Getting personal with Stephen Helmes

My next victim is the amazing Stephen Helmes. He is very smart, funny great to have a conversation with and super passionate about his writing. He has written some awesome books two are available at hellboundbookspublishing.com and Amazon. If you haven’t read anything by him you are missing out on an adventure! Make sure that you get to know him and read his books. Don’t forget to please leave a review they really make a difference to a writer! Please help me welcome Stephen Helmes to Roadie Notes ….

 

We are going to do this interview a bit differently hope you enjoy it!

 

Stephen Helmes: It wasn’t till late in life that I started thinking of myself as a writer. I have loved horror films from a very young age. We’re talking, four and five-years-old, I was sitting up late on Saturday nights with my Grandmother watching Shock Theater, a local show that aired low-budget and classic horror films.
Along with this strong love for horror, the love of music was growing in me just as deep. I took up the guitar at age ten, started a band and was playing clubs by the time I was twenty-one, old enough to get in. I still had a strong passion for horror as an adult but considered it as a past time. Horror was my hobby; not something I thought of trying to do as a profession. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to try to become an author. I guess it was because I was so headstrong on playing music.
It wasn’t till I was thirty-two when I wrote my first full length story. The passion for writing, using my imagination for something besides lyrics just kind of slipped up on me from behind. I had this really crazy nightmare back in 2001, and that was the spark that started the fire. The nightmare was so vivid that it brought me up from my sheets in a cold sweat. It was 4:30am and I knew if I went back to sleep I would forget almost everything about it. When I woke a few hours later there would be nothing left but the vague memory that I’d had a nightmare, and it would be lost forever. Being the horror lover that I was, I could never let such a good scare fade away with the morning dew. I had to save it, get my butt out of bed and write it all down while it was still fresh in my mind. That’s exactly what I did. I got up at 4:30 and wrote out the dream in detail.
The next evening, I sat at my computer and read what I had written in the wee hours of that morning, expecting it to be completely ridiculous. That’s the way dreams sometimes are. When you are having them, often you don’t know you’re asleep. They are real as real can be at that time. After you wake and your brain starts to function normally again, they seem like crazy cartoons. They are often laughable.
“Geez, what was I thinking? No more ice cream and pizza before bed!”
But the dream didn’t seem crazy at all. The images came right back into my head and were just as real, just as frightening as when I raised up in bed, eyes darting around the room. This was a scary dream.
I decided to see what I could do with it. I would add some characters, of course music was a huge part of my life so I structured the story around some of the real situations the band had encountered over the years. Okay, so story had the scares, and now we’ve added some faces. What’s next? A plot would be nice.
It took me some time, but a couple of months later, a story called Glasswalker was born.
After Glasswalker, I found that I wasn’t finished with this writing thing. Like a vampire tasting the sweet flavor of life for the first time, I wanted more. I started paying more attention to my dreams, writing them down, twisting them around, adding them in. It wasn’t long at all till my second story was underway, “Little Red Socks.”
In case you haven’t guess it already, that’s what the title, Nightly Visits means. Nightly Visits are the dreams that visit you in the night, taking you on virtual reality trips to worlds you would never be willing to explore when you’re awake.
I have two published books so far, and I have three more that are in the writing process. You may ask why I am working on three books at once. It didn’t start out that way. I never end a story until it tells me that it’s finished. When I start writing those first words, I never know if it’s going to be a short story, a novella, or a novel. Two of the stories that were planned for the upcoming, Nightly Visits III, just didn’t seem to want to end. They were reaching twenty and thirty thousand words and still no happily ever after in sight. So two of the stories broke off and are now going to be novels. Which will come first, who knows? That is up to the stories.
As I mentioned earlier, it was that nightmare back in 2001 that really started the writing, however, I have been a Stephen King fan for a very long time. In the beginning I was all about his movies, but it didn’t take long to realize that he had a lot more books than films. That’s not to mention that everybody always told me that the book is better than the movie. I finally decided that it was time for me to break down and see for myself.
That afternoon I found myself in a local used bookstore. I picked two books that I had never heard of: “Desperation” and “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon,” After only a few pages, the door into the book world finally opened and I walked in with a mile-of-a-smile stretched across my face. It changed my way of life. I became a reader, and shortly after, I became a writer.
Every writer needs one very important thing. They need a door they can close, a separation from the rest of the world. Most of the time I am behind that closed-door when I write. But this is not the only place these monsters in my head are born.
Three years ago I moved 600 miles south of my home in northwest Georgia, to Palmetto Florida. I have always loved the beach and living nearly 400 miles from the nearest body of salt water was just too much. At the closing of 2014 I packed what I could fit in my little Nissan and headed south, not only for the winter, but for my life. New Year’s Day, 2015 brought a new start on life. It brought a new job, a new bed, a new office, and new faces, faces that would soon become friends.
I consider myself blessed to be here. I may eat those words after I experience my first category 4 hurricane, but for now, I feel blessed. I wake up every morning to the smell of that salty air that I love so much but rarely smelt before. I live minutes away from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, nearly five miles of highway stretched right through the center of Tampa Bay. I travel this bridge twice a day, six days a week, and I still have to pinch myself before I realize that this is now my home.
Along with my office, the one with the closed-door, I’ll sometimes find myself, laptop in hand, sitting in my secret spot on the beach. Just like behind the closed door of my office, I can find my zone here. The sound of the waves are tranquil as the silence. When I am deep into a story, it’s almost like I am in a deep sleep. I am only sitting there physically. Mentally, I am far, far away, wherever the story takes me.
I never listen to music when I write. As much as I love music, I find that if it’s playing, I am focusing on the music or the story within its lyrics rather than zoning out into my own world.
I may use sound effects occasionally when I write however. I call them mood sounds. Much like the stage lights affect the mood of the music when a band is playing, sounds can play a huge roll in the mood of the writing. I have been known to use gentle rain and distant thunder sounds to set my mind into play. I have also used the sound of a slow beating heart to help me sink into the dark, foggy world I am visiting.
I can say that I truly love writing every bit as much as I enjoy playing music. They are two totally different worlds, but they are both my worlds. I am happy to breathe the air of both lives and be able to live both dreams simultaneously.
I spent more than thirty years of my life trying to become a rock star. In that journey I met a lot of very talented people, musicians who had the same dream as I had, but we could never get past playing the club scene. We had a few big shows outside the club scene, nearly selling out the theater in two of them. Our band, House of Flies, even had a cameo appearance in a movie called Chainsaw Cheerleaders. But the lesson we learned was that if you don’t know the right people, if you are not in the right place at the right time, making it big is a very long and hard journey that very few can make on their own. If I knew when I was a teenager what I know now, would I do it all again? You bet your ass I would! I would do it with a smile!
But the same rule seems to go for authors as with the world of music. If you don’t have an agent it’s hard to really be seen. You have to be very good at not only writing, but you have to know how to publish for yourself and market your own books. I am very proud to have Hellbound Books behind me on this journey, but other than my good friends there, I’m on my own in a world I know little about.
So why do we do it if it’s so difficult? Why not just work your fair share and live your life rather than spending your spare time hunting for a treasure you may never find? It’s not the love of making it that leads us forward. It’s the love of doing what we do. This is our life. When I cross over into that other world, whether it be a world full of colors or a world of shadows, I feel high as a kite. If I never made it as big as King, Koontz, and Rice, I would be completely satisfied just to be able to pay my bills and live my life writing stories. I’m a writer. I love to write. There is nothing like when my mind takes that virtual reality trip and the scenes start playing out in my head. It’s a lot like watching a movie. It’s the characters who create the story. I’m just the secretary who writes down.
I hope you’re ready to enter my world of nightmares, because there’s lots to see. Two books are out and there are lots more books to come. We have only scratched the surface.

You can get your copy of “Nightly Visits” and “From 12 to 6 (More Nightly Visits)” at Amazon.com, or visit us at hellboundbookspublishing.com

LINKS:
Nightly Visits – https://tinyurl.com/j8jqu7a

From 12 to 6 (More Nightly Visits) – https://tinyurl.com/h7dpuj8

Stephen Helmes at Hellbound Books Publishing – https://tinyurl.com/jfetdhc
My Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/hdof2s8
Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/j542syo
Facebook Nightly Visits Page: http://tinyurl.com/gswtrpe
Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/jkvoqah
Guest Post at Lisa’s Writobia – http://tinyurl.com/hcdr4hp
SPOTS Read yourself at Lisa’s Writobia – http://tinyurl.com/ztotnss

 

Some of Stephen Helmes books:

Primitive (All Tied up with String #5) review PLUS Nev Murray Q&A by: Mandy Tyra

Simply Sublime! We are now over a third of the way into the All Tied up with String series, Primitive is #5 (out of 14) and not only is it the longest short story of the collection so far but it is also the most ‘evolved’ of the pack.
This mammoth tail spans months, two continents, and 4 main characters….not to mention the supporting ‘title characters’.
There is seriously a lot going on in Primitive and it stars Nev Murray, a well-known and well liked (revered and feared) reviewer at Confessions of a Reviewer.
For 2 and a half years he’s been a top-tier reviewer and recently has set up a publicity side to his website at www.confessionsofareviewer.com .

This personalized series of shorts is really shaping up to be a quite the juggernaut. You can tell Keane is having an uproariously keen time putting his friends and readers in such perilous predicaments.
Primitive maaay even be my favorite so far but it really is hard to choose.
All with so much variety, depth, FUN, and this one made me really really hungry.

Stomping it at a rip-roaring 43 pages.

“Turkey Dinosaurs: a fun, fast and fabulously delicious treat … but scary as hell with an imagination like mine!”
Nev Murray ~ twice bitten, over chewed, opportunistically gluttonous words of…

Mr. Nev Murray is a successful businessman, seemingly with most of his scruples. He has taken a favorite junky food from his childhood and turned it all healthy.
Owner of Murray’s Turkey Dino’s; tasty breaded nuggets of juicy turkey meat shaped like our favorite iconic dinosaurs.
They are a massive hit and have made him a massive wealth. With contracts in place at grocers and even school cafeterias, parents and kids alike both love em, they are so addictively yummy.
Yet he still feels the urge to go bigger, to authenticate, proceed ~ without much caution ~ to the next level of his business arrangement with the advantageous Richard Banks, who is a slightly less scrupulous billionaire businessman.
All is quite lucrative at first and business is not only booming….it flat-out saurs, but as is often the case when more is bitten off than can be properly chewed, pandemonious choking can ensue.
With back and forth cuts to an aloof reporter named Bethany and her camera man Matthew, interviewing the new health food craze at one of the schools, and begrudging that lame fluff piece given to them. Raring for a real story, something newsworthy, a career making piece.
That piece comes, at a price. The story of a lifetime is just around the corner at the prominent Wembley Stadium.
It’s the power and prestige of the nugget, no not the gold nugget…the golden turkey nugget.

So much going on in this short story. How does he do it!? So much plot, so much…sustenance, in just a few short pages. It’s teee-rex-rrifically transcendent and unlike anything he has ever written before.
* note how I refrained from using Dinoo-Mite 😀 😀 …errr, wait…oops..

And now this reporter was anything but aloof interviewing the distinguished and formidable Nev Murray, so I brought extra (nerve calming) wine and awwww he supplied plates of his yummy signature food.
After feast and drank, nerves were calmed.
Aaaand being a wino of such inquisitive tastes but limited lucidity, I cut to the chase and proceeded to further jeopardize any sort of journalistic integrity.
He had a lot to say in this little expos`e.

1.) How do you know the author?
To be honest, I’m not 100% sure about how we actually came to be conversing with each other. It all seems so long ago now that it’s a blur. I think I saw his face appearing on various posts on Facebook and saw a load of mutual friends so decided to add him. That will teach me, eh?
I know that we talked a lot when I first read Grin and I was lucky enough to win the star prize at the launch party for it and can look at my wonderful print of the cover of Laymon’s Fiends, signed by the man who drew it, Steve Crisp, as I work everyday. I’m actually looking at it now!
Not long after that, I had the opportunity to meet Stuart at Emcon, in Nottingham in 2015. We had arranged to meet up with Jack Rollins and a few others the night before the event and Mr. Keane wouldn’t let me go back to my hotel until I was shamelessly drunk. That sort of set the mood for the entire weekend. He may claim otherwise, but he is lying.
From there, we have had many a conversation about books and life and books and life. He is forever asking me for writing tips. I almost feel like I write his stories for him but he never replies to my requests for royalties!
It’s a working relationship that developed into a friendship that I hope will continue for many, many years to come.

2.) What is your first and/or favorite Keane book?
My first read of Mr. Keanes, and still my favorite of his, was Grin. There were so many things I loved about that book, and still do. It was great for me, as a reviewer, to pick up something new, from a new author to me, and be able to sit back and relax with it and enjoy it. Sometimes it is difficult to read a book for review because you always feel that you have to pay special attention to what you are reading to give it a fair appraisal. I never felt like that with Grin. It was so easy flowing that I just got lost in it.
For example. This is what I actually said in my review at the time:
“He is one of those authors that I put into the easy category. Now I’m not suggesting that he is easy, although some rumors are doing the rounds. What I mean by that is that you slide into the book very easily. It doesn’t take you long before you feel totally at ease with what you are reading. You feel as if you have known the characters for a long time after only a few pages. It flows extremely well and is paced perfectly for the different types of horror featured in the story. It has blood when it needs it and emotion in abundance in both the bloody parts and the head feck parts.”
I also said this:
“Horror of the mind is the next best thing about this book. What Dani goes through is something that no one can ever comprehend unless you ever actually do go through it. I pray for each and every one of you that you don’t because, it is horrific in the extreme. Physical and mental torture that would drive the hardest of us to an early grave. I felt very emotional at times reading this book because I felt so so sorry for Dani and what she was going through.”
This is why I loved Grin so much. There were many different horror elements to it that it has something for everyone.

3.) Tell me a little bit about the treasured topic you chose for Keane to utterly desecrate with little or no regard for?
Oh man. Where to start. If you live in the UK and haven’t had Turkey Dinosaurs before, shame on you. Absolute shame on you. If you live in the US, I feel sorry for you because as far as I am aware, you don’t get them there.
They are a little package of pure joy for dinner time. Succulent pieces of turkey meaty, shaped like various dinosaurs, coated in breadcrumbs that, when cooked to perfection, are quite goldenly deliciously crunchy and so full of flavour. Add chips (fries for you American types) and baked beans, well, you have a plate full of loveliness fit for a King or Queen! Just look at the picture!
To be honest, myself and Mr. Keane had many discussions about Turkey Dinosaurs after my enjoyment of them one night, while reading Grin, was somewhat destroyed by what I was reading. This developed into many other discussions that led to some other stuff that will become very clear over the next few months.
I really picked them as my topic because I didn’t think he would be able to pull off a story about them without it sounding absolutely ridiculous. After reading Primitive, how foolish do I look now?

4.) Are you equal parts disturbed and delighted with your tailor-made tale?
To be honest, again, (I seem to say that a lot, don’t I?) I had no idea what to expect. I was waiting and waiting and waiting on my turn because, as I said earlier, I didn’t think he would manage to pull it off. While I was reading the story, I initially thought it would be a complete rip off of a well-known film franchise but as I kept reading, I was very pleasantly surprised.
He managed to take the story in a completely different direction than I thought he would. It was interesting in the fact that, although being a horror story, it was nothing like anything I have read from him before. He definitely stepped way outside the box, and his comfort zone for this one.
That is both admirable and annoying. Admirable because he sat back, thought about how he was going to do it, and pulled it off. Annoying because I honestly didn’t think he would do it. I was expecting animated goldenly delicious bread-crumbed dinosaurs running amok in true Toy Story style. I certainly didn’t get that.
To say I was disturbed and scared would be an understatement. This is the sort of story that, in some respects, I wish were true and possible, because it would fascinate me, but in other ways, I’m so glad it can’t be true, god help us all if it was. Or is it true? Who knows.

WOW, a huge thank you to Nev for that informatively exuberant little chinwag.
Yea, Mr. Murray is quite the talker and so well spoken, nice, and personable.
I can see how he’s made such a name for himself, starting with a blog turned mega, then rolling that into a whopping website with extra reviewers and a publicity business side. Impressive.
He and it is a pillar of the writer community, you know you’re making a name for yourself if Nev and his team review your work!

Oh and as for my overtime Stu, I’m invoicing you for double the poptarts. Chocolate fudge please, don’t question… I ask the questions. 🙂 🙂

The next story is Atonia, all about that precious SLEEP and it features his mother in law, Dagmar Boo.
Uh-Ohhh….sleep mom in law, sleeeeep. It’s for the best.
It’s due out in a couple of weeks. So till then, rest up….because you know, like the blare of an alarm clock, I’ll come shrieking back with a jolt. 😉

 

You can buy the book here:

Shopping List review by: Mandy Tyra

This was a great anthology!!

A whole motley slew of 21 gamut busting stories. Topics ranging from werewolves to clowns to sammiches to explosive acne and everything else in between, inside out, and upside down. It’s all covered, so much variety.

I do really like antho’s that don’t follow a set topic, you have no idea what the next tale will bring, such a surprise treat that way.

And HAHAHA the writers included their actual shopping lists before their stories. What a clever little running gag and the only thing that links any of these shorts.

Some of their shopping lists were just as disturbing as their stories….

I’ve actually never heard of any of these indie authors with the exceptions of Tim Miller and David Owain Hughes. I’ve read bunches by those amazing horror authors, so of course I was super anxious to get to their tales but found myself pleasantly sated with all the other delicious digestables on the buffet table.

For those familiar with my review style, you know this is gonna take a while, I have to (have to!) meticulously tread through each tale.

Ad nauseam, some have claimed…

I don’t take offence to brisk skimming. 😀

Oh and I finger tallied the page counts with my kindle at its lowest setting so they are kind of accurate-ish.

Coach Augustine: Smoke and Claws ~ Robert Over 17 pgs

This coach is a tutor in more than just a sport-sy way, he is on call 24/7 to help his students, even when they’re feeling waaay off-game. It’s his goal. Middle of the night distress call from a good kid with a bright future, this dedicated coach grabs his bag of supplies, plus magic aids, to help with a non-lunar flare-up.

Hate it when that happens, teenagers and their hormones…

* An exciting and wild little coming of supernatural age tale.

Shopping List: he’s obviously gonna make a badass casserole in clean clothes while getting his buzz on. A culinary master.

Speed of Shadow ~ Christopher O’Halloran 17 pgs

Tracy is a smart and observant girl, learning about the speed of light in class, she’s got this all figured out. Driving back to her mom’s with her big brother and dad one day, those ‘figures‘ speed up on them in a terrifyingly foreshadowing way.

* So tense and dramatic, you feel like you’re in that car. So claustrophobic.

Shopping list: This writer cares about all the others in his household (human and non) more than himself. Awww

Cold Cuts ~ Eric W. Burgin 22pgs

Hugh loves having a bestie, he can only have one at a time though cause he gives it 100%. The bond of friendship is a tightly bonded bond, downright adhesive/…clingwrapy.

Hugh needs to have his new friend Jared around, all the time, because that’s what friends are for, right?? He feels like he’s the perfect host, the perfect friend. He makes some mean gourmet sandwiches, serves up plenty of brew, and countless rounds of play-by-play sports on demand. A story of bromance, love, and loss…and unrequited friendship.

* A page turner, couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. FUN and fast paced story. And it made me really hungry.

Shopping List: Something exotic is on the menu.

Deathlust ~ Russ Gartz 14 pgs

A period piece set in the 1400’s Spain about the Holy Inquisition, the citadel, a feud, a love story, bloodlust, a…deathlust, that demands to be fed. There is a holy war brewing in Spain and the vampires are lapping it up as they align themselves with the double-cross retribution at play. Things are as not as cut throat and dagger as they appear.

* That time period already scares the crap outta me, add in vampires and holy men ~ oh my.

Shopping List: Yep, seems like he’s got, all ends….covered.

Touch Me, I’m Sick ~ Mark Slade 14 pgs

You can’t always control physical attraction even if you are not exactly available but what if the consequence of such sexually gratifying compulsions had deeper repercussions than just spurned spouses?? Could you suppress your desires then, they are not set in stone, are they?

* A clever little fidelity challenged cautionary tale. Heed the warning.

Shopping List: Only missing the beer for a fab picnic, must be byob, I’m there!

The House of the Skinwalker ~ Jeff Baker 14pgs

Spring break, friends headed to Mexico….nothing bad ever happens there, right?? Well, before their spring even has a chance to break-out, New Mexico has a go. Altered realities crash, converge, and blur at the Fire Hills Motel on sacred Native American land.

* Eerie mythos of a dispiriting native nature that’s more than just folktale.

Shopping List: Short and really sweet, especially if that last item pans out nicely.

Backne ~ Tim Miller 8 pgs

Jerry is a factory worker who deals with hazmat  labeled substances, he doesn’t really like his job very much at all, especially when he has to forklift them from high up all around the warehouse, that can be a real scary bitch. One such barrel leaks on him, a bit. What he goes through next, even Proactive couldn’t help with..

A lot of dark humor in this one, in between the gagging.

* 3rd time I’ve read this disgusting tale, give me blood and guts and I’m A-OK, I don’t fare as well with pus and slime….so ew.

Tim Miller is such a fun and outrageous writer!

Shopping list: All for research, I’m sure…he’s so method.

The House on the Back Road ~ Nick Swain 25 pgs

Bickering married couple, on a road trip to the wife’s sister’s place. He’s a car dealer and she’s a nagging hag, yea, she’s a real piece of work. He’s adapted to her speciality blend of vulgarities, even coined a few towards her. Getting a shortcut route to avoid a traffic jam from a nice local man, he decides to take that scenic, don’t want to anger the wifey…they are already late and she has no coffee. A not that uncommon violent outburst causes him to lose control on that long desolate road. Guess they are on a walkabout now. What happens next, well….

* Fabulous story and I LOVED all the petty feuding. I got a strong Creepshow vibe, the one called The Crate.

Shopping List: I wanna dine and be entertained at Swain’s house!!

The Kick ~ JC Raye 15 pgs

OHHHH a western story, the old west complete with a general store, saloon, jailhouse, barber, town doc/reverend/banker/constable and a few cretins.

A simple town called Bodie. Uncontrollable fits of anger and sudden impulses kicked off with a gaudy hat. Is there something in the watering hole, in the air??

* EXCELLENT and I wanted more, a berserk western, oh yea!!

Shopping List: an odd list, prepping for an odd party?? Eh, I’d attend.

A Nightcap with Selena ~ Jovan Jones 25 pgs

A bar hook up takes a long-term turn for the worse for nice guy Donovan. Selena, she’s so alluring, so beautiful, a bit strange but he’s okay with that.

Nightmares, hallucinations, visions…reality….what the hell is happening to the poor guy.

At least he has the lovely Selena to take care of him.

* Bizarre and sultry tale with driblets of black ooze and maggots.

Shopping List: Mouth wateringly delicious, a full menu of good eats. So meaty!

Breaking Ahab ~ Ben Stevens 22pgs

A grieving husband has turned to drink, he just can’t face it all, and he really couldn’t care less that an arrogant city detective has come to investigate him. Guess they don’t believe his whole Giant Squid story. He misses his beautiful wife so much, she loved the water, she loved the boat. Why did they have to go out that night?

* Such an amazing story drowning in a riptide of emotions that takes a Lovecraftian twist.

Shopping List: No actual sustenance but a fulfilling list none the less!

The Cypress Wood Terror ~ David F. Gray 19pgs

Dean is a film editor for a small post-production company. He was lucky enough to find his soulmate on the job, unlucky enough to get caught in the cross-over cuts of a temporal digital threat. Where to go, where to hide??

* Really enjoyed all the behind the scenes movie making, it’s always been an interest. This story was so unique and original. It could be on Black Mirror!

Shopping List: Health scare, system in shock.

The Shine ~ Brandon Cracraft 21pgs

In a way this one is the most horrifying of the bunch. Picture those holier than thou, self-righteous religious fanatics. Now picture they are college kids, and there is an app for that.

The Campus Crusaders want to expunge your many many sins ~ REPENT!

* OH Good Lord, horrifying indeed. Technology and bible thumpers make for an ungodly mix…

Shopping List: Short and sweet, an in-and-out trip to the grocers.

A Charm for the Shadows ~ M.S. Swift 22pgs

Verity is older gal living with and taking care of her mom. Her mom, who is still spry enough to date makes Verity feel even more alone. Some strange happenings at the decades long vacant house across the way, it seems bustling as of late. Is it the imaginings of a lonely woman or is there something vindictively malevolent going on….

* An atmospheric somber tale with a retributive reach out that grabs ya.

Shopping List: Getting ready for a witchy potluck…

The Cadenza ~ Kevin Holton 16pgs

Victim of a violent crime strips a man of his confidence and livelihood, his symphonic overture days long over. Now living as a hermit at some motel far from home, and forming a bond with the wise and appealing proprietor, he may just find a new handicraft vocation to brighten his cripplingly dull days. A brand new prelude to perform, offbeat yet harmonious, his magnum opus…his purpose of life.

* This was great story, had no idea where it was going. It was moody and expressive, I could hear the classical music playing in the background.

Shopping List: A particularly specific mix. Don’t forget the tuna!!

Blackout ~ David Owain Hughes 7pgs

Jennifer is recently single and now lives alone. The house is too quiet and she’s just trying to go about her normal Friday night routine. Ya know, reading, wine, over-thinking things….wondering what all those strange sounds are.

* Creepy, creepy, creeeeepy, and that ending gave me chills. I always recommend anything Hughes, he’s a keeper. Aaand a peeper!

Shopping List: Scary….but everything about David scares me so at least he’s consistent!

Zeitgeist ~ Bertram Allan Mullin 20pgs

American man moves to Japan to be an English teacher and falls face first into one of those authentically scary as hell Japanese movies, you know the ones…the ones us Americans always butcher. All he was looking for was a bit of culture, now he’s shackled in an interrogation room, barely knowing the language and less-than-barely remembering what brought him there.

Hmm maybe he should have gone to North Korea instead….

* LOVED IT! That slow reveal ~ holy #*$@!

Shopping List: Incredibly healthy, my system really would go into shock unless some of that was deep fried!

The Lights Unseen ~ Jeff C. Stevenson 27pgs

Long time paranormal researcher Jack and his team of investigators are always on the hunt for authentic supernatural occurrences, getting an email about a strange house one day puts him in contact with a realtor named Carly. What she tells him about said property excites him to the bone…could this be it?? But what is it and how can it be…

* What an interesting take on the haunted house story, goes in an all new direction. Very eerie.

Shopping List: Kitties are cared for and at least there is ice cream.

Carnaval Macabro ~ Sebastian Crow 17pgs

A flourishing novelist grows tired of big city life, he’s taking scenic stops in the beautiful and picturesque coastal countryside towns, looking for a new place to settle.

It’s all so tranquil, so serene, home is where the heart is. Finding the perfect time killer before the settle in a carnival clown town island escape, it’s all so evocative….but home always finds a way to pull you back.

* Totally enjoyed all the ambiance of this one and then I waited for it…..yep, nope, didn’t see that coming. What a twist ending!

Shopping List: Starting from scratch it looks like. Must have just moved in, or he was robbed by a pack of peckish burglars….either way, hope it’s payday!

Daddy, I’m So Hungry ~ S.E. Rise 19pgs

A family of four living way up north. Long cold winters, long dark days. The kids are playful, the wife is seasonally depressed, the patriarch is just trying to keep them all safe, warm, and happy. The shadows though…the shadows are tricky. It’s all about adapting. But a man is only so strong, physically and mentally.

* What a mind bender of a tale, it was so captivating, and saddening. I pictured lots of quick cuts.

Shopping List: Periodic comfort food with a European twist and maybe a DIY project for the meantime.

The Stranger ~ Kathy Dinisi 30pgs

Young mother April does her best to provide for her daughter which unfortunately means being on the road a lot as a photographer for a fashion mag. Several hours of driving left before she gets to her baby girl, is she getting road worn or is she being followed, taunted, and threatened by a hooded man in a black truck??? Some short cuts aren’t for a destination home.

* A tense and gripping page turner with increasingly foreboding chapter titles made this quite a riveting read. I didn’t want it to end.

Shopping List: The makings of some of my favorites eats plus that sweet tooth satiated.

THAT’S IT, all 21 of em!! I’m not quite done yet though….

LOL so anyway, I’ve learned I’m incapable of picking a top 3 in collections but here are a handful of my favorites, they are all so good and well written but these ones just impacted a little deeper, and harder.

Cold Cuts: Lively duo, plenty of suspense. I craved, caved, and made a killer sandwich.

Backne: So damn gross and so damn entertaining. Made me almost upchuck me sammich.

The House on Back Road: The quarreling couple were so delightful, perfect ending!

The Kick: The western setting and all the deranged goings-on made this a prospected golden gem.

Breaking Ahab: Heartbreaking and mysterious. Kept me really intrigued from page 1.

The Cadenza: A gritty tale of talent lost….talent stolen! And how a man who knows of nothing else, decides to cope and rise above.

Zeitgeist: Another great setting, Japanese horror is so damn unsettling and I vividly pictured this as one of those kinds of top-notch horror movies.

The Stranger: Pulse pounding with white knuckles, such a sweet gal and it’s so appalling what she’s having to go through on her road weary way home to her daughter.

And now I have a bunch of new writers to check out!

But the only thing I did find lacking in this here vast collection was the author bios after each story. For me, it really helps me to remember a new author if their mini bios, and any other titles available, are after their story.

Hellbound Books is really making a name for itself and with quality works like these, it’s well deserved. They also have The Big Book of Boot Leg Horror out now which is 20 tales of the taboo. I adore all things taboo.

More anthologies slated soon so I’m sure I’ll be back with much more of my over-analysis’sss.

ACES!! 😀

 

You can buy the book here:

http://hellboundbookspublishing.com/shopping1.html

Shopping List review by: Mandy Tyra

This was a great anthology!!
A whole motley slew of 21 gamut busting stories. Topics ranging from werewolves to clowns to sammiches to explosive acne and everything else in between, inside out, and upside down. It’s all covered, so much variety.
I do really like antho’s that don’t follow a set topic, you have no idea what the next tale will bring, such a surprise treat that way.
And HAHAHA the writers included their actual shopping lists before their stories. What a clever little running gag and the only thing that links any of these shorts.
Some of their shopping lists were just as disturbing as their stories….

I’ve actually never heard of any of these indie authors with the exceptions of Tim Miller and David Owain Hughes. I’ve read bunches by those amazing horror authors, so of course I was super anxious to get to their tales but found myself pleasantly sated with all the other delicious digestables on the buffet table.

For those familiar with my review style, you know this is gonna take a while, I have to (have to!) meticulously tread through each tale.
Ad nauseam, some have claimed…
I don’t take offence to brisk skimming. 😀

Oh and I finger tallied the page counts with my kindle at its lowest setting so they are kind of accurate-ish.

Coach Augustine: Smoke and Claws ~ Robert Over 17 pgs
This coach is a tutor in more than just a sport-sy way, he is on call 24/7 to help his students, even when they’re feeling waaay off-game. It’s his goal. Middle of the night distress call from a good kid with a bright future, this dedicated coach grabs his bag of supplies, plus magic aids, to help with a non-lunar flare-up.
Hate it when that happens, teenagers and their hormones…
* An exciting and wild little coming of supernatural age tale.
Shopping List: he’s obviously gonna make a badass casserole in clean clothes while getting his buzz on. A culinary master.

Speed of Shadow ~ Christopher O’Halloran 17 pgs
Tracy is a smart and observant girl, learning about the speed of light in class, she’s got this all figured out. Driving back to her mom’s with her big brother and dad one day, those ‘figures‘ speed up on them in a terrifyingly foreshadowing way.
* So tense and dramatic, you feel like you’re in that car. So claustrophobic.
Shopping list: This writer cares about all the others in his household (human and non) more than himself. Awww

Cold Cuts ~ Eric W. Burgin 22pgs
Hugh loves having a bestie, he can only have one at a time though cause he gives it 100%. The bond of friendship is a tightly bonded bond, downright adhesive/…clingwrapy.
Hugh needs to have his new friend Jared around, all the time, because that’s what friends are for, right?? He feels like he’s the perfect host, the perfect friend. He makes some mean gourmet sandwiches, serves up plenty of brew, and countless rounds of play-by-play sports on demand. A story of bromance, love, and loss…and unrequited friendship.
* A page turner, couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. FUN and fast paced story. And it made me really hungry.
Shopping List: Something exotic is on the menu.

Deathlust ~ Russ Gartz 14 pgs
A period piece set in the 1400’s Spain about the Holy Inquisition, the citadel, a feud, a love story, bloodlust, a…deathlust, that demands to be fed. There is a holy war brewing in Spain and the vampires are lapping it up as they align themselves with the double-cross retribution at play. Things are as not as cut throat and dagger as they appear.
* That time period already scares the crap outta me, add in vampires and holy men ~ oh my.
Shopping List: Yep, seems like he’s got, all ends….covered.

Touch Me, I’m Sick ~ Mark Slade 14 pgs
You can’t always control physical attraction even if you are not exactly available but what if the consequence of such sexually gratifying compulsions had deeper repercussions than just spurned spouses?? Could you suppress your desires then, they are not set in stone, are they?
* A clever little fidelity challenged cautionary tale. Heed the warning.
Shopping List: Only missing the beer for a fab picnic, must be byob, I’m there!

The House of the Skinwalker ~ Jeff Baker 14pgs
Spring break, friends headed to Mexico….nothing bad ever happens there, right?? Well, before their spring even has a chance to break-out, New Mexico has a go. Altered realities crash, converge, and blur at the Fire Hills Motel on sacred Native American land.
* Eerie mythos of a dispiriting native nature that’s more than just folktale.
Shopping List: Short and really sweet, especially if that last item pans out nicely.

Backne ~ Tim Miller 8 pgs
Jerry is a factory worker who deals with hazmat  labeled substances, he doesn’t really like his job very much at all, especially when he has to forklift them from high up all around the warehouse, that can be a real scary bitch. One such barrel leaks on him, a bit. What he goes through next, even Proactive couldn’t help with..
A lot of dark humor in this one, in between the gagging.
* 3rd time I’ve read this disgusting tale, give me blood and guts and I’m A-OK, I don’t fare as well with pus and slime….so ew.
Tim Miller is such a fun and outrageous writer!
Shopping list: All for research, I’m sure…he’s so method.

The House on the Back Road ~ Nick Swain 25 pgs
Bickering married couple, on a road trip to the wife’s sister’s place. He’s a car dealer and she’s a nagging hag, yea, she’s a real piece of work. He’s adapted to her speciality blend of vulgarities, even coined a few towards her. Getting a shortcut route to avoid a traffic jam from a nice local man, he decides to take that scenic, don’t want to anger the wifey…they are already late and she has no coffee. A not that uncommon violent outburst causes him to lose control on that long desolate road. Guess they are on a walkabout now. What happens next, well….
* Fabulous story and I LOVED all the petty feuding. I got a strong Creepshow vibe, the one called The Crate.
Shopping List: I wanna dine and be entertained at Swain’s house!!

The Kick ~ JC Raye 15 pgs
OHHHH a western story, the old west complete with a general store, saloon, jailhouse, barber, town doc/reverend/banker/constable and a few cretins.
A simple town called Bodie. Uncontrollable fits of anger and sudden impulses kicked off with a gaudy hat. Is there something in the watering hole, in the air??
* EXCELLENT and I wanted more, a berserk western, oh yea!!
Shopping List: an odd list, prepping for an odd party?? Eh, I’d attend.

A Nightcap with Selena ~ Jovan Jones 25 pgs
A bar hook up takes a long-term turn for the worse for nice guy Donovan. Selena, she’s so alluring, so beautiful, a bit strange but he’s okay with that.
Nightmares, hallucinations, visions…reality….what the hell is happening to the poor guy.
At least he has the lovely Selena to take care of him.
* Bizarre and sultry tale with driblets of black ooze and maggots.
Shopping List: Mouth wateringly delicious, a full menu of good eats. So meaty!

Breaking Ahab ~ Ben Stevens 22pgs
A grieving husband has turned to drink, he just can’t face it all, and he really couldn’t care less that an arrogant city detective has come to investigate him. Guess they don’t believe his whole Giant Squid story. He misses his beautiful wife so much, she loved the water, she loved the boat. Why did they have to go out that night?
* Such an amazing story drowning in a riptide of emotions that takes a Lovecraftian twist.
Shopping List: No actual sustenance but a fulfilling list none the less!

The Cypress Wood Terror ~ David F. Gray 19pgs
Dean is a film editor for a small post-production company. He was lucky enough to find his soulmate on the job, unlucky enough to get caught in the cross-over cuts of a temporal digital threat. Where to go, where to hide??
* Really enjoyed all the behind the scenes movie making, it’s always been an interest. This story was so unique and original. It could be on Black Mirror!
Shopping List: Health scare, system in shock.

The Shine ~ Brandon Cracraft 21pgs
In a way this one is the most horrifying of the bunch. Picture those holier than thou, self-righteous religious fanatics. Now picture they are college kids, and there is an app for that.
The Campus Crusaders want to expunge your many many sins ~ REPENT!
* OH Good Lord, horrifying indeed. Technology and bible thumpers make for an ungodly mix…
Shopping List: Short and sweet, an in-and-out trip to the grocers.

A Charm for the Shadows ~ M.S. Swift 22pgs
Verity is older gal living with and taking care of her mom. Her mom, who is still spry enough to date makes Verity feel even more alone. Some strange happenings at the decades long vacant house across the way, it seems bustling as of late. Is it the imaginings of a lonely woman or is there something vindictively malevolent going on….
* An atmospheric somber tale with a retributive reach out that grabs ya.
Shopping List: Getting ready for a witchy potluck…

The Cadenza ~ Kevin Holton 16pgs
Victim of a violent crime strips a man of his confidence and livelihood, his symphonic overture days long over. Now living as a hermit at some motel far from home, and forming a bond with the wise and appealing proprietor, he may just find a new handicraft vocation to brighten his cripplingly dull days. A brand new prelude to perform, offbeat yet harmonious, his magnum opus…his purpose of life.
* This was great story, had no idea where it was going. It was moody and expressive, I could hear the classical music playing in the background.
Shopping List: A particularly specific mix. Don’t forget the tuna!!

Blackout ~ David Owain Hughes 7pgs
Jennifer is recently single and now lives alone. The house is too quiet and she’s just trying to go about her normal Friday night routine. Ya know, reading, wine, over-thinking things….wondering what all those strange sounds are.
* Creepy, creepy, creeeeepy, and that ending gave me chills. I always recommend anything Hughes, he’s a keeper. Aaand a peeper!
Shopping List: Scary….but everything about David scares me so at least he’s consistent!

Zeitgeist ~ Bertram Allan Mullin 20pgs
American man moves to Japan to be an English teacher and falls face first into one of those authentically scary as hell Japanese movies, you know the ones…the ones us Americans always butcher. All he was looking for was a bit of culture, now he’s shackled in an interrogation room, barely knowing the language and less-than-barely remembering what brought him there.
Hmm maybe he should have gone to North Korea instead….
* LOVED IT! That slow reveal ~ holy #*$@!
Shopping List: Incredibly healthy, my system really would go into shock unless some of that was deep fried!

The Lights Unseen ~ Jeff C. Stevenson 27pgs
Long time paranormal researcher Jack and his team of investigators are always on the hunt for authentic supernatural occurrences, getting an email about a strange house one day puts him in contact with a realtor named Carly. What she tells him about said property excites him to the bone…could this be it?? But what is it and how can it be…
* What an interesting take on the haunted house story, goes in an all new direction. Very eerie.
Shopping List: Kitties are cared for and at least there is ice cream.

Carnaval Macabro ~ Sebastian Crow 17pgs
A flourishing novelist grows tired of big city life, he’s taking scenic stops in the beautiful and picturesque coastal countryside towns, looking for a new place to settle.
It’s all so tranquil, so serene, home is where the heart is. Finding the perfect time killer before the settle in a carnival clown town island escape, it’s all so evocative….but home always finds a way to pull you back.
* Totally enjoyed all the ambiance of this one and then I waited for it…..yep, nope, didn’t see that coming. What a twist ending!
Shopping List: Starting from scratch it looks like. Must have just moved in, or he was robbed by a pack of peckish burglars….either way, hope it’s payday!

Daddy, I’m So Hungry ~ S.E. Rise 19pgs
A family of four living way up north. Long cold winters, long dark days. The kids are playful, the wife is seasonally depressed, the patriarch is just trying to keep them all safe, warm, and happy. The shadows though…the shadows are tricky. It’s all about adapting. But a man is only so strong, physically and mentally.
* What a mind bender of a tale, it was so captivating, and saddening. I pictured lots of quick cuts.
Shopping List: Periodic comfort food with a European twist and maybe a DIY project for the meantime.

The Stranger ~ Kathy Dinisi 30pgs
Young mother April does her best to provide for her daughter which unfortunately means being on the road a lot as a photographer for a fashion mag. Several hours of driving left before she gets to her baby girl, is she getting road worn or is she being followed, taunted, and threatened by a hooded man in a black truck??? Some short cuts aren’t for a destination home.
* A tense and gripping page turner with increasingly foreboding chapter titles made this quite a riveting read. I didn’t want it to end.
Shopping List: The makings of some of my favorites eats plus that sweet tooth satiated.

THAT’S IT, all 21 of em!! I’m not quite done yet though….
LOL so anyway, I’ve learned I’m incapable of picking a top 3 in collections but here are a handful of my favorites, they are all so good and well written but these ones just impacted a little deeper, and harder.
Cold Cuts: Lively duo, plenty of suspense. I craved, caved, and made a killer sandwich.
Backne: So damn gross and so damn entertaining. Made me almost upchuck me sammich.
The House on Back Road: The quarreling couple were so delightful, perfect ending!
The Kick: The western setting and all the deranged goings-on made this a prospected golden gem.
Breaking Ahab: Heartbreaking and mysterious. Kept me really intrigued from page 1.
The Cadenza: A gritty tale of talent lost….talent stolen! And how a man who knows of nothing else, decides to cope and rise above.
Zeitgeist: Another great setting, Japanese horror is so damn unsettling and I vividly pictured this as one of those kinds of top-notch horror movies.
The Stranger: Pulse pounding with white knuckles, such a sweet gal and it’s so appalling what she’s having to go through on her road weary way home to her daughter.

And now I have a bunch of new writers to check out!
But the only thing I did find lacking in this here vast collection was the author bios after each story. For me, it really helps me to remember a new author if their mini bios, and any other titles available, are after their story.

Hellbound Books is really making a name for itself and with quality works like these, it’s well deserved. They also have The Big Book of Boot Leg Horror out now which is 20 tales of the taboo. I adore all things taboo.
More anthologies slated soon so I’m sure I’ll be back with much more of my over-analysis’sss.

ACES!! 😀

 

You can buy the book here:

http://hellboundbookspublishing.com/shopping1.html

Getting personal with Kevin Wimer

Kevin Wimer is a very kind man. He is always ready to help a fellow author anyway he can. He has also written some good books. My favorite so far is Coma Hell. It really drug me in and then twisted me up and spit me out. That is my kind of story. Kevin works hard making sure his books are amazing from the editing to the writing he has done it all. He has a great sense of humor and always makes me giggle. He is a great friend. If you don’t know him please take time to meet him. Read one of his books and please leave him a review! Please help me welcome Kevin Wimer to Roadie Notes…………

1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?

I was in High school when I started writing. Maybe it was junior high . . . It was junior high . . . I think. I was around thirteen or fourteen years old at the time. I had a project due for English. We were to write a short Halloween story. I had a few minutes before class so I sat down and wrote something. It was awful. I mean awful. I didn’t understand how to structure a story at all. The story itself was a horror story. I remember the story earned me an A . . . I don’t know how because it was awful.

2. How many books have you written?

I have enough books that if I released two for the next thirty years I will not have them all released. Most of those will never see the light of day. A few are being re-written. I tend not to go back to something I have written. I like to start fresh. My mind tends to wonder when I am not writing something new.

I have published three books and three short stories. I have a few short stories in various anthologies with more coming as I type this. I find writing shorts to be very difficult. I have only so many words and it is hard to get what I want to say in such a short space of time. I do love writing them. I love the challenge.

3. Anything you won’t write about?

I won’t write Erotica. I know a few authors who do and they are great writers. I could see them branching out and writing something else. It is just not for me.

4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…

I am, as of this interview, forty-three years old. I am not married and I do not have kids. One day I hope to be married. I can’t wait to welcome that special someone into my life. I just hope she doesn’t read my work and look at me differently after we are married. Stephen King once said, write something that would shock those around you. I have done that. I shocked myself.

5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
That is a tough one to answer. I have enjoyed writing them all. I think if I had to choose just one it would be Coma Hell. Coma Hell is a book that I think if most people around me (friends and family) read it, it would shock them. It was a book I challenged myself to write. I was used to writing action and not horror. I have found I like writing horror more so now than any other genre. The buildup of the story is what is fun.

6. Who or what inspired you to write?

I was the kid who stayed home by himself during the summer and would watch scary movies. They scared the day lights out of me but I loved it. I loved how after watching them the house would take on a life of its own. The wind blowing outside and against the house was no longer the wind. A creak in the floor was no longer the house settling. It was a hell-bent killer in a hockey mask . . . Or a man who had been burned alive and now lived in the mind of kids as they slept . . . Maybe it was a man in a Halloween mask who just enjoyed killing. I think I was meant to write horror . . . I don’t know.

I have to say there are a few authors who have inspired me over the years.

Stephen King
Jack Ketcum
Dean Kootnz
Stephen Hunter
Jim Butcher
D.J. Mollies
I.J. Smith
Toney Monchinski
Timothy Long
Garrett Cook
Kindra Souder

The list of authors could go on for days if not years. A lot of great authors out there. I tend to study the authors I read. I’m always inspired to write something new while reading a book. Ideas hit me and sometimes I have to either write them or let them build in mind. The ones that build seem to be the best ones.

7. What do you like to do for fun?

I am a big car guy. I love classic cars and muscle cars. I just love cars in general. I enjoy going to movies too. I am a big movie and book junkie. I read a lot of books.

8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?

The only tradition that I have after I finish a book is that I tend to let them sit for a few weeks or a couple of months. I will start writing something new while those books are sitting. I have to keep writing and moving forward. Once I let them sit for a while I do go back and re-read them. It gives me a fresh mind and a new perspective. I either add more to the book only if I feel it needs. If not I send it out for editing.

9. Where do you write? Quite or music?

I used to write with music on but I found that I wasn’t getting the best story I could get out of me with music playing in the background. I now write in quite space. I write in a small office in my house.

10. Anything you would change about your writing?

If I could change something . . . It would be writing something that is perfect every time. No mistakes. I know that is not reality. I don’t think there is anything I would change. I want to keep learning the craft. I hope to never feel I have learned it all. No one can learn it all. If I keep writing until the day I die I will still be learning.

Writing to me isn’t work. If it ever starts to feel like a job I will stop writing. I write because it is fun to create.

11. What is your dream? Famous writer?

I think every writer wants to become famous. We want to be a house name author of some big publishing company. It is a sign that we have made it. A lot of authors out there are making a living with their writing and they are not a house hold name. I would be happy (more than just happy) to be among those authors.

12. Where do you live?

I live in a house that is deep in the woods. I have a mine field out front and a pound outback filled with man eating fish. The woods around my house are haunted. Zombies tend to roam the property freely. I’m joking . . . or am I? Of course, I am. I live small city in Virginia. It has been my home for forty-three years. I doubt I ever leave . . . Florida does sound nice in the winter time . . . Australia too.

13. Pets?

I don’t have any pets at this time. I grew up having pets. I like both cats and dogs.

14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is being creative. I love writing something that is unbelievable and making it believable. I write with hopes of someone else, besides me, will enjoy it.

15. What is coming next for you?

I have a few things on my plate. I have a thriller that is not yet titled. I also have book 2, 3 and 4 of Coma Hell written. I want to dive back into those and see if I want to keep them or re-write them. I think book 2 will be re-written.

I also have a couple of apocalypse ideas. A couple of zombie books too. The apocalyptic books will be fun to write. It will allow me to use what I have learned while writing horror and mix it with action. I want to dive into a character or two and let them develop over time. I think each of those ideas will be a series.

I also have a science fiction novel I want to work on. That has been an idea brewing for years. One day I hope to write that one.

This has been one of the best interviews! I have had a blast. I think interviews scare me more than the horror movies as a kid ever did. This is one I can say I had the most fun in doing. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this.
You can connect with Kevin Wimer here:
Amazon author page –
https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-Wimer/e/B00GZCBFDI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1496880526&sr=1-1

Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/KWimerAuthor/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/KWimerAuthor?lang=en

Readers and fans can email me at –
KWimerAuthor@gmail.com

 

Some of Kevin Wimer books:

An Angel Fallen By Andy Graham

First off this book has an absolutely beautiful cover and whoever made it either read the book or definitely  listened to what the author was looking for as it is perfect. I can’t imagine a better one for the book.

Second Andy Graham is a new author for me. I guarantee it won’t be the last book of his that I read. I was hooked the first page. The characters you will identify with and love and one you will want to protect. There are twists and turns I never saw coming and I love that it wasn’t predictable. The action in this book is tight and works very well with the story line. Andy Graham can definitely tell a story. He is one to watch as I expect big things from him.

The story begins with two young men out looking for trouble. Well, at least one of them. They have been friends for a long time. They have been up to no good and are out in the country side wandering around when they see something fall from the sky not to far away. What is it? They have no clue but have decided to go check it out. Now I won’t tell you what they find but I will tell you some other things about the story. The main character, Mike, is from a well to do family. His mother is an alcoholic and his father works all the time. Mike has been raised by Ariel the help. She is from another country and was a doctor there. He always questions why she gave up being a doctor. She is very good to him and he talks to her a lot. When strange voices appear in his head he wants to tell her and she can tell that something is wrong. He is afraid to say anything for fear she will think he has been drinking or has gone crazy. Does he tell her? I won’t tell you. The next character is the son of the farmer where the something fell out of the sky and landed. They supply the family with fresh vegetables and milk. When the animals st the farm become sick and start dying they come see Ariel since she was a doctor. She is tied up taking care of Mike’s drunk mother and can’t go help him. All these story lines come together in an incredible ending that blew me away. I sure didn’t think it would end like this. It is a good ending but I was surprised.

I highly recommend this book! It is a great read and very engrossing. Job well done Andy Graham!

You can buy the book here: 

Getting personal with Andy Graham

I’m going to start this interview a little differently. This is the blurb for Andy Graham’s new book. Enjoy!!!

 

You’re eighteen. Bored. Dad’s away a lot. Says its business, but you’ve seen the lipstick stains. Mum’s home. Too much. Keeping the world gin market afloat on her own. There’s Ariel, the family maid. She’s cool. The one piece of this messed up world that makes sense. And then there’s Raph.

Raph’s the leader of your gang of two. He gets off on doing those things to the animals you both catch: the slicing, crushing, and maiming. Buried a few alive, too. His relationship with that hammer of his is sick.

You run with Raph because, well, nothing else to do out here, right? Except if your folks found out what you’ve been up to, there’d be hell.

Then you find it. Whatever it is.

It can’t be what you think it is. Those things don’t exist. But it’s staring at you. Asking for help. Is it dying? Can these things die? You need to do something for it. Raph wants to do something to it.

Time to choose. Do you run with the human devil you know, or take a chance on this thing that fell from the heavens?

An Angel Fallen is a tale of divine retribution from British author Andy Graham. On a day when the world is struggling to stay sane, and is being ravaged by biblical plagues, what price will two teenagers pay for their past?

 

Please welcome Andy Graham to Roadie Notes…….

1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?

Mid-teens. It was a mash-up of LOTR and D&D, written in a red exercise book I’d nicked from school. I don’t know what happened to the original story (it may be gathering dust in a box at the back of my Mum’s loft), but some of those ideas resurfaced recently in some of my short stories, e.g. a spiral staircase that always turns left, whether you’re going up or down it. I then had a long break from writing when the teenage years (and hormones) kicked in. I wrote a lot of short stories when I was working as an EFL teacher, and even looked into publishing them, but didn’t start writing properly until a few years ago.

2. How many books have you written?

Three novels. One set of short stories. One novella.

The novels are my main work to date. The Lords of Misrule is a series of dystopian political thrillers set in an alternate world based on 21st Century EU/ US. They are dark, ambiguous, and the events are very, very possible. That is proving to be both their strength and weakness with readers. Some people like the ‘greyness’ and moral flexibility, others prefer their stories and characters more black and white.

My short stories and the novella explore the dark themes of human psyche in more detail than my longer works. Purely by nature of the stories being shorter, the nastiness is much more concentrated.

3. Anything you won’t write about?

Sparkly vampires with a heart of gold. It’s a crazy idea, it’ll never work. Apart from that, I haven’t found anything I won’t write about, yet. I think most subjects are fair game, it’s the way they are handled that’s important. G.R.R. Martin, for instance, tackles the theme of incest in ASOIAF, but doesn’t go into intimate detail (thankfully). I don’t want to deal with that particular topic, but if for some reason it came up in a story, would I go there? If it revulses me, would it revulse a reader? Is the ‘duty’ of a fiction author purely to entertain? If so, does provoking an emotional response count? I guess if it serves the plot, yes. If it’s there just to be cringe-worthy, then no.

4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…

I’m in my mid-forties (as a friend of mine pointed out – ‘over half-way’), married, and have two kids who are still at the wonderful age when they want to spend time with me, and I with them. My wife, fortunately, also still wants to spend time with me. I do various things outside writing: I play bass in a band, teach sports massage, and I am a qualified osteopath. It’s a little manic at times trying to keep up with all of these things, but I like the variety, and it gives me plenty of material to use in my stories.

5. What’s your favorite book you have written?

Ahhhhh. Pass… Not sure. The first proper novel I wrote (Franklin – The Lords of Misrule: Book 2) is probably my favourite story. I Died Yesterday (the titular short story from my compilation), is the one that haunts me most. An Angel Fallen (this novella) is the one I’m proudest of.

6. Who or what inspired you to write?

It’s always been something I wanted to do. Not entirely sure why. Maybe because I grew up in a house full of books, or because I was a shy kid, happier with words than people. As I mentioned before, it took me a long time before I actually started writing properly. Eventually, it was a case of just making time for something I’d really wanted to do. It’s something I’d encourage everyone to do – if you really want to do something, make time for it. Otherwise, it’s never going to happen.

7. What do you like to do for fun?

Make things up and write them down. Outside of that, I play my bass, run around with my kids, and go to the gym (though that’s more like therapy, to be honest).

8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?

Drink. Wine. Beer. Slivovice. Then start writing the next book.

9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?

I write wherever I can. That’s one of the beauties of the job – you just need a keyboard and imagination. I’m happiest in my front room, sitting in an armchair. I can’t write with music on, it gets in the way of my plot (and spelling).

10. Anything you would change about your writing?

Yes! I seem to have an allergy to punctuation. I’d love to be able to clean that up, it would help the editing process in particular. I tended to get carried away with some of my descriptions in my earlier books. That has improved, I’m much more concise now.

11. What is your dream? Famous writer?

Revenge: to watch my kids struggling with their own children as I struggled with them. Otherwise: Fame? No, not too concerned. Money? Yes, being financially secure would be great. (Anyone who says money’s not important is either lying or loaded.) Success as an author would be fantastic. But, without wanting to be too pretentious, my main dream is for my kids to grow up happy and healthy in a world which is not full of people being such f*****s to each other. But, then, if we did live in such a world, I wouldn’t feel as inspired to write dark fiction.

12. Where do you live?

At the moment in Prague, but we’re in the process of moving to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Mixed feelings about it, to be honest. Prague’s a great place, we have good friends, the kids are happy, but the opportunity to ‘go native’ out in the sticks and get ready for the apocalypse is too good to miss.

13. Pets?

The kids have two budgies, initially called Bertik and Pirko. (The latter means ‘feather’ in Czech.) Through sheer bloody-minded persistence and repetition I’ve managed to get them renamed Bucket and Pivo. (The latter means ‘beer’ in Czech.)

14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Being judge, jury, and executioner. I get to control who lives and dies, who gets vengeance, and who gets what they got coming to them.

15. What is coming next for you?

I want to finish book four of my main series (The Lords of Misrule). I’m about a third of the way through the first draft. I’m finding it tough going at the moment because there’s so much else going on. I’d like that published by the end of the year. I also have a collection of short stories set in that world coming out in a few months’ time. Then, who knows? I have a few ideas knocking around to build on An Angel Fallen, also supernatural horrors, and similar in length. I have rough plans for a few supernatural thrillers, or I may dip my toes in Joe Abercrombie’s pond and go full, epic grimdark.

 

You can connect with Andy Graham here:

http://www.andygrahamauthor.com
twitter – @andygraham2001
FB – andy graham author.

Some of Andy Graham’s books: