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Two Books in 2015 from Nocturnal Press Publications

 If you're a member of my social network, you might have seen a while back that I signed a two book contract with Nocturnal Press Publications! If you checked out my Nocturnal profile, you might have noticed what titles I've signed with them. Well, at least one anyway, since the official title for the second was chosen yesterday!

That makes it time for this announcement!

Nocturnal Press Publications will be re-releasing my zombie novella,
Undead Drive-Thu!

And...the sequel, Undead Origins!

In Undead Drive-Thru you're introduced to a group of teens looking for summer jobs. They find them at a diner that's being remodeled. What they don't know is that the owner has a strange pet - her husband who is a zombie!

Things go from bad to worse when this is discovered by the teens and all HELL breaks loose.

In Undead Origins you'll follow a couple of the characters from the first book as they search for answers as to how the zombie in Undead Drive-Thru came to be. They work with the FBI and go undercover where he worked; they discover things that fascinate and scare them. But...will they uncover the past before their future is ruined?

Undead Drive-Thru will be getting a facelift with a new cover and be released in March/April 2015.

Undead Origins will be jumping into the world in all its zombie-mayhem glory in July/Aug 2015.

That's right! They'll be released within months of each other. Why should you have to wait longer than that to continue the story (even if it's new to you)? And why should current Undead Drive-Thru fans have to wait any longer to find out what happens to the survivors of the first book? And find out where Sam's zombie infection began?




Copyrights owned by Rebecca Besser. All rights reserved.

Being a Professional by Rebecca Besser - Part 1 of 4

 

Being a Professional  by Rebecca Besser - Part 1 of 4
**previously published in Rebecca Besser's bi-monthly newsletter**

                There are many definitions for professional/professionalism, most of which expressing that a professional is someone who does something, a skill or practice, for money. But, there’s more to it than that, which is why I’m sharing with you these definitions of a professional:

Professional: a person who is an expert at his or her work; a person who engages in an activity with great competence.

                Before you can even think about making money as a professional for any skill, you must first learn the techniques and tools that go with it. Since I’m a writer and that’s what this blog is about – writing – that’s what this article will be about; the skills needed to become a professional writer.

                The definition says that a professional is an “expert at his or her work” and “a person who engages in an activity with great competence.” These both give clues that will lead you to being a professional writer.

                You must learn spelling and grammar, and POV and tenses to be an expert at the craft of writing. You can’t depend on an editor to do everything for you. It’s unfortunate that most writers believe they don’t need to know how to actually write properly – with correct spelling and grammar – and expect all of it to be the editor’s job.

                Editors are not there to clean up your mess because you don’t want to learn things for yourself. They’re there to catch the mistakes that slipped past the writer, because it’s virtually impossible for a writer to catch all their own mistakes. We all make mistakes and it helps to have a second set of eyes.

                If you want to be a professional at anything, you must learn the skills and become an expert.

                Once you’ve learned the skills and know how to be an expert, you then have to use them with “great competence.” What does this mean? It means don’t be sloppy or lazy, but always strive to do your best. This applies to writing, formatting, and following all submission guidelines. They’re there for a reason and a professional knows this.

                Once you have the skills to be an expert and exercise those skills with great competence, you’ll find that your acceptances will increase and more and more people will want to work with you.

                No one wants to work with someone who can’t write a decent sentence or can’t use punctuation properly – that involves a lot of editing work and time. They want to work with someone who has clean writing that’s clear and that will take a minimal amount of effort to publish.

                Some would say this would be laziness on the publisher’s part. And they would be completely wrong. This would be laziness on the part of the writer for not learning their skill, for not becoming a professional expert at their craft. The writers who think that it’s laziness on the part of the editor or publishers are the ones that haven’t taken the time to learn their skill; it’s a very bad attitude to have. They’re the ones you’ll see gripping about not getting acceptances and slandering editors or presses that don’t want to work with them. That in itself is immature and unprofessional (I’ll cover more of that in the 4th part of this series on professionalism).

                The fact of the matter is, if you want to be a successful, professional writer. You have to learn your craft well. You have to know spelling, grammar, POV, and tenses. You can’t depend on others to do it for you.

                You are responsible for the quality of your writing. Editors aren’t your grammar maids, just there to clean up your mess!

                Because remember what professionals are:

Professional: a person who is an expert at his or her work; a person who engages in an activity with great competence.





Copyrights owned by Rebecca Besser, 2014. All rights reserved.

Interview and Story on FictionTerrifica.com

 I've had the honor of being the first author interviewed by Fiction Terrifica!
If you'd like to read the interview, follow this link:

http://fictionterrifica.com/Interview.html

They've also published one of my stories (Memories) on their site,
which you can read for free by following this link:

http://fictionterrifica.com/Rbesser.html

I hope you stop by and check out what they have going on, and what they've started.
FictionTerrifica.com is dedicated to helping promote writers!




Father's Revenge in Horrorcore Magazine


My story, "Father's Revenge," was included in the February 2014 issue of Horrorcore Magazine!



Here's the direct link to buy a copy if you're interested:

http://horrorcoremagazine.com/Store/index.php?route=product/product&path=33_66&product_id=69




Copyrights owned by Rebecca Besser and Horrorcore. All rights reserved.

 

The Three Zomb-Egos by Rebecca Besser

Story written in honor of Shawn Riddle, Cal Miller, Nathan Barnes, and Timothy Long.

THE THREE ZOMB-EGOS

By Rebecca Bessser

            It was an overcast afternoon when Shawn, Nathan, Cal, and Tim met at the local bar in a small town in Virginia. They’d become friends online and planned the get together so they could discuss their most common interest – zombies.

            The establishment was nothing short of pathetic on the outside, which almost made the men decide to traverse elsewhere, but Cal joked that it looked like his apocalyptic dream house, so they decided to stay.

            Inside the alcohol peddling abode, the men found a plethora of zombie and science fiction collectables, proudly displayed in lighted chrome and glass cases.

            “This place is sweet!” Shawn exclaimed, and the others agreed.

            They seated themselves at a round table toward the back of the empty deserted room, and took in the sight of the place for a couple of minutes.

            “Oh,” Tim said, jumping up and dashing over to the bar that ran almost the full length of the right side of the room, “light sabers!” He picked up one of the toy collectables and swung it to make the plastic cylinders extend from the base, just as he pushed the button on the hilt to make it light up; an electronic hum rent the air as he swung it.

            All the men’s faces lit up and they joined their friend at the bar to play with the sabers.

            “Could you imagine having a real one of these babies when the Z-poc happens?” Nathan asked with glee painted across his face, making him look like a kid.

            “That would be kick ass!” Cal said, but was disappointed when he noticed there were only two sabers.

            Shawn, having also arrived at the bar too late to have a saber of his own, frowned.

            “Let’s just see how well those things do against zombies…” he said, and moaned, lunging toward Tim like a zombie from hell.

            Tim, Cal, and Nathan laughed, and Tim swung his saber playfully at Shawn.

            Shawn didn’t give up his attack easily, though, and soon had Tim pinned against the bar, snarling like a raging hungry beast intent on having Tim for lunch.

            Cal, amused by Shawn’s actions, did the same to Nathan, and in seconds they were on the floor, rolling around.

            At that very moment, the proprietor of the establishment came in through the back door, heard the noise out by the bar, and called the police. He’d been outside, taking bags of trash to the dumpster, and when he’d returned, he found lunatics in his bar!

            The police told him to stay hidden, so he went into his office and locked the door behind him.

            The noise continued for a while, and was abruptly ended when something glass shattered.

            “Oh, shit!” Shawn exclaimed, noticing that they’d knocked a glass off the bar with their playful tussling; he looked around, but didn’t see anyone. “Hello?” he called, hoping someone would answer him.

            Cal and Nathan stopped wrestling and looked up, and around, to see what had broken and what Shawn was yelling about.

            “You’re probably going to have to pay for that,” Cal said, motioning to the broken glass on the floor.

            “I know…” Shawn said, still searching for someone who worked there, so he could do the right thing and offer to pay for the damage. “Where the hell is everyone?”

            Tim laughed. “Z-poc!” He started moaning, limping, and shuffling in circles.

            Shawn shook his head, and still trying to find someone, spotted a broom and dust pan behind the bar. He didn’t want to go back there, in case someone did finally appear – they might have a gun and think he was robbing the place – so he picked up the light saber Tim had put down and grabbed the other one out of Nathan’s hand.

            Nathan protested with a whine of, “Hey!” but Shawn ignored him.

            Cal nudged Nathan to distract him from losing his toy and started moaning and pawing at Nathan like he was a zombie; Nathan shoved him away, and did the same.

            Shawn, meanwhile, was using the sabers – one in each hand – to try to pinch the broom and dust pan together so he could pick them up and lift them over the counter; he kept getting frustrated because the cylinders kept folding down when he tilted the sabers at a certain angle.

            Tim, Cal, and Nathan got bored with aimlessly shuffling around the room and trying to bite each other, so they converged on Shawn in a horde of chomping teeth and (what they hoped sounded like) deadly moan.

            They were all around Shawn, clawing him with wild eyes – while he tried to shove them off, focused on his broom retrieval task – when the police came charging in with their guns drawn.

            “Freeze!” they yelled. “Put your hands up where we can see them!”

            All four men froze and spun to face the officers; Shawn accidently slapped Nathan and Tim in the head with the light sabers as he lifted his arms.

            “Sorry,” he muttered.

            “No talking!” one of the officer’s yelled – the tall, bald, skinny one. “Drop your weapons!”

            Shawn opened his hands and let go of the plastic toys, and as they fell, one hit Cal in the head, and the other bounced off the top of the bar and into a row of liquor bottles, knocking them to the floor. They all shattered with a tickling of glass and a splash of liquid.

            “Smooth move,” the other officer said – the short, slightly chubby one. “ All of you – turn slowly and put your hands on the bar.”

            “What’s going on?” Cal whispered to his friends.

            “I don’t know!” Shawn whispered harshly. “Shut up.”

            “Hey!” the tall officer said. “No talking!”

            The room went silent as the four men were patted down by the two officers.

            “Stand up, put your hands behind your heads, and turn around,” the short, chubby officer commended; the four did as they were told.

            “Where are you from, and what are you doing here?” the tall, bald officer asked.

            No one spoke for a moment, and then Nathan – who had experience with law enforcement – spoke up.

            “We’re friends who met online,” he said confidently. “We’re all writers, and we decided to meet for a drink, since we lived close together.”

            “Oh, really?” the tall officer asked, glancing at his partner. “Can we see some ID please?”

            Shawn produced his, and so did Tim.

            Cal and Nathan searched their pockets only to realize they’d left their wallets in their cars.

            The officers, getting aggravated, decided they would have to go and get them.

            “We’re going to take a small field trip outside together,” the short officer said. “I don’t want any fun business from any of you, understand?”

            The four men nodded and proceeded as they were instructed outside.

            Nathan and Cal were allowed into their cars to retrieve their wallets.

            The officers then had them walk to the rear of their vehicles and stand with their hands behind their heads while their IDs were examined.

            The chubby officer glanced up and noticed the license plate on the back of Shawn’s car. He did a double take and then looked at Cal’s…and Nathan’s. He couldn’t help but laugh.

            “What the hell?” he asked. “Are you zombie worshippers or something?”

            The four men frowned in confusion and shrugged.

            “We all write about zombies,” Nathan said, trying to understand the man’s meaning. “Why? Did you recognize one of our names? Have you read our books?”

            All four of the men’s eyes lit up as they looked hopefully at the officers, expecting at least one of them to be a fan of their work.

            “No,” the short, chubby officer said, and motioned to the license plates. “I was referring to those.” He glanced at Tim’s car. “Who doesn’t have one? Does he still need to be ‘initiated’ into the group or something?”

            Tim looked down at the ground and clenched his jaw; he didn’t want to admit he didn’t have a zombie license plate like his friends. He wanted one, but just hadn’t gotten one yet.

            Shawn stared off into the distance.

            Cal looked down at the ground and kicked at a small pebble that was lying in front of his foot.
            Nathan shifted his weight from one foot to the other with nervous energy.

            “Not going to tell me, huh?” the chubby officer asked. “Fine, I have my own way of finding out. I’ll run the non-zombie plate.”

            He walked over to the police cruiser and opened the door. He slid into the driver’s seat and typed on the cars computer, pulling up the license plate that didn’t have anything to do with zombies.

            He climbed back out of the car and sauntered back over with a triumphant look on his face.

            “So, Tim,” he said, “are you just not zombie enough to have a zombie themed license plate? Or won’t your wife let you?”

            Shawn, Cal, and Nathan burst out laughing.

            “Shut up, you fucking wacktards!” Tim snarled.

            “He’s just jealous we’re better zombie men than him,” Cal joked.

            “His wife did say he moans like the dead…” Nathan said with a snicker.

            “He’s been known to prance around town screaming, ‘I’m a rainbow vampire! I’m a rainbow vampire!’” Shawn said, and doubled over laughing.

            “You’re all bastards,” Tim said, and sighed; he noticed the officers were laughing too.

            “Calm down, my friend,” Nathan said, trying to catch his breath.

            “Look at it from a zombie perspective…” Cal said, “…at least when the Z-poc happens, they won’t know you’re out to get them.”

            The officers were shaking their heads at the men and their antics.

            “Okay,” the tall, bald officer said, “let’s get back to business. What was going on in the bar?”

            The four men told them about finding the light sabers, pretending to be zombies, and the broken glass.

            “Well,” the chubby officer said, “as long as you pay for the damages, and promise to leave, we won’t take you in.”

            “Thank you,” Shawn said, even though he now had to pay for multiple bottles of liquor because the cops made him drop the light saber and knock them over.

            The officers escorted Shawn back inside the bar and let the owner know what had happened. He paid for the glass and the alcohol, and then made his way back outside where his friends were waiting.

            “I guess we survived that,” Shawn said.

            “Well, we are all survivors!” Nathan said, grinned, and winked.

            The four men said goodbye and headed their separate ways, knowing that their story would someday be told online…




Copyrights owned by Rebecca Besser. All rights reserved.

Interview with Author Gregory L. Norris


Author Gregory L. Norris

Note: This interview formerly appeared in my bi-monthly newsletter.
If you'd like to receive the newsletter, send an email to
projects[at]rebeccabesser[dot]com
with "Newsletter" in the subject line and your email addy in the body
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Bec: Greg, thank you for doing this interview for my newsletter; it’s great to have you! Please start out by introducing yourself:

Greg:  Greetings—and a pleasure to be interviewed!  I’m Gregory L. Norris, and when I was a little boy, I vividly remember waking up in our small, enchanted house in the woods and cuddling up against the heating vent on the floor in what passed for our dining room.  I didn’t want to leave the house to go to school; I wanted to stay home and be warm.  Forty-plus years later, here I am at my home—a big old drafty New Englander within view of Mount Washington—with the door to my Writing Room closed and the heat cranked up.  In the last week, I’ve left home twice, once for my weekly writers’ group meeting and the other to give a reading at a bookstore from Live Free or Sci Fi!, the latest in a series of pulp fiction volumes centered around my home state of New Hampshire.  The book contains my combat science fiction story, “The Moths.” The reading was well attended, and a group of writers from my aforementioned group and I joined the editor for dinner.  If not for the reading and writers’ group, with the snow and the cold, the farthest I would otherwise venture (apart from traveling the entire universe through my writing) would be to the mailbox, which is fixed to the outer wall of my house, right outside the sun porch door.  I’m not a hermit, truly; I just love to be home where I work as a full-time writer, and I love being warm.

Since the summer I turned fifteen (when I had one of those huge Eureka! moments) I’ve worked to claim the powerful sobriquet of ‘Writer.’  It’s not a title I wear lightly.  I’ve written for numerous national magazines and fiction anthologies and worked as a freelance screenwriter on Paramount’s Star Trek: Voyager.

Bec: I know that you’ve been published two thousand or more times… Do you have any favorite stories out in the world that you’re particularly proud of?

Greg:  For over a decade, I worked writing thousands of articles for national magazines like Sci Fi (the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), Cinescape, Soap Opera Update, and Heartland USA, then the second-largest Male General Interest Magazine, right after PlayboyHeartland boasted more than three million readers per issue—I covered the X Games, building demolition, and a number of celebrity and sports stories for them.  When added up, the amount of publication credits numbers somewhere past 4,000 total.  Since 2006, however, I’ve been focused mainly upon my fiction.

Favorites?  I’m smitten with my longish short story “B.E.M.s”—about bug-eyed monsters running rampant through Tinseltown of the 1960s.  That story appeared this past summer in the excellent anthology Ghosts in Gaslight, Monsters in Steam.  I’d have to state I’m also quite partial toward a recent collection of mine released by Elektrik Milkbath Press in September of 2013, Shrunken Heads: Twenty Tiny Tales of Mystery and Terror.  Earlier in March of the same year, my partner and I fell in love with this house and purchased it.  The place was a fixer-upper that we’ve since done plenty of fixing-up to.  While my Writing Room was being worked on, I wrote at our kitchen table in the dining room.  It was such a transition from where we were to where we landed here in the state’s North Country, and many of the stories I wrote during that time (including one I penned on the three-hour trip of our move north, with an enormous moving van creeping at the rear bumper of our car) found their way into the collection.  The idea for a book of flash stories came to me while writing at the kitchen table, and I’m quite enamored with the results.  But I’d say I’m also quite proud of my collected short stories and novellas that were collected into The Fierce and Unforgiving Muse: Twenty-Six Tales From the Terrifying Mind of Gregory L. Norris (Evil Jester Press).   That monster of a book gathered together some of the stories I am most fond of having written—a historical set in the Everglades, a parable about material goods set in a tiny apartment where we once briefly lived, a story about mummies in ancient Abydos, Egypt, another set—and written—in a New York City hotel room, some twenty stories up from the cold Manhattan pavement.  Voyager Captain Kate Mulgrew blurbed that book.  I’m proud it bears my byline.

Bec: What is your favorite genre to write?

Greg:  I love paranormal romance, ghost stories, mysteries, and the unclassifiable.  I used to despise Westerns, and then I wrote one—and found great love for that genre, too.

Bec: What is your favorite genre to read?

Greg:  I read everything that garners my interest through solid writing.  I’m presently reading a fantasy paperback downstairs, a poetry chapbook in my Writing Room, and a creepy old paperback from the 1970s upstairs.  Last week, I ate up a collection of Gay/Lesbian literary flash fiction.

Bec: What helps you keep on your writing schedule? Do you have any tricks to keep yourself on target when you’re dealing with life in general?

Greg:  Thank you for asking this question, because in August of 2013, I encountered the first real test to my writing schedule in some while and now feel qualified to comment on the matter.  I’ve worked to a loose but productive writing schedule for years.  I wake up, feed the cats, make the coffee, and then vanish into ‘Writer World’ for hours on end.  During those hours, I write fresh longhand drafts of stories, novellas, and novels, edit work on the computer for submission, proof galleys, research, and organize.  For the better part of the month of August 2013, I fell into a zombie state where I found myself staring at the blank page and struggling to get down a paragraph, let alone my usual ten pages a day.  It was horrible.  On a trip to Canada in September for writing work, a friend suggested it might be a Vitamin D deficiency.  Which made great sense, as I’d spent so much time indoors, out of the sun.  So I took to daily supplements, and sitting outside in my front yard on sunny days, and started feeling like my normal self again.

As for tricks, I write every day to maintain the pattern.  I try to get my ten pages in earlier in the day, which unleashes all sorts of wonderful energy to keep going so anything that follows is a bonus.  I’m lucky to have a partner who shovels the driveway, washes the dishes, mows the lawn, and does most of the banal work that gets in the way of writing to keep me writing.  But sometimes, I wash the dishes, dust the cobalt blue lamp in the living room, and do those necessary chores because they help me to work out story issues outside my home office.  We keep the house clean and organized, bright and cheery—I have strings of little white and blue lights atop my tall windows in the Writing Room, which are beautiful, uplifting.  An organized home surrounding an organized home office really does help.

Bec: Of all the books you’ve read in 2013, what are your favorite three?

Greg:  I read a lot of books earlier in 2013 as a judge in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror category of the Lambda Awards.  The book selected for the win, Green Thumb by Tom Cardamone, is brilliant, and one of my three top reads of the year.  I also loved the Ellery Queen paperback, 1951’s The Origin of Evil, which is just a stunning read, with delicious language.  And this list is easily rounded out with Win! Poetry Contests by Esther Leiper-Estabrooks.  I don’t write poetry, but was gifted this book on the first night after our move north to the new house, when I attended a local writing group meeting.  I met Esther there and was given a copy—what a neat way to be welcomed to town!  I devoured the book.  The information easily works for other forms of writing and, as a neat footnote, I read Esther’s columns in the late, great magazine, WRITERS’ Journal, in the 1990s during that very formative beginning time of my publishing career.  She wrote for that publication for over thirty years, and here she was at a table across from me!

Bec: What was your best fan moment in 2013?

Greg:  I’ve had a lot of great feedback from readers and plenty of solid reviews of work that appeared in 2013.  I’d have to say there were three standouts, if you’ll indulge me.  The first—after moving here, I met a fantastic writer who is now a member of the writing group who had a copy of my The Q Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer on his bookshelves that he and his wife took with them to read on a cruise a few years ago.  One day, he handed it to me and asked for my autograph.  You never know who buys and reads your work, truly!  And the second came from editor Alex Scully of Firbolg Publishing.  Doctor Scully had assigned me to write a story for their Dark Muses anthology from the point of Lovecraft’s ultimate baddy, C’Thulhu.  I knew the story I wanted to write, but completely struggled with the execution.  It didn’t look that way following fierce edits, and I sent the story off, thinking I’d done a decent job.  A few hours later, I got back a glowing acceptance on “The Whisper of C’Thulhu” (which appeared with reprints by Lovecraft, Polidori, Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and Poe, who is my favorite author—talk about humbling!).  My story had left her breathless and was accepted with plenty of editorial praise.

The third and perhaps biggest came about after an article on my career and move to the new house appeared in our local newspaper.  Four days later, I received an email from a reporter on New Hampshire Chronicle, a lifestyle’s magazine show that reaches millions of people, five nights a week.  He and his cameraman traveled north on perhaps the hottest day of the new summer to tape a segment on my writing career.  It was amazing!  They documented the body of my work (and did so with a great deal of enthusiasm and pizzazz) and on July 11th, 2013, there I was, and there was my work as a writer, showcased on the flat screen in our living room—and on quite a few others throughout New England!

Bec: Do you have any writing goals you have left to achieve? If so, what are they?

Greg:  Oh, I have many!  Every year, I print up new copies of two lists—completed stories, and those I’ve yet to finish a completed draft of.  I’m always inspired by the former, and driven frenetic by the latter.  Those uncompleted stories howl at me in the night, demanding to be written.  151 ideas as of this new year!  I’ve completed four of those stories since January 1, 2014.  But I have so many ideas, and the silly impetus to complete each and every one of them follows me around like a second shadow. 

I would love to have a series, and also to complete and submit certain projects.  My novel, The Zoo, gets closer to that goal by the day.  It’s about a homeless girl who is forced to live in an abandoned zoo with her dad and pet cat after their lives spiral toward disaster, like so many in this post-Bush America.  Other homeless souls have created something of a Hooverville at the zoo—the humans have become the animals, the imprisoned.  Soon after her arrival, the girl witnesses a murder, only no one believes her.  So she’s trapped in this hostile, horrifying environment, with a murderer that’s got her number.

I’d like to work more in TV, see one or more of my feature film scripts made, and bring that inflated number of unrealized drafts down to a manageable list.

Bec: I know you’re involved with writers groups… What benefits do you get from them?

Greg:  I came from a wonderful group in Southern New Hampshire—the Nashua Writers’ Group.  When we moved up North, I briefly attended the monthly meetings of a local group, as stated, but was, frankly, turned off by the cattiness and general lack of focus.  And so, with other writers of a similar mindset, I helped to found a weekly group where members read fresh work and receive constructive feedback, an environment more suited toward professionalism and productivity.  For me, writing is a solitary pursuit, one I adore, yes.  But I realized long ago that I’m not an island.  I’m more of a peninsula when it comes to writing, connected to other humans on one thin side of the land bridge.  I genuinely love being in the company of other writers at my weekly group, at retreats, and at conferences, where the passion for writing is narcotic.   What I get most is the joy of my fellow creatives’ company, the necessary dialog after one of my drafts composed in isolation is read aloud to my fellow humans, and the fun of being part of the writing community at large.

Bec: You’re one of the most positive writers I know (we writers are known to be a moody bunch)… What keeps you in such high spirits?

Greg:  Thank you.  I guess the answer is that I am committed to living a literary life and, as such, want to live it as a certain type of writer, of person.  And it’s easy to stay upbeat when I’m writing every day, living out the storylines of my biggest and smallest, most secret dreams as my pen scrawls them onto the page.  I live in a house I love where I’m happy, I love my small family, am constantly being romanced by the Muse and, at this strange, late-forties stage of my life, I’ve done so many things, met, interacted, and interviewed so many of my childhood icons, that I feel beyond fulfilled by the work I set out to accomplish way back when, at fifteen, lying on my stomach with a glass of root beer at the right of my fountain pen and notepad, and getting lost in the storylines of my imagination.  Through my writing, I’ve been to the ends of the galaxy and back.  So seriously, how could I not be in high spirits?

Bec: Since this is January of 2014, what are your big plans or goals for this year?

Greg:  To write, complete, submit, and hopefully sell certain projects.  I was just assigned six new short stories from a publisher in Germany.  I’m working on another short story for an anthology on creepy-crawly bug fiction I’ve been invited to contribute to.  I want to finish my novel, and work on any number of other ideas as follow ups.  In June, our thirty-month mortgage on the house is halfway paid off to completion, and so I’m structuring a writing schedule around the mortgage schedule, in anticipation of getting closer and closer to the end of that burden and a kind of freedom I look forward to enjoying.

Bec: Do you have any upcoming releases or news you’d like to share with us?

Greg:  I have stories forthcoming in numerous anthologies, but there is one in particular that totally has me walking above the floor.  I recently sold a short story to Firbolg’s environmental horror-themed anthology, Enter At Your Own Risk: The End is Really the Beginning.  I learned the Table of Contents will also contain reprints by Poe, Lovecraft, and the Mary Shelley.  The woman who penned Frankenstein!  My story set in the Pacific Northwest will share covers with one of her tales.  The book is due out in May 2014, and I might pass out when my contributor copy appears in my mailbox…located directly outside the sun porch door.

Bec: Is there anything you’d like to share with us that I haven’t asked you about?

Greg:  Only that if your readers are interested in following my literary adventures, they can check out my blog at www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com—I try to update fairly frequently.  And this has been wonderful!  Thank you so much for your interest in my writing work.

Bec: Thank you for stopping by and sharing! It’s always a delight speaking with you.

Greg:  Thanks bunches, Ms. Rebecca—what a treat to be interviewed!

Enjoy this excerpt story from Gregory's book, Shrunken Heads:



Coffee Talk
by Gregory L. Norris

        Above the clink of coffee spoons, coordinated to a performance of coy smiles, hair twirled between fingers, and other body language impossible to misread, Courtney asked the handsome young man, “So, if you had to name the one thing you’re proudest of…”

       “What would it be?” Brent finished her sentence, a good sign that their first date was going well.  “That’s easy.  The winter I volunteered at a homeless shelter.”

       Courtney sipped, loving his image beyond the rim of her big white porcelain cup.  “That must have been so rewarding.”

       “It was,” said Brent.  His smile widened.  “It really put me in touch with humanity.”

       What he didn’t tell her, as others in the bistro sipped their coffee and read their newspapers, was how easy it had been to slip poison into the soup, or antifreeze into the bottles of alcoholics, or the giddy joy that had possessed him at giving one of those sub-humans a shove, right over the edge of the bridge, dropping the useless bit of flesh a hundred feet down, face first onto the ice, one less drain on civilized society.  Getting close enough to do the deed had been effortless.  The mark knew him from the shelter; Brent was one of the good guys.  Of course, he’d gotten away with it.  Nobody really cared about the homeless. 

       Courtney sighed, drawing him out of that winter and back to the present autumn.  “You’re amazing,” she said.  “You should be so proud of yourself.”

        “Yes, very proud.  In fact, I’m thinking of volunteering again this winter,” Brent said, then took another sip of his coffee, light on the cream, heavy on the sugar.



 

 Copyrights owned by Rebecca Besser and Gregory L. Norris.
All rights reserved.

Out of the Shadows – Be Seen and Build a Platform

 

Some people won’t jump into the Indie Writer movement. They’d rather keep all their writing for the higher end publications… You know, the publications that pay full price for everything. Now, granted, there’s nothing wrong with that, we should all strive to get the best for ourselves and our writing. But for that to make a difference, you would have to be published with those higher end publications constantly. You’d have to have a column in a widely read magazine/newspaper or something, and be turning out something weekly that would have to appear before readers. That’s not going to happen, but for a few. And no one is going to hire a nobody for that job, unless you were birthed into the world through shiny, glittery unicorn poop.

So unless you’re some major guru, and we all read those publications, you aren’t going to build a name for yourself or gather fans/a following if you can’t get your writing out in front of the reader.

You can sit on your writing unless the exact publication you want is willing to take it on, or you can work with what you have. There’s nothing wrong with doing a “for the love” publication or throwing a short story at an anthology once in a while to gain some readers.

At least the Indie Writer is out there building a platform, gathering fans and readers, having a blog that someone actually reads, and a social media profile people actually want to follow and interact with. You know what? Those big publications you’re after will want you to have those things (with decent numbers) when they take you on. They’ll want you to show them that people like you and your work. They’ll want to see that you have fans and a following.

Sitting on your hands (and all of your writing) is not going to get you in front of the masses.

Oh, it may if you’re super lucky (see unicorn poop reference above), or have the best writing in the universe. But, with the way the economy and everything is working against everyone today, what are the chances of you being the “chosen one” for that big publishing house? Especially when you haven’t been building a platform/name for yourself?

Not very likely.

You can ask anyone who has been published with a bigger publishing house, who has an agent, and they’re going to tell you you’ll need the platform. And, if you get picked up without having one, you’re going to be told really fast that you need to build one.

Why not start building your name now, while you’re waiting?

Did you know that if you’re an Indie Writer or self-published writer and you sell or give away thousands of copies of your work, it will increase your chances of an agent or big publishing deal? Yes. It’s true. You know why? Because you’re not invisible and people want what you’re putting out into the world. Granted, that happens about as much as being the magical “chosen one,” but you’re not completely invisible to the world if you’re getting a few hundred readers to read your stuff.

At least someone will know your name. At least someone will have read your story(ies). Keeping them all to yourself is doing absolutely nothing for you.

I believe it’s better to stand up and be noticed, even a little bit, rather than sit in the corner and be invisible. You don’t get any fans that way. No one is going to ask you to dance and sweep you off your feet (agent/publisher) if they don’t even know you exist.

Another thing you’ll bring to the table when the time comes for that big contract, if you’re in the Indie Writer movement… You’ll have a general idea how publishing actually works. You’ll have seen various types of contracts. You’ll have worked with various editors. You’ll understand the professionalism and respect that go into the transactions of publication. You’ll know what to expect and have a realistic perception of the reality of what writers do, what editors do, and what publishers do. How are you going to get that experience waiting for just the right deal to come your way? Sitting in the corner, knowing nothing?

The point of this post? Yeah, you’re awesome with all your good writing, but no one can see you unless you stand up and show yourself and what you can do. Readers want to see you. And agents and publishers want to see your following. So, against the risk of staying a no one forever, throw something out into the world and build your platform.

Stand up! Make some noise! Show the world what you can do, and what you can be. Don’t keep thinking good things are going to come your way when you’re not trying to build yourself a platform and a name. All the experience, and networking, will help you in the long run. I promise.

 




Copyrights owned by Rebecca Besser. All rights reserved.

New Release - Straight to You by David Moody

Released today!
Straight to You by David Moody




The sun is dying. The temperature around the world is rising by the hour with no sign of any respite. At this rate the planet will soon become uninhabitable; all life extinguished. It might be weeks away, it might be days... we may only have hours remaining. Society is crumbling. The burning world is descending into chaos.

Steven Johnson's wife is hundreds of miles away and all that matters is reaching her before the end. He has to act now, no time to stop and think. Every second is precious. Tomorrow is too late.

 


"An engaging and heart-breaking read - Moody is the go-to-guy for extraordinary stories starring ordinary people" -Wayne Simmons, author of Plastic Jesus and Flu

"He brings to mind old Brit horror writer James Herbert. And that is some recommendation" -London Lite

"David Moody spins paranoia into a deliciously dark new direction" -
Jonathan Maberry, author of Patient Zero and Rot and Ruin


I've acquired David's permission to share an excerpt with you!

Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Straight to You by David Moody:

    She was waiting at the door when he finally made it home. Ready to pounce. He was being unfairly harsh on her tonight, he knew he was. His defences were up, that was all. ‘You wouldn’t think I left early,’ he said, kissing her on the cheek as he went inside.

    ‘Busy out there?’

    ‘Crazy. Like you wouldn’t believe.’

    ‘I would believe it. You seen the news today?’

    ‘Haven’t had a second. Why, what’s happened?’

    
‘Climate change protest in London.’

    ‘Climate change?’ he said as he kicked off his shoes. ‘Bit late for that, isn’t it? The climate has
changed.’

    ‘I know. About a hundred thousand people in the middle of the city, though, marching in this heat. It was pretty obvious it was never going to go well.’

    ‘I’ll watch the headlines in a while. I need a drink first.’

    She followed him into the kitchen. ‘Are you worried, Steve?’

    ‘Worried? What about?’ He watched her face anxiously. Had she realised something was going on at work?

    ‘About the weather.’

    He laughed. ‘I’ve got more important things to think about.’

    ‘People are starting to get really scared.’

    ‘Then they need to get their heads out of their backsides and get on with their lives. Jesus, I wish all I’d got to worry about was the bloody temperature.’

    ‘Like what?’

    ‘Eh?’

    ‘What else have you got to worry about? Come on, you never tell me anything anymore.’

    ‘It’s not interesting or important. Christ, I’ve just managed to get out of the office, the last thing I want to do is spend the weekend talking about all the shite going on there.’

    ‘Who rattled your cage?’

    ‘Sorry. Long day. Difficult day.’

    She looked hurt, not surprised by his short fuse, but disappointed all the same. She carried on regardless. ‘You should have seen it. Horrible, it was. The police had got the march route all marked out, then a bunch of the protestors decided to go another way. The police penned them in close to Trafalgar Square and had to just leave them there ’cause the place was so busy they couldn’t easily move them on. They were giving them water but there was hardly any shade. People started passing out in the heat, Steve, and then other people started panicking. Seventeen dead, they said. Some got crushed by the crowds, others were just out in the sun too long. It was vile. It was all on TV. Most of them were just kids. They were collapsing and being trampled by the others. It was horrible. There was nothing anyone could have done . . .’

Straight to You by David Moody is available for purchase at Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble! Grab your copy today!

About David Moody:

David Moody was born in 1970 and grew up in Birmingham, UK, on a diet of trashy horror and pulp science fiction books and movies. He worked as a bank manager and as operations manager for a number of financial institutions before giving up the day job to write about the end of the world for a living. He has written a number of horror novels, including AUTUMN, which has been downloaded more than half a million times since publication in 2001 and has spawned a series of sequels and a movie starring Dexter Fletcher and David Carradine. Film rights to HATER were snapped up by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) and Mark Johnson (producer of Breaking Bad and the Chronicles of Narnia films). Moody lives with his wife and a houseful of daughters and stepdaughters, which may explain his pre-occupation with Armageddon.

His website:
http://davidmoody.net/


Copyrights owned by David Moody. All rights reserved.

 

Sirens Call Ezine - Women in Horror Edition 2014

As you may or may not know, February is Women in Horror Recognition Month, and Sirens Call Ezine dedicates an issue just to women who write horror.



This year the flash fiction version of my story, "Hall of Twelve," is included in the issue with a lot of other works from women who write horror!

Guess what?! The ezine is free! You can download it as a PDF and read all the scary greatness!

Link to Sirens Call Ezine Women in Horror Edition 2014:
http://www.sirenscallpublications.com/pdfs/SirensCallEZine_WiHRM_Feb2014.pdf

 



Copyrights owned by Rebecca Besser and Sirens Call Publications.
All rights reserved.

Winter Ebook Giveaway - It's Cold and We're Bored!

It's winter. It's cold. We're all stuck inside for the most part, and we're bored! So, I thought I'd give you all something to ease the cabin fever... Three free ebooks by me!

Twisted Pathways of Murder & Death, Cursed Bounty, and Hall of Twelve will all be available  for free on Kindle from Jan. 31-Feb. 4, 2014!




Enjoy!

Copyrights owned by Rebecca Besser. All rights reserved.

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