Posted by Allison M. Dickson | File under : , , , ,
I wrote this blog some months ago as a guest post for Mayra Calvani, and it originally appears on her page. I'm reposting it here with a few additions, because I want to remind people and myself why I write what I write. Am I a depressed, morbid, disturbed individual who likes to swim around in misery and ennui? Not exactly. Read on and find out . . .

I am a horror author, but I promise I’m not a freak. There isn’t a body hidden beneath the floorboards in my house, and I don’t have anyone tied up in my basement (because I don’t have a basement, but that’s beside the point). I also don’t revel in violence and I’m far from titillated by blood and gore. If anything, I’m as much disturbed by some of what I write as any of my readers are, and I’m even more prone to being afraid of scary movies and books than most. I don’t know where my desire to write about the dark side of life comes from necessarily, and I’m not sure I want to know. I’m only grateful that it’s there, because it’s given me a career.

In a recent interview, I said horror authors’ minds aren’t much different from any others, but they do have this desire to shine a light on the darkness that lives in all of us. Non-fans of the horror genre have their share of darkness, too, but they just don’t like to study it so much, and that’s okay. There are people who like to highlight on the positive and make people feel good, they require happy endings, and they don't want their fictions mimicking the already depressing aspects of real life. I get that. I do. But I'm here to offer another spin on the matter.

Believe it or not, horror writers like to make you feel good too. They really do! Only, it’s more of an inverse process, and it isn't something you're going to get by taking things at face value. If you've ever been through a rough time, be it losing a loved one or financial hardship or being the victim of a violent crime, I think you can agree that when you reach a place of peace and healing, you have a new gratitude for it. You truly understand the stillness, and it doesn't just register as boredom or emptiness. Dark stories can help you find that gratitude and hold tight to it.


To get technical, dark stories try to simulate harrowing events by activating the same parts of the brain that are active during times of peril. It's like a roller coaster or a skydive for your brain. By the time you put down that book or finish that movie, we want you to feel more alive than you did before. We want you to feel glad it’s over and that while you have this otherwise normal and sort of mundane life, you’re at least not being held captive in a decrepit old mansion by a human spider. By giving yourself a fictional burden that is harder than any could possibly bear in life, when you finally shed it, you feel lighter.

Sometimes when my fiction is too positive, the opposite happens to me. I look at my life and find it starkly unfulfilling and mundane in comparison, and that can depress me. Not always, but sometimes. The perfect romance, the perfect happy ending. It can signify the idyllic, unobtanium of Happily Ever After that makes real life feel so flat. Not always, but sometimes. Maybe it's a weird quirk in my head, but catch me in the wrong kind of mood, and a romantic comedy can make me want to jump off a bridge.

Another thing people assume about dark fiction authors is that we are cynics and pessimists in daily life. Now, I don’t want to fool anyone into thinking that this isn’t the case. Writers can be some of the most jaded people out there. In many cases, it’s why they write. But I also argue that there is a lot of optimism buried in dark fiction, because the people in them, the protagonists and heroes, are searching and fighting for something better. They're reminding us of the strength and persistence of the human spirit. My book STRINGS is probably the most grim piece of fiction I have ever written or will ever write, but it was also written by an optimist who believes that human beings are as equally capable of good as they are of bad, and that even the worst among us have a spark of humanity that can be coaxed into a flame under the right conditions.

Of course, it could just as easily go the other way too, and it often does, but that’s not pessimism. That’s just reality. That's just truth. And really, that is all I ever seek to write. In my mind, the darkness is just a natural side effect of telling the truth.
Posted by Allison M. Dickson | File under : , , , , ,
I feel like I was more prolific once. I could spit out one short story after another, and for a period of about two years, nearly everything I wrote I released onto Amazon for download. Looking at my publication dates, I was releasing things every few months for awhile there. A good bit of it was older work that I had polished, but a lot of it was written for the express purpose of self-publication, and the output was steady and plentiful. It was a great way to build a small fan base as well as network with a whole host of other authors who have been great to me. Eventually I condensed all my work into collections so it would be easier to manage. Soon I'll be doing a wide release on all my work as we ramp up for the big release of The Last Supper.

You've seen all this before
Notice how I'm speaking of my indie publishing endeavors in the past tense? Well . . . here's why. I've recently made the decision that unless it's for Colt Coltrane or some other niche project, or work that has been published elsewhere for which I have had the rights returned to me, I probably won't be publishing directly to Amazon again for awhile. In other words, I'm trying to change the course of this ship, and in doing so, things will be slowing down in the output department, much to my chagrin. I'm playing the long game, though, and one can only hope the dividends will be there at the end.

That doesn't mean I'll be working less, mind you. Anyone who knows publishing knows that it's often a bit of a log jam. You send things down the chute one after another and it all piles up until someone opens things up downriver. And then it's like BAM, you have a glut of stuff hitting the market at once.

Ever since Strings came out back in October, I have been consumed with trying to get the Next Big Thing finished. I have The Last Supper coming out this summer still, and while I expect that to carry me into 2015, I have no other novels currently on a release schedule, and I've been hungry to leap to the next level of my career and see if I can break out into the mainstream a bit more. The sophomore book that most debut authors twist their guts over was already taken care of for me by having back-to-back contracts with Hobbes End, and I feel lucky that way (Supper has yet to be proven successful, though, so I'm still holding my breath a little on that). But for me, it has been all about nailing down that third book so I can start shopping it around this summer with the hopes I can have another novel out or at least announced in 2015 (fingers crossed).

My current project is a slight departure for me, but still in the realm of Strings in that it's a realistic crime thriller, only it doesn't have the visceral horror elements of the latter story. It's called Grace, Georgia, and here is my hastily written blurb:
Tonya and Amanda Crawford are cousins who were raised as sisters in a family full of unsettling secrets. Tonya was a troubled girl from the start, manipulating Amanda into playing sinister games that left the young girl traumatized with shame. It all culminated when Amanda stumbled on the brutal death scene of a little girl named Chloe March, with Tonya sitting right in the middle of it covered in blood and crying that it was all an accident. Amanda helped Tonya hide the girl's body, and they both agreed to plant evidence to set up their older cousin Abel, a pedophile who had been molesting Tonya for years. Though he didn't kill the March girl, Abel eventually confessed and was sentenced to life in prison, and the secret of what really happened to little Chloe has never come to light. Seven years later, Amanda fled Grace to start a new life in New York with the man she loves, and she's since done everything in her power to forget her harrowing childhood. But when she receives news that Tonya is dying of AIDS and wants to see her cousin one last time, Amanda gives in and returns to the scene of so many childhood nightmares, and the careful life she's built for herself quickly starts to unravel when she learns the true nature of Abel and Tonya's relationship, and the plot her family has engineered to wrap the past around her neck like a noose.
I'm really excited about this story and hope like hell it sees the light of day. In the meantime, I also have the second book in the Strings trilogy nearly finished, and there are several other irons in the fire for completion this year. So I'm not worried about a lack of big projects. Just about finishing them and getting them out there, and sadly this leaves me little time to complete short fiction.

However, not all is lost in that department. I have published three short stories this year. "Daddy's Glasses" currently appears in the Wrapped in White anthology, and the other is a fun "mini-episode" in the Colt Coltrane universe that you can currently buy on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The third one is a fun historical fantasy mash-up called "John Dillinger and the Blind Magician," which was accepted by Apex Magazine a couple months back and will hopefully be released later this year. I have plans for more stories this year, but all of them will be submitted to other publishers first, and if I'm lucky they won't be floating around too long in purgatory before they find a home.

Of course, my indie collection is stagnating, and I worry that people who have discovered me through this avenue will forget who I am, but I have to hope that if I can make a breakthrough in the mainstream world, it will somehow manage to bring together the two worlds I'm currently living in. All I know is, things have to change. I have seen the same peaks and valleys in sales year after year, and the trend is still pretty much flat. I do have another Colt novel in the works, but that's a very niche project, and I know that will only appeal to a select few. I can only hope with my increased public promotions of the series, it will eventually start to reflect in digital sales.

If you've been with me awhile, you know my career has gone through its share of fits and starts and other changes as I've tried to figure out the best way to release and promote my books. What I'm finding is that in the battle of what's best, DIY or traditional publishing, it's good to balance both, but it's also very hard to pay equal service to both at the same time. The traditional side of things has done a lot for me in the last six months. Strings is my best selling title by a country mile, and it makes sense that if I want to continue to see that kind of success, I have to focus more on that side of the aisle, even if it means taking all the drawbacks that come with it. Namely, that the work won't hit your hands quite as fast.

But publishing has never been for impatient people. I think I can handle the waits, as long as you dear readers stick with me.
Posted by Allison M. Dickson | File under : , , ,
Over the next several days, I will be posting an interview from each author from WRAPPED IN WHITE, the brilliant new ghost story anthology from Sekhmet Press, LLC. These are the same wonderful people behind the vampire collection, WRAPPED IN RED. WHITE book also features my story, "Daddy's Glasses," and you can pick up a copy from all available ebook retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc) as well as in paperback through Amazon.


It has been a great run talking with all the wonderful authors who contributed stories to WRAPPED IN WHITE, and it's my sincerest pleasure to wrap it all up with the wonderful Cecilia Dockins. When I read her story for the book, I was genuinely shocked that this girl wasn't famous already. She has a way with words that makes me jealous, in a good way, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind that once you got your copy of the book, that you flip right to the end so you can read her story "Ain't They Bright." Also, she has some wicked dance moves, as I learned during an online dance-off we had a few weeks back. I'm still recovering from that centipede. Anyway, I suggest you stick around and learn a little more about Ms. Dockins and her predilection for the Running Man and unicorn hearts. The evil evil woman . . .

1. You found a surprise ten dollar bill in the dryer. How do you celebrate this magnificent windfall?
I quietly throwdown my best dance move, which is The Running Man, then sneak out of my neighbor’s house, drive to the pawn shop and buy the monkey’s paw I’ve had my eye on.

2. You wake up and realize the apocalypse has just happened. What do you have for breakfast? 
Belgium waffles, biscuits and gravy, sausage—a veritable myocardial smorgasbord—and of course, I’ll fry up the last remaining unicorn heart on Earth that I had hunted down the previous night during the witching hour…oops. 

3. It's 3am and you hear a knock at the door. When you open it, you see a penguin standing here. He's wearing a bandolero, a cowboy hat, and a fake mustache. He seems to know you. Why is he there? 
To collect child support stemming from our intergalactic space tryst. What he doesn’t know is I’m hiding a raygun behind my back. 

4. Which super villain are you most like? 
I like to think of myself as more of an evil overlord. If pressed for an answer, I’d have to say Granny Goodness.

5. Someone offers you a million dollars to write the greatest slash fiction story of all time. Give me your elevator pitch.
Mr. Rogers and King Friday argue about climate change. As the debate becomes heated in the Neighborhood of Make Believe, clothes come off and they both find that passion burns hottest of all.

*********
You know, I thought Solomon Archer's tale of Rambo and Jar-Jar Binks getting it on in the jungle was highly disturbing, but Mr. Rogers?? That's just plain sacrilege. Will you be my best friend?

Thank you for stopping by Cecilia!

Bio: Cecilia Dockins lives just a bucket kick from Nashville, Tennessee. She spends most of her time wrangling words, kids, and pets. She doesn’t like to bake and has a healthy mistrust of ribbon dancers. She does enjoy hoarding books and butchering flowers, which she describes as “gardening.”

She earned her B.A. in English from Middle Tennessee State University in 2010. She is a writer of horror and urban fantasy. She has several forthcoming publications and is penning her first novel.

You can visit her at http://www.ceciliadockins.com.

Or befriend her on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/ccdockins
Over the next several days, I will be posting an interview from each author from WRAPPED IN WHITE, the brilliant new ghost story anthology from Sekhmet Press, LLC. These are the same wonderful people behind the vampire collection, WRAPPED IN RED. WHITE book also features my story, "Daddy's Glasses," and you can pick up a copy from all available ebook retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc) as well as in paperback through Amazon.
I'm just going to get right down to this. I know "Solomon Archer." I know his real name. I know where he lives. I know what he drinks at the bar. I know he spends an inordinate amount of time arranging his silverware before eating at a restaurant, and that he puts far too much salt on his movie popcorn (the Pacific ocean looks at that bag of greasy kernels and is like, "Seriously, dude? That much salt?"). I also know that I can be bought. If you want to know the true identity of this twisted genius, the payment is Benedict Cumberbatch, on my doorstep, hopefully willingly, although I have no qualms about cutting through duct tape. In the meantime, you can spend more time getting to know the personality who wrote probably the most viscerally disturbing story in WRAPPED IN WHITE, "Inseparable." His answers to the following questions may will shock and awe you like bombs over Baghdad, so snuggle yourself in for the best read you'll probably ever have.

1. You found a surprise ten dollar bill in the dryer. How do you celebrate this magnificent windfall? 
I would back away very slowly, careful not to touch anything. Especially the ten-dollar bill. Finding money is always a bad sign. I am not a religious person, but I believe that some higher power – call it God, Allah, the Tooth Fairy – leaves money for us to find only to punish us for finding it. I call it the “Economic Equilibrium Hypothesis” and over the years I have seen enough instances of this cruel cosmic joke that it almost certainly qualifies as a natural law by now. Sort of like gravity, only more reliable.

I once got a check for $263 in the mail from a company with whom I had not ever done business. Naturally, I thought it was either a scam or an advertisement, but the check sure looked real to me. I took it to the bank and sheepishly explained to the teller how I had come to be in possession of it and wondered aloud if there was any chance it could be real. I was in my residency program then and I needed the money. The teller looked it over and reassured me that it was indeed a legitimate check. I cashed it, afraid that if I deposited it into my account the company that (obviously) issued it by mistake could easily take it back electronically whereas if I had the cash in hand they would have to send someone to physically assault me to get it back. The next day while watching the Sci-Fi channel (this was before they had to change it to “Syfy” for legal reasons) I heard a repetitive clinging sound coming from the dryer. I thought it was a coin at first, because it didn’t have the pitch of a zipper. Turns out it was a pen. A broken pen to be more precise. A broken pen that had disgorged its full well of black ink like an angry stream of demonic jizz all over my clothes. As I picked out each article of now ruined shirts and pants, I thought of the ill-gotten check and wouldn’t you know it – the value of the clothes that had been ruined was right in the neighborhood of $250. Add to that the cost of cleaning materials, sponges, towels, and personal labor spent cleaning the dryer for the better part of two hours and I’d say the universe got its $263 worth of entertainment from me. There have been countless other times that I have come across money unexpectedly only to have the universe exact that same amount from me in financial, physical, or emotional fees.

Find a quarter in your driveway? Bite down on a raw popcorn kernel and reflexively cough it into your date’s hair. Discover a five-dollar bill in the rear pocket of a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in a year? Yeah, now watch as your cat throws up on your pillow and steps on your pizza. Thrilled at receiving a $500 bonus at work? That feeling will last until a few seconds after you notice that someone has etched “suk it” into the side of your car with a key. So nice try, Universe. You can keep your money. I’m fine just the way I am.

2. You wake up and realize the apocalypse has just happened. What do you have for breakfast?
Wow, that sucks. I totally had plans for this weekend. Well, if it’s a global apocalypse, I suppose it’s safe to assume the power grid is down, so there’s no electricity. Which means no television and, worse, no air conditioning. Nothing worse than an apocalypse without air conditioning. But the more immediate concern is that the fridge and freezer will be out and the stove won’t work, which severely limits my breakfast options.

I guess I could cook something in the fireplace with the unused stack of Duraflames I’ve amassed over the years in the hopes the whole global warming thing was a hoax and I’d have at least a few cold winter nights to use them. Okay, so I’ve got fire to cook with, now I just need some non-perishable food items. Eggs don’t go bad when the power goes out, right? I seem to recall that chickens tend to live on farms, which are in warmer climates and they don’t have opposable thumbs so they probably don’t store their own eggs in the fridge for breakfast. So we’ve got eggs. I wouldn’t want to have to worry about the structural integrity of making them poached or over-easy, so I’d most likely eat them scrambled. And I could toast some bread on a skewer I’d fashion out of a wire hanger. I wouldn’t worry about the toxins from the Duraflame poisoning me – hell, it might even taste good. I’ll certainly have to get used to the taste and smell of burning, what with the apocalypse and all.

I’ll need extra protein if I’m going to get through this day. But all the meat has gone bad and I stopped eating peanut butter when Proctor and Gamble began importing their peanuts from Indonesia. Come on, Archer, think! If you want to stay alive you have to start thinking outside the box. You need to get out of your comfort zone if you’re to have any chance of survival. What about . . . that? Why don’t you try eating that? Oh no. Not that. I can’t eat that. Anything but that! Get a hold of yourself, man! I know this is a hard decision, but it’s for the greater good. Domestic house cats simply aren’t designed for the harsh environment of the end times. He’d want you to eat him.

That’s it, scratch him behind the ears and under the chin. Lull him into complacency. Now carefully, quietly, move your hands down to his neck. That’s it. Now squeeze ever so slowly. OW! Goddammit! Fucker bit me! Grab him – he’s getting away. Ah hell, he’s under the bed. I’m not ever gonna get him out from under there. Ah shit. The eggs fell into the fire and the toast is on the carpet all covered in cat hair. Oh dear, I’m getting weak from the lack of food. I don’t know if I’ll make it. As consciousness slips away, I dream of the breakfast that might have been: scrambled eggs with tarragon and green tabasco sauce, warm toast with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spread liberally over it, and fresh cat meat. Yes, I slip into oblivion thinking of the best meal on the last day of my life. That’s what I would have had for breakfast on the day of the apocalypse.

Unless it was the zombie apocalypse. If that were the case, I’d have had Cheerios.

3. It's 3am and you hear a knock at the door. When you open it, you see a penguin standing here. He's wearing a bandolier, a cowboy hat, and a fake mustache. He seems to know you. Why is he there? 
Is there a snow cone truck parked diagonally across the handicapped space across the street? With a walrus tusk hood ornament a vanity plate that reads “COLDBLUDED”? If so, then it’s probably Randall. Goddammit. I was hoping I wouldn’t ever see him again.

You see, back when I finished writing PsyKu, I didn’t have much luck getting anyone interested in reading it, let alone publishing it. I was told that the market for forensic haikus was just too narrow and no one thought it would sell. I started taking copies with me whenever I would go on trips. I’d leave them in cabs, on buses, in hotel rooms on top of the complimentary bible. Anywhere and everywhere. Once on the way back from Sydney, I left a copy in the lavatory of a Qantas Airlines flight that ended up continuing on to Dumont d'Urville, Antarctica. Not long afterward, I received a cryptic message on my voicemail that consisted of pecking and squawking. A cryptographer friend of mine said it sounded like morse code and within a few days she sent me an email with the following translation: “Book book – CAW! Must have – KOO AAAHHH!!! Advance on way – send PDF CaCAAAAWWW!!!”  Only they didn’t give me an email address so I couldn’t send them an electronic file. I think maybe they expected me to put the file in the bathroom of the airplane again? I’m not sure.

At any rate, I couldn’t send them anything and I wrote the matter off as a prank. But then one night, I’m awakened at four in the morning by this insistent rapping at the door and when I open it, there’s this penguin standing there. He’s got a name tag taped to his chest that says “Hello, my name is Randall” and there’s a package between his feet. It was roughly the shape of a brick, wrapped in butcher paper, and leaking through dozens of beak-sized holes all over the doorstep. Through one of the holes I could see the empty rotting eye socket of a fish. The penguin danced around the package for a few seconds and then waddled over to a snow cone truck he had left idling in a handicapped space across the street. I heard him squawking and thrashing and fluttering around in the cab for a minute or two before he was able to get it started. I have no idea how he got it in gear but he did, and after hitting a few mailboxes and doing doughnuts on the neighbor’s lawn, he headed down the street and out of sight.

I didn’t want to leave the package sitting on the porch so I put it in the trash, went back to bed, and mostly forgot about the whole incident. Then a few days later I got another voice mail that sounded a lot like the first. My cryptographer friend said she could only make out three words: “DEAD MAN – CAW! DEAAAAADDD MAN! CAWW! DEAAAAAD MAAAAA-CAWWWWW!!!” and then something that maybe sounded like “Randall.”

My guess is he is here to get his fish-brick back, which obviously isn’t gonna happen. I’ll need to find something he might take instead. I hope penguins like Lean Cuisine, because there’s no way he’s getting those shrimp tacos from Long John Silver’s. I was planning on having those for dinner.

4. Which super villain are you most like?
I’d have to say I’m most like Scarecrow. We’ve got quite a lot in common, as indicated by the following table:

Scarecrow
Solomon Archer
He’s a professor.
I’m a professor.
He’s a psychologist.
I’m a psychologist.
He has a scary mask.
I have a scary mask.


I like to think I have a pretty good understanding of human pathology, and if I were a super villain I think I’d have a grand ol’ time preying on people’s fears. Now there are a few areas in which Scarecrow and I differ. For instance, I don’t own a pitchfork, but I do have a pair of retractable hiking poles. Also, Scarecrow is something of a mad scientist and all mad scientists are independently wealthy. As a result, he can afford to maintain a really cool scientific laboratory stocked with all manner of exotic chemicals, potions, and gadgets whereas I am a government employee who lives with two cats in an urban one-bedroom residence. As a result, my “laboratory” shares space with my bathroom and kitchen. Regardless, I have managed to come up with a number of super-cool potions and elixirs with common everyday ingredients that are readily available in my spice cabinet, under the sink, and in the medicine cabinet. Here is just a partial list of the weapons in my arsenal:

Sleep Potion – This concoction can be surreptitiously poured into a subject’s drink to render them unconscious for up to 20 hours – more than enough time to engage in all manner of nefarious deeds. Ingredients: four cups of NyQuil mixed into a base of warm 2% milk, a handful of crushed melatonin supplements, and four Vicodin. Stir vigorously for ten minutes before serving.

Truth Serum – This little beauty is particularly useful when trying to exact information about super hero plans from a resistant or highly trained subjects. Although I don’t have access to scopolamine, chloroform, or morphine, I have managed to mix together a pretty close approximation based on what I recall from my high school chemistry class. In my signature serum, Instead of morphine, I use a mixture of Robitussin Cough Formula and Anbesol Toothache Gel, and I replace chloroform with ammonia since they pretty much smell the same. And if memory serves me, scopolamine is chemically identical to nutmeg and NoDoz, so I’ve got that covered. I find that if I mix this particular cocktail in front of them, most victims will tell me whatever they think I want to hear before I even administer the first dose.

Resurrection Elixir – Death need not be the end for the allies of fear who would be willing to join my army. For those occasions when I need to increase the number of villains in my fear arsenal, I bust out my “Lazurus Formula.” Although it is a bit tricky to get the dead to ingest anything reliably, I have created a combination of heated vodka, TheraFlu, battery acid, and priest sweat that will have the even the rankest corpse sitting up and begging for another cup. [Note: may take several years or more to notice appreciable effects.]

Fear Inducing Spray – This is probably my greatest invention. I call it “Fearasol” and it’s a combination of gasoline, turpentine, Bacardi 151, and a dash of lemon juice. I keep it in a plant sprayer and when I want to draw out a person’s worst fear, I spray a hefty dose of it in their face and toss a match on them. This has the effect of rendering the victim unutterably terrified as it recreates within them their worst fear imaginable. Interestingly, it turns out most people’s worst fear is being burned alive.

I have countless other frightening tools at my disposal, but of course I won’t be telling you what they are. I can see that you’re immobilized with fright with only the mere glimpse I have given you of my madness. Your deepest, darkest fears are my playground. Cross me and you’ll find yourself opposite me on a see-saw of terror with my dead button eyes looking right back at you. Tremble in anticipation of the unfathomable horrors that await you should you stand in my way!

Hahahahahaaaa!!!!

5. Someone offers you a million dollars to write the greatest slash fiction story of all time. Give me your elevator pitch.
John Rambo meets Jar Jar Binks – Following the death of his friend and mentor Colonel Samuel Trautman (2003), John Rambo finds himself alone again in a world that has largely forgotten about him. Lacking the structure of a covert operation in the jungles of Vietnam or the purpose of a counter-insurgency mission in the unforgiving mountains of Afghanistan, he slips into a deep depression and hitchhikes across the U.S., taking on intermittent jobs as a day laborer in any job that will have him as he tries to regain some sense of identity.

After nearly losing his life in a Kentucky shale mine following a catastrophic hydraulic fracking explosion, Rambo heads south toward the Gulf of Mexico in hopes of getting part-time work on a shrimp boat. However, as he crosses through the vast expanse of swampland in the Atchafalaya Basin in south central Louisiana, he is struck by overwhelming flashbacks of his time in the dismal rainforest-like conditions of the Pacific Northwest that he had endured nearly three decades earlier. For the ninth time in his life, he snaps.

Reverting once again to a primitive fight-or-flight mode, Rambo relies on his ingrained survival skills to weather the harsh conditions of the Louisiana swamps. From albino alligators that have grown to unprecedented size in the absence of any natural predators, to previously undiscovered snake species capable of paralyzing a full-grown lowland black bear with a single drop of toxic venom, to tribes of indigenous inbred rednecks roaming the mossy shallows in modified Panther airboats in search of the legendary “Swamp Thing.” Rambo has defeated or eluded all of them and more. After a year of this existence, he has grown accustomed to the creatures of the swamp and they to him.

One day while hunting in the predawn hours, Rambo hears a plaintive wailing – not unlike the sound of someone with Down Syndrome attempting to yodel. Fearing that a local Deliverance extra has wandered into one of his makeshift coil-spring beaver traps, he rushes to the scene, ready to make a quick, silent kill before the banjo-slinging savant can alert other members of its clan.

However, as he approaches the source of the commotion, he is taken aback at what he sees. Suspended fifteen feet above the ground in the vice-like grip of a counterweight snare is a creature Rambo has not ever encountered before. It has the head of a donkey with a bad case of Rosacea and the body of an oversized hairless tree squirrel. Two grotesque eyes protruding from stalks above a breathing hole on its face knock against each other like sentient scrotal sacs as they search for escape in the ground above. The beast is wearing an open leather vest four sizes too small for its massive frame and tight boot-cut brown leather pants that cling to its knobby legs like spent condoms.

“Ooooeeeeyyy. Dis crazy place all upside down down. Oooooeeeyyyy!!!” Its incessant caterwauling silences the cicadas in the surrounding thicket and threatens to drive all wildlife into hiding.

With one deft swipe of his bolo machete, Rambo cuts the vine holding the beast aloft and it falls headfirst to the ground, landing in a pile of feces it had apparently been eating prior to its entrapment. One of its eye stalks peers through the fetid muck and blinks at Rambo.

“Doooooeeeeyyy!! Sexy Jedi save Jar Jar!! BOOOOOOEEEEE!!” it honks, leaping to its clubbed feet and racing with spindly arms outstretched toward the traumatized veteran. Rambo has no time to think. He thrusts the machete into the beast’s chest but it has no effect – the seven-foot tall pre-op transgender iguana keeps running forward. Rambo nimbly steps aside and the creature smashes headlong into the base of a hundred-year-old Cypress tree. Taking advantage of its momentary disorientation, Rambo tackles and subdues the bipedal abomination, binding its limbs with vines and bark cord. He throws a gunny sack over its head and drags it back to his makeshift cabin where he binds the horse-faced alien marsupial to a chair.

Jar Jar urinates on himself out of fear and begins a low-pitched melancholic moaning that grows louder by the second. Worried that the sound will give away his location, he tears the sack off Jar Jar’s head. But as he is lunging forward for a killing blow with his all-purpose survival knife, a tear falls from Jar Jar’s eye (the one not still covered in shit) and Rambo’s heart stops as he remembers the same look on one of the Vietcong children he had butchered back in Da Nang. Jar Jar notices the change in Rambo’s demeanor and his face breaks into a smile full of teeth resembling broken straw. Rambo doesn’t realize it but he is smiling in return. Or as much of a smile as he can manage given the congenitally limited bone structure of his face.

“Dooooo Doooooeeeeyyyy!” Jar Jar exclaims, a noticeable bulge growing in his soiled pants. “Pretty soldier save Jar Jar twice! Whooop whooooooop!! Me love you long time!”

Overcome with a long buried primal need, Rambo cuts his captive free from his bonds. Jar Jar leaps atop Rambo and the two wrestle across the floor in a sweaty tangled heap of human and extraterrestrial limbs struggling, grasping, and groping. Rambo’s primitive grunts mingle with Jar Jar’s alien nasal honking as they each explore every orifice the other has to offer. Rambo’s massive member penetrates deep into Jar Jar’s nasal blowhole while the reptilian Rastafarian attempts to figure out which of its own appendages is meant for sexual contact. Having the IQ of a roach motel, Jar Jar sticks one of his eye stalks into his lover’s rectum. Blinking in delighted wonder at the welcoming darkness of Rambo’s intestinal tract, Jar Jar squeals with joy and pushes in further. Rambo bellows in unexpected agony as the sex-crazed amphibious simpleton shoves his entire head up Rambo’s ass, tearing off the Special Forces penis still stuck in his own blowhole. As Jar Jar continues to probe further and further inside him, Rambo’s survival instincts kick into overdrive and he reaches skyward toward the rafters. He grabs hold of a wooden crossbeam and, using every ounce of strength he can muster, he raises himself up and begins swinging his hips in a wide circle. Like a human ceiling fan, Rambo twists and spins wildly, desperate to dislodge the scaly Dionne Warwick-looking shit gecko from his poop shoot.

With an ear-shattering howl of “Adriaaaaaaannnne!” he finally expels Jar Jar from his body. The feeble-minded space wombat flies across the cabin at fifty miles an hour and slams into a decorative display of antlers mounted on the wall. Punctured in a hundred places, Jar Jar struggles feebly to free himself from his impalement. Rambo staggers to his feet and stumbles drunkenly to the creature honking pitifully on the wall. Instantly, he regrets having harmed the poor stupid beast. The last four and a half minutes had been the closest to intimacy he had experienced in ages and now he has to watch helplessly as the life drains out of the one thing he ever truly loved in the Basin. He tries desperately to find the right words to express his newly discovered emotions, but he is too overcome with grief and loss to say them. Instead, he simply sits against the wall caressing Jar Jar’s elephant-like foot as his cacophonous sobs drowning out Jar Jar’s death bleating. The cabin grows dark as the sun sets and the night creatures begin to stir.

In the distance, a loon cries out.

The End.

Roll credits.

**********

I have nothing that can appropriately cap off this interview the way it deserves. But here's a fun project! After reading this blog in its entirety, particularly the love scene between Jar-Jar and Rambo, please report back here with any nightmares it might have generated for you. Personally, I'm most afraid of my brain cobbling together a second encounter between these two, but adding Randall the Penguin to the mix. I think I'd rather risk a dose of Fearasol and then stay dead.

Meanwhile, here is a little more about Dr. Archer and where you can find him on social media. Also, be on the lookout for PsyKu this fall! If this blog has taught you anything, it's that you should eagerly seek out or anticipate anything this man writes. 

Bio: Solomon Archer is a Pseudonym. The author of PsyKu is a criminal psychologist. He received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin with a focus on behavior pathology. He completed his forensic internship in Ohio, where he specialized in working with low-functioning sex offenders and treatment with probationed and paroled offenders.

He continued his work with the mentally ill criminal population through his forensic post-doctoral fellowship in North Carolina with a focus on competency and sanity evaluations.

His career path subsequently branched out to the prison system, where he has worked for well over a decade. The author is currently the Chief Psychologist of the [REDACTED] State Department of Corrections. He spends much of his time working with serious and dangerously mentally ill offenders, some of whom are not so disorganized that they couldn’t figure out a way to free themselves from their restraints and stab him in the head with an altered food tray. (Incidentally, the going rate for shanking a psychologist is two pounds of coffee and three bags of Top tobacco. You know, just in case you were curious).

Posted by Allison M. Dickson | File under : , , ,
Over the next several days, I will be posting an interview from each author from WRAPPED IN WHITE, the brilliant new ghost story anthology from Sekhmet Press, LLC. These are the same wonderful people behind the vampire collection, WRAPPED IN RED. WHITE book also features my story, "Daddy's Glasses," and you can pick up a copy from all available ebook retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc) as well as in paperback through Amazon.
I want to look away but I can't!
Today 5 Quintessential Questions takes an international turn by welcoming an author from across the pond, Patrick O'Neill, whose story "The Other One" appears in Wrapped in White. I will do my best not to inadvertently slip into my horrible fake Cockney accent during the course of this interview, but it's difficult, I tell you. My inner Ray Winstone does not like to be silenced. But this is NOT about me! This is about Mr. O'Neill, who has some very important question to answer about a certain penguin, so let's get to it, shall we?

1. You found a surprise ten dollar bill in the dryer. How do you celebrate this magnificent windfall?
Making some ‘missing’ posters for my long lost penguin.

2. You wake up and realize the apocalypse has just happened. What do you have for breakfast?
Liver, fava beans, maybe Chianti.

3. It's 3am and you hear a knock at the door. When you open it, you see a penguin standing here. He's wearing a bandolero, a cowboy hat, and a fake mustache. He seems to know you. Why is he there?
Because he’s mine. Listen, if anyone out there has seen this flightless bird, please contact me. He’s really easy to recognize, even though he tries to go deep undercover.

4. Which super villain are you most like?
Lex Luthor, but without the cash.

5. Someone offers you a million dollars to write the greatest slash fiction story of all time. Give me your elevator pitch.
The year is 2015. Penguins have taken over the world. It falls on just one man to stop this army of knife-wielding birds from destroying mankind as they waddle from continent to continent in search of remaining survivors.

**********

Penguins taking over the world, eh? Cutest. Apocalypse. Ever.

Thank you for stopping by, Patrick!

Bio: Patrick O'Neill is a rising new talent in the world of Horror fiction. He resides in Dorset with wife, Nikki, and son, Benedict. His dark and unsettling tales have been included in numerous anthologies and he is currently working on his single author collection, The Darkest Eyes, and on his debut novel, No Contrition.
Patrick can be contacted at padzoneill@hotmail.com

Patrick on Amazon UK
It's taken about seven years working as an author (four of those years selling stories online) for it to finally happen, but this weekend, after many months of careful planning, I made my first public appearance as an author. It was at Gem City Comic Con in Dayton, where I teamed up with my dear friend and cover artist for my Colt Coltrane series, Justin Wasson.

The Dynamic Duo! (Photo by artist Scott D.M. Simmons)
First of all, why a comic convention? I'm not a comic book artist (or visual artist, period), nor am I a comic book author. I don't even write superhero fiction in novel form (like my friend Ian Healy). Well, there are a couple reasons why I chose Gem City as my public debut, but let me first say that if you are a relatively unknown author like me and you have a concept that would appeal to the same audience who enjoys comics and geek/fandom culture, you really shouldn't exclude these venues for means of self-promotion. But these are the two main reasons I went with the comic con:

1. From what I've witnessed so far, Dayton isn't much for supporting indie authors. Or if it is, I haven't found the nucleus for it just yet. There are a couple decent indie stores and one expo event at the local community college, but getting into a store for a signing gig has proven challenging, and it isn't quite the venue that has felt comfortable for me being so unknown to the general public. I've worried that if I staked myself at a table in someone's shop all by myself, I wouldn't be able to make the sale. On the other hand, the indie artist and geek community here is huge, and there are several game and comic book stores in the area. I've watched the Gem City con grow by leaps and bounds year after year, and I felt more at home with a convention format, where people aren't expected to show up just for me, but for the event as a whole. In other words, it was a good proving ground with minimal risk for someone who is a virtual unknown in her own community.

We're all in it together... (Photo by the folks behind Derby City Comic Con)
2. While Colt Coltrane and the Lotus Killer is not a super hero book, it is pulpy and throwback, and its cover was illustrated by a well-known figure on the local comic book scene who was kind and generous enough to let me ride his coattails into this world. When I first devised this series, I had a hope that it could eventually branch out into movies and graphic novels. Its content is aimed directly at the same people who enjoy comics, teenagers or older readers alike, and this venture was intended as a small step to see if the concept could appeal to people enough for me to develop this universe further. Did it? I'll get to that in a second.

Now that I've laid down all the prologue stuff, let me break this down into chunks, because I've been through a bit of a whirlwind and my brain is teeming with stuff.

I. Prepping for the Con

First of all, I designed Colt Coltrane to be a small book, like any good dimestore throwback pulp book should be. It's around 55K words, worked out to only be about 175 print pages, and therefore only cost about $2.70 to print through CreateSpace. This made getting a decently sized inventory inexpensive. Given the size of this particular event, I had 40 books printed. I used six of them for GoodReads giveaways, leaving me with 34. If you're attending your first local convention, you probably won't need quite so many books, but I figure it's never a bad thing having a physical inventory left over for other small events or giveaways.

Also, because I was teaming with Justin and wanted to see more of his artwork in action, I wanted to have him do a poster print for the show. I gave him free reign, only specifying that it be "action-packed." We would then sell them for $10 each, and the lion's share would go to Justin because it was his artwork and I wanted him to make money off it because to be honest, the guy is working far below his market value as is on this project. While I didn't expect we'd sell very many at all at this show, I wanted it to be another seed that might sprout later in this growing universe. Here is the concept he came up with, title and all:


In turn, because I was so inspired by his art, I did what I do best. I wrote a short story by the same title, which you can get both for Kindle and on Smashwords. For the con, I printed up little free download coupons for people, because people like free stuff. I also included bookmarks and a little handout sheet basically explaining who I am. Finally, I made two laminated 8 1/2 x 11 signs, one about STRINGS with some review blurbs, and the other a price sheet. Printing flyers, bookmarks, signs, and coupons like this didn't cost much at all just going through the local FedEx Office store. You can easily do all of that for under $50. If you have artwork, that's really on a per-case basis. Office Max did my printing on 11x17 glossy card stock, and I got 30 of them made for about $38, but any local office store with a print shop can do the same for about as much. Shop around and seek out coupons for maximum discounts.

Additionally, I asked my publisher if he wouldn't mind sending up some copies of STRINGS for the event, and he was happy to do so. While it is a bit of an oddball offering for a place like a comic con, it represents me as an author, and I wanted people to get the whole package of who I am, so they could see that I'm not just publishing my own work, and that I'm a "legitimate" author who's been doing this awhile and knows what she's doing. And if I managed to sell a copy or two, all the better. If you don't have a traditionally published book to offer people, please don't let that stop you from doing something like this. This is just one of those "if you got it, flaunt it" situations. The success of the sale rests solely in how you present the product, and if your self-published work is performing well on Amazon, make up a sign that boasts that.

With all that in hand, I was ready for the big day.

II. Making the Sale a.k.a. The Hardest Part (at least for me)

BUY OUR STUFF!
Going into this, I figured if I could sell maybe five or ten books over the course of the weekend, I'd be happy. I set the bar extremely low because I just wasn't sure anyone was going to want to take a chance and part with their hard-earned money on a nobody author with a completely unknown property when there were all these amazing artists who could draw all their favorite comic book or movie characters. I just wanted to sell SOMETHING.

But my friend, bestselling author Shewanda Pugh, slapped some sense into my head a few days before and told me I needed to SELL the books. And she was right. That kind of defeatist thinking doesn't sell anything. Even so, my sales acumen has always been a bit on the timid side. I've always taken the more oblique approach of making people like ME and at that point, maybe they'll want to buy what I'm selling. I'm terrified of the idea of pressuring people to buy something directly, and I have very little practice pitching my own work to the public as is. It takes a healthy ego to do something like that, and mine is still in the preemie phase. I live in awe of people who persist in the face of a customer's uncertainty or even a downright "no," turning their charisma up to a ten until that person says "yes." No one awed me more at this than Justin. Here is a guy who can draw any character from any medium by request for ten bucks a pop. He also had some pre-sketches done that people could buy for the same price, in addition to a portfolio full of posters people could choose from. Through his personality and persuasive sales prowess (in addition to his talent on full display), he closed sale after sale (many from people who initially expressed no interest, or who said they'd be back later and actually DID come back later because his work made an impression on them), and as a result he spent 90% of the two days at the con drawing until his eyes crossed.

This was only the beginning...See more sketches here.
In addition to that, Justin developed a sales pitch for Colt Coltrane that went something like this: "My friend Allison here wrote the amazing book, Colt Coltrane and the Lotus killer, a 1940s sci-fi noir. Think "Gangster Squad" meets "I-Robot." That perked people's ears up immediately. From there I would pipe up and tell people that Justin did the cover art, and that he developed a print poster, on which I based a short story by the same title. We also added other catchy phrases ("Murder, Mayhem, and Mechs!") or ("Gumshoes, Dames, and Robots!"). I also came up with the phrase, "My take on a dimestore pulp novel, with a modern twist." And it worked. Again and again and again. I think this, combined with the great cover and the fair price of $6, made it an easy sell.

Justin and I both make the sale!
STRINGS was a bit more of a challenge, but I took to using my platform as an established horror author for a selling point. I would gesture toward Strings and say, "This is my bread and butter, my bestselling traditionally published horror/thriller." I would let them look at the review blurbs and feed them the requisite "Stephen King meets Thomas Harris/Silence of the Lambs" comparison, and then I would point to COLT and say, "This is my passion project, the reason I am at Gem City Comic Con today . . ."  In several of those cases, people bought BOTH books for $15. Many of the people who ended up buying Strings were just attracted to the cover as they were walking along, and that alone would bring them to our table. By the end of the con, I managed to sell all of the Strings copies my publisher shipped up here. At a comic book convention, of all places. I consider that a huge boost that validates this book more and more in my eyes. As for Colt? I sold 2/3 of my inventory, a lot more than the ten I'd originally hoped to sell. We also sold a couple posters and donated another one to a drawing.

III. Final Thoughts and What's Next . . .

The whole experience of a dyed-in-the-wool introvert having to interact with hundreds of people non-stop for two days is draining on a level I haven't experienced in awhile. But it was worth every second of exhaustion. Getting to sit next to one of my favorite people, cracking jokes and watching him draw pictures, was one of the best times I've ever had. Not only that, but I was neighbors with other artists who awed the hell out of me with their talent and their hilarious jokes. These are my kind of people.

Stephanie and Sean Forney RULE! (Photo by Scott D.M. Simmons, who ALSO rules)

I sat next to Dave Aikins, the awesome illustrator of many Dora and Spongebob books
I'm also feeling a glimmer of hope for my future as a writer after this weekend. Not only did I manage to sell the books that had the full backing of my publisher, but I also managed to sell the books that only had the full backing of myself and the artist who put his name on them. People got a look at the whole package and decided to give it a shot. It seems that Colt Coltrane, my little pet project that I've struggled to get off the ground and keep in the air, might have a pair of legs after all, and I feel a much bigger impetus to write another book in the series so I can have a larger selection at future conventions. Not only that, but based on how well Strings performed, when my sci-fi book The Last Supper comes out this summer, I'm feeling supremely confident it will do well on the convention circuit as well. People seemed excited about it when I teased it to them over the weekend.

I'm not sure if the mathematics are currently in my favor to hit a larger convention with just the selection I have right now. For one thing, larger conventions involve more travel expense. They also mean I need more inventory, and the tables are more expensive. This doesn't rule them out completely, of course, but I think I can only make it financially practical if I can offer more things for sale than just two books and a poster. I'm definitely doing Gem City again, though. I will also look into other local events and might step it up to the cons in Cincy or Columbus in 2015. Doing two or three shows a year seems like a good way to get some public exposure and to further ingrain myself as a part of the local artist community. Not only that, but it's just nice as an author to actually make money on the spot. Writers know what I'm talking about when I say that's a very rare thing to experience, especially if you don't do a lot of public appearances.

I advise people who have the right kind of material for events like this to get out there and become a part of your local fandom movements however you can. They are full of friendly and generous souls who are eager to lap up something new and exciting, and you will also see some awesome costumes, adorable families, and have the time of your life watching people express their love of geek culture. And the events organizers and vendors are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Finally, this weekend wouldn't have been nearly as special without the dear friends and family who came out to show their support. Liz and Brad, who drove all the way up from Lexington--I've known them online for many years, but finally got to meet them in person! My friend Zach, whom I also haven't seen in about sixteen years, and who has been waiting forever for me to have a public event so he could come buy a signed book. My dear friend Matt, whom I have known since I was a wild eighteen-year-old child, also came by and picked up some books and a long overdue hug. My awesome mom and dad, who are just always plain awesome. My wonderful husband and beautiful kids for whom I am doing all of this. Natalie wants her own table at a convention one day.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite things I saw all weekend: the History Channel "aliens" guy and his little girl "Ash"-ley. Parenting done right.

Until next year, Gem City. Shine on.

Over the next several days, I will be posting an interview from each author from WRAPPED IN WHITE, the brilliant new ghost story anthology from Sekhmet Press, LLC. These are the same wonderful people behind the vampire collection, WRAPPED IN RED. WHITE book also features my story, "Daddy's Glasses," and you can pick up a copy from all available ebook retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc) as well as in paperback through Amazon.

I'm just gonna come out and say it. Michael Williams is one of the nicest guys I've met in awhile. You see that mug up there? It's the mug of a nice guy. He's also a talented author, as one could attest by reading his stories both in WRAPPED IN WHITE as well as its vampire sibling, WRAPPED IN RED. He also has an award-winning series out that I hope to read someday called The Winthrow Chronicles. His vampire story ("Daddy Used to Drink Too Much") is what completely won me over. It's the first tale in the book and it sets the perfect tone for the rest of the anthology. In WHITE, he continues his streak of awesome with the tale, "His Shrine to Santa Muerte." But will we STILL think Michael is such an awesome nice guy after we hear about what he wants to eat for breakfast on the day of the apocalypse?! Read on and find out!

1. You found a surprise ten dollar bill in the dryer. How do you celebrate this magnificent windfall?
Books. Gods yes, books. I’d head right over to Nice Price or The Bookshop or The Regulator – all excellent local bookstores in my town – and spend the $10 and probably a little more and then go home and pet my new pretties.

2. You wake up and realize the apocalypse has just happened. What do you have for breakfast? 
Yogurt and cheese and a couple of bars of dark chocolate, and that would just be for starters. I might as well get my calories now, before everything in the refrigerator goes bad, right? Lunch would be the heart of the first enemy I encounter, of course, but breakfast is a meal for the civilized.

3. It's 3am and you hear a knock at the door. When you open it, you see a penguin standing here. He's wearing a bandolero, a cowboy hat, and a fake mustache. He seems to know you. Why is he there? 
Let’s just be honest here and then move on: it’s an acid flashback. Next!

4. Which super villain are you most like? 
The Penguin, no relation to the previous question. Like Burgess Meredith’s Penguin, in particular, I tend to be a little fay, a little vain, highly avaricious and I love my gadgets. I can be charming or I can have my more muscular friends deal with the problem. I’m happy either way as long as I get what I want.

5. Someone offers you a million dollars to write the greatest slash fiction story of all time. Give me your elevator pitch.
James Bond (Daniel Craig iteration) and The Saint (Roger Moore iteration) investigate a human trafficking ring laundering people and money in the possession of the villainous mega-cabal SMOOCH. The bad guys are using a huge adults-only cosplay convention as the cover for their biggest operation yet, providing our heroes plenty of opportunities to mingle with all the flavors of fandom at its most bawdy. In the end, they save the world and find love… with each other. The working title is COSTUME OF SOLACE.

**********
Costume. of. Solace. I think I'm going to laugh about that all damn day. All while I'm prepping a sexy cosplay that will win Daniel Craig over. He's mine. MINE! Thank you for stopping by, Michael! And make sure to check out his other social network portals.

Bio: Michael G. Williams is a native of the mountains of western North Carolina. He is a brother in St. Anthony Hall and Mu Beta Psi and believes strongly in the power of found families. Michael lives in Durham with his partner, two cats and more and better friends than he probably deserves.

Michael on Amazon
Michael on Facebook
Michael on Twitter
Over the next several days, I will be posting an interview from each author from WRAPPED IN WHITE, the brilliant new ghost story anthology from Sekhmet Press, LLC. These are the same wonderful people behind the vampire collection, WRAPPED IN RED. WHITE book also features my story, "Daddy's Glasses," and you can pick up a copy from all available ebook retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc) as well as in paperback through Amazon.


And we're baaaack! I managed to snag yet another WRAPPED IN WHITE contributor to answer the grueling but revealing 5 Quintessential Questions. This time, it's Bryan W. Alaspa, who is an author after my own crime and detective-loving heart, but he also has a touch for ghost stories, as you will see in his WIW tale, "The Witness." He also did a vampire story for WRAPPED IN RED. But who the hell cares about any of that with apocalyptic breakfast on the line?! Let's get going, shall we?

1. You found a surprise ten dollar bill in the dryer. How do you celebrate this magnificent windfall.
I probably buy something to eat. Maybe I head over to Red Robin and get a hamburger with some pink in the middle, gluten free bun, pickles, lettuce, tomato and ketchup with the bottomless fries. Oh, and a slice of avocado!

2. You wake up and realize the apocalypse has just happened. What do you have for breakfast?
Everything in the fridge. Even the dairy stuff that I usually can’t eat. I’d probably scoop the sour cream, butter and cream cheese with my fingers and eat it.

3. It's 3am and you hear a knock at the door. When you open it, you see a penguin standing here. He's wearing a bandolero, a cowboy hat, and a fake mustache. He seems to know you. Why is he there?
He heard we liked to rescue animals. And he’s a fan of my writing.

4. Which super villain are you most like?
Is there a super villain who’d rather just sit in his office and write, by himself, while listening to music? If there is – I am SO him.

5. Someone offers you a million dollars to write the greatest slash fiction story of all time. Give me your elevator pitch. 
Two dudes head into the woods to go fishing. They end up lost. Then night comes and when they wake up, they’re the last two people left on earth.

**********
I sure hope one of those dudes can get pregnant, because repopulation will be a problem! Or maybe that's when we finally see the rise of animal-human hybrids! OMG THAT'S HOW PLANET OF THE APES REALLY HAPPENS! Okay, sorry, I kind of lost myself, there. Also, I'm now hungry for Red Robin. Thanks a lot, Bryan!

Bio: Bryan W. Alaspa is a Chicago native and published author of over 20 works of fiction and non-fiction. He has written books in the genres of horror, thrillers, suspense, true crime, history, mysteries, young adult, paranormal and even romance. When he’s not writing, Bryan enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Melanie, and their three fur babies, Gracie, Pippa, and Hondo.

Bryan's Website
Bryan's Bookstore
Bryan on Facebook
Bryan on Twitter