Author Interview, Charles Muir


Interview #70, with “compelled misfit” and horror/dark fantasy writer, Charles Muir!


Describe yourself in 5 words:

Compelled. Hungry. Misfit. Persistent. Transmuting.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):


From my story in Hell Comes to Hollywood, “Alone and Palely Loitering”:

Knight had a friend, a writer, who soared to dazzling descriptive heights when it came to women’s breasts. Ample ones, especially. On paper, they quivered and beckoned as a succulent feast of edibles, their “creamy mounds” and “Hershey’s kisses” in contrast to Knight’s lens-like assessment, all dimensions appreciable in his worldview. The woman before him was more than a feast, she was a gateway to gluttony, her breasts densely spheroid with long, shadowed cleavage lines, mounted over the proud breastbone of a Valkyrie. And hips, high-velocity curves like a wildfire along twin hummocks, hips that blazed their own sexual lights against the bosom’s fearful symmetry. A tigress, Knight thought, like that Amazonian knockout in those cannibal horror films he watched with the sound down when his wife wasn’t around, he forgot the actress’s name just now.

“Um,” was all he said…

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

A bright light, like a hot, flickering, yellow star, burned through the ghostly mesh of his death dreams. He looked over and she was standing sideward to the fireplace, holding a burning brand outthrust toward it in her hand. Yet not a stick or twig; it was a scroll of tightly furled paper. And as the flame slowly slanted upward toward her hand, she deftly reversed it, taking it now by the charred end that had already been consumed and allowing the other to burn.

— Cornell Woolrich

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

It took me five years to relearn how to write. I don’t mean writing as a craft, but as an act of putting words on paper without college-grafted perfectionism killing your first thoughts. With my stories I now try to emulate Ray Bradbury’s “seven drafts in seven days” approach (or seven sessions at the computer in my case) allowing my conscious thoughts to take over gradually in the last two or three drafts in a more natural arc. It’s fun and healthy for me, seeing as I’m a solitary doer and prefer to keep my studio closed off until I send out the end-product.

As for publishing, all my work has been in short fiction, which out of long habit I continue to submit individually to the small presses, hoping to find an indie publisher who will be interested in anthologizing my stories someday. This means the usual confetti of rejection letters and the sense of climbing a ladder with only two rungs. But I absolutely see the value of self-publishing these days. The technology is in place, the stigma is (rightly) going away, and emerging writers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to self-promote in a dismal marketplace.

As a side note, the Internet can be terrible for a neurotic person like me. There is a metrical side to seeing your work in print in the form of online feedback and statistics that didn’t exist when all you got was a check and contributor’s copy. Still, the Internet has given me relationships and opportunities I never would have dreamed of otherwise, and is giving artists a chance to get their work out there despite the stagnant commercialism and elitism of big publishing.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

I personally prefer narration that transforms the mundane into the strange, even nightmarish. It wakes you up for a moment. I remember very little about even crucial plot points, but I’ll recall a certain shadow, or a flight of stairs, or the way a character resembles a puppet for just an instant. That transformative vision is what gets me as close to the writer’s mind as I will ever get.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

You will get better if you love what you do, because you will do it a lot and for as long as it takes to achieve the desired effect.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

My personal website:

My article on “How to Submit Short Fiction for Publication”:

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Much thanks to Charles Muir for stopping by — do visit Charle’s Website for more info on him and his projects!

CHARLE’S BIO (in his own words):

I’m a writer, primarily in the horror genre. I’ve appeared most recently in the U.K. magazine, Morpheus Tales, and the Stoker-nominated horror anthology, Hell Comes to Hollywood.

I was born on the Oregon Coast but have lived all my life in Portland.

I’ve written psychological horror, splatterpunk, dark fantasy, flash fiction, slipstream, squishy-soft sf, and experimental. Some of my favorite themes include alienation, disease, hunger and metamorphosis.

My aim is to bend reality, skew the mundane, and broadcast my personal horrors. At the same time I don’t take myself too seriously.

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Author Interview, Tony Healey


Interview #69, with writer and Kindle All-Stars contributor, Tony Healey!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Blood, Sugar, Sex, Majik, Ha!

OMG I *love* that RHCP album (lol!). Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

From my short story ABC featured in the upcoming anthology CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS:


I checked my watch again. “I’m sorry to push you, but I’m really pressed for time. I’ve got to–”

He laid a hand on my wrist. His eyes were fixed on the horizon, on the line of the sea beyond the boats in the harbour. Those little black eyes peered through time as he spoke. “This happened about twenty years ago. There’s a long stretch of woodland lies above the cove, between the farms and the moors.”

“I’ve seen it,” I said, mystified.

“Every man I ever told this story to has just laughed at me. Called me a drunk. Called me a senile old man. But with you I think it’s different. I think you’ll listen and understand what I’m telling you,” he said. “I think you’ll have an open mind.”

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

I think my favorite author is Arthur C Clarke. He’s not the best writer I’ve read, but there’s something about his singular vision of our future I find enlightening and hopeful. This is a quote from his novel THE SONGS OF DISTANT EARTH:

“The lives of men, and all their hopes and fears, were so little against the inconceivable immensities that they dared to challenge.”

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

I don’t really have a problem with the publication process. It’s always an interesting and fulfilling experience. To write something, have it edited, polish it and then simply click a button and PUBLISH it is quite mind-blowing when you think about it. It can be frustrating when something of yours doesn’t quite hit a chord with readers, but like a writer friend of mine said: “Forget the haters. If they don’t like your book, write another one. Write ten more.”

I think that as self-publishers we should be working on that next project. We can’t sit on our hands and rest. The BIG 6 sure aren’t going to cut us a break. It’s a battle of the old world versus the new.

Yes to productivity ;) What is your definition of “good writing”?

Writing that isn’t up its own arse. There are writers putting work out, and I won’t mention names, but they seem more concerned with WORDS than telling a story. These people are so filled with their importance as WRITERS that they forget people don’t want to sit through that. I may be punching above my weight in saying this, but I don’t think it’s necessary to spend 100,000 words telling a story you could tell in 60,000 words. I love pulp fiction, and although I know it’s not to everyone’s taste it can teach writers some valuable lessons. The same could be said of reading bestsellers. You know, your Dan Browns and James Pattersons (shudder!). Although they’re not great books, they are fast paced and well-plotted. I love writers like Michael Chabon, John Irving, people like that who can spend 600 pages or more meandering back and forth within their story. Their books are a joy. But not everybody can be the next Chabon or Irving.

Good writing for me, at the moment, means brevity where possible and for the author of the work to remember they’re a storyteller first, and a high and mighty writer second.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Get a pair of headphones. And Led Zeppelin.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

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Much thanks to Tony Healey for stopping by — do visit Tony’s Website for more info on him and his projects! And do check out the Kindle All-Stars FB page too.

Tony has a free eBook on Amazon too that you can check out!


TONY’S BIO (in his own words):

Tony Healey is a Sussex-based writer and a born-and-bred Brightonian. He is the author of the best-selling Far From Home series.

He was a contributor to the first Kindle All-Stars short story anthology, Resistance Front, along with award-winning authors Alan Dean Foster, Harlan Ellison and 30 others.Tony has also contributed a piece of flash fiction to the anthology 100 Horrors.

As well as his writing, he’s interviewed numerous figures in the publishing world for his site, including Bernard Schaffer, Meg Gardiner, Alan Dean Foster, Debbi Mack, Russell Brooks and many, many more.

Tony can be contacted via tonyleehealeyATgmailDOTcom and at his personal site,

Author Interview, Douglas Edward Glassford


Interview #68, with writer and Kindle All-Stars contributor, Douglas Edward Glassford!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Husband, father, grandfather, son, brother.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):


Oh My Darling of the Deep Blue Sea:

It is time, but could this really be happening?

He sensed a figure in the mist, just beyond recognition; a shape mostly, accompanied by the sweetest singing voice.  She sang to him in words he did not recognize; yet did not fear.  They whirled and swirled within him as warm and welcome to his heart as his heavy woolen snorkel and bottle of Scotch Whiskey were to his chilled body.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

Bernard J. Schaffer – GUNS OF SENECA 6 – Opening paragraph of Chapter 2:

He hadn’t practiced medicine since acquiring a nasty ailment that ended his career in Seneca 6 forever. His wracking cough had a way of erupting out whenever he leaned over a patient’s mouth.  Blood mixed with saliva, horked into the unsuspecting face of a man saying “Ah” or a woman asking him to inspect a suspicious lump, had a way of determining the finality of their patronage.  Even Doctor Royce Halladay’s most loyal patients found other doctors.  Ones who didn’t fold up like a chair and clutch their stomachs like their guts were about to uncoil.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Since I am a newbie, a neophyte to commercial publishing, the story that is in this wonderful anthology of cryptozoology (rhyming unintended), is my first. Bernard Schaffer and Laurie Laliberte who are in charge of the Kindle All-Star projects are handling the business end. For now, I am just along for the ride seeking to promote CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS as I can… as I am doing now, by your grace, on your website.

The writing process itself is not that complex for me. Perhaps it is because most of my writing is non-fiction, and the fiction I do write tends to be short. I can just sit down with a blank page before me and… just start writing. It does not matter what I write at first. It only matters what I write by intent and purpose. I know that your good friend Matt Posner and the other brilliant authors in our anthology have all written novels or full-length books. So, their process might be very much different than mine. I have thought about writing novels, or screenplays — I see my stories in the cinema of my mind.

Always good to keep in mind intent and purpose ;) What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing to me is clean, uncomplicated, and honest. From the opening hook through the course of the piece, story, poem, essay, or book, there must be a flow feeds, teases out, my empathetic interest, forming an immediate identification bond between me, as the reader, and with either the narrative message, characters, or situations. I have to believe it is possible, even if it is not probable. Use of inappropriate wording, such as obscure colloquialisms, jargon, or overuse of vulgarity or unnecessary profanity tends to make me think of the author instead of what the author has written. Within character, most everything is allowable. But, like the overuse of adjectives or adverbs, lazy writing as this practice is often called, the opacity of the author increases while the transparency that suspends disbelief and makes the story real fades. If I have to jump in and out of a work, specifically fiction, that I am reading for entertainment to look up a word or jarred out of the illusion of the story-world for any reason, I will most likely stop reading.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Do what you love and allow fame and fortune to follow. Don’t worry about what is popular, focus your energy and time on writing a good story. A story you would want to read. Because if you are not excited about your story or book, no one else will be either. Who you are will flow onto the page as if the ink was tinged in your blood. What is popular now may not be by the time you get your book to the publisher. Remember, everything you do is like signing your name to it. So, write like you want… it is your passion for your story that will carry you through the toughest of writing times.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

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Much thanks to Douglas Edward Glassford for stopping by — do visit Doug’s Website for more info on him and his projects! And do check out the Kindle All-Stars FB page too.

DOUG’S BIO (in his own words): “I am a writer who favors short stories… they make me feel taller, with a particular fondness for flash fiction because it suits my ADD functionality… I am blessed that I never get bored, but I do get impatient. When I am not spending time with my beloved wife, family, and friends, you will find me reading, writing, proof-reading & editing, tinkering, or teaching kids how to find their innate genius through drawing and storytelling.”

Erotica: An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature (I)



Erotica: An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature (I), by William Wallace & Charlotte Hill (Amazon, Goodreads)


To a more cultured/discerning mind, erotica isn’t “literate porn” that’s cheap and obscene and meant to generate profits via arousal in the reader.

I like to promote quality erotica (where artistic aspects are a factor, which means beauty and/or some level of substance are inclusive), and this book is one of the best that I have (covers both visual art and erotic literature).

And I’d recommend this anthology to anyone interested in being introduced to the world of erotic art!

This book was/is worth every penny — the best parts of the book are:

1) the blend/presentation of pieces of erotic art, alongside excerpts of the finest literary erotica in the history of publishing/the written word

2) the scope of the selected works (which span over 2000 years of both Eastern and Western cultures)

I have a few other erotic anthologies (which are mostly either art, or textually-focused), and this is the one that I repeatedly re-read and/or go back to. It’s an excellent resource book (if you’re wondering which “great erotic author to check out next”), and there have been several times where I can attribute first seeing/knowing about a particular piece of sexual art to this book [such as “a Chinese nineteenth-century rosewood toilet box (with eleven concealed miniatures),” “Coloured wood-cuts by Utamaro,” “(the very beautiful) charcoal drawings by the artist known as ‘AL'”].

All of the paintings are erotic/sensual, as opposed to pornographic/degrading (with regards to both sexes in all sorts of sexual positions/situations). In this way, they are more representative/interpretative than offensive (and they’re certainly not offensive in an aesthetic sense).

The book is exactly what its subtitle says: “An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature.” I may have suggested adding the adjective “Fine,” before “Sexual Art and Literature,” if I were part of the editorial board for this anthology. I’d even have considered calling it “The Definitive” anthology/edition (…of Sexual Art & Literature) :)!

Books II and III in this series feature more visuals and prose that stimulate, educate, amuse, and engage. The authors/editors have exquisite taste, which shows in the selections they have included in this first anthology. I hope to check out the other two books in the series sometime in the near future.

P.S. In my “preview post,” WP repeated the first paragraph at the end of the post. I’ll leave the repeated section for emphasis, which is:

To a more cultured/discerning mind, erotica isn’t “literate porn” that’s cheap and obscene and meant to generate profits via arousal in the reader.

Interview: Literature & Fiction, Volume II


Author Interview #13, with Ms. Shelagh Watkins!

I interviewed Ms. Watkins earlier this year. She has been running a series of author interviews on her Literature & Fiction blog, and has compiled the interviews into a promotional book.

Hi Shelagh! Please tell us about the latest L&F book.

Shelagh: I started interviewing fellow authors mid September 2009. I hadn’t considered putting together the interviews until one of the authors, Maryanne Raphael, made the suggestion on one of the comments:

“Thank you so much for allowing me to be interviewed. You ask wonderful questions and made me look inside myself and my writing. That is a beautiful thing. I would love to see a book of interviews by you. Ever think of that? Best wishes Maryanne”

I was too busy adding more interviews to give the thought any serious consideration. By the time I decided to get on and do it, I was running out of time! If the book was going to be out and available for Christmas, I would have to crack on. Somehow I managed it and the book was available in time for the holidays!

The book was an immediate success so I decided to compile Literature & Fiction Interviews Volume II. This book is even better than Volume I, and I was one of the interviewed authors in the first book!

Was it your idea to publish the interviews in electronic format (ebook) as well as print?

Shelagh: Yes. I have published my own books in ebook format on and find it an excellent site for uploading Word documents for conversion into a number of different electronic formats: Kindle (.mobi), Epub (open industry format, good for Stanza reader, others), LRF (for Sony Reader), Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices).

Most of the authors in both volumes expressed an interest in having the book available as a download.

Do you have a preference, when it comes to physical books versus ebooks?

Shelagh: I haven’t progressed to a hand-held reading device yet so books are still my main source of information and entertainment. Although I do read a great deal on the web!

It must have taken quite some time to put together L&F books 1 and 2…

Shelagh: The first volume is a compilation of nineteen author interviews and the second has twenty-five interviews: forty-four authors interviewed between September 18th, 2009 and April 3rd, 2010 (twenty-four weeks, approximately two interviews/week). The publishing of the books themselves added to the number of hours spent on each individual author interview. It was hard work, as is anything worthwhile, and these books, and the authors in them, are certainly worthy!

Are there any interesting “patterns” or similarities you might have observed via the interviews, with regards to authors’ personalities?

Shelagh: All the authors in both volumes are anxious to please readers. They enjoy every aspect of the writing process: researching, planning and writing, but their greatest joy comes from the feedback they receive from the readers who enjoyed reading their books.

Writing versus marketing/promoting – how would you compare the two (should a writer spend exactly 50% on each, etc)?

Shelagh: I think all authors would prefer to spend as much time as possible writing. Only a small percentage of authors make enough money to support themselves and their families. Consequently, authors have to supplement their income with other jobs or rely on a partner for financial support. With so much time spent on earning (day job plus writing in the evenings), there is little time left for marketing and promoting. Publishers still organize book tours but, unless the author is famous, book tours tend to be regional rather than national. As a general rule, the less well known authors are, the more time they will have to spend on promoting their books: arranging book signings, library talks and promotional events etc. Nowadays, the majority of authors spend several hours per week promoting their work on the Internet.

What would you like readers to take away from L&F book 2?

Shelagh: There’s a great deal to be learned from the interviews. For anyone considering becoming a writer, the interviews give a real insight into the process of writing. Readers of fiction and non-fiction will be interested in the authors’ books and will appreciate the opportunity to read the snippets taken from their books. In fact, for anyone who likes to read, Literature & Fiction Interviews Volume II is a darned good read!

Your websites/blogs/etc.

Shelagh’s website:
Literature & Fiction blog:

Closing comment/s:
Shelagh: Thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Jess. It has been a pleasure talking with you!

Most welcome — and thanks for featuring me in Literature & Fiction Volume II :)!

Note: Literature & Fiction Volume II is available as a paperback, and can be viewed online via SlideShare. Go check it out!