Edmund Kelly and the End of the World

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I haven’t spent much time writing this summer, but I have spent a good deal of time reading. I’ve tried to pick up books that were Indie published, and I’m so pleased that I did. I found several gems that I’ll highlight over the next few weeks.

When I was younger I had an uncle that studied the Bible, he was interested in Eschatology, which is the study of the end times. He used to tell us how the tribulation period might play out and what the symbolism of the Book of Revelation could mean in practical terms. It both intrigued me and scared the hell out of me. My dear uncle passed away several years ago, and I haven’t had any in-depth chats about it with anyone else.

Along comes this book with what looks like a beautiful fantasy cover.  I was not sure what to expect going into Edmund Kelley’s Addiction & Pestilence (Slaying Dragons: A Journey Through Hell). At first, I thought it was going to be a zombie apocalypse tale, but then I got to the end of the first chapter, and my blood literally ran cold.

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Edmund has a vision of how the end will start that dredged up all those feelings of terror from so long ago. It. Was. Awesome.

His characters are so multi-faceted and real that they practically leap off the page. I felt like I was peeping and eavesdropping into people’s lives. He hints at an idea that I have long held: that our choices in the physical world can open up doors in the spiritual that may or may not benefit us. *Thinks of all the bad things I’ve ever done and shivers*

I reached out to Mr. Kelly, and he agreed to share some insights with us about himself and his book!

This is your debut novel. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself to introduce readers to you?

Hi, my name is Edmund, but I go by Ed. I grew up in a small town south of Boston. I come from an Irish family and was raised Catholic. I’m married to a wonderful woman who has endured all of my bullshit and has stayed by my side. We have a daughter together, and I have a step-daughter.

That’s great! Behind most successful writers is a spouse who has a big shovel for all the BS! 

Most of us writers come to writing on our own unique pathway. What led you to become a writer?

I’ve always read since I was a little boy. My mom encouraged me to read and every Saturday morning she would take my sister and me to our public library. We’d browse looking for books that seemed interesting. She would always ask me about the book and what I liked about it once I had finished. I enjoyed writing at a young age, but I never did much until now.

God Bless the moms who love reading and the library. I don’t know of a better combination for kids.

I’m curious to know why you write in the horror genre.

It’s kind of funny because I didn’t set out to write horror. I thought my writing would be more sci-fi or action/adventure. My favorite top three authors are Lee Child (I love the Jack Reacher series), Dan Brown and Stephen King. Clearly, King has influenced my writing the most. At first, I didn’t like that my book fell into the horror classification, but it’s kind of hard to ignore the horror aspects of my writing.

Besides King being an influence, I’d have to blame my sister and mother as well. My mom loved watching the Creature Double Feature on Saturdays back in the early 80’s when I was a young boy. My sister loves horror. She watches every horror movie that comes out. When I was a kid, she made me watch movie after movie. Now back in the 80’s, there was a ton of horror movies, most of them B movies. My sister is five years older than me, so she was forced to watch me as my dad was in and out of the picture and my mom worked a lot to support us. To this day, I still vividly remember my sister taking me to see The Night of the Comet back in 1984. I was petrified. It was the first horror movie I had seen in a darkened theater. I remember telling my sister I was scared and I wanted to leave. Well, she had just used her birthday money to purchase the tickets, so she wasn’t leaving. I ended up leaving the theater and hanging out in the lobby waiting for the movie to end. That was my first real scare from a horror movie.

I’ve since seen The Night of the Comet all the way through and question as to why I was so scared.

I think I read that Stephen King doesn’t consider his stuff horror either! Pretty good company to have. I’d say your book falls easily into sci-fi and action as well. I loved your book, so I’ll just say a big thank you to your mom and sister.

What kind of things scare you now?

Sharks, they scare the shit out of me. And heights.

All wise things to be scared of, and I’ll file them away in my ‘ways to freak out readers’ database!

Your book Addiction & Pestilence (Slaying Dragons: A Journey Through Hell) created a terrifying and realistic account of what could happen when the apocalypse hits. Where did you get the idea for your story?

I’ve always been fascinated with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I started writing about ten years ago and toyed around a little each year, but I just felt like I was missing that something special. The beginning of chapter 3 is pulled directly from my life. It was difficult to admit, but I’m an alcoholic.  I’m sober today.

After that scene took place in real life, I joined AA. While sitting in AA and listening to all these different people from all walks of life talk about their addiction, the idea hit me. What if every character has some form of addiction they must overcome while trying to survive the end of the world. I went home and started writing. I finished the first draft in three months.

There are a lot of characters in my book and I wanted to introduce them all to the reader from day one. Each character will play an important role throughout the series. I didn’t want to introduce main characters later on in the story and have to provide back story for the reader as to what happened to them and how they survived up until that point. I’m not fond of flashbacks when used to introduce a main character as I feel it slows the momentum of the story. Of course, there will be new characters introduced, but they won’t require a flashback. I thought it would be great to see all of these different characters in their normal life when the apocalypse first started.

Congratulations on your sobriety! The aspect of every character having an addiction was brilliant. Your characters are really diverse but that one unifying aspect gives the separate stories a cohesiveness, and a feeling of, these guys are either going to be exquisitely redeemed or epically damned.

People, myself included, are always curious about how writers do what they do. Do you have any unique writing rituals or habits?

I get up at 5:00 am every morning and some days depending if I’m tired or not I will try and do a little writing. I don’t like being up against the clock to get ready for work. For the most part, I write at night once my wife and daughter have gone to bed. So, I start around 10:00 pm and write until I’m tired which is usually around midnight or 1:00 am. I do have a little ritual. I find a song that reminds me of the character I’m working on and I listen to that song over and over again. It helps keep that original thought of the character in my head and stay focused on them.

It works because the thing that most impressed me about your book was the characters. I feel invested in their lives now and can’t wait for more.

Speaking of more, what is next for you?

I’m currently working on the second book in the series titled, Demons & War. Just wait until you see what I have in store! Fear quantified.

Well, get to work, Ed! I have to know how this plays out for everyone! Just kidding, sort of.

Where can we find out more about you and your writing?

You can find more about me here:

Twitter: @edkell99

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/edmundkellyslayingdragons

Website http://www.edmundkelly.com

Thanks so much, Ed. I will be waiting with bated breath for the next installment.

I highly recommend Addiction & Pestilence (Slaying Dragons: A Journey Through Hell) by Edmund Kelly. I’ll just warn you ahead of time, you will be hooked…and scared!

Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights.

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Tales from the Ghost Town Writers Retreat

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15493618_10154899107475972_7094799763006043672_oI have had a difficult time writing this past year. I have a novel that I have started and stopped more times than I care to admit and a Christmas project that I decided to postpone from the planned November publish date. I had amazing momentum coming into this year, but it fizzled quickly, and I’m not sure why.

I decided many months ago to attend the Ghost Town Writers Retreat at the beginning of August to see if I could get my groove back, then my Grandma passed away a few weeks ago, and I almost canceled. Losing her hit me harder than I expected and I just wanted to hide out. My darling husband took time off from work to go with me and said it would give us some time away from the kids together, I suspect he knew I needed him to give me an extra push.

The retreat was held in the small mining town of Georgetown, Colorado. I’m a Colorado native but can say I’ve never hung out in Georgetown for anything more than a bathroom break, fill up, or to get to the pass to go to Clear Lake. I remember when I was little my parents looked at buying a piece of property there. The day they went to look at the property they dropped me, my two siblings, and my grandparents off at the little park in town to eat lunch so they could speak to the realtor without distraction. My sister would not play or leave the bench she sat on. It wasn’t until I told her where I was going that she said the park was full of spooks and they demanded to know why she was there. It scared the hell out of her, and that’s why she wouldn’t play. Weird story, I know, but totally normal in my family.

Georgetown is only about an hour from our house on I-70, but the ride up was hairy. The retreat needed to borrow some grills for the Grill and Greet, so I volunteered ours. Since my husband was coming along, we took his truck and loaded our old gas grill into the bed. The day was overcast, and the wind was picking up. Just as I inquired if the grill was safely tethered a huge bang shook us. The grill had fallen over but not out of the bed. Sadly, the handle didn’t survive. After readjusting the bungee cords, we journeyed on. We drove through dense fog, drenching rain, and pounding hail. It didn’t help that I woke up that morning with a nagging headache. Maybe it was a sign to go home, I thought.

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I-70 Westbound

 

When we got to the hotel we discovered that it would be some time before for our room would be ready and we were a little confused about where to check in for the conference, but we did figure out where to take the grill. After an uninvited cloud burst, my husband helped cook up some buffalo hot dogs and burgers, and we had a tasty little dinner with some fascinating folks.

One of the things I really wanted to do was check out the park. I still had a headache, but the next morning I grabbed my camera and off we went. The moment I entered the park through the iron archway my headache was joined by a turbulent stomach. No one demanded to know why I was there, but it felt heavy and strange. My husband asked if it used to be a cemetery because it gave that kind of vibe. As a side note, I got a terrible headache working on this piece, and I kept getting an error message when I tried to upload the photos of the park, it took several tries. Coincidence? Maybe, but my husband says I should quit messing around with this subject!

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The Park Entrance

Even though my head and tummy were very unhappy, I continued to hit up all the sessions I could. Every single session was terrific, and the presenters (some first timers) were great. When we got home and were describing some of the things we learned my daughter laughed and said it sounded like a murders’ convention! Most of the sessions were held in the historic Heritage Center, the old school house. The building restoration was fabulous!

The marketing sessions were beneficial, as that is the area I dislike the most about this author thing and find the most challenging. I’m a quiet, shy, introverted person which is a huge hindrance to my marketing efforts. I made a commitment to myself to move way out of my comfort zone in the coming months regarding this.

I also had an epiphany. I believe my difficulty in writing has come because I know the marketing will come after. Yes. I hate it that much. I think I got some tools and resources at the retreat that will help me, though.

Being the very first Ghost Town Writers Retreat, there were some hiccups and places where there is room for improvement. I thought Georgetown was a great location and I had the best burger ever (after my tummy finally settled down) at Round About Burgers. The waffles at The Happy Cooker were amazing, and the Family Dollar is stocked better than a full sized Walmart! It turned out to be more of a conference than retreat, however. I would have liked more opportunities to meet up and write with other writers. And coffee! Coffee at the venue for morning sessions, please!

I wasn’t sure where or how to sign up for editor/agent sessions, but since I didn’t feel well, I opted not to pursue it. Maybe for next year,  the signup and location information could be available a few days before the event begins.

There was a walking ghost tour that I would have loved to attend, but it happened on Sunday evening, and I was already jonesing for my kids. We opted for the train, mine tour, and of course, the cemetery.

We really didn’t need a ghost tour anyway. I drug my husband around the town late on Saturday night, just to see what we might see. He always warns that I better not get him arrested, but I’ve been doing this to him for years, and so far we are arrest free, knock on wood!

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Haunted Hamill House After Dark

 

Even though I didn’t feel well for the first three days, I feel like I got out of it what I wanted. I have a strategy to push through my writing wall, and I got to spend some time with my husband. He got a better idea of what it is I do and struggle with and ended up getting into it himself! I said we should just write spooky books together and forget everything else!

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My Handsome Husband – It Looks Good on Him!

 

I can only imagine what it takes to organize a thing like this. The speakers and moderators were great. The movie screening of Dead Awake was fun, and I wanted to ask Jeffery Riddick (Dead Awake, Final Destination) what led them to cast Lori Petty (Orange is the New Black), she was great by the way, but my head was killing me.

How you go about contacting all these folks and getting them to come to a retreat in a tiny Colorado mountain town is beyond me. I’m grateful for the opportunity and that I ignored my headache AND did not go back home. I am already looking forward to next year, but I think I’ll stay away from the park…or not!

roy and joy