Amazing! Not Your Abuelita's Folktales Has Been Chosen for a Local Book Club! #barrioblues #gratefulRead Now
Wonderful News! Next month, a local Chicago book club has chosen my first collection of Young Adult stories, Not Your Abuelita’s Folktales! It is currently ranking #1 for Hispanic American Literature on Amazon.
I could not be more thrilled. What an honor!
Thank you Cristina Carrillo, from the bottom of my heart for choosing my collection of magical realism stories.
Dear Book Lovers,
I am running a book lover appreciation for you! FREE FREE FREE Kindle books for three days and far better than Black Friday . . . 11/29 THROUGH SUNDAY 12/1
La Bruja in the Orchard:
Five-year-old Mona knows something is very wrong, when her older brother Pancho doesn’t come home one night. Her evil sister, Christi, is to blame because Pancho is always defending her. Mona only knows he is in trouble with the police. Now that Pancho is gone, Christi is brutal, constantly terrorizing Mona. One afternoon, her parents go on an overnight trip and leave her older sister in charge. Things take a turn for the worse as her sister’s carelessness makes Mona sick to her stomach. La Bruja who lives in the orchard and has been haunting Mona for some time takes advantage of her weakness. With Pancho and her parents gone, the witch is at the window trying to convince Mona to go with her and away from her sister’s cruelty. Will Mona be able to overcome her sister’s abuse and the relentless Bruja, before her parents come home, or will the temptations of La Bruja make her leave her home forever?
Not Your Abuelita's Folktales:
Four gripping, no-holds-barred, supernatural tales for young adults.
Gobble, gobble, gobble these books up.
Finally, stay tuned for my Barrio Blues YouTube channel, where I will give writing advice, interview guests, and read short works. I hope you watch and subscribe.
P.C. it is so great to have you back!
The pleasure is mine, as always!
I am really excited about your novel The Priest of Orpagus! Tell us about this work.
It’s a story of an American man who moves to Turkey to teach English. He falls in love with his beautiful colleague—and unwittingly drags her into the claws of a demon. The demon messes up with their minds, and they must fight for their lives, souls, and sanity. I’m not telling you whether they make it, though. 😉
Oh, I should probably add that I wrote the first draft five years ago . . . while working as an English teacher in Turkey.
Was the writing process different than Deception of the Damned?
It was pretty similar. Last year, I rewrote the old, nearly forgotten draft and sent it to my editor, who sent me back her comments. I did my revisions and asked a few friends to read it for me. Then I polished it up accordingly to their recommendations.
I’m writing my new project from scratch, which is much more exciting.
Where can readers purchase this book?
The Priest of Orpagus is available on Amazon, both in Kindle and paperback.
Where can they find you on social media?
All the important links are bundled up here.
Thank you for telling my readers about this amazing work. I look forward to having you again soon!
Thank you so much for your continuous support.
I live to promote great work.
Also, many thanks for being one of the aforementioned friends who read the second draft. I hope to be back with some news early next year.
It was my absolute pleasure! Only for you P.C., only for you. I can't wait to get more good news.
ADAM AND SAM, IT’S GREAT TO HAVE YOU!
Adam: Thanks for having us. Hi.
Sam: I am also here.
NOW, I KNOW YOU ARE BOTH WRITE SCIENCE FICTION AND SAM, YOU ALSO WRITE POETRY. TELL MY READERS MORE ABOUT YOU. WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Adam: Yeah, we’re both from Australia, from Northern New South Wales. Uhhh. . . In a--
Sam: I live in a tree.
Adam: Sam lives in a tree. I live. . . near the tree Sam lives in. . .
Sam: He brings me food.
Adam: Yeah that’s the less convenient part.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE A WRITER? WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST STORY ABOUT?
Adam: My first story was. . . It’s hard to say. My first published story was also the first thing I’d written in quite a while, but I’d written a lot in high school and university, so I’ve probably known I was a writer since I was a teenager.
Sam: My first story I ever wrote appeared in my school newspaper when I was ten and I recently typed it up and realized there were some serious tense issues, but I just sent it to an anthology. We’ll see if it gets in. I’m rooting for ten-year-old Sam! I’ve been writing poetry since Year 6. I realized I wanted to be a writer because I read 1984 plus Warhammer 40000 novels as a teenager and basically I was like ‘Oh I’m going to write a 1984 cross Warhammer 40k novel in the school holidays.’ That was years before I had the chance to do short stories.
I AM ALWAYS IMPRESSED BY THE JOINT WORK YOU DO BOTH IN YOUR COLLABORATIVE WRITING AND IN ZOMBIE PIRATE PUBLISHING. WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE WORK YOU HAVE COLLABORATED ON?
Adam: Nothing. We’ve never collaborated.
Sam: Yeah, we don’t collaborate--
Adam: I wrote the start of a short story— the start of a novel once—wrote the first chapter and handed it to Sam, and he went “That’s the best thing you’ve ever written. I’m excited to write the next chapter,” and then never did it.
Sam: I don’t remember that.
Adam: So I then went on the internet and said, “Oi, how about you people do I,” and that was also terrible. Collaboration is. . . . Yeah we don’t really collaborate. We do--
Sam: We work together as publishers and editors and collaborate on themes which is generally like one of us will have an idea, and we’ll brainstorm how to make it work and split the workload whether it’s editing, marketing, making the graphics; we’ll just sort of split it down the middle. I think that getting along as collaborators comes down to getting along as old friends, but I don’t think that artistically, on a story. . . . We have vastly different processes, styles, ideas, approaches . . . and while our work appears alongside each other and complements each other, I don’t know how we would write a story together. We could give it a shot--
Adam: We could give it a shot. I don’t know that I would ever want to however. Umm . . . I see people’s collaborative writing, and it’s interesting to read, but I don’t know that it’s for me.
Sam: I don’t even know how they. . .
Adam: —functionally do it?
Sam: Yeah. . . Like does one do the left hand and one do the right hand?
Adam: I don’t write with my left hand at all, so I’ll be the left hand, you do the right hand, and then put my name on the story.
Sam: You type one handed?
Adam: Oh. I thought we were writing it out with pencil and paper. . .
TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR PUBLISHING HOUSE. WHERE DOES THE NAME COME FROM?
Adam: This is a good story actually.
Sam: It comes from two angles which are both kind of together. We play a card game called Smash Up, where you smash together two factions to make a unique team. And there’s pirates and zombies as well as aliens and robots and all sorts of things. So you could play zombie pirates in the game. I also saw a comic strip about someone creating something new and interesting and no one was interested in it. So the person got an existing idea and a second existing idea and sort of nonchalantly mashed them together, and everyone went nuts for it. And that sort of reminded me that people like familiar tropes and archetypes. Everything we do is putting old ideas together in new quirky combinations. So our name is supposed to be a mix of approachability and familiarity, mixed with quirky and weird.
Adam: Yeah. When we first came up with the idea of making a publishing house, and throwing our hats in the ring and doing it ourselves, my suggestion for the name was The Collapsar Directive, which you might know ended up being the name of our first anthology.
WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST CHALLENGING PROJECTS YOU HAVE PUT TOGETHER IN ZOMBIE PIRATE PUBLISHING?
Adam: Well I don’t know what Sam’s answer is, but I think that And Man Grew Proud was particularly challenging.
Sam: Most challenging? Probably Flash Fiction Addiction. But my honest answer is: They all felt the same.
Adam: I suppose with the frequency we do them at. . . But at the time, you’re right, Flash Fiction Addiction, wrangling one hundred different authors. . . It was a challenge.
NOW, AS YOU KNOW, I GAVE A FIVE-STAR REVIEW TO YOUR AMAZING SCIENCE FICTION DOUBLE FEATURE: PHOSPHORUS & INTO THE EYE. DID YOU DO A LOT OF RESEARCH FOR YOUR RESPECTIVE WORKS?
Sam: [raucous laughter]
Adam: Uh. No. Not at all. Very little. I did a bunch of math to work out how long my space elevators needed to be, which doesn’t actually appear in the story, I don’t think. . . the actual length of it appears in the story. Maybe it does. Once. I did do a lot of world building.
Sam: Is that research?
Adam: Umm, no. I guess not.
Sam: My story doesn’t have any. . . beyond general knowledge. . . like lasers exist. . . I don’t do any research. . . I prefer writing science fiction because I don’t want to do any research.
Adam: Yeah, Sam doesn’t write science fiction, he writes science fantasy.
Sam: I make up my story as I go. My novella was actually a short story that was a bit truncated, and I was like ‘oh I’ll come back to it one day’. When I came back to it the characters went on an adventure, and then, I just kept on adding to story. The characters just tell me what would be the most dramatic thing to happen. They just screw each other over basically.
Adam: Yeah it’s interesting. Science fiction is just a setting really. There’s no real science in either of our books. I mean. . . there is and there isn’t. I mean, spaceships are science.
Sam: There’s no real quantum mechanics of how The Eye works or how the Varsez Pearls work.
Adam: That’s the thing that makes the difference between science fiction and science fantasy, I read once. Somebody said that science fiction is a story where the deus ex machina. . . where the person gets saved at the end by the fact that the boiling point of water is different in a vacuum than it is inside an atmosphere. . . Somehow. . . That saves them.
Sam: Yeah, I would just prefer dramatic stuff happens. I write a lot of stories which are relatively interchangeable with another setting. I just throw a laser in there. . .
Adam: Yeah it’s like George R. R. Martin said, ‘The best stories are about the human heart in conflict with itself.
Sam: One of the reasons I enjoy writing science fiction is, so I can make up my world, so I can focus on the characters, so I don’t get bogged down with, “Did they use that pistol in that time period.”
CLEARLY, YOU BOTH HAVE AMAZING SKILLS. BUT IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO BETTER?
Adam: Yeah I’d like to be more consistent at getting the writing done, day to day. I’m very happy with where my writing. . . where my skills are at. Obviously it’s the same as anything. . . It is a skill set. I have worked on it. I will continue to work on it. My skills will continue to improve as I do so. But one of the things I need for my writing—functionally at least—is the time and motivation to do it more frequently.
Sam: I put a lot of subconscious—sometimes very conscious—but a lot of subconscious effort into improving myself and my life and my skills and whatever I’m passionate about. I love writing. I love playing poker. I’m a drummer. I study these passions in a very oblique way sometimes where I sort of try to ramble towards my goal simultaneously always believing I’m on the right path. I think that sometimes when I speak to people and I say, “Oh I don’t have anything to learn,” or “I’ve found my voice,” or “I’m happy with where I’m at,: they sometimes think that means I’m not trying to improve, or I’m complacent, or I’m up myself. I think the reality of it is, I have always been a self-taught person. I will get better at whatever I’m interested in. I’ve always thought you will improve at whatever skill you have the interest in because you will want to spend time with the skill.
Adam: Yeah, exactly right. If you want to learn to play piano, if you want to juggle, if you want to learn to. . . tightrope walk. . . you don’t get better at it by people giving you pointers, you get better by going out and doing it. You listen to people who know what they’re talking about, sure, but you still have to go put the time in to build the muscle memory, and writing is a muscle. You have to hone that muscle.
Sam: Another key thing people don’t realize about any skill is to have as much fun doing it as possible. If you’re not having fun and you’re not enjoying it--
Adam: Yeah, if you hate tightrope walking, it’s not going to work out for you as a career.
Sam: Yeah, go and do it. Please have as much fun as possible.
WHAT ARE SOME MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN SUBMITTING WORK? LIKE WHAT GETS UNDER YOUR SKIN?
Sam: That’s a good question.
Adam: Yeah it is.
Sam: I don’t know what the answer is.
Adam: I dunno. . . Read our call for submissions guidelines on our website. All the stuff that annoys us is right there in black and white.
Sam: I think we make it pretty clear what we want.
IF YOU COULD MEET ONE AUTHOR, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Sam: Oh. . . George Orwell. Why not.
Adam: Hunter S. Thompson.
PLEASE, TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING WRITING PROJECTS AND CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS.
Adam: Well, out current call for submissions is for Raygun Retro. We’re after stories written in the style and manner of classic sci-fi written by the masters of the genre. Stories written in the lens of yesteryear. You can find all the details on our website.
ONE LAST FANTASY QUESTION: DO YOU THINK WRITING CAN TRANSFORM THE WORLD? IF SO HOW?
Sam: Uhhh. . .
Adam: [laughs] Sam doesn’t, but I do. . .
Sam: I think the world will be what the world will be. I believe in destiny. I think you can transform the world, but you were always going to. I think the world is a magical place, and you should always try to make an impact. I think writing is very powerful for that. You should always. . . pretend like. . . even if you feel like you’re not making a difference, you should get up every day and tell yourself you’re an important person who’s impacting a lot of people.
Adam: I’ve said since I had my first short story published, oh. . . six years ago. . . wow that’s getting on. . . I’ve said ever since then, I don’t really care if I make a bunch of money, I don’t care if I never get famous, as long as five hundred years from now, a thousand years from now, could be fifty years from now, someone picks up one of my books and reads a short story or a novel or something I’ve written, and it changes their outlook on life. If that happens one time, even years after I’m dead, and even if I never know it happens, then my whole career has been worth it.
WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU ONLINE OR ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Adam: Best place is zombiepiratepublishing.com or facebook.com/zombiepiratepublishing.
SAM AND ADAM, I KNOW YOU ARE INCREDIBLY BUSY; I’M SURPRISED YOU DO ALL OF THIS WORK WITHOUT CLONES. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME OUT FOR MY READERS. I HOPE WE DO THIS AGAIN SOON.
Sam: Thanks for having us. We had a good time.
Steve, it is so great to have you back! What an honor.
I can’t wait to crack open Redbird and immerse myself in it. Tell us about this work.
Redbird is about a deaf sixth-grade boy who lives in a very dysfunctional home and begins a new school, Redbird, in an inner-city neighborhood. The school is haunted and evil. I wrote it as a character in the story, not just as a building or place. Redbird is a combination of paranormal, psychological horror and horror genres, that for horror, actually contains very little gore, but the horror is intense and disturbing. The reader must decide if what the boy is experiencing at any given moment is real or a product of his damaged thought processes. The school and neighborhood are modeled after an elementary school I attended when I was a kid and a neighborhood like the one I lived in. It’s over 300 pages in length so hopefully it’s one of those books that a reader can curl up with for days and days.
I understand you set it aside and came back to this work. Was it difficult to revise after having set it aside for months?
Redbird was actually written several years ago, but because I hated the process of writing a novel so much I put it in moth balls in my computer until I was ready to look at it objectively. When I took it out in 2018 I was surprised how well I thought it held together and after a few minor adjustments I decided I had a unique paranormal horror novel and should chance seeing if anyone who reads it agrees.
What do you love best about Redbird?
It isn’t a novel with easy answers and not all readers are going to agree with what is real and what isn’t. Zane, the boy in Redbird, is a very complex character, and I love that about him.
Where can readers purchase this book?
Paperback ($12.95): https://www.amazon.com/Redbird-Paranormal-Horror-Steve-Carr/dp/1710304553/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Redbird+by+Steve+Carr&qid=1574600355&s=books&sr=1-2
Kindle ($4.99 and on Kindle Unlimited): https://www.amazon.com/Redbird-Paranormal-Horror-Steve-Carr-ebook/dp/B081TNDH7T/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Redbird+by+Steve+Carr&qid=1574600417&s=books&sr=1-1
Where can they find you on social media?
Thank you for telling my readers about this thrilling horror novel. Think of this as your home; you are welcome back any time, Steve.
Thank you very much, Jesú. This feels like home.
These last few days, my energy has been on an upswing, and I have done multiple writing and reading activities.
Revising The Harvested
I have gotten over half way done commenting and revising my novel. My editor says he’s ready for it whenever I send it, but I plan on revising it one more time. I am also talking to medical experts and biologist to fill in some of the science. I may not use it all, but I am taking a page from L. Ron Hubbard’s advice on researching.
“Nail Shop Warriors" Done!
This collaborative work with Author Hector Cruz turned out great! We submitted it to Unreal from The Great Void for the speculative fiction anthology. If it doesn’t make it, we are going to either submit it elsewhere or make it longer. Let’s just say Fu and Lisa have a demon lord to battle.
Book Reviews, Book Reviews, Book Reviews!
I have reviewed five books these last few weeks. I recommend all of these books.
1. Tales of the Southwest ed. John Green
2. The Priest of Orpagus, P.C. Darkcliff
3. The End of the World Running Club, Adrian J. Walker
4. The Last Dog on Earth, Adrian J. Walker (get the audio version)
5. The Librarian at the End of the World, Mark Miller
Do you have a book you want reviewed honestly, no quid pro quo? I invite you to join Penned in the City on Facebook. I buy all the books, review them, then do a give away for people who promote the books. It’s a great way to network.
Did a Darned Good Vlog
I posted a vlog on Facebook where I read a couple of poems, including the one below, and I read part of “Nail Shop Warriors.” I really enjoyed reading that work! Plus, a lot of folks listened in. Cool, right?
You can watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/drmariajestrada/videos/522185288628467/
The Best Bit
My absolute highlight was connecting with Author Adrian J. Walker. He appreciated the positive reviews, all well-deserved. AND he is sending me a complimentary copy of his last book. I am, of course, going to buy the Audio and Kindle books because I read faster with different mediums. That gift really made my week.
A Love Letter for Me!
I also got a “love letter” from my wonderful writer-friend Steve Carr. How beautiful is this? Quite!
[It started with me, Author M Jesú Estrada I worship the ground you walk on, Steven Lester Carr!]
Steven Lester Carr Hi Jesu. You are the song of birds, the icing on cake, the shine of the moon, the quench of thirst, the gentleness of a feather, the magic of clouds, the mystery of time, the beauty of trees, the softness of a kitten, the laughter of a child, the ocean breeze, the scent of cinnamon, a whisper, an orchestra, my friend.
I love being Steve’s friend. :)
Well, these are just the latest bits! What wonderful writing things are happening in your neck of the woods? Do tell! #barrioblues
Live events can be exciting and a great venue to sell books. Here are some dos and don'ts I have learned from my readings and helping other writers.
(1) Get a free or cheap venue with free parking: In Chicago, this free parking really matters because you can spend upwards of $20, depending on where you park. The first venue I had was at a restaurant because it marked my one year of publications and parking was a struggle. The second venue I had at a local library with a sweet room and free parking. Yes, the library allowed food in the meeting rooms.
(2) Assign roles: When you have a reading, people will want to help. Divide the roles into what you need like greeter, cashier, and filmer (as in, the amazing person holding the phone during your event). I hate, absolutely hate, handling money, so I gave that role to my husband.
(3) Set up a laptop for ebook sales: Really, just open up the browser to your Amazon book page.
(4) If your book has a theme, use it during the event: If you have a catch phrase, put it on the cake (more on food in a bit) or cup cakes. Use it on the collateral. I matched the colors during one of my events of the tablecloths and plates.
(5) Budget for food: If you want to, especially for a book launch, provide food within your budget. My favorite event had a custom-made cake of my summer release by an amazing colleague. It was a gorgeous cake, one of the best-designed ones I have seen. That would have been enough. (But as you can see, in the background, I provided nachos and water.)
(6) Read short, juicy parts of your work: You want to entice your reader, not give them the whole buffet.
(7) Clearly mark the prices of your books: I know this sounds like a no brainer, but the Amazon self-pubs don’t list a price. A sticky with the price is sufficient. You can always haggle if you need to.
(8) Set up a desk: Make sure you have a desk for a signing. I know that’s also a no brainer, but if you are signing books regardless of where you have the reading, you need space to sign and talk to your fans. I do this for all my venues. The restaurants will provide a small table and chair.
(9) Promote your future work, social media, and groups: I made sure to pitch my future book, Mona’s Return, had an email list sign up, and promoted the Inner Circle Writers’ Group and Penned in the City.
(1) Don’t overspend on food: I know I just said to provide food. When I launched my book Not Your Abuelita's Folktales, I spent money on appetizers. That was fine because I was celebrating one year of publications, but won’t be doing that unless I’m celebrating a major milestone.
(2) Don’t under promote your event: That means you have to advertise in advance. I chose a Saturday around 2:00 p.m. for the first event and had 15-20 people. I assumed my colleagues would attend, and that was not the case, sadly. The second event was not as well attended because I tried gearing that event to my students. I couldn’t get an adequate time or venue for them to meet. I should have promoted the readings longer and invited more people. Promote, promote, promote!
(3) Don’t read too long: Keep the reading short, including commentary. This one I failed at gloriously both times. I read way over 30 minutes, including the Q and A. A good friend of mine suggested the reading be 20 minutes total, including Q and A. You can always talk to your fans, when you sign books. For Livestreaming, you also want to keep your video short.
Really. the most important thing is to enjoy the event. Focus on who is there and have a great time! I am sure you all have other tips you can offer. Please, post your advice.
This article was originally published in Penned in the City, a Facebook group I administer. I invite you to join this great network of readers and artists!
GABRIELLA, THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS INTERVIEW! IT'S SO GREAT TO HAVE YOU.
NOW, I KNOW YOU ARE A FICTION WRITER AND LIVE IN TEXAS. TELL US MORE ABOUT YOURSELF.
My mother taught me to read and write when I was very young, and both she and my father had tons of books in our home. I've loved reading my entire life and writing, too. I live in Texas with my family, but I've lived in various other places including California, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Utah.
In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, watching movies and episodes of my favorite TV series, taking photographs, traveling, and collecting various things. I love forests, mountains, and back roads, along with exploring them. I have a weakness for lasagna, garlic bread, tacos, cheese, and chocolate, but not necessarily in that order, and I love Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE A WRITER? WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST STORY ABOUT?
I first thought I was a writer when I was five years old, but I was convinced of it was I was thirteen. I wrote mainly poetry then, and words flowed out of me all of the time. However, I stopped writing when I was seventeen; I'd left home and was occupied with college and work. I stayed busy with my marriage, divorce, and being a single parent. In fact, I didn't write for many years but started up again in 2012, and it felt as if a dam had burst open inside. Words just poured out.
When I was five, I wrote my first real story and won an award for it. The story was about a cat, dog, and chicken meeting, liking one another, and moving in together. The theme was friendship.
I'M FROM THE SOUTHWEST, AND I LOVED THE GEOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL REFERENCES. HOW MUCH RESEARCH DID YOU DO FOR “SHADOWS OF THE ANASAZI?”
I knew some basics about the Anasazi before starting my story, but there were many things I didn't know. For example, I'd visited Cliff Palace in Colorado and I knew pueblo-dwellers had vanished from there. I also knew they'd lived in New Mexico. But, I hadn't realized they were actually in the Four Corners area of the United States—including Arizona and Utah.
When the idea for my story came to me, I wanted to immerse myself in the Puebloans’ lives as much as possible, so I read books, articles, and research papers about their ancient homes, beliefs, symbolism, artifacts, travel routes, etc. As I did, I felt I was with them or their spirit was right there with me. I looked for pictures related to their lives, kept those near me as I wrote, and I listened to their music. My story is full of symbolism.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MORE OUTLANDISH STORIES OR LEGENDS THAT YOU HAVE HEARD ABOUT THE ANASAZI OR OTHER NATIVE AMERICAN GROUPS?
I read something hinting that the Anasazi weren't from earth to begin with, but had come from outer space. Following this train of thought, their returning “home” wasn't surprising.
However, I'll focus on more “reasonable” theories, three in particular. (1) In the past, people suggested a great drought forced the Anasazi to move. However, research has shown that they'd survived other droughts, so another in and of itself wouldn't have been sufficient cause for them to leave the Four Corners area. (2) It has also been propounded that the Anasazi became somewhat disillusioned with their gods and spiritual beliefs. They might have been attracted to other religions flourishing relatively close to their homes, and moved to where they'd be with others who held the new beliefs. Researchers studied certain Anasazi descendants, and discovered they hadn't carried all of their ancient beliefs with them to their new homes. This adds weight to the argument about them embracing other religions/gods/beliefs and possibly moving in accordance with this. (3) Some have suggested the Puebloans might have been alarmed by changes around them, specifically others encroaching on their homelands and/or fighting and violence. If this is accurate, they might have felt the need to move to a safer area.
IF YOU COULD GO TO ANY HISTORICAL TIME PERIOD, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU GO TO?
That's a hard question, because I'd like to go to more than one.
I think I'd like to be in Europe for the end of World War I and start of World War II. Some of my ancestors lived there during the wars; they survived, despite many hardships. I'd like to meet and talk with them, have a sense of what they went through, and/or experience part of it with them.
However, I'd like to meet Jesus and speak with him, too. I would also love to travel back in time and visit with more of my ancestors and famous authors, artists, and inventors like Poe, Frost, Dickinson, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Tolstoy, London, Tolkien, Longfellow, Blake, da Vinci, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Tesla, etc.
WHAT GENRES DO YOU WRITE IN? WHAT GENRE(S) WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE IN?
I write fantasy, horror, drama/thriller, romance, sci-fi, modern, children's stories, and occasionally in other genres, depending on my mood and the ideas that pop into my head. I'd like to be more effective with everything I write.
WHAT THREE KERNELS OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A NEW WRITER? A SEASONED WRITER?
My advice would be the same for both:
(a) Never give up. NEVER. Rejections can sting. A lack of sales can, too. So can publishers completely failing to grasp your works. But, things can always improve. Your creations may not be right for certain publishers or venues. Or, you may need to improve your writing (showing versus telling, correcting spelling, punctuation, tense, etc.) Every day provides you with an opportunity to start fresh, and chances to be more and do better. Even if you get discouraged, don't let that hold you back. Get right back up and keep trying.
(b) Editing is a good idea. I mean it. You can learn a great deal from an editor—not just any editor, mind you, but one who good, reputable, and who respects you and your works, not trying to rewrite things to match their own preferences.
(c) Burn “a” into your mind. If you need to, write it down and put it up where you'll see it all the time.
HAS THAT AUTHOR BEEN A LITERARY INFLUENCE? IF NOT, WHICH AUTHORS HAVE BEEN?
I can't answer this because I've read many things by many authors. Some of them have a place in my heart—a large number of them—but I don't know that they influenced my writing. What I can say, though, is that I've been inspired each time I've heard about now-famous authors who kept being shot down but never gave up.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING WRITING PROJECTS. WHAT SHOULD MY READERS LOOK OUT FOR?
I have stories and poems pending publication by: Black Hare Press (What If?, Eerie Christmas, Pride, Lust, Hate, Jibbernocky, Love), Celestial Echo Press (Twofer Compendium), Dragon Soul Press, Eleanor Merry's DARK X-MAS anthology, Fantasia Divinity Publishing (Wishes of Illusion, Waters of Destruction, Earth of Oblivion), Dastaan World (Athena), The Great Void Books (Black Veins), Soteira Press (Horror USA-California), World of Myth, and more.
Earlier this year, I won the opportunity to have an anthology published by Clarendon House Publications. I put my manuscript of stories together, recently submitted it, and I look forward to moving forward on the project.
Currently, I'm working on several drabbles, poems, and stories (some novel-length). A few of them are for specific submission calls, but others aren't. I hope more of my works will be accepted for publication, and I dream of having books published, maybe even in the near future.
ONE LAST FANTASY QUESTION: DO YOU THINK WRITING CAN TRANSFORM THE WORLD? IF SO, HOW?
Yes, I believe it can transform the world and already has. Writing opens our eyes to possibilities we might never think of on our own. It can free us from our current circumstances, and help us dream of anything and everything. Sometimes dreams are the only things helping us survive.
WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU ONLINE OR ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
I hope you'll visit my author page at: https://facebook.com/GabriellaBalcom.lonestarauthor
GABRIELLA, THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME FOR US. I LOOK FORWARD TO INTERVIEWING YOU IN THE FUTURE.
Thank YOU for your kindness and support. I want you to know how very much I appreciate you interviewing me. Your questions got me thinking, and even prompted more story ideas in my mind. LOL! I wish you the best in all your writing and other endeavors.
5 stars for The End of the World Running Club. Only $1.99 on Kindle. The Audio book was also outstanding. For teachers, there are great study questions. (Now onto The Last Dog on Earth.)
My husband bought this book for me at a bookstore, and he could not have bought me a better gift. I also had the pleasure of reading parts of the ebook on Hoopla and listening to chunks on audio. Five stars for all the formats. Now, other reviewers have commented on how unlikeable the protagonist Ed Hill is, and yes, in the beginning of the book he is self-absorbed jerk and later gets criticized for being an unattentive father by his companions. Nevertheless, I enjoyed going on this journey with Ed and his palls through encounters with cannibals, villains, foul weather, and a bit of magical realism. I loved all the characters, especially the nasty ones like Jenny Ray, a controlling woman with dehumanizing tendencies. I loved how Ed encountered conflicts until the very end, making Ed’s journey to reunite with his family moving. I found the ending, though not a fully happy one, to be realistic and satisfying. The study guide questions at the end were also on par with questions I would ask my college composition and literature students. Overall, this book gets five stars, and I look forward to reading more of Walker’s work.
New Writing Project, Wolf Trek Edits, and Beta Reading a Great Demonic Possession Novel: The Priest of Orpagus #barriobluesRead Now
These last few weeks have been a challenge, which is why I haven’t been blogging as much. Still, I am pulling through the energy slump muck and getting back on the keyboard. (It’s not the same thing as a writer’s block, and I understand a little better why some writers lose weeks of writing time.)
Last week, I started working on “Nail Shop Warriors”, and am waiting to get back the next bit from my writer-friend Hector Cruz. The story is a magical realism martial arts story with Buddhist nuns and evil forces. I've been working on this story concept for a while, but needed the martial arts expertise. It’s been fun to write especially since I am working from Hector’s plot line. I fleshed out the characters. We are hoping to submit that to a speculative fiction anthology or self-publish it.
Second, this weekend, I am working on editing Wolf Trek. This piece has been challenging to revise. However, I have a great editor, and I’m sure between the two of us we will do something innovative. Or done. Done is okay, too.
Finally, I want to give a shout out to P.C. Darkcliff’s upcoming novel The Priest of Orpagus. It is a dark fiction piece and sure to rock the demon fiction genre. P.C. is a great at novel settings and has this one set in Turkey. You can see an image of his amazing cover reveal below (his illustrator does a bang-up job).
Well, I hope you are having a great start to your writing week!
Dr. Jesú Estrada,