Monthly Archives: November 2011

{Guest} Stephen Brayton


I once read an article stating how fear is an acronym for False Evidence Against Reality. The article went on to discuss how most fears aren’t as devastating when the reality of the situation is revealed.

For instance, I fear change. Change in my residence or employment usually produces a queasy feeling in my stomach. However, in the face of reality, the new apartment or job isn’t as bad as expected.

Many of us experience fear in one form or another and at different intensities. Anything from a mild anxiety about an upcoming dinner date to a long suffered phobia of spiders or heights. Tony Shalhoub portrayed a man with the ultimate in fears in the television series Monk.

Fear, however, is a bit different from being scared. Fears can be faced and, in many cases, overcome. The phobias some people have can be dealt with through counseling or outright confrontation with the fearful situation. Scared is heightened and lingering fear. Scared is knowing potential danger is imminent. The teenage camper, having seen her mutilated friends strewn about the woods is truly scared of what’s behind the door of the lonely old cabin she’s discovered. She knows the killer stalks her and is watching, waiting.

For me, scared was driving seven miles on a curvy, hilly, ice covered road with steep ditches on either side and no way to turn around. As a child, scared was being stranded on the other side of a large lake with no way to return except for trekking another hour back, knowing the trouble I’d be in.

Horror movies rarely scare me. Sure there are moments that give my heart and stomach a short-lived jolt, but they’re rare. The twist at the end of The Sixth Sense didn’t really scare me, per se, but left me feeling very weird since, for me, Bruce Willis being dead was completely unexpected. Most horror films, though, are various versions of the same theme: the serial killer or mutated monster slaughtering the wayward young or ghosts, vampires, or other supernatural entities doing the same.

Radio and literature hold more potential to scare because they force you to use your imagination. One of the most famous radio incidents creating a mass scare was Orson Welles narrating the alien invasion of War of the Worlds in 1938.

I’ve collected hundreds of horror novels throughout the years and have been scared by only a few. Not very many have left a lingering sense of dread or maintained the imagination after the last chapter. There have been rarities leaving me wondering, “What if…” or “What would the next scene be?” because there was no real resolution in the story.

H.P. Lovecraft was a master at creating those lasting feelings for me. He wrote some truly scary material and years passed with several re-readings of a few of his stories for me to understand the attraction to his stories. Rarely did he show you the monster. One of his best stories, in my opinion, At the Mountains of Madness, draws you in so well with so much detail and description, you feel that you are right there with the travelers discovering an ancient vanished civilization in the Antarctic depths. When they flee the scene, you are desperately wanting to know what the main character saw when he looked back over his shoulder, what awful, nameless thing destroyed the mind of his partner…but Lovecraft doesn’t tell you. You are left wondering…wondering what could it be? For me, I loved that scared feeling imagining there really were super tall mountains at the South Pole hiding all sorts of unknown creatures.

I hope I’ve created some scary moments in my book, Night Shadows. I waited until later in the book before the monsters were ‘seen’ and known. Several readers have shared the fact they really didn’t want to turn out the lights the night after reading the story. I hope I have also left people with a lingering imagination, a sense of ‘what if?’

What scares me scares many people. The unknown, the possibilities in the unknown. Also the experience you have when–

Oh, crap! Don’t you dare sneak up on me and tap my shoulder. You nearly scared me to death.

About The Author:

Stephen Brayton - Author of "Night Shadows"

Stephen L. Brayton owns and operates Brayton’s Black Belt Academy in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a Fifth Degree Black Belt and certified instructor in The American Taekwondo Association.

He began writing as a child; his first short story concerned a true incident about his reactions to discipline. During high school, he wrote for the school newspaper and was a photographer for the yearbook. For a Mass Media class, he wrote and edited a video project.

In college, he began a personal journal for a writing class; said journal is ongoing. He was also a reporter for the college newspaper.

During his early twenties, while working for a Kewanee, Illinois radio station, he wrote a fantasy based story and a trilogy for a comic book. He has written numerous short stories both horror and mystery. He has also written a paranormal mystery, entitled Night Shadows, sequels to Nights Shadows and Beta are in rewrite/revision stages.

Find out more about Stephen and his dark world by visiting his author blog.

{Guest} Kay Theodoratus

From ‘Idea’ to ‘Taking Vengeance’ – Writing For The Love Of It

Who knows where ideas come from? I’ve gone through four/five different writing “careers”, and I still don’t know. I do know when my favorite world, the Far Isle Half-Elven, appeared. I was sitting in my chair, recuperating from surgery, too sick to have any energy and well enough to be bored.

While petting the cat and dozing, this stern woman appeared in my mind, standing on the bluff over-looking the sea with her long reddish hair streaming behind her in the retreating gale. Her name was Mariah, and she had sunk into despair. Her partner had gone undercover to spy on their southern enemies, and the ruler, his half-brother and a former lover, had thrown her out of his council of advisors because he was tired of listening to her criticisms.

Of course, there was a history there, the history of the Far Isle Half-Elven … so I started writing and writing and writing some more, for the fun, of it until 500,000 words sat in my computer, much in need of revision if they are ever going to become a novel. The surprising thing? I didn’t get bored with the characters even though half-elves live longer than 400 years/turns. Taking a scalpel, I chopped a 125,000 +/- word chunk out of the middle and tried to turn it into a novel. Hey, I had spent several years amusing myself wandering in the Half-Elven world. The idea of publishing something began to itch.

Of course, I hit my head against the craft conventions of the writing fiction. Lots of them I knew from writing short non-fiction. Others like pacing and how to start a novel, I didn’t. So, I studied my craft online with all the wonderful blogs and forums that have developed over the years. I’m still studying which is the basis of my blog: “Lessons from My Reading”.

My first revelation … you don’t start your novel 50 years prior to the main action. So, I split the chunk into two parts: Taking Vengeance and Dark Solstice. WolfSinger Publications published Taking Vengeance as a stand-alone novelette even though I submitted it as a short story. Dark Solstice is still in the process of being revised.

Yay! I was published again. Nice, but I learned I had more learning to do. Marketing. Even though I’ve written successful marketing copy for businesses, I … hate … marketing.

My second revelation … I had to learn about marketing. Except I have a great handicap, I rather growl at the world from my corner than glad-hand everyone I meet. Still, after some months, I did develop a marketing campaign for Taking Vengeance. This review is one result. Other marketing helps like the Independent Author’s Network, Duolit, and the Indie Book Collective are showing me lots of ways to get my ebook noticed. All I have to do is apply myself even if I hate marketing.

Right? Wish it were so easy.

I’m slow. I have 400,000 Half-Elven words in my computer. Worse, I’ve written three other novels set in other worlds and never seem to find time to finish them. So, here I sit at my stuffed computer. I’m no longer amusing myself … writing for the fun of it … for the love of it.  My guilty conscious is telling me to go back to work and get published.

About The Author:

Kay Theodoratus

Wrote my first novel in the sixth grade:  the teacher asked for a short story for an English assignment. She got a Nancy Drew pastiche — “The Clue of the Clay Cats”  — and gave me a “C” because, at 25 handwritten pages, I hadn’t finished the story. [Most of the other kids only wrote two to four pages. *snarl*, *snarl*] The next summer, I finished the novel- length MG story.

After writing all these years, mostly short non-fiction, I now write fiction. I amuse myself writing Half-Elven fantasy, mostly about Mariah and Ashton’s family, and explore other fantasy worlds. I have nine novels in various stages of completion:  five set in the Half-Elven world and the others (mostly middle grade) set in various other worlds.

Not only do writers have to learn their craft, they must learn about all the new and wonderful and not-so-wonderful details of the world of publishing. I mutter and snarl about my writing journey. I also do book reviews, calling my blog: “Lessons from My Reading”. This takes the form of book reviews, useful links about promotion, and answers to comments.

Stop by my writer’s blog (where I talk about being a writer in general) and tell me what you think. You’ll learn about my latest projects and headaches.

I’ve also set up a Far Isles Half-Elven website with some fabulous artwork by Igor Gluskin. There’s a short history of the Half-Elven [The Foiling of Gorsfeld] plus information about my publications: Taking Vengeance and Cavern Between Worlds. Both are available on Amazon, B&N Nook, and Smashwords [in several formats] I have a writer’s facebook page [Taking Vengeance] and Twitter [@kaytheod].

{Guest} Michelle Scott

Dear Daughter: please do not become a vampire.

Author - Michelle Scott

I started to worry when my ten-year-old daughter asked me if she could start wearing black eye shadow.  “I want to be a Goth girl,” she said.  Apparently, her black nail polish was no longer making the statement she wanted it to, and she longed to be more extreme.

She came by her love of vampires and Goth chic honestly.  Back in college, I stole my dad’s black London Fog trench coat and wore it over my black miniskirt and fishnet stockings.  At that time, we called ourselves punks, not Goths, but the idea was the same.  My college friends and I went around with pale face makeup and dog chains around our necks and listened to Joy Division and The Violent Femmes and complained that the world was a dark and dreary place.  Which it is if you sleep all day.

So, thirty years later, when I looked at my ten-year-old daughter, I started to think of a book in which girls want to grow up whether they’re ready or not.

My novel Blood Sisters follows a teenage girl named Starla who runs away from home in order to pursue her dream of becoming a vampire.  The problem is that reality gets in her way.  Her vampire life is not nearly as exciting or glamorous as she’s pictured it.  She sleeps in Dumpsters.  She’s not welcome in her favorite coffee shops.  She prowls the back alleys of Detroit like a shadow.  Her family fears her, her friends abandon her, and the cute guy she falls in love with is a vampire hunter.

Now, I’m not saying there’s a moral lesson here.  After all, I side with Lady Gaga when she sings, “Born This Way”, but at the same time, I think I owe it to all vampire-wannabees to let them know that the vampire lifestyle may not be as exciting or fun as they might think.

In the meantime, my daughter now proudly wears her black eye shadow.

Blood Sisters

Starla had always imagined that becoming a vampire would make her popular, glamorous and wealthy. But after she and her best friend, Jordan, become undead, Starla realizes one thing: a vampire’s life sucks.
Since there’s no turning back, she tries to make the best of her situation, but it isn’t easy. Especially not after her friend abandons her to serve the oldest, most powerful vampire in the city. Or when she gets on the bad side of a gang of vampires who’ve taken over the zoo. Or when she meets a really cute boy and ends up falling in love, only to find out that there’s a major problem…she’s a vampire, and he’s a vampire killer.

Available for Purchase



Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Michelle Scott received her MFA from Wayne State University.  Her stories have appeared in such places as “Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show”, “All Possible Worlds”, and “Realms”.  Her fantasy novel, The Dragons of Hazlett was nominated for a 2009 EPPIE Award.  Michelle lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and three children. Her new novel, An Anthem for the Battle Lands has just been released from Mundania Press LLC.

You connect with Michelle at:

Author Website



{Guest} ES Lark

Self-Publisher’s Diary – The Gryphon Obsession

Readers have been asking why I decided to write about gryphons instead of the more common fantasy creatures such as dragons. It’s not for a lack of trying, they just don’t feel right to me. For me, if I can’t get into character (much like how an actor would), then I cannot write. But if you really want to know just how obsessed I am, you can take a look below.

  • I role-played a gryphon on a muck (a text based game) for years.
  • I’ve drawn more gryphons than anything else, including felines, which are another (minor) obsession.
  • I have some stained glass pieces that involve gryphons hanging in my windows.
  • A gryphon sculpture sits on the top of my desk and watches me write.

The Gryphon obsession originally started when I was around the age of ten. I have a few of the drawings I made back then, which were of the gryphon variety, but I’m not sure what spurred me to draw them. Around the age of twelve, my family and I were traveling. There was nothing to do at the hotel so we went book shopping. I found one book with a gryphon on the cover and bought it without reading the blurb on the back.

That book was The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey. I’ve been interested in gryphons and how they work ever since. There so much written about dragons and unicorns, that it almost seems unfair for the gryphons to be standing in the background. Even now, if you go looking for gryphon books, there aren’t nearly enough if you love them as much as I do.

I wrote my first gryphon related novel back in 2003, which I’m now in the process of rewriting so I can give readers even more to read about Wynrith—the world I’ve created. The first draft of Trueblood’s Plight, a novel I have coming out in November 2011, began back in 2008. Every time I try to move onto another subject or work on a new idea, my heart begs me to write about gryphons.

I understand their body language more than our own, which means I can describe a scene properly. I’m sure I could use similar descriptive words for other animals, I just don’t have a passionate interest in them.

This isn’t to say I’m always going to write about gryphons. In fact, the first book I released this year was about a dryad, and I’ll be releasing more books in the coming months that follow the story of King Arthur, but with an urban fantasy twist.

Other than my interest in gryphons, I’m just your ordinary writing slave—writing about creatures we love so you don’t have to. Although I do recommend it.

About E.S. Lark

By growing up with a vivid imagination, it was only a matter of time before Emily started spinning tales of her own. What began as an innocent attempt to occupy her time in the back of math class in the seventh grade soon became so much more. Her boredom breaker went from being just a hobby to an obsession–a livelihood.

Now, almost fifteen years later, Emily’s taking her passion and sharing it with others. Her belief has always been to share her work with readers who are looking for it. And while she shares the dream of getting published like many authors today, she refuses to give up on a book just because it might not be a good fit for the market.

E. S. Lark is the author of fantasy fiction such as The Waking Grove and Trueblood’s Plight. You can learn more about her and the worlds she’s created by visiting her:




The Devil’s Weekend

Jim Bronyaur award-winning author of the Pulsate series brings you his latest novel, ‘The Devil’s Weekend’.  If you’re a fan of Dean Koontz, you won’t be able to put this one down.

The Devil's Weekend by Jim Bronyaur

Meet Oliver Ignis. A man desperate for his mother’s love with the constant urge to kill.

After years of killing, he’s been give the name The Anything Killer. But now the police, led by detective Ralph Samuels, are closing in.

After a fresh body is discovered and the town swells with fear, The Devil comes to make Oliver a deal: in exchange for his soul, Oliver will have the weekend to kill without having to hide. It he’s shot, bullets pass through with no wound. If he’s stabbed, the blade comes out clean. And if he’s cuffed, they slide right off.

It’s a serial killers dream.

It’s our nightmare.

When Ralph Samuels apprehends a teenager who claims to have shot Oliver multiple times, he begins to wonder what’s happening to the small town of Damon, Pennsvylania.

It was everything Oliver ever wanted, but what happens when Oliver kills the wrong person?

With The Devil in the background and the police surrounding him, Oliver makes his last stand and gives The Devil everything he wants, and more.

This is The Devil’s Weekend.

Available for Purchase

Amazon – Kindle

Amazon – Paperback

Barnes & Noble


Taking Vengeance by M K Theodoratus

Taking Vengeance by M K Theodoratus

Once Mariah was a hero of the Rebellion that saved the Half-Elven from genocide. After decades of fighting with Linden, the ruler and a former lover, over his policies, she exchanges her sword of power for her healing kit,
determined to let Linden wallow in his mistakes.

When her daughter’s family is attacked by privateers, Mariah’s anger flares. She and her partner seek simple vengeance, but the privateers present a greater danger than they imagined. Mariah discovers she must find a way to
reconcile with Linden–if the Half-Elven are to survive.

Available For Purchase



Barnes & Noble

Night Shadows by Stephen L Brayton

Night Shadows by Stephen L Brayton

Des Moines Homicide detective Harry Reznik and F.B.I. agent, Lori Campisi, have their hands more than a little full when they team up to investigate a series of gruesome murders.

With life throwing them one obstacle after another, the unlikely pair has no choice but to put their personal issues aside as they battle malevolent creatures from another dimension. With everything to lose, they have no one but each other to count on in a wicked game of survival.

Available For Purchase



Barnes & Noble


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