The Process

A common interview question for authors is “Do you have a writing process?” This refers to the little things we do or incorporate into our routine in order to be productive in our writing. It’s fascinating because every writer is different, and some have some pretty weird shit they need/do to keep the creative juices flowing.

Christian: When I write non-fiction, yes. I write down all the main points I want to make in order, then do the necessary research and piece the whole thing together like a puzzle. That’s more of an exact science, and there are formulas to follow.

But when I write fiction, none at all. I generally wing it. I don’t know what works for other people, but I hate routines. Too stifling. I think when you try to pour creativity into a bottle is where it all goes wrong. I set targets like word counts and make sure I hit them. That’s about it.

Liam: Yes. I call it “daydreaming on paper.”

Michael: Early morning pottering, tea, radio, social media, i.e. the time-sink – get it out of the way, chores. Sit down to work at ten. Stay until 1pm lunch and news. Two hours in the afternoon. Pleased if I make 1K words. End with a ‘To do’ list for the following day. Weekends are spent editing or critting in the SFF Online Writing Workshop, which I thoroughly recommend.

Katrina: I write things on a bunch of dry erase boards like a big crazy, ignore most of them, and draft in Scrivener because I like how fancy it makes me feel.

Steve: Panic. Write. Repeat.

Renee: I do not have a process. I want one, but I can’t settle into a writing routine long enough to develop one.

So, there you have it. Some of us have a very distinct “routine” we like to follow when writing, and some just work with what we have when we get the urge to write. What about other writers out there? Do you have a process? Any weird shit you have to do or have to have in order to be productive?

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So, Let’s Talk about Why You Didn’t Like My Book

Wouldn’t we all love to ask a reader that? Especially those one-star jerks who leave NO EXPLANATION AT ALL? Yeah, you guys suck. In case you’re wondering, here’s one question we’d ask readers who didn’t like our books. Except Michael, who has to make sense and be rational all the time.

Michael: I have no questions. He or she has bought it so have every right to opine.

Katrina: There was one reviewer who couldn’t believe ALL DARLING CHILDREN was published because apparently it was so bad that anyone who okayed the publishing was obviously stupid. I’d probably ask her what put her in such a bad mood that she needed to be so horrible. It wasn’t as if she was criticizing any one or two things; she was just being shitty.

Christian: What’s wrong with you? Are you some kind of fucking dunderhead? Hello? McFly?

I’m kidding. I have no idea what I would ask them. If someone doesn’t love you, you just have to accept it. You can’t make them love you. Bonnie Raitt was right. I tried that before and ended up with a body buried in the garden.

Steve: “The fuck’s your problem, jack? Got a small penis or something?” I was once drinking with a friend who asked this question to a particularly petulant doorman. The question got his nose broke in answer, but it was worth it, I think. (Although it wasn’t my nose, to be fair.)

Liam: “Hey, if your favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird, what in hell are you doing reading my stuff anyway?”

Renee: Where did I lose you? How can I get you back? Please love me!

Just kidding. Seriously, I’d want to know what it was that turned them off. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of they didn’t like it and there’s nothing I can do about it.

So, basically, when leaving reviews, don’t be mean. If you have to be mean, at least explain where the author went wrong, so that they never make the same mistake again. Let’s turn this around now. Readers, what’s one question you’ve wanted to ask an author about a book you hated? (You don’t have to name names or books, just put the question out there and maybe you’ll get an answer.)

2017 Horror Round-Up

By PJ Blakey-Novis

I read a lot of horror in 2017, way more than I used to, and so the following ten books are the ones which first came to mind. Of these, eight fall into the category of horror, with a mix of sub-genres. The remaining two were excellent reads of a different kind. They have all stood out, either because they were intensely gripping, shockingly disturbing, or at least had an element of originality.  So, in no particular order, my ten recommended reads are;

You Only Get One Shot by Kevin J. Kennedy & J.C. Michael

pj 1

 

I had been looking forward to reading this since listing it on my Halloween promotion in October, and I was not disappointed. You Only Get One Shot was a really enjoyable, original story. The authors had found a clever way of bringing a group of short stories together and adding a frightening connection between them all. A real pleasure to read.

 

 

 

 

 

Hades Gate by D.J. Doyle

pj 2

 

I was keen to read more from D.J. Doyle, after the fabulously disturbing Red, and Hades Gate did not disappoint. It was much less gruesome than Red, but carried an air of fear throughout. Hades Gate tells the story of a group of treasure hunters who find more than they bargained for in an underwater cave. Hades Gate is a short, action-packed, fear-filled ride that is highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

Hydrophobia: A Charity Anthology

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I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of Hydrophobia at the end of October. I then spent the next few evenings reading my way through the 29 short stories that authors had provided to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Essentially, it’s a horror anthology, but each story varies greatly in sub-genre. The continued theme throughout is water. Some, such as the wonderful Bunny and Clyde by Lisa Vasquez, were genuinely creepy. Others, such as Beyond the Ocean by Lisa Lane, were beautifully original. The Dust by William Stuart was another of my favourites. Out of 29 stories and poems, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of them. I have no hesitation in recommending Hydrophobia, as a fantastic book, and as a great way to discover new writers.

X: A Collection of Horror by C.M. Saunders

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A fabulous collection of short horror stories, spanning a range of sub-genres. Each story is uniquely fascinating; the author expertly builds up tension without the need for excessive gore. There was also a great introduction to the book, which reads as a conversation with the author, and really draws you in from the very start. This was the first of C.M. Saunder’s work that I have read, and will definitely be checking out more.

 

 

 

 

Red: An Extreme Horror by D.J. Doyle

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So, this book caught my eye a few months ago, when I was in the early stages of preparing for my Halloween promotion, largely due the use of the word ‘extreme’ in the description. It was the first story that I had read from the author, so I genuinely had no idea what to expect. Since reading it, which I did in one sitting on a cold evening, I have recommended it to several people. Now, in the case of Red, extreme means extreme! If you are remotely squeamish then this is not the book for you. It’s a short read, and I don’t want to give too much away, but Red is essentially a serial killer story. It’s a little different to most as the story is told from the killer’s perspective, and the author does a fantastic job of taking the reader into the killer’s mind, his background, and the reasoning he uses to justify his behaviour; he just wants to find his princess. If you’re fine with some gore, and want an unsettling yet pleasurable way to spend an evening, you can’t go wrong grabbing a copy of Red.

 

 

 

Triggered: An Extreme Horror by Justin Tense

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If torture and gore are what you look for in a horror story, then Triggered may be just your thing. It tells the story of a wealthy horror writer exacting revenge on the three police officers who abused him in his youth. The story is short, and straight to the point, with some very imaginatively gruesome scenes. Not for the weak of stomach, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

 

Pleasure Seekers by Mike Krutz

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Back in October, I ran a Halloween promotion to showcase a different horror story each day of the month, (You can find the list on my blog). Pleasure Seekers was one that stood out for me, and not just because of the bright, simplistic cover. It is a short story at 85 pages, but what an adventure it was to read! The story takes place over one night in a city, as the lives of a host of unusual characters intertwine. The story was well paced, and beautifully written. It was easy to envisage the scenes as each one unfolded. Pleasure Seekers managed to combine a fascinating set of individual tales and weave them into a story that I can honestly see becoming a cult classic.

 

 

 

Manchester Vice by Jack Strange

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I was lucky enough receive an Advance Readers Copy of Jack Strange’s fantastic Manchester Vice. It was a really enjoyable thriller, told from the point of view of Brad Sharpe, a journalist turned serial killer. The story was well-paced, with short chapters, and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. At one point, I thought I had an upcoming twist figured out but I was wrong, which was a pleasant surprise. The ending was well thought out, and right up to the final chapter I did not know what to expect.

 

 

 

 

 

Noah Finn & The Art of Suicide by E. Rachael Hardcastle

pj 9

 

I was fortunate enough to receive an Advance Copy of Noah Finn and the Art of Suicide, knowing only that it dealt with delicate issues such as religion, death and the terrorist attack on September 11th 2001. As soon as I began reading, even by the end of the first chapter, I could see that this was something special. The story deals with Noah Finn, a janitor who had, up until September 11th, been trying to end his life. The story was complex enough to keep my interest, linking strings of incidents together as ‘The Universe’  played its role, with the help of Death, or Christopher Saint as he was called at this time. The connections between the characters were well thought out, and the writing was of an incredibly high standard. Overall, Noah Finn and the Art of Suicide was a thought-provoking, highly original, and sensitive story, with a splash of humour thrown in.

 

 

 

 

Holmes Volume 1 by Melvyn Small

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Firstly, a confession; I have never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories but, of course, I am familiar with the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. This reimagining of their adventures brings them into the modern day, in which Dr Watson is a psychiatrist and meets Holmes through this capacity. The book comprises of six short mysteries, all intertwined. The whole book was a pleasure to read; beautifully written, with clever storylines which kept me guessing throughout. The character of Sherlock was described perfectly, giving the reader a real sense of what kind of man he was. There were several laugh-out-loud moments, usually at points where Sherlock had to interact with a policeman by the name of Lestrade. Overall, it was hugely entertaining, and I look forward to reading Volume 2.

Peter Cheyney and I

(originally published May, 2016 by Mystery File)

I came across Peter Cheyney when I was somewhere between twelve and thirteen. A church bazaar or second hand bookshop, the memory is blurred. What remains clear is that being basically stupid and already with the propensity to read what I wanted to read, I assumed at first the book was a western ‘Peter Cheyenne’ being some kind of cowboy. When it became clear that it wasn’t a western, I put the book down convinced Peter Cheyenne was an American thriller writer.

I forgot all about him (well almost, the name having some kind of magic) for almost forty years. And this ‘forgetting’ is key to the whole story. Peter Cheyney was the most popular and prolific British author of his day. He was also the most highly paid. His curse perhaps is that he undoubtedly influenced Ian Fleming, for Bond is nothing more than a glamorous composite of the Cheyney ‘hero’. Cheyney created the template that Fleming developed, and the rest is history. Bond got Chubby Broccoli and celluloid fame, Peter Cheyney obscurity and critical censure.

John le Carre, when asked about spy books that might have influenced him as a child, gave the following response. He duly bowed his head to Kipling, Conrad, Buchan and Greene, and then referred to the: ‘…awful, mercifully-forgotten chauvinistic writers like Peter Cheyney and Co.’

John Sutherland made a similar point, referring to Cheyney’s Dark Series as the ‘high point of a resolutely low flying career.’ These two, wonderfully pithy, assessments are true to a point. They are also skewed by the cultural background and literary talent of both men.

Cheyney was chauvinistic, and no great shakes in terms of vocabulary and style, but he shouldn’t be forgotten ‘mercifully’ or otherwise. Cheyney’s success as the most highly paid writer of his time does not necessarily qualify him as a literary giant, but it does show that his work reflected the attitudes and mood of a huge swathe of the population, amplified it and played it back to them. Cheyney talked to the popular mood rather than the concerns of an educated elite. It was ‘everyman’ who bought his work in droves.

During the dark years of World War II and the austerity that followed, Cheyney’s novels were taken into battlefields, were exchanged for ten cigarettes in POW camps, and at a time when fabric was rationed, women fantasised about the glamorous Cheyney femme fatales in their satin and silks, sheer stockings, ruffles and bows. Read Cheyney and you’re reading violence and brutality set in a fashion catalogue.

For those jaded by pilgrimages to Baker Street, Cheyney provides a welcome alternative. Most of his many heroes, villains and victims live in a very small area of London. Some are unwitting neighbours, and all jostle each other on the same roads and streets, ghosts in parallel worlds. These are mapped, allowing the reader to go on his or her own ‘Cheyney walk.’

Cheyney, Behave recaptures a lost world and provides an eye-opening analysis of a popular culture we might prefer to forget. The book examines the importance of cigarettes and alcohol in Cheyney’s world, his attitude to ‘pansies’, racism, women, and the unconscious but jaw-dropping sexism of his age. It analyses the significance of Cheyney’s ‘Dark’ series in terms of war propaganda and how Cheyney accurately captured the effects of war on prevailing morality.

In his books you will find misogyny, homophobia, racism, sexism and chauvinism and, at their core, idealism and a deep vulnerability. In terms of market forces they reflect a world long past, one far different from ours but fascinating and worth understanding. Read Cheyney, Behaveand judge for yourself.

A Window Cleaner’s Curse

by Michael Keyton

mike's blog

I had a window cleaner once. A real window cleaner who carried his own ladder and bucket, and climbed said ladder at what ever the angle or height of the house. He also whistled so you could choose not to be in or draw the curtains hurriedly depending on circumstances. In every sense, this man was a paragon, and more – a bibliophile.

One summer’s day, as I was pruning roses, he accosted me like an ancient mariner in search of an albatross:

“Tell me your favourite book of all time.”

“I don’t have a favourite book of all time.”

“Well then, tell me one you’d recommend to me – one I would like to read.”

“It depends on what kind of books you enjoy.” I was floundering, and still holding the bucket of fresh water he’d initially requested. He ignored my outstretched arm, the water dripping strategically over his shoes.

“Complex fantasy with a Victorian feel,” he said.

This was no ordinary window cleaner – but my answer was swift. “Gormenghast,” I said, “by Mervyn Peake.” He made me spell it, but didn’t write

it down. He took the bucket from me and placed it on the floor.

“Now I’ll recommend a book to you.” His finger touched me on the chest with conviction and zeal. He could have been saving my soul.

I smiled, caught in a book-trap I hadn’t seen coming.

“You must read Barnaby Rudge.” His eyes burned into mine. “You must read Barnaby Rudge.”

“Dickens, eh,” I said, as one bibliophile to another. “So, what’s so good about Barnaby Rudge?”

“Ah, and there you have it, sir, there you have it.”

This alarmed me. The man spoke Dickensian and without a Newport accent.

“It’s a wonderfully baggy novel, cavernous and windblown with all manner of characters, all manner of characters.”

I raised an eyebrow, wondering when my windows were going to get done.

“Listen to this, sir, hark to what he says about the Secretary Gashford:

This gentleman had an overhanging brow, great hands and feet and ears, and a pair eyes that seemed to have made an unnatural retreat into his head and to have dug themselves a cave to hide in. Ain’t that good, sir. Tell me it’s good.”

“It’s very good, sir, capital in fact.” I was beginning to speak like him.

“Or this…”

“No. The windows. I get it. Barnaby Rudge.”

There were noises coming from the other side of the garden fence.  I thought I heard giggling.

I’ll end on this, sir – just so you know this is a book you must read. He’s talking about Mrs Miggs:

With an expression of face in which a great number of opposite ingredients such as mischief, cunning, malice, triumph and patient expectation, were all mixed up together in a kind of physiognomical punch…

“Physiognomical punch, isn’t that wonderful? Can you see it… Physiognomical punch.”

I told him I could, and that I would read the book, and that the water was cold; would he like more?

The strange thing is that I did read Barnaby Rudge and lost myself in its vast, sprawling, chaotic and evocative world. The bugger was right. But I’ll leave it there in case any of you fears the ancient mariner’s curse is infectious, and the window cleaner will one day knock on your door.

Sometimes I wonder whether he ever did read Gormenghast and what he thought of Prunesquallor and Nanny Slagg:

Do you like babies my dear Mrs Slagg?’ asked the doctor, shifting the poor woman on to his other acutely bended knee-joint and stretching out his former leg as though to ease it.  ‘Are you fond of the little creatures, taken by and large?’

‘Babies?’ said Mrs Slagg in the most animated tone that she had so far used.  ‘I could eat the little darlings, sir, I could eat them up!’

I never found out. I asked him on his next visit and he just tapped his nose and winked, like window cleaners do. And then soon after that we moved from Newport to Monmouth and never saw him again. I still live in hope that one day he might accost another householder with the same artfully designed trap, but this time proclaiming the merits of Gormenghast and Titus Groan.

Filling Your Niches

 

by Renee Miller

Many of us here at Deviant Dolls write in what are called “niche” genres. A niche genre is one that appeals to a small, specialized reader base. So, unlike something like romance, which has thousands and thousands of loyal readers, our genres attract a fraction of that number. And traditional publishers don’t go gaga over such books. Yeah, they want you to write something original and new, but not too original or new. They need to have somewhere to put it. If they can’t find the shelf your book belongs on, it’s a marketing problem. Plus, a fraction of thousands is not as good as thousands. It’s risky. Publishers are businesses, so this is understandable. Frustrating, but sensible if you’re looking at things from their point of view.

Just wish they’d stop asking for all this newness if they don’t want it. *grumbles*

I’m joking. Mostly. So, why would we choose to write in genres with such limited sales potential? Well a number of reasons.

First, a niche genre doesn’t mean you won’t sell just as much as someone writing in a popular or “commercial” genre. I mean, consider how many authors are out there writing the popular stuff in the first place. Spread those many readers out across those many authors, and the numbers aren’t so staggering for individual authors.

Second, I’ve found that these niche genres have the most loyal readers ever. This means, if they like what you’ve got, they’ll keep coming back, because it’s hard to find what they like. And they don’t mind paying. There are a lot of readers out there who’ve grown accustomed to the freebie. They expect it. Nothing wrong with that. We writers have created that expectation, so it’s our own fault. However, fans of niche genres like bizarro, erotic horror, absurdist comedy, slipstream and the like, know that it’s tough to find well written books that appeal to them, so they see value in it. When a reader sees what you’re offering as valuable, the freebie thing becomes less important.

Third, it’s fun. The most exciting part of publishing today is that we can bend and break genre lines. There are a bazillion sub-genres out there, and authors are creating new ones every day. Are they going to be bestsellers? Probably not. I mean, selling is the really tough part of publishing. However, it doesn’t mean they won’t sell. You can experiment. Have fun with your settings, themes, characters, etc. This experimenting helps us learn and evolve, and eventually, find the genre (niche or otherwise) where we excel.

I love writing weird stuff. If it’s strange or uncomfortable, I’m your girl. I also love writing sex scenes. Is that weird? Probably. I love writing about themes that are uncomfortable and using bizarre characters or situations. The more “WTF” or “OMG, no!” a story is, the more fun I have writing it. I’m not much for the butterflies and rainbows or the happy ending. What I’ve written previously that includes such things was a chore to write. I struggled to make it be what I was told it should be to “fit.” Sometimes I love writing tried and true stuff, but my “muse” is only truly satisfied when I’m going to an extreme of some kind. I like being a little uncomfortable with what I’m writing. Makes me more productive.

At Deviant Dolls, we chose to embrace genre straddling (and genre breaking) authors, because we believe in fiction that challenges the reader to think in new ways. We believe entertainment is valuable and so is allowing the reader to escape into a world that asks only that they buckle in and enjoy the ride. We love readers who beg to be scandalized, horrified, and/or tickled until they wet themselves. Niche genres make it easy to do this. Maybe, one day, these niche genres will become part of the norm. (Exciting) It’s more likely they won’t. That’s cool too.

Because we’re always looking for new ways to keep our readers happy, we’re curious: What’s your favorite niche and is it being filled? (Pun intended, because puns area great.)

Shrink Wrapped: Hanna Elizabeth Edition

hannaHanna may look sweet, but she’s hiding the keys to the dungeon in her bra and a shank she whittled from a baby goat femur in her hair. Don’t get to close. Don’t stick your fingers in the cage. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Probably safer to admire her from afar, like between the pages of her newest release, THE MAN UPSTAIRS.

Who do you think would be better in bed, Jennifer Lawrence or Jennifer Love Hewitt?

Since I have a HUGE crush on Jennifer Lawrence, I have to pick her. Besides, Jennifer Love Hewitt is so small and fragile looking I’m afraid I’d break her.

*See what I meant? Back away slowly. And someone grab that cardboard cutout of JLaw’s head.*

If tomorrow we got rid of Arbor day and replaced it with another pointless holiday, what would that holiday be?

My birthday, of course. That’s December 18th. You should mark that on your calendar.

*Why does it say, ‘Kill them all; Eat their souls’ the day after?*

There’s a woman standing at your door. Do you:

a) Let her in for a cuppa and your mom’s famous whiskey-soaked coffee cake

b) Giggle maniacally while your resident lizard slowly eats the dead skin from her body

c) Stare through the peep hole, slowly dwindling to madness as you realize she’s not a woman at all, but a cyborg sent to recruit you into the Tupperware Action Clan.

Definitely B. I have hundreds of lizards – they might not stop at the dead skin. I’ve trained them better than that.

oh my

*Reminds me of that scene in Goldmember. You know, with the guy who eats dead skin? WHO WANTS LUNCH?*

Tequila or Sake? Explain.

Tequila – I’m a lot more fun with Tequila. Shooters!

*Put the guns away, Forbes. She didn’t mean those shooters. I don’t think.*

Are you a hugger? Why or why not?

Yes. I am a HUGE hugger. Mostly, it’s to feel people up, but I think it’s good for the soul too.

*YOU’RE JUST TRYING TO FATTEN MINE UP SO YOU CAN STEAL IT. Don’t fucking lie to me, dear, I saw it on the calendar!*

Quick, someone grab all the sharp things—Renee, you get the chloroform—while I distract her with this pretty picture. Here, Hanna, look at the picture. NO DON’T LOOK AWAY. What do you see?

hanna-blot

I see the Predator Alien and it’s kinda creeping me the fuck out.

*Good.*

Shrink Wrapped: Renee Miller Edition

(Interview conducted by Katrina Monroe)

When vodka becomes sentient and decides to drink all of US for a change, Renee Miller will be the only one left standing, provided she finds a suitable straw in time. She writes what she lives and that is Fucked Up Shit that ping-pongs between funny as hell and the kind of shit you tell your therapist about. MIND FUCK is of the former; HUNGER is of the latter.

bio-drinkingSTOP FIDGETING, Renee. I was only kidding about the vodka. OKAY. Okay. Fine. You can have some. But you have to share.

When was the last time you saw something that wasn’t there? How could you be sure it wasn’t there in the first place? What’s that pill bottle you keep shaking?

I saw something just the other day. It was a shadow, sort of. When I turned it was gone, so I assumed it wasn’t there. I guess I can’t be sure of that. Maybe my house is haunted.

What pill bottle?

*You can’t fit that entire bottle in your—okay, I guess you can. Still a shitty hiding spot.*

How would you explain ugly Christmas sweaters to an alien?

I have a hard time explaining those to myself. Should an alien ask during my pre-probe interrogation, I’d just bend over and wait.

*Standard operating procedure then, eh?*

You’re walking down the street and you see a human hand blocking a storm drain. Do you assume it’s real or fake? Why?

I assume it’s fake, so I can keep walking. Then, when I’m a safe distance away, I’ll consider that my assumption was wrong and try to figure out where it came from. I didn’t leave it there, that’s for sure and I resent the implication.

*Because you’re SO CAREFUL about your discards, right? Do we need to bring up the couch incident?*

You’re stranded on a desert island with the last five people you talked to. Cannibalism is inevitable, so let’s skip to the good stuff. Who gets eaten first?

So, I’d be stranded with you (Katrina), Christian, my daughter, a lovely woman named Laurie and Mike, who works in frozen foods at our grocery store. I won’t be eaten first, because I’m an aggressive personality and I only get worse when I’m hungry, so good luck trying to eat me, Katrina. Get that out of your head right now.

*I will not and you can’t make me.*

Christian talks fancy, so I’d like to keep him around for a while. He’d probably be second or third, depending on how he plays his cards. My daughter is obviously not on the menu, because I ruined my bikini body to give her life. Not taking it away just yet. Laurie would be chewy, so she’d have to marinate too long, and I was going to say I could never eat you, but then I laughed, because… never mind.

It’d have to be Mike. I’m sure he’ll understand.

*Working in frozen foods does give you a certain viewpoint toward life. *

Now that you’re full, it’s sexin’ time. Same five people (though I guess we’re down one, aren’t we?), which one will end up under the banana-leaf shelter for a night of grunting with you? Why?

Ha! Well, again, the kid is out. Mike’s dead, and I’m not into that shit. Laurie would probably stab me for trying, so it’s between you and Christian. How about both? Is that greedy? Come on. I bet it’d be a learning experience for all of us.

painted whore

*Unless Christian somehow grew a vagina (wouldn’t THAT be a trick), no thanks. Although, if he were to be a distant participant, VERY distant, and he closed his eyes… No. Never mind. I’ll just wait over here roasting bits of Mike thigh.*

Drop the bottle, Miller. You’re not quite done yet. Take a look at this. With both eyes, please, you’re not a fucking pirate. What do you see?

ink-blot-1

I saw this picture once of a dog costume on Amazon, but I can’t find it now. Basically, it’s a baby costume. When you put it on your dog the poor thing looks like some kind of horrific alien doll thing, and it’s pissed at you. Probably going to shit in your boots or something. Maybe eat your face off while you sleep.

*If you so much as look at my cat that way again, you and I will have words. Also, I’m pretty sure Christian is squatting over your shoe. Going to need to take care of that. No, it’s not my fault. Just go.*

Shrink Wrapped: C.M. Saunders Edition

As we’ve already explained in previous interviews, this is not a meet the author and find out all the writerly things he does kind of thing. Instead, we took questions a doctor or cop searching for a serial killer might ask and tweaked them a little.

Christian bio picToday, we’re grilling C.M. Saunders (also known as Christian or ‘little bitch’ around here). He writes horror fiction and he talks funny. Everything is just a big, twisty, dark thing to him. Everything.

* Katrina, he’s doing it again. Where’s the restraints? No, he won’t get it on you. Christ… have to do everything myself…*

 Anyway, Mr. Saunders is releasing a collection of dark fiction in January, 2017, and we highly recommend you give it a read. For now, check out his most recent work in Deadman’s Tome. It’s gooey.

Now, let’s get to analyzing Christian.

When you get mad, do you:

  • Get even

  • Lash out

  • Pitch a tantrum, and then get over it

  • Do nothing.  

Please explain.

I always had a low tolerance level for assholery. People don’t always set out to be assholes, and sometimes they don’t even know they are doing it. I can accept a certain amount of that, people being the imperfect creatures that we are. It’s the deliberate, pre-meditated assholery that gets on my tits. Liars, cheats, users. As a younger, more hotheaded man, I would definitely lash out. Problem being, I’m not that tough so I usually got my ass kicked. These days, being older and wiser, if someone pisses me off I pay some guys to ‘take care of the problem,’ thereby saving myself the hassle and a lot of potentially damaging court cases. I do believe in karma. If you are a cunt, you’ll get fucked eventually.

How would you explain 2 Girls, 1 Cup to an alien? (Editor’s Note: Please don’t Google this kids)

I don’t know what that is. Kidding. Okay, I would tell the aliens it’s a film depicting some perfectly normal human behaviour. The kind most of us do on a daily basis, usually before breakfast. Then the aliens might fuck off and leave us alone.

Kevin Spacey or Kevin Bacon? Explain. (Note: The status of our relationship will be affected significantly by your answer.)

I’m guessing you want me to say Spacey. But I’m going to say Bacon just to piss you off. Nah, I really would choose the Bacon. Now I have to justify it? No problem. One word. Footloose. That was a seminal 80’s flick, right up there with the Breakfast Club and the Risky Business. There’s also the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to consider. For those who don’t know, it’s a game based on the Six degrees of Separation theory. There’s a website called the Oracle of Kevin Bacon where you type in any name and it will link it to KB. Except mine, apparently. There isn’t an Oracle of Kevin Spacey. Know why? Because he isn’t cool enough. He might be the pretentious arty poser’s favourite, because of Usual Suspects and not much else, but he will never win the people’s vote. There are reasons for that. Ask anyone to name five Kevin Spacey films without Googling. They won’t be able to do it. Two more things that help my case is that Bacon was in the original Friday the 13th film. Not many people know that. And the killer is that he’s in a band with his brother. They are called the Bacon Brothers.

* Actually, I was hoping you’d say Bacon, because of Footloose. Our relationship remains strong and weird. For the record, Kevin Spacey is amazing and cool, and doesn’t get the respect and admiration he deserves. By admiration, I mean lustful fantasies. I love him. *

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Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

Yes and no. I firmly believe there is much more to this world than a lot of us realize. But sticking a label on it would be a mistake. Things happen that we can’t explain. People see or experience weird shit all the time, and it’s usually easier to ignore the problem rather than try to address it. Charles Fort talked about having a ‘procession of the damned.’ By ‘damned’ he meant data mainstream science has deliberately excluded because it doesn’t fit the accepted theory. His mission was to collect this data and bring it to light, and he did a pretty good job. Don’t get me wrong, the world of the so-called paranormal is filled with bullshit. A lot of what you hear or see, especially in shows like Ghosthunters, isn’t what it appears to be. But I always say even if 99% is fabrication, disinformation, or plain old lies, the remaining 1% proves the existence of ‘something else’ and that’s all you need. Do I believe ghosts are the returning spirits of dead people? No. But there’s definitely something fucking going on.

* Oh, there’s something going on all right… *

Have you ever had sex with someone you weren’t actually attracted to? Since I know your answer is yes, I’m just going to go ahead and ask you why you did it?

Alcohol.

* Enough said.*

Time for the Ink Blot. Tell us, Christian, what do you see in this?

christians-blot

I really wanted to see a panda. I like pandas a lot. It was close. But to be honest, I saw an alien’s skull.

Really? Hmm. *puts the straitjacket away* Thanks for playing along. You can pick up your prescription from the dwarf on the way out. Don’t look him in the eye.

Shrink Wrapped: Tony Bertauski Edition

Welcome to our series of Meet the Dolls interviews we’re calling Shrink Wrapped. Before you run away, let me say these are not a meet the author and find out all the writerly things he does yawn-fest kind of thing. Instead, Katrina and myself (Renee) took questions a doctor or cop searching for a serial killer might ask and tweaked them a little. It’s been enlightening… and disturbing.

tonyLet’s begin with our first patient, Tony Bertauski. Tony is the author of amazing books like the Foreverland Series and The Socket Greeny Saga. He’s also seen a horse’s vagina. More on that later.

Tony’s most recent book, HUMBUG (The Unwinding of Ebenezer Scrooge): A Science Fiction Adventure, is just what you need to read during this festive season. (Even if you hate Christmas, you’ll like this book. If you don’t, you’re a monster.)

Let’s get to digging in Tony’s head, shall we?

Love or Money? Explain.

Love. Unless I’m super hungry.

* I totally understand that answer. *

How would you explain Facebook to an alien?

You know the arguments family have across the table at holidays? That on a global scale.

* Maybe that’s why everyone loves it so much? *

Describe yourself in three words. Now, describe the last person who stood ahead of you in line at the last store you went to in three words.

Hard to understand.

From another planet

*Is anyone else wondering where this man shops?*

The person you love and trust most in this world has called for your help. Keeping in mind you’d catch a grenade for this person, they’ve asked you to help hide a body. First, do you ask any questions and if yes, what questions. Second, do you do it?

We talking a baby, or an old man on his deathbed? Big dif. (Renee: We’re talking adult who probably would’ve lived for many years)

Depends on how much digging is involved.

Which animal do you find sexy and why? According to experts, human beings find at least one animal a little arousing, (that may or may not be true) so spill it.

I saw a close up pic of a horse vagina the other day from a friend who boards horses. Looked just like a vagina. Imagine that.

* Does that mean you find horses sexy? I’m going to go with yes. (makes a note) And now I can’t get that out of my head. *

Finally, tell us, Tony, what do you see in this inkblot:

tonys-blot

Two seahorses smoking genital pipes.

shock


I did not see that… until now. Thanks, Tony. Genital pipes… wow. Anyway, thanks for playing along. We always love when you come to our play dates. Your parting gift is this lovely genital pipe. Sorry, Forbes ate the seahorses. He’s a dick like that.