A Better Life by Kyle M. Scott. Review by:Mandy Tyra

The Savvy Scotsman scribes again!!
FINALLY, it has been too damn long since I have had the pleasure of Mr. Scott’s company to keep me warm at night.
Not my choice, it’s been over a year since his last release, The Club; an unhinged and animalistic ~ goretastic and orgylicious ~ story about innocence lost, inhibitions shed, and overindulgence embraced to the extents of which would make the tour guides at Sodom and Gomorrah blush.
It was crude and lewd and one hell of a delightfully down and dirty read!

This book, A Better Life, is much more reserved, subtle in it’s horrificness yet still horrific indeed.
It’s more of an atmospheric slow-burn, a character driven tale with an age-old ethical dilemma at its core.

For those not familiar with Scott’s work and who like their horror a little less on the extreme side, A Better Life would be a fabulous introduction for you.
OH and the supernaturally charged Where The Dead Ones Play also pops in mind. That book is one of the few, that after reaching the last page, I flipped back to the first and began again.
I wasn’t prepared for such a deep and profound emotional journey, I was just expecting an awesome fun read and felt I cheated myself with the bigger picture.
So, after getting a signed permission slip for the feel trip, I dove head first back in and that’s when I really started noting all the brilliant foreshadowing, somber symbolisms, and hidden/double/missing meanings that Kyle laced his spooky story with.
Nothing short of pure brilliance.
It’s critically acclaimed for a reason, yea…occasionally those critics get it right. hahaha

Ok so, I got a little sidetracked ~it happens~ now back to thisreview, there are only 5 characters in this book, just 5, and the entire thing is set at a remote location out in the Nevada desert.
Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, the story may not be complicated but the characters sure suffer some….complications.

Theses are often my favorite types of books and movies. A handful of characters set at a fixed location.

~ We got the young and madly in love married couple, Curt and Jess. He’ll do anything for her which is what has brought them to this desperate point in their lives. They have suffered a few ordeals in their time together and could really use a fresh start, a one way ticket outta the trailer park.
Greed is not their motivation, they just deserve a better life.
~ And then there is Peter, he works as a mechanic at Curt’s shop. He’s a foul-mouthed ex-con boozer whose idea of staying on the straight and narrow is swinging from the short and curlies like some sort of belligerent Tarzan. An avid idiot who is the antithesis of good-intended. Truly a vile character but let’s be honest, those are usually the best ones and I dooo notice in my reviews that I tend to go on and on and on about them, way more than the line or two I devote to the pure-at-hearts.
That may say a lot about me but it don’t mean nothing, well…it don’t!! Lol
~ We also meet the jovial and sassy Lisa, she’s very maternal and enjoys taking care of the people she cares about, she doesn’t mince words and makes a mean sandwich. She’s a mama bear and her involvement is wholly altruistic.
~ And lastly, we have little Miss Emily, a beautiful and oddly aloof 8-year-old girl. Jess takes a real shine to her even though she is a bit unnerved by her stoic nature. She seems to be taking all of this a bit too well.
But everybody’s nerves are on edge and young Emily just must be lost in a sort of shock, she assumes.

It was supposed to be so easy, go off without a hitch. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
E V E R Y T H I N G.
The set-up was simple. The follow-through was anything but.
Teamwork makes the Dreamwork!! Well, unless equations factor in because:
Best Laid Plans + Murphy’s Law = Chaos Theory

So just what constitutes a better life anyway…. Wealth? Health? Happiness? Freedom?

At the root, it’s a morality tale that teeter totters that ambiguous line of immorality.
Maybe some sort of catch-22 form of immortality too….
Intrigued? You bet your sweet ass.
There ain’t no sweet in that bitter though, just pure bitter…but a bit of sour too.

Kyle really takes us to some dark places in this story. He plays on (and with) a genuine fear
everybody has. Sin. Just how much sin does it take to overshadow virtue?
Is there a past-the-point-of redemption?
And who decides this….
This book really brings up some moralistic questions.

Remember when I mentioned the vile characters and how much fun they were, well that’s only if the writer is cunning enough to create them multi-textured and with a bit of depth. The last thing I wanna read is some color by numbers, over the top, caricature antagonists.
That just takes me right out of the story.
And I never fear cause Kyle writes them ALL so well ~ the good, the bad, and the fugly.

Another skill I applaud in a writer, what separates the good writers from the great writers, is when they know when to show restraint. I especially admire how in this one scene, this one shocking scene, he wrote it happening ‘off screen’, only audible for another character.
I know it must be hard for extreme authors to practice that kind of self-discipline, to have the foresight and be intuitive enough to know when to hold back and just let the scene sell itself.
It really can be far more impactful and cringe-inducing that way.
Of course I also love it when they go all out bat-shit/buck-wild explicitly crazy on our asses too, which is what Kyle is known for, and excels at.

Aaaand that’s it!!! If you think I’m gonna tell you more, think again.
This ain’t that kind of book and I ain’t that kind of girl!
Well….I am, but this isn’t.
I do wish I could go on but I can’t, I sequester myself with all of my Kyle reviews and yes, I know my silence it’s awfully…disquieting.
That’s the point.
You have to experience The Kyle Style for yourself.
He’s a real write-outside-the-box kind of author.
Smooth as silk, tough as nails, and as real as the 5th dimension.

My only complaint ~ and it is a biggie ~ is that he does not write new stuff nearly enough.
But I guess that’s the perfectionist in him, a writing force to be reckoned with.
I can’t wait for his next tour de force.
It’s supposed to be The Infernal about a rapturous-like apocalypse (…rap-poc) and it’s due to come out in July-ish
BUT, our Mr. Scott does not abide by our repressive Gregorian calendar, he soars the scenic route, transversing along his own celestial course, like a natural-born star ~ a writer rock star.
Sooo….we’ll get it when we get it and it will be worth it. I guarantee it.

If any of you actually made it this far in my review, WOW, I’m impressed or maybe you’re just still on the toilet.
No matters. Preciate Ya either way!
Yea, I used to try to watch the word count but attempting to cut-the-fat always made them bloat more.
So I surrendered and learned to just let my red freak flag fly freely in my reviews, or…little articles.
They’ll end when they’re good and ready.
The End.
Cheers!! 😉

Getting personal with Nicholas Catron

Nicholas Catron is a Washington state resident born and raised. He is 36 years old and is married with 3 children. He is a devoted husband and father. He works as an electrician during the day and writes in the evening. His passion is writing and he is working hard to make that dream come true. In his spare time he enjoyed video games, hiking in the mountains, reading and smoking a good cigar. Not only does he write stories but also poetry. He says my muse comes and demands my hands and I write.

His favorite author is Alexandre Dumas but he at this point in time his writing is influenced by William Gibson. He loves to read and will pick up most anything lying around and will read three books at once. He also enjoys researching obscure topics just for the heck of it and draws a little.


Please welcome Nicholas Catron to Roadie Notes………


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

I’m pretty sure, throughout grade school, I was forced to write a story or two that I don’t remember. Wasn’t exactly into writing back then. I think the first story I wrote was back in like 2010. It was a flash fiction piece about a demon sent to scout out a battlefield when an angel destroys his world and reminds him of who he used to be. I was inspired by the Tool song Right InTwo, which the story is aptly titled.



2. How many books have you written?

I’ve written quite a few short stories but as far as full-length novels, three. Two are collecting dust in a computer folder somewhere, never to see the light of day again.



3. Anything you won’t write about?

Pedophilia or anything along those lines.



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

36 years old, three kids (two boys and girl), married for almost three years and I work as an electrician. I used to work in the graphic design field and cooked in a few restaurants as well.



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

My most recent, Apostate. It’s the only novel I’ve written that survived the editing and revision process. Each one before, taught me how to write. I basically had to start from scratch since I didn’t go to college.



6. Who or what inspired you to write?

I’m a talker. I talk a lot. I’ve always told stories, just never wrote them down. One day, it just clicked in my brain: I’m supposed to write. So, I started and now here I am, wondering just how far I can take this.



7. What do you like to do for fun?

Depends on the mood. Read. Definitely read. Play video games, go exploring, watch movies, engage in intellectually stimulating conversations, talk to random strangers at bars (rarely happens these days). The list could go on and on. Write, obviously.



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

Talk about it, a lot. To anyone who will listen. Fret and worry that it is horrible.​​


9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?

I usually write in my room with the door closed. Depending on the part of the process, it’s either quiet or I put my headphones on and listen to one song on repeat. Tool is helpful, so are the Deftones. I like Gwar for fight scenes but Gang Gang Dance’s Lotus is excellent for tuning the world out and letting my creativity flow.



10. Anything you would change about your writing?

Well, I would like to be better. To understand how to weave conflict, emotion and controversy seamlessly.



11. What is your dream? Famous writer?

My dream, what I think about daily, what I practically obsess about, is to be able to make my living as a writer. To make more money than I do now, writing. To be able to transition from working construction to writing from home.



12. Where do you live?

Washington state, on the eastside of the westside. Not Seattle but close enough.



13. Pets?

Nope. I’m allergic to animals.



14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My poetry is definitely cathartic for me. Helps me let out whatever is hiding inside. As far as my stories, they’re what I want to read. I love the fact that the worlds and people I dream up on the inside, come to life on the page and take a life of their own.



15. What is coming next for you?

I’m currently outlining my next novel, a cyberpunk dystopian tale of redemption and revenge. So damn excited about it!


16. Where do you get your ideas?

That, I couldn’t say. They just flit in and out of my brain like butterflies through a garden. Almost as if some creature is typing away and saves them to my brain. When I sit down to write, or take notes, the words come out on their own, I’m just the conduit.



You can connect with Nicholas Catron here: 

Instagram – @nickcwrites

Twitter – @nickcwrites

Website – http://authornicholascatron77.wordpress.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/authornicholascatron/


Nicholas Catron has work so to be released in Blood Puddles: Silent Screams in Liquid Darkness and has poems published on a blog called Vita Brevis Literature.


You can read some of his poems here:


Blank 88

It’s this empty that spreads,
deep through the veins of our lives.
And they end. Disappear.
Like shadows in a moonless night.
What words could console a whisper,
when shouting is the cry that we keep?
Only then, when we’ve lost everything,
could we see.
Could we hope to change our direction.
Could we ever wake to our gruesome truth:
We are Death incarnate,
devils in humanity’s skin.
Cannibal wolves that carve up the lambs,
only to prey on the pack.
Should we not cut out our cancer?
Cut out ourselves?
Or continue on, spreading the decay,
feeding the worms.
Our glass eyes see only the lie.


Anima Lost

And it’s that, which we have left behind,
the slumbering silence of moonlight,
calling out to our faltering name.
The essence of our long-standing footprint,
washed away by devouring tides,
lost to the sands of some memory,
leaving this ache in the folds of our mind.
I’d wait for the fire to foster,
a conflagration of life inside skin,
but concrete, plastic and violence,
has left me slowly dying from within.

Getting personal with Brandon Scott

Brandon Scott is an amazing man. He has a great sense of humor that I adore. He is smart and very passionate about his writing. He writes poetry and stories that will just blow your mind. Having read some of his work in progress I can tell you that he has immense talent and you definitely will want to read his writing. He is one of the most driven writers I have met in a long time with a fire that burns brightly. He is one to watch. He is definitely going places. So buckle up and enjoy the ride and make sure you read his stories you won’t be sorry.


Please welcome Brandon Scott to Roadie Notes…….


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

I was 14 when I wrote my first story. It was a 35,000 word novella about a girl trapped in her dreams.


2. How many books have you written?

I’ve written 3 novels and nearly 24 short stories.


3. Anything you won’t write about?

I try to keep religion to a minimum and politics…I hate any political rhetoric.


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

I’m 32, single, with no kids, and I am member of the Product Service Group for Lowe’s Hardware where I have worked for the last 15 years.


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

A book that doesn’t exist anymore called ‘Serum’. It was gigantic with a large scope and 18 characters. I started it in 2008 and by 2016 the overall concept was cliché or so I was alerted to. So I split it down into short stories.


6. Who or what inspired you to write?

Let’s see growing up reading Koontz and Dan Simmons gave me a desire to do it when I was around 11 or 12. What put my into hyperdrive was reading a bad novel that I won’t name, but it made me believe I could do better.


7. What do you like to do for fun?

I play guitar and work on them as well as work on cars …particularly my Wrangler. I love at the edge of the Linville Gorge so I hike quite a bit and up until this summer I coached middle school baseball.


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

I drink lots of vodka ….no… I finish the last page up at a place called Wiseman’s View overlooking the Gorge.

9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?

I have a nook set up and sometimes I blare loud 90’s alternative rock and sometimes it’s dead silent with nothing but the sound of keys clicking.


10. Anything you would change about your writing?

Learn proper comma use. I’m terrible with commas !


11. What is your dream? Famous writer?

For writing to be my full-time job in a cabin by the lake. Full on hermit style of life.


12. Where do you live?

Nebo, a town in the upper foothill of North Carolina.


13. Pets?

Two labs named Archer and Trajin


14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Being hypnotized at the keyboard. I go somewhere else in my mind where the characters are real and I like to go there as often as possible.


15. What is coming next for you?

A redraft on a long novel called ‘The Storms of June’  a haunted house story masking a metaphor of being abandoned and neglected.

16. Where do you get your ideas?

They start with random one liners that turn into “what ifs” and I talk to myself a lot !



You can connect with Brandon Scott here: 



Some of Brandon Scott’s books:



Getting personal with S.C. Burke

“  I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had a youth shrouded in perpetual 80s themes, cartoons, toys, comic books, and most importantly- film. I studied film well into my 20’s, hoping to have a career writing or directing. However, my attention kept fall to writing, mainly experimental prose, something that slowly seeped into everything I did. So, it was then that I decided to devote myself entirely to the art of words.  This was the birth of NihilismRevised – an independent literary collective of underground writers, all coming together to create books in basements, then distributing our labors at live readings and street corners. After several years, the collective went their own ways in life, and I decided to take NihilismRevised out to the world to see if we could publish collectively on the world’s platform.”
Please welcome SC Burke to Roadie Notes………
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
I feel like I’ve been creating stories my whole life – but I distinctly remember around age 10, I set out to create a comic-book character – by the name of Milton – and the first thing I would do before drawing the panels was create a small plot for each adventure. I’m pretty sure the inspiration was Bart Simpson, as all I ever did with the character of Miltonwe’re acts of deviance. He was nothing more than a social misfit.
2. How many books have you written?
Officially, I have 2 book lurking amongst us. Most recently The Weird: A Strange Novella, and id Cancer, both being transgressive/experimental stories.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
Ultimately, no. Absolutely not. There are no limitations in the art we create – it’s why we do what we do. Though, I tend to find anything that spreads the ignorance and idiocy of hatred to be incredibly disposable – like a human without a soul, it has no point or place.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I am 32 years old. Not married, though I can safely say my soul is spoken for. One child, my son: Vincent Hadrian. I do art/design, as well as directing the publishing label NihilismRevised with my partner-in-crime Zak A. Ferguson.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
As far as favorites for my own personal works, I’d have to say the favorite lies with a book called 1985: A Neon-Drenched Novel. I have yet to publish the book at this point, though it is currently my main focus, and I’m hoping to have it out in 2018. The story is without a doubt my most personaland precious piece.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
While inspiration is something I take from almost anywhere and everywhere, there are two that have impacted my psyche with an imprint that’ll never disappear. The first being the book Helter Sketler, a true-crime novel documenting the Manson family murders. I went through a phase in my youth where reading was the last thing I wanted to be doing, and it was reflecting. So, I spent about 3 hours in a Barnes and Noble bookstore, browsing, my mom surging with stress to the point it was tearing up in her eyes. Once the struggle was over, I read the book for an English class report. The paper had received a great grade – an A, though it also earned me a suspension from school, due to its content. This moment taught me the power of words, and even more the power of fear towards intellectualized horrors. The second biggest influence comes in the form of William S. Burroughs, a writer that will never stop educating. This is where I learned there are no limitations to art or creativity – the literary structure, like any other, is meant to be torn down and rebuilt upon. And most importantly – “Exterminate all rational thought.”
7. What do you like to do for fun?
Sex. Film. Music. In no particular order. Just as long as they’re constant while not in the throes of creating and living like a regular human-being.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?


Smoke something sweet and serenading to the soul, while listening to Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Closer albums back-to-back. Always.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
I’ve grown used to writing anywhere I can set up my laptop and just GO. Though I am absolutely incapable of writing in the presence of others. It’s something I must do entirely alone. Music is always key as well – practically required. I can only listen to instrumental tunes, as I find voices and vocals to be rather intrusive.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
Absolutely everything, always. Writing is a never-ending process of evolution – of the mind, the soul, and existence as an artist. I think it’s safe to say all writers live in pursuit of that one perfect sentence.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
I don’t really think it’s my position to dream in the face of fame. I’m not that big, nor will I ever care about anything that it comes with. As a kid, it was my dream to be big enough to make art that affects the soul absolutely – it’s a dream I’ll die without achieving, and that’s profoundly perfect, as nobody should ever truly achieve their dreams. Without them, what is the point of existence?
12. Where do you live?

 Salt Lake City, Utah is where I currently call home.

13. Pets?
My friend Krieger. A miniature pincher.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Society and the human-psyche, or the lack of. Documenting decadence and degradation. Our existence in the Cosmos, amongst the Stars and the Universe.
15. What is coming next for you?
Firstly, I am working alongside a full line-up of insanely talented writers to make an anthology called Strange Behaviors: An Anthology of Absolute Luridity. After that, I am hoping to settle all loose ends on the aforementioned book 1985: A Neon-Drenched Novel, and get it released to the world.
16. Where do you get your ideas?
Waiting. Watching. Being an audience member to this fucked-up wonder we call Earth.


You can connect with SC Burke here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NihilismRevised/




Some of SC Burke’s books:


Getting even more personal with Jason Parent

One thing I love to do is to go back and talk to the amazing authors I have interviewed in the past. I get to see what they have been doing and what new books they have out now. I am honored to get to read for so many incredibly talented people. Jason Parent is one of these writers that I love to read. His books are superb and his plot and characters are always on point. To say he it talented is putting it mildly. His winning combination of smart, funny and charming makes him one of the best in my world. His latest release of They Feed is just another notch in his belt of proving me right. He is one to watch. He is going places. He is one of the hardest working people I have ever met. With a demanding day job and finding time to write I don’t know how he does it all. I have nothing but love and respect for him. If you haven’t tried any of his books please do so immediately.


Please welcome Jason Parent back to Roadie Notes……..


1. It’s been awhile since we talked what new books do you have out now? Latest release?

My latest novel, They Feed, just came out from Sinister Grin. It’s pure, old-school horror, a creature feature mixed with slasher-flick tendencies. I hope it’s as much fun to read as it was to write.


2. If you could pick any author alive or dead to have lunch with who would it be? Why?

I’d like to pick fantasy author Michael Sullivan’s brain. In addition to writing good books, he knows how to engage fans, market appropriately, and just be a class act all around. Though, he answers fan questions on Goodreads, and I might be able to do it there… hmmm… I’m changing my answer to any author who drinks.

So yeah, just about all of them.



3. What is the strangest thing a fan has ever done?


The real question you should be asking is: what’s the strangest thing I’ve ever done to (or with) a fan?

Yeah, my life’s not that exciting.



4. What is the one thing you dread to do when writing?


Fall asleep. I write. On paper. In the bathtub.


5. Did you have imaginary friends growing up? Tell me about them

You want to hear something sad? I remember next to nothing about my childhood. I don’t think I had an imaginary friend, but I did have a blanky.



6. Do you go to conventions? If not why?


Yep, I go to conventions. Usually, they come in spurts. I’ll do three, then none for half a year. And I’ve never done one alone.



7. How many times did you have to submit your first story before it was accepted?


My first novel (published later, after many revisions): to just about every agent out there. My first published novel: once.

8. Ever consider not writing? If so what made you continue?


I don’t think I would stop writing, though the day job is doing its best to keep me from it right now. I have considered not publishing. We all have ups and downs, good days and bad days, and we’ve all taken hits in this business. It’s a rollercoaster for sure, but deep down I never want the ride to end.



9. Ever thought about writing in a different category?


Yep, and I have. Seeing Evil and A Life Removed are both crime thrillers (with elements of horror) and People of the Sun is a science fiction thriller.



10. Any new additions to the family? 


Nope, I’m an army of one. Think I may get a dog or a cat or both (or a sloth, if you can own one) soon.



11. What is coming up next for you?


They Feed just hit stores on April 15, so I will be promoting that for a bit. I also have two sequels of other titles coming out this year, Hearing Evil and Victoria (sequel to What Hides Within). I should also have one or two or three short stories coming out as well. But after that, I suspect things may slow down a bit.


12. Do you do release parties? Do you think they work? 


I have done release parties. I also hosted an event for others. They can be effective, if done right. I would have liked to have done something for They Feed, but I just haven’t had time to prepare it.



13. Do you have crazy stalker fans? Have you ever had one you wish would go away?


Yes, and yes. But just the one, and she did go away. Well, just the one that I know of…


14. Do you still have a “day job” ? If so what do you do? 


Ready to be bored? I am the manager of a team that primarily negotiates IT contracts for a corporation you probably know well. I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal.

That was a joke. And also a quote from Anchorman.



15.  What is your process for writing? Do you have a voice in your head?


I don’t have much of a process these days. I need quiet or restaurant background noise. When I really get going, I lose track of time, living in my head and in the story until something jars me out of it.



16. Is there a book you want to make a sequel to you haven’t yet?


I’ve been toying with the idea of a sequel to Where Wolves Run. And I will definitely write a third book with Sam and Michael, my characters from Seeing Evil. If people like They Feed and want more, then I’d be happy to provide it to them.


You can connect with Jason Parent here: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jason-Parent/e/B008XMAMBY

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJasonParent/

Twitter: @AuthorJasParent


Some of Jason Parent books: 


Getting even more personal with Jeff Strand


Jeff Strand is always a delight to speak with. I love his wit and I’m always giggling. He is a brilliant writer who always has me spellbound when I’m reading his latest novel. He has also been the host for the Bram Stoker Awards for the last 10 years running. His many friends and fans will all tell you what an amazing man and writer he is so if you havent read anything he has written shame on you! Get to it!


Please help me welcome Jeff Strand back to Roadie Notes……..


1. It’s been awhile since we talked what new books do you have out now? Latest release?

My latest young adult comedy, HOW YOU RUINED MY LIFE, is coming very, very soon as I type this but should be out by the time this interview is posted. Earlier this year I published the “home invasion with ghosts” horror novel SICK HOUSE.

2. If you could pick any author alive or dead to have lunch with who would it be? Why?

Is the author still dead while we’re having lunch? Because my choice is Douglas Adams, but that doesn’t mean I want to have lunch with him if he’s deceased and untalkative. Assuming he’s come back to life and isn’t too annoyed about his demise, I’d want to have lunch with him because the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books were a huge influence on my own writing and I think it would be fascinating to listen to him.

3. What is the strangest thing a fan has ever done?

Went around to all of my old hang-outs from when I attended Bowling Green State University. Took pictures of herself in front of them…dressed as me, with a wig, fake mustache/goatee, etc. (To clarify: this was for an online article, posted for public viewing, and not something she sent to me in creepy private messages.)

4. What is the one thing you dread to do when writing?

I hate writing synopses. Hate it. I hate writing them for books that don’t exist yet, and I hate writing them for books that I’ve already finished. Synopses suck.

5. Did you have imaginary friends growing up? Tell me about them

Nope. I had a vivid imagination but no imaginary friends.

6. Do you go to conventions? If not why?

I love conventions! I’m a regular at StokerCon and Necon, and I was a regular at the World Horror Convention before they stopped having ’em. This year I’m also going to Scares That Care, KillerCon, and Monsterpalooza. For me, they’re a lot of fun. For newer writers, they’re an invaluable way to make contacts; social media is awesome, but it doesn’t compare to hanging out with authors/editors/agents face-to-face.

7. How many times did you have to submit your first story before it was accepted?

Just once.

Of course, that answer is completely misleading. I racked up hundreds of rejections before anything got accepted. But I was very prolific and tended to take things out of circulation pretty quickly, so no individual short story ever got rejected by more than a couple of markets.

8. Ever consider not writing? If so what made you continue?

Never. I don’t know what I’d do with my life!

9. Ever thought about writing in a different category?

Oh, yeah. I love writing horror, but I also love writing non-horror stuff like KUMQUAT. There are plenty of other genres I’d love to tackle. I’d write the hell out of an epic fantasy.

10. Any new additions to the family?

Nope. My cat Chaos has been with us for three years now.

11. What is coming up next for you?

My novella COLD DEAD HANDS will finally be out very soon, at least in e-book form. And then a very, very dark novel called BRING HER BACK.

12. Do you do release parties? Do you think they work?

They certainly don’t HURT, but I’ve rarely done them. I did one for PRESSURE because it was my first mass market release, and I did one for BLISTER because I wanted to do an event at the Wordier Than Thou bookstore in St. Petersburg, Florida. For the most part, I do a lot of promotion when I’ve got a new book but not an actual release party.

13. Do you have crazy stalker fans? Have you ever had one you wish would go away?
Considering the weird-ass stuff that I write, I have remarkably little in the way of crazy stalker fans.

14. Do you still have a “day job”? If so what do you do?

I did boring insurance stuff for eighteen years, but now I write full-time.

15. What is your process for writing? Do you have a voice in your head?

Yes, I “hear” the book as I’m writing it. My process involves a lot of revision as I go; I’m definitely NOT one of those writers who believes in just getting the first draft out and worrying about fixing it later. By the time I type “The End” the book is usually in 99.9% of its finished form, at least until the editor gets a hold of it.

16. Is there a book you want to make a sequel to you haven’t yet?

I’ve played around with sequel ideas for various books, and even started writing some of them, but it’s usually difficult for me to get truly excited about a follow-up. I do have an idea for a “companion piece” to DWELLER that would take place during the same timeframe, but I make absolutely no promises that it will ever happen. There will definitely be a fifth Andrew Mayhem novel and a WOLF HUNT 3, but I’m not sure there will be any other sequels.


You can connect with Jeff Strand here:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Strand/e/B001K8D3F0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeffStrandAuthorFanPage/

Twitter: @JeffStrand

Website: https://jeffstrand.wordpress.com/


Some of Jeff Strand’s books: 


Getting personal with Ben Jones aka: Benedict J Jones

Benedict J Jones is a writer of crime, horror and western fiction from south-east London.

His debut novel “Pennies for Charon” has been described as a “masterful mix of crime and the occult…”.

His work has appeared in magazines such as One Eye Grey, Pen Pusher, Out of the Gutter and Encounters, on a variety of websites including Big Pulp and Shotgun Honey and in anthologies from Dark Minds Press, Crystal Lake Publishing, Full Dark City Press and Dog Horn Publishing.


Please welcome Ben Jones to Roadie Notes……. 


1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
That’s hard to say. I wrote a lot as a child and then even more when I left school and college but I rarely sent anything out and very few of them have survived. The first story I had published was a horror short about cannibals attacking a tube train called “Goin’ Underground” and that was published in a ‘zine called One Eye Grey in 2008.

2. How many books have you written?
Five with just my name on the cover. Skewered and Other London Cruelties (a novella and ten shorts) which introduced my recurring character Charlie Bars, Pennies for Charon (the first Charlie Bars novel), The Devil’s Brew which followed on from Pennies, Slaughter Beach (a splatter-punk novella and ode to 80s video nasties) and Ride the Dark Country (which collected some of my weird westerns).

3. Anything you won’t write about?
Not if there’s a story in it. I think writing is a great way of discussing social taboos. I can see why readers might not want to read about certain things but I believe a writer should be able to write about anything. Like a lot of things it is all about how you do it rather than what you are doing. I tend to write about the darker parts of human nature and while I would write about anything I would try not to glorify or glamorize it.

4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
No problem at all. I’m thirty seven and from south-east London. Not married but I live with my partner. I have a little girl from a previous relationship that I see a lot of. I work for a University providing distance learning to students all around the world.

5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
Oh, that is a difficult question! There are elements to them all that I really enjoyed. The one that gave me the most enjoyment to write was probably “Slaughter Beach” but I think the one that I think is the best might be “Pennies for Charon”. Although the extended climax of “The Devil’s Brew” came out exactly as I had imagined it and remains a favorite as well. Ask me again next week and it will probably have changed.

6. Who or what inspired you to write?
Quite a few different things and people really. I have always loved to tell stories in one format or another. The early writers who inspired me were people like Robert Westall, Arthur Conan Doyle, James Clavell, and Stephen King. I had a real epiphany around the millennium when I read the works of Clive Barker and Chester Himes which made me actually write things myself.

One of my sisters, Geraldine, was a huge inspiration to me. She typed up a lot of those early stories that never saw publication and without that, and the feedback she gave me, I’m not sure I would have kept going with it.

7. What do you like to do for fun?
All sorts really – reading and writing (obviously), cinema and film, cooking, socializing. I really like travelling as well and seeing as much of the world as I can. Exotic locales rarely feature in my work at present but I am working on a few things.

8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Usually I’ll try and start another story and not be able to get into it. It usually takes a couple of tries to “freshen my palette” and start on a new work after completing a long piece. But no, nothing really – not like the Paul Sheldon character at the start of Misery.

9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
Usually at the kitchen table with the radio on. I like having something going on in the background, it seems to help me concentrate.

10. Anything you would change about your writing?
I’d like to get more finished and not worry so much about things not being exactly perfect – I’d be more productive that way. But no, on the whole I’m just happy to be doing things in my own style.

11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
Maybe once, maybe still, but I think aiming to be happy is more fulfilling.

12. Where do you live?

These days I live in west London rather than the south-east. A different place to that which initially inspired me but I absolutely love it.

13. Pets?

No, although I have vague memories of an aged spring spaniel, Jamie, that we had when I was born. One day maybe but city living isn’t really conducive to giving a pet a good life (unless it’s a goldfish or something) if you’re working. Maybe one day…

14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

It’s probably a combination of research and world building. I also like to take the reader to places that unsettle them, to reveal things about the world – both real and imagined that may be far outside their own comfort zones.

15. What is coming next for you?

Well, I’m just redrafting the third Charlie Bars novel – a potent mix of politics, crime and secrets from out of the past. I’m hoping to get a joint weird western novella finished that I’ve been working on (for far too long) with my good friend Anthony Watson. There’s a World War two horror novella and some shorts that will hopefully be out in 2018 as well.


You can connect with Ben Jones here: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Benedict-J.-Jones/e/B00BAI8QBQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BenedictJJonesWriter/


Some of Ben Jones’ books: