Dottie Daniels’ Affliction is Infectiously Entertaining!

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affliction

Back to my Summer of Great Reads!

The minute I saw the cover of Affliction by Dottie Daniels I knew I wanted to read it! I love a good zombie romp and enjoy seeing how different authors attack *get it?* the subject. Most all have a unique spin, but this one was one of my favorites!

The main character, Seanna, is a twenty-something paramedic that we meet just as a mysterious and violent outbreak is gripping her city. She’s smart and strong like other female leads in the genre, but make no mistake, she’s quite different! The story is told from her POV and Ms. Daniels does an excellent job of bringing us into Seanna’s head and body…you have to read to see what I mean! I don’t want to give too much away because it is such a cool twist that I want you to discover it yourself!

It’s tense and funny and terrifying and moving in all the right measures. The characters are diverse and well developed, I got really invested in what was happening to them right from the start. When I hit the last page I scrolled back several times to be sure it was over because I was so into it!

As with my other summer reads I am so lucky to have actually been able to chat with Dottie about her book!

Hey there Dottie! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you for taking the time to interview me, I really appreciate it! I’m a thirty-something zombie genre-loving woman who works in a busy surgical services department at a local area hospital by day and has aspirations of writing many books in the future. I enjoy traveling and also getting to know my other fellow writers.

What led or inspired you to become a writer?

A little over ten years ago I survived a brain aneurysm. After the surgery and coma and everything else that entails, I struggled with memory loss and it took me a while to recover. I feared I would never be able to retain information. While everyone assumed I would write about surviving that experience, once I was able- I began to write about another type of harrowing experience; the zombie apocalypse. I don’t know if I felt it was more interesting or what, it was what piqued my interest at the time. I never thought I’d want to write when I was younger, in fact, I was always intimidated by huge writing assignments in school.

Oh my! Dottie, we are so glad that you survived! What an ordeal! I think your experience enhanced your storytelling. There were many passages in Affliction where the feelings of distress was real I had to take a breather!

Why do you write in the horror/zombie genre?

For me, as a writer, there’s something special about the horror genre, zombies in particular. There’s a certain feeling of overwhelming desperation that can really draw a reader’s attention if written properly. I guess it would be the equivalent to a character vying for someone’s affection in a romance novel or the amount of adventure required in a fictional bank heist. The desperation of surviving (or not) in the world of the undead is what does it for me. It holds my attention the longest whenever I read someone else’s work or when I’m writing my own.

Well put!

Speaking of harrowing experiences and desperation, I don’t suppose much scares you, but is there anything that gives you pause?

Honestly, it’s indecent and uncaring people. You know, the alive ones. Seriously. I was told as a kid it’s never the dead you have to worry about- be wary of the people walking around.

I was told the same thing. Sadly, it’s true.

People, myself included, are always fascinated by the creative process. Do you have any unique writing rituals?

I don’t really have many rituals anymore other than I write whenever I have time and I’m always in need of more time. I prefer to write in the middle of the night or early morning when all is quiet. My thoughts seem to be more clear then. A lot of times I’ll light a candle too. Oh, and sometimes I’ll have classical music playing in the background. I have to sit in my office chair too because it’s comfortable and have a cool, sweet beverage and the ceiling fan on low. Yeah, so I guess I have a few rituals- ha!

I like the candle!

Your book Affliction has a very cool POV and twist on the zombie tale. Where did you get the idea for your story?

Up until then, I hadn’t read many books in the genre with a female main character. There are some out there but then I hadn’t come across any that were biracial or of color. I wanted to challenge myself and bring a few of those attributes into the story and see how well it all plays in a typical apocalyptic storyline. I wanted to write the kind of book I would expect to read and enjoy. A lot of the writing and style is intentional and I feel plays very well into the details of the story. The flashbacks the first-person writing, almost as if she’s explaining to you herself. It was all a challenge for me to entertain my readers.

Challenge met! I was deeply entertained. Being bi-racial myself, I appreciate seeing more characters with diverse backgrounds in all media, but horror in particular. Nice work, Dottie!

What’s next for you?

Well, Affliction is definitely set up for a sequel. I’m aiming to get it completed this year. As a published author you too understand the many hats you wear (writing, promoting, actually selling) and then everything else that life itself requires. I hope to pull the strings together again and get back in the routine of getting the sequel ready. It can mean less promoting and less selling but then again nearly every author has to make that sacrifice if they want more book titles on those shelves.

Too many hats at times! I’m looking forward to the next book, I have to know what happens!!!

Where can we find out more about you and your writing and keep tabs on that sequel?

I’m on most of the larger social media outlets that are older than 5 years. Twitter, Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 9.21.18 AMFacebook, Goodreads, and WordPress. I enjoy interacting with other writers and readers. In fact, I purchased a couple of copies of your novel Dread that I’m going to include in a giveaway this Fall as we near the Halloween season! I always follow back (unless it appears Spammish). Thanks again Joy for the opportunity let others know I exist! 🙂

 

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/authorddaniels/
Twitter       https://twitter.com/AuthorDottie
WordPress https://dottiedaniels.wordpress.com/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34209033-affliction

Thanks so much, Dottie! It was totally my pleasure. Hear that kids? Follow Dottie for the chance to win a copy of my novel Dread! Check out her book Affliction for an entertaining and zomberific read!

By the way, look for more opportunities to win a signed paperback copy of Dread from me in the coming weeks! If you can’t wait and want to get your Halloween scares started early, the eBook version is on sale from now until midnight October 31!

Until next time, keep your survival instinct on high, and Never Turn Off the Lights!

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Author Richard Klu Delivering Moments of Awe One Story at a Time

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KluOver on GoodReads I joined the 2017 Reading Challenge and pledged to read 30 books this year. So far I’ve read 14. A bit behind the pace of two books a month to reach the goal, but many of those books were read this summer. It was a very good season of reading and as promised, here is one of my summer reads.

I picked up Moments: A collection of Flash Fiction and Short Stories by Richard Klu after I saw a review by an author that I like and a recommendation in a Facebook group I belong to. It’s a collection of short stories so I thought it would be a great poolside read. Well. Let’s just say my neighbors who were at the pool with me may now think I’m a little nuts.

I couldn’t help it. At the end of most of the stories I sighed, ooowed, aaawed, and said things like, no freaking way and good one. I know you are thinking, that’s fine it’s a good story, but I said it all out loud. I caught some of my good neighbors from the corner of my eye, and I was getting some weird looks, but I don’t really care!

Some of these stories are so darkly beautiful and written more like prose that I thought about printing them out, framing them, and hanging them on the wall. Reading this book was like those nights when a nightmare or strange dream wakes you, and then you fall back asleep right into another one. I love when I finish reading a book, and the story (in this case – stories) keep popping into my thoughts long after I close the covers (or swipe to the end in this case).

I got to chat with Mr. Klu about his writing and wanted to share with you!

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Richard Klu, and I am from western Michigan. Always an artist at heart I write to explore. You can find 3 of my free shorts here.

I grew up in Grand Rapids Michigan and still reside there with my 3 dogs, 3 cats, 23 fish, and 1 wife. Yes, it’s a lot of animals in our little 2 bedroom house, but it keeps things interesting. Blame my wife, they were all her idea.

I have been a Store Manager, a Cook, and various kinds of Salesmen as well as having owned my own business for a little over a year. All the while I’d neglected one of the few constants in my life, writing. Actually, I can thank my wife for that. As much as she hates me ignoring her for hours on end as I type away, she did encourage me to make an attempt at writing enough books to make a living.

On my blog I am sharing stories and what I’ve learned to better help other writers and to keep myself motivated. I primarily write cosmic horror. Similar to the style of HP Lovecraft although I am in the process of creating my own world starting with a short story collection called “Cabals of Blood” which focuses on cults around the world praising ancient deities long lost to modern society. This collection will include 3 planned book series which will be released between 2017 and 2018.

Thank you for the gifts! I’ll be checking those out!

You said writing has been the one constant in your life, why do you find it so attractive?

I like writing because it exercises creativity and gives my mind something to work on. Writing makes me happy even when it ends badly for the characters.

Yes. Things ended badly for some of your characters!

Why do you write in the horror genre?

I didn’t know I was writing horror until someone told me. It’s just kind of where I landed and how I think. To me, a lot of what I write isn’t horror until I am editing it. Then I realize where the story landed. I aim to write things that are interesting. They happen to end up being horror.

I think most people reading this blog would agree that many interesting things are horror related.

Some of the stories in Moments: A collection of Flash Fiction and Short Stories are quite scary. What kinds of things scare you?

Drowning, cancer, and being trapped underneath a weight or buried alive. I used to have a nightmare that I couldn’t move and was in an empty space with no gravity. Almost like space without the stars. In this place, I had something burrowing into my back and up my spine. Thankfully that nightmare has been gone for some years.

Wow! I knew I liked you!

You said that you blog to keep yourself motivated. I struggle in that area, and some fellow writers have suggested a writing ritual to keep things moving. Do you have any unique writing rituals?

No. I write whenever there is free time. Rituals would slow that down.

Hooray! Someone in my camp! I’d love to sit down with my favorite beverage and listen to great music to write, but I have to grab it when I get a chance.

Your book Moments: A collection of Flash Fiction and Short Stories has a broad range of stories: disturbing, interesting, shocking, and spooky! Where did you, or do you, get the ideas for your stories?

Most of them came to me while I was in college and day dreaming during math class.

You should send your Math professor a copy of your book just to show that you were productive in his or her class!

You already mapped out some of the things you have in the works. What can we look for next?

Cabals of Blood is my next collection. It is a group of short stories. Cosmic horror similar to H.P. Lovecraft. I also have 3 books, 1 a trilogy mapped out in the same world.

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

https://richardklu.com/

On Twitter https://twitter.com/Richard_Klu_  @richard_klu_

and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RichardKluAuthor/

Excellent!

Thank you for your time and darkly wonderful stories! I look forward to more.

Readers, I finished this book several weeks ago and still can’t stop thinking about it! Grab a copy and check it out for yourself! Until next time Never Turn off the Lights!

 

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.

ed

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.

How a Fender Bender Inspired a Terrifying Book Series with Author Richard Crofton

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Browsing some horror titles, looking for my next read, this cover caught my eye. I don’t usually read series because of time constraints and a very long “to read” list, but I bought it. Boy, am I glad I did! A terrifying premise and superb writing hooked me.

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Would you believe that a secret group with dark powers to control your mind are at work to take over the world? If you don’t, you just might after reading this book. What’s the most terrifying aspect is that the members of this group could be anyone, including that friend or lover that you think you know so well! Richard Crofton gives you just the right amount of story to keep you guessing and wanting more. I’m dying for the rest of the story and I apologize to others on the “to read” list but you might get bumped.

I’m super excited to tell you that I reached out to Richard Crofton and he agreed to share some insights about himself and his books!

Richard, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, I currently reside in Florida with my wife and our three children. I taught English Language Arts for ten years but now work as an instructor in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate. I’m an avid lover of animals, backpacking/camping, bowling, chess games, baseball, and homemade Italian food (also love my Philly cheese steaks!). However, creative writing and martial arts are my two main passions, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to pursue both avenues.

Teacher to Karate and Writer! That’s quite a career range. What led you to become a writer?

It’s always something I’ve enjoyed. I’ve been writing stories off and on since I was a kid, but I never held onto any of my work. When I was a school teacher, I used to create short, silly stories and turned them into grammar exercises for my students. I only recently became more serious about writing to publish when I came up with the idea for The Keepers of White series about four years ago.

Here’s something I get asked all the time and I’m always curious how other horror writers respond. Why do you write in the horror genre?

For some reason, I get drawn very deeply into the movies I watch, as if it’s real for me when I know it’s now. Therefore, in truth, I hate horror movies (except a select few of the classics). They actually still scare me, especially the stories in which the conflict is not resolved. The characters are desperately trying to stop the evil entity, but in the end, they fail and usually die. Or they think they win, and then there’s a twist at the end where we see that they actually failed. Then after it’s over, I still can’t stop thinking about it. But when I write horror, I have control over what happens. And with the horror stories I write, there is usually a powerful and evil supernatural entity, just like in the films, but I also like to create a character who is equally powerful to fight against it. In my mind, there has to be a balance of power between the things that cause fear and the things that cause hope. And having characters brave and strong enough to face that evil head on kind of helps me feel better about the not-so-pleasant outcomes of all those scary movies that freaked me out as a kid.

As a horror writer, I’m always thinking about what scares people. Besides being helpless against evil, what else scares you?

In books and movies: The intense music, tiny whispers and/or giggling sounds, and mostly little girls dolled up in dresses with blank expressions on their faces (It all started with The Shining).

In real life: Old, abandoned, haunted-looking buildings, snakes, flying (well, only the part right when you first land), and nuns. My two biggest fears are drowning, and most of all, someone stealing or harming one of my children.

Something happening to my kids is a big one for me, too. Thanks for sharing. I will file these away in my ‘how to freak out readers’ file!

Many writers have rituals unique to them. Do you have a writing ritual?

For some reason, I cannot work at home. When I was an English teacher, I could not focus at home to grade my students’ essays. It’s like that with writing as well.

My only ritual: Sitting with my laptop at a table at Dunkin’ Donuts with a large hot coffee.

Yuunmm! Donuts!

Your book The Keepers of the White, Book I: Agents of Shadow has a very spooky premise. Where did you get the idea for your story?

I’m actually working on my next blog article about this. I still can’t explain it. In the fall of 2010, I wrecked my car in an accident, so for a few days, I drove a rental to work. I had forgotten to transfer my I-pod from the wrecked car to the rental, so for the first time in years, I turned on the regular radio on my way to work (who listens to local FM stations anymore?). As soon as I hit the power button, “Black Magic Woman” was playing (I can’t remember if it was Santana’s or Fleetwood Mac’s version). Listening to the lyrics and the tune, my imagination suddenly created the character Diana Palmer from my
book, who, as readers will see in the upcoming second book, is the most ruthless of the Agents of Shadow. A woman so wicked, but also so beautiful, enchanting, and seductive, that no one can resist her powers of manipulation. From there it just grew, and the entire story just started forming in my head.

What’s next for you?

Books II and III of The Keepers of White series have already been written. I’m currently working on Book IV. I’ve also been writing a few short stories here and there, and when I have enough, I will compile them into an anthology. Further, in the future, I’d like to try my hand at non-fiction and write a light-hearted and humorous memoir about my experiences as a middle school Language Arts teacher.

I’m so glad to know the rest of the story is waiting for me! Working in Middle school certainly gave me lots of laughs as well. I’ll look for that one, too!

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

Best place is my blog: https://richardcrofton.wordpress.com/ I blog three different categories. One is “All About The Keepers of White,” where I talk about the background, the inspirations behind, and the characters of my series. I also write book reviews for other authors. But the third category is called “The Little I’ve Learned,” in which I write about my experiences as a writer, a father, and a teacher. I think that’s the best way for readers to get to know me as a person.I can also be followed on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richardcroftonauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterCrofton
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16367519.Richard_Crofton
Amazon: Richard Crofton’s Amazon Page

Thank you so much for your time, Richard. I truly enjoyed reading your book and look forward to the rest of the story!

And thank you, dear readers! Check out Richard’s book The Keepers of the White, Book I: Agents of Shadow if you dare! I promise you will be thinking about it long after you close the cover. Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights!