Friday, October 30, 2015

David Fraser: Worst Interview EVER!

Please welcome back Dave Fraser, half of the awesome writing team of the terrific Jose Picada mystery comedy series. The other half, Heather Brainerd, couldn’t be reached. Sick or something. I guess.

SRW: Hey, Dave, how’re things going?

DF: Things are going great. Well, they're going okay, not great. I broke a tooth last week. You might think it was on candy or something. Nope. It was on a salad. Stupid lettuce. The tooth didn't hurt much, but there was a filling in that tooth and the chip exposed an edge of the filling. Every time I spoke, my tongue rubbed up against the sharp filling edge, so I spent a few days not talking much until my dentist could see me. My kids said it was a great few days.

SRW: Huh. That’s…interesting. I suppose lettuce can be deadly. Anyway, tell us about your thrilling new book, The Dragon-Kitty. It’s an interesting title, already has me dying to read it!

DF: Me too. 

SRW: Well…okay…but, you wrote it, Dave! Having read all of your Jose Picada books, I’m quite intrigued by your newest work. So, what’s The Dragon-Kitty about?

DF: It's the heartwarming and spine chilling tale of eleven-year-old Percy Potter, who discovers one day that not only is he a wizard, but he's also the son of Poseidon.  And his sister develops magical powers over ice and snow. She accidentally freezes their town and sings some very catchy songs. And a vampire and a werewolf both fall in love with him while he tries to throw a magic ring into the volcano where it was forged.

SRW:  Hm. So. Ah…a fantasy then? Sounds like a lot of disparate elements and heavy influences. Been watching a lot of movies lately, Dave? LOL. I can’t imagine trying to pull off songs in a novel. But I’m along for the ride. What inspired the novel?

DF: Nothing but my own original thoughts. I did NOT simply walk over to my kids' DVD collection and blatantly steal ideas.

SRW: Yikes. Simmer down, Dave. No one’s accusing you of anything (cough *Frozen; Lord of the Rings; Twilight; Harry Potter *cough). I’m sure you put your own spin on things. So…where does the titular Dragon-Kitty come in?

DF: You forgot Percy Jackson. I mean....never mind.

SRW: Um, Dave…is there a dragon-kitty in the book? It’s featured on your interesting cover.

DF: Well, you see, I did the cover first and then wrote the book. It seems as though I forgot to include a dragon-kitty. The working title for the sequel is The Dragon-Kitty 2: The Ninja Dragon-Kitty, so I have another chance to put one in somewhere.

SRW:  Well…I would think you’d want a dragon-kitty in there somewhere. I mean, it IS the title of the book. But, whatever. Okay, let’s talk about your main character, Percy Potter. 

DF: Percy Potter. He's a boy with an unruly mop of dark hair with a scar on his cheek in the shape of Johnny Depp. He also speaks in textspeak, like LOL and OMG and HSKLGIYSKH. That really cut down on the amount of typing I had to do. There are entire sections of monologue where it's just strings of letters.

SRW: I see. Sounds like it’ll appeal to a wide audience. (Maybe.) Well…hm…how about an excerpt?

DF: (Excerpt:)

Percy eyed the troll's club, not at all happy with the way that it was being swung at his head. The club crept closer with each swing. He had an advantage in speed, but that wouldn't last much longer. If only he hadn't lost his wand, he'd have a chance. The only escape was to confuse the troll.
"R U familiar with Immanuel Kant?" Percy asked.
It took a few seconds for the words to sink in. After two more swipes at Percy's head, the troll rested on her club like a cane, blinking rapidly. "Can't?" she said.
"Right. He argued that all actions can B good or bad based on the choice between duty and inclination, not the outcome. R U trying 2 kill me because U want 2, or because your master told U 2?"
The troll cocked her head to the side and stared at Percy. "Yes." Her face settled into a confused expression, which wasn't uncommon for a troll.
"That is 2 say," continued Percy, " from your point of view, smashing my head in is a good thing. However, and I cannot stress this strongly enough, this is merely 1 way 2 look at it. Consider the possibility that this is not a good thing.  U have a choice. Do U want 2, or do U have 2?"
The troll leaned down and inhaled deeply through her nose. "Percy Potter smell good." She batted her eyelashes.
A wave of nausea swept through Percy. There was just one thing that might save his life.
"Oh, thank U," said Percy. "And your smell is very...unique."
She smiled at him.
"And are those chunks of unicorn in your teeth? They really complement your gingivitis."
With a giggle, the troll scooped Percy up, tossed him over her shoulder, and carried him into her cave.

SRW: Wow. I mean, really…wow. When’s the book come out, Dave? Or is it out? I can’t find it anywhere.

DF: It's a very limited release. Currently, it's only for sale in Sweden in a chain of book stores called Das Bṏṑk Stȍŕ. Full international availability will be timed to coincide with the movie release.
Here's David's author photo he sent. Something smells funny.

SRW: Movie release. Right. Dave…this book doesn’t exist, does it?

DF: Sure it does. There's a book cover and an excerpt. How can there be a cover and an excerpt if there's no book? 

SRW: Sigh. Whatever, Dave. I give up.

There you have it folks. Be on the look-out for Dave Fraser’s The Dragon-Kitty. Let me know if you find it. In the meantime, be sure and check out Dave and Heather's Amazon page: FOR BOOKS I KNOW EXIST.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Halloween Scares!

Boo! Sorry, sorry, sorry. Didn't see you drinking coffee there.
Give me a break, though, it's Halloween. The scariest time of the year. Now, color me jaded, but in my annual mini holiday horror film-fest, I'm finding fewer things actually frighten me. Zombies? Ho-hum. Werewolves? Don't make me laugh. Vampires? What, pray tell, is scary about sullen male models who sparkle? Ghosts? Well, maybe. If they're real. But I've never had an encounter. I sit here, bravely writing this in the daylight, basically challenging ghosts to come visit. (Of course if they did, I'd end up shrieking like a little girl, but let's not dwell on that.)

So. I started thinking...what does scare me? The answers may shock you. (Or send you cruising elsewhere in indifference.)

1) The police! I dunno what it is about these guys, but they terrify me. If one's holding the door open for me at a convenience store, I freeze up. Avoid eye contact at all costs. It's almost as if they can read into my guilty soul, that they know I cheated on one college exam. Or they can foresee the evil in my heart I'm gonna' think about next week. J'accuse! Don't even get me going if one happens to be following behind me in my car.

2) Heights! This one's weird. I wasn't always terrified of heights. Up until about ten years ago, I was a daredevil, bravely (stupidly) riding the tallest, craziest, most dangerous roller-coasters in the world. One of them I can't believe I survived. A run down amusement park was home to this dinosaur, a relic on worn and rickety wooden tracks. Fairyland Park it was called, a less than apt name. Anyway...I didn't even know I'd developed a phobia of heights until my daughter and I visited a (supposedly haunted) lighthouse in Florida about ten years back. I went looking for ghosts, found a new fear instead. At the top of the lighthouse, I couldn't look down, glued to the wall. Other visitors found the cowering big guy hilarious. Shut up! It's strange new fears can develop over the years. So look out. I'm just sayin'.

3) Personal search history on my lap-top! I'm sure the government's got a list on me already. I'm probably considered someone to watch (just not in a, you know, cool trending way). For my books, I've researched quite a few questionable topics: witchcraft, serial killers, lock-picking, guns, satanism, poison, arson, meth labs, the fun never stops. And now, male strippers. Basically, my whole life is wrapped up in this lil' lap-top. Available for anyone with a clue about hacking to see. Especially The Government. Big Brother never has to leave the sofa again.

These are just a few of the things that terrify me. Brrr. Makes me long for a good old-fashioned poltergeist haunting.

How about everyone else? Do you have any actual haunting stories? I promise I won't laugh (much). What scares you?

Hey, if you're looking to jump start your scares, consider some of my books:

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of humans? I do!: Godland

 A paranoid paranormal tale in the vein of The Stepford Wives: Neighborhood Watch

How about a suspenseful zombie tale with some laughs and a major twist: Zombie Rapture

A decades spanning ghost story based on true events (sorta). On sale now for only .99: Ghosts of Gannaway

Friday, October 16, 2015

The bladder of a ninja

Whenever my friends start bragging about their kids' accomplishments, I hit 'em up about my dog's bladder. It's incredible. Such stamina and control, my dog's bladder surely must be considered a modern miracle.
When we go on walks, Zak urinates at least 20 times. Every time. How he manages to still withhold some for our next stop is beyond me. There's more urinating going on than walking. He can control his bladder like mad, but can't control his furniture-ripping rage at the mailman.

For you see, Zak's a bit of a control freak. Thinks the entire world's his territory, no other dog's. And he intends to mark it as such.

My wife says it's sorta Zak's way of saying hello to other dogs. Yellow graffiti. "Zak was here." You know, if people started saying "hello" this way, the jails would be packed. Something to think about.

Something else to think about? Halloween! Has everyone got their Halloween reading ordered? Well, I'm here to help...

How about a historical ghost tale? Ghosts of Gannaway

Or a serial killer, blackly comical thriller? Secret Society

Don't forget teens and religious zombies: Zombie Rapture

Find more at my author's page: Stuart R. West

Friday, October 9, 2015

Look out for Max China's Mosquito Bite!

Please welcome author Max China, the mad man behind the serial killer thriller The Night of the Mosquito

SRW: Max, I have to ask…are you British or do you just like writing in merry olde England? 

MC: I'm British by birth the son of a Polish war veteran and an English mother. 

SRW: I like how you’ve categorized the book as an apocalyptic serial killer thriller. At times, it is indeed quite apocalyptic, bordering on surrealism. In a good way, not an artsy-fartsy way. A solar storm instigates the action. So, are you keeping it green? A true fear of yours? 

MC: There was an event in 1859, known as the Carrington event, a solar storm hit Earth and burned out early telegraph systems. That was pretty much the extent of our technology in those days. The thinking these days is that if an event of similar magnitude occurred now, then the effects within our technology-dependent society would be devastating. Can you imagine a world without X-Box? It is a fear of mine, though I'll not be losing sleep over it. 

SRW: Hey, if it could do away with a lot of social media, I'd be all for it. 

There’s a lot going on in this book. You also include some big ideas. Your lead serial killer (yes, there are several) is descended from Jack the Ripper. What’s your take on genetic “stamping?” 

MC: Like father like son, the apple don't fall far from the tree, and so on, are old sayings. Sure a lot of inherited behaviour is learned from within the family unit, but I'm inclined to believe we follow a genetic blue-print and just don't realize. 

SRW: We’ve got a few bumbling bobbies running throughout. Emerson’s quite the poser. I’m curious as to how you view this character. Are we meant to loath or empathize? 

MC: As the book progresses, we realize he obtained the position by undermining his colleagues to make himself appear better than he is and when push gets to shove he is only able to rise to the level his incompetence allows. 

SRW: Ye gads, this book is hyper-violent. And your action/devastation scenes are extremely well-written. At times, I had to “look away.” Are there any extremes you won’t climb? 

MC: I don't write gratuitous violence or pornographic scenes, the sex and violence is necessary for the propulsion of the story only, in my opinion and really, it's just a small percentage of the book, which also covers sensitive issues. There's even a love story blossoming somewhere in there! Anything I won't cover? Probably not, but the level of detail will be far reduced in more extreme subjects. 

SRW: So, I have to say, it took me a long time to discover who the true protagonist of the book is. I won’t give anything away, but it wasn’t until the finale when he came through. Was this intentional? I must say, your tale had me guessing. 

MC: There are heroes and villains in every story. I like to keep people guessing. 

SRW: What scares Max? I mean, you’ve got serial killers—of the utmost frightening kind—running rampant throughout your tale. So give…what’re your fears? 

MC: That such people are often operating right under our noses, and we fail to recognize them. 

SRW: Why serial killers? Something we should worry about? 

MC: Absolutely. Every year people go missing, I don't know the figure for the USA, but in England, it's something like two hundred and seventy thousand every year. Of those most turn up safe and well. Up to twenty thousand vanish without a trace. Some don't want to be found. Some have accidents. Some commit suicide. And some fall prey to opportunistic serial killers. Some of these guys are so good at what they do, they've been getting away with it for years. No body, no DNA, no witnesses. Okay, it's probably just a tiny percentage, but even 1% of two hundred and seventy-five thousand is a lot of people. 

SRW: Yep, I'm afraid of serial killers, too. Because they're real. Um, it doesn't stop me from writing about them, though.

What’s next? 

MC: I'm working on a sci-fi fantasy story that covers mystery and suspense as well as murder and mayhem. It's set in an English country house which a young couple and their children move into, having purchased it for a very good price. It isn't long before they find out that the previous occupants haven't left... It's an expansion of a short story I wrote a couple of years back, and I left it as a cliffhanger. Quite a few people asked me what happened, so I decided to develop the plot into a novel.

SRW: Sweet! Now, everyone read this interview with an English accent in mind, makes it ten times cooler. Sorry, Max, what can I say? I live in Kansas for God's sake.

Check out Max's intense book here: The Night of the Mosquito.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Shoes on the highway

While traveling, I see a lot of stuff discarded off the highway. McDonald's food (where it belongs). Roadkill (Kansas has some dang big raccoons). Trash from people's unwanted lifestyles.

But it's the shoes that baffle me. Never a pair, always one. Usually a tennis shoe.

How does this happen? Is someone driving along, decides they don't like their shoes any longer? Tosses one out, chooses to keep the other as a keepsake.

Or is a hitchhiker smacked so hard by a car, his shoe flies off?

Maybe there's a crazy guy who drops a shoe at every state he passes through, a signature of sorts.

I don't know. But I tend to like to keep my shoes in the car while driving.

While out for a walk the other day, my dog sniffed out a ballet slipper. Just one, mind you. Again, I tried to understand how this occurred. It saddened me a little bit, thinking about a little girl out there somewhere, crying over the loss of a single slipper. Wouldn't it be much better to lose both and just get over it? Instead, she's holed up in her room, holding onto the surviving slipper, mourning what could've been. Another ballet dream down the drains.

In fact, there are a lot of strange things tossed out windows. Diapers. Well, other than not keeping things very green, I suppose I can understand not wanting to travel with a dirty diaper. But come on! Take it to the next rest-stop. Until truly biodegradable diapers are invented, this is a no-no.

What about underwear? Lots and lots of underwear along the highways. Now there are several options as to why underwear ends up in ditches, each one more unsettling than the last. I'd truly hate to think that truckers are so locked into their deadlines, they squirm out of their dirty tighty-whities (or is it "tidy-whities?") without leaving the highway. "This one's for you, Marge!" and whoof! out the window it goes.

Large appliances baffle me. Once I saw a dishwasher. Now you'd think that if that fell out of your truck, you'd likely notice it. 

What's the strangest things you've seen discarded along the road?

Speaking of strange, check out Secret Society, my killer thriller: One click away!