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Eye of Saturn series by Idalita Wright Raso Book Launch

Member Idalita has some wonderful news!

Book Launch Party!
Eye of Saturn series
by Idalita Wright Raso
The latest from Solstice Publishing

Come help me celebrate my debut with the launch of my first paranormal, Eye of Saturn: The Daughters of Saturn Book One.

Save the Date!

Friday, April 22, 2016 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

You and your guest(s) are cordially invited to celebrate the official book release party.

Please RSVP: eosbooklaunchpartyrsvp [AT} gmail DOT com

Loganberry Books
13015 Larchmere Blvd.
Shaker Heights, Ohio 44120
(216) 795-9800

Free and convenient on-street parking on Larchmere and side street parking on Cheshire and adjacent streets.

There will be two dramatic presentations, a dramatic reading, Q&A session, book signing, giveaways, food, sangria, and cake will be served.

The book will be available for purchase at this event at Loganberry Books. For more information about Author Idalita Wright Raso, or to purchase the book online visit:

Author Central
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People We Love (and think you should love, too)!

We here at GLAHW have met so many amazing and talented people out in the big wide world (you know, OFF the internets) and thought it was high-time we introduced them to you. Who knows? You may end up discovering a favorite new artist, photographer, writer, or all-around awesome human. This time around, Ken MacGregor will be talking to an author who is viscerally cool: Jessica McHugh.  http://www.jessicamchughbooks.com/

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GLAHW: How long have you been writing? Professionally?

JESSICA McHUGH: I’ve loved writing stories and poetry since I was a kid, but I didn’t take it seriously until I was around nineteen. At that time, I worked in a perfume kiosk at the mall, and since we didn’t do much business, I had lots of time to kill. I read a lot, of course, especially horror and fantasy. I can’t pinpoint what kicked me off—though I could probably blame months and months of reading Roald Dahl short story collections—but one day I decided to set aside other people’s stories and write my own. Most were terrible and fairly derivative, but once I started I couldn’t stop.

I spent the next five years writing novels, novellas, and short stories without considering their future. I didn’t write to be published. I didn’t want to be published at that time. I just wanted to create, to follow my passion until I fell so head over heels in love with writing I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. And it worked. On my worst days with a full-time job, when I was working in molecular diagnostics for 8+ hours and throwing myself into insane revisions as soon as I got home, I never contemplated giving up. Even now, when I’m dealing with too many projects, too little money, too many health woes and familial issues, and writing seems like the ultimate stress in my life, I love it too much to let it go.

In summation, Writing and I are clearly in an abusive relationship, and you’re all enablers.

 

GLAHW: What draws you to write horror?

JESSICA McHUGH: Fresh, gaping wounds provide so many opportunities for scenes chock full of sensory details. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to write about the sights, smells, and sounds of horror. It’s so much fun! I’d rather write a death scene than a sex scene any day—or combine them like I did with my forthcoming erotic horror novel, “The Train Derails in Boston.” That was an interesting experiment, for sure.

 

GLAHW: Do you ever write something and then sit back and think “what the hell?!?”? If so, can you give us an example?

JESSICA McHUGH: Many times. For instance, the book I mentioned above. While I was writing “The Train Derails in Boston” for NaNoWriMo 2012, it didn’t disgust me. I actually thought it was pretty sexy as far as horror erotica went. But once I sat down to revise it, I frequently found myself leaping from my computer chair to shake off tremors of revulsion. “What the hell” was pretty much my motto while editing that novel. It…I…well…you’ll see when the book comes out next year from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.

 

GLAHW: Do you outline or are you more of a “pantser”?

JESSICA McHUGH: I usually dive right in when it comes to short stories. But since I’ve been writing most of my novels during NaNoWriMo, outlining is a must. The first half, at least. I like having a road map for the beginning of the journey, but after I’ve written a few chapters and learned more about who my characters are, I tend to sit back and let them lead me to the end. But if I feel stuck in any piece I’ll typically step back and do some outlining or whiteboard sketching. But I was 100% pantser when I started out. It took me too long to realize an outline can be a writer’s best friend.

 

GLAHW: Tell us something interesting about you not related to your books.

JESSICA McHUGH: Since being a novelist isn’t the most lucrative profession in the world—shocking, I know—I have a weekend job leading food tours around downtown Frederick in Maryland. I lead up to twelve people around this gorgeous part of my hometown, ducking into different restaurants that provided dishes for the guests, and telling stories about the history and culture of Frederick. It’s a lot of fun, and it allows me to engage in non-fiction storytelling, which I don’t do much in my career. Plus, the more strangers I meet, the more stories I get to steal. 😉

 

GLAHW: What, if any, negative experiences (aside from rejections) have you had with publishers?

JESSICA McHUGH: I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing presses, but there have been the occasional bad apples that didn’t pay authors on time—if they paid at all—or were vanity presses in disguise. One such publisher promised they would rerelease my novel with a new cover (after two years with a god-awful one) and fresh edit (even though the editor was cold balls on toast and added more mistakes to the book). I fought back against the revisions, of course, which I believe was part of the reason the release was delayed. I tried contacting them to no avail. I received no payments, no updates, and was basically given the cold shoulder about my favorite story from the McHughniverse. It was a huge disappointment, especially since they broke our contract taking so long to re-publish the novel. But when I told them I wanted out to cut ties with them due to their unprofessionalism, they tried to charge me for breaking the contract. It was a big mess. It ended as amicably as possible, fortunately, but I know plenty of writers who haven’t been so lucky. Like writing novels isn’t hard enough.

 

GLAHW: If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

JESSICA McHUGH: Darla Decker from “The Darla Decker Diaries” Even though I put that poor teenager through the wringer, she experiences less torture than characters from my darker novels like “The Green Kangaroos” and “Rabbits in the Garden.” I’d gladly relive my first period over being a drug addict or constantly questioning my sanity. Plus, her friends are goofballs. I’d love spending a day with those wacky kids.

 

GLAHW:  If you had to give up writing, what’s your second career choice?

JESSICA McHUGH: I don’t even want to think about that. Even if I lost both hands and my tongue, I’d find a way to get my writing work done. And if it was impossible…I don’t know. I guess I’d have to settle for my backup career as Indiana fuckin’ Jones.

 

GLAHW: How often do you write? Do you have a daily word-count goal?

JESSICA McHUGH: I write and/or edit every day 1) because it’s my job, and 2) because I want, need, and love to write every day. When I look back at how much I’ve improved over time, it makes the most sense for me write as much as possible. I have my off days, of course, when I binge Netflix and don’t get much done. But even then, I’m thinking about plots, maybe doing research for future projects. I don’t have a daily word count unless I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, though. My motto is, “Don’t aim for a word count. Aim to make your words count.”

 

GLAHW: What’s your favorite food?

JESSICA McHUGH: I love green beans with almonds so much. No further explanation. They’re just so damn tasty.

 

GLAHW: You write in different fields: horror, bizarro, YA – do you need different external stimuli for each (music, etc.)?

JESSICA McHUGH: I usually write to instrumental music for all genres except my YA series. For that, I have a Darla Decker Inspirado playlist with current hits or 90s/2000s pop. That playlist is definitely responsible for my Miley Cyrus obsession. But when I’m writing to movies or TV shows, I tend to stay within the genre. I’ll watch Nip/Tuck or Carnivale while writing darker stories and Gilmore Girls or Boy Meets World while tackling my YA series.

 

GLAHW: Is there anything that scares you?

JESSICA McHUGH: Ha! Pretty much everything, yes. I love to write horror, but I usually can’t read or watch horror unless it’s a sunshiney day and I’m not alone. There are exceptions for my favorite horror films like Poltergeist and The Thing, but it’s extremely difficult to convince me to watch a new horror movie at night. And Nightmare on Elm Street? NO WAY. Not even during the day.

 

GLAHW: What do you read for pleasure? Favorite authors? Recommendations?

JESSICA McHUGH: I’m listening to a lot of audio books these days. I recently finished “The Virgin Suicides,” “The Girl on the Train,” and am currently listening to “Steelheart.” But I never get tired of Roald Dahl. I love his short story collections like “Skin” and “Over to You,” and I can read them over and over. Oh, and if you haven’t read his novel “My Uncle Oswald,” do it now. It’s hilarious.

 

GLAHW: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

JESSICA McHUGH: As you can see, I’ve wanted to be a writer for quite a while.

McHugh2

 

GLAHW: What’s your favorite way to unwind?

JESSICA McHUGH: I like to cuddle up with my Tylercat, drink a beer, have yummy dinner with my husband, and catch up on a favorite show/movie for a few hours…

…before I inevitably return to writing work.

 

GLAHW: What’s the best piece of non-writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

JESSICA McHUGH: Peter S. Beagle, author of “The Last Unicorn” and countless other rad stories, told me once that alcohol doesn’t have calories when consumed with friends outside of the home. I took this advice to heart—and to the belly.

 

 

 

 

 

Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in dozens of anthologies and magazines. His story collection, “An Aberrant Mind” is available online and in select bookstores. Ken is a member of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. He edits an annual horror-themed anthology for the former. He has also dabbled in TV, radio, movies and sketch comedy. Recently, he co-wrote a novel and is working on the sequel. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two “domesticated” predators.

Website:  http://ken-macgregor.com

Twitter: @kenmacgregor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KenMacGregorAuthor?ref=hl

HOW TO CORRUPT TODAY’S YOUTH – by Peggy Christie

That got your attention didn’t it? Weirdo.

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Technically, I’ll be talking about my and MontiLee’s experience with several classes of 10th graders and the art of writing, storytelling, and horror. I’m not saying we corrupted any of those young minds. But I can’t guarantee we DIDN’T either.

A little while ago, Jennifer Ward, an English teacher at Ionia High School, reached out to GLAHW with a request. Last semester, her students studied what she called The American Dream. And now in the second half of the year they were beginning to study The American Nightmare, including authors like Poe and Elliott, as well as the Gothic horror styles of writing in general.

Smart woman that she is, Jennifer thought inviting a couple of horror writers to school might bring insight to her students about the horror genre and the process of writing. We were more than happy to help out and so MontiLee Stormer and I made the 2-hour trek to IHS to impart our knowledge onto the eager young minds in several of her classes.

Writing and Editing

I was a bit nervous at first. Lord knows it’s been a hot minute since I was in high school, let alone 15, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. But once that first hour began, I was pleasantly surprised to see how curious and engaging the students were. Sure, some were a bit shy about asking us direct questions but the classroom door covered in sticky notes helped out with that at first (more on that in a minute). By the time the third class was finished, I could hardly believe the day was over.

I’ve done workshops. I’ve done readings. Conventions are a regular scene for me and the group throughout the year. But I have to say I had so much fun being able to discuss writing and horror with a room full of teenagers. Their enthusiasm and delight and honest desire to actually learn something was a thing of beauty.

Thank you, Jennifer, for inviting us out to speak with your students. It was a wonderful day of exchanging ideas on writing and exploring the world of horror.

(For another perspective on the afternoon, head over to The Ionia Sentinel Standard and read Stan Sulewski’s article: Sentinel Standard)

Now…for that sticky note comment above. Many students from Ms. Ward’s classes wrote up a bunch of questions for us and posted them all over the classroom door. We were only able to answer a few so we thought why not make them available to the rest of GLAHW who couldn’t make it to Ionia and see how their answers might add to the students’ learning experiences.

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Ms. Ward will scan all the questions and email them over to me. Once I receive them, I’ll either post them here or on the forum. When you all know what you want to answer, you can email me and I will compile them all into one big file and send it over to Jennifer so she can share them with her students. Fun, right?

New Board Member, Ken MacGregor

GLAHW would like to welcome new Board Member, Ken MacGregor.

The Board Member page has been updated to reflect his post as well as pertinent biographical information.

This guy… I swear…

Many thanks go to out-going Board Member, Robert C. Eccles, for his many years of service!

People We Love (and think you should love, too)!

We here at GLAHW have met so many amazing and talented people out in the big wide world (you know, OFF the internets) and thought it was high-time we introduced them to you. Who knows? You may end up discovering a favorite new artist, photographer, writer, or all-around awesome human. This time around, Ken MacGregor will be talking to an author who may well be King of the Zombies, Joe McKinney.  https://joemckinney.wordpress.com/

joe mckinney

 

GLAHW: How long have you been writing? Professionally?

JOE McKINNEY: I’ve been writing since I was about twelve or thirteen, but I didn’t get serious about publishing until I was in my mid-thirties, right about the time my first daughter was born.  I remember looking in on her in the nursery and thinking to myself that the world had suddenly gotten so much more complex.  Up to that point I’d been a pretty carefree cop with little responsibility outside of day job.  But suddenly I had all these new worries and anxieties rushing in at me.  So I took out a pen and started writing, hoping to get my head around my new role as a father.  I was a young policeman surrounded by worries, so I wrote a book about a young policeman surrounded by zombies.  That was back in 2006, before the zombie craze started.  The book, called Dead City, sold well, to date, just over 500,000 copies, and the publisher came back wanting more.  I haven’t looked back.

 

GLAHW: What draws you to write horror?

JOE McKINNEY: I’ve had a love affair with horror since I was a kid.  I really don’t know why.  But I do know that most of the time, when I tell a story, it just comes out that way.  I guess that’s the music that’s in me.  I wish I could explain it, but I don’t know if that’s possible.  The heart wants what it wants, and for me that’s the scary stuff.

 

GLAHW: Do the things you write ever make you laugh out loud or cringe? Both at once?

JOE McKINNEY: I have made myself laugh several times.  And yeah, cringe too.  I don’t know if I’ve had both at once, but that sounds like fun.  Sometimes scenes are so much fun to write you can’t help but laugh.  That’s one way to tell you’re getting it right.

 

GLAHW: Do you outline or are you more of a “pantser”?

JOE McKINNEY: I outline everything I write.  Usually, by the time I’m done with a novel, my outline will have grown to 70 to 90 pages and include everything from plot structure to character sketches and dry runs on important scenes.  Here’s the thing though.  Outlines are living documents.  If you get to a point in the story where you were convinced in the plotting stages that you were going to turn left, and you realize you have to turn right, go with it.  Just tweak the outline from that point.

 

GLAHW: Tell us something interesting about you not related to your books.

JOE McKINNEY: Well, okay.  Back in my street cop days I worked in the DWI Enforcement Division.  I had to go to all these special schools and over the years racked up a fairly impressive resume of topics upon which I am a court-recognized expert.  So, one day I was testifying in a DWI trial and the prosecutor starts rolling through my list of topics in which I am court recognized expert.  The defense attorney got annoyed and interrupted.  He told the judge:  “Look, it’s obvious the officer has been to a lot of schools.  We’re willing to allow that he’s an expert in intoxication.”  The judge agreed, and I was declared an expert in intoxication.  The jokes just write themselves, don’t they?

 

GLAHW: Has your fiction ever upset someone in your family? Your friends? If yes, how do you deal with that?

JOE McKINNEY: Oh, great question!  My wife gets mad at me sometimes because she’ll be reading one of my new releases and she’ll come to a scene and go, “Hey, I told you that!”  Luckily, she never stays mad at me.  Good thing for me too, because she’s my muse.

 

GLAHW: You bring a wealth of police-related experience to your books. Do you ever re-enact actual crimes in your fiction?

JOE McKINNEY: My department has very specific and rigid rules about writing for publication.  You are not allowed to write about cases you have been personally involved in or cases that have yet to be adjudicated.  Believe me, that makes things very difficult for me on Facebook, especially with people asking me to comment on the various stories that make it to the center stage of the current political landscape.  Some people hear that, and they scream censorship.  I don’t agree, though.  For me, there’s an uncrossable line of trust that you deal with when handling an investigation.  Imagine being a victim of a horrific rape.  You work up the courage necessary to report it, to subject yourself to the countless interviews and the shame and outrage and trauma of telling your story to a stranger.  You open yourself up, you lay it all on the line.  And after all of that, you read your thinly veiled horror in some hack’s story in a magazine somewhere.  That’s a line I will never cross, and I trust I will never violate.

 

GLAHW: If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

JOE McKINNEY: Jeff Stavers, from Apocalypse of the Dead.  He spends the first day of the zombie apocalypse on a fully loaded RV filled with A list porn stars.  That boy, for that day anyway, has got it good.

 

GLAHW:  If you had to give up writing, what’s your second career choice?

JOE McKINNEY: Chef.  I’m actually pretty darn good in the kitchen.

 

GLAHW: How often do you write? Do you have a daily word-count goal?

JOE McKINNEY: I write everyday.  My word goal is 1,500 words.  If I can do more, I do.  If I do less, I try to make it up to myself the next day.  Rare are the days I fail to make that goal.

 

GLAHW: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

JOE McKINNEY: Blue Bell Butter Pecan.  I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon on it, just to spice things up.

 

GLAHW: When you write, do you listen to music? If yes, what are some of your favorites?

JOE McKINNEY: I have to have the house completely silent when I write.  Music is too much of a distraction.  But, that said, I do love music.  All kinds of music.  I especially love old Country, though, like Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.  I’m also a big Pink Floyd fan.  And The Clash.  Oh, and ‘80s pop music.  Love the ‘80s!

 

GLAHW: Is there anything that scares you?

JOE McKINNEY: Snakes, yeah.  Hate snakes.  But surprisingly, and this happened only recently, but I’ve discovered that I am afraid of heights.  As a kid, I loved rollercoasters.  That slow climb up to the first big drop was always so exciting.  Then, a few years ago, I took my oldest daughter to Fiesta Texas for her first rollercoaster.  It was business as usual until we started that slow climb up to the top.  I looked over the side and the long way down scared the ever-loving crap out of me.

 

GLAHW: What do you read for pleasure? Favorite authors? Recommendations?

JOE McKINNEY: Wow, this is a hard one.  I’ve got so many favorites, and my answer to a question like this will probably change from day to day.  I love, love, love James Lee Burke, John D. MacDonald, T.E.D. Klein, Ted Chiang, Connie Willis, James Thurber, John Dos Passos and Tennessee Williams, among countless others.  But I will add that the one book I have read again and again, and in fact make a point to read every year, is Melville’s Moby Dick.  That is my all time favorite book!

 

GLAHW: What do you think makes a good story?

JOE McKINNEY: Characters you can relate to engaged in situations that make you squirm.  Character is key, though.  Without that, no amount of plot is going to save you.

 

GLAHW: What’s the best piece of non-writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

JOE McKINNEY: Non-writing advice?  Okay, that would have come from my dad as I was leaving for my first date.  My dad told me, “Hear this very clearly.  You are responsible for everything that happens to that girl from the moment she walks out her front door to the moment she walks back in it.  You will be held accountable.  Conduct yourself accordingly.”

 

 

Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in dozens of anthologies and magazines. His story collection, “An Aberrant Mind” is available online and in select bookstores. Ken is a member of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. He edits an annual horror-themed anthology for the former. He has also dabbled in TV, radio, movies and sketch comedy. Recently, he co-wrote a novel and is working on the sequel. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two “domesticated” predators.

Website:  http://ken-macgregor.com

Twitter: @kenmacgregor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KenMacGregorAuthor?ref=hl