DIG TWO GRAVES (or my rampant fanboying of Eric Beetner continues)

So, at Bouchercon 2015 I picked up some books. Three of those books were by Eric Beetner, you remember him from the other day when I gushed like a schoolgirl over a box of kittens about RUMRUNNERS, his book from 280 Steps.

Well, I read DIG TWO GRAVES, his revenge noir novella from Snubnose Press. It was really freaking good. The main character, Val, is a scumbag, but he is strangely likable, stumbling his way through a half-assed plan to get back at the two folks he feels have set him up to go back to prison. Mayhem ensues as things keep going sideways on Val and he just can’t catch a break. You’ll read this book as quick as you can because you won’t be able to put it down.

Plus you get a back up short story that kicks a lot of ass as well.

Check out the trailer Eric made for it .


dig two graves

HAVING A FRIEND OVER FOR THANKSGIVING (or A Guest Blog Up In Da House By Matthew W. Quinn)

Today we have my friend Matt Quinn on the blog. Matt is a member of my writing group and he has just sold a story to Heroic Fantasy Quarterly (“Nicor”) that will appear after the first of the year. He’s a fine fellow, a gentleman AND a scholar, so listen up as he tells you about researching as it pertains to writing.

Things I’ve Learned about Writing Research

The Author Himself Matthew W. Quinn

By Matthew W. Quinn

One of the most important aspects of writing is research. If an error throws the reader out of the story or provokes them to throw the book against the wall, you have failed.

For my novel Battle for the Wastelands and its companion novella Son of Grendel, I had to do a lot of research on Civil War battles and weapons. Both Wikipedia and YouTube proved quite useful, as I could quickly find out about different guns, then go to YouTube to watch them being fired.

However, my current hard science fiction project (which does not yet have a title even though it’s already spawning sequels) will require even more. There are plenty of books about the Civil War that won’t be hard to find, but finding a book from the 1980s about the Strategic Defense Initiative and in particular a proposed nuke-pumped laser is harder. Furthermore, it’s set in a future space-based United States Navy, so there’s an extra layer of research that simply Must Get Done if I want to sell to military and former military people.

My most helpful resource has been the public library system. Although you can get a lot of superficial information from the Internet, books are what’ll help you go deep. When I lived on the South Side of Atlanta, the statewide PINES library system was extremely helpful in getting me the information I needed. When I moved to the North Side, the Atlanta-Fulton library system became my new mainstay. Libraries often have books that bookstores don’t. One of my big research sources for Battle for the Wastelands was the series Daily Life In…, in particular the ones about Victorian England, the United States during the Civil War, and the 19th Century American frontier. Those books were apparently fairly limited in terms of press run, since the Amazon price for each one is around $50. They’re especially valuable because although many history books cover big-picture items like wars and the reasons behind economic shake-ups, they won’t go into detail about how people lived, what they ate, etc.

Writing groups are another source. Different group members often know a lot about particular topics. For example, James knows a lot about firearms. During a critique of Son of Grendel, he pointed out that I should depict insurgents firing modern assault rifles on full auto reloading, since this goes through bullets VERY fast. Although I’d depicted them having to fight the guns dragging upward, I’d forgotten about that even though it’s fairly common sense. Another group member is a retired Army sergeant who’s been quite helpful in areas of military protocol and tactics, including a scene in Son of Grendel where a colonel is directing soldiers during a firefight while on horseback — he might as well be wearing a sign that says “Kill Me” — and a scene in Battle for the Wastelands in which a sergeant oversees shooting drills.

Meanwhile, at least three members of my other writing group are retired military. One provided some good advice on portraying a military policewoman’s reaction to being hit on in a bar (probably not a good one), while another — a former petty officer on a submarine — provided a lot of material about Navy culture and protocol. He also informed me of the “one crew one screw” rule in which collective punishments are used to give all members of a unit incentive to keep troublemakers under control. I was sure to use this in Battle for the Wastelands when a sergeant makes all members of a squad do “gaspers” (what I describe as “an unholy mix of squatting, push-ups, and jumping to their feet”) when three members get into an argument.

However, you’ve got to make sure you’re using quality material for your research. I remember (hopefully incorrectly) a history of Anglo-Saxon England I read in high school implied the Normans imposed the infamous “first night” on England after their conquest, but the historical evidence for this “right” even existing is rather spotty. If something seems weird, I would recommend looking for corroboration in other sources.

Matthew W. Quinn is a published writer of short stories and currently shopping his novel: BATTLE FOR THE WASTELANDS. His horror tales “Melon Heads,”  “I am the Wendigo,” and “The Beast of the Bosporus” and his science-fiction story “Coil Gun” can be found on Amazon.com, while his licensed BattleTech story “Skirmish at the Vale’s Edge” can be found on BattleCorps.

Matt’s blog is HERE

THE REAL SCOOP ON SELF-PUBLISHING (no BS. Talking to my successful indie author friends.)

If you read books then you know that things they are a changing in the publishing world. A lot of folks are up in arms over the advent of independent publishing, or as it is know more commonly, self publishing. Now I have dipped my toe in that water. I have a self-pubbed little crime collection out. It’s full of these tiny crime stories that I love and think are kick-ass. They are too short for anyone to pay me for publishing them traditionally so I did it myself. It sells well and I had fun.

But I’m not a self-published author. It’s a ton of work and I do love my publisher. Kensington has been very good to me. So I am not an expert on what it’s like to really be a self-publisher. However, I am lucky enough to have many wonderful friends who self-pub. I chose three of them to interview for you today. Now I picked these three folks because of a few reasons.

1) They are all very talented. These are folks who are self publishing because they CHOOSE to, not because they suck.

2) They are actually making a livable wage (and then some) by self-publishing.

So without further adieu:

Q: Tell the readers a bit about yourselves.

Annabel Joseph: My name is Annabel Joseph and I’ve been writing for publication since about 2007. I started out at the two largest e-romance publishers and moved to self publishing after my 5th book. I have fourteen books out now with two more on the way, and I’d classify myself as a successful self-published author since I make a good living at it. I’m so thankful for my readers, because a lot of my success has come through word of mouth.

Jennifer Malone Wright: I write mostly paranormal fiction, you know…the kind with vampires and people who have special powers. My book that sells the best is The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter. I may delve into other genres, but for the most part they will always have a paranormal twist.

John Hartness: I’m John G. Hartness, author of The Black Knight Chronicles urban fantasy series from Bell Bridge Books, and the creator of Bubba the Monster Hunter and his series of short stories. I’m a professional writer, lighting designer, theatre director, writing instructor, poet, drunkard and knight-errant. Some people call me Maurice, ‘cause I speak of the pompatus of love.

Q: Why did you choose to self-publish?

Jennifer Malone Wright: The Decision to self publish was a huge decision and it was not made lightly. Seriously, I was researching publishing, agents, query letters and also the process of self publishing for years before I finished my first book. I finally chose self publishing because of the ebook boom and wanted to see what I could do with it before I pursued an agent.

Annabel Joseph:  It was a convergence of several things. First, I got a terrible cover for one of my traditionally published books. And when I say terrible, I mean, people went out of their way to write to me and say, “I did not buy your book because the cover was THAT bad.” When I complained to the publisher I was basically told to shut up, which smarts. I mean, that’s my book I labored over, and their cover sunk it. I’ll never get over it.

Around that same time, a friend convinced me to self publish one of my edgier books on Amazon. It started to sell–really SELL. By the second month it climbed to number one on the erotica bestseller list and stayed there for over a week. I had priced it at $2.99 and I sold thousands of copies at that price. I’m not saying that’s normal, but for whatever reason, the book generated word of mouth, and I made $12,000 on it that month. Meanwhile, my traditionally published book with the awful cover was priced at 11.90 and sold, I don’t know, maybe 30 copies.

I did the math in my head…hmmm…do I want to sell 30 copies a month and make $30 in royalties, or sell 6000 copies a month and get $12,000 in royalties? I was actually in contract negotiations with my next book and pulled out. The publisher got mad and it was a bad scene, but I’ve never looked back and I don’t regret it. For me, it was a matter of making a living at what I was doing, or not making a living, and I wanted to make a living.

John Hartness: I got impatient with the traditional publishing process. Not understanding the sheer volume of submissions agents and publishers receive, I waited a month after sending out my first few query letters and pulled the trigger on self-publishing.

Q: Do you love self-publishing or do you wish you were with a traditional publisher?

John Hartness: Even now that I am with a traditional publisher, I can’t foresee ever selling all my properties to traditional publishers. I love the editorial support I get from my publisher, but I love the control of self-publishing. And I write so much faster than any publisher could keep up with, so I will always keep at least one foot in the self-publishing waters. I look at all of it as stops on the journey. I learned a ton self-publishing that I’m now able to apply to my traditionally published works. Then I’m learning a ton through working with a traditional press that I can apply to my self-pub work. So it all flows back and forth.

Jennifer Malone Wright: There are some days I would disagree with the statement I’m going to make, but for the most part I totally love self publishing. I love being able to keep track of all my sales and know what works and what doesn’t. I love the creative process of picking covers and stuff like that. I actually like marketing so doing that doesn’t bother me either. The only thing I really don’t like is the accounting part of it.

Annabel Joseph: I only miss one thing about traditional publishing, and that’s the “prestige” factor. It doesn’t matter how many books you’re selling or how much money you’re making…a self-published author still appears “lesser” than a traditionally published author. There’s a stigma attached to it, the assumption that you’re self publishing because your work’s not publishable, and that’s not always the case.

I should mention here that I do believe it’s beneficial to put out at least a book or two the traditional way– if you can–because you learn a lot about what and what not to do. You learn a lot of things about writing and editing. If you’re determined to begin your career as a self publisher, do yourself a favor and hire an experienced editor to help you through your first few books. You need it. It’s costly, but I can’t stress this enough…everyone needs editors. Everyone. Every. One. Pay the money.

Q: I know each of you spend money on your covers. How important is a good cover to the sellability of the book?

Annabel Joseph: I know from experience they have a massive effect on book sales. My best covers have my best sales. My worst covers have my worst sales. Publishers will tell you–when you don’t like your cover–that covers don’t matter. It’s such a lie. When I talk to readers, they tell me they judge the cover before the blurb. You can have the best blurb in the world, but if that cover pic doesn’t compel them to click, they aren’t going to get to the blurb. Books live and die by the Amazon thumbnail, so not only do you need a great cover…it needs to be compelling in itty-bitty thumbnail form.

John Hartness:  I think a good cover is critical, particularly in paperback. I know I lost sales before I re-did all the covers to my books last year. I spend less money and time on my ebook short stories, but I can almost get away with that. But when I’m asking someone to shell out money for my novels, they need to get a professionally presented product.

Jennifer Malone Wright: Oh my goodness. A good cover is sooo important. I have seen several of my friends change their covers to something better and see their sales jump dramatically. I never did my own covers, The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter sells really well and the covers are great. My other novel, The Birth of Jaiden, doesn’t sell so well so we are going to try and come up with a new cover when we do the re release after it has been re edited. Think about how many books are out there, if yours doesn’t have an eye catching cover people will scan right on past it.

Q: What’s the best thing about self-publishing?

Jennifer Malone Wright: The best thing about self publishing is that I am in control of all my own work and I get a pretty good royalty compared to what traditionally published authors get.

Annabel Joseph: Control of your work is the number one best thing. A self publishing author controls the cover, the subject matter, the release date, the price, the formats, everything. Until you get a bad cover, or have an ebook out there priced at $11 totally tanking, you don’t understand how important that control is, or how powerless you are at a traditional publisher. Basically, you have NO power and no rights to your work, even though you’ve written the book. It’s difficult. With self publishing, you never have to surrender your rights or your power.

Self-publishing also allows you to bend genres and tiptoe around the outside of various genres, because you can put out things publishers don’t want to take a chance on. I’ve come to realize there are a lot of things readers want that publishers won’t touch. Self publishing allows authors to fill that niche. I had a historical called Lily Mine that a publisher kicked out a week before the release date because they said the ending was too implausible. It was a Cinderella-type story, and I believed readers would love it, so I published it myself. It climbed to number 12 on the erotica bestseller list and has continued to sell well for over a year now. Publishers aren’t always right about what people want to read.

John Hartness: The control.

Q: What’s the worst thing?

John Hartness: Having to do it all myself. I’m a team of one on my self-pub stuff, and with my traditionally pubbed work I’ve got a group working with me.

Jennifer Malone Wright: I said it before up there, the accounting. I freaking hate the whole save this for your taxes and make sure to claim this and blah blah blah… I hate it!

Annabel Joseph: Lack of respect, lack of opportunity. I have to kiss a lot of butt and do a lot of networking to get a spot at conferences or author panels, or to get reviewed on the bigger blogs. I’m not welcome at big romance conventions like RWA or RT, even though I imagine my sales match or exceed their published authors. It’s a constant struggle to be taken seriously, to prove yourself.

Q: Do you still get flack for being self-published, or has that day passed us by?

Annabel Joseph: No, it hasn’t passed us by. I do feel like the red-headed stepchild of the publishing industry. A lot of doors are closed to me because of the choices I’ve made, but I remind myself that I’m making a living at writing because I’m self publishing. The checks I get from my publishers are about 1/10 of the checks I get from my self-published work, and I don’t want to go back to those slave wages over an issue of pride. I have to remember it’s about the success, not the prestige. It’s about reaching readers and being able to stay home and do this as a full-time job. It’s worth a few people looking down their noses at me.

John Hartness: We’re not quite past that day, but we’re close. I still get a few snubs from cons and book festivals that won’t look at self-pubbed authors, and some agents and editors still look down their nose, but more and more people are travelling the hybrid author road, so it’s starting to look less like a decision people are forced into and more like a viable career path.

Jennifer Malone Wright: I do think, to an extent that that day has passed us by, but not completely. When I was first published I did get flack. You know, like when someone says “Oh, your published! With who?” then you tell them you are self published and you can see their whole facial expression change and they say “Oh.” Yeah, that has passed us by. We still have a long way to go to overcome the stigmas and stereotypes of self publishing over the years.

Q: Any predictions about the future? What will happen with traditional publishing? What will happen with self-publishing?

John Hartness: I think the picture of the author of the future will be different from the author of today. I think with a hybrid career (some trad pub, some self pub) we’ll see more midlist authors able to actually make a living off their writing, and writing will become a viable profession once again. I think the mass market paperback is dead within five years unless you’re a top 20 bestseller, and it will be replaced by ebooks and trade paperbacks. And I think we’re in the midst of a renaissance for small press and micro-press publishers.

Jennifer Malone Wright: I think we are always going to have traditional publishing, I don’t really have a prediction about them. For independent publishing, I think it will keep rising up and eventually a lot of these independent authors will be very, very well known. However, independent publishers must realize that we must have our product be equal or better than the traditional publishers or the self publishing industry will fall again.

Annabel Joseph: I think publishers will have to become more service-oriented to keep authors in the fold. The exodus to self-publishing has already begun, and to retain authors, publishers will have to cough up some perks to offset the low royalties they pay, like more author control. They’ll have to cater more to their authors and maybe even offer to do the promo legwork that has traditionally fallen into the author’s lap.

Otherwise I don’t see how they survive, how they remain relevant. Once the digital market overtakes the paper book market, and mass distribution of paper books loses importance, all publishers really have to offer is prestige and whatever perks they can think up to convince authors to share their royalties with them.

All I know is things are changing like crazy. It will be interesting to see where they end up.


WOW! Thank you all for being so open and up front. I appreciate it.

See, dear reader, this is what you DON’T get from other blogs. I bring you the straight dope from folks who are LIVING this. Now do your part. These are all PHENOMENAL authors. You like to read so go buy one of their books. Follow them on twitter, like them on faceybook, repost their stuff. These fine folks are worthy of your support. Love them like you love me and buy their shit. 🙂

Here are your links:


Website: www.annabeljoseph.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annabeljosephnovels

Twitter: @annabeljoseph

Fetlife: Annabel_Joseph

Latest release: BURN FOR YOU


Facebook : facebook.com/johnghartness.

  Website: www.johnhartness.com

Twitter:  @johnhartness.

Latest Release: SIXTEEN TONS A Bubba the Monster Hunter short


Website: www.jenniferwrightauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thevampirehuntersdaughter



Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Malone-Wright/e/B00508KU4I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

WHEN SPIES GROW UP THEY STILL PLAY WITH THEIR TOYS (an interview with thriller author Chuck Barrett)

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Chuck at the Dahlonega Literary Festival in 2011. I had a great time, met some great folks, hung out with folks I knew, and had a blast. Chuck was one of the guys I talked to several times that weekend and have kept in touch with. He’s a helluva nice guy and a fellow International Thriller Writers member with me!

He just put out the 2nd book in his Jake Pendleton series, called The Toymaker, and I thought it would be nice to sit down and chat with him a bit.

So here goes:

  1. Your second book just hit the shelves. Give us a sum up of what’s going on in Jake Pendleton’s life in book 2.

Jake Pendleton finds himself embroiled again in a battle to thwart a terrorist’s evil purpose as he is propelled through deserts, explosions, gun battles and boat chases. Tormented by an unseen nemesis and his own embattled psyche, Jake must accept the help of a little known ally to the US Government and learn painful, but liberating lessons from The Toymaker, a secretive developer of spy toys and advanced technology.

2) Tell me about the Toymaker. I heard he is a real guy and I want to know if he is working for us or for the highest bidder!

Indeed he is a real man. And real-life Toymaker is as characterized in the book. I met him by happenstance on vacation in Utah in 2010. As we got to know each other, I realized he was dropping some of those buzz words I was used to hearing after years of reading spy thrillers. So, finally I just asked him if he made toys for spies. That was when I really got to know the true nature of his business. He invited me to his U.S. Factory to see some of the things he makes and has made. It was pretty cool to say the least. As far as who he works for—the real Toymaker is a true patriot. He’s served this country since the 1950’s. Any foreign entities he’s supplied ‘toys’ to have been at the behest or under contract through our government. For instance, the copper tents and TEMPEST setup was sold to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. He’s had dealings with Mossad, Great Britain, as well as a few others. He’s not a highest bidder kind of guy. He’s a man of strong ethics and values and patriotism.

3) What do you think about the high number of J names in the thriller genre? How did you come up with the name for your character?

I don’t guess I ever really thought about until I read this question…probably because the protagonists in the most of the book I read are names like Mitch, Scot, Cotton, Myron, Michelle, Sean, and Oliver. Well, there is Jack Reacher, I guess there’s a J. I have noticed after looking into it that there are a lot of “J” named protagonists. I figure it’s probably just a phase…not unlike how baby names grow in and out of popularity over the years. But my main character will be around for many more thrillers so I guess I’ll keep adding to it. I came up with the name Jake by nothing more than putting together names until I found one that sounded like I’d want him as a main character…much like Gregg Kaplan or Elmore Wiley, or Francesca Catanzaro. They have a place and the name bears some significance in the story…even it’s its subliminal. There are some names where the name itself tends to sound ‘good guy.’ Conversely, there are names that just ring ‘villain.’ The reader will almost instinctively know which is which just by the name.

4) How did you go about getting published and what is your one piece of advice to the budding thriller writer out there?

My books are independently published. After years of frustration with dealing with the traditional publishing brick wall and the total lack of respect for authors, I figured there had to be a better way. And there is another way. As you know, the options for publishing today are many and none of them should be ruled out. Regardless of how you’re published—traditional, self, vanity…whatever—the number one rule is write a good book. Bottom line is a good story, written well, will sell. If you know you have a good, well-written story then explore ALL your options and don’t rule out anything until you’ve weighed them against each other.

5) Give me a list of the last five books you read (not for research, for fun).

Rules of Betrayal by Christopher Reich
Echo Park by Michael Connelly
Supreme justice by Phillip Margolin (who also endorsed The Toymaker)
The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry (who also endorsed The Savannah Project)
Full Black by Brad Thor

And I’m currently reading The Sixth Man by David Baldacci. Adding to my enjoyment was Frozen Past by Richard C Hale, who is a friend and just independently published his second thriller. Richard is an author to keep an eye on.

6) Hollywood came calling they want to know who you cast in the movie of The Toymaker.

Not an easy question to answer…but I’ll try anyway.
Jake Pendleton: Chris Hemsworth (Clean shaven and lighter hair)
Gregg Kaplan: Karl Urban (always with a 5 o’clock shadow)
Elmore Wiley (The Toymaker): Very difficult—Maybe Donald Sutherland because of his ability to eloquently portray eccentric characters.
Kyli Wullenweber: This one would require more thought. What started out to be a small character role ended up being major. I wouldn’t want to get this one wrong!

7) What’s next in your plan for world domination?

The 3rd Jake Pendleton thriller is in the works and is scheduled to be out by year’s end. At that point I’m tentatively planning on the first of the Gregg Kaplan stories. The two series, Jake Pendleton and Gregg Kaplan, will be distinctly different in flavor. The Jake Pendleton series will lend more toward suspense and intrigue whereas the Gregg Kaplan series will be more of a true mystery. But, as with most plans, that might change as well.

Click the book covers to read more about them and to get a link to buy.

Go support Chuck, cause he kicks mucho ass!

EYEBALLS, NEEDLES, BURLESQUE GIRLS, AND INK (or an interview with Author/Tattoo Artist Julia Madeleine)

Loyals and True Believers HARK!

Today I bring you an awesome interview with a strange and unique person. She is one of the rare folks who are both a writer AND a tattoo artist like yours truly.

Julia Madeleine is Canadian and one helluva interesting Dame. Tune in and pay attention and at the end there will be FREE stuff.

Q&A with Julia Madeline


Let’s start off with the good stuff, tell us about your newest book. It’s a prequel right?

There is a prequel called Scarlet Sins, which is a novella about a burlesque queen in the 1960s, her troubled marriage, and what she chooses to do to save it. Then there is my novel, The Truth About Scarlet Rose, about the subsequent murder of her husband and her grown daughter who has to help in the investigation.

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So why do you write such dark stuff? I mean you are a girl! Shouldn’t you be writing about love and stuff?

That’s funny James. Love is good. I write about love, but it’s usually love gone wrong, where someone is going to end up dead. Much more interesting that way, wouldn’t you say?

Now why did you choose to go the way of Amazon exclusivity? Would you recommend it to others?

I’m currently selling exclusively through Amazon because Kindle Direct Publishing allows for some great marketing tools like making your book free for a limited time which is a great way for new readers to find your work. I might eventually list my books with other eBook retailers like Kobo and Sony for example (never say never) but the market share for them is pretty small and they have a habit of discounting their books which affects the price on Amazon . The new king of the jungle is Amazon and they very author friendly.


What books or authors do you think influenced you as a writer? And what are you reading now?

I’ve read a lot of literary fiction since college and I think it influenced my writing considerably. Mary Gaitskill, Evelyn Lau, Joyce Carol Oates, Janet Fitch, Margaret Laurence. These days I’m pretty much reading just in the thriller genre. Currently I’m reading Hillary Davidson’s debut The Damage Done and Tumblin’ Dice by John McFetridge.

Okay, let’s switch gears to your other career. Like me, you are a professional tattoo artist. Your pinup work is super nice. Is that your favorite style?


Definitely. I love the classic pin-ups and I enjoy doing them in colour especially. They make for great tattoos. Gil Elvgren and George Petty are two of my favourite pin-up artists.

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Tell me how you got started in tattooing? Did you serve an apprenticeship or just sell your soul at the crossroads for the ability to tattoo?


I blackmailed my tattoo artist. Ha, ha. No, I just married him. When I lost my job as a match maker at a dating service, I started hanging around my husband’s shop answering the phones. I’ve always had an art background but never thought of doing anything professionally with it. Then I started to work on custom designs for clients and eventually that led to my husband teaching me to tattoo. He made that decision after the first time he had to cough up for my car payment. So basically tattooing found me, I wasn’t looking to be an artist at all.

How is the tattoo scene in your town? How is the author scene?

The tattoo scene is awesome. My husband Fabien, has had the shop, Malefic Tattoos, on the west side of Toronto for about 18 years so we’re well established and have worked at building a good reputation and a loyal clientele. I’ve been a tattooer myself for about 12 years. We’re in a big city, about 700,000 so no shortage of flesh. It’s cool to go through generations of families; the kids of parents we’ve been tattooing for years starting to come in now. Love seeing that. We’re doing the NIX tattoo show in Toronto this summer for the first time. So that’s going to be lots of fun.

The crime writing scene here is pretty good as well. We have an annual convention in Toronto called Bloody Words. It’s like a mini Thrillerfest. Lots of great Canadian writers.

Do you have any other creative outlets like painting or photography? Or do you stick with only the two of tattooing and writing?

I do but I’ve had to give them all up to feed my writing obsession. I used to paint and was into photography as well. I also used to design clothing and sew, garden, bake, make jewellery. All visual arts; I don’t sing, dance, or play music. But alas, writing is all consuming and in order to have the time for it, I’ve had to sacrifice all other creative mediums. Except for tattooing of course because that’s my career. It sucks sometimes because I still want to do all those other things, especially when I see things that inspire me. I really need to be more than one person.


Any advice to a person wanting to get into the writing gig?

Devour all the books on the craft of writing that you can get your hot little hands on. They will take your writing light years ahead. I’ve got Stein On Writing in audio book on my iphone and listen to it over and over. And I’ve got books with highlighted passages that I refer to regularly. You can never stop growing and learning, especially when it comes to writing. The same goes for tattooing. There’s always more to learn.

Thank you so much for coming by and sharing all your awesome with us!

Now, here’s the free stuff.

First, go check out Julia’s website.


and then go pick up one of her books for FREE. Hell yes, you read that right, FREE on AMAZON but only March1-March3 2012. CLICK HERE TO GET IT..

STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE is a collection of 17 short stories of mayhem that are not for the faint of heart. These stories, one of which was nominated for a Derringer Award in 2011, have been featured in a number of crime fiction magazines. Buckets of blood are spilt between these pages, and some nice (and some not so nice) people die horrible deaths. Here you will meet a pedophile who picks the wrong little girl to try and molest; a clown who gets bullied by his wife one time too many, a serial killer who likes to take postmortem photographs of his victims, more than one angry wife/girlfriend seeking revenge on the other woman, and more than one escaped mental patient with murder in her heart.


SHAMBLING, SHUFFLING, AND MOANING THE BLUES (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Zed word)

Well kids, it’s that time of the year again. That’s right, it is creeping up on Halloween time. All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, Dia De Los Muertos… whatever you are celebrating it is all about the dead. This year, round here it’s all about the undead.

Specifically, zombies.

Ah, zombies. Whether they shuffle, shamble, run, or crawl everybody loves zombies. There is a lot of zombie fever around the Casa De La Tuck lately too.

First of all, my twisted zombie love story called “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is now out in ONE BUCK ZOMBIES. You can buy it everywhere e-books are sold in whatever format you need and all for ONE BUCK! (that’s right folks, it’s not just a clever title.) Not only do you get my chunk of undead deliciousness (which I am extremely proud of BTW) you also get four more stories full of zombies.

And look at this gorgeous zombie cover.

Here is what the first review says about this:

-“One Buck Horror has done it again. Five squirmy, creative, scary, bloody horror tales, these featuring the monster du jour, zombies!  . . . particularly “He Stopped Loving Her Today”  . . . . certainly deliver enough chills and lip-chewing fear to make this collection more than worth the cost. ” –
MaryAnnReads (Amazon.com)

Here are the links:

Amazon  and Barnes and Noble

Then, for my own personal enjoyment I am reading PATIENT ZERO by Jonathan Maberry.

Oh man this is a good book! And such a cool concept that I am still pissed that I didn’t come up with it first!  It’s like 24 mixed with zombies. It is truly off-the-chain.

And I just finished MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL by Larry Correia, which doesn’t have zombies in it, but it does have a ton of other undead and still kicks ass.

Plus I have been watching DEATH VALLEY on MTV. Listen, if you haven’t been tuning in then you are really missing out. This show is GOLD I am telling you. It’s COPS mixed with zombies, werewolves, and vampires. It’s also funny, just a dash of RENO 911 to break the monotony. It is truly an awesome show.

And on Sunday we have the return of one of the best zombie shows EVER MADE IN THE WORLD EVER! What else could I be talking about but THE WALKING DEAD on AMC. I mean really, the Tuck house is so freaking excited for Sunday night it is insane. Yes the show veered away from the comic book at the end, but I am fine with that because what they gave us was high quality.  And Me, The Missus, and The Son had the chance to see a WALKING DEAD panel at Dragoncon and it was one of the best panels. All the adults from the show ditched since it was first thing Monday morning, leaving all the kids from the show to handle the panel all by themselves. Let me tell you something, those kids rocked it. They were funny, charming, and highly entertaining.

AND to top it off Hornady, one of my favorite ammo companies has announced a new line of ammo ZOMBIEMAX! Check it out.


All this zombie fever has me in the mood to write some more zombie stuff. I now have 2 pages of notes on a new series about a Zombie Response Tactical Unit…so when I finish Book 3 of Deacon Chalk (titled BLOOD AND MAGICK) as well as the other two e-novellas in the series I just may be writing some brain splattering fun for you!