beautiful wonders why, given what she sees in the mirror each morning.
Influenced by writers such as Ramsey Campbell, Shirley Jackson, and Robert Aickman these tales, like all good horror stories, are as much about the psychology of the protagonist as the fate that awaits them.
The Other Room contains both new and previously published stories that will challenge your conceptions of horror and literary fiction.
Now for our chat:
At the end of The Other Room anthology, you give readers insight into how and why you created your stories. One thing you said, which I’d immediately noticed in your writing, is that horror stories are reflections of our real worries and fears. Do you intentionally begin your stories from this standpoint, with a particular fear in mind?
Some stories are wrote with some deliberate ‘real life’ fear in mind; for example First Time Buyers was written very much with the conscious intention of tapping into people’s current anxieties about jobs and the economy.
But it’s not always intentional, no – a lot of the time a story begins with an image or even a phrase, and it’s not until I’m halfway through that I understand what it means. Sometimes I don’t ever understand. A story like The Watchers is still partially baffling even to me. And that’s good as hopefully it means people will have lots of different views about what it means. I don’t particularly want my stories to have a direct ‘X equals Y’ relationship to reality.
In the end I don’t think a horror story works unless there’s a reflection of our real fears, to be honest. Not that there has to be conscious metaphor or symbolism at play… just that the horror author has to be particular receptive to the currents of fear and anxiety both out in society and inside him/herself.
You mentioned you still write all your first drafts the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper. In this digital age, that’s a rarity. Why do you find the pen and paper method more appealing?
There’s a number of reasons really. Firstly inertia – that’s how I’ve always done it. Secondly, I can write faster than I can type, and at the point of doing a first draft that’s what I want – the speed to get the ideas down, without distraction. I’m a big fan of gadgets but they can be so distracting; even as I’m typing this some bloody icon is flashing demanding attention…
Thirdly, and most importantly, if you write a first draft by hand then when you come to type it up you have to rewrite every sentence. It forces you to consider anew every word choice, every comma. And I personally find that useful. I think if I did something straight onto my computer they’d be the temptation to think That’s a pretty good sentence. I’ll leave that as it is. Whereas the way I do it means I’m more likely to think That’s a pretty good sentence… but wait, isn’t it even better this way?
You wrote the story The Final Wish while quite sick and conked out on medication. I was immediately intrigued from the opening line – I walk looking down, inward; I walk wishing. I remember thinking the words had the odd beauty of thoughts of an altered mind. I couldn’t help but laugh when I read that you were, in fact, writing in an altered state. Many great authors have intentionally used this approach. (Though not with cold and flu medication.) What are your thoughts on using alcohol and/or drugs as a way to ‘open the mind to creativity’?
I’m not sure; I think drugs and alcohol can certainly expand people’s imaginative horizons but I don’t know if writing whilst actually on them is a great idea. My experience of drugs is pretty limited though, so I might be wrong. But I can say writing whilst drunk certainly doesn’t work for me. A beer is more likely to be the reward for getting a particularly challenging paragraph or whatever done just right.
So I think for me The Final Wish was a complete one off. I do seem to get a lot of colds though, so who knows?
As for other writers, whatever works for them. There’s obviously plenty of examples of authors who claim to have written books and poems under various states, and who am I to disbelieve them?
You admit titles are a problem for you. I hear this from many authors, and sometimes struggle with titles myself. One would assume that, if you can create an entire fictional world, you should be able to slap a title on the piece without a problem. Why do you think titles are such a challenge?
I do find titles hard; always have. I’ve frequently finished a story and then had to wonder what to call the bloody thing. I guess the title of a story has always seemed slightly separate from the story itself; I can imagine a story without a title, but not a title without a story.
I also get annoyed by stories, films, TV shows etc. where it seems like a ‘cool’ title was the first thing they thought of and then they’ve worked out everything else to fit it. The title is often a lame pun or play on words or some ‘high-concept’ abomination. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of a title first and written a story around it.
Aside from writing and reading, what are some of your favorite pastimes?
Drinking beer whilst eating curry.
Listening to music whilst drinking beer whilst eating curry.
I sense a theme here!
What scares you the most and why?
You know those kind of What’s your favorite book? interview questions which are impossible to answer because there’s so much choice? That’s pretty much me with this question.
What scares me most? Take your pick: uncontrollable situations (both personal and global); the worry that things might not be as they seem; the worship of money; the inevitability of death; the arrogance of environmental destruction; George Osborne… I could go on.
What inspires you?
In terms of writing, other writers mainly. In any genre, self-published or traditionally so. I like it when you see a writer take a risk and pull it off. It’s like a stuntman jumping the Grand Canyon. A stunning sentence, an unexpected plot twist… it can be anything really, that takes your breath away and then makes you think You talented bastard, where does that leave the rest of us? A certain creative, good-spirited envy is important I think – right, well I’m going to jump an even grander canyon…
Authors who’ve inspired me in the last month include Simon Bestwick, Emma Newman, David Mitchell, and Lisa Tuttle. Those guys can jump big canyons.
Describe yourself with one word or phrase.
Frequently scared and/or smelling of curry.
Thank you, James, for hanging out and entertaining us today.
Prize Group 1:
No Justice by Darcia Helle
The Dream by Maria Savva
Trevor’s Song by Susan Helene Gottfried
The Guardian’s Apprentice by J. Michael Radcliffe
Grey Engines by Gareth Lewis
Prize Group 2:
The Other Room by James Everington
Nexus Point by Jaleta Clegg
The Cutting Edge by Darcia Helle
The GNAW Project by Cynthia Meyers-Hanson
Broken Worlds by Gareth Lewis
Prize Group 3:
The Shelter by James Everington
Allegiances by Gareth Lewis
Into The Light by Darcia Helle
The Choice by Sydney S. Song
Second Chances by Maria Savva
Prize Group 4:
Recall! Return of the IRR by Doug DePew
To Hunt Monsters by Gareth Lewis
Miami Snow by Darcia Helle
Echo Falls by Jaime McDougall
Mom’s on the Roof and I Can’t Get Her Down by Cynthia Meyers-Hanson
Prize Group 5:
Blade Sworn by Gareth Lewis
Bloodstone: The Guardian’s Curse by J. Michael Radcliffe
His Story by Cynthia Meyers-Hanson
Hit List by Darcia Helle
Surreal – The Hell in the Family by Sydney S. Song
Did you get a new Kindle for Christmas? I got the Kindle Fire and love it! (Yes, I’m spoiled. ) If you’ve got a new reader – or an old one – and you’re looking to fill it up, here are some of my favorite ebooks from this year:
This is geared toward the YA market but can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Our heroine is a teenager, struggling through all the things we all deal with in high school, while also trying to understand her powerful psychic powers. There is much to love about this book and Stacy’s writing.
At some point in our life, we all wonder what it would happen if we could go back in time and change one detail, one decision, one thing about our past. Maria Savva explores this and more in this fun and insightful story.
A perfect mix of historical fiction with a paranormal twist, this is a beautiful story of love and hope.
This is a thriller with substance. Not only did this book keep me on edge (I couldn’t turn pages fast enough!), but it also has an incredibly thought-provoking issues throughout.
This novella is part horror, part paranormal. James knows how to weave a tale and he sucked me right into this one.
Do you like short stories? How about edgy, dark fiction that holds nothing back when showing the not-so-pretty side of life? If you said yes to these questions, you’ll love Joe Schwartz.
This is the third and most gripping book in RJ’s Rock & Roll Mystery Series. You don’t have to read the first two in order to enjoy this one, though you might want to read them just because they’re good.
A powerful story told from the viewpoint of a young woman who’d been sold into the sex slave. This is fiction that reads like nonfiction – and, sadly, stories just like this one are truly taking place all over the world, right this minute. Sibel tells this important tale with talent and grace.
An Urban Fantasy, this vampire tale has a different spin than the typical story. Vampires and werewolves are at war. Can love cross boundaries, conquer prejudices? Gareth explores this and more, while keeping readers on edge.
Charlie Courtland’s mind is twisted and it shows in this book! This one has some graphic scenes, though they belong in the story and aren’t there for shock value. Mixed in with the creepiness is a great amount of humor. If you want to laugh and gasp, this one’s for you.
I am a sucker for characters that make me forget they aren’t real and Marty Beaudet creates them with flare. This is a psychological thriller, a mystery, and a suspense story, with a multi-layered plot and aspects that will leave you thinking about things long after you’ve read the last page.
One old man, a park bench, and revenge. The end made me cringe – but I live for that twisted stuff.
Reading anything by Joel is an unforgettable experience. In this book, we’re taken back to 18th century Italy, where we meet a young woman who teaches us what it means to truly follow your passion.
Meet Trevor Wolff, rock star with a bad boy image and a spirit struggling to soar. Susan knows about the rock world and that knowledge shows in her writing.
I could not stop reading. This is a thriller with nonstop action and characters that make you want to jump into the book to save them. Blake Crouch is phenomenal talent.
And if you still have room, you can always check out my books. You’ll find them all in the carousel to the left.
To discover more indie authors and their books, check out the ‘BsB Kindle Store‘ The link is always to the right, under the ‘Blogroll’ heading. And we add to it continually, so check back often!
Whatever your reading preferences, I hope lots of books fill your new year.
My writing journey has allowed me to meet and mingle with other indie authors whom I might never have otherwise met. These are authors whose work inspires me, captivates me, moves me and keeps me up nights because I simply can’t put the book down. I am honored to know them and humbled to be part of their world. My guest today is James Everington. He is among the indie authors whose writing I might never have stumbled upon had we not been part of the same secret indie author club. The secret part is far from intentional and we are doing our best to expose ourselves. In a manner of speaking, that is.
James has a new novella out called The Shelter and I think everyone should read it. Really. It’s that good. Here’s a look:
It’s a long, drowsy summer at the end of the 1980s, and Alan Dean and three of his friends cross the fields behind their village to look for a rumoured WW2 air raid shelter. Only half believing that it even exists beyond schoolboy gossip, the four boys nevertheless feel an odd tension and unease. And when they do find the shelter, and go down inside it, the strange and horrifying events that follow will test their adolescent friendships to breaking point, and affect the rest of their lives…
I asked James to tell us a bit about himself. This is what he had to say:
I’m a writer from Nottingham, England and I mainly write short stories. Most of what I write is dark, supernatural fiction, although not necessarily ‘horror’ in the blood and guts sense. My main influences are writers like Ramsey Campbell, Shirley Jackson, and Robert Aickman. I enjoy the unexplained, the psychological, and the ambiguous in my weird fiction, and this is the kind of story I try and write. I think a lot of the best such fiction has been done in the short story form (although that’s not to say I won’t be trying a novel at some point…)
I drink Guinness, if anyone’s offering.
After reading The Shelter, I had questions for James. He was kind enough to indulge me, as well as entertain me, with his answers:
What inspired this particular story?
It was mainly inspired by real-life – as kids, myself and three friends made the journey to the next village looking for an abandoned air raid shelter, and we forced it open with tent pegs just like in the story, and climbed down into it… all the descriptions are accurate, as far as I can remember.
And what horror author could resist using such a great setting for story?
Your writing is incredibly vivid. I could see the surroundings and feel the emotions. You spark all the senses with your writing. Are the scenes vivid in your own mind as you write or is the detail something you work at?
It’s hard to say with this particular story, because so much of the imagery is taken from real life, far more so than for most of my stories. But in general yes, I work hard at it. Coming up with superficially vivid scenes isn’t hard, but I’m a great believer in what Poe said about short stories, that everything has to work together to the same end. So describing a sunny summer’s day in The Shelter would have been easy – describing it in such a way that it’s actually slightly sinister and adds to the story is what was hard and where the skill comes in.
You captured the boys’ dialogue perfectly. I thought the interplay between them added a lot of depth to the story. Did you draw on your own childhood interactions at all?
Yeah a lot of it was based on childhood conversations – the taunts, the slang. Fortunately in my adolescence I never had friends as horrible as those Alan has in the story though!
You’ve written a lot of short stories. What is it about shorter fiction that you’re drawn to?
I don’t know – it’s not conscious, part of me wishes I could do the commercially sensible thing and write novels (or a series of novels) and actually earn some money! (I did make an attempt at a novel while at university – a kind of poor Martin Amis rip off. If I die, burn my papers.) But the direction my talents take me is nearly always the short story way. And artistically I’m fine with that – I love short stories. They’re an art form in themselves; I think you could spend your life writing short stories and never come close to maxing out all the potential they have.
When you write, what comes first for you – characters or plot?
Hmmm, can I cheat and say neither? Generally it’s just a mood, or an image, or maybe even just a first line. And after mulling it over for a length of time I then just start to write and see what happens. I never really know how the plot will turn out, or what the characters will be like – I prefer to let them evolve together.
(You’ll be pleased to know I’ve taken the same ‘off piste’ approach to answering your questions too!)
I am pleased to know that! And I can relate to your writing method. That’s very much how I work, as well.
Do you write straight through from beginning to end, then worry about editing afterward? Or do you rework scenes and edit as you go along?
Yeah – I tend to do at least two handwritten drafts, and then one draft to type it up and worry about the editing. As you can tell from the comments above about how I approach starting a story, my first drafts can sometimes be a bit scattershot. (As I said, if I die, burn my papers.)
What is your favorite genre to write within?
Nearly everything I write is horror, although I don’t find ‘horror’ the best word to describe the kind of stories that influence me. Robert Aickman called his fiction ‘strange stories’ and that works for me. ‘Weird fiction’ is also a term I’ve used. Basically, horror stories which build up a creepy, surreal atmosphere, rather than those which just bring on the gore-soaked chainsaw clowns or whatever. I also like stories where you’re unsure how much of what has happened is objectively real, and how much is in the main character’s head.
Again, this is pretty much all can write, rather than it being a conscious choice. I’ve written some more general literary stuff, like Feed The Enemy, but mostly I can only write ‘strange stories’. I’ve tried other things but they’ve never worked out- dark comedy, science fiction, even some attempts at poetry (if I due burn… etc.)
Do you prefer to read short fiction over longer work?
I don’t have any preference, as long as the story is the length it should be. Some novels you read are obviously just inflated novellas or short stories. It’s a bit like those people who grow huge marrows or tomatoes – they don’t actually taste as nice as the normal sized ones!
What is your favorite genre to read?
I read pretty much anything – horror, sci-fi, the classics, literature (however you want to define it) and plenty of non-fiction too. That’s part of the reason I find it strange my own writing talent is so narrowly focused – it certainly doesn’t reflect my reading habits!
I can relate to this dilemma. I read a huge variety of fiction genres and nonfiction topics but my writing always seems to contain dead bodies.
What can we expect from you next?
I’ve another book’s worth of stories in various stages of completion, which I need to work out what to do with. I’d like to get a few in magazines etc. before I self-publish them in another collection. But that will happen at some point or other.
Thank you, James, for hanging out with us today!
You can find all of James Everington’s books on Amazon:
My message board, the indie author/reader community BestsellerBound, is celebrating its first anniversary!
Or is it a first birthday?
Either way, it’s exciting news! BestsellerBound has grown into an incredible community. I am astounded at the talent of the authors. And, even better, they are truly among the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling friends.
Celebrations need prizes, right? Of course! In honor of our anniversary/birthday event, a bunch of our members have gotten together to offer their books to interested readers. We have 11 prizes – 10 ebooks and 1 very special, not yet released, print book. Here is the list:
1 coupon code for a free ebook copy of The Dream by Maria Savva from Smashwords
1 free hardbound, signed copy of Joel’s secret 5th novel, shipped the week it is released.
Want a chance to win? All you have to do is leave a comment here, with a valid email address. You need to be 16 years or older and can live anywhere in the world.
Want a few more chances to win? Five other BestsellerBound authors are also running features on their blogs. Visit each one and leave a comment. You’ll receive one entry for each blog you comment on. Here is the list of participating authors, along with the link to their blog post:
The deadline for entry on all the blogs is midnight on Saturday, September 17. Winners will be notified via email, so please be sure to include a valid email address in your comment. The only other rule is that you need to be 16 or older.