In the Shadow of the Mountain

Hello, all!

Just a short post today. This past Friday I had the delightful fun of taking part in a live radio interview with the wonderful and talented Sheila Peters. I was sooo nervous beforehand, but once we started talking it felt just like having coffee with a kindred spirit, discussing my favorite things. I could’ve gone on much longer–not that that surprises any of you!

I’d be honored if you poured yourself a warm (or warming!) beverage and had a listen. I hope you enjoy it, if you do! The podcast version is here: Ev on Sheila Peter’s “In the Shadow of the Mountain.”

Have a wonderful weekend,

:) Ev

Gorgeous Hudson Bay Mountain, casting the shadow the radio show is named for. :) Photo by Major James Skitt Matthews. Click the image for more info.

Gorgeous Hudson Bay Mountain, casting the shadow the radio show is named for. Photo by Major James Skitt Matthews. Click the image for more info.

Within all this darkness, there is hope?

A good friend of mine, J.H. Moncrieff, has exciting news this month—her novella The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave just came out through Samhain Publishing as part of their Childhood Fears Series.

I almost postponed blogging about it, however, because of bitter, terrible news. My brain tries to skirt it. I feel sick to the point of nausea and wanting to vomit when my mind presses even lightly on the tiniest shards of it. I can’t imagine—and I can. And I hate it and would do anything to change it. Would trade my limbs, my life, if I could. There are types of pain that the brain doesn’t know how to process.

So why on earth post a blurb promoting a horror story right now of all times? Well, for the same reason I write and read. Good stories delve into those most tender parts of the human psyche—parts that, to me at least, seem inexorably linked: what we love and what we fear. When we’re suffering (and we all do at various times in various ways), they offer a much-needed escape—but even more so, they acknowledge and spend time mucking about in the things that hurt us most and can be a form of catharsis.

In an English Lit course once, studying Ann-Marie MacDonald’s amazing but brutal Fall On Your Knees, one of the students—a woman who was so quiet I had literally never heard her voice until that day—spoke up when a bunch of other students were whining and griping about some of the novel’s content, how “dark” it was, and how they shouldn’t “have” to read it. The prof was understandably disheartened by their attitude and said something like, “So why do you think there might be value or a point in reading stories that are hard emotionally?”

The quiet woman held up her hand and even the professor’s face registered surprise. “Yes?” she asked.

“For me . . . ” The woman spoke with a slight accent and turned red the minute she opened her mouth. “When I read stories of what other people have survived through, it makes me think I can survive too.”

Then she dropped her head, picked up her pen and busied herself writing something down. The whole class was stunned silent for a moment.

And her words have stayed with me because she summed up, so concisely, one the reasons I have always read so voraciously. It makes me think I can survive. And it gives me a bruised and bleeding hope that people I love can too.

I’m sorry that my introduction to J.H. Moncrieff isn’t cheerier—but I do sincerely hope you’ll pick up her novella, whether it’s just for a thrill and escape, or whether you have something you wish to forget for a bit, or even if you, like me, have your own demons you’re wrestling with right now.

In a weird coincidence with my thinking about why I write and read, when I was chatting with Holli earlier this month about her book, I asked her if she’d care to share what draws her to horror as a reader and a writer. Here are her thoughts.

Once I learned to read, I couldn’t stop. I was a veritable book addict, and pretty soon I’d worked my way through the children’s section at my local library.

My mom was a reader as well, and her collection kept me going. I loved it all—racy Sidney Sheldon mysteries, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Rosemary’s Baby, even her Jackie Collins bodice rippers. I read anything I could get my hands on, and one thing I’ll say for my mom—she never censored what I read.

In spite of the presence of Rosemary’s Baby on her bookshelves, she claimed to hate horror. It was strange, then, to find a few Stephen King paperbacks among several garbage bags full of books that were hidden under the basement stairs.

I’d always been titillated by scary stories—there was something irresistible about reading books and watching movies that were considered “off limits” for someone my age. Who can resist the forbidden?

Mom claimed not to know where the paperbacks had come from, but as usual, she didn’t care if I read them. So my very first King experience was Different Seasons, and I couldn’t have chosen a better book. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption…Apt Pupil…The Body. They are still some of the finest stories I’ve ever read.

From that moment on, I was hooked. My first published story was about a vampire who ran around devouring everything (I’d recently learned the word ‘devour’ and loved it.) As an adult, I initially preferred to write mysteries and psychological suspense, but all my novels had one thing in common—they were dark. Very dark. I decided to embrace the darkness.

Done well, horror can make us question our preconceived ideas. It presents the worst-case scenario so we can think about how we’d deal with the same situation. A thrilling horror story will grab us and hypnotize us, forcing us to turn page after page until it’s finished. (I’ve lost many nights of sleep to Stephen King.) And there are no guarantees with this genre—horror writers never promise their readers a happily ever after.

Sadly, there is quite a bit of crap cluttering the genre, and it’s given horror a bad name. But there are writers who grew up reading the masters, who truly love horror, and who are determined to keep elevating the genre. So within all this darkness, there is hope. [Emphasis mine.]

J. H. Moncrieff

J. H. Moncrieff

J.H. Moncrieff loves scaring people with her books, and she blogs about the supernatural, the creepy, and the mysterious on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In her “spare” time, J.H. travels to exotic locales, advocates for animal rights, and practices Muay Thai kickboxing.

Her newest release is The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave:

Still grieving the untimely death of his dad, ten-year-old Josh Leary is reluctant to accept a well-worn teddy bear from his new stepfather. He soon learns he was right to be wary. Edgar is no ordinary toy, and he doesn’t like being rejected. When Josh banishes him to the closet, terrible things happen.

Desperate to be rid of the bear, Josh engages the help of a friend. As the boys’ efforts rebound on them with horrifying results, Josh is forced to accept the truth — Edgar will always get even.

J.H. Moncrieff: Website | Twitter | Facebook
The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave: Amazon | Samhain | Kobo | B&N | Trailer

Interviewed by author Liz Schulte

Liz Schulte's Bat CountryIn our modern magic-Internet world, sometimes you meet people you click with immediately, though you’ve never met them face-to-face. Hilarious zany-sexy-urban-fantasy author Liz Schulte is one of those people for me. Not only is she a long-time editing client, an author whose books I eat up like candy, like they’re treats or something instead of work (Shhh, don’t tell her in case she wants me to start paying her instead of the other way around!), I’m continually inspired and motivated by her work ethic, productivity, and generosity with advice and kind words. I’m fortunate to count her as a cohort and ally, and had a really fun, thought-provoking time being interviewed by her recently. (Thanks so much, Liz!)

You can read the interview here (I hope you enjoy it!), and if you’re in the mood for some sexy, romping other worldly adventure, I can’t recommend Liz’s books enough. Just be careful that you don’t lose yourself in the Abyss. . . . :)  And if you devour that series but need more Liz Schulte, or if for some reason lighter urban fantasy isn’t your genre, definitely read her dark paranormal mysteries, Dark Corners and Dark Passing, featuring Ella Reynolds. I loved them!

Shannon Mayer Interview

I always find hearing about other authors’ experiences and processes inspiring, and when I had the opportunity to interview Shannon Mayer, author of the Zombie-ish Apocalypse series and the Celtic Legacy series, I jumped at the chance to ask her some questions.

I hope you enjoy what she has to say (her answers are in blue font)—and I doubly hope that you’ll check out her books!

Book 1 in the Zombie-ish Apocolypse Series  1. Sundered has a fascinating premise. Is there a story behind what triggered the idea?

 Thank you! The story started to develop as I considered all the zombie-esque books available and      thought that it would be fun to do my own version. I really hadn’t thought beyond making a unique twist on what has become a story line that has become very familiar to us all. From there it was just figuring out the details, how would it be passed, would it be contagious, were the monsters really     zombies of the un-dead, or something unique to my story, which I think I managed.

 

2. Can you describe your personal journey from first deciding you wanted to write through to publication?

Roller coaster, I think would be the best descriptor. I started to write seriously about 7 years ago. Last summer, after much writing, rejections and re-writes, I snagged an agent. Not much has happened in that department for a variety of reasons, so I then stepped into the self publishing world. Since September, I’ve released three books and am looking to release the first book in a new series December 2011. Huge swing of emotions go along with this journey as all writers can attest to. Indescribable highs and lows, but I wouldn’t trade any of it, not a second of it because it has all made me a better person, and writer.

3. So far, how is publishing what you envisioned it to be? How is it not?

Well, I expected it to be a learning curve, I did not expect that curve to set me on my butt a few times. As a self published author, everything is on me, from the writing through to the promotions, marketing, cover art, editing, proofing, copy editing, and so on. I expected it to be hard, but I had no idea how hard, until I stepped into the ring.

Book 2 in the Zombie-ish Apocolypse Series4. I understand Sundered is Book 1 in a trilogy (always great news for a reader—to find out that a new author they’ve enjoyed has other books!).

All three book are available. I released them close together because, as a reader myself, I HATE to wait on a writer if I’m in love with the series.

 

 

Book 3 in the Zombie-ish Apocolypse Series5. What do you enjoy about writing a series? What are the challenges?

 A series gives you a chance to layer your world and characters, to develop them as they face each       obstacle within the story. I really enjoy watching my characters grow and flex. The challenge is making sure you have the series well plotted so you don’t miss something that should have been in book one, that you need for book 7. Missing important details can really mess up your storylines; forcing you to change things mid stride.

 

6. What’s your favourite part of being a writer? What do you like least about it?

I love being at home, writing, my dogs and cat hanging out with me. Early mornings are my favourite before the world wakes up. Worst part for me right now is sheer frustration, as I struggle to mesh my day job with writing as full time as possible.

10. What book(s) are you reading right now and what’s on your to read-list?

Right now I am reading “The Alchemist” which I would highly recommend to anyone looking to follow their dream, whether that be writing or something else. My TBR list is HUGE, really backlogged with the time I put into writing. And, doing interviews. ;p But, all joking aside, I think the next book I will be reading is by Jonathan D Allen, his debut novel “The Corridors of the Dead” looks fascinating.

11. Last but not least, do you have any word of advice, wisdom, or encouragement for aspiring novelists?

Don’t be afraid to have others do work for you. Hire an editor, cover artist, copy editor. These people specialize in what they do. You specialize in what you do. Writing. So, focus on your writing and allow others to do what they are best at, in the long run, you will have a better product in the long run.

I love the beginning of her last answer. Don’t be afraid . . . Perhaps we should just put a period there. Don’t be afraid.

Shannon is incredibly personable and has achieved a lot in a short time — inspiring and motivating to me because of how she goes after what she wants with huge passion and drive. She welcomes readers and feedback on her blog, Wringing Out Words  and would love for you to follow her tweets: @TheShannonMayer.

Book 1 in the Celtic Legacy Series  Please click on the pictures of her covers about to find out more about each book and/or to buy one!

Happy reading and writing,

:) Ev

 

Dark Corners by Liz Schulte

One of my favourite things happened yesterday! An author friend of mine, Liz Schulte, celebrated the launch of her new novel, Dark Corners, a mystery-suspense with paranormal elements that keeps you turning pages and constantly second-guessing who the villain is (or are!).

Ella Reynolds knew from the first moment she walked into the old house that someone or something was watching her. Waiting. Her husband’s violent murder sent her spiraling into a world of grief and isolation, but Ella isn’t alone. Who or what is responsible for her husband’s death is still with her. Every day reality slips a little more between her fingers as she struggles to break free from her memories. A string of uncanny events takes place and practical explanations run thin as Ella follows the terrifying road to closure. As the past and present come to a head, Ella must decipher who or what the murderer is before it takes her as well.

Watch the trailer!

Dark Corners is available through Smashwords and on Amazon.

If you’d like to read Liz Schulte’s own words about Dark Corners’ launch, or just want to congratulate her, pop by her blog, http://enteringbatcountry.blogspot.com/, or click here. Liz is also a friendly, fun person to follow on Twitter: @LizSchulte

HUGE congratulations, Liz! Dark Corners is great and I’m already looking forward to your next novel. Write fast.

And same to all of you: happy, prolific writing this week!

Ev Bishop on Ether Books

As some of you know, three of my short stories (“HVS,” “Wishful,” and “Red Bird”) are available through Ether Books, a fantastic forward-thinking publishing company that I can’t say enough good things about. Not only have they published my work, they supply me with an inexhaustible source of new short fiction!

I’ve been playing with the idea of promoting some of my work with video and since Maureen Scott, one of the gurus behind Ether, put a call out for Ether authors to share their sentiments about Ether Books in 30 seconds or less and post them on youtube, I’d thought I’d start there. So all that said, here’s me, Ev Bishop, on Ether Books. Enjoy!



When I have my office back under control, I may do short blip on each of the stories they’ve published. Stay tuned.

And hey, if you haven’t read “Wishful,” or “Red Bird,” or “HVS”—you don’t need to wait ’til there’s a video promo! Grab your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, download Ether Books’ free app here and check me out. :) I hope you enjoy them.

What kind of horse would you be?

It’s hard to follow up a post like Vigil with something light and happy, but that’s life: a thorough mishmash of beautiful, awful, lovely, ugly, sweet and bitter all the time.

I was recently interviewed by author (and dear friend) Angela Dorsey. It was a fun diversion from all the things going on my my life right now.

My favourite question was “What kind of horse would you be?” (very fitting coming from her half-human/half-equine soul!). And in light of what I just wrote here about life, I’d amend my answer—still Pinto, absolutely (I was obsessed with Western movies and correct me if I’m wrong, but a lot of the tough little Indian ponies were Pintos*, weren’t they?), just for more elaborate reasons. Pintos aren’t generally considered glamorous or gorgeous by most horsey standards, but they are tough—sure-footed, fleet little beasts that thrive in trying times and severe climates.

If you’d like to read the full interview, pop by Angela’s great blog, here.

I’d love to read some other writers’ takes on what horse they’d like to be . . .

*I’m sort of right: Apparently Pintos aren’t exactly the same as the Indian ponies, but they share a direct lineage and similar qualities.