Monday, 14 November 2011

Interview with an Author: Paul Allih


Please welcome, Paul Allih and his latest book, PLACEBO. Today, he shares his inspiration, why he chose to publish independently, and news about his upcoming book.

Paul Allih
Paul Allih is a writer residing in a small Florida town with his girlfriend and son. Influenced by the likes of Chuck Palahniuk and Hunter S. Thompson, his characters linger on the outskirts of social acceptability within tales that exploit the dark side of American life. 
His first book, Lost Cries from the Emerald Triangle has gained critical praise from Skunk Magazine and Book Pleasures.


Thank you for joining us today, Paul!


 Q:  What inspired you to write your first book?

 A:  My first book is a novella named “Last Cries from the Emerald Triangle”. In short, it is about a family of marijuana farmers in the mountains of northern California that are infiltrated by the federal government.
The story was inspired by certain atrocities that have taken place in America on the behalf of our government like the Waco standoff and the assault on Ruby Ridge.
It was something that I felt I had to write to shed a different light on the subject of marijuana’s criminalization and the damage that it doing to this country as whole.
Despite the fact that the people of California have voted to make medicinal marijuana legal, the government is over riding the state by kicking down doors, harassing dispensary owners and making life harder for the patients. We can’t afford to fund NASA for space exploration, but somehow we can find money to keep kicking water up this hill? It’s just insane.
You can’t take pride or claim to live in a free country if you can be arrested for smoking a plant in your back yard in that said country.    


 Q:  Where do you get the ideas for your books?

A:  It depends. I get some of my ideas from following the current events of the world and I get others while sitting on my back porch at night, sipping on some whiskey. Usually I come up with a brief idea for a character first and let the story unfold around them by thinking of some of the most hellish things that I can put them through. I like writing about the darker side of things, exploiting my fears and the fears for others. It’s like a coping mechanism for me. My biggest fear is what human beings are capable of doing. Some people go to work, do their jobs, punch out and go home to their families. But what lurks inside of their minds?
How many of them harbor the thought of going home and killing their families? How many of many of them go home and sit down to eat dinner with their loved ones while smiling and thinking about returning to work the next morning with a machine gun and taking out as many people as they can? You might think these thoughts are disturbing, but these things happen and why they take place is something that enthralls me for some reason.


 Q:  If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

A:  I would say Chuck Palahniuk. I read a lot of different authors, but between Palahniuk’s Fight Club and Survivor, those books really made me want to write. His work is character driven to the extremes. His characters are strange and might repulse the average person, but at the same time you know that they are human and you find yourself sympathizing with them. That kind of power displayed by a writer is something that deeply I respect.
Another thing that I like about Chuck is that his favorite part of writing is the research aspect. That is my favorite part as well. I like to explore different subjects and educate myself while I create. Everything that I put out will always be thoroughly researched, depending on the subject; it will defiantly be to the best of my abilities.       

  

   Q:  Can you tell us about your latest book?

         A:  My latest release is named Placebo. It is a gruesome parody on the Young Adult Paranormal Romance books. The story is about a young girl named Emma who lives a very strange life. Her mother is a heroin addled prostitute and her older sister, Kelly is a modern feminist and politically tuned mind that sacrifices her youth to keep the household from falling apart. There is a lot of conflict between the sisters. While Kelly works a crap job, Emma really has no drive to do anything. She just consumes herself in the world of her Paranormal Romance novels to escape from her home life, pinning to meet someone that will whisk her away. And then she meets Matt, who goes from being the crowned prince of her dreams to the compulsive maniac of her nightmares.
         My inspiration came by seeing Twilight fans from the ages of 12 to 35 arguing over who would make a better lover, Edward or Jacob. I thought to myself, “What would happen if one of these fan-girls began a relationship with a real life vampire?”
         Vampires really do exist, not in the paranormal kind of sense, but in the ritualistic sort of way.
         I had an experience with one quite a few years ago when I met a girl on one of those adult meeting sites. We went out had a few drinks, some getting to know you chit-chat, and then went back to her place and we had sex. After we were done, she asked me if she could cut me and drink my blood from a cup. I was drunk and ambitious so I said “sure”. She put a tiny slice in my wrist, drained enough to swallow into a small high ball glass and drank it. When she brought me a bandage, I asked her why she did it and her reply was, “It makes me feel alive.”
         At that point it was just one night stand and I was and didn’t care. It did however lead me to loosely base Matt’s character from my experience that night. On the outside he is an attractive man who comes off as a gentleman with confidence, but on the inside, he is a violent, sexual deviant with a growing lust for blood. When Emma meets him she falls in love with him, almost immediately. As his true self starts to emerge, she knows that she should leave him, but doesn’t want to be alone again. She’s a girl who thinks her dreams have come true in being with him and she doesn’t want that to end because she really has nothing else.
        
   
 Q:  How does this book express your thoughts?

A:   Placebo is ultimately a story about addiction. Whether it is drugs, money, or the company of another person, we are all addicts in our own ways because addiction is a part of being human. Sometimes these cravings are harmless, but other times, they are not only detrimental to you, but they affect everyone around you.
Writing this book allowed me to express this thought and truly explore how people deal with their demons on an individual level. Some of us battle them successfully while others allow them to reluctantly take over. And then there are those, like Matt, who willingly become one with them.
        
  
  Q:  Why did you choose to publish independently?

         A:  After looking into it, I saw it as a challenge. The way I looked at it, I could spend months emailing agents and shipping out printed out chapters of my book in the hopes of getting it published or I could just write and take a stab at doing the marketing my myself. There are so many avenues to present your work now that even traditionally published authors are trying their hand at self publishing.  
         I have put three books out since January 2011 and I wouldn’t have been able to do that through a traditional publisher as a new author. The way the business operates, it would have taken up to a year to publish my first book and I would have had to wait another year to publish my next book.
         Some would say, “Well, they’d do all the marketing for you and could sell more books.” Not necessarily, just because they put your book out does not mean they will market it or market it properly. At least this way I know that it is all in my hands and if I sink, then it’s my fault. I design the covers the way I want them, set up the chapters how I see fit, and put out whatever content I like. At this point, it’s all win for me.


Q:  Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
       
         A:   Sure. The working title is Suffering Makes Great Stories and it’s about a burned out rock star named Daniel who is trying to hold on to his fame in the ever-changing music business. During his plight of trying to cleanse himself from drugs and alcohol and getting his career back on track, he is being stalked by a mentally disturbed, transgendered fan, named Michele. She is convinced that all of his songs are written for her and believes that they are destined to be together. But that is only a fraction of the tale.
         The main theme is personal perseverance and whether it is for the better or for the worse. It is a number of characters that are intertwined in some way as they are wading through the obstacles of their lives to follow their dreams, not matter how twisted some of their goals might be.     


Want more?
Placebo is available at:




 
 
 
 
 




Friday, 11 November 2011

Winners of the Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway!

Halloween has come and gone. I can honestly say I'm sad to see it leave. I know others would disagree, especially those who have kids, but I still believe Halloween should be a week long event. I have more than enough Halloween candy left over. I'll admit it. I was good all the way until Halloween. I didn't buy any candy for myself and, being at the end of a dead end street, kids don't come to our house. The day after Halloween, all the candy was 50% off and I couldn't resist buying just one box. A few hours later, my husband came home with two boxes and two bags for me. Needless to say, I've been eating a lot of chocolate lately.

I do hope when I have kids, they are not the chocolate fiends that I am. Did you see the practical joke that was played on the kids? Parents were asked to pretend they ate all their kids Halloween candy and videotape their response.



During the month of October, eight authors joined me in some Halloween fun. We shared some Halloween traditions, fears, and excerpts of our novels to get readers in the mood for Halloween. Now, it's time to announce the winners of the Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway!

Thank you to all the wonder readers that participated in this giveaway!




Invisible Dawn by Weston Kincade
Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch by Angel Haze

 
Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch by Angel Haze
 Rebirth: The Twin Prophecies by Nina Perez

Caged in Darkness by J.D. Stroube
The Ninth District by Douglas Dorow


Bloodletter by Angel Haze,
Imperium by Nicholas Olivo,

  Caged in Darkness by J.D. Stroube
  In the Corner by Jim Bronyaur

Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption by J. L. Murphey
Legacies of Talimura: war of the Witch by Angel Haze
  

Bloodletter by Angel Haze
Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witchby Angel Haze


Bloodletter by Angel Haze
Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption by J. L. Murphey
  


Halloween Frights
Imperium


Bloodletter by Angel Haze
Legacies of Talimura: war of the Witch by Angel Haze
  
Rebirth: The Twin Prophecies
Caged In Darkness


A Life of Death by Weston Kincade
Bloodletter by Angel Haze


  Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch by Angel Haze
  Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption by J.L. Murphey



Denise Z

The Twin Prophecies: Rebirth by Nina Perez
A Life of Death by Weston Kincade



Winners will be contacted shortly with their prizes!!
 

Monday, 31 October 2011

2011 Halloween Highlights & Giveaway

Happy Halloween everyone! 

Since today is the last day to enter the Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway, I've put together some Halloween highlights from our blog hop! Click on their name to view more of their darkest fears and see an excerpt of their book. Don't forget to enter the contest for your chance to win a copy of the thrillers, horror, science fiction and YA fantasy books of these talented authors!

Now, let's get the Halloween fun started!

Favourite Costume: (J.L. Murphey, author of Zombie Apocolypse: Redemption)
My all time favorite costume was a mummy. I was in a casket handing out candy to the kiddies. A royal pain to get on and off, and a whole lot of gauze! Great for the older kids, but scared the younger ones really bad. One little girl ran down the driveway screaming her fool head off to her momma. I chased her down to give her her candy which made it worse.

When you were a kid, where were the monsters hiding? Under your bed, in the closet, outside your bedroom window... (Weston Kincade, author of Invisible Dawn and A Life of Death)

The closet was a common one for me, but the worst place I expected monsters to be was directly under my sheets. I think I saw a movie once when I was younger about ghosts forming right under the sheets or monsters crawling up the sides of your bed and under the sheets, tunneling right at you like they’re reenacting a new Tremors movie. Even now, a few months ago I was sitting in bed reading when a large lump formed in my sheets at the side of the bed. I just caught it out of the corner of my eye when it began tunneling right at me. The fear from years ago leapt up from my stomach and into my throat until the orange furry face and whiskers of my longhaired cat peeked out from the covers.

Scariest Thing That's Ever Happened to You: (Nicholas Olivo, author of Imperium)
 
 I worked at Burger King for six and a half years. As a result of that experience, I no longer fear Hell. 

What’s your favorite Halloween film? (Nina Perez, author of The Twin Prophecies: Rebirth

The original Halloween. Michael Meyers didn’t move very fast, but the mask was terrifying. The music will always freak me out, too. That music, or something very similar, was used in these Saran Wrap commercials, and when I was a kid I’d always lose it when it came on TV.

What would you do if some of the things we pretend to be on Halloween were really real? (J.L. Murphey, author of Zombie Apocolypse: Redemption)

You mean they aren't real! Whew, and I've been afraid of things going bump in the night all my life. Having seen real mummy (nonanimated), vampire bats in jungles, wild hairy men in the woods, people living in swamps,and voodoo rituals in Haiti...I always figured there was some truth to the stories.



What’s the fastest way to kill a vampire or werewolf? (J.D. Stroube, author of Caged in Darkness)

Hmmm... with a vampire... get the darn thing to chase you out into the sunlight and he will go poof.
Werewolf... Climb a tree with a sniper rifle and take aim with a silver bullet.
Although, I would probably be squeamish about killing either.  I don't even kill spiders and I am afraid of them!

Scariest thing that's ever happened to you: (Lisa McCourt Hollar, author of Halloween Frights)

I hit a boy with my car. He’s alright now, but it was very scary. I can tell you, you never want to go through anything like that. I can still see him running into the road, trying to break and realizing it wasn’t going to happen and then having him under the tires. I lost it. I screamed OH MY GOD, over and over again and my daughter had to tell me to get out of the car. I later found out that the woman that came and took my hand and prayed with me while we waited for the ambulance was his aunt. I will never forget that. I’m even crying now, writing about it.


What would you do if some of the things we pretend to be on Halloween were really real? (Doug Dorow, author of The Ninth District)

I'd sleep better at night with all of the super heroes around. 

Would you invite a vampire into your home? (Jim Bronyaur, author of In the Corner)
Yup.  Wait, no, let me rephrase this... as long as the vampire doesn't sparkle, he/she is welcome in my home.



If you opened a door and found zombies what would you do? (Angel Haze, author of Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch and Bloodletter)

Run! If it's more than one, beating them with a baseball bat isn't going to help me. You want me? You're going to have to catch me first! 



What was your worst costume ever? (Nicholas Olivo author of Imperium)

When I was a kid a buddy of mine and I made our own Transformers costumes out of cardboard boxes and tinfoil. We thought we’d look  cool, but in retrospect, we just looked like a couple of kids wearing cardboard boxes.


Are there any haunted places that you find incredibly memorable? (Lisa McCourt Hollar, author of Halloween Frights)

Cry baby bridge. Never heard of it? Then you aren’t from Lima. Legend has it that one Halloween night a mother was driving home with her baby at midnight and went off the bridge. If you go there on Halloween night at midnight you are supposed to be able to hear the baby crying. Another story has a bus of teenagers on the way home from a game going off the bridge. Either way, it is a fun place to go when you want a scare.

Scary Movie rules to live by: (Cambria Hebert, author of Before)

I am a huge fan of the Scream Movies. I have seen them all and I think that these movies have a lot of rules to live by. Here is my personal list:
#1 Never tell someone you’ll be right back
#2 Never look in the mirror and say Bloody Mary 3X
#3 Never run upstairs!!!
#4 Don’t be slutty (oops, can I say this?) and don’t be a virgin either. They are always the first to die.
#5 If someone calls your house and just breathes, don’t talk to him! Hang up and don’t answer if he calls back. Call the cops. On your cell.
#6 Don’t wear the striped and polka dots at the same time. What? Its ugly. The killer will kill you just because you don’t match.

Halloween 2010
My Favourite Costume: Playboy Bunny

Thought I'd give you a sneak peek of my costume this year. This photo is from last year (I know, how original that I'm using the same costume.  I had two Halloween parties this year with two different outfits so I didn't bother getting creative. This year, I switched up the dress and wore a cute black cocktail dress instead. Oh, I and put my ears on the right way this time. In this pic, I'm wearing them backwards! Slade wouldn't be Hugh Hefner again, so this year he was a Halloween hockey goalie.) Sorry, I can't upload the photo from this year yet, that would involve finding the camera cord... :)



Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway:

It's finally Halloween!! To celebrate, I've teamed up with eight other authors for an international blog hop. Join us in the Halloween fun while these talented thriller, horror, paranormal, and YA fantasy authors tease us, thrill us, and share their darkest fears.

This spooktacular event started October 1st and ends Halloween. There are well over 50 books to giveaway (mostly ebooks but some paperbacks as well) so there are lots of chances to win! 


If you like books that scare, books that bite, books you have to read with the lights on, we've got your Halloween scare covered! 

To enter visit:

http://angel-haze.blogspot.com/2011/09/halloween-blog-hop.html  

Happy Halloween!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Lisa McCourt Hollar: Halloween Frights Teaser


As the Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway nears its end, Lisa McCourt Hollar joins us to share her Halloween favourites, what creature she would most like to be, and a short story from her horror short-story collection, HALLOWEEN FRIGHTS. 


Lisa McCourt Hollar
Lisa McCourt Hollar resides in Ohio with her husband and children. Always busy writing she writes not-too-scary-stories for children 10 and under and horror stories for teens and adults, as well as dark poetry.



Favourite Halloween Prank:

I have to pick a favorite? I don’t know. Every Halloween my step-dad would set up a dummy at the dining room table and dress it up like Frankenstein. He had a mask. One day we came home and my mom reached for the mail that was just by the dummy’s arm and it grabbed her wrist. My step-dad had taken the dummy away and put the costume on. I don’t know how long he waited for us to get home, but my mom’s reaction was priceless. I think that is my favorite.

 
What was your favourite costume you ever wore?

A witch. It is the only one I ever wore as a kid. It was a hideous mask, green face and huge wart. Then I topped it off with a pointy black hat and a long black dress. I was scary, I can tell you that.

 
Which Halloween creature would you most like to be?

I think a vampire. Vampires are sexy and hot, but dangerous. (My daughter is sitting next to me and she says I would never be a vampire if those are the requirements, lol. And she thinks werewolves are better. She is so Team Jacob. I of course am Team Jasper. Eat her and be done with it, lol)

 
Scariest thing that's ever happened to you:

I hit a boy with my car. He’s alright now, but it was very scary. I can tell you, you never want to go through anything like that. I can still see him running into the road, trying to break and realizing it wasn’t going to happen and then having him under the tires. I lost it. I screamed OH MY GOD, over and over again and my daughter had to tell me to get out of the car. I later found out that the woman that came and took my hand and prayed with me while we waited for the ambulance was his aunt. I will never forget that. I’m even crying now, writing about it.


How do you spend Halloween nights?

Trick or treating with my kids, so if anyone thinks they are going to get sweets at my house, they are mistaken.




Halloween Frights is collection of Halloween stories and other paranormal tales. It starts with my poem, Joe's Night Out and includes such stories as Happy Halloween, Taxidermy Nightmare and Dolly. The collection concludes with Vampire's Hollow, a new story that proceeds events in The Legend Of Greystone, which is to be released in 2012.
  













Excerpt:

Joe's Night Out

Moonlight fills the graveyard, lighting the way,
For Psycho Joe, who's come out to play.
It is Halloween night, his favorite time of year,
When souls of dead friends are sure to be here.

First to dig up, his friend Crazy Bob,
Whose head is missing one or two cogs.
Bob, who is awake, crawls from his grave,
A gleam in his eye of the mentally depraved.

When he'd been alive they'd been the best of friends,
Until one deadly night when he'd nearly lost his head.
But on his shoulders, Bobs' head remains,
With the blade of a sword halfway through his brain.

The result of an accident, or so Joe explained,
He was aiming for his arm, not the inside of his brain.
But Bob didn't hold it against his insane friend,
Who is dangerously close, to losing his own head.

Then they looked for Sally, whose mind had come unglued,
the day she found her husband wearing her red, high heeled shoes.
She didn't really mind that he'd borrowed her dress,
Or even that he'd left her razor a mess.

She'd always suspected he liked to wear her things
And once even caught him, trying on her rings.
But Sally loved those high heeled shoes
And the size of his feet stretched them beyond use.

Sally didn't think her actions were too rash,
When minus his feet; he went out with the trash.
And at her trial, Sally didn't bat an eye,
When jurors tired of insanity pleas, sentenced Sally to die.

Her first Halloween, back from the dead,
She ran into Joe and the friends that he led.
Last on his list, his pal, Loony Lou,
Who'd once given Joe a recipe for cat belly stew.

Lou was a culinary with an acquired taste,
Specializing in cat guts and chopped eyeball paste.
But he bit off as they say more than he could chew
And choked on a piece of Fido cordon Bleu.

When the four friends were together at last,
They headed into town, for their annual blast.
Joe has a new recipe he wants to share with Lou,
One that involves cutting up pieces of you.



Want more?
 
Halloween Frights on Amazon:
 
Halloween Frights on Smashwords:  

You can read her blog at http://www.lisamccourthollar.com



Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway:

With Halloween just around the corner, I've teamed up with eight other authors for an international blog hop. Join us in the Halloween fun while these talented thriller, horror, paranormal, and YA fantasy authors tease us, thrill us, and share their darkest fears.

This spooktacular event starts October 1st and runs until Halloween. There are well over 50 books to giveaway (mostly ebooks but some paperbacks as well) so there are lots of chances to win! 


If you like books that scare, books that bite, books you have to read with the lights on, we've got your Halloween scare covered! 

To enter visit:

http://angel-haze.blogspot.com/2011/09/halloween-blog-hop.html  

Happy Halloween!