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An Interview with Jonathan Maberry by Diane Sismour @dianesismour

October 17, 2017 by in category Interviews tagged as , , , , , ,

Jonathan Maberry | A Slice of OrangeWriting is a solitary profession except when you meet someone like Jonathan Maberry.

 

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning suspense author, editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries. Not only is he an exemplary author, he’s also part of a group known as the Philadelphia Liars Club. An organization known for helping writers become authors through workshops and meetings.

Long ago in one such workshop, I met Jonathan and he’s been one of my mentor ever since. I’m pleased to introduce Jonathan to my readers.

 

Hi Jonathan,

Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to answer a few questions. The Bethlehem Writer’s Roundtable has a Paranormal Short Story Contest starting on January 1st, 2018 and I would like to give my readers and the participants a scope of what to expect from the genre.

 

DIANE SISMOUR:  How would you describe Paranormal as a genre compared to Horror or Fantasy? 

 

JONATHAN MABERRY: Paranormal is often confused or conflated with supernatural, but they’re significantly different things. The supernatural refers to things like vampires and werewolves, demons and those kinds of monsters. Paranormal refers to things that may appear to be magical but are likely to be aspects of science as yet unquantifiable, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, and other kinds of ESP.

 

The word ‘paranormal’ is frequently misused in fiction, as seen in –say—paranormal romance, in which angels, demons, vampires, and so on are romantic figures. That’s actually supernatural, but try and get a publishing marketing exec to change the wording! Not a chance.

 

Supernatural elements fit very well with all kinds of fantasy storytelling, because fantasy has always been concerned with monsters, dragons, sorcery, gods, and so on.

 

Horror is a much broader category and there are no limits to what can fall under that umbrella. Horror can as easily be used to accurately describe a serial killer novel (Silence of the Lambs comes to mind) as a werewolf thriller or a Gothic ghost story.

Rot & Ruin | Jonathan Maberry | A Slice of OrangeDS: There are so many crossover genres in today’s fiction. Do you feel this has helped the paranormal market and why?

 

JM: The paranormal fiction market was created when romance became heavily associated with typically monstrous elements of fiction. Books like Interview with the Vampire helped give birth to what we now call ‘paranormal romance’. TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Forever Knight, Charmed, True Blood, Vampire Academy, and so on, really propped this genre up; and novels by Laurell K. Hamilton, L.A. Banks, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Rachel Caine and many others have established it as a huge moneymaker.

 

All trends wax and wane, and one of the ways to keep them fresh is to spice them up with elements of other genres. Buffy is an example, because it is ostensibly a story about teenage angst and social anxiety wrapped up in a heroic battle against monsters. It’s also a coming of age story, an urban fantasy, a dark fantasy, a family drama, an action series, a comedy series, romance, and –well, I could go on and on. Every time they wanted to make it fresh they threw in some other genre elements –even a space alien (no joke). And…it worked.

 

The fanbase is easily jaded and wants more, which is why those writers who can bring in those other genre elements are the one who most often manage to surprise and intrigue their fans.

 

One show (and subsequent series of comics, games, anthologies and novels) that has very successfully combined paranormal, supernatural, horror, science fiction and fantasy genres is The X-Files. Week-to-week you never quite knew from which direction the punches would be coming. Which made the original series so much fun; and now it’s back.

 

DS: What hero and villain would you most like to write a battle about for world dominance?

 

JM: I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a story in which Nikolai Tesla and Dr. Moriarty team up to conquer the world. That would be a whole lot of fun to write. It would also combine science, science fiction, mystery, thriller, Steampunk, and action into one wild ride.

 

Patient Zero | Jonathan Maberry | A Slice of OrangeDS: Your paranormal series, Rot & Ruin, gained huge acclaim in the Young Adult market, and the Joe Ledger novels continue as a fan favorite. Which character is your favorite and why?

 

JM: Actually the Rot & Ruin novels are straight science fiction. There are no paranormal or supernatural elements to them because the cause of the zombie plague is an old Cold War bioweapon based on actual parasites found in nature. I just finished a new novel in that series, which is the first of a spinoff storyline with a Latina bisexual teenage main character, Gabriella ‘Gutsy’ Gomez, who is a hell of a lot of fun to write.

 

But my all-time favorite character to write is Joe Ledger. His novels are predominately science fiction with some paranormal elements, and (in some books in the series) a taste of the supernatural. Ledger is a character I can throw into any series or any story. Between the ten novels in the series, two collections of short stories, a guest appearance in a comic book (V-Wars) and an upcoming anthology with original Ledger stories by my writer colleagues, Ledger has faced corrupt scientists, terrorists with cutting-edge bioweapons, secret societies, genetically-engineered vampires, werewolf super soldiers, changelings, ghosts, alien space spiders, and even H.P. Lovecraft’s elder god, Cthulhu. And he guest-stars in the Rot & Ruin novels.

 

DS: You have written short story fiction and novels. What elements should a short story contain compared to works of longer fiction?

 

JM: Short fiction is often similar to the third act of a novel. We typically hit the ground with events already in motion and don’t always pause to explain everything. Much is implied. There are fewer character and the character relationship arcs are less deeply explore, though again, much can be implied to suggest greater depth of that relationship. In a novel, for example, you might explore how a couple falls in love, some highs and lows of that budding relationship, interactions with other people, and view the whole process through the filters of different scenes that put different kinds of stress on those two characters. In a short story we might step in when one of them is lying in an empty bed; or driving away from a burning house; or trying not to sign the divorce papers; or at a funeral; or in the delivery room. We join their lives in progress.

 

My personal style for writing short stories is episodic. I break my short fiction into several mini-chapters. Micro-chapters, really. These allow me to build scenes and then jump to the next important story moment without having to write the transitional material between scenes. I also use those mini-scenes to allow me to establish dramatic beats even within a larger overall scene. In that way I’m using a condensed version of the same style I use for my novels.

Unstoppable | Jonathan Maberry | A Slice of Orange

DS: What pitfalls should a writer avoid when editing the final draft?

JM: It’s never a good idea to rewrite anything before a first draft is done. It packs on time, frequently derails the whole project; shifts focus from one skill set (storytelling) to another (revision), often to the detriment of mental focus and overall momentum; and often results in an uneven story, with the early sections more overwritten then the later.

 

I advise my writing students to draft the story out into a logical plot outline. However I remind them that it’s illogical to assume that you’re going to have all of your best story ideas the day you write out that plot. So, be flexible. Allow for organic growth in both plot and character evolution. Having the plot roughed out, though, is smart. Plots are the mathematical equation of cause and effect that establishes the internal logic. Without knowing how a story ends you can properly foreshadow, built tension that supports the conclusion, and so on; and you often waste time writing scenes that don’t serve the story and will likely need to be cut.

 

DS: Which authors most inspired you, and why?

 

JM: I have the great good fortune as a young teen to meet, get to know, and be mentored by Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson. They were very kind and generous with their support and advice. They taught me to make serious studies of both the craft elements of writing as well as the policies and practices of the business of publishing. They also advised me to be generous and compassionate –both to other writers and in general. That was key advice for a troubled teen who need a gentle nudge in the right direction.

 

DS: What’s new that you’d like to share with us?

 

JM: I’m in the middle of one of the busiest years of my career. I’m about to start writing my third novel this year (#33 overall). I have a standalone novel, GLIMPSE, coming out in March that is getting a lot of advance buzz from folks like Clive Barker, Scott Smith, James Rollins, Charlaine Harris and others. And it’s being considered for TV. A couple of my other projects are also heading to film or TV. So that’s exciting. I just finished writing Broken Lands, the first of a new spinoff of my Rot & Ruin series of post-apocalyptic novels for teens. Next up is the 10th Joe Ledger thriller, and then I jump in to writing the first in a new teen series of mystery thrillers. I’ve also got an anthology, JOE LEDGER: UNSTOPPABLE, debuting Halloween day, with original stories using my characters written by a slew of other authors. And just after that my dark fantasy/urban fantasy/mystery genre-mashup anthology, HARDBOILED HORROR debuts. Really looking forward to seeing that launch. And I’m editing KINGDOMS FALL, an anthology of epic fantasy. So…I’m driving in the fast lane and having a hell of a lot of fun.


Readers will find a selection of Jonathan Maberry’s titles below:

ROT & RUIN

Buy now!
ROT & RUIN
PATIENT ZERO: A JOE LEDGER NOVEL

JOE LEDGER UNSTOPPABLE

Buy now!
JOE LEDGER UNSTOPPABLE

GLIMPSE

Buy now!
GLIMPSE

X-FILES: DEVIL’S ADVOCATE

Buy now!
X-FILES: DEVIL’S ADVOCATE

 


Diane Sismour | A Slice of OrangeJonathan Maberry was interviewed by Diane Sismour. Diane has written poetry and fiction for over 35 years in multiple genres. She lives with her husband in eastern Pennsylvania at the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Diane is a member of Romance Writers of America, Bethlehem Writer’s Group LLC, Horror Writers Association, and Liberty States Fiction Writers. She enjoys interviewing other authors and leading writer’s workshops.  Diane’s shorts stories are available on A Slice of Orange

Her website is www.dianesismour.com, and her blog is www.dianesismour.blogspot.com. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter at: http://facebook.com/dianesismour, http://facebook.com/networkforthearts, https://twitter.com/dianesismour

 

We would like to thank both Jonathan and Diane for contributing to A Slice of Orange.


Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2018 Short Story Award
 
Opening on January 1, 2018
 
Bethlehem Writers Roundtable is looking for unpublished stories of 2000 words or fewer on the theme of Tales of the Unexplained.
 
 
Contest closes March 31, 2018

Interested writers can find more information in The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Fall issue.

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October Online Class: New Dates for Time Management Secrets for Authors @OCCRWA

October 16, 2017 by in category Online Classes tagged as , ,

The October 2017 OCC/RWA online was moved back to start after our Birthday bash. New dates are Oct. 23 – Nov. 17, 2017.

Time Management Secrets

Time Management Secrets for Authors: How to Balance Writing, Book Marketing, and Your Schedule While Igniting Your Creativity with Stacy Juba.

Do you wish there was more than 24 hours in the day? If it seems like there is never enough time to write, promote your published books, and/or prepare submissions to editors and agents and learn the ropes of the business side of writing, then this workshop is for you.

Author and editor Stacy Juba experienced the longest writer’s block of her life after a family health crisis. She went on a mission to resurrect her creativity and find the time and energy to manage her writing career. Thanks to her new strategies, Stacy created a successful editing business and launched an exciting new chick lit series, and considers her herself more productive than ever.

Over the course of the month, participating writers will take important steps to advance their careers while also reducing the stress in their lives. Whether you’re struggling to overcome writer’s block, beef up your book promotion, or get your writing career launched, this class will arm you with the skills to get to the next level.

Participants will receive assignments and suggested tasks in a friendly, interactive format so that by the end of the course, they will be in a much more organized state of being.

Stacy Juba

Butch Adams

About the Instructor:

Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her new Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. Stacy is also the founder of the Glass Slipper Sisters, a group of authors with Cinderella-themed romance novels.

When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers) or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service and offers online workshops for writers.

Find her at http://stacyjuba.com.

Enrollment Information

This is a 4-week online course that uses email and Yahoo Groups. If you do not have a Yahoo ID you will be prompted to create one when you join the class, but the process is not difficult. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person.

Sign up at: http://occrwa.org/classes/oct-online-class/. It’s a two-step process. Don’t forget to click on the link to join the Yahoo Group.

Linda McLaughlin
Online Class Coordinator

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Monty Hall & Me by Rebecca Forster @Rebecca_Forster

October 15, 2017 by in category The Write Life, Writing tagged as , , , , , , , ,

“This is a story about Monty Hall, the velvet-voiced, handsome host of Let’s Make a Deal. He passed away recently and it broke my heart because Monty Hall and I had a history.

I was a little depressed after I had my first baby and longing to get back to ‘the real world’ when I saw an ad: be a contestant on Let’s Make a Deal.  Contestants were supposed to dress up as something funny but there was nothing funny about a postpartum mommy body so I went for the sympathy angle. I cut up a crib mobile made of fabric hearts, sewed the hearts onto a white hat and made a sign that said: HAVE A HEART, LET’S MAKE A DEAL. The neighbor watched the baby and I drove to Hollywood where two hundred people were lined up against a chain-linked fence outside the studio. They were dressed like alligators, killer clowns and French maids. I joined the fray just as a young producer trolled the line, pointing at people.

“You. You. You. That’s it for today. Come back another time.”

OMG! He didn’t pick me. There I was literally wearing my heart – okay, not on my sleeve – but all over me. I threw myself at him. I grabbed his sleeve. I begged.

“I NEEEEDDDDDD TO GET IN THAT STUDIO! I JUST HAD A BABY.”

He let me in.

Once inside, the producers advised us to make eye contact with Monty Hall. Check. No matter where he went my eyes bored into him. He itched, he freaked, he couldn’t figure out where the laser points of focus were coming from and he kept looking for the source. Then he saw me the crazy, desperate lady in the white hat with dancing hearts on it. I think he chose me just to make me stop glaring at him.  I got all the way to the big deal and lost, but that was fine. My consolation prize was a two-week trip to the Bahamas and a thousand dollars.  I went home happy.  Monty Hall probably went home and had nightmares for weeks.

Fast-forward 32 years. Monty Hall is sitting behind my family and me in the theater. He is a little stooped, silver-haired, but still handsome. When my family goes to stretch their legs, I introduce myself and tell him the story that has become a legend in our family. He is gracious. He chats with me until the house lights dim. Before we take our seats, he asks:

“How old is the baby now?” As if on cue, my thirty-two-year-old son walked down the aisle. They shook hands. The house lights went down. We all watched the end of the play. I gave my son’s hand a squeeze. Life was good.

As if on cue, my thirty-year-old son walks down the aisle. They shake hands. The house lights go down. We watch the end of the play. I give my son’s hand a squeeze. Monty Hall walks out of the theater ahead of us and I never see him again.

The moral of the story is this: choose a door, any door but choose. What is behind that door will be exciting or surprising, charming or even challenging, but you will be better for turning the knob.

Monty Hall was behind two of my life’s doors. He made me feel lucky once and honored the second time. TY Monte Hall. I know that the door that opened for you not so long ago will be the biggest deal of all and you deserve that heavenly prize.

P.S. That is not me in the picture.

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October Feature Author: Alina K. Field #amreading @A_SliceofOrange

October 14, 2017 by in category Featured Author, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

October Featured Author: Alina K. Field | A Slice of Orange

 

Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Visit her at:
http://alinakfield.com/
https://www.facebook.com/alinakfield
https://twitter.com/AlinaKField
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field
https://www.pinterest.com/alinakf/
https://www.instagram.com/alinak.field/
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alina-k-field

 

THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

Buy now!
THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

THE VISCOUNT’S SEDUCTION

Buy now!
THE VISCOUNT’S SEDUCTION

THE BASTARD’S IBERIAN BRIDE

Buy now!
THE BASTARD’S IBERIAN BRIDE

THE MARQUESS AND THE MIDWIFE

Buy now!
THE MARQUESS AND THE MIDWIFE

LILIANA’S LETTER

Buy now!
LILIANA’S LETTER

BELLA’S BAND

Buy now!
BELLA’S BAND

ROSALYN’S RING

Buy now!
ROSALYN’S RING
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