Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cutting Up and Cutting Souls With Lexa Cain

Please welcome Lexa Cain, author of the highly entertaining YA supernatural thriller, Soul Cutter.
*Lexa! Okay, I’ve gotta’ ask…Is Lexa Cain your real name or a pen name? You don’t have to give your true name if it’s not, but…dang, I’m jealous. “Lexa Cain” rolls off the tongue like a dental drug.
Hi Stuart! Thanks for having me on your blog.  Yes, as you’ve so astutely surmised, Lexa Cain is a pen name. It’s my third pen name since I started getting short stories published a few years ago. I like having  different identities. It makes me feel like an international spy!

*Tell us about your book, Soul Cutter.
The main character, Élan, is a person who loves to be in control and who is a skeptic of all things paranormal. When she goes to Egypt, she finds herself surrounded by supernatural forces, including an unearthly killer called the Soul Cutter, who’s kidnapped her mother.  With the help of a tough but secretive young man, Élan has to confront her biggest fears, fight enemies both human and non-human, and save her mother and everyone else from the legendary killer, the Soul Cutter.

*Your book transported me, as a reader, to an exotic locale: Egypt. All of the sounds, sights, smells, customs. Very convincing and very realistic. What experience do you have with Egypt? Tell me it’s not from the intronets.
I’ve lived in Egypt for over twenty years, and I’m married to an Egyptian, so most of my knowledge is first hand, except for the paranormal things. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting any ghosties or supernatural beasties … yet.

*Your protagonist, Elan, is an interesting gal. Part psychic phenomenon debunker, part spunky heroine, all crazy teenage heroine. How much of Elan are you?
Not much really, although I’m as ridiculously stubborn and determined as she is.

*Why is she a psychic phenomenon debunker? I mean, it’s really cool and everything, but, why?
Good question! Complicated answer. Élan killed someone before the book starts and her guilt has convinced her the dead person’s ghost is stalking her to get revenge. She’s obsessed with proving the supernatural doesn’t exist in order to assure herself she has nothing to fear.

*Along these same lines, Elan has issues. Any issues we can relate to you as the author?
Élan has issues with her mother, who didn’t treat her very well as a child. I’ve also found family relationships are often less than satisfying. I also like to be in control and find it hard to accept that I can’t control everything.

*There are some interesting Egyptian legends (and some Islamic ones, as well) presented in your tale. How many of these are based on true beliefs and how many were birthed in your cranium?
The Soul Cutter is completely fictitious, but the Darsani are based on efreet, the evil cousins of djinn. Both efreet and djinn are well known Arabic legends. Efreet are basically demonic entities, and the Darsani in my book are also demonic, but have their own specific abilities and motivations.

*Okay, we have dark, claustrophobic rooms, snakes, rats, perilous height situations, and septic tank trauma! Why do I get the sneaking suspicion this is a laundry list of what frightens Lexa Cain?
It’s rats and snakes and being trapped in a septic tank! Who wouldn’t be scared of those things?

*Putting you on the spot! Which was a bigger influence on your tale: Hellraiser (the flick, not Barker’s novella) or “Scooby-Doo?”
I’d have to go with Hellraiser. The thrills and chills in my novel aren’t for the faint of heart and would even send the Scooby Gang speeding away in their Mystery Machine.

*What’s next to come out of your keyboard, Lexa? Will there be a sequel to Soul Cutter?
I’d definitely love to take Élan and Ramsey on a new adventure! I already have ideas about the new challenges they’ll face, including “Mommy Dearest,” the return of the Soul Cutter, and an even bigger and more dangerous foe. But at the moment that’s on a back burner while I write two other books, a suspense/thriller and a scifi/horror.
Now, go out and buy the dang book, folks. It’s excellent! Lexa’s prose is fantastic and the setting is unique. Plus, if you’re a horror fan, Lexa doesn’t shy away from the goods.

The Soul Cutter is hunting again.
Seventeen-year-old Élan spends her free time videoing psychic scams and outing them online. Skepticism makes life safe—all the ghosts Élan encounters are fakes. When her estranged mother disappears from a film shoot in Egypt, Élan puts her medium-busting activities on hold and joins the search.
In Egypt, the superstitious film crew sucks at finding her mom. When a hotel guest is killed, whispers start—the locals think their legendary Soul Cutter has come back from the dead. Élan's only ally is Ramsey, a film-crew intern, but he’s arrogant, stubborn—and hiding dangerous secrets.
When Élan discovers the Soul Cutter is no scam, she finds herself locked in a deadly battle against a supernatural killer with more than her mother’s life at stake.
Élan's fighting for her very soul.


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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Water For Old Folks

My nieces went to McDonalds with my mom.

She ordered a "senior water."

Huh. Being older, and presumably wiser than me, my mom must have been hipped to a secret about water I wasn't privy to. Is there some sort of distinct water recipe reserved for senior citizens? Specially distilled and aged like a fine wine? A mummified keg of water on tap, blended with nutrition and laxatives? Lawrence Welk bubbles popping off the top of the barrel? And cheaper than free? Can't beat that bargain.

I dwelled. Came up blank. Perhaps she was asking to speak to the assistant manager, Senor Water. But that didn't sound right.

She received her senior water. Discounted at extra free. I bet it tasted like liquid gold.

I can't wait 'til I can order a senior water.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Due To Unpopular demand! More Christian, gay, werewolf, erotica! Part the third...

Because absolutely no one demanded it, here's the return of Christian, gay, werewolf, erotica.


I must be doing something wrong, as I lost two followers due to my past two posts detailing my CGWE epic. Yay. Controversy warms my darkened soul.

Hold on, folks, it's time to get Hawt....

Barney nuzzled my cheek, his nose wet, a cold lump of coal in my Christmas dream stocking. I lapped at his face, choked, spit up a hair-ball. A true gentleman, he ignored it.

Then Barney hopped out of bed. He twerked a dance, his tail hard, rigid, pointed straight up to Heaven. He teasingly turned to me, asked, "Have you found God yet?"

I said, "Yes, and he's here now. Wasn't really aware he was lost. But, anyway..."

He pounced back in bed, his paws scraping at my chest.

As if driven by angels, the words spilled out of my mouth like demonic vomit. "My fiancée won't be happy about this."  Couldn't help it, God guided my voice like a Heavenly choir coach.

Barney straightened--in more ways than one--and said, "Wait, you have a fiancée? As in a female? Is she a wolf?"

I hooked a paw behind my ear, scratched, killing time. "Um, yeah, did I not mention her?"

Biting a pillow in his jaws, Barney shook it like a rag-doll. "No, dangit! Thought you were somebody else! And, now, you say...you have a fiancée?"

"I'm sorry! I never meant to misrepresent who I am. I'm torn! Part wolf, part homosexual, all Christian, yet not quite whole! Not the way God and the Moral Majority say I should be!"

"I knew I should have gone home with that vampire..."

"Don't be that way, Barney."

"The only way is my highway! Get on it, in it, or take off and don't pay the toll!"

"Um...don't think I understand--"

"It doesn't matter! You hurt me! I don't know what to think!" Barney turned, dropped on all fours, growling. But I couldn't  help but notice his wagging tail. Hopeful. And Lustful.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Things Guys Hate To Hear

Well, gather 'round once again, ladies (and you comprise most of my readers. To the few fellas who read my blog...sorry, sorry, sorry. Don't take away my "Man Card!"), for I'm about to let you in on some secret guy things. Actually, this holds true for same-sex couples as well. One of y'all's going to fit the pattern. Dig in.

Some time ago, I sat next to my wife on the "love-seat (odd they don't call it "chips and dip and beer seat"--even furniture designers are sexist)," while she drank a cup of hot chocolate. When I dropped a hand on her knee, I was met with, "I have a hot, brimming cup of liquid in my hand, don't jiggle me!"

Well. Not exactly the desired effect I was looking for.

Which got me thinking (cue the eye-rolling). There are certain phrases guys dread hearing. Off the top of my head, here are a few. Now, should this latest diatribe help anyone (gals or guys) cope with their mate in the future, spread the word and call Dr. Phil.

*"Let's not eat in front of the TV tonight."
Yeah, right. What're we going to do, eat somewhere else like savages? I mean, honestly.

*Along these same lines..."We don't always have to watch TV."
I point back to cavemen. They didn't have TV. What'd they do fill their down-time? Discovered weapons. Killed. Marauded. Pulled women by their hair across the terrain. I really don't think we want to return to those days. TV civilizes us.

*"That shirt's too small. You need to go up a size."
Again, faulty logic. Everyone knows laundry shrinks...when we do get around to washing our favorite shirts. (My wife claims my favorite shirt makes me look like a mushroom. Damn handsome mushroom, I think.)

*"We need to start eating healthier."
Look, everyone knows nachos contain all the major food-groups for an important diet...dairy, crunchy, salt, carbs...okay, we're missing sugar and nicotine, but, hey, it's tough being health-conscious 24-7.

*"I'd like to take dance lessons."
Um. Apparently my wife forgot I'm the clumsiest, most awkward man in the world. I found a way out of this one, though. Showed her my mad twerking skills.

*And, the Mother of all genital-shrinking proclamations...

"We need to talk."

Gives me chills even writing it. No way out of this one, you know you're in for a doozy of a drama. Guys, brace yourself. Gals? Go easy on us.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Worst phone conversation ever...

"Hi, Mom, how're you doing?"

"I'm having a heart attack."

Well. What do you do? Three degrees outside, snow plummeting down, and my mom decides to have a heart attack during Snowmageddon.

Okay, so my brother lives closer. Got him on the job. Straight to the hospital. Again. Feels like home these days.

The doctors don't think it was a heart attack. Inflammation of the sack around the heart. Or something.

I said, "Mom, next time you decide to have a heart attack, please do it in the Spring."

This was met with typical gloom and doom.

Gallows humor seems to be the only way to react these days. Or give in to my mom's self-pity party, strap on a hat, twirl a sparkler, and announce, with much gusto, "Huzzah! Everything sucks!"

Personally, I think she's been given a miraculous second chance with her heart operation. Thank you, anonymous cow organ donater. We'll call you Bessie. But it's time for Mom to go kick her heels up again in Florida, dancing with all the randy elderly gentlemen.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

On writing and stuff and crap

Okay, I was a little hesitant at first when my friend, Suzanne de Montigney, asked me to participate in this new blog hop. No one wants to read about writing. But, then I thought, what the hey, it's my blog, I'll bore anyone I care to. Selfish that way.

So, as per Suzanne http://suzannesthoughtsfortheday.blogspot.ca, here are my thoughts about writing. Strap in folks, things are about to get pompous.

1) What am I working on?

I have a darkly comical serial killer thriller on board. Also an epic ghost tale taking place alternately in 1935 and 1969. And, hey, let's not forget my take on zombies. I'm hesitant to talk too much about plots, as I like to toss around the unexpected.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, I have a bad boy sense of humor. It comes out in every book, no matter how dark the subject matter. Can't help myself. Class clown, still haven't grown up.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because I live in Godforsaken Kansas, that's why! Kansas is creepy; crazy politics, spooky geography, terrifying people. Perfectly fertile fodder for fiction. But you just watch, folks. Someday I'll escape Midwest Heck.

4) How does your writing process work?

Weird question. First, I need a cup of coffee. Strong stuff. Position it just right on the desktop. Inch it around a little bit. There. Looks good, tastes better. Wait. Maybe just another nudge. I think that's it. Looks almost even, not quite. Push. A finger scooch. Crap. Now it's way overly-balanced on the other side.

This could go on all night, so let's get on with it.

When I open a blank page in Microsoft Word, it's terrifying. Each time I wonder if I'll be able to write a book. I'm a notorious "pantser (for those unfamiliar with the term, it means making it up on the fly)." Yet, I like to have the crutch of post-it notes, a simple sentence on each one, stating where I'm headed next. "Karl finds out he has a venereal disease." Something like that. Then I write like the wind.The fun part. It's the rewriting that takes twice as long. Once I get inside a character's mind-set, it's easy. They talk to me, carrying the tale along with their various quirks and foibles. Yes, I'm insane.

There you have it, folks. Boring? You bet! Interesting? Not by a long-shot! Self-indulgent? Sure, sue me.

So now I'm passing it on. Here are three writers worth your bucks and time.

Meradeth Houston: Her "sary" books are an extremely entertaining YA fantasy, romance series. Not only can Meradeth weave an awesome tale, she knows how to involve the reader with deeply felt emotion. Colors Like Memories should be your kick-off point.

Jeff Chapman:  No insult to Jeff's manhood, but the dude sure writes pretty. And spooky. An unbeatable combination. Check out his Highway 24. Drop in on The Crooked House of Coins. The guy's on fire.

Michael Beyer: Here's a writer everyone should be reading, no excuses. Michael's Catch A Falling Star charmed the pants off of me (NOT a pretty sight). It's a nostalgic, warm, amusing sci-fi tale, not unlike one of Spielberg's better, earlier films. Great things are going to come from him and I can't wait to read his next book.

Boom! I'm outta here. But not before leaving you with one last link. Ah, I'll make it easy on you. My Amazon page:  http://www.amazon.com/Stuart-R.-West/e/B00B419X5C