Category Archives: Interviews

Writing The Compelling Short Story at the Write Stuff

I will be presenting “Writing the Compelling Short Story” at the Write Stuff conference at the Best Western Hotel in Bethlehem, PA on Saturday, March 25. As part of ongoing conference promotion, I was interviewed for the Write Stuff blog. Apparently, they thought I had something interesting to say.

Click here to read the interview!

Click here for more information about this terrific conference!

Write Stuff Conference

Steven H. Wilson Marches from War-Torn Europe to a Dystopian Future in the Middle of Eternity

Our Kickstarter campaign to bring you volume two of our Middle of Eternity anthology series has managed to raise approximately $1,580. However, we have only 5 days left to raise  the remaining $920 to meet our goal. Otherwise, the project will not be funded at all. If you’re considering whether to back our project, please click here to check out the various donation levels and the rewards we’re offering on Kickstarter.  We deeply appreciate your support!

Continuing our interview series leading up to the release of Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, please welcome Steven H. Wilson. Steve not only has two stories in our collection, but is also our publisher at Firebringer Press.

Steven H. Wilson

Steve created the Mark Time and Parsec Award-winning podcast series The Arbiter Chronicles, as well as authoring Taken Liberty and several other novels and novellas set in the Arbiters universe. His other works include the novel Peace Lord of the Red Planet, short stories for Crazy 8 Press’s ReDeus series, and contributions to Sequart Press’s Star Wars essay collections. He has written for DC Comics and Starlog, and is publisher for Firebringer Press, whose seventh and latest book, Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, collects tales of science fiction, fantasy and the paranormal by Mid-Atlantic authors.

We’re thrilled and grateful that you’ve decided to publish another volume of the Middle of Eternity series through Firebringer Press. Additionally, you contributed a pair of fantastic tales, “Making Tracks” and “The Golem and the Gypsy Girl”. What inspired each of these?

“Making Tracks” grew out of my love of railroad stories. Not sure where that came from, but I’ve always loved stories set on and around trains. Perhaps it’s because my Grandfather worked the railroads starting when he was about 12 years old. He saw the first tracks laid in our little town in North Carolina, and he saw them pulled back up fifty years later. Our time is a time of ever-changing technology, and I think it’s good for our fiction to examine that.

I love the story of the golem. I’ve always loved robots, and they have their origin in this tale of a created man who carried his own spark of the divine and came to save the Jews of Prague. The Roma culture has long fascinated me, going back to the Universal horror films of the 30s and 40s. These two characters, so steeped in the folklore of their particular cultures, just sort of popped into my head one day, and I decided to use them to create a story reminiscent of those wonderful Frankenstein and Wolfman films of long ago. With a smart female protagonist, for a change. I like Mura because she knows what she wants from life, and she goes after it. She’s told at a way-too-young age that it’s time to be an adult; so she decides to be one, but on her terms, not her family’s or her tribe’s.

Since our last interview, you also created a new paranormal audio series called The Cattail Country Store that can be heard at Prometheus Radio Theatre. How did this idea come about? We will see these stories in print someday?

I spent many weeks of my growing up years in the community of Pensacola, NC. That’s where the aforementioned railroad used to run. And, back in those days, there were a lot of country stores by the roadsides. People even used to just put up shacks in their front yards to run a store and make extra cash. By the time I came along, most of those stores were abandoned, their signs still up, reminding us what used to be. I loved to imagine what those stores were like when they were open; and, it being Appalachia, where we love ghost stories, I naturally imagined there were ghosts. When I decided I wanted to play with paranormal stories, I pretty quickly decided that there were lots of possibilities in the idea of one of those ghost-stores coming to life whenever somebody needed it to. It’s a strong anthology format, and it lets the authors come up with solid stories about people and their problems. Stuart S. Roth created a wonderfully atmospheric tale, ”Spanish Moss,” for the series. Several other writers are working on contributions, including Danielle Ackley-McPhail and a guy named Phil Giunta. When we have ten or twelve stories, I plan to publish a print anthology.

Your original SF series, The Arbiter Chronicles, began as an award-winning audio drama on your podcast site, Prometheus Radio Theatre. This has spawned two excellent novels (Taken Liberty and Unfriendly Persuasion). You also adapted the first four episodes of the audio drama into eNovellas. Now, I understand a third novel is ready for publication. What can you tell us about it?

“Ready for publication” is a bit of a stretch, but the first draft is complete. [Note: Steve answered these questions in February so as of now, his next novel is in final editing] I’ll be re-writing for the next couple of months, and launching a crowd funding campaign. The book and accompanying full-cast audiobook should be released in July. The title is Sacrifice Play, and it’s about a technology so dangerous that its creators are being killed. One Naval Officer decides that, since his ship is carrying this literally viral technology, he has no choice but to destroy the ship and kill everyone aboard. And, well, the Arbiters just happen to be hitching a ride with him. They get sort of annoyed when someone tries to blow them up, so they’ll be going after this fanatic.

Where can we find you online (website, blog, social media)?

www.stevenhwilson.com

https://www.facebook.com/steven.h.wilson

https://twitter.com/StevenHWilson

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SteveWilsonAuthor/posts

What does Steve Wilson do when he isn’t writing?

I’m Chief Technology Officer for Howard County Fire & Rescue. I also do some IT Consulting. Other than that I read a lot.

 

EIME Title Page

Lance Woods Brings Undying Fear to the Middle of Eternity

Our Kickstarter campaign to bring you volume two of our Middle of Eternity anthology series has managed to raise approximately $1,435. However, we have only 6 days left to raise  the remaining $1,065 to meet our goal. Otherwise, the project will not be funded at all. If you’re considering whether to back our project, please click here to check out the various donation levels and the rewards we’re offering on Kickstarter.  We deeply appreciate your support!

Our next victim, uh, I mean author to be interviewed during our countdown to Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity is Lance Woods.

Lance began his writing “career” in 1967 by penning a one-page episode of the Batman TV series at age 5. His published works by Firebringer Press include the short stories “The Gravest Show Unearthed” in the anthology Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity (2016); “Dead Air” in the anthology Somewhere in the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMiddle of Eternity (2014); and Heroic Park: A SuperHuman Times Novel (2012). He also performs with Prometheus Radio Theatre; is a founding member of both the Cheap Treks comedy troupe and The Boogie Knights filk group; and has had two comedy-mysteries – Breeding Will Tell and Murder Case – produced by the Baltimore Playwrights Festival. In the real world, he has worked for more than 25 years writing in the comic-book industry, but if he told you what he did, he’d have to bore you.

We’re excited to have you join us for another excursion into the Middle of Eternity. What inspired your latest story, “The Gravest Show Unearthed”?

It began as an idea for a historical novel I thought about writing a very long time ago, one in which a self-promoting entrepreneur (no, not Donald Trump) accidentally unleashes an unspeakable horror (see last parenthetical) on the world and then has to take him down. I can’t say much more because it would ruin the ending.

I can say that I’m overjoyed to return to Eternity to finally be able to tell it.

Your first novel, Heroic Park, is a direct spin-off of your SuperHuman Times audio drama series as heard on Prometheus Radio Theatre. What is the SuperHuman Times series all about and what’s coming next in that universe?

For those who came in late, SuperHuman Times is an anthology that explores the ordinary lives of extraordinary people – superhumans, and their interactions with humans. It’s a world where they have jobs other than heroes or villains, and the stories include action, romance, comedy or anything else I can come up with.

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of SuperHuman Times’ debut on Prometheus. That said, I have suspended the writing of new scripts, or a follow-up to the SuperHuman Times novel Heroic Park, until further notice. We have a backlog of scripts waiting to be produced for a variety of completely legitimate reasons, so there are no big celebration activities or specials planned, and I have no intention on writing any new Times stories until more of the dormant ones are produced. Anything new would just add to the clog.

That doesn’t mean I’m not trying to work up something special on my own to mark the occasion. Whether or not I can pull it off is anyone’s guess. Check SuperHumanTimes.com on November 3, 2016 and we’ll all find out.

In addition to acting in audio dramas for podcasts, you also read your prose aloud at conventions and join fellow voice actors from Prometheus Radio Theatre for live performances at Farpoint, an annual SF convention in Maryland. What advice would you give to new authors to help them overcome trepidation about reading their work to the public?

It sounds self-centered, but I always try to tune out the audience and pretend that I’m recording an audiobook instead of giving a live reading. I try to let the scenes and characters I’ve written take me back to the place where I first got excited about writing them. If I’m lucky, I’ve written something that’s good enough to accomplish that, and the audience comes along for the ride.

Where can we find you online (website, blog, social media)?

There’s SuperHumanTimes.com, which offers links to all of the existing podcasts and gets updated on the rare occasions there’s something new (like in November, if I can get my act together). I also have a Facebook page for SuperHuman Times, which gets updated on the same basis. I do not Tweet, Pin or Instagram. Being ignored on the platforms I use now is enough.

What does Lance Woods do when he isn’t writing?

This March, I marked 25 years of working full-time as a copywriter/editor in the comic book industry. My job’s in the marketing and distribution end of the business, so I don’t get to write the cool stories. It’s not the kind of writing I’d rather do full-time, but people actually give me money for my words on a regular basis, which keeps a roof over my family’s collective head and allows me to call myself a working writer. So, I guess when I’m not writing, I’m writing, and I’m lucky.
EIME Title Page

 

 

 

Stuart Roth Brings Elementals and Clones to the Middle of Eternity

Our Kickstarter campaign to bring you volume two of our Middle of Eternity anthology series has managed to raise approximately $1,348. However, we have only 8 days left to raise  the remaining $1,152 to meet our goal. Otherwise, the project will not be funded at all. If you’re considering whether to back our project, please click here to check out the various donation levels and the rewards we’re offering on Kickstarter.  We deeply appreciate your support!

Up next in our author interview series for the upcoming release of Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity is returning author Stuart S. Roth.

Stuart  is a pragmatic optimist with a pessimistic streak living in the Northeastern United States. Happily married and settled, he now cranks out periodic short stories and is finalizing a novel for publication.Stuart Roth

Having been a lifelong amateur writer, Stuart currently toils in the real-world occupation of finance and accounting. This career unwittingly gave a jump-start to his creative avocation by allowing him to travel the world as an auditor. Over a two-year period he visited 14 countries and got to experience a much larger world. Some Indiana Jones like exploits included: concussing himself on a beam moments before introducing himself to the local management team; conducting an IT Audit in Morocco without speaking Arabic — to a staff who didn’t speak English! — and presiding over an assignment in Vietnam while suffering from dehydration and the effects of malaria pills. To this day he cannot watch Apocalypse Now without having flashbacks to Nam: “The heat, the humidity… the horrible accounting”.

Returning for another intrepid jaunt across the Middle of Eternity, you bring us two amazing stories with “The Willow Tree” and “The Mule.” Please tell us what inspired each of these tales.

First off, I would like to thank you and Firebringer Press for inviting me back for the second volume. I really enjoyed the first collaboration and look forward to seeing the results from this effort.

The setting and characters of “The Willow Tree” were inspired by time I spent in Louisiana and a bit from the late Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Louisiana has a different flavor than the Northeastern US where I have lived most of my life. The plot came about when I read about weeping willow trees and how their roots get into everything from ponds and streams to septic tanks and plumbing. Willow trees with their waving branches create a dreamy, ethereal world beneath their shadow. What better to live in such a world than a kappa from Japanese folklore. Kappa’s are water spirits. Parents warn their young children not to play in streams and ponds unattended or the kappa will get them. It is a coming of age story where childhood is filled with the joys of day, but the shadow of fears.

“The Mule” is a timely story in regards to the current migrant crisis facing Europe, but it was written well before the Syrian crisis. Europe in recent times has espoused certain values, condemning or putting down other countries for what they consider failures in liberalistic values, but in reality, their own actions have not met with the high standards they claim to have for themselves. “The Mule” concerns a woman who is the daughter of “The Two Hundred”, two hundred clones provided to infertile couples by an geneticist. The children of the clones were all said to be sterile, but one woman has given birth to a son. The story is about her struggle to save his life in a less than caring European Union.

You completed a brilliant science fiction novel called Myomria that is currently in submission to a publisher. As one of your beta readers, I am still in awe of the story’s originality. Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the world of Myomria?

Thank you for the compliment. “Myomria” and its potential sequel “Oubliette” will, if they make it to print, be my reason for being (at least in writing matters). Myomria is a world of changing realities, where people can conspire to change the past simply by thinking or re-weaving it. The consequence of this is that reality itself becomes unstable. The leaders of this world know that chaos is coming. They need a new reality and a new writer of fiction to return the world to stability. Into this world are introduced men and women from earth. They come from a timeline where Napoleon was never defeated and where his heirs have gone on to conquer space. But when reality can be re-woven by the will of the powerful, who can tell what is real and what isn’t any longer.

Where else have you been published and what new projects are you working on?

A sequel to “The Willow Tree” has made it to audio in the Cattail Country Store series created by Steve Wilson. It is called “Spanish Moss” and deals with the aftermath of events in “The Willow Tree”. Spanish moss is even more iconic in the south than weeping willows. The story deals with a legend involving Carmelite nuns who died during the French Revolution and an old box that has been sitting in a Louisiana church. Steve’s audio really brings out the ghostly tones I was hoping to capture in the story.

I have recently had a story called “Circular Logic” accepted in an anthology being published by Pseudoscope Press. “Time Shadows: Into the Abyss” is a Doctor Who anthology being produced for charity. It is due to debut sometime in April in the UK, Canada and US and will raise money for prosthetics research. It has been an exciting project because it allowed me to delve into established science fiction characters and color in someone else’s coloring book. The challenge is to tell a new story, but keep the characters and situations true to the original creators’ vision of them.

What does Stuart Roth do when he isn’t writing?

Part of writing is to spend a lot of time reading. I have found the joys of my local library and have been reading as much as I can on a variety of topics. It is important to read a large variety of things. It gives you knowledge of subjects that help populate the worlds you build in your writing. For example, I personally may not be interested in sumo wrestling, but one of my stories features a man whose whole life is driven by the sport. In order to tell such a story, I need to research sumo and take an interest in it. That’s why reading is so important to writing.

As for the rest of my life, currently, I am experiencing the pleasures and pains of life as a finance analyst for a national company. I am married to my beautiful wife, Maria, and we live in the northeastern US, where, as of this writing, we have finally seen the last of the 27 inches of snow that fell a couple of weeks ago.

 

EIME Title Page

 

April Welles Brings Ancient Terror to the Middle of Eternity

The good news is that our Kickstarter campaign to bring you volume two of our Middle of Eternity anthology series has managed to raise nearly $1,200! However, we have only 11 days left to raise  the remaining $1,300 to meet our goal. Otherwise, the project will not be funded at all. If you’re considering whether to back our project, please click here to check out the various donation levels and the rewards we’re offering on Kickstarter.  We deeply appreciate your support!

Another newcomer to the Middle of Eternity series is April Welles. I met April in 2007 at the Wonderfest SF convention in Louisville, KY which is focused on the hobby of science fiction model kit building, something April and I share, although I readily admit that her kitbashing skills exceed my own. April Welles

It was not until perhaps two years ago when I crossed virtual paths with April on Facebook that I learned she was also a writer. I asked if I might read some of her work and was impressed with the stories she sent to me. So much so, that I invited her to join us for Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity. Let’s chat with April a bit…

Welcome to your first plunge into the Middle of Eternity! We’re thrilled to have you with us. As with the first volume of this series, our writers once again bring us tales from across the galaxy, but also from around our own globe. Yours is the first to take place in the Middle East.

What was the inspiration behind “Terror in Agradeb”?

Honestly, the inspiration came about from a variety of things.

Many years ago when I first created the creature/monster/god Al-Penub-Shé. he came about as the masculine version of another being I created named Shadanu (from another story of mine, ‘The Horror of the Mist’, published a few years ago). They do not come from the same planet or dimension. But they are similar in that they are both gigantic, sentient cloud beings. She is acidic mist, while he is a sandstorm.

The next inspiration came from recent world events. Primarily the Media always telling the Western public that Middle Easterners, and all those of the Muslim faith, are insane terrorists.

Which is why I also made the comparison with American Christians.

Primarily, that not all are bad people. Just a small, very vocal, number of religious people are crazy fanatics who want to kill others who do not share their extreme beliefs.

The media has taken the small numbers and made them appear to be the dominant in the world. Regardless of facts in order to promote a story for ratings and fear.

That is all that those tales of extremists destroying the world is. A story. A fabrication; “You provide the pictures, I’ll provide the war.”

Most people around the world are kind, caring, generous people who just want to live in peace. Regardless of anyone’s spiritual or religious beliefs.

The media would have us believe the opposite.

My final inspiration was due to my frustration with misogyny. The idiotically pervasive belief that females are merely useless creatures, or at best, property. Not thinking, caring, powerful humans. Equals.

We are all human beings. Regardless of gender, pigment, orientation, or even spiritual or religious beliefs. We are all living beings and as such equal. Deserving of compassion and respect.

That is why, by the very end of the story, even the male lieutenant utilizing the spell to fight the terrorists loses. The beings are too powerful and unknown for either gender to control. Yet they both want to help and bring peace.

Where else have you been published? Do you have any writing projects underway?

I have been published in two titles of three other magazines. Which can be found on Amazon. The first are Fantasy Times Issue 1 and Fantasy Times Issue 2 (both of which I helped edit). The second title is Pure Fantasy and Sci-Fi Volume 2.

All three can be purchased from Amazon in Kindle format. Pure Fantasy and Sci-Fi Volume 2 can also be purchased in paperback.

I am in the process of a number of ideas. A few more Paraterrestrial Horror tales. Some being jotted down, and a few still playing around in my head.

My biggest problem is which one to start working on, and which ones to set aside for the moment. All are important to me, and would, hopefully, be enjoyed.

I am just not certain which to do. It’s a vicious circle.

Are there any genres outside of SF and horror that you would like to explore as a storyteller?

Yes. There are some floating around in sort of convoluted messages within my mind. One (or two) are Fantasy tales, and potentially one Steampunk.

I have most of the characters pretty well fleshed out as well as some scenes for the Fantasy written. But then I have a couple of other characters that seem to want to be a part of that world, yet they don’t completely belong in it as they have their own story. But they do, kind of, fit within the same realm.

I haven’t started much of it due to my fears of how the story will be received. The main protagonist is, what some readers consider, taboo and a freak, and would react very unfavorably. Yet many others might see the character, and some others, as special (or even regular) people fighting for themselves and their right to live and love.

As storytellers, we want to share thoughts and ideas with people as a means to allow them to open their minds and experience other ideas and realms. But we also want to be published in order to get those, and more, stories out to readers. Yet if a publisher or editor doesn’t like something about it they will tell the writer to make changes in order to make the tale more palatable and sell-able. But often that completely changes the meaning of the story.

Fortunately, that has not happened with the editors and publishers of Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity and Pure Fantasy and Sci-Fi. They have been very open and receptive to my ideas. For which I say ‘Thank you’.

What does April Welles do when she isn’t writing?

I walk through nature in the Pacific Northwest.

Build science fiction models (most often Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica kitbashes).

Play ‘Skyrim’ on my Xbox 360.

Watch DVDs of movies, and some comedy series that I enjoy: Whose Line is it Anyway, The Red Green Show, The Big Bang Theory, Monty Python, and a few others.

Draw sometimes.

Read.

Overall, I dream.

 

EIME Title Page

Susanna Reilly Sparks Young Romance in the Middle of Eternity

The good news is that our Kickstarter campaign to bring you volume two of our Middle of Eternity anthology series has managed to raise nearly $1,100! However, we have only 14 days left to raise  the remaining $1,400 to meet our goal. Otherwise, the project will not be funded at all. If you’re considering whether to back our project, please click here to check out the various donation levels and the rewards we’re offering on Kickstarter.  We deeply appreciate your support!

Let’s hit the beach with our next storyteller from Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, Susanna Reilly!

Sue Reilly

Susanna Reilly has been enthusiastic about writing since she was named first runner up in a story-writing contest at the age of 11. For many years writing took a back seat to school, work and motherhood but the fire stayed alive. It was stoked in the late 1990s, early 2000’s when she joined a science fiction fan club that published an annual fanzine. Although the fanzine sold less than 30 copies per year (mostly to friends and family of the authors), the joy of writing stories in the Star Trek, Highlander and Stargate universes kept her going (some of those stories can still be found on www.fanfiction.net, author name SMR723). Susanna’s first professional publication came in 2013 when her short story, “To Protect and To Serve”, was included in the anthology, Unclaimed Baggage: Voices of The MainLine Writers. She subsequently published two stories (“Form and Substance” and “Perchance to Dream”) in the anthology Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity and, among other projects, has a story about to be published in the next anthology in that series, Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity.

It’s wonderful to have you back with us for another wild ride through the Middle of Eternity. This time, you’re giving readers a splash of romance and the paranormal in “The Tree of Love”. What inspired this lovely story?

Thanks for having me back. I’m thrilled to be a part of EIME! The inspiration for the story was an ad I saw for the Rehoboth Reads contest. The theme of the contest that year was the boardwalk, so I not only needed a story set in Rehoboth Beach but as much on the boardwalk as possible. Once I had the idea of the grandmother and granddaughter sitting on the beach, the story just flowed out of me. It was a joy to write, but I got a very late start (three days before the contest deadline) and there was a strict word count limit, so the submitted draft was not as good as it could have been and was not accepted for publication. Luckily our valiant editor was one of my beta readers and immediately said if they don’t want it, please let me have it for EIME. I was very glad to do so and was especially glad to have a few extra months to polish the story and add back some of the lovely stuff I had to cut from the contest version to make word count. I am very thrilled to be a contributor to EIME among all of these exceptionally talented writers.

Where else have you been published and what can readers expect next from you?

A long, long time ago, I was published in the Norman fanzine published by the Starfleet (science fiction club) chapter, USS Thagard. We published about 30 copies of the fanzine a year with all profits going to charity. It was a fun way to develop my writing skills and become a little more familiar with the writing process. More recent credits (and ones that are still available for purchase) include a story in “Unclaimed Baggage: Voices of the Main Line Writers” and two stories in EIME’s predecessor, “Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity.”

I’m currently working on a short story for submission to the next anthology being published by the Main Line Writers Group. I’m also bouncing around an idea that may become either a full-fledged novel or a series of short stories about a secret organization that knows approximately when the end of the world is coming and is exploring every scientific avenue for saving as much of the population as possible (including time travel, alternate realities, space travel, etc.). The first story involves an agent who helps move people to alternate timelines. It’s about 95% written in my head, but finding time to get it down on the page has been a problem – one I hope to remedy soon. If the idea pans out, I may invite some of the SIME/EIME kids to come play in my universe. I think that would be a kick ass anthology all on its own.

Are there any genres that you haven’t yet written, but would like to try?

If I feel like trying a genre, I generally do. I don’t always like the results, but I’m always willing to try. For example, I’ve written about 150 pages of a novel about a teenage boy who was kidnapped by a pedophile as an 8 year old and is now returning to the “normal” world after being rescued at age 13. It’s a story that haunts me and every so often I have to go back and write some more of it even though I have concerns that, as a 53 year old woman, I’m not going to be able to write convincingly about 21st century teenagers of either gender.

What does Susanna Reilly do when she isn’t writing?

I spend way too much time at work (legal assistant for a sole practitioner attorney). When I’m not there, I try to spend as much time as I can with my two adorable grandchildren, other family members or friends. I also spend way too much time in front of the TV (but in my defense there are so many good shows on these days). Thank goodness for DVRs and the fast forward button!

 

EIME Title Page